KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Barnson, Matthew – “Vanitas” – [Innova Recordings]

Cousin Mary   11/19/2019   A Library, CD

Three pieces composed by Matthew Barnson. The first one for orchestra is mysterious and based on grief – it reminds me a bit of George Crumb’s Black Angels. The other two compositions are for smaller ensembles and are provocative and at times whimsical. Fine examples of original takes on modern classical music.

Sutekh Hexen – ‘Sutekh Hexen’ – [Cyclic Law]

Lord Gravestench   11/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

A fixture of the Bay Area experimental scene, Sutekh Hexen has purveyed solid ‘black noise’ fare for close to a decade, typically compressing ragged metal riffs and murky ambience into challenging walls-of-sound. 2019 saw the release of their self-titled 4th full-length, brought to you by the German-based label that has recently functioned as the de facto foster home for Cold Meat Industry artists orphaned by that Swedish label’s sudden dissolution six years ago. I’m not sure that S.H. is the first American band to release on Cyclic Law, but nonetheless, this double LP constitutes a significant moment in the transatlantic partnership that has long defined the industrial noise scene. S.H. had displayed an affinity for the Euro milieu even before their collaboration with Sweden’s Trepaneringsritualen, which was performed live deep in the woodlands of the Pacific Northwest at 2013’s Stella Natura festival. The group’s fusion of black metal guitar stylings and nonlinear experimental soundscapes is very compatible with the aesthetic sensibilities of our friends on the old continent (MZ.412 and Paysage D’Hiver come to mind). 

On this magnum opus, for which recording first commenced way back in 2012, S.H. seem to have both tightened up their compositions and broadened their palette, perhaps owing to a new and expanded lineup. For whatever reason, longtime member A.C. Way (AKA Thoabath) is no longer involved; here core members Demian Johnston (Great Falls, solo as BLSPHM) and Kevin Gan Yuen (Circle of Eyes, Disgust) collected contributions from Nathaniel Ritter (Burial Hex), Bay Area art-drone luminary Jim Haynes, Jim Kaiser (AKA Petit Mal, and sadly R.I.P. as of 2017), Mackenzie Chami (Terror Cell Unit, Disgust, solo as Koufar and Crown of Cerberus), Jason ‘VENIEN’ Ventura (founder of seminal Bay Area black metal group Von), Ryan Jobes (Grave Babies), James Martinez (provenance unknown), and Vial Magazine editor Patricia Cram. There will be a quiz after this review, so try and keep up.

A Frankensteinian agglomeration of black metal, dark ambient, deep drone, harsh noise, death industrial, electroacoustic, field recordings, and ritual music, ‘Sutekh Hexen’ is a vicious beast indeed, reflecting its diverse contributors’ varied approach to soundcraft. At times brooding and at times extremely violent, it impressively realises the promise of earlier releases and brings the project to a new artistic peak, one with perhaps a wider appeal. Be ye headbanger, noise junkie, Mills College avant-gardist, or dark ambient creeper, Lord Gravestench advises that you drink deeply of this silver-hued nightmare.

Eldanka – “Rusty Treasures” – [Self Release]

Cousin Mary   11/13/2019   A Library, CD

Excellent instrumental work from this 4-piece ensemble from Toholampi, Finland (about 500 kilometers north of Helsinki). All original compositions by lead guitarist Mika Jamsa. Twang, surf, jazz influences with some extra instruments and electronics that add interesting touches to the guitars, bass and drums. Something a little different to play in your surf set.

Troller – “Graphic” – [HoloDeck]

lexi glass   11/13/2019   12-inch, A Library

Troller is the Austin, TX darkwave trio of Adam Jones, Justin Star-Goers and Amber Star-Goers; this 2016 release on HoloDeck (Jones’ label) is their second album. While not quite the pain factory that the album’s art might suggest, Graphic aches with dark, synth-laden pop made for a dungeon dancefloor – from the bleak title track (T2), to the forlorn ballad “Not Here” (T3), the grind of “Nothing” (T7), the heavier “Sundowner” (T9), and the final sinister slowjam “Torch” (T10) – all driven by Amber Star-Goers’ powerful, agonized vocals. Between the beats are shorter instrumental interludes (T1, T4, T7, T8), and the Lynchian dream pop of “Storm Maker” (T5). All tracks can easily writhe their way into a set alongside recent additions like Boy Harsher, Kaelan Mikla, Lebanon Hanover, and other dealers in beautiful misery.

