KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Mizmor – “Cairn” – [Gilead Media]

atavist   3/9/2020   A Library, CD

Here lies beauty to pierce your heart with a shard of ice. Here sprawls a desert of jagged cliffs weathering under the wind. Mizmor has demonstrated the ability to create cold atmospheres and skull-rattling, doomed textures on previous works. However, this recording presents a new level of craft and complexity. The end result is something to get lost in, and you may feel like you’ve gone somewhere by the end. Four tracks, ranging from roughly 10 to 20 minutes, and each its own self-contained epic. A colossal achievement.

Ozzuario – Desolation/Destruction – [Distort Discos]

rbanks   3/4/2020   A Library, CD

Hard drum machine bass beats start this album down the hard road towards godless annihilation. A Japanese style obi strip on the CD packaging from this two-headed Chicago outfit is mostly in Japanese aside from a forbidding yet apt collection of names: GISM, BATHORY, THROBBING GRISTLE, SISTERS OF MERCY.

C tightly programs a drum machine that blasts and booms, as well as providing tortured black metal vocals with occasional Sisters of Mercy style gothic flares. They are accompanied by a disciplined yet wildly fuzzy metallic guitar tone flowing from R, a seasoned hardcore guitarsmith. 

A triptych of intermissions (Interzonas 1, 2, 3) flexes the electronic capabilities of this unit. Traditional song structures help to force feed this very interesting mix of underground elements and influences down the throats of any unsuspecting audience. 

somesurprises – “voice memos” – [Happy Accidents]

mickeyslim   3/4/2020   A Library, Cassette

the stippled streetlight over a gravestone at 2:30am,

eating a fresh donut at the bustop
in the fog,

Reverb’s lovesong to Distortion,
a ghost’s songs buried deep
in the snow.

a psychedelic pop aesthetic that floats uncomfortably
above the madness.

solo release of seattle-based Natasha El-Sergany on vox/guitar/synth recorded onto a cell phone 2016

Tomb Mold – “Planetary Clairvoyance” – [20 Buck Spin]

atavist   3/4/2020   A Library, CD

Death metal from Toronto. Tomb Mold can deliver mind-hammering heaviness with highly technical aptitude. What keeps me enthralled is the proggy inventiveness applied to the medium. A proper base of brutality is cut through with creative twists on familiar riffs and tropes, often producing what some might call “grooves”.

Track 5 might be the most straight-ahead/conventional track on the album. Elsewhere, you’ll find twists and turns in each track. The first track starts out quietly before delving into the chasm, with a quieter acoustic guitar interlude in the middle. Early favorites: tracks 1, 2, 4, and 7. Track two induces involuntary head nodding with iron-clad riffing. There simply are no flaws in this dual guitar attack. Track 3 is one of those instrumental, atmospheric pieces found on death metal records these days to further the overall narrative. There are glitchy samples with a beautiful, forlorn guitar part playing underneath. If you must know, the lyrical themes and concept for the album cover artwork orbit around extra-terrestrial invasion, death serving as a portal to other dimensions (or perhaps additional, miserable lives), horrific death. Track 7 is a proper way to close out this album—the attack is sustained, unrelenting, the bass and guitars create interesting (dis)harmonies in the riff architectures, and there’s even a massive guitar solo if you’ve found that lacking in your life. Similarly, in a breakdown halfway through track 4, Tomb Mold exhibits the type of riff construction that simultaneously soars and crushes, writhing in that tension between destruction and transcendence.

Vicissitones – "Vicissitones" – [Self Release]

Cousin Mary   3/4/2020   A Library, CD

A fine four-piece surf band from Ann Arbor, Michigan gives us 8 tracks of rocking instrumentals. Good arrangements, original compositions, some leaning toward lo-fi punk. (By the way, vicissitude is defined as “a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant“.)

