KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Flock – “Flock” – [Strut]

aarbor   6/7/2022   A Library, CD

Flock is a brand new collaboration between five leading musicians from London’s open-minded jazz and experimental scenes: Bex Burch , Sarathy Korwar, Dan “Danalogue” Leavers , Al MacSween and Tamar Osborn. Each performer plays a variety of instruments here. They gathered in London during the Summer of 2020, with the intention of trying something fresh. Some of the band had never met in person before the session. Burch wrote texts as scores for the session and the emphasis was on breathing and listening to each other. The music was freely improvised. Sometimes they chose to stay on form and rhythm, repeating melodies and groove. Each track has its own sound even though the instrumentation is consistent. The playing is outstanding. Probably the best new jazz release I’ve heard this year. AArbor

Massage – “Still Life” – [Bobo Integral Mountain St. Mtn]

humana   6/2/2022   12-inch, A Library

Think of how good you feel during a massage, and you’ll come close to the amazing feeling you’ll have as you listen to the songs on this release–nary a track that isn’t upbeat, pure pop joy. The vocals are smooth, the lyrics are sweet, the drums keep the guitars, keyboards, and bass in line. “Somersaults and summer days” (from A3) is about as good a descriptor as any for this entirely enjoyable album. There is really nothing still about the way it makes you feel.

Fisher, Mark & Barton, Justin – “On Vanishing Land” – [Flatlines]

humana   6/2/2022   12-inch, A Library

Fisher (RIP) and Barton took a walk along England’s Suffolk coast one day, and this album, which is really more of a docu-fictional aural experience, is the result. Barton’s narration of the walk is interspersed with interviews with people encountered on the walk, and all of this spoken word is set into music composed by ambient artists who are listed on the album. It is nearly impossible to figure out exactly whose music is accompanying the different narrations, but this is not of great consequence. The atmospheres are alternately eerie (very appropriate since Fisher, a cultural theorist specializing in hauntology) and calming. Read the liner notes and listen to the “dream within a dream,” and figure out what the sound is that comes back when the radar clicks mentioned at the end of Side B are sent out into the unknown. The land may be vanishing, but are we?

Contranistas – “Center Negative/Memory Divided By Time” – [Killer Kern]

humana   6/2/2022   7-inch, A Library

Although this Bakersfield duo has been called gloomy, I’d say their sound on this release matches the rather bright blue of the 7″ vinyl it’s etched into. “Center Negative” sounds rather positive to me, while “Memory Divided by Time” is bit more intense and you can hear more of the live looping sounds. The percussion, drums, and bass add to the atmosphere. You decide where it leads your mind. Personally, I like it both a lot.

Solo Se Oye Punk #4 [coll] – [Silenzio Statico]

beastofbourbon   6/1/2022   A Library, Cassette

This cassette released in 2013 by Los Angeles based Latino punk label Silenzio Statico put together this international compilation featuring some of the best and obscure bands from Finland to Brazil to Japan and anywhere in between. Mostly compiled from hard to find records from the 80s the music spans various genres including Anarcho-punk, Crust, Oi!, and melodic hardcore. The music is fast, aggressive and catchy but not abrasive or very long. There are only a few songs in English but song titles and some of the lyrical content that can be understood suggest it’s anti-war, anti-nuke, anti-totalitarian, anti-conformity and general human angst. The types of issues that are still relevant today.

Beast of Bourbon

Cryptae “Nightmare Traversal” [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

atavist   5/31/2022   12-inch, A Library

Riffs with machine-like rhythms. Growling guitar sound that never roars, with a surprising amount of depth. Cryptae exhibit discipline and even some restraint. This is weird metal, doom leavened with an almost math-rock element. Simple patterns repeat and continuously evolve. The effect, in tracks like Oubliette, can swerve into the mesmerizing. Simply a guitarist and a drummer from the Netherlands, with deathy vokills buried in the mix. Maybe they used some other stuff in the studio, some synths maybe. The drummer is Rene Aquarius, current drummer for Dead Neanderthals, who also appeared on Coffin Lurker’s “Foul and Defiled” and Plague Organ’s “Orphan”, a 39 minute masterwork of menacing beauty within frenzied repetition. We also have one of his solo pieces in the library. Aquarius’s work helps contextualize Cryptae in the mathy and strange but starkly and uncompromisingly heavy terrain, here paired with relative newcomer Kees Peerdeman on guitars. Submit to the machine.