GRANDEGGIO! TEMA DAL FILOM GILI 45 ANCORA UNA VOLTA

aarbor   11/13/2019   A Library

This is the soundtrack from the 2007 film Gili 45 ancora una volta (Gillian who is 45 once again). In fact this soundtrack is a compilation of other (mostly Italian) soundtracks. There’s something everyone can enjoy here. AArbor

LOS GUAPOS SENSIBLES – Bigaton/Decimas Del Desamor

aarbor   11/13/2019   A Library

On delicately pink vinyl, this is the 3rd release from Los Guapos Sensibles which came out last Valentines Day. A side: Bigoton was written by Alfredo Varela which features some vocoder vocals. On the B side: Decimas del Desamor (tenths of Heartbreak) was written by Ryan Drury (who is also part of Los Discos Duro and Los Jalogüines) and M. Juarez. This is danceable Cumbia music. AArbor

RITMOS TROPICOSMOS – Tumba De La Mamia/Beso De Muerte – [Discos Más]

aarbor   11/13/2019   A Library

The debut single release (09/19) for Ritmos Tropicosmos who are a 7 piece cumbia group from Oakland. These are perfect for Halloween. Side A is the Mummy’s Tomb – a story about an ancient mummy locked up for several centuries in a worm-infested tomb. After several centuries she is finally set free to dance all night by the power of the Cumbia. The B side – The Kiss of Death is an instrumental which gives a nod to various maestros de Organo Cumbia: Eduardo Surita, Tulio Enrique Leon and Gabrielle Meza.  AArbor

SONS OF KEMET – Your Queen Is A Reptile

aarbor   11/13/2019   A Library

The Sons of Kemet are a British jazz group formed in 2011. On this album (which was named Release of the Year 2018 by The Wire magazine), bandleader Shabaka Hutchings wrote and plays saxophone on all tracks, Theon Cross plays tuba, Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner play drums. It also features toaster Congo Natty and performance poet Josh Idehen. The album title and sleeve notes refer to the British monarchy and how it does not represent black immigrants; “Your Queen is not our Queen / She does not see us as human”. Instead the track titles all refer to influential black women throughout history.  Ada Eastman was Hutchings’ great grandmother from Barbados. Most Americans know who Harriet Tubman and Angela Davis are, but here’s a run down of who the other “queens” are. Mamie Phipps Clark was an American social psychologist who investigated the African American children’s attitudes toward race and racial self-identification which influenced the Brown vs. Board of Education court case.  Anna Julia Cooper an American who earned at PhD at the Sorbonne, was sometimes called “the mother of Black Feminism”.  Nanny of the Maroons was an 18th century leader of the Jamaican Maroons – she was named a National Hero of Jamaica. Yaa Asantewaa was the queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire who led the Ashanti War of the Golden Stool against British colonialism. Albertina Sisulu was a South African anti-apartheid activist. Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE promoted reforms of the police service after her son was murdered in a racist attack in South East London in 1993. AArbor

Carlton Melton – “Mind Minerals” – [Agitated Records]

atavist   11/12/2019   12-inch, A Library

Carlton Melton does psych—or, to quote The Quietus from a nice write-up of the album, astral psych. One observation from The Quietus that resonates with me is the idea that CM have been on a mission to distill their sound over the years, perhaps break it into its component parts. Their recent live mic in the Pit (11/2/2019) is evidence of their current working method, and the same could be said of “Mind Minerals”, their most recent LP, released last year. Each track takes a limited host of sounds and explores them inside and out, giving them time to breathe and expand. The album has its more rocking moments, but a lot of it is slow and patient jams and noodlings. So definitely more open-ended, free-form, and minimalistic than, for example, “Out to Sea” from 2015.

