Music Reviews

Noxagt – “Consulatet Kalendar 2020” – [Drid Machine Records]

atavist   2/24/2020   7-inch, A Library

Noise rock. A little mathy, but mostly belligerent. For those familiar with Noxagt, you know they do mathy, noisy stuff. The recording on this flexidisc is notable for its lofi production. Blown out, pounding, incessant cymbals, dazed guitar, throbbing bass undercurrents. Trebly, hot blast furnace sound. The tri-fold scheme of the flexi disc seemed to resist the weight of my tonearm, so I used a razor blade to sever the flexi from its folder. An act of deliberate, surgical mutilation of the original seems to carry the theme of the audio forward (and make the disc functional). All instrumental, five and a half minutes. Give it a spin.

Ghostwriter & Paine, Michael – "Morrow" – [Time Released Sound]

humana   2/23/2020   A Library, CD

This is a collection of absolutely whimsical and delightful sounds from Ghostwriter (aka Mark Brend) and Michael Paine, every track of which leaves you with a distinct and nostalgic feeling. At any moment you may find yourself laughing or crying with the exquisiteness of the instrumentation, which uses celesta, dulcimer, found sounds, flute, marimbas, piano, synths, xylophone…So gentle and pretty and atmospheric. Just lovely. Listen and see for yourself.

Segura, Javier – "El Sol Desde Oriente (Selected & Unreleased Recordings 1980-" – [Passat Continu]

humana   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Nietzche and Huxley were early influences for Canary-Island-born Segura, and his intentionally off-the-beaten path musicianship reflects this. Eschewing the crass econony-driven music industry, Segura seeks to express his scripts with instruments. He uses guitar, Roland B3, percussion at times, and at other times ambient silences. On A2 and B3 you can hear the tribal beats that call to mind what it must be like to live in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Spain and Africa. Segura’s primarily unreleased tracks are an expression of this unique artist’s vision. Read the liner notes and experience Segura’s unique perspective.

Kanenobu, Sachinko – "Misora" – [In The Attic Reccords]

humana   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Folk music, Donovan, the Beatles, and Joni Mitchell all form the musical tapestry that makes up the fabric of Japan’s first female singer-songwriter. Sachiko learned to play the guitar in an informal way, and she composed her lovely music that same way. This is the American release of her one and only album that came out in 1972, right after she headed to the United States. People kept playing it in Japan, so that when she returned decades later to sing the songs live, the fans compared her to E.T. and could barely believe this “cool lady” was responsible for the music they knew and loved. Read the liner notes as you revel in this mellow beauty that has thankfully been restored to us from obscurity.

Fat Worm of Error – "Nzznzzzznnznznnn" – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

2020 vinyl re-issue of their 2004 early-daze cassette. Though the Worm hails from Massachewzits, they share DNA, clothing and a sonic aesthetic with Caroliner. And add more than a dash of Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase. Noisey wonderment, circuit-jammed and jellied rolls of tape. Not only vocals on some tracks but lyrics printed on the sleeve, so you can crack the karaoke puzzles. Fleas and flies, and the squids are all right? In a better world than this one, these would all be recordings made by children’s toys, or maybe they are. “Tubes” has farty beauty, “Flea God reveals a weird insect kingdom underneath the floorboards of Pee Wee’s Playhouse. “Wolves” is nifty drifty until the jittery critters flitter your ticker. Some of the noise variety here reminds me of pulling a huge bandaid off. Quick little rips and tugs, hits of static, weird electronics. Hard to not love the daughter of the difficult rants (Jess Gordon) over the sound for me.
The Worm still turns!

-Thurston Hunger

PC Worship – "NYC Stone Age" – [SHDWPLY]

Thurston Hunger   2/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

PC Worship is Justin Frye and whoever he can fit into his basement at any given point. Ramshackle tunes with forays into improv captured in willful low-fi. Space is cluttered but varied, the recording raw. Electic guitar is set pretty sharp and shrill, but on tracks like “Heel” you might have it working with/against pretty pings from a toy xylophone. “Way Out” is a sort of psych number, but with a New Zealand feel. Frye himself caught a wave from Virginia Beach to NYC back in 2003 and has stayed afloat there since. This album, his first vinyl, came out in 2009 on defunct VA label Shdwply.

