KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Asa-Chang & Junray??Jun Ray Song Chang??[The Leaf Label]

Hunter Gatherer   1/23/2005   A Library, CD

This music was found in the CD player of the flying saucer that crashed in 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico. Due to the Freedom of Information Act people outside of Area 51 can finally hear what extraterrestrial Top 40 radio sounds like.

It took me two weeks to play this CD past the first track, Hana, because I kept repeating the song when it would end. Fractured voice samples bubble out of slowly repeating chords one syllable at a time each one punctuated by a hit on a tabla. It sounds like it might be a requiem for a space alien.

Asa-Chang & Junray are three people: Asa-Chang, session percussionist who favors the tabla and bongo and plays trumpet on a few tracks, U-Zhaan, formally trained tabla master, and Hidehiko Urayama, guitarist and programmer of their sound system, which is called ‘Junreitronics.’
This release compiles all of their Japanese releases to date. (It was released in 6/2002.) We have their follow up EP, Tsu Gi Ne Pu, in the A library.

On this CD, you will hear trumpet, heavily distorted vocals, Casio keyboards, tabla, electric guitar, drum machines, harmonica (I think), sitar, and more. All elements – voice, percussion, and timbre – are isolated and presented out of context so that even the familiar sounds unfamiliar. Every sound on the album feels intentional and precise.

–Hunter Gatherer

Sound Tribe Sector Nine – ?Artifact? – [1320 Records]

Hunter Gatherer   1/23/2005   A Library, CD

This is the 4th studio album by STS9, and it was more than two years in the making. It will be released on February 7, 2005.

STS9 was formed in Atlanta and is based in Northern California now. The ‘Sector 9? in their name is an oblique reference to ‘Baktun 9,? a period (435-830A.D.) when the Mayan civilization was at its artistic peak and its most communal. ‘Sound tribe? refers to their vision of a collective artistic movement.

This album combines the improvisational style of a jam band with the possibilities of electronic music. Jam-tronica? The jazzy and soulful influences are deep but the music is always looking forward.

This music was not created to challenge you. It is there to help you. Imagine Blade Runner if the replicants were created to feed the poor and help the homeless.

Instrumentals: 3,4,5-7,9-15,19;Soulful female vocals: 2,8,17,18,20

Favorites: 1,4,8,17

–Hunter Gatherer

CKW Trio “The Is” [Black Hat]

Thurston Hunger   1/22/2005   A Library, CD, Format, Jazz

There’s a lot of doors into this fine release from this local
trio (and once and future veterans of KFJC’s pit). #4 offers
an acid-folk tablet of tabla, flute and bouzouki, as welcome
as it is unique on this CD. “Mondrian en Amerique” has more
complicated lines and colors than its title’s inspiration,
it’s kinda of Clusone-y in its sawing cello and giddy spurts
and stalls. On “4+#11m6m7” (known as track 7 to its friends)
a bassoon goes hunting in a forest of trinkling percussion,
bowed cello grows like shadows on the trees. “R’izhii” is a
hobo’s waltz with dixie DT’s and Klezmer shakes. “Augmented”
was my fave, very fluid, high register intertwined sax and
cello. “Iram” pumps a spastic, avant funk nicely. On #8 Alex
Kelly’s slithery cello (sounding like some analog electronics
oscillating wondrously) connects a more fiery beginning to
passages with chinese gong and sweeter pondering’s from band
and label leader, Michael Cooke. While Cooke is the obvious
sonic focal point, Kelly’s wildcard nature is what I think
elevates this band. The letter W and assorted batterie are
provided by Andrew Wilshusen, his talent is as an empath
between the other two gents. I could see him adding touches
of electronics to the mix as well. This ain’t “Was” jazz,
enjoy the evolving “Is.”

Lazzara, Marina – “Wind on the Firecracker of the Building Next Door, the songs” – [Pax Recordings]

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

San Francisco musician and poet (she’s even credentialed with a Master’s degree in Poetics) Marina Lazzara puts out a nice debut. It’s just her voice and guitar, laid down in one day on 4-track by Ernesto Diaz-Infante. It ranges from jangly to fuzzy and pissed off, with underlying break-up and bad-world-events part of her thematic inspiration. Some songs were composed before the recording session, whereas others were improvised, although you’d be hard-pressed to figure out which is which. Very nice emotional release.
-Cynthia Lombard

Maher Shalal Hash Baz – “Faux Depart”- [Yik Yak}

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

Maher Shal Hash Baz is Hebrew for “the spoil speeds, the prey hastens” and is also Biblical–Isaiah’s son has the name. The band, however, is Japanese and are “legends” of the underground, led by Tori Kudo. The majority of the album was recorded at Dub Narcotic and you can detect the Olympia, Washington DIY influences. The sax, clarinet, trumpet and bassoon give it a high school marching band vibe, but it’s wackier. There are also some punctuations by what sounds like exotic birds and indeed nature themes are also reflected in song titles like “Sea & Seagulls,” “A Wind,” etc. Dub Narcotic meets chamber music on acid.
-Cynthia Lombard

White, Simon – “S/T” – [Sincere Recordings]

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

Globetrotting (born in Hawaii, lived in London and NYC and now LA) spawn of a folk singing mom; with perhaps some dreams of stardom in acting, photography and/or music–Simone White’s 2003 release is spare, featuring her vocals and guitar along with guests on organ, piano, drums (including a Luna guy and John Zorn associate Sim Cain on drums). This is very SUNNY and pleasant, like the visions of L.A. by a new arrival like Simone White.