KUTI, FELA RANSOME & HIS KOOLA LOBITOS – “Highlife Jazz and Afro-Soul” – [Knitting Factory Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Fela’s first (pre-Afrobeat) band was the Koola Lobitos and this is 3 CDs full of their music. Before he went to England he was the vocalist for Victor Olaiya’s All Stars. He returned to Nigeria from Trinity College of Music in London to find Highlife being thrashed by pop music and he responded by creating a new style that you can hear on this album. It brings together Highlife and Jazz – African rhythms and elements of the Jazz he must have heard in London. This is truly the “roots” of Afrobeat. AArbor

DE TRIANA, CHININ – “Cante Jondo” – [Folkway Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Chinin De Triana (1927-2006) was the stage name of Vicente Garcia Valganon, a popular flamenco singer in Spain. On this 1963 recording on Folkways Records, De Triana is accompanied on guitar by Emilio Bonet. Flamenco music (usually associated with Andalusian gypsies) has strict and complex forms, with occasional improvisations in the lyrics. This is classic flamenco. AArbor

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk – “Electric Crate Digger” – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   12-inch, A Library

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk is Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker. They also release music as Hardfloor with more of an acid sound. Both have collaborated with numerous others. Released in the UK in April of 1999  Electric Crate Digger is their very first release as Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk. Driving rhythms, wah wah guitars, break beats, trip hop and an appealing dancey vibe. – AArbor  

Oil Thief – “Colony, The” – [Chondritic Sound]

whngr   2/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Sinister industrial sounds that utilize inexorable rhythms to pummel the listener in to subjugation before repeated dustings by complex layers of often mellifluous noise and abstractions are applied that sooth, divert, and console at which point the bludgeoning continues, beckoning us to the dance floor.

Electronic beats, squeals, formidable thumps, violin, static, synthesizer, drones, footsteps, foghorns, echoes, pulses, modulated voices, choral elements, organ, and a bit of anguished yells just towards the conclusion. Oil Thief is the solo project of Lee Landey, Bass player of the heavy psychedelic project Wand from Los Angeles (Excellent and represented in our Library). And… we’d like to welcome you to the party Doctor Dark-Industrial, may I introduce you to Lady Techno and her bastard son, Light-Noise. They’re going to guide you through a tour of your subconscious, casting a strobe light upon your nightmares and the deep-seeded neuroses of your battered inner-child but along the way you’ll meet a primal God-queen that will bless you with a wreath of profound beauty, pin you with the coveted Medal of Introspective Valour, and kiss your cheek with lips like a blooming rose. Released in 2019 in a gorgeous (double) jacket and limited to 300 copies, The Colony is a tightly woven dichotic tapestry. Statuesque and erudite, a beautifully constructed cloak of contrasting elements that are confrontational and heavy yet lovingly adorned with a sumptuous array of conciliatory sonic ornament by a thoughtful, adroit, and considerate architect.

Da-Sein – “Mirror Touch” – [Galakthorro]

lexi glass   2/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Da-Sein are the Madrid-based electronic duo of Fernando Paino and Kas Visions. Mirror Touch is their second release on Galakthorrö, the German industrial label run by Mr. and Mrs. Arafna, whose groups Haus Arafna and November Növelet (in our library, a personal favorite) define the label’s despairing, yet seductive sound. Da-sein continues in the Arafna aesthetic, with deviant dance rhythms and minimal analog synths providing the backdrop for Kas Visions’ cold, empty vocals. “Marazm” (A5) hovers with a lethargic beat, “Beauty for Ashes” (B1) has a driving pulse dusted with noise, the title track (B2) picks up on a dead dial tone melody and Kas’ distant voice arriving over a bad connection, while her voices is twisted and tattered on “King ov Pain” (B3). Her lyrics, in English and Polish, are included on the LP’s sleeve.

Shit and Shine – “Doing Drugs, Selling Drugs” – [Riot Season]

whngr   2/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Electronic Brain-melting Curb-stomp

Ponderous drums, squealing guitars, thundering bass, decaying riffs, binary disruption, affected vocal gripes, slightly buried guitar noodling, synthesizer, Musique concrète, dirge, aural sculpture. Heavily effected everything. Intensity of hardcore punk, complexity of jazz, both highly percussive and at times arrhythmic, psychedelic, unnerving, base, guttural defiling of nuance yet clever and informed. An excellent album for segueing between noise/industrial and sludge/power-violence. Shit and Shine is the London based project of Craig Clouse. Originally from Texas, which certainly explains some of the shit kicking qualities along with the cover art, t’was formed in 2004 and as of the time of this writing has released 13 full length recordings and several other splits, singles, and comps, has played on Brian Turner’s show on WFMU, has been awarded slot eighty-eight on NME’s The 100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard list, and is fairly heavily represented in our Library, one of them being the aforementioned prize winner, “Jealous of Shit and Shine” (Riot Season Records). Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

