KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

M. Pluckett – “Rust Water” – [L.Rossi]

kittywompus   9/7/2022   A Library

Muffled electronic keyboard, distorted sounds, and morse code; M. Pluckett’s “Rust Water” is a four track vinyl, a slight detour from that of his previous project “Monocle Eye” which also has a home in the KFJC library. This album is mostly instrumental barring a few distorted voice samples from what sounds like a mish mash of media (shows, movies, commercials). It begins with “oneMorePush” and ends on “oneLastLaugh”, static-y and beep filled tracks reminiscent of a phone call from a fever dream, creating a fluid journey through all four tracks. It is noticeably more electronic than their first release, though “killWithSmiles” and “thinker” are on the grittier side. If you get lost listening to this, just remember to wiggle your big toe.

Slicing Grandpa – “Casual Pain” – [String Theory Records]

karma   9/7/2022   A Library, CD

They say practice makes perfect. Not so if you are Slicing Grandpa, a 2-person noise/experimental group that apparently practice once a year. They are from Washington State by way of New York, but many of their previous albums seem like they are from (Johnny) Knoxville. As the group approaches their third decade, their music keeps the lo-fi grit of their earlier work while casting off the gross-out titles.

The title track is my favorite, a detuned, Sonic Youthy anthem for anyone struggling with the malaise of daily life. The tracks are examples of the nascent gluewave genre, which I interpret as industrial/noise rock’s take on vaporwave.

Each track is paired with a “B-side” variation, always shorter than the “A-side” more polished version.

Knurl – “Final Decisive Moment. The” – [Oxen]

Thurston Hunger   9/6/2022   A Library, CD

Noise concrete. Mic technique on display in the junkyard garden of cement and steel. Gear grinding of crashed cars, listened to this in part while reading “The Atrocity Exhibition” seemed like a good fit. I preferred “Prime” “Adjustment” and especially “Inferior Elements” – all tracks where some silences serve as shock absorbers or audio igniters. “Inferior Elements” had parts that felt like a better take on Godzilla groans. If you want a more persistent electric feel to the non-organic crash, “Abstraction” might give you that buzz. Knurl is Alan Bloor hailing from Toronto and whaling on disembodied equipment since 1994. Not sure if here he used a bow (seems likely) or effects (maybe not?) here are some videos of earlier performances by him
https://www.youtube.com/user/pantarheirecordings
This was a live 2022 recording, file it under Metal, Actual Metal.
-Thurston Hunger

Doctors of Space – “The Astral Sessions Vol. 1: The Journey Starts”

carsonstreet   9/5/2022   A Library, CD

Doctors of Space is a new project that features Dr Space from Øresund Space Collective/Black Moon Circle and Dr Martin Weaver of Wicked Lady/Dark fame. Dr Space does the synths, Martin creates the drums, bass and guitars. Futuristic space rock.

Dr Weaver- Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Drum Programming
Dr Space- Synthesizers, Hammond, Mellotron

Mixing and Mastering at Estúdio Paraíso nas nuvens, Central Portugal.

Storring, Nick – “Music from Wei”

carsonstreet   9/5/2022   A Library, CD

Nick Storring’s eighth album takes the one-person-orchestra approach for which he is acclaimed and translates it to a single instrument: the piano. Recorded on everything from the innards of an old upright piano to a Disklavier (a computer-controlled acoustic piano) housed at Yamaha’s Toronto offices, and using playing techniques that span conventional to idiosyncratic, Storring conjures a vast and vivid color palette. Music from Wéi was composed for the choreography of his frequent collaborator Yvonne Ng. This layered, multi-tracked score moves fluidly between tender lyrical phrases and driving interlocking figures, and from thick textural swarms to supple transparency. Nick is not afraid of near silence during these relaxed passages. You can almost see the dancers moving gently to the music.

Papir – “7”

carsonstreet   9/5/2022   12-inch, A Library

Papir might be the ultimate expression of the Danish creative soul: distinctively modern, deceptively minimalistic, and stylish yet understated. Papir follow their own road map, creating music with little interest in playing to the masses or catering to a specific genre. The band’s output has varied from epic psychedelic guitar meltdowns à la Earthless to sweeping, reverb-drenched soundscapes…  Many aspects of Papir’s music seem to have much in common with the sea – be it a willful association by the Copenhagen-based trio or not. Their output moves in waves, sometimes fierce and blustery, sometimes gentle and calming, but always performed with unforced, organic talent.

