KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

EEDIO – “Hero” – [Device Recordings]

aarbor   10/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Bertrand Alix is EEDIO. He’s a producer from Chilhac, France. This EP is his 2nd from 2003. He claims that his influences include: Depeche Mode, Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros and Massive Attack. Check out B2 Modulation. AArbor 

Ima – “Ende” – [Buh Records]

lexi glass   10/15/2019   A Library, Cassette

This cassette is the first official single from IMA, the local electroacoustic duo of percussionist Nava Dunkleman and sound artist Amma Ateria. Compared to the live recording of their performance at the 2017 Garden of Memory festival (in our library), Ende is a much darker and more menacing vision; IMA describes this work as the “beginning of awakening to the aftermath of destruction and devastation.” Over four short vignettes, Dunkleman’s percussion moves from delicacy to total collapse, while Ateria’s electronic atmospherics build a heavy sense of dread. “Flower of Dust” (T2) incorporates fragments of Japanese poetry that build on the theme of downfall. The tape ends too soon, but luckily IMA’s first full-length LP is due out later this year, and I look forward to hearing more of their consistently elegant work.

Presson, Lee and The Nails – "Last Request" – [Self-release]

Sir Cumference   10/12/2019   A Library, CD

KFJC is getting a pre-release of the latest release of the Bay Area’s own Lee Presson and the Nails. Lee goes full Goth Swing with this selection of spookier tunes (and a couple not-so-spooky) just in time for the Halloween season (the album will be released on October 25.) My favorite is the Mission Impossible theme mashed with up with Take Five (don’t tell me you never wanted to do that yourself!) A swingin’ version of the theme to Psycho is sure to get your toes a tappin’ just before you hit the shower. I’m sure anyone could find something to squeeze into a set or two…

Tejada, John – “Matrix of Us, The” – [deFocus]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

John Tejada was born in Vienna, Austria, but now operates out of L.A. From 2000 this is his 2nd release. “Summer Spell” [1] has a warm, electro shuffle, while the spoken word and vocals on “Genetical Love” [2] act as a counterpoint to the piano and looped string section before the beat kicks in. “Disappear” is stringy synths w/ electro beats, and the deeper bass of “Can’t Tell Time Anything” continues the easygoing vibe. “reach for the Lights” [8] is a fun boogie. I liked this album better than some of his others. AArbor 

Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru [coll] – [Luaka Bop]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

Afro Peruvian music is a blend of Spanish, Andean and African traditions. The language comes from Spain  along with the preference for the guitar, and poetic forms like the decimaand the copla. From the Andes melancholy musical forms. From Africa the dance rhythms. Pantheistic religious are common to both the Andes and Africa. In addition to the guitar, 3 instruments are important to this music: the cajon and the cajita – both musical boxes and the quijada de burro – a jawbone with loosened teeth which vibrate when struck.  The instrumental intro of each track gives you a clue as to what to expect. Try 2,3,4,8,9,12, 13  You may want to compare the renditions of the songs of the same name.  AArbor

Festival In The Desert [coll.] – [World Village]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

The Festival au désert or “Festival in the Desert” was an annual concert in Mali, showcasing traditional Tuareg music as well as music from around the world. The first Festival took place in 2001 in Tin Essako, then in Tessalit in 2002, and in Essakane from 2003 to 2009. From 2010 to 2012 it was held on the outskirts of Timbuktu because of security concerns which have prevented it from taking place since. This is a recording from the 2003 festival. It is a veritable Who’s Who of African artists, many of whom we have in our collection including: Tinariwen (who became known largely due to this festival), Afel Bocoum, Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure… Robert Plant also appears on track 4.