A1: Big, amorphous intro.
A2: Establishes a straightforward beat, pretty deliberate in not changing up the routine too much to start.
A3: Mellow, serene. Staring up at a starry night sky.
A4: Starts out with the drums running solo, and then the guitar comes in hot. Definitely the most rocking song on this side.
B1: Droney synths with a hint of percussion, minimalistic.
B2: Easy drive down a country back road. Rolling along, but not in a hurry. The fields pass by.
C1: Let’s open it up a bit and ride the cymbals, let the amps scream. Let’s not be hasty and settle into it.
C2: Droney, meandering guitars and minimal percussion. Sun-faded memories.
C3: A synth patterns starts out this very minimal slice of mood.
D1: Blissed out, spaced out patterns. Best track for considering the inner spaces.
D2: Turned-up amps blazing. One last jam before fading to noise.

Rautavaara, Einojuhani – "Cantus Arcticus" – [Catalyst]

Hemroid The Leader   11/11/2019   A Library, CD

Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (pronounced AY-no-yu-hah-ni ROW-ta-vah-ra) was born in Helsinki on Oct. 9, 1928. Cantus Arcticus & Symphony No. 5 performed by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. String Quartet No. 4 performed by the Sirius String Quartet.

Canticus Arcticus (1972) is a Concerto for Birds and Orchestra. Foggy & textural gradients. 3 movements, 17 min.

String Quartet No. 4 (1975) cool postwar quartet, Schoenberg 12-tones. Indeterminate pitches. Meditative. Different from the usual Western stuff. 3 movements, 22 min.

Symphony No. 5 (1985) is big and ambitious, a little disjointed here and there, maybe from the large scale. Entertaining and likeable. Maybe listen to the first half. 31 min.

African Rhythm Messengers 1/2 – "KFJC Live Mic At SJ America Fest – 1995" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/10/2019   A Library, CD

African Rhythm Messengers 54:13

July 4th 1995  Live Remote from San Jose America Festival

Featuring KFJC DJs, Grawer and Earl Grey

“African Rhythm Messengers is a group of musicians headquartered in Nigeria. Their music mixes Caribbean, Reggae and African beats.” AllMusic.com They released a CD entitled Bottom Belle in 1998.”

Best Known songs written by Rex Lawson:

This recording was digitized from an archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 9//19/2019.

African Rhythm Messengers 2 – "KFJC Live Mic From SJ America Fest – 1995" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/10/2019   A Library, CD

African Rhythm Messengers   Disk 2/2    57:33

July 4th, 1995 live KFJC Remote recording from the San Jose America Festival.

The recording features KFJC DJs, Grawer and Earl Grey.

“African Rhythm Messengers is a group of African musicians based in Nigeria. Their music mixes Caribbean, Reggae and African beats. They released a CD entitled Bottom Belle in 1998.”

Best Known songs were written by Rex Lawson:
Last song on this CD is the traditional song: Onye Ga Gba Egwu

Digitized from an archival VHS tape by Devlyn on 9/19/2019.

Bucket of Blues Sax Blowout KFJC Live Mic 2/2 – 1987 – "KFJC Live Mic" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/10/2019   A Library, CD


1987_SAX_Blowout- A KFJC Live Mic_at_JJs_Blues_Cafe Disk 2/2 XXXXX

Recorded 12/22/1987    (1 hr 16mins :49 secs)  847661

Recorded at JJ’s Blues Cafe in Mountain View CA

Features JJs house band, Bucket of Blues, including: Deacon Jones  (organ and MC ) Our best guess this is: “Melvyn “Deacon” Jones (December 12, 1943 – July 6, 2017) an organist and founding member of Baby Huey & the Babysitters in Chicago”  Wikipedia   

Jamie Brian,

Mr Sticks

Sax Blowout starts with Terrible Tom (Probably TJ Politzer (SAX) of the Fabulous sundogs) Songs includes “I feel Good”

Noel Coutoura (SAX) comes on later

Bucket of Blues vocalist Rick Baker added in the end

The original tape runs out before the concert ends and is faded out.

Digitized from archival VHS tape by Devlyn. Some tape hiss when folks are talking. Not really noticeable when music is going, Concert is broken up into 2 CDs.




