KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Albert, Marco / Day, Bryan / Kreimer, Jay – “Mutation 1-6” – [Public Eyesore]

mickeyslim   11/14/2018   A Library, CD

Marco Albert on vocals and electronix, Jay Kreimer and Bryan Day on invented instruments. These three met at the 2017 Festival Internacional de Improvisacion y Musica Extrema in Mexico. Recorded in Oaxaca, Lincoln NE, and San Francisco. Kreimer plays an “amplified hammered dulcimer-esque instrument on a tripod” and Day has “an entire table of his creations including antennas, effects processors, a wooden trapezoid, and an instrument that uses five tape measures each extended to a different length.”

The pieces are wrought and tense. It is surreal and abstract. The voices in both Italian and English float almost unnoticeably under dark scratchy movements.

Thick, scraping mutations.

Li Jianhong – “1969” – [WV Sorcerer Productions]

lexi glass   11/13/2018   A Library, Cassette

Li Jianhong is a free-improvisational guitarist from Hangzhou, working since the 90s in several groups, including VagusNerve (in our library), and the founder of the experimental label 2pi. This 2018 cassette release from Lyon/Nanjing-based label WV Sorcerer collects Li’s solo works from 2008, right around the time when his album San Sheng Shi, was discovered by international audiences.

Three longform psychedelic guitar works. “Die in humble and warm” (T1) is a blazing, slowly developing piece, with bright guitar tones darkened and distorted by reverb and other effects. The calm gives way to “Revolution is only a sad illusion” (T2), a menacing feedback storm that rages and settles, like toxic smoke clouds, into a heavy, post-apocalyptic drone. The feedback flares again before the Side A ends. Side B holds the heavy “1969” (T3), with reverberating tones swelling into massive blasts of psychedelic delirium.

New Zombies – “New Zombies” – [self]

humana   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


This is fresh jazzy experimental music from a Bay Area band whose upbeat tempo changes and fanciful saxophones bring to mind plenty of influences, such as Sun Ra. The horn infusions even made me think of Chicago for a brief second or two, but the mix of international sounding beats distinguish this as its own unique sound. Highly enjoyable and energetic.

Ugh [coll] – [Crash Symbols]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette


You might recognize the cassette opener from KFJC’s recent
Devil’s Triangle comp. Or maybe from watching Quintron and
Merzbow play hopscotch in Tron?? Noa Ver’s vox skip through
a 5 bit processor (bought with food stamps) and form their
own scratchy percussion which only highlights the sick stick
and swell cowbell from drumming powerhouse Zach D’Agostino.
Zach packs a marching band in his bloodstream, he carves
each tune a melody out of rhythm, which is excellent so
Noa can get up to her elbows and larynx in sterling circuit
disintegration. Somewhere on a drum-free break while
“Lazing in the Garden” I imagined Noa as a dental
hygenist jamming on the teeth and ears of a patient.
But it’s not like you need novocaine, Sea Moss has got
their finger on the noise nerve barrier and nails the pleasure
receptors time and again. Paired with a fellow Portland duo on
the flip cassette tip, similarly a weirdo wonder femme and a
killer drummer. Diana Oropeza drops thoughts and the mic, in her
singing proclamation style on their opener, then switching
to curandera invocations. TJ Thompson creates the electro
funk kinda like !!! and again flat-out kickass drumming.
“Afterthought” takes live-or-memorex horns and swirls ’em.
The Stomach reminds me of Mecca Normal in how I feel I’ve both
been warned and entertained. Short blasts from both that can help
your splice the sonic DNA of your show from no wave to drone to
hip-hop to funk to slambient to sparkle prog.
-Thurston Humbled

Speedway – “Speedway Underground Garage – An Imaginary Collection” – [Conrad Sound]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   A Library, CD


Hank Richardson rides alone as and on Speedway.
Late at night, bright streetlights and smooth
streets. Deep in the heart of Portland, Oregon.
This is four cassingles smooshed together in the
back seat under one seatbelt and road-burned on
a CDR. Stark rockabilly with yodelly hiccup vocals
and a few grunts from the pelvis. Speedway’s take
on Artie Glenn’s “Crying in the Chapel” instro sets
a nice naugahyde retro mood. Also from that “Trancer”
cassette, the title cut serves up synth conjuring a
bit of Badalamenti. “Gang Man” has Richardson at his
most baritone and alone…a drum machine by his side
riding shotgun. Some Alan Vega RIP on that one.
“Jukebox King” and “TV Dinner” are more in the
twang bar cannon. Could artwork done the I-5 to
San Jose by Kyle Pellet. Music made with pomade!
-Thurston Hunger

