KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Sleepwalker – “Ichi-go Ichi-e” – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

Lord Gravestench   1/22/2019   12-inch, A Library

This post-metal band’s actual name, pronounced something like ‘Muyuubyousha’ consists of four Japanese characters and does indeed mean ‘Sleepwalker.’ Confusingly, there also exist both an American Black Metal band and a Japanese Jazz group of that name– and THIS Sleepwalker, unconnected to the other two BUT featuring Japanese and American members, might be described as a Black Metal/Jazz combo. The guitar/bass/percussion trio collaborate remotely, having never met: one from Japan, one Russia, one America. This 2018 LP is their second release. Its title translates as ‘For This Time Only, Never Again.’ The phrase is a Japanese proverb or cultural concept based on treasuring the ephemerality of one-time meetings with strangers, or so this gaijin believes after a quick Google search (is there any other kind).

Frequently surprising without being jarring, ‘Ichi-go Ichi-e’ manages not to sound stitched together even though it literally is — members improvise their parts and combine them via remote collaboration, following the melancholy dream logic of their collective vision where it takes them. The finished product seems to draw evenly upon Depressive Black Metal, Japanese Psych Rock, Avant-Jazz, Trip-Hop, Morris Minor’s Prog 8-tracks, and traditional Eastern musics of various kinds. While comparisons to certain other BM vivisectionists may be apt up to a point (Mamaleek, Diapsiquir, Oranssi Pazuzu, Clouds Collide) they have a pretty unique sound going on, exploring a vast breadth of style on this fairly brief album. I was nodding my head to a jaunty Jazz lick one moment, then splattered by nocturnal slashers the next; and that’s how people grow up. Vocals, like important thoughts, are mostly howls and whispers. Like a heroin addict’s last shot, this shit works much better than it ought to. I guess that must mean some amount of consideration went into it. Play it for everyone you’ll never get to know.

Moonchy & Tobias – “Moonchy & Tobias” – [Tiny Room Records]

Max Level   1/22/2019   A Library, CD

Prepare to enter a fantasy world when you play this CD. Pat Moonchy does all the vocals and she is way out there–sometimes delicately childlike, sometimes firmly operatic, sometimes groaning in a creepy pitched-down voice, sometimes… well, you’ll have to play it and find out. Her musical partner Todd Tobias (connections to Guided By Voices) provides the instrumentation and it is spot on. Pretty acoustic passages here, some rocking stuff there, some weird industrial textures over there… and many surprises over the course of these 13 tracks. Drama + weirdness is the order of the day. Many of the tracks are short, I mean like a minute or two, but they are all evocative and kind of mind-blowing. Perfect for injecting little bits of drama and weirdness into your radio show.

Cabinet De Curiosites [coll] – [Monsterk7]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Hodge-podge from the white-lodge and a donation by our
chief engine-ear, salud Monsieur Earl Grey! We get a
French fried compilation of world-wide ingredients.
Some of them quite aged as the liner sheets indicate
1982 Look de Bouk with Martial Canterel on board. The
collection is a blast, with plenty of toy joys, cartoony
tunes, and audio oddities to keep you on your toes while
still keeping your toes tapping. It’s often peppy in the
most charming, infectious way. Several artists summon
choirs, Daniel Padden (Volcano the Bear) and lead-off
Lionel Fondeville, so the album feels larger than a lot
of tinkerers tailoring their keys to your quirky needs.
Some faves, Sacha Gattino was sorta a what if Arvo Part
was happy but then he adds in bleepy ping pong. #12 A&E
has a japanese folk chant while playing Operation and
turns a wrenched ankle into Cibo Matto-esque rap-ture.
Tracks cover a lot in a short time, with speed traps
from De Felippis and magic monkeys with Wevie Stonder.
Wevie’s one of the few projects KFJC has connected with
in the past, several artists on here make their debuts
ANY where. Tres cool. Art Brut toot suite case.
Really a do not miss release! -Thurston Hunger

Savage Republic – “Aegean” – [Mobilization]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   A Library, CD


