KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Klimperei / Sacha Czerwone – “Pour Le Jardin” – [Jardin Au Fou]

humana   8/26/2019   A Library, CD

Klimperai is Christophe Petchanatz, who, together with Sacha Czerwone, created these sweet, sad songs that indeed would be pleasant to listen to in a garden. Czerwone is a composer and accordionist who adds her sweet vocalizations to these mostly instrumental songs. Sprinkled throughout are fieldlike birdsong, toy pianos, and loveliness. Each song is just long enough to make its way into your music memory.

Rumble At Waikiki – The John Blair Anthology [coll] – [Bear Family Records]

Cousin Mary   8/24/2019   A Library, CD

An absolutely stunning retrospective of surf music and other genres from guitarist John Blair. Track 1 is blue grass, Tracks 2-4 are rockabilly, and the last rather mellow tracks are acoustic guitar duos with Marty Tippens. The line notes describe his history as a musician and the meticulous detail reminds me of his book The illustrated discography of surf music, 1959-1965. If someone asks you for a definition of surf music, just play Geronimo (CD1, track 15). Fun radio ad for a show on CD1, track 11. Highest recommendation!

Timara: Electroacoustic Music At Oberlin [coll] – [Hanson Records]

Cousin Mary   8/22/2019   12-inch, A Library

These are works from faculty and students of Oberlin’s TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts) School. The tracks are not too long and give very intriguing examples of electroacoustic music using electronics, field recordings of voices, sax, bassoon, didgeridoo and more. Quite unique and very good listening.

PGM – Track 3 seems to be silent.

Preening – “Gang Laughter” – [Digital Regress]

Thurston Hunger   8/21/2019   12-inch, A Library

Back on the Nordile track, Max Nordile that is (see Uzi Rash and The Trashies among other Oaklandish output in KFJC’s library). Max provides vocals and sax here, the sax he adds is nicely all over the place, skronky, slippery, sweet and multi-tracked as on “Red Tape.” He’s joined by Sam Lefevbre (Warm Soda) on drums and Alejandra Alcala on bass and also vox. In a slight way, their sound reminds me of Iconoclast as a sort of obtuse spin on the many angles of old school New York No Wave. But with Max on board, there’s a spazzy punky rant to the vocals. His voice is elastic; do muppets get drunk? Or do they hang out with Bobcat Goldthwait? Anywho I dig his “singing” but definitely it helps when Alejandra adds in some voice too. Her more tranquil spoken and sane approach helps to accentuate the wacky packages o’ lyrics. For example

“Just a nostril away” or

“Grandfather of the year very clean.”

Or on track 9 where Max and Alejandra repeatedly sing “Water Closet” back and forth to each other. And it might just be me, but my fave song “Flotilla” makes plenty of sense to me, and I’m not even a grandfather….as far as I know? Lefevbre’s drums keep the energy taught. Songs are short, fly by at 45 rpm. At times, like the instro title track, other sounds are dropped in like a plinky toy piano and trumpet, but it is really that odd take on a power trio plus the crazed cartoon vibe that make Preening keen!

     -Thurston Hunger

Christensen, Stefan – “Shake Off The Village” – [C/Site]

Thurston Hunger   8/21/2019   12-inch, A Library

The Connecticut connection that brought us the Reptile Ranch reissue has got his own modern thing going on.  Apparently this came out in 2017, before that Stefan was in and on The Estrogen Highs (KFJC has a 7″). Those pop drop days though ran into more heavy weather it seems. His “solo” outing  (some friends help out) has searing guitars, some brittle drums (David Shapiro) and a dour kind of aire that puts me in mind of New Zealand raw/rawk.  (And I typed that *before* reading online that Stefan is indeed a big fan of the mighty Alastair Galbraith.) This whole album would sit and sound quite nicely by Galbraith’s “Mirrorwork.” Check how “Christfire” here bursts electric out of its ramshackle acoustic beginning, and perishes in raging feedback. At “8AM Sharp” we get a military firing line snare drum, with a two-chord teeter-totter guitar under a deadpan dreary diary reading. Donuts and no-quarter on the rising noose of the local news. Potential soundtrack if there’s ever a sequel to “The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik.” “Mr Marquis” shows up next, this is about as peppy/poppy as Stefan’s going to get in the Village. A big strum of acoustic guitar, with a Clean guitar line guiding his voice. Might be an ode to an old high school teacher, definitely had a different shine than most of the album. The closer “Off Minor” clocks in at nearly 9 minutes of Stefan and friends slugging out a fuzzy fury with an overcast sky, sliding a rock ballad through a Vertical Slit, at 6.5 minutes it morphs from studio to stage to jam its way down an amplifier’s throat. I dug “Christfire” and “Over Scrawl” (with some of that kinda AG backwards sounding guitar/ebow/wft beauty). That “Scrawl” bleeds on into “Silverware” so be careful….or don’t and just enjoy the ride.