Electronic brain-melting curb-stomp.Heavy drums, squealing guitars, thundering bass, decaying riffs, binary disruption, affected vocal gripes, slightly buried guitar noodling, synthesizer, Musique concrète, dirge, aural sculpture. Heavily effected everything. Intensity of hardcore punk, complexity of jazz, both highly percussive and at times arrhythmic, psychedelic, unnerving, base, guttural defiling of nuance yet clever and informed. An excellent album for segueing between noise/industrial and sludge/power-violence. Shit and Shine is the London based project of Craig Clouse. Originally from Texas, which certainly explains some of the shit kicking qualities along with the cover art, t’was formed in 2004 and as of the time of this writing has released 13 full length recordings and several other splits, singles, and comps, has played on Brian Turner’s show on WFMU, and has been awarded slot eighty-eight on NME’s The 100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard list. Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

. Recommended for alienating daytime listeners and making jockeys heart skip beats when it sounds like the cd player siezed for perpetuity before they realize that it is one of only three-hundred LP’s and vinyl don’t skip like that son.

TAMBURO, MIKE – Way To Be Free, The – [Sounds Eternal Music]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Mike Tamburo is an independent musician, sound explorer, music educator, filmmaker, musical instrument builder, interdisciplinary sound artist, gong enthusiast, storyteller, writer, meditation teacher, installation artist, painter, who lives in Soquel, CA. He is a well known multi-instrumentalist and plays the hammered dulcimer, gong, shahi baaja, swarmandal, autoharp, the crowned eternal (an instrument he built out of a headboard), tuning forks, guitar, percussion, electronic instruments, bulbul tarang, bass gopichand, gulbulgar, singing bowls, bells and clarinet. He runs 2 small labels called: New American Folk Hero and Sounds Eternal. He teaches Kundalini yoga, Nāda yoga, sound therapy and Experimental Instrument Building. Early in his career he gained notoriety for his string playing (hammered dulcimer, guitar and shahi baaja). This release is 4 tracks: 1 short and 3 long. The short track includes a Mellotron. The tracks verge on trancey in an East Indian way but are enjoyable listening. AArbor

SHANTEL – Oh So Lovely/Remixes – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Shantel is German DJ/producer Stefan Hantel whose ancestry goes back to Bosia, Serbia and the Romanian part of Bukovina than is now part of the Ukraine. This explains his music which mixes gypsy brass orchestras, and traditional Balkan music with electronic beats. You’ve heard his music on the Electric Gypsyland compilations.   This release is from 1998, it is Eliza Doolittle’s song “All I Want is a Room Somewhere” as remixed by Serious Dropout, Shantel himself, and Mr. Scruff. AArbor

Icasiano, Christopher – “Provinces” [Origin Records]

Max Level   2/25/2020   A Library, CD

Drums and keyboards–everything played by Icasiano, a mainstay of the Seattle free music scene. There are two “suites” here and within each suite the pieces tend to track together. Several of the tracks have repeating–in some cases one could say relentless–drum patterns, augmented with simple keyboard/synth melodies, drones, and sounds. Field recordings pop up occasionally, some of them including voices. I really enjoyed Track 3, a jagged piece with free drumming alongside bursts of what seem to be backward sounds. The thing that I probably like most about this CD is that I don’t quite understand what’s going on and can only listen and wonder what will come next. Icasiano’s work occupies a section of the musical universe that you probably didn’t even know was there. I didn’t.

Noxagt – “Consulatet Kalendar 2020” – [Drid Machine Records]

atavist   2/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Noise rock. A little mathy, but mostly belligerent. For those familiar with Noxagt, you know they do mathy, noisy stuff. The recording on this flexidisc is notable for its lofi production. Blown out, pounding, incessant cymbals, dazed guitar, throbbing bass undercurrents. Trebly, hot blast furnace sound. The tri-fold scheme of the flexi disc seemed to resist the weight of my tonearm, so I used a razor blade to sever the flexi from its folder. An act of deliberate, surgical mutilation of the original seems to carry the theme of the audio forward (and make the disc functional). All instrumental, five and a half minutes. Give it a spin.