PRI – "KFJC Live Mic – 1983" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/9/2019   A Library, CD

PRI – A KFJC Live Mic recorded on 2-5-1983  41 mins & 18 seconds

Genre: Punk/Metal

This recording was pulled from an old CD found in KFJC storage. The recording was labelled with the band name and the date recorded. No information about where it was recorded or information about what any of the tracks are found in the recording. Remastered by J Devlin 8/2019

We are assuming it is a recording of P.R.I.. (Peaceful Revolution Impossible), a Metal /Rock band out of Dallas, Texas performing in this period.

Loved Ones & Rosie Flores, The – "KFJC Live Mic At SXSW – 1994" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/8/2019   A Library, CD

SXSW KFJC Live Mic CD 1  847188

Recorded on March 18, 1994

In 1994, KFJC Recorded and engineered performances at the South by South West Music Fest and broadcast those recordings live on KFJC airwaves and on 50 other radio stations that picked up the feed. Following is a Best of: KFJC Special featuring sets pulled from that live broadcast.

Recorded at @ Lazona Rosa Club in Austin Texas.

Track 1. The Loved Ones@ Lazona Rosa (39.16 mins) Blues 3-18-94. The Loved Ones were an Oakland-based Blues band formed by vocalist Bart Davenport, bassist Michael Therieau, rhythm guitarist Nick Rossi, lead guitarist Xan McCurdy and drummer John Kent. Their last album was Better Do Right in 1994.

Track 2. Rosie Flores and the Bad Boys -@ Lazona Rosa- Rockabilly (15 mins of a 1 hr concert was found on this tape) Flores is an American rockabilly and country music artist. She is joined on this recording by members of the Flatlanders (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock).

Track 3. 3. Zero Gravity Stinger (for an upcoming show)

This CD was digitized from a VHS archival tape originally aired as a Mayhem special on 5/14/94 hosted by DJ  Earl Grey       

Bucket of Blues With Brian David – "KFJC Live Mic – 1987" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/7/2019   A Library, CD

Bucket of Blues with 2 extra Sax players  (TJ Politzer and Noel Coutoura)

Recorded 12/22/1987    (36:03)               847010

This concert is broken up into 2 CDS. There is some tape hiss when folks are talking. Not really noticeable when music is going  

Recorded at JJ’s Blues Cafe in Mountain View CA

Tape starts with the club house band Bucket of Blues including: Deacon Jones on organ and MC for the night. ( Our best guess this is: “Melvyn “Deacon” Jones (December 12, 1943 – July 6, 2017) an organist and founding member of Baby Huey & The Babysitters in Chicago”  Wikipedia   

With David Brian, Vocalist from Palo Alto CA. Singing: Erving Berlin’s White Christmas at 28 mins

Slack, Errol & Alexandria – "KFJC Live Mic – 1988" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/7/2019   A Library, CD

Alexandria & Errol Slack-Blues Band – A KFJC Live Mic from 1988

Recorded Jan 27, 1988                  847100

1 hr 5 minutes

No info on tape about how, where, or who recorded this. Likely recorded at JJ’s Blues, an Iconic San Jose blues bar where other KFJC Blues music was recorded in this period

Band Members: Errol Slack (organ), Alexandria Renate (vocals),

Fair amount of tape hiss that is noticeable during conversations.

Flayed Choirmaster, The – “Walking Case Study” – [Pet Goat Records, The]

whngr   11/6/2019   A Library, CD

Aural pet abuse.

A piercingly shrill keening reminiscent of a high-powered flash charging up before your uncle blinds you in the annual Thanksgiving family photo begins the assault on your furbabies’ sanity but quickly evolves into synthesized balloon squeaks and other abstractions. Echos, white-noise, bleeps, bloops, and crunches. Strobes, peels, shimmering squelches and later unintelligible muffled yells. Shards of sonic glass piercing the Tympanic Membrane, as Spot attacks the speaker and Fluffy claws first the door and then your face in a frenzied search of egress. A superb album for anxiety inducing enthusiasts of unstructured knob twirling and fader fingering by noise artist Sam Clifton. Reminds this miserable volunteer of an advanced AI’s death sonnet or perhaps a Wednesday evening at KFJC.

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