Del Novas, The – “A Surf Odyssey”

Cousin Mary   8/21/2019   A Library, CD

This four-piece band is from Sonoma County. Although they have traditional surf music influences such as spy, space, and Tiki, their jazz influence is especially interesting. For example “Surfin’ Wes” is referring to jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Some nice dreamy stuff, well played with a delightful difference.

Action Beat + G.W. Sok – “A Remarkable Machine” – [Ernest Jenning Record Co.]

abacus   8/16/2019   10-inch, A Library

aka the noise band from Bletchley, UK trance punks? or maybe the call to action undoing the trance? that minimalist repetition of grit and discontent definitely induces reflection, as do the relentlessly nihilistic poems ranting militant contentment to extinction. this is the first album they did with GW Sok, former frontman of The Ex, and i definitely feel the political connection. the somewhat title track seems to give a fishbowl narration of our modern end times and with the meticulous carelessness of their musical delivery you can’t help but feel fine, cuz the world is fucked anyway. pity this busy monster, manunkind, not. Progress is a comfortable disease (ee cummings)

Life Fucker – “Z” – [Static Shock(Age)]

whngr   8/15/2019   12-inch, A Library

This 45 is a fucking battery of hideous, in-the-red, filthy, low-fidelity rock, little to no fucking roll and a bad fucking attitude. Germany’s Life Fucker are as mysterious as they are resonate to this poor volunteer’s wretched, black heart. Drums sound like trashcans, check. Guitars howling feedback like possessed banshees, check. Buried, mostly indecipherable vocals shrieking away at unseen tormentors, check. Slightly shit art with skulls and chains, check. Bonuses include a song about being surrounded by rats and a German band being released on a Japanese label in English that has d- beat/hardcore (non)sensibilities and no fucks clearly given. One potential drawback may be that the drummer is a little too talented, If I were a god, I would kick him in his left knee and stomp on one of his hands so they sounded just a bit more desperate and ugly. Everything else is fucking perfect. Play this record and fucking lose control!Querulously there are no discernible FCC’s, what the fuck?

Situational Plays [coll] – [No Rent Records]

lexi glass   8/13/2019   A Library, Cassette

Two contrasting noise situations on this 2019 split cassette from Nadia (Ashley Bennett of Portland, ME) and Apologist (Rose Actor-Engel of Philadelphia, who runs No Rent Records with partner Jason Crumer). On Side A, Nadia leads off with two tracks of concentrated rhythmic energy. Somewhere within “Predictions” (A1) lurks a dark, rustling beauty, but it’s impossible to grasp: a high-pitched tone sharpens into an icepick point, bores into the brain, and demands our total attention. Through “Absolute Zero” (A2), resonant waves furiously collapse into a single, massive point source. After the intensity of the A side, Apologist offers a measure of peace. “Carte Blanche” (B1) emits warm melodies, treated vocals – both solo and in chorus – and ringing bells, while “Concession” (B2) concludes with a quiet meditation of organ, chimes, and forest field recordings.

Cavity A.D. – “Wraith” – [Valley King Records]

atavist   8/12/2019   12-inch, A Library

The A.D. in the band’s name derives from the fact that the band returned from a 14-year hiatus with the release of the album “After Death”. Now, with this release, the band is referring to themselves as Cavity A.D. KFJC has some comps and 7”s that comprise a portion of Cavity’s output from the 1990s. Internet research reveals this band was an important institution for the South Florida scene, collaborating with folks who would go on to other projects like Torche and Black Cobra. As Cavity AD, they are permitting themselves to diverge from their earlier sound and experiment with new instrumentation and textures.

A1: Long intro consisting of a Mad Max-style primitive drumbeat that gives way to fuzzy guitar riffing and semi-feral vocals that are yelled more than screamed or growled. A2 Reinforces the long drive across the desert vibe the first track flirted with. The primitive beat is established, and as the drive progresses, sparkling guitar washes over the heavier riff. They really want to explore this feeling—it’s a long passage across the desert. B1 Very industrial vibe driven by the percussion. B2 They save the doomiest for last. Unlike the previous tracks, the drum machine feels out of place here. That riff needs the accompaniment of some old-fashioned slow-motion drum-bashing, with big cymbal crashes decaying into the mix. Maybe that’s too mid-90s to be A.D…

Fennesz – “Plays” – [Editions Mego]

atavist   8/12/2019   7-inch, A Library

Reading up on this on Bandcamp, this is the 7” released in 1998. (It has subsequently been re-released as both a CD and a 10”.) It is considered a bridge between early abstract electronic explorations, like “Instrument”, and later guitar-based works, like “Endless Summer”. (Both of these 12”s are in the KFJC library, among others.) Indeed, the compositions are comprised of a blend of electronics and minimally processed guitar sounds. These two tracks had origins as covers, but you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anything remotely reminiscent of the Rolling Stones or Beach Boys in this material. Minimal, languid, and not even particularly long (3:31 and 4:05), these tracks demand the listener invest their full attention if they are to yield the intended experience.