Ghostwriter & Paine, Michael – "Morrow" – [Time Released Sound]

humana   2/23/2020   A Library, CD

This is a collection of absolutely whimsical and delightful sounds from Ghostwriter (aka Mark Brend) and Michael Paine, every track of which leaves you with a distinct and nostalgic feeling. At any moment you may find yourself laughing or crying with the exquisiteness of the instrumentation, which uses celesta, dulcimer, found sounds, flute, marimbas, piano, synths, xylophone…So gentle and pretty and atmospheric. Just lovely. Listen and see for yourself.

Segura, Javier – "El Sol Desde Oriente (Selected & Unreleased Recordings 1980-" – [Passat Continu]

humana   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Nietzche and Huxley were early influences for Canary-Island-born Segura, and his intentionally off-the-beaten path musicianship reflects this. Eschewing the crass econony-driven music industry, Segura seeks to express his scripts with instruments. He uses guitar, Roland B3, percussion at times, and at other times ambient silences. On A2 and B3 you can hear the tribal beats that call to mind what it must be like to live in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Spain and Africa. Segura’s primarily unreleased tracks are an expression of this unique artist’s vision. Read the liner notes and experience Segura’s unique perspective.

Kanenobu, Sachinko – "Misora" – [In The Attic Reccords]

humana   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Folk music, Donovan, the Beatles, and Joni Mitchell all form the musical tapestry that makes up the fabric of Japan’s first female singer-songwriter. Sachiko learned to play the guitar in an informal way, and she composed her lovely music that same way. This is the American release of her one and only album that came out in 1972, right after she headed to the United States. People kept playing it in Japan, so that when she returned decades later to sing the songs live, the fans compared her to E.T. and could barely believe this “cool lady” was responsible for the music they knew and loved. Read the liner notes as you revel in this mellow beauty that has thankfully been restored to us from obscurity.

Fat Worm of Error – "Nzznzzzznnznznnn" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

2020 vinyl re-issue of their 2004 early-daze cassette. Though the Worm hails from Massachewzits, they share DNA, clothing and a sonic aesthetic with Caroliner. And add more than a dash of Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase. Noisey wonderment, circuit-jammed and jellied rolls of tape. Not only vocals on some tracks but lyrics printed on the sleeve, so you can crack the karaoke puzzles. Fleas and flies, and the squids are all right? In a better world than this one, these would all be recordings made by children’s toys, or maybe they are. “Tubes” has farty beauty, “Flea God reveals a weird insect kingdom underneath the floorboards of Pee Wee’s Playhouse. “Wolves” is nifty drifty until the jittery critters flitter your ticker. Some of the noise variety here reminds me of pulling a huge bandaid off. Quick little rips and tugs, hits of static, weird electronics. Hard to not love the daughter of the difficult rants (Jess Gordon) over the sound for me.
The Worm still turns!

-Thurston Hunger

PC Worship – "NYC Stone Age" – [SHDWPLY]

Thurston Hunger   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

PC Worship is Justin Frye and whoever he can fit into his basement at any given point. Ramshackle tunes with forays into improv captured in willful low-fi. Space is cluttered but varied, the recording raw. Electic guitar is set pretty sharp and shrill, but on tracks like “Heel” you might have it working with/against pretty pings from a toy xylophone. “Way Out” is a sort of psych number, but with a New Zealand feel. Frye himself caught a wave from Virginia Beach to NYC back in 2003 and has stayed afloat there since. This album, his first vinyl, came out in 2009 on defunct VA label Shdwply.

Wordless vocals shine on the first track, the two “Thrills” and “Ahh” that latter with some bass and drum lightning bolt therapy at the end. “Bali Thrills sputters in trumpet, while “Bermuda Thrills” closes side one with a beauty of a locked groove. And it feels like stoned punks summoning Popol Vuh.

B-side scream starts into a dirty acoustic mantra and then some devilish coda, grin and Syd Barret! B2 has R2D2-cum-chimp sax in another closet full of sound, drums bouncing off the walls – straitjacket jazz, no chaser. Drums stay strong right through the cramped halls of “Sunday, Sunday” – a rough gem! “Outer Woods” is for the illegitimate grandkids of Dead fans? Or maybe it’s just freak folk. Do I hear a robot snoring on the closer? More wordless vocals on that one too, no locked groove.

Is their name (and sound) a reaction to weirdness wraught by mere laptops? Better with hands/strings/feet/pedals/mouths/horns?
-Thurston Hunger

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