Continuity is king in this Republic. They lost
their founder some time ago, but the band marches
on in this their most recent (2014) full length.
Literally marches, that heavy martial beat remains a
staple (opening track hits with huge cinematic action).
Slashing, reverby guitars with trace elements of
almost shoedive Lots of intros, voice shouted from the
ranks of rebellion. And this once upon an LA art
scene band return to their Grecian formula/friction
for this, with former Tuxedomoon-man Blaine
Reininger providing violin worthy of an oracle.
Emad Gabra’s oud slithers in on two others. Stella
Papanyydreopoulou sing soothes on the title track,
that’s really part of a song cycle from tracks 7-9.
The whole album is very well sequenced, a polished
flow to it. Themes appear and are reprised. “Omonia”
offers a brief different angle, hustle and funk with
a No-Wave verve, and cool male chant vox!! And right
before it short, sweet backwards “Exarchia.” If this
album is a riot, it is a well-structured one ;>
-Thurston Hunger

Scarcity of Tanks – “Garford Mute” – [Total Life Society]

Thurston Hunger   1/18/2019   12-inch, A Library


Clevelad Matthew Wascovich fronts a pretty snazzy revolving
door. Borbetomagicians and Sun City gargoyles have visited
at times past. On this release the crew includes Minuteman
Mike Watt, Weasel Walter wreaking drum punishment and
stealing the show, Steve Mackay. Steve’s sax really stands
out on his work during side C of this gatefold grinder.
When he first shows up on the shutdown breaks in “Us Pushy”
things sizzle a little differently. Wascally Wascovich
looks to pump up Stooge energy, and the abstract lyrics
professed over punk does connect back to Watt’s early
ways. Maybe a hint of “Camper van Beefheart” in the mix
too, but mostly the song are choogling guitar 4 by 4, with
rhythm guitar (Doug Gillard of GBV?) up front, and then
other guest guitarists kinda noodling around the chords.
Gets a little airtight at times, that’s where Mackay (RIP)
was so crucial for me. Wascovich kinda punches his poetic
pontifications, with a heavy right hook on the chosen
title/repeated mantra. Double-tracking his speaksong,
especially through effects early on in the record thickens
things. “Everything Zenith” is an outlier with its Paris,
Texas slide while a blindman cuts hair big scissors.
“Dunedin Signal” is also a little different as the chord
heavy distortion thins out some, still plenty o’ noodleage.
I wonder if he didn’t publish his lyrics to focus just on
the rock core? Been marching to the beat of his latest
favorite drummer for a decade straight in his Scarred City,
while we were sleeping on this, SoT released a new album.
-Thurston Hunger

Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Pelle – “Music For Voices an Instruments” – [Dacapo]

Hemroid The Leader   1/17/2019   A Library, CD

Postwar choral works from the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen performed by Vocal Group Ars Nova.
Unreasonable optimism becomes impotent through attempts to reconcile the ascetic and ecstatic. These works exist in crisis, as sober quandaries: the opposition of serialism and nihilism is a thing of the past now that sonic pluralism has opened new avenues of sensuality.
Ars Nova sings with beautiful intonation.

Self, Colin – “Siblings” – [RVNG]

Naysayer   1/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Colin Self is quite the accomplished composer, academic and activist. Schooled at Evergreen State College, School of Art Institute of Chicago and Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, he’s got the credentials. Having worked in NYC with a number of radical alternative queer groups as well as being a part of Holly Herndon’s trio, his experience in experimentation and community is full on. “Siblings” is the final part of a six part opera series named “Elation”. Dealing with themes of alienation and empathy through his overall look at multi-species flourishing of non biological family systems, gender, understanding, social control and social transformation. A lot of ideas coming out at the listener.
The 11 songs contain lush, operatic choral pieces dealing with stories of identity and ideas of family. The heady lyrics are rich and ready for listeners to sink their teeth into. The instrumental pieces are new IDM: shattered explosions of bits of pieces of samples and sounds brought back together in a new jittery way. Exquisite.
References pop into my head: Chicago Footwork artists, Holly Herndon, Genesis P. Orridge, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Antony.