Sutekh Hexen – “Trinity” – [Dead Section Records]

whngr   8/9/2019   7-inch, A Library

Unholy Black-Noise. Shrill tortured screeching, rasping electronic noise, buried guitars trem-picked mercilessly, and conspicuously absent drums on all three seven inches. Having one hoof deeply buried in the Black Metal trench and the other hovering over the nexus between noise and drone you may find the hairs on your neck bristling with anxiety at the peals of harsh white noise or perhaps, as I was after repeated listens, you’ll be lulled into a kind of uneasy tranquility like a dire wolf sinking into one of the tar pits at La Brea. After thrashing and struggling against your eventual demise, your throat so coated in viscous black sludge that you can no longer gnash your wolf teeth or cry your wolf death-song. There is only your ending. Only surrender and defeat and a kind of solace in the certainty of your wretched wolf fate. Cerebral, conceptual, and cvlt, Oakland’s Sutexh.Hexen. has tapped into something and these fledgling efforts seem to set a precedent for the horrible majesty that awaits them. These tracks were originally released on three cassettes in 2010 and this re-release appear to be, if just, on the wrong side of bootleg status as they appear to have been authorized by a single defunct member of S.H. Excellent sounds in lack-luster packaging but the tapes are so rare and sought after this will sate the ardent blackened-harsh noise completists.

Naxatras – Live Rituals At Gagarin 205

carsonstreet   8/8/2019   A Library, CD

Naxatras/ Live Rituals at Gagarin 205

Naxatras is a psychedelic rock band from Greece. This is their first live album. Recorded at the release show for their album “III” in Athens. The band continues to expand stylistically towards progressive rock, jazz and acid-rock. Naxatras is John Delias on guitar, John Vagenas on bass and vocals and Kostas Harizanis on drums. The band says: “Naxatras comes from the word “Nakshatras” that refers to the various phases of the moon in Hindu astrology. It sounded cool and fitting with our music, maybe because of the connections that Hinduism has to psychedelia and spirituality, but we spell it differently because it looks better with an “X”!”.

Ramuntcho Matta – “96” – [Akuphone]

ravensparks   8/7/2019   A Library, CD

Miguel Matta Echaurren, (Ramutcho Matta) sound artist from the early 80’s to now. Works on a variety of sound collaborations to explore different aspects of sound and noise. This CD plays with enunciation, (articulation, elocution, pronunciation, speech pattern, manner of speaking, intonation, inflection) 

of French word art mixed with electronic-instrumental and noise (squeaky floorboards, buzzing, carnival sounds, etc) 

Favorite Track: 05 Radis Courgettes Carottes. A love ode to produce.

Guitar-like

01 Au Moment de S’endormir(slow eloquence in word art)

04 Un Couer Blanc (circus-like carnival sounds at end)

11 J’avais Oublie

Fun Word Art Enunciations

**05. Radis Courgettes carottes—A Must Play! A love ode to produce! Lots of rolling RRrrr’s. Love the slow loving pronunciation of produce with a gentle buzz cut sound noise slicing and reverberating in the background.

Cette Semaine

L’Apres Fete

More atmospheric

Ni Un Ni Deux

Ceci Et Celia

Au Fond Du Fond

La grande plein 

Trabants – "Freakout" – [Lolipop]

Cousin Mary   8/7/2019   A Library, CD

Eric Penna is a guitarist and in this release a multi-tasking musician, composer and recording engineer. The album is instrumental and certainly can pass for surf music but is much more giving us glimpses of psych, spaghetti Western, and exotica. Nice touches of the Hammond B-3 and trumpet on some tracks. Interesting, different and well played.

(Trabants are East German automobiles.)

Howland, Amanda R. – “Spider, Milk, Batshit, Silence” – [No Rent Records]

lexi glass   8/6/2019   A Library, Cassette

Cleveland-based noise artist Amanda R. Howland weaves an elaborate web on this 2018 cassette from Philadelphia’s No Rent Records. On Side A, “Spider, Milk” opens with a bang and then settles, slowly extending silken strands that capture recordings of fluttering melodies or muffled voices, a slow build to a final violent struggle. On Side B, “Batshit, Silence” drops us back into the action, as hurried footsteps stride into a piercing feedback storm. Distorted signals howl through subarachnoid spaces before lurching into – as promised – a sudden silence.

