KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Volga Select “The Unconditional Discipline of the Bastard Prince” [Output Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Parisian pair Ivan Smagghe and Marc Collin hook up for this
2003 top notch tour de fanny. Heavy thudliness reclaims the
dance floor, the bottom line is the bottom end. You can set
your oil derrick to the pound of the title track; discipline
indeed the beat never strays, never breaks. There’s a nice
fuzzy morse code squiggle rhythm on top as well, it closes
out the piece too. Additional bubbles of analoguery get
dropped in here and there, Things really lock in step with
“Sister Poverty.” Superfat synth oozes on top of jackbooty
basslines, with those searchlight pitchwheelin’ and dealin’
keys whirping in on top. Drum-machine gets in some solid
face slapping as well. But it’s the gladiator chords that
give “Sister” her blister. The EP closes with “Joie de
Vivre #1” which feels more like foreplay than aftermath,
a little more motorized movement to this piece (instead of
the megathick marching on the first two). Slippery servo
snippets and a sort moebius soundstrip make this piece
less dancey, but dodgey…in a good, evasive way.

Tarantula – “S/T ” – [Self-Released]

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Tarantula is a young-ish 4-piece band from New York. They cite influences from both classical and the rock world and are comprised of cello, violin, guitar/bass, drums/percussion, glockenspiel, and melodica. This release has an upbeat, European gypsy-music/chamber rock feel to it, especially with the prominent strings. It’s all instrumental music that the band describes as “melancholic melody.”

-Cynthia Lombard

Roberts, Alasdair- “No Earthly Man”- [Drag City](CD)

lombard   3/29/2005   A Library, CD

Scottish folk-inspired musician Alasdair Roberts initially caught the attention of Will Oldham when he was in Appendix Out. Even back then he acknowleged folk inspirations, including Vashdi Bunyan, who he covered on one album. This release explores even older Irish, Scottish & English traditional songs. The lyrics are intense on these ballads about poisoning, fratricide, shipwrecks, infanticide and lost love. “A Lyke Wake Dirge” is a charm song, traditionally sung while viewing a dead body. Voice-with strongly accented vocals-is prominent. A beautiful, mesmerizing release.

-Cynthia Lombard

Cluck, Diane “Oh Vanille / Ova Nil” [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Even without a few heartfelt harmonies dubbed in, and the
gracefully guided crack of her voice, the words alone cut
right past the ear to the heart. “And you fade from me like
you know I’m dying.” Ouch. But really you’ve got to hear her
vocalize that sentiment, it winds up catching the body
language of hurt, all in an ornate loneliness despite being
surrounded by a 1000 midwives. Is it a paean to a child lost
during childbirth?’ Listen to “Bones and Born Again” and tell
me. The recipe here is simple enough an acoustic guitar (oft
a 12 string rattler!) and some songs in a shaky voice, I
guess you’ll want to hear her soon. Shaky…but unswerving.
And that weird (New England?) clip to her voice, like a lost
Roche sister? Enunciation of renunciation? Arrow of my
sparrow? These songs take flight, like the woman singing
pretty sad songs strung on a clothes line. Stringing songs
along. They can dry out their tears and catch the scent of
her breeziness. Coaxed, comforted. An essential album for
those with souls cracked but intact.

Boom Bip — ?Blue Eyed In The Red Room? — [Lex]

Hunter Gatherer   3/21/2005   A Library, CD

Boom Bip is Cincinnati native and producer/musician/smartypants Bryan Hollon. This is his second full-length solo album, released in March 2005. (He has also released a collaboration with Dose One which we have in Hip hop/CD and a remix album called Corymb (A/CD).)

The music on this album is clean, beautiful, cerebral, and airy (on most tracks at least) electronic music. Above all it is cerebral. You could actually hum along with some of the songs. Live instruments appear (guitar, drum, autoharp, strings), though usually highly processed.

