KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Armagedda -“Ond Spiritism” – [Nordvis Produktion]

atavist   11/6/2019   12-inch, A Library

This is beautiful, devastating black metal from 2004, re-released 15 years later. This is the last full-length from Armagedda before they disbanded to pursue other projects. Over the span of their three full-length releases, the band initially helped define black metal at the start of the century, and then immediately began pushing against nascent orthodoxies. “Ond Spiritism” is marked by a full sound—layers of immense, immersive guitar and bass, and excellent instrumentation. Vocals drip with evil while remaining clearly discernible (lyrics are in Swedish). There’s a fair amount of variety in the compositions—varying textures and tempos, including the occasional use of minimally distorted guitar. Tracks B2 and B4 are shorter, quieter pieces; the former features a simple, echoing guitar against a backdrop of falling rain, and the latter features a choral element with mournful, atmospheric keyboards. But the other tracks are furious and unrelenting. An early favorite is track A4, which uses a simple, driving structure that repeats to create an atmosphere of loss, mourning, and despair, while also teeming with urgency and dark energy. Tracks A1 and A2 both start with simple guitar passages before ramping up to full intensity. As soon as the record ends, I just want to start playing it again.

Blood Rhythms – “Civil War” – [No Part of It]

lexi glass   11/6/2019   12-inch, A Library

Civil War is the latest assault from Blood Rhythms, the noise collective fronted by Chicago-based electronic artist Arvo Zylo, here with Dave Phillips (of Schimpfluch-Gruppe), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft) and many other collaborators. It’s a devastating – yet even beautiful – record, that might surprise non-noiseniks with its range of sounds and moods, and nearly song-like compositions. “Closure” (T1) opens with strange clarinet melodies, piercing tones, and a massive chorus of voices that finally resolves into a lone anguished scream. If the high-pitched violence of the latest Frataxin release left you begging for more, “Sick Skin” (T2) provides satisfaction, as strangled growls flail helplessly in feedback filth. With its first deep, ominous pulse, “Locked Away” (T3) descends into a forgotten underground lair, and we are overtaken by the howls of those trapped there. Side B holds the centerpiece – the colossal, confrontational “The Face” (T5) – where driving electronic rhythms collide with a cacophony of hellish horns. Yes, it’s a face-melter. The two-part finale (T6 and T7) buries heavy beats, organ bellows, metal scrap, and dying screams in a mass of noise; with one final thud, the suffocation succeeds.

White Wash – "KFJC Live Mic – 1977" – [KFJC Live Mic]

Devlyn   11/5/2019   A Library, CD

847043

White Wash Live – a KFJC Live Mic from 1977

Recorded on 2-25-1977

DJs Susan Fox and Sandy Sprague  

Length 29:50

Style:Americana

Recording features strong acoustical guitar work, congas, harmonica & 2 voices.    

Partial list of tracks:

2nd song is a guitar cover of Donovan song  “There is a Mountain”

Cover of “Folsom Prison”

City


Mermaidens – "Look Me In The Eye" – [Flying Nun]

humana   11/3/2019   A Library, CD

I know so little about this fantastic band from Wellington, New Zealand. I see two women and a man on the CD cover, but I don’t know their names. I just know that together they write and perform downtempo (and pleasingly oft-changing tempo) songs that summon images of an undersea world–figuratively, that is. The amazing lead female vocals take your emotions for a ride while the guitars and percussion help you ride the changing currents. I particularly enjoyed “Milennia” and “The Cut,” but each song has its own charm. Dive in.

Battle of The Surf Bands Vol 8 [coll] – [KFJC]

Cousin Mary   11/2/2019   A Library, CD

From the 8th KFJC surf battle held in May of 2019. Each of the 13 bands has a track on the CD and a video of a track on the USB drive. Held every 2 to 3 years for the surf music community to say thanks to KFJC for its support.