Gospel Claws/ Roar [coll] – [President Gator]

Thurston Hunger   11/11/2018   7-inch, A Library


Another salvation seven inch, 2012 split on purty
powder blue vinyl. The Gospel Claws hail from some happy
suburb of Tempe AZ, bursting with dancey 80’s mod pop,
and a drop of holy water-cum-wine from the CCD classes
where they hatched plans for catchy hooks during catechism?
Singer Joel Marquard sings of ambition and with a hint of
British accent (a fine American pop tradition).

On the flipside, a one man band rises from Phoenix.
Owen Evans deserts his Andrew Jackson Jihad for a chance
to Roar (or is it ROAR?). Anyways, a slower paced start,
with mournful synth…that works its way through the
trees and a hazy “Dream” field to a few rays of joy. This
feels like a song that Brian Wilson’s psychiatrist was
trying to medicate and eradicate. Why? Rainy day pop is
not mental illness, certainly not in Phoenix, nor in my
house, nor in Mitch Lemay’s apartment on a winter day.

Thoabath – “4. KK.42H. 4” – [Madriguera]

Lord Gravestench   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette

Andy Christian Way is a former member of Sutekh Hexen who also plays with French Radio and Maleficia, among other projects. Thoabath would be his Death Industrial unit, active since 2015 or thereabouts. The project is all about primal rhythms and desolate, hopeless atmosphere. This 2017 cassette comes to us on Madriguera Records of Puerto Rico, where Way resided for a time prior to the hurricane. This will be comfy next to KFJC’s (or my) collection of releases from MZ.412, Theologian, and Dissecting Table. Bilious, decay-obsessed electronics with a riveting sense of tension. Side A= Beats By Dis, melting flesh, babbling demon voices. Side B= Deep, deep ambience to cleanse the palate after all the blood and sulphur of the A side; just don’t get too comfortable because the zaps are coming. This is beautiful release. The quote on the interior is from France’s obfuscatory postmodern fill-o-soffer Jean-Francois Lyotard: “All corporeal identity trembles at its finitude, and for it, distraught with humiliation as much as with suffering”–or to put it another way, “life sucks.”

Sashash Ulz “Chtenie” – [Fourth Dimension Records]

mickeyslim   11/7/2018   A Library, CD

First CD release from Russia’s Alexander Shevchenko. First releases were on cassette and CDRs, making this his first real CD release. Whoosing ambience and watery jazz grooves, cascading beautifully over and under each other. From liquidy electronics to twangy ballroom guitar noodlings, it’s hard to tell if this is even strange at all. It has a nostalgic quality but seems unrecognizable at the same time.

Beautiful, spacious, omnipotent…

Phew – “Voice Hardcore” – [Mesh Key]

lexi glass   11/6/2018   12-inch, A Library

Recently, we added Light Sleep, an album that marked the reawakening of Hiromi Moritani’s decades-running solo project Phew. This extraordinary 2017 follow-up leaves behind the Suicide-inspired drum machines and synths. Instead, the works here are built entirely from Moritani’s powerful voice. Her vocals rise and multiply in droning, demonic choruses (T1, T4), her moans are destroyed and distorted by effects (T2), her repeated phrases spin in circles (T3), and her spoken word poetry, in Japanese, moves through these surreal soundscapes (T2). “In the Doghouse” (T5) gave me flashbacks to playing that Furious Pig record during late night graveyard shifts, though Phew’s composition is much more anguished and beautiful, and “Sonic Morning” (T6) ends the record with a soft, droning dawn. Spellbinding.

Villain, Carmen – “Infinite Avenue” – [Smalltown Supersound]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This is gorgeous music from singer-songwriter Carmen Hillestad from Oslo, Norway. The word “ethereal” has been used to describe it, and I wholeheartedly agree. She is as beautiful as her music is, yet she has the confidence to put Gena Rowlands on her album cover and let her work speak for itself. Lovers of loops, electronics, and atmospherics, as well as dreamy vocals, will want to play this one as much as possible.