Wiese, John – “Seven of Wands” – [Gilgongo]

whngr   8/2/2019   A Library

Three-Word-Review: Underwater mastication with migraine.
Two side-longs, a side with two tracks, and one with four of nearly subliminal and sporadically unsettling minimalist sound-sculpture by the prolific noise musician and composer John Wiese (long-e, hard-s) of Bastard Noise, Sissy Spacek, Smegma, et al.
Shimmers and chirps, drones and hums, empty space, crunching, abstract abrasions, amplified fidgeting, whirring, whetting, and worried cymbals. While there is evidence that this album was highly scrutinized, processed, and edited by its creator it can, at times, sound like a pocket dial from a torpid machine shop. Perhaps this is a singular perspective but for me this album conjures images of being submerged within a partially frozen lake, floating beneath the ice, and ultimately succumbing to hypothermia, hypoxia, and death.

Valise – “Fe N2” – [No Rent Records]

lexi glass   7/30/2019   A Library, Cassette

Valise is the solo project of Marilee Armstrong-Rial, a multimedia artist based in Providence and NYC. I’d heard good things about this cassette, sold out long ago on the website for Philadelphia’s excellent No Rent Records label, so when I spotted it on the shelf at a shop in New York I scooped it up. Within seconds of pressing play, I fell in love – it’s been awhile since I’ve heard a release with an opening act so arresting. An everyday scene – the sounds of a city crosswalk – dissolves into an anesthetic ambience; later, we reawaken to mechanical breathing, the distant singing of hymns and carols, and crystalline melodies. Side B features more rhythmic passages, with kinetic beats and heavy low-end pulses, paired with Armstrong-Rial’s warm vocals. Together it calls to mind a noisier, more abstract version of Valet‘s subdued psychedelia. I find myself returning to this tape again and again, completely under its strange spell.

Shumoto/Rambutan – “The Migration to Warm Rivers” [coll] – [Lost Forest]

atavist   7/30/2019   12-inch, A Library

A1, 9:41—To begin: acoustic guitar strings are struck and decay against gentle waves of vaguely ominous droney washes of sound. More well-formed guitar chords enter the scene and lay the ground work for the vocals, repeating “river is dry again”, among other things. Extremely subtle transition to A2—the tracks essentially run together. A2, 9:43 (time is approximate since it’s difficult to mark the beginning)—This track has more playful guitar fills and slightly more active vocal work. Some listeners will find the vocals a welcome addition to this rather sparse composition, but I’m not especially fond of it. Vocals can be polarizing depending on the listener. Here, they are forward enough in the mix as to be unavoidable—you’ll be into it, or maybe not so much. The vocal element with the guitar gives this Shumoto side a more folk feel than the psych-inflected Rambutan side. Shumoto is Jefferson Pitcher, a filmmaker as well as a veteran musician. He’s worked with a number of artists, including Fred Frith and Scott Amendola. The guitar work, coupled with the overlaid sounds, exhibits a satisfying amount of restraint and feeling. And in the end, the vocal element occupies only a small part of the run time.

B1, 4:05—From the onset, an electric sound much more psych-influenced than the Shumoto side. Rambutan is Chris Hardiman, and recently we’ve had his project Spiral Wave Nomads in heavy rotation. B2, 8:50—Electronic glitches, atmospheric sound samples played in reverse, echoing guitar gently flitting across the top. The intensity of the composition gradually builds over time. Guitar sounds like lonely wind chimes. B3, 6:55—More sparseness and low-level electronic sound patterns. Waves of delay-infused guitar build to a delicate oblivion. 

In summary, this 12″ provides five meandering and nicely executed tracks of spaced-out, moody, atmospheric, and at times minimal sonic explorations.

Araujo, Vitor – "Levaguia Tere" – [Nutriot Recordings]

humana   7/28/2019   12-inch, A Library

Araujo is a Brazilian composer and musician whose third album feels like the soundtrack to a sometimes eerie, sometimes suspenseful, but always romantic film that could sweep you away. The final song on each side is climactic, fast-paced, and exciting. Araujo’s piano and soothing vocals (never words, but melodic and expressive nonetheless) flow in and out of each piece, either on their own or joined by vibraphone, strings, thrumming drums, guitar, or flugelhorn, among other orchestral instruments. The effect is stunning. I particularly enjoyed the denouement feeling of the first two songs of Side D that are followed by a third song that picks up the momentum and surprises you like the crescendo at the end of a fireworks display.

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