Wordless vocals shine on the first track, the two “Thrills” and “Ahh” that latter with some bass and drum lightning bolt therapy at the end. “Bali Thrills sputters in trumpet, while “Bermuda Thrills” closes side one with a beauty of a locked groove. And it feels like stoned punks summoning Popol Vuh.

B-side scream starts into a dirty acoustic mantra and then some devilish coda, grin and Syd Barret! B2 has R2D2-cum-chimp sax in another closet full of sound, drums bouncing off the walls – straitjacket jazz, no chaser. Drums stay strong right through the cramped halls of “Sunday, Sunday” – a rough gem! “Outer Woods” is for the illegitimate grandkids of Dead fans? Or maybe it’s just freak folk. Do I hear a robot snoring on the closer? More wordless vocals on that one too, no locked groove.

Is their name (and sound) a reaction to weirdness wraught by mere laptops? Better with hands/strings/feet/pedals/mouths/horns?
-Thurston Hunger

Livid – “Life Is Pain Life Is Shit” – [No Time Records]

whngr   2/20/2020   A Library, Cassette

Ghastly Detuned Bludgeoning

This menacing two-piece out of Kenosha, Wisconsin draw down on your sense of well being with a furious rage. Dirge, guttural bellows, feedback, blast beats, seedy samples, hair lashing, and neck snapping hXc riffage. Shake, rattle, and roll yourself off the precipice, brush the gravel off yer face, reset your shoulder, spit out a coupla’ teeth, let the blood to stream down your scowling visage, drag yourself up the cliff, and do it all over again on side B. @Bear’s_D.licious_honey, @slam_pit_with_loaded_deer_rifles, @PowerViolence, @TravisBickle, @Spock, @realtree_nail_bat, @malice_aforethought, @bring_a_straight_edge_to_hammered_fight
FCC on “Coward” (A4-B4) “Fuckin’ bitch”

Araya, Felipe – “Punata” – [eh?]

mickeyslim   2/19/2020   A Library, Cassette

Found sound field recordings from Bolivia & Chile. Felipe Araya plays the Peruvian cajón, a wooden hand drum, in a very non-traditional, exploratory fashion.

Side A is field recordings made in Bolivia originally recorded onto mobile phone. Gysin/Burroughs-style cut-ups of sounds at Cochabamba market, at el Ojo del Inca, traditional folk sounds, muddy footsteps, faint voices with occasional sounds from Araya’s cajón.

Side B is a “silent session” recorded at a friends place in Santiago, Chile. Cajón and objects, starts as a minimal, playful exploration that evolves unhurriedly into an excellent crescendo.

Two 26-minute sides of well-done, found-sound, bliss…

As One – Planetary Folklore – [Mo Wax]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

Kirk Degiorgio is As One. Here he is on Mo’ Wax from 1997. The sound is more jazzy [4,7,8] than the ‘70s soul and funk or Detroit Techno you hear in his earlier releases. There’s still a bit of funk present in the electronica here. – AArbor

SOFA SURFERS – Sofa Rockers Remixes – [Klein Records]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

The Sofa Surfers are Mani Obeya, Markus Klenzi, Michael Hozgruber and Wolfgang Frisch of the Austrian posse of the ‘90s. Here are 2 of their tracks A1 and B1 with 2 gentle funky remixes of A1 by Richard Dorfmeister (of Kruder and Dorfmeister) – call it Downtempo, call it Trip Hop… but be sure to listen to it.   AArbor

Luke Honey – “Vastation” – [Skaven Electric]

lexi glass   2/19/2020   A Library, Cassette

Mysterious cassette of dark ambient electronics from a one-man project out of Cincinnati. Corroded drones layered atop venomous synths and ringing echos. Five tracks that seep slowly into intimate spaces, until the plug is pulled for an abrupt ending. Digging for the dirt on this tape didn’t turn up much – it is the sole release on Skaven Electric, apparently an Ohio label/dealer of “scrounged up goods for audio rats” – but that’s enough to know its waves will infest the playlists of KFJC’s more sinister shows.