Hot Pursuit of Happiness – “This Day’s Called Tuesday” – [Personal Archives]

Brian Damage   9/2/2022   A Library, CD

Thollem is a Bay Area artist “who has released approximately 100 albums on 23 different vanguard labels, both solo and collaborative,” since 2005.

This is perhaps the ultimate expression of a pandemic lockdown album, solo composed and recorded while doomscrolling the news over the past two years. Stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sung and spoken in what can be almost a whisper of a voice, sometimes so faint you think he might be singing in another language, accompanied by a keyboard with some seriously analog-sounding patches and a TR-808 plug-in, all done in one take, with no overdubs.

Think of it as a mashup of late-70s minimalist synth acts on both sides of the pond (Suicide, Human Sexual Response, The Normal, Soft Cell), Pere Ubu, NON, Loaded-era Velvets, 60s protest folk music, and narrative poetry, all passed through a filter of ennui and exasperation. It’s a whisper, not a scream.

Greyhound – “Scorched Earth” – [self released]

whngr   9/1/2022   A Library, Cassette

A Hardcore Punk vignette etched in Power Violence and old-school metal.

An impassioned sonic treatise on survival in a system designed to crush the individual, the iconoclast, and the marginalized, with a bit of genre cross pollination and a furious delivery by their powerful and very present front person who espoused an unrelenting spite for the crumbling empire. Greyhound opened for Negative Approach a little while back and I was impressed by the intensity of the performance by Ry, who was the embodiment of ferocity before a ragtag group of misfits who clearly appreciate some of the musical arenas I had orbited in my youth. Kinda felt like the old days, sans emphasis on adhering to scene approved costumes. My assumption is these weirdos don’t give a fuck about your fashion sense, they play fast, hard, and mean with only a single song that might be considered vulgar by the…

FCC on Track 11 (B6) “Sorrow/Pain”: “… give a fuck…”

Though the use of prolonged guitar feedback might be dissonant or even distasteful to some; it is hardly obscene, nor will it incur fines, and sounds, to this miserable volunteer, like heavenly minstrels rejoicing in the divine light of pure, eternal, unconditional love.

*All proceeds (of the cassette) go to Self Help Hunger Program’s Temporary Housing Fund in Oakland*

Oakland – 2022

Petric, Joseph – “SEEN” – [Redshift Records]

kittywompus   8/31/2022   A Library, CD

Performed by Canadian accordionist Joseph Petric, this 2022 release is a collection of commissioned songs from various artists over Petric’s long and fairly prolific career. The album’s title work SEEN, a three-part work by Norbert Palej, is intended as a demonstration in spiritual contemplative movement through the accordion’s “intimate” respirations and it is easy to hear as such throughout all three “visions”. A standout track, Pneuma (track 7) was written and produced in 1986 by composer and music curator Peter Hatch; it contains computerized “improvisation” originally created through the use of software of the Yamaha CX5M that has since been imported to Max/MSP due to the obsoletion of said hardware. Nevertheless this track evokes a very surreal and unsettling feel with the use of these computer generated chirps that break through the tracks acoustic sound. Tracks run from 7 minutes and 34 seconds to 14 minutes and 52 seconds, so settle in and enjoy. I would also like to note that SEEN is dedicated to the memory of Leo Niemi (1931-2021), who built and maintained the instrument heard on SEEN.

Penza Penza – “Neanderthal Rock” – [Funk Night]

cadilliac margarita   8/25/2022   A Library

Another bliss trip from prolific prince Misha Panfilov. This dude has like 13 separate projects and just keeps recording, mixing and producing these ultimate trippy instrumentals. This is a zamrock psychedelic freakout …funky fuzzy and lush at the same time. Great beats, drum machines, muddy electric guitars. druggy mixes. Layers upon layers. Not too much variety, but it’s such a cool vibe, you shouldn’t mind. Cruising music for sundazed beach highways. The last track ends in over a minute of drone tone. 

<3!!! Caddy

Jo Rad Silver – “Social Moment” – [Akka & Beep Beep]

karma   8/24/2022   12-inch, A Library

Jo(nah) Rad(uns) Silver(stein) is a DJ from Detroit. His description of his music on bandcamp has more dashes than a Western Union in the 20s. Some of these descriptors border on incredulity or are satirical (I don’t hear much Klezmer in this album, let alone ambient Klezmer), but this is definitely left-field house. Jo Rad Silver is based out of the Motor City and has the industrial, teutonic feel of Detroit techno. The tracks are electronic without the kitsch seen in many other techno and vaporware tracks. Silver isn’t afraid to show all sides of techno. Silver aims to take you on a journey through this album. Though gradual increasing complexity in the tracks and the creative yet subtle use of minor keys, he talks about how, after isolation, the moment to be social is now. Or whenever you want.