Carbon Based LIfeforms – “Derelicts” – [Blood Music]

humana   11/4/2018   A Library, CD


This Swedish duo have been creating ambient music together since they were 15, and this album represents what can happen when musicians mature into fine creators of soothing atmospherics. Some field recordings from Australia and other locals are included on here, and some lovely lyrics bubble up from underneath the layers of a few of the songs. You won’t want this one to end.

Dial – “Noise Opera” – [Feeding Tube Records]

lexi glass   10/30/2018   12-inch, A Library

Noise rock opus from this long-running avant-garde project. Dial formed in the 90s, when Jacqui Ham, previously a member of New York no-wave legends Ut, teamed up with Dom Weeks from Furious Pig and Rob Smith on drum machines and guitar for the trio’s first release, 1996’s Infraction. They released three more records over the next decade or so (these three in our library). This latest 2016 digital release was issued this year on vinyl by Feeding Tube. Two massive sidelong storms of guitar feedback, relentless rhythmic turmoil, synth sirens wailing like tapes sped up and slowed down. For brief moments the swells subside as Ham delivers her spoken word incantations. A powerful brew that will intoxicate fans of free jazz (this is Dial’s tribute to Ornette Coleman’s genre-defining 1968 album), Sonic Youth, the Dead C, and all forms of psychedelic oblivion.

Knaack, Donald – “Dance Music” – [RRRecords]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

Knaack studied with Cage and is known as the Junkman, having written percussion music for junk, performing at the Kennedy Center For The Arts as well as the Vans Warped Tour. These are earlier compositions, written for a Polish experimental music festival and dance company. Knaack’s approach to percussion incorporates chance elements. It can sound like a teenager practicing along to the radio. Very challenging.

Grim, Wayne – “In Decline” – [Thee Obscurantist]

Hemroid The Leader   10/30/2018   A Library, CD

11 guitar improvisations re-orchestrated for small ensembles: guitar with cello. trombone, bass clarinet, or electronics. 2018 Edgetone release. Open-ended. Some tracks are more active than others. Wayne Grim lives in Berkeley, CA, attended Mills in ’98.

Fujita, Masayoshi – “Stories” – [Erased Tapes Records]

humana   10/26/2018   A Library, CD

How lovely and simple are the compositions on this CD, a collection of stories from nature rendered beautifully by Berlin-based Japanese vibraphonist Fujita. Hoshiko Yamane’s violin and Arturo Martinez Steele’s cello layer in on a few of the songs. Read the liner notes as you breathe in the images of birds, waterfalls, forests, and trees summoned by Fujita’s exquisite vibraphone. “Memories of the Wind” (track 8) will reverberate through your consciousness long after the last key is struck.

Your Ears Smell Bad [coll] – [Trashfuck Records]

mickeyslim   10/24/2018   A Library, CD

4-way split from Trashfuck Records/Pickle Dick Records. Lt. Dan is a hardcore/grindcore band, one track being recorded live from Zombieland! in North Oakland. Redsk is noisy noise, stormy and harsh, Noise Pancake style. ‘Seven Morons on Nyquil’ is cut-and-paste harsh noise with short poetic quips (a few FCCs in this one). Shanaynays with Shillelaghs clocks in as most harsh, with circuit-bent vocals and epic intros (i.e. ‘Olestra Molestra’). HEADCLEANER has two tracks, on fifty five seconds long, the other just over 15 minutes, which is spacey, thick ambient noise, with a Sal9000 quality. One in a series of other ‘Your Ears’ releases from this label. Solid weird shit that is sure to hit a note with broken ears station-wide.