St. Hugh, William – “Saturnus” – [self-released]

atavist   2/12/2020   A Library, CD

The arrival of “Saturnus” provides ethereal sounds with orchestral-inspired keyboard instrumentation. Minutes stretch in a haze of drifting shimmers and the occasional dramatic surge of sound. This recording moves slowly like the score for a moody, somewhat eerie film. It’s very much a companion album to this artist’s earlier release “The Luciferian”, added to the library last August. Tracks are fairly consistent across the CD. To my untrained ears, all the tracks are pretty similar, so you might select based on how much time you need in your break clock, and you’ll get a consistent atmosphere of unease and wilting beauty. A couple tracks, like “Red Sun Rise” start out quietly. Tremorous dreams await.

Peterson, J. – ‘Refusal’ – [Wonderland Media]

Lord Gravestench   2/12/2020   A Library, Cassette

Sound artist Josh Peterson runs the Force Neurotic label. This 2019 cassette release consists of two very dark 20 minute pieces. Both are rambling and disquieting sound collages accompanied by the artist’s voice reading found texts from criminal cases. The A side piece deals with murders and the B side piece concerns unsolved disappearances. The compositions have a desolate attitude, combining melancholy and eeriness in a turn somewhat comparable to the films of David Lynch. Manipulated and damaged tapes of spelunking piano and other tuneless, toylike instruments, field recordings of public places, mournful clanking, desperate scrabbling.

Peterson intones, whispers, and declaims the dry facts of an uncertain number of these sad cases. Forensics. Autopsies. Surveillance footage. Traumatised family members trying to make sense of it all. The last few minutes of side A assume the aspect of Power Electronics, as piercing and squealing electronic tones back a more aggressive, urgent vocal delivery. Subtler side B ends with peaceful field recordings from a natural spot. Is it a hopeful epilogue… or is that what it sounds like where the poor girl’s body is buried?

The scrambled cut-up texts, intimately delivered, will remind some people of recent work by Sutcliffe Jugend and Consumer Electronics, and indeed Peterson has published a book with Philip Best’s Amphetamine Sulphate press. No FCCs but some edgy stuff (postmortem description of “anal injuries”) on side A.

Grim – “Psycho Sun” – [Steinklang Industries]

whngr   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Semi-solo project of Japanese avant-noise artist Kunagawa Jun of White Hospital evokes feelings of touring a sanitorium and visiting with a variety of lunatics exhibiting an array of symptoms, ailments, and behaviors. Indecipherable, unhinged mantras informed by the traditional folk music of Tibet wind through the album, sprinkled with organ and elements of musique concrete. Tribal drums interlaced with arrhythmic scrap yard percussion, haunting terrestrial melodies (A6-Radio Wave Church), electronic abstraction and alien instrumentation at times both beautiful and sad (B2- Glorious Tower), elsewhere primal and frightening (B3-Dharma), the album closes with the title track which borrows (perhaps unintentionally) from Devo’s – Mongoloid, pierces it with buried squeals of feedback as Kunagawa unspools his depiction of a mad monk losing his way upon The Path of the bodhi.
Compelling and challenging, stark and complex. Psycho Sun is raw and extemporaneous while simultaneously appearing carefully cultivated and refined. Both ritualistic and improvised, reverent and profane with an emphasis on contrast very much in line with Kunagawa’s visual aesthetic; there is beauty within the horror and a lucidity beneath the madness.

Impiety- ‘Salve The Goat: Iblis Exelsi’ – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Formed in 1990, Singapore’s Impiety were one of the first extreme black/death metal bands from East Asia. They are still active to this day, and still revered within the international “war metal”/“goat metal” scene. This 2017 LP from NWN! is a collection of their earliest, rawest shit: 1993’s ’Salve the Goat’ 7” (A1-A2), 1992’s ‘Ceremonial NecroChrist Redesecration’ demo (A3-B3), and 1991’s rehearsal demo (B4-B7).