-Cynthia Lombard

Newsom, Joanna – “Yarn and Glue” – [Self-released]

ophelia necro   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

This is the 2nd E.P. (2003) from the Gelfling-esque (obscure Dark Crystal reference), Gunny-Sax wearing, harp-playing angel that is Joanna Newsom. 5 songs of Miss Newsom doing what she does best , singing in her peculiar voice while playing the harp. Tracks 1, 2 & 5 are also on her full length album (the Milk-Eyed Mender.) A lot of people find her voice hard to take, but I find it pleasantly childlike. I also find the combination of her unique voice with the soothing quality of the harp to be beautifully unnerving. I mostly admire her song writing talents. Listen carefully, her words speak volumes. Miss Newsom lives in S.F. and is apparently second cousin of politician Gavin Newsom. She recently played shows with Devendra Banhart and Cat Power. It might be an acquired taste for some, but I find it all delicious. Try track 4 to start…

 

Drums and Tuba – “Flying Ballerina, the ” – [My Pal God Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

According to “official web info” there was a bit of a flood at the D&T warehouse so a lot of CDs had to be reprinted. Good thing, cuz this is some really fine stuff from the Austin-moved-to-New York trio. There are all sorts of things on this CD from danceable modern rock-jazz-rhythms to ethereal bloots and humms from Brian Wolff’s electro-tuba. Crazy guitars, reeds, percussion, trumpet, whistles and duct tape all add to the strangeness from this trio. Eclectic would be the word for it, yes, that’s it! *review by David Richoux

Lang, Peter – “Thing at the Nursury School… ” – [Takoma Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Nothing but solo 6 and 12 string guitar here – no vocals, no drums, no nothin’ but that does not mean this is a lightweight recording. The tunes seem to be improvised to a point but there is a lot of thought behind the improv. This was actually recorded back in 1972. Lang is a friend of John Fahey and the recording was produced by Kerry Fahey (could not find out the relationship, if any) coming out of the late 60’s folk/blues/jazz thang. Some of the longer tracks seem to drift off into another world, but I think you will like the trip… *review by David Richoux

Brave Combo – “Let’s Kiss ” – [Dentone (Brave Combo)]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

25 years for Brave Combo! Wow. This is all new stuff from the co inventors of Punk Polka, a fine fun mix of edgy polkas, twisted Tex-Mex waltzes and two versions of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’ For you beer & sausage fans, an Oktoberfest polka – not “Fill The Stein” from ‘The Simpsons? episode Brave Combo did (but their version of the Simpsons Theme that closed the episode is here and it is great!) Lots of original songs and lyrics in a variety of danceable genre. Not as outrageous as Polkacide (the other co inventors of Punk Polka) but they won’t ever be confused with Frankie Yankovich… *review by David Richoux

Pocket Orchestra – “Imom Bilde ” – [None (It’s a Cart!)]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library

We got this from Craig Bork This was recorded in a mobile studio, school bus converted, backed up to a garage in San Bruno. It was recorded sometime in 1980. Although the band had been together for 10 years it was recorded towards the end of its existence, although they played together in different forms for years after that. Tim Parr passed away around 1985, Tim Lyons died a few years ago.
Very fluid, cartoony, Zappa-esq, art-jazz-rock with lots of fun tricks going on. All instrumental. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Pocket Orchestra – “Pocket Orchestra ” – [Self Produced]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We got this CDR from Craig Bork (we have had “Imon Bilde” on cart for eons, he saw it listed on a KFJC playlist and sent all of what he had.) This was recorded in a mobile studio, school bus converted, backed up to a garage in San Bruno. It was recorded sometime in 1980. Although the band had been together for 10 years it was recorded towards the end of its existence, although they played together in different forms for years after that. Tim Parr passed away around 1985, Tim Lyons died a few years ago.
Very fluid, cartoony, Zappa-esq, art-jazz-rock with lots of fun tricks going on. All instrumental. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Pocket Orchestra – “Knebnagauge ” – [Self Produced]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We got this CDR from Craig Bork (we have had “Imon Bilde” on cart for eons, he saw it listed on a KFJC playlist and sent all of what he had.) Knebnagauge was the previous name for Pocket Orchestra (and is pronounced Neeb-Nah-Gawgh) This was recorded in a mobile studio, school bus converted, backed up to a garage in San Bruno. It was recorded sometime before 1980. Tim Parr passed away around 1985, Tim Lyons died a few years ago.
Very fluid, cartoony, Zappa-esq, art-jazz-rock with lots of fun tricks going on. All instrumental *review by Studebaker Hawk

