Croak and dagger noise from Masami Akita. Rolling out the
limited (1/1000) “frog-colored” vinyl smacks of crafty
merchandising, but the album smacks of pain that you would
hope for. The concept could be as simple as Merzbow himself
dialing the resistors just right to get a virtual frog
sample that belches forth on the A-side, but I prefer to
think the “Frog” monniker is to represent an amphibious
nature to this release. There are moments that this almost
leaps out to the dance floor, geiger click, hep repetition
and jackhammer isometrics create a sort of tadpole techno.
There’s some faux locked grooves, but grooves nonetheless.
But then we get a cathode-arcing bipolar blitz, sheer
shrieking audio assault. Side A takes a while for the hail
of electric fire to rain down, it ends with a sputtering
disintegration. Those merciless moments subside on the
B-side, not that it’s unnoise; it still annoys but the
presence of Rana rhythm over the dank clank of dungeons
provides for vivid sections. Seems like he’s tossing in
reversing sounds as well. Merzbow’s white noise is the
sum of a lot of colors.
Croak and dagger noise from Masami Akita. Rolling out the
Trembling before beauty music; exudes grace, though shatters
nothing. Minimal steps in other’s footsteps, melodies climb
up a step, down a step, up a step. Tilda Swinton who has
collaborated with the departed Derek Jarman adds spoken
texts, but to my ears she was too often lost in the gauze,
there but not there. Is she Orlando, or just Tiresias?
Typewriter for effect with the words too. For the fattest
FatCat vibes, try #4 or #7, still that’s pretty svelte
for beat worshippers. If you dig “Shadown Journal” check
out some of Simon Fisher Turner’s stuff. There’s also
wounded piano thoughout, the ankle twisted and lingering
on the sustain pedal. My secret favorites were the two
organ numbers, great pools of sound with ripples of
Terry Riley…#5 and #9. If I lied and said this guy
was the big brother to the twin sisters of Mum would
you like him more? Like Mum, Richter can summon moments
of deafening quiet.
This album poses a lot of questions. What would you do with
your life if you survived a three-story fall through a plate
glass window? And what if the stories were taller tales than
that? Where did the “Five Seconds of Marmots” go exactly?
Who is this “Lester Vat” (aka Anthony Riddell). His bellicose
bellowing is certainly what lingers in your ears. Still the
sonic crumpling, oscillating, and burstling that surrounds
these thought and tone poems is vital. Like there is something
really important going on in the next door apartment, and
they’ve got the radio sliding around the dial, and the TV is
on a polynesian soap opera… And what is that guy saying,
exactly? Evidently Riddell is born with a speech impediment
that he has turned into a speech instrument…stretching and
repeating words, he alternatively seems to be both delighted
and disturbed by the difficulty in communicating. And maybe
not just his, but everyone’s. The lyrics often do focus on
this phenomenon. Tracks are revived from original cassette
tapes, and at times, it sounds like the oxide itself is being
chewed and gargled and choked on. Outstanding early 90’s
Australian art-damaged, body-damaged experimusing.
The intersection of the lines of madness and lines of genius
may not be one point, but two coincident lines. Timeline here
is 1972, behold the third release from Montreal’s ensemble
L’Infonie. Apparently this galaxy of musicians revolved round
a twin-star center of Walter Boudreau and Raoul Duguay, each
respectively contributing it would seem order and disorder.
The first disc can be sliced at different points to produce
Sun Ra keyboard spirals, bluesy swagger, halleluiah chori,
sputtering gibberish, pure prog rock, freeform jazz. Several
themes recur, I love the way it gathers itself: horns shoot
up out of sprawling piano, drum swatches and an anxious bass.
I think the bass really holds a lot of this together, often
it leads the themes. The second disk starts off with back to
Bach numbers. Then in the midst of the “Prelude,” a garagey
number with flute and outta tune vox sneaks in, then things
get mighty howly and big bopping. “Ubiquital” has a knocked
round glockenspiel feel with zithery strings in that modern
classical tension-for-tension’s sake. “La tonne platte”
starts with sideways jazz, gives way to what sounds like a
Butoh race through the audience which returns on an awkrward
cut back to the sideways jazz. Vive le strange.
Delivered to us by labelmates Black Forest/Black Sea,
this Baltimoric coven including Oxes’ Nat Fowler and
Chris Freeland. They sacrifice somber minor-key mantras.