 Of the less well known players I liked tracks 5,6,10, 12-14, 16,18, 19

AArbor 

Machito And His Orchestra – “Afro-Cubop” – [Spotlight Records]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

From 1979 this is an excellent example of the merger between New York’s jazz scene sound with an Afro-Cuban sound. Machito, who was born Frank Grillo in Tampa, FL in 1912 moved to Cuba in his youth, returning to the U.S. in 1937 and played with Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales. He founded his own band around 1939-40 which married Latin music and American music. Don’t miss Charlie Parker on tracks B1-3 (Mambo, Lament for the Conga, and Reminiscing at Twilight). Harry Belafonte appears on B6 (Lean on Me). AArbor 

JEANNEAU, LAURENT – Music of Southern and Northern Laos

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

This is Laotian music from the ethnic minorities of both the Northern and Southern parts of Laos. In the South the Molam tradition is central to the popular music (as it is in Cambodia). A mouth organ (Khene) accompanies the singing. The type of Molam varies by the geographic regions. Northern Laos is a mosaic of ethnic minorities and sounds. Check this out!  AArbor

Praed – “Doomsday Survival Kit” – [Akuphone]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

Praed is Raed Yassin and Paed Conca of Lebanon. Their sounds is a mixture of Arabic popular music, free jazz and electronics. The Doomsday Survival Kit their latest release from 2018, is 4 relatively long tracks which are definitely worth playing. AArbor 

Cinedelic Sound: Music for Advertisements [coll.] – [Cinedelic Records]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

Upbeat music for ads, TV, soundtracks A delightful 2 CD compilation of upbeat music which could be used for ads, TV, soundtracks …  You can definitely dance to a lot of these tracks especially on CD1. The sounds come from various parts of the world: Brazil, India, Italy – and various styles: rock, surf, funk, jazz, space age bachelor pad. Just enjoy – it is definitely great music to donate by.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

AArbor 

Hypnagogue – “Distant Light Receding” – [Self Released]

lexi glass   10/8/2019   A Library, Cassette

This 2019 cassette is the debut release from Hypnagogue, the solo project of Massachusetts-based artist James Rosato. On Distant Light Receding, Rosato uses guitar and magnetic tape to evoke the “harsh beauty of a coastal New England winter.” But to my ear, there’s no harshness at all to be found in these dreamlike drones, just a quiet warmth, like a lit candle on a snowy night. Five tracks over two sides that drift into one another in a continuous slow burn.

Smoke Below – “Isolation 3000” – [Ehse Records]

humana   10/6/2019   12-inch, A Library

This is a very pleasant sounding release from Smoke Bellow, whose primary members composed this music in a backyard shed after they traveled to Melbourne from Baltimore. Although they felt isolated (thus the name of the album), the electronic tunes on here are fairly upbeat, and the voices, though echoey at times, sound imbued with wisdom gained from being in isolation. They have since returned to Baltimore and added a band member. The final track is my favorite with its flute and horn sounds.

Zorn, John – “Music Romance Volume Two: Taboo and Exile” – [Tzadik]

Medusa of Troy   10/2/2019   A Library, CD

Taboo And Exile is part 2 of Zorn’s 3-part Music Romance series, released by his Tzadik label in 1999. For those new to Zorn’s wide swath of compositions, the album functions as an introduction and a sampler of Zorn’s many musical styles: jazz (Track 10), punk (2, 5), surf (9), Jewish music (3, 6, 8), experimental (7), exotica (1, 4, 11, 12). Track 10 (“The Possessed”), a free jazz tune full of skronky, screeching, screaming sax, is the only song where Zorn plays. Musicians on various tracks include: Marc Ribot, Fred Frith & Robert Quine [guitar], Bill Laswell & Greg Cohen [bass], Joey Baron, Dave Lombardo and Cyro Baptista [percussion], the Masada String Trio [strings] and vocalists Mike Patton and Miho Hatori. No apparent FCCs on the 2 vocal tracks. From grinding, fuzzy guitars to tribal rhythmic drums to lush, sweet strings, I love almost everything about this album – except the cover. I find the cover abhorrent. YMMV. But play this album.