Krautzone – “The Complete Works” [Sulatron Records]

carsonstreet   5/31/2022   A Library, CD

Discogs describes Krautzone’s style as: “krautrock, space rock, ambient, psychedelic, free improvisation, drone, instrumental”. They are all that and more. Krautzone was a spontaneous collaboration of members from diverse bands (Electric Moon, Zone Six and The Pancakes). The Complete Works is a compilation of all three of Krautzone’s releases to date. It will take you on a magical trip blending all of the musical genres mentioned above while creating a unique style. Onkel Kaktus (bass), Lulu Neudeck (Drums), Rainer Neeff (Guitar), Martin Schorn (Synthesizer) and Dave Schmidt (Synthesizer, Organ).

Eight Bells – “Legacy of Ruin”

carsonstreet   5/31/2022   A Library, CD

Eight Bells is from Portland, Oregon. Legacy of Ruin is their third album. Beautiful vocals and melodies hanging over prog like fretwork. ’70s rock from Pink Floyd to Hawkwind are obvious influences. Pitchfork says: “Dual vocal lines emanate from some unseen place, sometimes braided together in a conjoined plea for connection… Heartbreakingly beautiful.” This is a combination of metal, experimental and prog rock. Hot off the presses released February 25, 2022.

Centre El Muusa – “Purple Stones”

carsonstreet   5/31/2022   12-inch, A Library

Centre El Muusa is an Estonian psychedelic rock quartet founded in 2018 (previously named Centre Electronique Muusa). The project, which started as an avant-garde electronic duo of Panfilov and Brodsky in 2015, developed into a rock band, when it was joined by Erdman and Semenihhin. Gradually, the band transformed their sound from uncompromising garage krautrock to more spacious psychedelia with noticeable elements of ambient and country-rock, while maintaining their signature lo-fi approach to recording and not avoiding risks. Another great release from Sulatron Records.The cover art is Peter Max and Yellow Submarine on an extra tab.

Brandsdal, Kjetil and Warland, Thore – “Stavanger 11/12.6.2021” – [Drid Machine Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/25/2022   12-inch, A Library

If you were to tag this as experimental trip hop I don’t think the genre police would pull you over. The turntable has been drinking, not I. Kjetil runs this fine label (and has committed Noxagt acts on KFJC in the past) pairs up with drummer Thore Warland (Staer and Golden Oriole) and they spin out two sides that sound the way the marbled grey vinyl looks. The material is taken from the debut performance in Norway of the duo working together and is part of a new lp  series/art packaging on Drid Machine. Danceable musique concrete floor on side A gives way to a sort of Sun Ra funk eclipse on a cold meteor on the flip. Definitely more spacey on Part 2. Both sides deliver an outsider turntablism tribe vibe, with Warland not simply pummeling away on percussion (and he adds his own odd electronics). Oddly chilled and refreshing, like napping on a mortuary slab. Recommend setting your life support here to 45 rpm, but you can turn the turntables on Kjetil and pitch it down or up as the sonic spirits move you.

-Thurston Hunger

Cthonica “Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction” [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

atavist   5/25/2022   12-inch, A Library

So cold…vocals like an icy wind that pierces all coverings. Numbed and delirious, the listener stumbles to a barren earth of jagged stones as the freeze takes over. Lo-fi drums buried in the mix like an awareness of physical harm being done, but numbed senses can’t fully feel it. The first track is an epic length of disparate parts, weirdly put together. Nihilistic death metal with black inflections gives way to a menacing atmospheric interlude gives way to home-recorded-sounding doom passages. Generally there are a lot of great tones and textures within a palette of death and decay throughout the record. Within this desolate medium, Cthonica unearth their own unique derangements. Debut double LP from 2019 by this Venezuelan project.

Bethany Curve – “Murder!” – [Kitchen Whore Records]

puplaif   5/25/2022   A Library

Santa Cruz shoegaze awakened from its slumber. Formed in 1994, this is their first release since 2004. 

Richard Millang / Guitars, Vocals

David Mac Wha / Drums

Nathan Guevara / Guitars

Lisa Dewey / Vocals

Murder! delivers a dose of hypnotic narcotic guitars and distortion, transporting you to an ephemeral dream inspired landscape. Delicate cymbals and percussive sneaker waves bring dynamic shifts and changes in pace. Vocals drift below the water’s surface, delivering oracular messages across submarine peaks. 