Cello drifts thru like incense, and ye’ ol’ singing saw
is summoned upon occasion as well. Despondent without
being desperate. Lyrics flicker in the shadows of
fallen gods and lapsed rockers. Have faith, but do a
Thurston Hunger 1/29/2005 A Library
The ultimate battle, pitching the red wires of electronics
versus the green strings of guitar… In this corner, Yannis
Kyriakides ticking, clicking, and flipping the world on the
fritz. In that corner, Andy Moor of the might Ex, tapping,
slapping and scrapping his way up and down the fretboard
and beyond. The resulting rounds are quite a shadowy box
of sounds. There’s an overall suspicious feeling, like a
convict re-entering the work force as a security guard.
Or a boxing glove, loaded up with a few bars of iron?
“Time Flies” is a guitar heavy track wherein Moor snaps
off harmonics at odd angles, but the hover and blink that
Kyriakides applies below and above the guitar is vital. As
on “a conSPIracy cantata” Kyriakides establishes himself
as a true collaborator on electronics, he’s actually on the
same plane and planet as his more organic partners. We win
with a solid improvisational knock-out that is nearly as
stunning as the photos by Isabelle Vigier within.
I love how this album begins, like a nighttime strafing of an
army of flying saucers. After that we get a good headphonic
mix of stark darkbeat. Shek evidently is a Russian, and this
is his sonic snapshot of a trip from Moscow to St. Petersberg.
From the sounds of it, he travelled during winter, strapped
naked to the top of a train. Gulag rave? Certainly has plenty
of danceable moments, as the steel wheels find a rhythm on
the rails. I prefer the more ambient textures of coal smoke
that blow through now and then. Some processed vox (as if
lifted from a station’s loudspeaker or a police bullhorn) are
mixed into the murk and add to the mystery. Good rubbery
tone in part and lots of friction percussion also help
this to stand out.
FWIW, we’ve never met but I’ve always heard Guy’s name
pronounced clue-SEHV-ick. Including by his understudy
Miss Murgatroid! Klucevsek’s accordion is not as
crazy here as her free-based version, or even some of
Guy’s earlier work. Johnston’s alto/soprano sax seems
to pull higher, clearer, cleaner tiny notes out of the
bellows. This is feathery, but with melodies that are
just gorgeous. The Satie tribute (#7) is a start for
that. As is “The Gift” (#4), the slipperiness of “The
Needless Kiss” (#14), gypsy twists in “No More Mr.
Nice Guy” (#9 but sadly *not* an Alice Cooper cover,
would not have surprised me if Klucevsek had done so).
Instead that has a nice Balkan bounce to it. This album
does not rely on shock and gimmicks. The interplay of
Klucevsek’s right hand parrying with Johnston, while he
pumps the accompaniment is no mean feat. Tastes like
European jazz in parts, rising notes, hyperclean sound.
Yet circus flavors waft too.
Three piece from Leeds, heavy with middle names, but lean
with lancing guitar rock. James Richard Islip fights the
drums, roundhouse cymbal crashing and below-the-belt toms.
Lurching along with punch-drunk guitar staggers from Giles
Edmund Joseph Bailey, those drums get KY’s dukes up like
early Don Caballero. Meanwhile bassist Andrew Derek Ross
Abbott is impervious to any of this, steadfast and stolid
he keeps each song on its legs. Thick unflappable songs
that have no problem supporting a ragged, jarring guitar.
Each cut leaves a similar metallic taste in your mouth,
this gang of three seems to have plenty of bite. 80’s
scrape with those always-welcome angry Anglonized vocals
from Bailey. Remember sneering started in Britain. Meat
and potatoes, cooked over an open fire on barbed wire.
Singles collection from Kazumoto Endo released in 1999.
I know KFJC’s own Nancy Reagan proclaims noise will be
at the top of the pop charts in 100 years…but why
wait? This is an album that is bursting with sound,
from the first track that has a throbbing pulse under
the metallic screech of train wheels grinding sparks
out on tracks. A lot of the noise on this has that
almost Godzilla like quality of shearing metal, and
lest you think noise is just random sound, try to
create such gorgeous tortured structures yourself.