Two of the stand out tracks feature vocals. Do’s And Don’ts starts with a mantra of thou shall not believe/thou shall not be led and launches into a litany of choices one has to make. By the end of the song, the mantra and the litany are buddies. Vocals by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.

Another stand out track is The Matter (Or Our Discussion) with ethereal and beautiful vocals Nina Nastasia that contrast with the blunt 5a.m. truths of the lyrics. The song should make sense to anyone who has ever fallen out of love.
–Hunter Gatherer

Enslaved – “Isa” – [Back On Black]

Tyke   3/17/2005   A Library

It must be something to do with the climate. What else
could you blame for so much great Black/Death Metal
coming from the Nordic climes, whose total population
could probably fit into one of the smaller LA suburbs ?
And Enslaved keep the winning streak going with this
exceptional release. This Norwegian 5-piece (yes, they
add the subtlety of keyboards to the usual guitar/bass/
drums line-up) is one of the finest exponents of the
genre, and they bring a wide range of colours and
textures to bear here, with the high-point being the
closing 12+ minute epic ‘Reogenesis? with Arve Isdal’s
lead guitar playing simply scintillating. Death never
tasted so sweet !

Terry Tyke

Nmperign – “We Devote Every Effort To Offer You The Best That You Deserve To Have For Your Enjoyment” – [Siwa]

Tyke   3/17/2005   A Library

As Nmperign, Bhob Rainey and Greg Kelley perform some
ridiculous sonic atrocities on their trumpet and soprano
saxophone. The kinds of things they do should probably
be illegal, but thankfully they aren’t – they’re just absolutely
off the wall. The first of this 2 LP set is so quiet and subtle
overall, you’d swear somebody’s given you a blank record
by mistake. But, what you really get is an incredible display
of control and invention, with sounds ranging from lengthy
tones to burbling trills and barely audible breath bursts –
don’t be shy with your levels for this ! The second LP, while
you could never accuse it of being loud, requires a lot less
attention to detail from we the listeners, but still continues
where the first LP left off, with Rhainey and Kelly still
abusing their instruments in the most attractive way
possible.

Terry Tyke

Santos, Rusty – “Heavens, the ” – [U United Acoustic Rec]

lombard   3/15/2005   A Library, CD

Musician and producer Rusty Santos brings us a pleasant pop-rock album. He’s got emotional, straining vocals and at times spare acoustic guitar and plucking. There’s a nice simplicity to this that gets a bit fuzzier, feedbacky as the album progresses (especially on track 7 “It’s”).

-Cynthia Lombard

Bailiff, Jessica w/the.dithering.effect s/t [Resonant] (45 rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   10-inch, A Library

Drift and reverb drench the haunting vocals of Bailiff while echoes of spacecraft vapors fill the void. The label is well-named, waves of drone are the attendant feature on this release. A slower, hazier, Twisted Village version of Amber Asylum. Or maybe drop Kendra Smith’s vocals in on the Garbage and the Flowers (TW-Deep Funnels of Entry comp), add drone and strum, chill and serve. A very enchanting sound, not quite sirenesque, but of the earth and sky. Some sundown haze and fresh air on the ‘there’ side. Jessica Bailiff is the female half of Clear Horizon (with David Pearce of Flying Saucer Attack), no letup on this release.
3w: HER MAGIC CONTINUES
– Outlier

Messthetics #1 “UK 78-81 DIY bands R to Si” [hyped2death]

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library, CD

Three chord punk and English power pop in roughly equal proportion. Leather jackets – Probably, but not the safety pin in the cheek stuff. Angry, jaded, anti-corporate, anti-government and definitely anti-Thatcher songs that brighten your world by telling you how depressingly awful their world is. But they don’t let their emotions get in the way of a good jolt of electric guitar and snotty vocals. Royston (3) and Seize (19) impress with some clever pop and bash respectively. Ripchords (27) and Reekie (29) are also of note. Nothing quite as enraged as Flux of Pink Indians or slick as Gang of Four but then not much is.
3w: buggered blokes bangup
– Outlier