Imaginational Anthem Volume Nine [coll] – [Tompkins Square]

lexi glass   10/1/2019   A Library, CD

Since 2005, local label Tompkins Square has brought us the Imaginational Anthem series, a showcase of guitarists playing in the American primitive style (Vol. 2 reviewed here). For this 2019 compilation, the ninth in the series, singer/songwriter Ryley Walker takes a broader interpretation of the project’s original theme, and curates a lineup of artists exploring both the traditional fingerpicking and more experimental – even electric! – styles. The works collected here bring strange, fresh sounds to the series, while still keeping its spirit. Listeners may recognize the work of Kendra Amalie (featured on our most recent Live from the Devil’s Triangle Vol. 22 compilation), her guitar accompanied a full band on the bold “Boat Ride” (T5), while Dida Pelled offers a silly, sweet cover of Norma Tanega’s “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog” (T4). I’ve already made my obsessive love for Angel Marcloid’s Fire-Toolz project pretty clear here, so I see no reason to stop now: her offering “World of Objects” (T8) shuts down the argument that a guitar can’t sound modern – this spacey, proggy jam is from another galaxy, another age. My favorite track sprouts up at the end, as Dave Miller plugs in and gets heavy on “Seedlings” (T10). Something for everyone in this “deep-fried black hole” of a mix.

Drose – “boy man machine+” – [Computer Students]

atavist   10/1/2019   A Library, CD

Human—machine juxtaposition, taken very seriously. It’s a good use of its context, the Center for Automotive Research in Columbus, Ohio. Robots were building a race car during the recording. The building’s machinery has a compelling voice, and the recording captures this as well as its cavernous acoustics. Compositions are slow builds, with pounding percussion, to wailing guitar passages. I found the vocals hard to take in the early tracks—desperation shading into near whimpering. Over an hour and ten minutes of material is presented, and a bit of it feels like filler. Tracks 5, 6, 10, and 11 recommended. Track 12 is maybe the best, if you simply want a rock song. Track 13 is okay too. FCC on track 8 (fucking).

Bonnet, Francois & O’Malley, Stephen – “Cylene” – [Editions Mego]

atavist   10/1/2019   12-inch, A Library

Consistently beautiful, minimal compositions of guitar, awash in cavernous echoes. Stephen O’Malley of Sunn0))) provides guitar, and François Bonnet (who also works under the project name Kassel Jaeger) pursues studio manipulations of those sounds. The effect is tranquil but brooding, the slow unfolding of night shadows, wind howling on lonely mountaintops. The last track is distinct from the others due to its more assertive use of keyboard drones. Its title means “steps in the ashes”, and one can picture a film where a survivor steps out into the light of a ruin and considers a broken future. 

Ahti, Marja – “Vegetal Negatives” – [Hallow Ground]

lexi glass   9/24/2019   12-inch, A Library

Marja Ahti is a Swedish electroacoustic composer working in Turku, Finland. We’ve come across her work before, both from her solo project Tsembla (reviewed here and here) and from her collaborations with Kemialliset Ystävät. On this 2019 LP from Hallow Ground, the first release under her own name, Ahti draws inspiration from a quotation by the French surrealist writer Rene Daumal where he describes the inner workings of an animal – its structure, its metabolism, even its blood red color – as the inverse of that of a plant’s: the animal is the “vegetal negative.” Ahti explores these ideas – form, energy, color – with her palette of sounds. Tones made with analog synthesizers provide rhythmic patterns, field recordings of natural and manmade environments manifest energy, and carefully played bowl gongs and a harmonium exude warm washes of color. There’s also instances of inversion, as the synths imitate organs (T4), or as ocean recordings find their echoing alien counterpart (T1). Each of these four works rewards close listening, strengthening their pull on your awareness from the inside out.

Eleh – "Living Space" – [Touch]

Louie Caliente   9/24/2019   A Library, CD

Space-filling, mind-healing sound baths. Introspective and uplifting. Suitable for headphones and cathedrals alike.

Deep room-rattling hums. Microtonal tweaks and binaural bounces. Subsonic subconscious vibrations.

Minimal pulsating drones that evolve on a human time-scale. Glacial, not geological.

Explorations in resonance and repetition, featuring synthesizers, piano, organ, bass and chimes.

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