Enbilulugugal – “Another Fucking Pointless Enbilulugugal Compilation” – [Self Produced]

lexi glass   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

2015 compilation of three old releases from this disgusting black metal noisecore band from Central California. Non-metalheads might delight in the sound of all of black metal’s conventions as they are fed slowly, hooves first, into a meat shredder, maybe with some contact mikes fitted onto the blades to pick up every delicious gargle. The tracks from the 2002 split Memento Mori (T1-T8) have more of a noisewall quality with lots of pervasive static, while 2002’s YOU WILL BE GLUTTONED!!! (T9-T15), with all its samples and aggressive electronics, resembles PE. Maybe they should’ve just given up back in 2001, as the Filthy Satanic Pork demo from that year is my favorite stuff on here: just confusing guitar torture (I especially enjoyed the sloppy shredding on “Smearing Feces Into the Face of the Fucking Catholic Bishop”, T19), lead vocalist Izedis Apirikubabadazuzukanpa’s nonstop strangled howls, and a thick crust of distortion.

T12 FCC SHIT

Mania – “Little Pieces of Violence” – [Phage Tapes]

Louie Caliente   1/15/2019   A Library, CD

Mania is Texan Keith Brewer, well-known for his psycho-sado-sexual power electronics project “Taint”. “Little Pieces of Violence” is his latest full-length album, released on Phage Tapes.

8 untitled tracks soaked in uncomfortable tension. Surprisingly sparse at first. Echoing rumbles, dragging metal, banging pipes. The pieces build in intensity, exposing the pure hatred and agony within. Piercing screeches. Electronic sizzlings. Feedback enters the mix, followed by screams of rage and horror. The layers compound and magnify. Earfuls of raw aggression. Watch the levels!

Features some nice dentally-damaged album artwork from Brewer himself.

ATM – “Inglewood Tapes Vol. 2” – [Radical Documents]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


Three dudes looking to make bank?!? Or rob one with the
ransom note track listing? We don’t have Vol 1, yet….
The promising and peculiar Radical Documents label from LA
is back with ATM’s second release straight outta Inglewood.
ATM acronymically being Alex (Becerra), Tony (Mackenzie)
and Matthew (Green). Proud and dorky with echoes of the 80’s.
Chop suey of choppy beats, sonic synthy styles and a little
pico de gallo. The album feels like a lark among three
friends, they meet us and immediately “Pull Down Your Pants”
which cycles some canned gamey show applause in and out with
a simple descending octaves on the bass end with squiggly and
flitty keys above it. Next up, it’s almost Men Without
Hats but instead trip the lightly lysergic on “No Time.”
“Sad Onion” and later “Slow Skronk” go electro flow and
drop in respective bursts of violin and sax improvy paroxysms.
“Sad Onion” makes me hungry. “Rave Nature” has these goofy
gyroscoping woooohs. “MDMA Bliss” attempts a romantic feel
with digital handclaps, and sorta goes Peaking Lights while
doing so. “Poetry” is pure B.S. Eliot. “Asco” easy come
easy go, with the best little riff over a galloping
drum machine. Dumb fun smarter than Brexit and NAFTA
combined, economically comic and again that Radical
label, dood!
-Thurston Hunger

Bender, John – “Pop Surgery” – [Superior Viaduct]