Derbyshire, Delia & Hannett, Martin – "Synth & Electronic Recording Exchanges, The" – [Dandelion Records]

Sir Cumference   10/30/2019   A Library, CD

This is not the cover that we were sent, see below…

Martin Hannett – famed Factory producer – was a fan of famed Radiophonic Workshop sound artist Delia Derbyshire and ended up in an auditory correspondence with her. They both sent tracks to each other through the post, and Martin had compiled 33 of them for a release back at the beginning of the ’80s which never happened – until now! Unfortunately there appears to have been no notes for the compilation and with no one to ask – as Martin passed on in ’91 and Delia ten years later – we can only guess. Luckily for our ears Martin appeared to be channelling his inner Wendy Carlos and going for baroque, while leaving the uniquely Delian tracks to counter in a mostly alternating arrangement on this release (though towards the end, it started to sound more Delian.) I’m quite perplexed as to why they used a picture of Suzanne Ciani on the cover!

Why is there a problem with identifying Delia in photos. There are a ton of Suzanne’s images on the internet misattributed to Delia!

Bombay Royale – "You Me Bullets Love" – [Hope Street Recordings]

Sir Cumference   10/30/2019   A Library, CD

The Bombay Royale is an Australian outfit that mixes Indian classical and folk styles with western popular music. This release, from 2012, is a fake soundtrack to a fake movie and is ’60s Bollywood meets spy meets surf, with a hint of spaghetti western. Jaan Pehechan Ho might be familiar, as the original version, from the ’60s mystery film Gumnaam, was featured in the film Ghost World (and more heavily in the trailer which was shown at a recent Psychotronix!) Sote Sote Adhi Raat is another cover, this time from a ’70s film called Habari. The rest are original compositions, performed in Hindi, Bengali and English. Phone Baje Na was the single release. However, my favorite is Mahindra Death Ride which is a groovy pop number that suddenly has a marching band going through the middle of it.

ANTHOLOGY OF BRAZILIAN INDIAN MUSIC [coll.] – [Ethnic Folkways Library]

aarbor   10/30/2019   A Library

From 1962, these are songs of the indigenous people of Brazil: the Karaja, Javahe, Kraho, Tukuna, Juruna, Suya, Trumai, Shukarramae people are represented here, as recorded by Harald Schultz and Vilma Chiara. This is a classic Folkways ethnomusicology record. The music is probably less interesting and more primitive than the rest of the culture which does seem to revolve around singing dancing. Given the destruction of their habitat in recent years, I wonder where these peoples are today? This may be the only living document of their musical culture. (the liner notes are definitely worth reading) AArbor 

NEW ORLEANS SOUL: The Original Sound of New Orleans Soul 1966-76 [coll.] – [Soul Jazz Records]

aarbor   10/30/2019   A Library

In 2014 Soul Jazz turned from documenting New Orleans Funk to focus on New Orleans Soul, and this is the result. In New Orleans Funk and Soul share a lineage that begins with the city’s enormous rhythm and blues explosion in the post-war 1940s and 1950s. New Orleans Soul incorporated the soulful vocals of the gospel church, the driving beat of rhythm and blues, as well as traces of the second-line parade bands and the latinized rhythms of the city.

You’ll hear the deep, deep soul of singers Aaron Neville, Willie Tee and Robert Parker, the storming northern soul of Maurice Williams and Eldridge Holmes, the funky soul of Eddie Bo, Lionel Robinson and Ernie K-Doe with soul sisters Irma Thomas, Betty Harris, Jean Knight, Inell Young to name a few.

The main force behind New Orleans Soul is Allen Toussaint, a one-man hit-making machine in the 1960s, writing, arranging and producing hit after hit for a long list of unbelievably talented local singers such as Eldridge Holmes, Maurice Williams, Betty Harris, Ernie K Doe and Diamond Joe all of whom are featured.    AArbor

Panicsville / Frankie & The S.E.M.M. – “Brain In The Cat / Stunts” – [Nihilist Records]