Sun City Girls “Fresh Kill of a Cape Hunting Dog/ Def in Italy” [Eclipse]

outlier   3/12/2005   12-inch, A Library

1983-85 recordings that reinstall SCG as the grand shamen of anti-pop. 1st LP is a studio release with all the markings of SCG brilliance; a tale of cop corpse desecration, a stunning sound piece, snake-charmer guitar magic, cutup madness, mid-eastern weirdness, destroyed guitar blast and recoil…’I Told You So’ and ‘Nile Hilton Burning’ are destined KFJC classics. 2nd LP is live recordings of 1984 tour including an SF show. If I was Byron Coley I would drop in something about a cherry enema right about here.
3w: DON’T FUCK WITH
– Outlier

Valentine, Matt & Erika Elder “Ragas & Blues” [Idea] LP (33rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Valentine brings his anachronistic acoustic sound to the east, soaring in the winds of Erika Elder. Sundown haze, third-eye bliss…plenty of fresh air. Not as old school folk as Valentine’s recent solo release, this takes you on a subtle carpet ride over regions of underexplored sound. Music travelers journey to the exotic and enchanting mysticism of shambhalan cosmic harmony. Take a trip and never leave your living room !
3w: Hypnotic Healing Harmony
– Outlier

Gang Gang Dance “Revival of the Shittest’ [Social Registry] LP (33 rpm)

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

More structured, shorter pieces than the musical melange of their previous release. GGD explore possibilities of ultra-drum percussion using rhythmic techniques in melodic instrument spaces. Variety of approaches to the purpose of percussive pursuits; Quaalude electro-clash, tribal sample mix, vocal musings with a residents-type march, niobe-like beats, vocals over two-note piano steps with echo-noise-beats mix, fake symphony synth and an electronics soundscape. All pieces have a distinctive signature sound that GGD have claimed as their own.
3w: Snap CRACKle POP
– Outlier

Invisible Cities s/t [Drimala]

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library, CD

Trombone and clarinet improv interplay that sounds like bird communications. Duo of Steve Swell-trb and Perry Robinson-cl. Musical wandering phrases that alternate and interlace to create swells of lyrical runs that carry the listener to a nature space. First half stays in the pure improv space, last half uses more motifs and set timing to move the pieces. Trombone and clarinet have a playful sound that mimics a conversation in music. Admirably avoids the dixie deathtrap of which trombone and clarinet are vulnerable.
3w: lyrical musical conversations
-Outlier

Rara Avis s/t [Generate Records] CD

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Consonant, flowing improv of tenor sax-electric piano-drums that never gets out of control. Anchored by chords and breathing patterns, this improv effort has a ‘jazz fantasy’ composition feel. Tenor phrases lead the way thru dense piano chords with drums extending the interplay once a chord is traveled. Space is colored by mutating sax phrases and ‘in key’ piano accents that give each piece a sustained tonal and timing character. Though collectively an outside sound setting, interaction seeks the inside sound, interlocking each instrument with complementary expressions. Complex rhythms that seem to suspend in space give a pleasant updrift to the wind and chime of tenor sax and electric piano.
3w: consonant flowing improv
-Outlier

Drekka “Extractioning” [Blue Sanct] CD

outlier   3/12/2005   A Library

Acoustic guitar with hum drone and landing spaceship textures, ranging from lo-fi strum to dreamy drift, vocals are mixed down giving a deep almost somnolent sound to the songs. A sound and timing between Sferic Experiment (NZ) and Clear Horizon (sorta 500mg) but spacier than all three. Structures blend into form and dissipate without concern for musicality. Very honest sound that gets its heavy feel from the layered harmonics from guitar and drone/reverb. Occasional organ add to the spacey NZ-like sound and they throw in Cat Power and Donovan covers as well as a hymnal piece.
3w: Dreamy Drone Drift

UNSANE “Occupational Hazard” [Relapse Records}

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

12 inches, 13 tracks of unpure, untainted, unsane sounds.

