Music Reviews

Eau Claire – “Eau Claire Ep, the” – [Clairecords]

lombard   9/14/2005   A Library, CD

Released in May 2005 this is an ethereal EP featuring Jessica Bailiff and Rachel Staggs. Bailiff lives in Toledo and released her first album in 1998. Staggs lives in Austin, Texas and was in Austin bands Swells and Experimental Aircraft. Recorded and produced by Low’s Alan Sparhawk (an old friend of Bailiff’s), Eau Claire’s EP is misty, spacy, and fuzzy with buried female vocals. It’s reminiscent of shoe gaze, space rock, with nods to bands like My Bloody Valentine and the mellow side of Lush. Nice beauty. (added 9-14-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Fog “10th Avenue Freakout” [Lex]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

Fog is Minneapolis, MN native Andrew Broder, and this is his 4th release and 1st one on Lex. Previously he was with Ninja Tune.

I really like the packaging for this CD. It contains step-by-step illustrations showing hunter gatherers killing a mammoth, and there are drawings of different types of spears on the back. I also like the integral symbols that break up the lyrics. Very cool.

Mr. Broder is a strange hybrid turntablist/singer-songwriter/sound-collagist and he lets it all hang out on this CD. The music is a great mixture of natural instruments, samples, and found sounds. I am less fond of the lyrics and vocals, which appear to always be hiding behind something, whether it’s obscure imagery (I’d puncture the lucky planet/And suck out all the magma) or a deliberately flat delivery. By the second song he’s name checking Jesus, the President, and American Idol. He could benefit from some editing.

The music is along the lines of The Books or maybe the Paul Brill we added earlier this year. Martin Dosh helps out on percussion and brightens up the tracks that he’s on. A Murder (track 12) and The Rabbit (track 4) are the strongest tracks in my opinion.

Language: track 6 ‘shitty?

–Hunter Gatherer

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore “Geisterfaust” [Wonder Records]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

This is Cologne, Germany-based Bohren & Der Club Of Gore‘s 4th studio album, though they have been playing together since 1988. It was released in 2005. The album title translates as Spirit Hand, and each of the five songs are named after a finger.

Think of silence as an instrument and you are a long way to understanding what this music sounds like. It takes a whole band to play the “slience.” It is spare. It is slo-o-o-w. Like when Bugs Bunny is being chased by Elmer Fudd after they both accidentally get dosed with ether.

It’s bass-heavy with an 8-string bass, contrabass, tubas (plural), and bass trombone. Some people refer to the music as ‘horror jazz? whatever the hell that means.

It’s also very beautiful – light and heavy at the same time. I found it hard to listen to all the way through, apparently because my mind lacks the necessary stillness to follow one of the songs through to the end.

–Hunter Gatherer

Susumu Yokota “Symbol” [Lo Recordings]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

Susumu Yokota is in ambient, electronica mode more than house mode in this 4/2005 release called Symbol, his 25th.

In this vibrant and beautiful album, he is creating electronic music and using the entire field of classical music as a sort of music whole cloth to cut from and stitch into his compositions. Sometimes the themes are buried in the music; other times it is holding the piece together.

‘I’m sure I missed at least half of the themes, but I was able to pick out Saint Saens, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy. This filled me with anxiety because it reminded me of a music appreciation class that was my first ‘B? in college. Stupid, damn electives.

The beautiful female voice heard on some tracks in Meredith Monk. I had to find this out on the web. It wasn’t on the CD packaging.

This is the kind of music that you put on in the background, and when the CD has ended you’ve forgotten what you were doing and you’re sitting down transfixed.
–Hunter Gatherer

Xu Xu Fang – “L.A. During the Winter of ’99 ” – [Cowboy’s Small Sound Ranc]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Rainy radio drama with old time and a main
character named Boone…seconds on Minutemen?
Rumours of some sort of Mike Watt-age here,
so who knows? This is a mysterious package,
like a pair of high heels with blood on their
spikes….and ticking like a bomb. Occasional
road-house rock riffage, and a definite
Chinatown vibe, the project is pronounced
“Shu Shu Fang” if you trust the Tom Arnold
impersonator who appears on here. Fuckin’
ay, KFJC needs to knock out some projects
like this. Gumshoes with gumption.