Dolomites – “Lovely Day for a Hogshead Of.. ” – [Walking Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Pirates and Drunken Punk Irishmen are alive in the hills of Portland Oregon! This band of reclusive weirdoes have been stomping around the stranger bars and clubs in the Pacific Northwest for a few years (but there is very little known about them – even the best local Elvis impersonator stood in awe as they performed at a recent Oktoberfest). They look like a fine bunch of geeks but they sound much like the Pogues in top form. Cap’t Jack will love them dearly and I think many other DJs will hoist a glass to their rather unique take on an ancient musical art form!
Clean lyrics as far as my ear (and the lyric sheet) can tell – but the vocals are so rough sounding it would be hard to tell…
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Tiger Lillies, the – “Circus Songs ” – [Misery Guts Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Imagine if Tom Waits and Dame Edna somehow had a love child and he grew up to be a Contra Tenor (male soprano) singer and accordion player – well, this is what it might sound like…
Euro/Brit singer-songwriter Martyn Jaeques and two Adrians form the Tiger Lillies and they have been turning out a huge library of CDs in the last few years that have been almost totally ignored in the USA. This particular release takes us to a Circus that is more twisted and ugly than most Big Tops and Freak Shows, but there is somehow a sad respect for the mutants that run the show. There are a few obvious choices for over-the-top cover songs: Send In The Clowns, in particular but mostly these are originals. Track 3 has the only bad language, but this is very strong stuff in general – a very dark, dramatic and strange recording. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Primetime Sublime Community or – “A Life in a Day of a Micro… ” – [Corporate Blob Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

East coast project combining real and synthi musicians, cut-ups and complex editing for a lot of funny stuff. There are a lot of references to modern classical composition but more silly than most.
The long production ‘A Life in a Day of A Microorganism? is a take on those 1950’s elementary school science films that soon goes horribly wrong. Even broken into 3 parts it is a bit too long (and there are a few lame ‘Gay Jokes?) but it might fit somewhere in your show. The shorter tracks are outstanding and well worth a spin. There are some ‘self-promotion? sort of announcements but not overdone… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Skerik – “Left for Dead in Seattle ” – [Critters Buggin]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Every Track is Different! These are recordings done over the last 10 years with various combinations of musicians. They were ‘left for dead? on the shelf because Skerik was too busy doing other things to finish them, but he finally did it. This is not at all like Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet – not much ‘jazz? here at all.
Track 1: just a low voice intro.
Track 2: sort of a Tower of Power/JB Horns Groove thang. Shake it!
Track 3: goofy Vocorder + Parlament-Funkadelic feel – very fine!
Track 4: vocal + sax jazzy thing that has more than a touch of Zappa.
Track 5: rapping drum (real and machine) & bass low ride – clean vocals.
Track 6: violin feature over various vibes and marimbas
Track 7: Psycho-Klez with Idiot Flesh like craziness vocals – scary stuff but fun.
Track 8: the feel of track 7 continues instrumentally into the desert…
Track 9: Goof-Rap version of this Xmas classic – not just for December!
Track 10: continues the Santa thing into Hell- lots of guitars.
Track 11: Bonus track with string orchestral effects – very minimal.
All are interesting and worth a spin!!! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Walls of Genius – “Before … and After ” – [Self Release]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Walls of Genius were not the first to use a mix of goofy instruments, samples, vocals/spoken word and noisemakers in a post-punk/new wave experimental weirdo band but they were certainly among the early ‘well known? perpetrators of this kind of quirky SubGenious music that has since become a staple of KFJC’s library. This is a CD reissue of a 1984 cassette release, part of a series of about 30 tapes made between 1982 and 1986. Little Fyodor is still touring around the country, performing for secret societies in strange little clubs. He pronounces his name as: “fee-ay-dor” ‘Spazz Music of Macho Irony? is what the Rev. Stang calls it. More at letterstodanfogelberg.50megs.com/ and littlefyodor.com MANY FUCKS on Track 10 otherwise clean *review by Studebaker Hawk

Connah, Graham – “Because of Wayne/The Only Song ” – [Evander Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

This 3 CD 2 Group set from Graham Connah is quite something! Part jazz, part rock, part Zappaesque weirdness with interesting combinations of wind, string and electronic instruments, some clever vocals and a wacky, playful quality that will have you trying to dance along to the odd time signatures and jolly funky squonks. Disc One (Because of Wayne) were recorded live at Bruno’s in 98/99 as “Sour Note Seven” and the other 2 discs are 2000 studio sessions as “Jettison Slinky” with many line-up changes but there is a conceptual continuity throughout. Mighty Fine! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Donner Party, the – “Complete Recordings 1987-1989 ” – [Innerstate Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We have the first two LPs collected on this CD, but Disc 2 has previously unreleased material. Donner Party crossed a lot of styles, from Byrds/Dylanish 12 string jangle-hippie folk rock to cow-punk to sort of They Might Be Giants to thrashing junk kore with serious lyrics. There are some happy little songs about death and what happens to your guts when you die and other sweet things, but mostly I would call this just really good late 80s SF Rock. too bad there is not a lyric sheet in this – there is some fine writing…
Don’t miss the 2nd CD Bad words noted on Disc 2 track One (Please Don’t Listen) *review by Studebaker Hawk

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