In noise, I’m a big fan of the chasm…the space
between the sputtering…and Endo uses that well on
this. Sometimes slipping some J-pop or disco ditty
into those spaces, as if to contrast their week
meekness with his arcing cathodes of sound. Those
moments also hint of digital hardcore, but make no
mistake, this is noise at its most extreme, most
powerful and most glorious. Each time I’ve listened
to this I am struck by the diversity of the din that
NOTE: This is their debut release and it came out back
in 1998, but aside from jabs at Tabs (Tabitha Soren on
“Hero Worship”) the shelf life on this is still active.
A peachy pair of Georgians, when her ire is up vocalist
Amber Valentine’s sounds a little like fellow hellish
belle Jarboe. Her partner in sound and crime is drummer
Ed Livengood, who provides a lot of colosseum whack to
their attack (he sneaks in some scratching as well
here.) Amber also pedal-pushes guitar distortion we
get something like pop metal with an aroma of glamour.
Amber’s voice can shapeshift nicely: whispery coquette,
hoarse hellion, “rock star” (allegedly the words
tatooed across her knuckles.) This album is prettily
produced, a lot of overdubs…especially with vocals.
I’m not sure how that will translate to their leaner
live set. To their credit, this album gets weirder
as it goes along, and they’ve escaped $ucce$$ so far.
Anthemic anathema from Athens.
These songs embrace their pain. Well really more than that
they admit the pain…and tower above it. Foster’s pipes have
the warbling ache of a silent movie actress speaking after so
many years voiceless. The leaves are gone like Garbo. While
Josephine may also be a “Born Hell(rais?)er” her stylized
soprano is stirringly at home guiding cautionary folk with
scattery treble guitar. I suppose that the Supposed may turn
some people off, notably Goodman’s noodling may seem thin
and tweaky to some, but I *really* like its chaos clashing
into these simple strum-along songs. And the percussion that
Rusty Peterson contributes is what gives this album its
unbreakable backbone. Evidently this was originally created
as a rock musical but the songs stand firmly alone, alone
without a lover, alone without forebears (as the poignant
“Deathknell” decries), but powerfully alone.
Fuzz bluster rock from the master magician of Alchemy. This
album launches from zero-to-90 mph with the first freeway
rocker, a two-chord lane changer that even hits a classic
Hijo-hijacked searing solo. On #2 the rust still doesn’t
sleep…don’t miss the great ggggaarrrr screams. #3 stops for
air and a twinkling delay number. Next up a surprisingly pure
garagey power pop. #5 has a tense sort of glam rock build up
into a power-sludge of divine distortion. #6 a cool feedback
statue is carved, with dry patting drums at its base. Only to
be followed by a trip to janglesville. #8 provides bursting
psych with gut-punched oomph vocals… #9 has a nice bouncing
bassline over a little slice o’ bliss. #10 leaves us wanting
more with sticky, staticky eruptions of effect-ladenn guitar
with Jojo howling what sounds like “More my brothers…more
my brothers.” You’ll be screaming for more too!
Rose continues his path from Pelt straight to the heart of
a twelve-string soul. The A-side featues a darker current,
thick ropes of vibration…bubbling up the neck of the
guitar on the lower deep end strings. Near flamenco finger
flicking starts “black pearls from the river.” On “tower of
babel” the frenzied fingers give way to bouncy swipes at
the end of that track. On the B-side, it seems like a Rose
made a conscious effort to work the upper strings more, the
sound is brighter, but still brass rattling. With the higher
notes, we can hear the sympathetic halo of echo shining
through easy. As the record spins towards its end, Rose
chose to slow down his playing…the earlier fast ripples of
arpeggios now separate into more distinct drops of guitar
rain, beads of sound. Thornless and acoustic black.
Thurston Hunger 1/29/2005 A Library
Pronounced “ILL Owen” but the guy’s name ain’t Owen it’s
Andrew Ryan from a chilly part of Philadelphia. Most
cuts have quick-click ticking percussion in them, which
contrasts the slower pulling of chords from synth and
accordion. I actually like it when the bullet-train
metronome ticking cuts out…usually at song’s end. But
then on the title cut, we just have the electric piano
sans *any* beats, and that was far worse. It plods
towards prehistoric New Age. My favorite was “Ask the
Dust” (possible John Fante tribute?’), it was the most
upbeat of these otherwise beat-up and iced-down pieces.
It and the initial track only have vocals. “I Am Never”
replaces the clicks with cricket samples, and a gentle
guitar instead of keys. “Starmaps” has a Raymond Scott
twinkle to it, overall the latter half of this CD works
best. While I enjoy “bleakbeat” music, it’s a simple
pleasure. By the time an album passes, I want to go out
and hug a drummer.