Cutler, Chris/Dimuzio, Thomas – “Quake ” – [Rer Megacorp]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Two back-to-back stops from their ’99 tour.
Tectonic textured sonics that track. Dimuzio,
a frequent frier on Radio Free Hatred here at
KFJC has always has a nice touch of giving
power electronics a more open, *organic* feel.
Adding Cutler’s perculiar percussion and
recording these live w/ occasional ambient
sounds drifting in, underscores that organic
feel. Don’t fret, there’s still plenty of
electronic netherworld flavor…but it’s the
human melded with the inhuman that elevates
this. -Al Loy

Yoshihide, Otomo/Ostertag, Bob – “Twins ” – [Creativeman Disc]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

1996 musical meiosis from Otomo and Ostertag.
Three originals from Herb Robertson (#1 super
squiggly plunger trumpet), Chris Cutler (#3 a
great flanged percussion meets shortwave piece)
and Yagi Michiyo (17-string blues koto style).
Ostertag’s style is sampler as mutater, heavily
processed layers create momentum-mounting
monoliths. Original input is more disguised or
destroyed. Check #8 – a trumpet train tunnel to
2001.Meanwhile Otomo is more juxtaposer-composer
outside samples (TV, movies) are added. Like
his outstanding Ground Zero work (“Null & Void”),
the results can be humorous. #2 and #6 kick out
some martial sampling arts.
-Thurston Hunger’s Evil Twin

An Ear for a Leg [coll] – [Heartpunch]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Doug Henderson + Guy Yarden rescue some music from
the shadows of forget, okay some of it’s theirs
but 5 other composers are included on this 2-CD set
of pieces for terpsichore. River Dance this is NOT,
mercifully…the 1st CD leans towards slow-motion,
though-dance while the 2nd adds momentum via a
little more propulsive percussion power. Definitely
in post-music territory, imagine dances moving
through multiple gravity. Steps of determination
and even twisting torment at times. Zeena Parkins
is the biggest name, w/ her family and Mark Stewart
she delivers some of the more abrasive/interesting
pieces. (Plus zOar is Elliot Sharp’s label) From
Gamelan junkyard clang to hive morse code to icy
techno embryos to guitar cathedral sweeps to alien
siren whoosh. Trip the sound fantastic.

Sonic Youth (And Friends) – “Goodbye 20TH Century ” – [Syr]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Sonic Youth’s “farewell” will likely be an
introduction for many to modern classical.
I’d almost call this “free classical”, it’s
a far cry from their beginnings in Branca’s
guitar orchestras. Still guitars are a main
focus, bucking, howling, feedbuzzing…like
a break in a SY song expanded and exploded
to life. Aided by other musicians, notably
William Winant (tune/timeful percussion)and
Jim O’Rourke (violin, electronics,?’?) even
joined at times by the composers. It’s hard
to judge these without seeing/knowing the
scores…as classical notation goes out the
window, so goes classical music. I follow.
Coco covers Yoko is a scream/joke and the
Maciunas too is funny *and* compelling as
crucifying a piano w/ hammers should be.
Marclay’s only on one cut,tho’ someone does
a good Christian turn during the 30min Cage
rendition. I hope for a follow-up covering
Ligeti, Part, Gorecki, Riley & Gubaidulina.
‘No/Know the Score?

Wisteria Losenge – “My Life the Chinese Box ” – [Diskatopia]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Macabre cabaret, gothadelic. Twisted/filtered
vox which adopts various characters (I sure
would be interested to see costume changes
accompany the singing changes). Squishy
keyboards, playful industrial style. Maniacal
music boxes rewired. Add in lonely pianos on
deserted oceanliners. The odd histrionic
singing is what will make/break this album
for you. Yodeling ghosts in too much make-up?
Eraserhead covers of Erasure tunes? Jeff
Konrad (former MD for WAUG) aids and abets
but this I think is mostly Eric Honse-sense!

Uberhund – “Inexpensively Embalmed ” – [Cream Cloud]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Guitar guided noise pop. Loose ringing strings,
open tunings (like Polvo or old Sonic Youth)
and whammy bar kings. Male vocals with that
cool physics grad student sneer (you know
sort of an honorary doctor-ed Lou Reed). I’m
dammning this with faint praise but honestly
this rocked my jaded world. Very catchy, those
guitars keep coming at you. Branca busters!
As an album/ep the sound is a little samey,
(or should I say it is consistently good?’)
Last track is a monolithic mantra. Local
label and I believe local band.
This dog will hunt….and rawk.