Thurston Hunger   1/14/2019   12-inch, A Library


The original CB? Circuit Bender? 1983 was when Bender’s
third and then final release came out, reissued right on
time 35 years later by Superior Viaduct. Well there was
some Record Slut and also mighty Vinyl-on-Demand action,
but the notion that Bender was ahead of this time is
pretty clear. Synthesized Cincinnati eclectic electronics
in the attic. Calling it “Pop Surgery” was a nice slice
of genius, as the tracks have a catchy wave to them,
it’s not a series of knob goblin spins. The percussion
too is almost cute and precise like a wind-up toy. The
music reminds me for some reason of the old Mattel
Merlin. More Cabaret Voltaire than Barnes and Barnes.
But the speak-sing, repetition of vocals and post
processing of them as well (see the end of “Blue”
or alien-tweaking voices on “Cows” where Bender’s
then-young song Max sneaks in) adds a spoonful of
sugar to the Surgery. His vocals can sometimes feel
like an old instructional video (“Dance” which you
can crossover to Detroit beats no problem).
Apparently the numbers with the song titles
indicate tapes from his bedroom/sonic laboratory
work. And he clearly likes having fun with the
tape itself, as on “Dance” and Amalgamelon.”
“Glass” is sharp, and a fave, just great sound
construction and a little disarming. “Meat” too
tastes sweet with a hint of cognitive dissonace with
a killer hook, well a meathook. Tracks come fast,
Faust and furious, but biting off two in a row in
a set is alright since it too 3+ decades for KFJC
to connect. -Thurston Hunger

These Bastards – “Old and Pissed” – [Self-released]

atavist   1/9/2019   7-inch, A Library

SFBA hardcore/thrashcore punk. These Bastards employ an old-school method of observing our current situation, at ground-zero of big-tech capitalism, and delivering a short-blast fuck-you­—speaking of which, the FCCs abound. But find a way to spin this regardless. The production finds the right balance of clean separation in the instruments and raw vitality. The band fires on all cylinders, pummeling along, even hooking in the occasional shrieking guitar solo. Most tracks are 40 to 60 seconds long, and one outlier clocks in at ~120 seconds, so cueing will require some dexterity.

Voicehandler – “Light From Another Light” – [Humbler]

lexi glass   1/8/2019   A Library, CD


Voicehandler is the Oakland duo of vocalist Danishta Rivero (of Las Sucias) and percussionist Jacob Felix Heule (of Sult, Beauty School, and a collaborator of Bill Orcutt, Tom Djll and many others). This 2018 album is the follow-up to their captivating 2015 debut, Song Cycles. Compared to that record, these three pieces feel fuller and more direct. Heule’s drumming springs out of the gate with rhythms that move from scattered to spare, melding with Rivero’s bubbling electronics and swarming vocals. Her voice bursts with possessed ravings, distorted phrases, throaty utterances, and, at times, resembles free playing on a brass instrument. On T2, Rivero’s electronics gradually transform her voice into an intense, terrifying chorus before vanishing into black static that rumbles into T3. Here, the duo’s conversation is converted into pulses of energy traveling over long-distance lines. But interference creeps in, obliterating everything save for the whispers of a dark spell. Totally magical. (Even more so when witnessed live – they put on one of the best shows I attended in 2018 – so check them out!)

Cluster Lizard – “Prophecy” – [Prostir Records]

lexi glass   12/19/2018   A Library, CD

Cluster Lizard is the duo of Dmytro Fedorenko and Kateryna Zavoloka. Together, they run the outstanding Ukrainian electronic label Kvitnu, but issue their personal work, including this 2018 album, on their own outlet, Prostir. Fedorenko has described Kvitnu’s sound as “blasting experimental music… explosive, wild and rude, so as not to make it background music,” and that’s just what he and Zavoloka achieve on Prophecy, a maximalist, monstrous sci-fi space odyssey. Each of these six long-form tracks moves through moments of quiet beauty, building intensity, and massive surges of raw energy. The signature Kvitnu dark techno rhythms are here, but they are layered with deep, expansive drones, blistering solar-flare synths, and quaking beats. Beautiful, cosmic sounds at a scale that assures you of your total insignificance in the universe.

New Primals – “Wraith” – [Self-released]

atavist   12/18/2018   A Library, CD

This is mathy, angular, high-energy noise rock. Jangly guitar spars with a spazzed-out rhythm section. The vocals stay above the din by sort of shouting, but not screaming. The cd is comprised of six tracks, each coming in right around two minutes or less. It vaguely reminds me of things I was listening to in the early 2000s, like Drive Like Jehu, Decahedron, Dillinger Escape Plan (emphasis on vaguely). Vocals weirdly reminiscent of Polvo. A quick shot of adrenaline to liven up the set.

Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – “Worst Utopia Ever” – [BUFMS]

atavist   12/18/2018   A Library, CD

This marks the 13th Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble addition to the KFJC library. The weirdness prevails unabated. Twittering, jittery samples. Shimmers, disassembled spoken audio. Coughing amidst an ambient room mic. Layers of spacey synths, tinny fuzz guitar. Track 2 leads off with “Red pubic hair”, so, that might be an FCC. Track 4 almost has a sort of gamelan element. Crashing percussion in upheaval. Irreverent, unstructured experimentalism abounds.

Sordahl, Shanna – “Radiate Don’t Fear The Quietus” – [Full Spectrum Records]

atavist   12/16/2018   A Library, Cassette

Oakland-based Shanna Sordahl blends cello with electronics to produce hypnotic soundscapes. Side 1 produces images of clouds moving at dawn, and the skitters and furtive scratches of cities below not yet awake. Sordahl builds her patterns patiently, coaxing a variety of resonances from the cello.  Each side of the cassette has two longer-format tracks with multiple layers and electronics and concludes with a shorter track in which Sordahl plays a solo cello composition. Side 2 begins with the track “Everyday”, and a more electronics-intensive approach. Articulated bumps and thumps tiptoe towards percussion, drones set the stage, and finally, a vocal element emerges. These are compositions for dreaming, but the dreamer may experience something between anxiety and calm, something restful yet on-edge, the liminal space between waking and sleeping.

Orcutt, Bill & Corsano, Chris – “Brace Up” – [Palilalia]

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

If you’ve ever listened to any of the work from these two titans of free music, then you already know to heed the title of this album. Drummer Chris Corsano and guitarist Bill Orcutt have been performing together as a duo for years (see here and here), but this 2018 LP is their first studio recording, and it’s just as explosive as you’d expect. Orcutt’s singular sound is on full display. His guitar bursts with in a frenzy of wild patterns, digs into tense repetitive grooves, or, in the album’s most powerful moments, soars in ecstatic anthems. Corsano’s rhythms are the thunder to Orcutt’s lightning. He gives the pieces a heavier rock sound, but without dragging them down – his sharp drumming drafts his counterpart at every hairpin turn. Two brilliant musicians with unreal chemistry – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Being – “Hydrocracker” – [Oxen]

Lord Gravestench   12/7/2018   A Library, Cassette

Active since around 2006, Being is the Harsh Noise project of Dayton, Ohio’s Luke Tandy. The artist’s biblical namesake may have been the wimpiest evangelist, but like just about everything else on LA’s Oxen label, this is texturally rich centi-pedal aural destruction, excellently recorded and produced, and a head-splitter of the first order. Hyperabstractive audio sewage mixed with rusty sawblades in an old clawfoot tub; the radio, perched precariously at the edge, tuned between stations. This material explores a wide range of pitches, to put it mildly. Mr. Tandy likes to ‘hold his high notes,’ if you take my meaning (particularly on that A side track, gee whiz). The two impressive performances on this 2018 tape will satisfy noise fiends and probably confuse everybody else. They may even exceed the comfort level of some who think, based on this review, that they will be able to deal. Side A is live recording, side B is studio, but they sound vice-versa. An admirably singleminded exercise in sonic obscenity, mining the same deep vein as neighboring Pittsburgh’s genre-defining master musicians of Macronympha. There are other artists to whom I could compare the sound, but…

BTW, hydrocracking is apparently a part of the petroleum refining process, “by which the hydrocarbon molecules of petroleum are broken into simpler molecules, as of gasoline or kerosene, by the addition of hydrogen under high pressure and in the presence of a catalyst.” So now you know.

Bang On a Can – “Industry” – [Sony Classical]

humana   12/7/2018   A Library, CD

Cellos, marimbas, woodblocks, oh my! Composers who are classically trained and yet value uptown as well as downtown elements, minimal jazz within structures that allow for musical freedoms galore. This is what Bang On a Can is all about. Julia Wolfe, Louis Andriessen, David Lang, and Michael Gordon are the composers featured on this unique CD that offers the ultimate challenging listen.

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