Fans of the rottenest blackdeath bestiality from Canada (Blasphemy), Brazil (Impurity), Finland (Beherit), and the USA (Nunslaughter) will be well at home here. It is excellent material like pretty much everything else from this project. Be advised that A3, B3, B4, and B7 are brief intro/outro-type synthstrumentals. Elsewhere caveman grunts and howls chase compressed and lumbering walls of bass, guitar, and cymbal noise as we lurch through cleverly composed yet Metal-Blade-proof devilworship rituals. Nasty.

Freedom Satellite – Soul Samba – [Vienna Scientists]

aarbor   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Jurgen Drimal and Gernot Ebenlechner are Freedom Satellite. This is their first (electronica) release from 2000 which helped launch the Vienna Scientists label. The tracks on the A side: Soul Samba and Savor are 2 of their best known tracks and well worth a play (as are the 2 on the B side). – AArbor  

KUMASI TRIO – Fanti Guitar in West Africa 1928, Vol. 1 [coll.]

aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

These rare recordings from 1928 are some of the first ever to feature African music played on Western guitars.  Kumasi is a city in Ghana which in 1928 had an open air market and one of the first British department stores in Africa. The trio is H.E. Biney and Jacob Sam (whose real name was Kwame Asare) on guitar, and Kwah Kanta on percussion. The trio were brought to London to record 36 double-sided records. This is considered the first recording of “highlife”. For reference – Amponsah is a standard highlife song.  AArbor


aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

The Gentle People are a combination of 1990’s club culture (Electronica) and 1950s cocktails and tiki kitch (Lounge). Think sugar coated/easy listening with vocals and nostalgic cheeseballness. Their names are Dougee Dimensional, Honeymink, Laurie Lemans, and Valentine Carnelian.This is their single Journey remixed by the likes of Aphex Twin (whose Rephlex label they record on) and Hazchem. I especially recommend the remixes. AArbor

Boni, Raymond/Gilles Dalbis – Selenites: One Kenichi Dream – [Mazeto Square]

Max Level   2/11/2020   A Library, CD

Two French guys playing the soundtrack to what seems to be a dream story. Boni on guitar and harmonica, Dalbis on drums. All instrumental, very abstract, quiet and loud places, hard to tell what they are getting at sometimes. The 15-minute Track 1 starts with 3 minutes of solo drumming. Dalbis has a nice touch with the brushes. Boni’s guitar comes in gently and… eventually all hell breaks loose like you suspected it would. There are shades of Derek Bailey in Boni’s playing and he adds to that a lot of processed guitar sounds and some overdubs. He plays harmonica on Tracks 2 and 5; he has an unusual approach, that’s for sure. It sounds to me more like an accordion in a style reminiscent of Pauline Oliveros maybe? Track 3 features some flying-fingers abstract blues guitar and it’s pretty nice. Dalbis adds surprising percussive touches throughout the record. I don’t really understand the dream story–something about HG Wells and an alien civilization living inside Earth’s moon, and at some point a modern manga character shows up and does something or other. Perfect music for an oddball dream like that.

Brovold, Bill – “Stone Soup, The Michael Goldberg Variations” – [Public Eyesore]

Louie Caliente   2/11/2020   A Library, CD

All the tracks in this soup are made from the same stone: four sparse notes plucked on a clattering, slightly detuned acoustic guitar. The recording of these scattered notes was given to 12 different musicians who each add to the sound in their own way.

Brovold’s minimalist guitar work maintains center-stage through all the tracks, and most retain the drony spacey feel of the original, though all have a unique perspective. Rhys Chatham (T3) augments the guitar with meditative chants and whistles. Fred Lonberg-Holm (T4) turns it it into a kinetic blissful sun salutation. Franz Shultz (T7) adds twangy steel guitar. Karen Haglof (T10) creates soothing psychedelic explorations. Probably the most unique of the bunch is the pairing of guitar with punchy beats and percussive grinds from Leonardo ProtoPeople (T5)

The album is inspired by Bach’s Goldberg Variations (composed of an aria and 30 variations), and a folk tale wherein an entire village contributes small ingredients each to a pot that originally contained nothing but a stone, yielding a delicious soup.

The album is hand-printed and colored by Brovold.

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