FCC: 6

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. – “Magik Elektrik” – [Ihnabtb]

lexi glass   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

I.H.N.A.B.T.B. is “I Have Not A Breakfast Today Bitch!” a five-piece noise-rock freakshow from Moscow; this 2009 release is their debut album. I received this CD from Naysayer with a note describing the lead singer as “a cross between Bryan Ferry, Chris Cornell, and Frank N. Furter,” the first hint of the insanity to come. Next, I opened the CD find on the inside sleeve a painting of a dude fucking a horse. Things got weirder from there: the lead track opens with theatrical crooning about cardio?? before launching into a goofy post-punk workout. “Aphrodisiac” is a science-fiction double-feature ballad that degenerates into a skronking sax frenzy (T3), “Close” is a creepy cartoon cabaret (T4). There’s aggressive noise rock (T2, T8, T10) and hyperspeed punk (T5, T7), sleazy dom worship (T6). Completely absurd lyrics in broken English, after a few too many bottles of vodka. Intriguing, horrifying, often irritating (there’s a strong similarity at times to Gogol Bordello, who I totally can’t stomach). I’m still not even sure I like this, but I can say for certain these broskis are beyond bananas, and isn’t that a part of a KFJC balanced breakfast?

FCCs on T4 T6 T11

Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter, The [coll] – [Betley Welcomes Careful D]

Louie Caliente   10/23/2018   A Library, CD

Wow, where to begin? Yes, it’s noise, but not just ANY noise. This is REALLY FUCKING GOOD NOISE from two absolute masters of the craft. Fast, hard, and relentless, just how KFJC likes it.

Pain Jerk is Kohei Gomi, owner of noise label AMP and frequent collaborator with pretty much everybody in the Japanoise scene. Dogliveroil is Phil Todd (of Ashtray Navigations) and a rotating cast of friends. This collaboration CD was released on Todd’s venerable Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers label.

“The Eight Snake Stigmata” (T1) is Dogliveroil as remixed by Pain Jerk. Like feeding laxatives to an already spastic and inflamed colon. A non-stop barrage of heavy static blasts, screeching electronics, and glitched-out samples. So fast it’s hard to wrap your ears around it.

“The Snake Charmer’s Beautiful Daughter Is a Vampire!!!” (T2) begins softly, with spooky ghost-like synth sounds (maybe the snake charmer?). That quickly gives way to more spazzed-out static blasts similar to the first track. Half-way through, the noise breaks for a dialog from the classic vampire movie Nosferatu. Then a return to noise.

“Doggin’ The Nogginometer” (T3) is a live recording of Dogliveroil and friends. It begins with a poorly-performed and poorly-recorded sample of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. The fidelity gets worse and worse, until drowned out by squealing feedback, sizzling electronics, distorted distortion, and what sounds like Todd screaming through a PVC pipe. The pace here is much less frenetic than the other tracks, almost minimalist in comparison (not really though). Definitely gets the crowd going!

“Pac Man” (T4) is solo Pain Jerk. To my ears, this is the harshest and most punishing track on the album. The electronics are more tortuous, the feedback is more piercing, and the static is more severe. Not to be missed!

Demoncy – “Enthroned Is The Night” – [Forever Plagued Records]

Lord Gravestench   10/21/2018   A Library, CD

Slithering forth from the accursed swamps of the Deep South, Demoncy was one of the earliest American acts in Orthodox Black Metal, formed in 1989 by core member Ixithra, who also played with the legendary Profanatica for a time (he was the one guy wearing shorts in their infamous “dicks out for Satan” promo photo). This is his 4th full-length album, released in 2012 after 8 years of silence, and recorded without assistance from any other musician.

Like Profanatica, Demoncy is an excellent rebuttal to the claim that Black Metal is never heavy. This is a solid set of in-many-ways-traditional “cold” BM, but presented in an outstanding mix that draws out the low ends, recalling certain Finnish projects with a similar thickness to their sound e.g. Beherit, Archgoat and Anal Blasphemy. Despite these touchstones, Demoncy plays pure BM without a Death Metal influence (OK, maybe there’s some Nunslaughter in there), bringing an atmosphere of elegance and nobility to the proceedings with riffs that are as simple as they are chilling.

Ixithra seems to be pretty serious about the spiritual dimension of this Satanic music and in this there is perhaps a kinship to early Black Funeral, another foundational USBM monster. The artist does not so much play here as practice, because at its dark heart this is ecstatic ritual music for the devoted. He’s based on the West Coast these days, so go see him with his live band if you don’t believe me.

Serpentine incantations, roaring walls of guitar and nervous skittering blasts make for a dreamy twilight atmosphere not bereft of menace. Hail the arcane aristocracy…

 

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