Belgum, Erik – “Blodder ” – [Innova/American Composers]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Bad marriage mantra counselor Belgum moves on
to some car collision koans and inconvenient
store specials on alley three. Jump-cut
eavesdropping produces non-linear narrations.
Thoughts are blindsided at the intersection
or words, mouths and ears. Overlapping voices
recurring phrases and odd juxtapositions of
voices/concepts really do force you to listen
in a very different manner. Underneath it all
missing testicles, cars driven by dead cops,
and methane suburbs assure the topics are as
peculiar as the manner they are discussed.
Broken Word -Thunger Hurston

Blast – “A Sophisticated Face ” – [Cuneiform Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

European electric cerebral prog-jazz
contrast this to the Flying Lute’s
who commit crazed crimes of passion,
Blast perpetuates meticulous musical
mischief. Hard to apprehend w/ quick
changing time signature disguises,
suspenseful drumming & the precision
of an assasin. Chamber accomplices
(violin and cello) add to this maze
of masterminded mayhem. Angular and
aggressive, but ultimately quite/too

Tlon Uqbar – “La Bola Perdida ” – [Staalplaat]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Future ancient music being issued
right now, at the center of the
paradox, a stillpoint that is
actually vibrating like the tibetan
bell at the center of the universe.
Synth shadows lurk, samples to
remind us of the world we’ve come
from. But that place has vanished
instead we’re surrounded by a sonic
sense of darkness. But no fear here.
A good trip. Borges is your guide.

Abunai! – “Mystic River Sound, the ” – [Camera Obscura]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

I must confess, at first I imagined this as
a Gordon Lightfoot tribute album. Done with
a psych palette of fuzzy guitar colors and
effects. The mystic river I guess is akin
to the sort of sea shanties I associate by
the sea shore with Gordo. Nope, it’s a mock
compilation with Abunai trying on band
names like Sybil tried on personalities,
though with less variety. Abunai! sets sail
from Boston with a crooning chorus crew,
viking-oar strong bass lines & shipwrecked
guitar squalls. Chase the great white pop.
-Call me Fishmeal…….

Ghost Orchid, the – “Ghost Orchid, the ” – [Ash International]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

You’ve got to suspend a lot of
doubt to get into this…but it’s
still kind of fun. The use of
special argot for Electronic Voice
Phenomena, gives this the feel of
a really good old sci-fi film. Is
EVP a hoax, or perhaps a ruse, or
maybe just maybe the first known
instances of backward masking.
Lots of commentary between examples
…hopefully our signal will vary
enough so that someone else can
pick KFJC up accidentally & answer
their mysterious questions.
Ouija board op!

Panicsmile – “We Cannot Tell You Truth,Again ” – [God Mountain]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Martial punk arts? I think this is
yet another arm of Tatsuya Yoshida.
He’s got to have more than just two…
Short sharp blasts of explosive guitar
and precision percussion. And vocals
that don’t suck…I sure wish I knew
what they were scream-singing. Too
precise for punk, too many weird jazz
chords for metal…too short for prog.
“Anderson 31” is the only extended
piece (a Molecular tribute to Ron?’)
Money back guarantee on this

Oneida – “Enemy Hogs ” – [Turnbuckle Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Really fine frenzy rock with psyche
flavorings…out of New Yawk…
raucous rollus…keyboard charm…
Fits in with all those high-energy
bands…the sneer of the Lynnfield
Pioneers, occasional Make-Up pouting
and at best Irving Klaw Kraziness.
Infectious, driving, testosterone
choruses, fuzzy. Turn It Up (Loud)
done with a boys school in tote.
These are the real Americans.

Carney, Ralph – “I Like You (A Lot) ” – [Birdman]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Anachronistic Akronian issues more
anarchy in this his second solo. Picture
a big kid with all of his toys out of the
toy chest, on the floor, and a four-track
capturing it all. Penny-whistles, nickel-
plated bells, dime-store autoharps and a
priceless sense of humour. Tibetan bells,
horns and drum machines…all sorts of
ouds and ends. He’s a throwback to the
future. A rich and diverse menu, unlike
the fine Ralph Sounds here the tracks
are less snacks, and more meals. Order
anything…have seconds and thirds…
you’ll like it…a lot. -Pee Wee Hunger

Growden, Mark – “Downstairs Karaoke ” – [Wiggle Biscuit Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/4/2005   A Library, CD

Remember the kid who always had incredible
Halloween costumes. That kid grew up to
be Mark Growden. Lots of costumes here:
court jester, Ted Nugent fan, Tom Waits’
body double (built from junk-yard parts
just like the original), lonely yodeling
prophet in the wilderness, Nick Drake
singing about toast. It’s so cool to hear
an artist using such a large palette and
two persimmons to boot. The album starts
out frolicsome, but mounts in power with
a penultimate Frippertronic folk mantra
and a towering last track that literally
leaves us breathless. A masterpiece of
tricky treats.

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