whngr   10/30/2019   12-inch, A Library

Not harsh noise but not safe either.
The packaging of this LP is an excellent representation of the sounds hidden under the jacket. Side-A is an exercise in abstract sound collage including a dizzying array of elements. Chirping, industrial machinery, bleeps, bagpipes, whirs, drone,, humms, bubbles, roars and myriad other synthesized weirdness. Mostly unnerving but could be considered meditative to either the enlightened or the mentally ill but does not induce anxiety in this wretched volunteer. The jacket cover that must represent Side B (There is no text printed on the exterior just a double-sided insert) looks like a photograph of a migraine headache and fittingly the track is a sidelong field recording from the Hotel Auburn ca.1999 when this part of South of Market (now “SOMA”) was also called The Black Triangle referring to the area’s most popular (at least at the time) elicit drug at the time, black tar heroin. This is where Panicsville aka. Andy Ortmann was living and apparently it felt natural (he related in an interview) to record the argument between his two sick and/or drug addled and/or inebriated neighbors. Accompanied by his analog synthesizer, this track is slightly more stressful and is forbidden from broadcasts during daylight hours. Some online searches would lead us to speculate on whether this is inspired musique concrete but it sounds to me to be a sonic snapshot of the time and place and a deplorable (if relatable) glorifying of the filth and moral deficiency of our most debilitated rejects of society: the artist and the addict. I would know, I’ve been both. Mildly anxiety inducing but I’m currently well medicated.
F.C.C.’s liberally peppered throughout side-B like the ants on the ceiling of a flop-house including a delightful locked-groove at the end; “You want a stunt mother fucker?”
Includes a cd of the unedited exchange between these two pathetic men at the end of their respective tethers.

Curley, Sean – Empire State Observatories 3 [Opuscula Records]

Louie Caliente   10/29/2019   12-inch, A Library

Experimental aquatic-themed drones from Seattle guitarist Sean Curley (also a member of New Weather).

Empire State Observatories 3 is inspired by long walks on the beach and somber oceanic suicides. Dramatic explorations of murky Titanic depths, with only fleeting shimmers of sunlight to remind you of the surface far above. Moments of calm stillness yield to powerful undercurrents of throbbing resonance. A1, A2, and B2 are guitar-based, while B1 is comprised of more synthy oscillations, bobbing in the surf, anchored in deep low-frequency rumbles.

Radigue, Eliane – “Jouet Electronique/Elemental I” – [Alga Marghen]

lexi glass   10/29/2019   12-inch, A Library

This 2018 Alga Marghen re-release showcases early work from French electronic music pioneer Eliane Radigue, created while she worked as an assistant to Pierre Henry at his Studio Apsome. On these two ~12 minute pieces, Radigue experiments with microphone feedback and tape machines. “Jouet Electronique” (Side A, from 1967) is created simply from recorded feedback that is sped up and slowed down on the reel-to-reel machine to generate layers of eerie, otherworldly vibrations. “Elemental I” (Side B, from 1968) uses similar tape manipulation techniques – this time applied to her own field recordings of the outdoors – to consider the four elements of air, fire, earth, and water. Gorgeous sounds arriving on our airwaves just in time to calibrate our brainwaves for the composer’s live performances at The Lab this December.

BERP – “BERP” [Yabyum]

Max Level   10/29/2019   A Library, CD

Total immersion into a world of acoustic sound/noise. The quartet coaxes sounds from stringed instruments such as guitar and violin, percussion, toys, ping-pong ball, waterphone, hurdy-gurdy, and voice. The pieces are generally on the active side, with a multitude of instruments and other sounds (taps, thuds, tickles, scrapes, whacks, nonsense vocals, etc) all clamoring for attention. These players excel at bursts of frenetic creativity. That’s not to say there aren’t some quieter sections, but even those are full of taps and boings and rattles and they aren’t what I would call relaxing. This material is not for everybody, but it’s quite interesting in a ‘what-will-they-come-up-with-next?’ kind of way. Track 5 is a 46-minute marathon that is easy to get lost in.

PAK – “Bestial” – [Nefarious Activities]

atavist   10/29/2019   A Library, CD

I imagine some will detect an influence of John Zorn, maybe Red-era King Crimson… Here follows my travelogue through this slab of heavy, turned up progressive sounds from the NYC three-piece called PAK. 1: The machinery is slowly starting to move. Heavy machinery, lumbering, tentative explorations, directions attempted. 2: Sharp guitar (you can feel how hot the amp was in the studio), assertive bass, drums keep this thing from spinning off the rails. Mathy, proggy (mildly thinky), with breakdowns 3: Some early chugging structures. Driving, with wild swerves off the road and back, can make for a bumpy ride. 4: Eerie, formless sounds streak across a night sky as percussion and other instruments begin to assert themselves, but the overall vibe is spaced-out and pensive—the machinery sleeps a restless sleep. 5: Kicks off with a straight-forward (for this group) riff, and even has a guitar solo at the third minute. By far the “jammiest” track on the record. 6: The only track with vocals exhibits an anti-consumerist rant. Musically it kind of drags a bit in the beginning, particularly since earlier tracks 1-4 are sonically adventurous by comparison. After about 4 minutes it picks up and starts to motor along with guitar work that weirdly reminded me of Larry LaLonde in early-90s Primus recordings. When the tempo slows down again, we are wading through sludge. The bizarro guitar sound at the end is a well-suited conclusion. 7: Gradually falls into a nearly hypnotic groove with loopy digressions. The last two minutes devolve into a sonic unravelling.