Submerge yourself in this subconscious driven sonic atmosphere. 

Miller, Adam – “Gateway” – [Inner Magic]

Thurston Hunger   5/24/2022   A Library, CD

Clean gentle guitar instros that feel from a different planet than Miller’s work with The Chromatics. Volume pedal fades, some very chill reverb, and occasionally a ringing flanging. Lot’s of 1-5-9 sprawls and calm apreggios. You can taste the Fender endorsement in the sound before you read it in the liner notes.
Speaking of those liners, they also mention “Gateway was inspired by true events” which makes me think
Miller went through one of the most pure and pleasant alien abductions ever. And did his captors have a mellotron on board, ask “The Painted Boy.” Music to advance masked to? Quickly though, most tracks are short… a couple felt a little like “gateways” back to Kramer-era Low, sans the pleasure/pain of vox.
-Thurston Hunger

Bunuel – “Killers Like Us” – [Profound Lore]

Terra Incognita   5/21/2022   A Library, CD

This one’s a bruiser. You can see it coming at you in slow motion, but you hesitate anyway, stunned—and then you receive the energy of the impact. You feel the thudding in your head and hear an intermittent buzzing. The swelling begins, pounding and growing, turning an angry red. The red eventually cools to blue and yellowish green. A dull ache remains. You’re left feeling disconcerted, wondering, “What happens that a good man turns bad?”

“Killers Like Us” is Bunuel’s third and most recent album (2022). This is bass-heavy noise rock. Of the 10 tracks, about half have a slow tempo and are heavy and minimal at times (Tracks 1, 5, 7, 9, 10); in these songs, the instrumentation often frames the lyrics. The other tracks are more upbeat, have a fast tempo, or turn into driving rock rampages (Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 8).

The bass—a menacing, throbbing, dirty beast—is so heavy that it creates a strong gravitational force that the other elements might frantically struggle to escape but are always drawn back to. Bass notes are drawn out and fuzzy but can unexpectedly transform into melodic riffs. The guitar is manifested as fluttery buzzing and distorted scratchy noodling but also develops into melodic, driving riffs on the fast tracks and always with feedback and effects. There aren’t any standard guitar solos—well, maybe one. The drums are versatile: from slow, minimal beats to driving punk rock beats and even some funky beats. They’re heavy on the kick and the snare at times; the fills aren’t over-the-top but creative and nicely placed. Sometimes percussive sounds like tinkling and crumpling are added or simply replace the drums. The lyrics are mostly spoken-yelled, sometimes obstinately dragged out, sometimes half sung in an emotionally drunk tone, sometimes steeped in reverb and effects. The vocals range from despondent speaking to fantastic, guitar-matched screeching and many variations of vocal sound in between. The additional female vocals (Track 4) are melodic and haunting but forceful—an interesting opposition to the raw sound. The lyrics are composed of poetic vignettes, stark imagery, and existential meanderings (see liner notes; FCCs on Tracks 2, 6, 7). Although not mentioned in the liner notes, sounds of synth and possibly field recordings are interjected.

Bunuel, named after the Spanish Surrealist film writer and director of the 20th century, comprises the Italian musician and composer Xabier Iriondo on guitars (also in Afterhours et al.), the Italian jazz bassist and composer Andrea Lombardini (also in the Framers et al.), the Italian percussionist and composer Franz Valente (also in Il Teatro Degli Orrori et al.), and the Bay Area’s Eugene S. Robinson on vocals (also in Oxbow, Whipping Boy, et al.). Track 4 includes additional vocals by the Polish-Bay Area artist Kasia Meow, aka Kasia Robinson (also in Maneki Nekro). A trans-Atlantic collaboration, this album was recorded in San Francisco and Italy, mixed and mastered in Italy, and released by Profound Lore Records out of Canada.

Dogsflesh – “Never Give In” – [Queer Pills Records]

whngr   5/19/2022   12-inch, A Library

Anarcho D-beat Punk

A thumb in the eye socket of Magaret Thatcher, two fingers up the arse of the royals, and a long middle one to the system, these modern times, and yer mum.
Good ol’ rebellion in the vein of Antisect or Icons of Filth with a bit of echo on the vox and a tiny gob of wanking guitar. 

Incepted in 1982 by Rob Moore and sometimes known as UK82, Dogsflesh would tour with GBH, Broken Bones, and The Exploited before hanging it up in 1985… and reforming twenty years later with the bulk of the original line-up. They have gone on to release several more albums since but this one is composed of their early works (82-84).