This record kicks much ass. The vinyl is 1 out of 1000. It is a much louder,
harsher, “quicker” (maybe even more mature) sounding release than their last
effort, Scattered, Smothered & Covered (out on Amphetamine Reptile, 1995).

The NYC trio is celebrating their ten-year anniversary with an unrelenting release
out on Relapse Records. Unsane consistently delivers the goods on every track; you
won’t be disappointed. Chris Spencer’s aggressive vocals are nearly indistinguishable,
but if you’re into Unsane, this to be expected. Don’t let the lack of hemoglobin on the
cover steer you wrong. If blood covered record covers were the litmus test for an
Unsane record, Unsane should have filled the Hudson river with blood for the photo
on this monster. Track 13 appropriately leaves you wanting more; abruptly ending
in a rising wall of noise. This record will punish you and your listeners, and everyone
will be happy about it. Driving sounds, crushingly inventive rhythms. Unsane.

Straphangers’ Art Ensemble “Straphangers’ Ball” [Artichoke/Rolling Records]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Real-time improvisational sounds inspired by the subways of NYC; there’s more go
ing on here than you can imagine. My best guess is that Straphangers refers to t
he people holding straps day in and out while mindlessly traveling around the bo
wels of NYC. Eight people on multiple instruments. All home tapers – ideally, th
is would be a cassette release. All headed in far out directions, everyone augme
nting one another despite themselves. This is a bizarre experience for anyone. R
antings, screaming, cacophonous insanity. Heavy use of panning effects in portions.
Echoes, free-form sounds, underlying drones, all blended together in a free-form
manner which could cause you to stop breathing. This was done in one take. Even
though there are tracks listed, the whole thing is one enormous beautiful nightmare.
Hardly a quiet moment to be found in 74 minutes of sonic pressure. Starting off with
the feel of a 300 year old American indian burial ceremony and leading on to
territories unknown. Pot in wherever you like, pot down when you realize that
you’re forgetting to breathe. Definite difficulties await you, are you up for the
challenge?

Puro Eskanol – “Rice and Beans – latin ska underground vol. 2” [Aztlan]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Part DOS of project by a couple of guys from San Francisco on the Aztlan label.
The focus of the album, just like Volume 1 is Latino based ska. Some songs are
in Spanish, others are in Engles. Pick and choose your favorites. Many of the
bands on the collection have been around for more than 10 years. The sounds range
from classic ska, to almost pure latin sounds done by ska bands such as the ”
Skaliente” track by Yeska. Tops are Let’s Go Bowling’s “Esta Noche”, Link 80’s quick
little “El Estupido”, and Hepcat’s instrumental “..Solo”. Don’t stop there though.
All are fine little numbers. Pickit up, pickit up, pickit up!

Resonance Vol. 6 Number 1 [Resonance Magazine]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Equation: choose an adventerous show on KFJC, eliminate all mic breaks, don’t segue
any of the track = this fantastic disc bundled with the Resonance sound magazine – published by the likes of the LMC (London Musicians Collective). Full of
variety and ear tingling sounds. There are experimental sounds here for everyone.
Spice it up. Track feelings are listed below.

1. Tumbling into a bottomless pit – silence for 2 min.- resume your fall.
2. Beautiful Harp and lost church bells
3. Simple drum solo – could track into 4 if you wanted
4. Additional drum solo
5. Quick eastern flavors – very appealing
6. Improv – air, walking bass, guitar, drums – fusion-esque
7. Free jazz sounds pieced together to create a monster. Examine.
8. Quiet, nearly lonely, sax figuring it out
9. Skronky
10. Broken sounds; glue missing; instructions smeared; frustrations
11. Extremely quiet leading to an over modulated psych meltdown

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