Further fruits from the cross-pollination of Hood with the
cLOUDDEAD heads. We get more solid drifting vortex pop from
Birmingham’s Hood…a constant state of exhallation. Breathe
out…breathe out again. Repeat until you pass out blissfully.
Themselves (aka Dose One along with Jel and Dax) then take
that track as inspiration and P.U.S.H. it up with their tiny
trademark martian vocals and their own sped up swirl of
sound. Only seven inches, but seventy layers of sonic veils
wrap this little picture disc gem.
Streamy dreams of subconciousness.
From the masters of Messthetics, comes another sloppy second
serving of records that KFJC didn’t hit the first time round.
Proof that innocence and cynicism can mix, that might be one
theme I can pull out of this alphabet slice of history and
hysteria. Another theme might be the importance of DEVO?
While the hairspray might be on too thick on #6 for my liking,
maybe that’s your favorite. My favorites…even without the
connection to Swill Radio – #12 rolls like a bowling ball.
#17 has a crisp surfishness to its SanFrantic sound. #8’s
T-wrecked homewrecking. #11 has a duty then for the future
now. #16 marks X’s old spot, well in the vocal heteroplay.
#24 is spastic with a sublimely retarded brief guitar solo.
#20 can be used to drive someone insane, tell them it is a
cover of a TV theme (it isn’t) and ask them to name it; with
their every guess, say “Closer…” #4 borrows a riff and
accidentally hits some vocal harmonies. #21 has a nice
oom-pa-pa chorus and wiggily keyboards. #9 has wonderfully
defective electrones. Check the liner notes for info, and
reps and Repp. Test out of advanced displacement.
Rob Mazurek coronet-crowned cornet hornpainter is held aloft
here by Him’s drums and Fender Rhodes. Doug Scharin, aka Him,
creates a swirl of soul, with deft afrobeat accents. At 21+
minutes, this flows smoothly, evaporates almost too quickly.
I hear mbira, or is that just an incredibly gourdy Rhodes,
resonance unparalleled. On “the lila” at about 2.5 minutes
in, we get doppler tranced vocals from Christian Dautresme,
and there’s rippling kora underscoring that second piece as
well ultimately leaving an angelic aftermath. The swelling
sweep of Scharin’s polyrhythms interact near perfectly with
Mazurek’s cornet: its dips, mellow mutes and sparkling
bursts, all enveloped in a rich mantle reverb. Add in some
subtle guitar juju from Joe Goldring and Griffin Rodriguez
on bass. This EP takes on a deceptive vibe of effortless
grace, a queen walks among her people and alongside Him.
One wishes she could stay longer, but perhaps that would
detract from the majesty.
Miss those voices inside your head? Fear not, they were
summoned by the musical magnet that Gerald Hawk operates.
Plentiful odd vocalizing on this dangerous disc o’ din.
First we had thousands of god-fearing folk who realized
that listening for Backwards Masking was as much fun as
self-flagellation with spiky switches. More recently all
the cool kids are going cuckoo over Reverse Speech. But
both of those processes require you to manually play a
medium backwards. That can give you Carpal Tunnelvision
in your ears. Hawk’s message is messed up straight from
the get-go to save you time and get to the important job
of hearing communiques from deities, aliens and your
deceased guinea pig. All scrambled by what sound like
civil war era submarines, shoddy gardening pipes and
some sort of space elevator. The pieces often are put
together with abrupt links, like a lion’s head on a
lamb’s body. The tail of track #2 is mesmerizing, an
angel singing the lost Conet Bible. Loops are used to
the point where ears begin to blur and you hear a phrase
change. Like magic, only it’s real. I thought I heard a
“fuck” on #5. but it’ll probably morph by the time you
play it. There’s water on Mars and this too!
Gorgeous album of glass-blown ballads. Hannah’s vox are
metrosexual and meticulous. Languid but not anguished.
The lyrics feel as though they are an oblique slice
though intricate novels. Indeed two songs are cobbled
from author Rick Moody’s work. Sonic streakings from
two God Speeders highlight the music so well, never
obliterating or interfering with these stories of
people in motion. Working against the odds, against
the heat, driven into dead ends…they persevere.
Piano is telescoped, far-away on many tracks. Acoustic
guitar blends so well with her singing. Wistful and
wishful meet and marry. This is a good album to take
your time to.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
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