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Music Reviews

Ranaldo Licht Krieger DJ Olive Marclay – Text of Light (Table of the Elements)

outlier   2/9/2005   A Library, CD

Ranaldo Licht Krieger DJ Olive Marclay – Text of Light (Table of the Elements)
Drifting, mesmerizing drone traverses the depths of sonic possibilities. Signals, feedback and transmissions pulsate in a collective continuum. Like a beam from a lighthouse, guitars cast in and fade out leaving you to ponder the complex ultra-ambient soundscape. Waves of combined sounds emanate up from the pulses of each artist’s contribution. Two guitars, percussion, turntables and electronics make for dense textures. Masterful timing gives this free improvised offering a stellar compositional quality.
18m=> play the whole damn thing !
– Outlier

Deerhunter – s/t

outlier   2/9/2005   12-inch, A Library

Deerhunter – s/t (Stickfigure Records)
Tight and dirty rock sound with standard song structures delivered with undoubtedly above standard, angry and pissed off vocals. Riffs reminiscent of SoCal early 90’s rock (Drive Like Jehu’s 1st, Distorted Pony) are hypercharged by the vocalist’s undying conviction that everything is still fucked – thus the necessity for a refrain of the straight ahead pissed off rock sound. 2 gtr-bs-dr with some other stuff occasionally dubbed on top, this foursome from Atlanta definitely give an urgent sound to otherwise familiar structures in this debut release.
3w: Repenting is Weakness
– Outlier

Deerhoof s/t

outlier   2/9/2005   7-inch, A Library

Se Piagi Se Ridi- Perfect for the next wake party you may be planning. Maybe like a Caroliner pop excursion if it existed. Funeral organ, banjo (?) and drums accompany this eulogy for the pop song. Childlike vocal wanderings call you to the netherworld where pop icons are smothered with makeup buff pads. Slightly disconnected and ethereal but luring nonetheless. A rather mature sound in an unusual space from a quite unusual band. Strawberry Banana- that lost backtrack to the Abba song that Bjorn farted around with for years but never found the right lyrics for- another stake in the false heart of pop music, the jokes on those who thought Deerhoof could never make it as a pop band.
3w: Caroliner on Prozac
– Outlier

Repp, Corrina – “It’s Only the Future ” – [Hush Records]

lombard   2/8/2005   A Library, CD

This is one of the most memorable releases I’ve heard in awhile. Corrina Repp (her parents named her after a Bob Dylan song) is from Portland, Oregon and has been playing music in various bands for 10 years. This was released in fall 2004. In style it’s similar to Cat Power, with its spare instrumentation and lovely female vocals. Very subtle piano, guitar, and slight electronic moments. This is mystical! (added 2-8-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Caine, Uri and La Gaia Scienza – “Love Fugue: Robert Schumann ” – [Winter and Winter]

lombard   2/8/2005   A Library, CD

From 2000. Treatises on love that blend elements of classical, jazz and poetry. It begins with male vocals and classical piano (track one), moves to dramatic strings and piano (track two) to spoken word and operatic (track three) to crazy drama with male throaty vocals that can rival the best metal performer (track four) to jazz-inspired with scat singing (track seven), along with some instrumental tracks glueing it all together. (added 2-8-05)

-Cynthia Lombard

Sad World – ?Sad World I + II? – [Fax Records]

Hunter Gatherer   2/6/2005   A Library, CD

Sad World is two people: Dr. Atmo – real name Amir Abadi – a DJ/composer/architect and Ramin – full name Ramin Naghachian – both born in Iran and currently living in Frankfurt, Germany. (Fun fact: Dr. Atmo performed at and designed Frankfurt’s XS club.)

This 1996 release combines the first two Sad World CDs, orginially released in 8/1993 and 5/1994. We also have the third and last, Sad World III, in A. All three are on Pete Namlook‘s FAX label, one of the leading purveyors of ambient music.

Sad World is ambient electronica with a strong Middle Eastern influence. The track names evoke a time of greater glory for Muslims with great halls like Apadana, cities like Samarra, which was briefly the capitol of the Muslim world, and Cordoba, the center of Moorish culture in Spain.

The music on these CDs contains some relatively brief tracks of 5 and 10 minutes and one longer tracks of 20, 30, and 40 minutes. They contain synthesizer drones, interesting samples (voices from American broadcasts, choirs, talking, chanting, singing children), instruments like sitar and, I think, a didgeridoo, sometimes there are downtempo drum loops giving the hint of rhythm.

You can actively listen to these tracks and trace their slow development and changing textures, or you can just float along with it and enjoy the ride.
–Hunter Gatherer

The Phenomenological Boys “The Rainbow Record” Dave’s Cock Record

Thurston Hunger   2/3/2005   A Library, CD, Format

It may well be that Goofus and Gallant are the same
person. It also may well be that the P. Boys are a
brother/sister combo Oliver & Angela Alden, along with
their childhood friend Dean Douglas. It may be that
this started as a lark, and still continues as one.
A goofball gumball assortment of pop drops, and to
“clear” the palate arcane swipes from out-of-print
kiddie vinyl. In the lyrics, on top of plenty of
square phrases rhmyed into round holes, we get nods to
Tzadik, Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
(not Sharrocked, nor Waters’d down…but tinted blonde
or yellow if you will). If the Frogs and Danielson
Famile adopted Vincent Gallo, would Brown Bunny have
had “Brown Underpants” as its theme song? It’s like
they have created song-poems direct and eliminated the
middle matchbook man. Or maybe they’re college DJ’s,
big kids in the treehouse like us?

Oranges Band, the “Two Thousands” [Morphius]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Re-release of this Baltimore bands first two ep’s. Provides
both the scratch and the itch for rabid rock-pop. Dual guitar
interplay does a nice job of creating songs that sort of
climb up on top of each other. Keyboards are used as very
minimal highlights (to good effect, not distracting from the
solid, simple guitar). Roman Kuebler’s vocals have a sweet
angsty rasp to them (#1 and #5-Graham Parker anyone?). That
familiar sort of controlled yell, directed rage. There’s a
prozacky ballad #12, but this band is best when it’s got a
frantic woodpecker energy going and Strato-rattling guitars.
Music to inject vodka into, hope they opt for that rather
than hairspray.

Nice Nice “There Will Be Slogans” [White Denim]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/2005   7-inch, A Library, Format

Portland, Oregon duo – guitarist Jason Buehler
and percussionist Mark Shirazi. Kitchen sync
and sample stampede over drums that touch on
tangents to dub. Guitar bubbles served over
some piledriver basslines in other parts.
Tweaked and twiddled transmissions.

Merzbow “Frog” your choice rpm [Misanthropic Agenda]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

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.

Max Richter “The Blue Notebooks” [130701/FatCat]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

Volvox “Bad Earth” [Dual Plover]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

L’Infonie “Vol 333” [Mucho Gusto]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

Long Live Death “To Do More Than God…To Die” [SecretEye]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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
sound check.

Yannis Kyriakides / Andy Moor “Red v Green” [Unsounds]

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.

Krystian Shek “Eisblumen” [Fax Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

Guy Klucevsek/Phillip Johnston “Tales from the Cryptic” [Winter & Winter]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

Kill Yourself “Soft Touch of Man EP” [Gringo Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

Kazumoto Endo “While You Were Out” [Box Media]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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
Endo commands.

Jucifer “Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip” [Capricorn]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

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.

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