Oi! This slab is radio friendly, ya cunt! (no FCC’s)

Staubitz and Waterhouse – “Common Metals” – [music is the Worst]

whngr   5/19/2022   A Library, CD

Gentle whirs, clicks, and bumps.

Do you hear what I hear? I hear a pocket call from someone working on the cnc at the machine shop. Quiet, minimal, and reflective, these recordings allow one to write their own story though online references have stated that these mostly unprocessed recordings were made during the pandemic and are meant to convey the monotonous sounds of isolation.

Mary Staubitz (aka Donna Parker on her solo work and has collaborated with Jessica Rylan in Secret Diary and Daniel Paul Boucher in Golden Shores among others. Collaborating with her partner, Russ Waterhouse (ex Blues Control) from their home in Rhode Island.

There Were Wires – “Somnambulists” – [Tor Johnson Records / Iodine Records]

whngr   5/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

A sprawling and intense epic that weaves through the impassioned rage and confusion of youth, around quiet passages that required patience from an audience that was expecting only vehemence, gravid swells, terse punctuation, and arriving finally at an oblique and unexpected shore, a pensive cover of an independent juggernaut. Sonic Youth’s, Tunic (Song For Karen) will surely attract the attention of many listeners as an oddity or a trifle but considerable effort has been put in to this album (both in 2003 and in 2021) that proves this was no novelty. That this polished re-release, the first on vinyl, is a commendable and worthwhile effort to mitigate the failings of a label in financial ruin and one where considerable pains have been taken to inject new life into a recording that feels modern and relevant after 20 years relegated to a shelf. 

There are many paragraphs written and interviews available that explore the band, this release, Iodine’s role in its lack of promotion, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding them for those interested in the history of this primarily unsung project, but let it be said here, in this miserable volunteer’s review, that I might not have given this album a chance in 2003 if I had heard it. I might have said something like, “This new brand of hardcore is too high-minded and erudite for me, I appreciate passion and vision over virtuosity… etcetera”. But I was interested after two songs and hooked by the end of the album… after a single listen. No small feat, being as jaded as I am.

Many of the current DJs may pan side A, favoring the meandering and (slightly) more gentle B side but this is a fully realized album, slightly disparate from the projects of their ilk, with an ebb and flow, passages, and chapters that all work together to create a cohesive tale. A sonic novella and a beautiful, if somewhat dark, snapshot of a bygone era by four young men in their prime and the label that would not let their past transgressions lie.

Karloff, Boris – “Reading Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and Other Tales” – [Caedmon]

aarbor   5/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

Boris Karloff (whose real name was William Henry Pratt b. 1887), best known for his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster in the various early Frankenstein movies. Here he is the kindly British story reader of Rudyard Kipling’s well-known JUST SO STORIES. The Kipling stories here are How the Whale Got His Throat, How the Camel Got His Hump and How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin. The B side is an abridged version of Mowgli’s Brothers from THE JUNGLE BOOK. AArbor

Fila Brazillia – “Black Market Gardening” – [Pork Recordings]

aarbor   5/11/2022   A Library, CD

Fila Brazillia is the duo of Dave “Man” Mc Sherry and Steve Cobby based in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire, UK who started recording together in 1990. This album is from 1996 and is among their earliest recordings on the Pork label (also based in Hull). They later started their own label called Twentythree Records. This is classic downtempo from the mid 1990’s. “Snake Ranger”[2] is wavering synths and a chorus of flutes, “Little Dipper”[3] starts off with an old-time piano sample before shifting into something more funky. “Wigs, Bifocals and Nurishment”[6] heads into disco territory. “Xique-Xique”[7] is smooth and sweet. AArbor

Bischoff, John – “Bitplicity” – [Artifact Recordings]

Max Level   5/9/2022   A Library, CD

Electronic composer Bischoff has a sound and approach all his own: It’s all about events—-‘sound’ events disrupting the silence, and ‘silence’ events disrupting the sounds. Random and non-random events occurring. There is often quite a bit of negative space in his compositions, as the performer and his gear decide in real time what moves to make next. Much interaction between man and machine takes place during live performance. Whenever I listen to Bischoff’s work, which I have spent a great deal of time doing over the past 20 years, the feeling I get is controlled unpredictability. This excellent CD contains performances recorded at Mills College in 2020-21, live with no overdubs.

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