PAK recently played the Uptown with PG13, whose record I reviewed a few months ago, and the bill makes sense: this is heavy, pounding music with weirdness and time signatures that are proggy enough to flirt with jazz.

Archgoat – “Luciferian Crown, The” – [Debemur Morti]

atavist   10/29/2019   12-inch, A Library

Archgoat are a venerable Finnish death metal band that wield elements of black metal. They are willing to slow it down slightly and allow some doomy elements in, but mostly it’s high-speed, stripped-down, no-frills Satan worship. Low, throaty vocals are brutal and uncompromising. Guitar work is tight and provides the essential ideas without extraneous detail. Reviews note that “The Luciferian Crown” marks a turn to more complex song structures than previous releases, perhaps augmented by the addition of a new drummer who demonstrates a means of playing within Archgoat’s sound while shaping it to his own ends. Or maybe it’s due to the fact that the band takes a lot of time between full-length releases: this is only their fourth LP since 2006. Good production quality permeates the roughly 30 minute recording. Track A1 is a very brief atmospheric intro that quickly gives way to a thundering maelstrom with slower breakdowns. A4 Starts out with some squealing animal sounds, then brings headbang-worthy riffage in copious amounts. A5 begins with an almost punk feel, making for a fairly old-school sound that serves as a reminder that the first incarnation of the band released their first demo in 1989. A6 Starts with some creepy forest sounds before getting into the fast blast-beats. Tracks on side B consistently hover around four minutes in length, and many feature slower breakdowns and keyboard elements. B2 is a slower track that elicits slower fluctuations of the head upon the quavering neck. Track B4 even has a brief clean bass solo. Any track on the record will do the trick.

Drowse – "Light Mirror" – [Flenser]

humana   10/27/2019   12-inch, A Library

“Life’s a leaf in October” according to “Physical World,” and this wisdom is delivered via the hazy, pleasant voice of Kyle Bates. This music was written and recorded by Bates during an artist residency in Iceland in 2018 and at his home in Portland, Oregon. The character of the music is somewhat shoegaze. Bates’s parents lend their voices to two of the tracks, and the lyrics printed on the album sleeve clarify some of the mysteries going on in the music, if you need the clarification. Bates is a survivor, and proof that having a bipolar diagnosis can be an inspiration instead of a death sentence. The music is appealing and will be a great addition to many a KFJC set.

Pratt, Jessica – "Quiet Signs" – [Kemado Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2019   12-inch, A Library

I remember KFJC’s Harry Haller extolling the virtues
and vibe of Jessica to me years ago. Thanks! Here she
returns for her third full length, not a gal in a rush.
Gentle songs with “Quiet Signs”, emanating from the
car you just passed on the side of the road with its
driver in tears. Mostly the album is Jessica’s voice
over a nylon acoustic, but some nice production from
Al Carlson sinks you deeper into the cushions. Al adds
a flute flourish to end “Fare Thee Well” other tracks
bring in a distant synth, like a merry-go-round in
the dreams of someone sleeping next to you. Does
Jessica give a nod to San Jose on “Here My Dear”
(which seems to know the way, melodically). That song
is NOT a Marvin Gaye bitter dedication to you. But this
album was inspired by a Cassavetes film? Muses work
in strange ways and Hollywood record shops I guess.
Like her debut, Pratt’s voice fits so cozily into the
microphone and snuggles up in your headphones. Listen to
her voice on “This Time Around”, a gentle outline of
reverb. When she goes high, she’s a pixie, but her
lower register is a support koala bear. “Poly Love”
triggers a Burt Bacharach soft scatch on Broadway.
“Crossing” will be used as a killer theme for an
HBO show in three years, so love it now before the
world does (and dig how it flirts with English folk).
“Silent Song” has almost a hymn-like entrance. An album
of love songs but roses do come with a thorn or two.
-Thurston Heartbroken

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