United Vibrations – “The Myth of the Golden Ratio” – [Ubiquity Recordings]

aarbor   8/24/2022   A Library, CD

United Vibrations are from London, UK. They are 3 brothers: Ahmad, Kareem, and Yussef Dayes – and close friend Wayne Francis II. They channel their ideas into soundscapes. While their early material was developed by busking and each song created separately, on The Myth Of The Golden Ratio they fused the process for writing and recording. Since they have access to more instruments in the studio, the band has felt even more creative freedom to enhance their sound. The bulk of the album was written over six months, while two older tracks (“Far Far Away” and “Grow”) were treated with new arrangements for this project.

“The Myth Of The Golden Ratio is a story that tells the tale of us and our journey in this world. It has been written for children and anyone with children or a childlike mind. We are inviting people to join us in the search for the Golden Ratio.” Music with a message that defies genre classification. AArbor

Litter – “Newfound Grids” – [Syrphe]

Max Level   8/23/2022   A Library, CD

Litter is a project of audio/video artist Elyse Tabet of Beirut, Lebanon. This CD offers ten pieces of instrumental music that reside somewhere in the vicinity of electro/ambient/glitch with a few forays into trip-hop territory. Each track has a different flavor and each is very well put together to suggest a certain mood. I like the awkward, messed-up beats on #6 and the tense, droning industrial ambience of #10. Tracks are all in the roughly 3 to 4 minute range.

CAC – “The New Morse” – [No Sides Records]

kittywompus   8/23/2022   A Library, CD

This is an 2022 instrumental beat and loop album released by Dan Hintz under Chicago DIY label No Sides Records. The best way I can descibe this album’s sound is by imaging that if you had a little robot buddy who made tunes at your request, this would be his edgy phase (Adventure Time-esque a la BMO). Very rythmic and beat heavy through out with the exception of track 5 “Jerky Silent Film”, which is a somewhat despondent and ominous sounding in its unsettling crashing and skipping (I like to imagine your robot buddy having an existential crisis). I recommend Track 6 “Ring of Cobras” which is a fun dancey little beat.

Kingdom of Not – “Music from the Heaven on top of Heaven” – [Self-release]

Mister S   8/20/2022   12-inch, A Library

KINGDOM of NOT is BUDD UNDERWOOD & THE SLOW POISONER 

12″ Vinyl

Released April 2022

For a moment, suspend disbelief, and imagine you are in a room with a number of the following characters:

Tiny Tim / “Weird Al” Yankovic / Ann Magnussen and Kramer of Bongwater / Spinal Tap / Tim Burton / David Lynch / David Byrne / Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh / Flaming Lip’s Wayne Coyne / Camper van Beethoven / Carl Stalling / Damon Albarn. 

This album may be the result of such a composition of individuals and performance enhancing substances… or not. Musically satirical, lyrically clever. With delivery full of puns and fun! Poppy-silly-demented get your goof-on and kook out rhythms. 

 

Montgomerie, Jo – “From Industry Home” – [Helen Scarsdale Agency]

cinder   8/19/2022   A Library, Cassette

Deliciously decayed sounds from Jo Montgomerie, of Manchester. She originally planned on being a concert pianist, but ended up falling into the world of sound design, foley work, and post-production. Utilizing objects around her home as well as connecting contact mics to her own body, she creates snaps, cracks, sizzles and delectable drones that waft through open steel warehouses and cold dark places. Industrial ambience, forlorn fevers. 

Faceless Entity – “In Via Ad Nusquam” – [Altare Productions]

whngr   8/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

Low fidelity atmospheric Black Metal dirges from the Netherlands.

 Cold, grim, cvlt. Murky. Wailing, bellowing, shrieking. Forlorn caterwauling float above the primarily low to mid tempo marches that conjure imagery of forests cloaked in impenetrable shadow, spectral figures lurking in the periphery, and hollow stares from legions of cursed skeletal remains. Bookended by sullen guitar intro/outro tracks to chill the marrow on wicked nights lit by ghoulish lunar crescents enshrouded in ominous fog.

Little is known about this mysterious three-piece (perhaps now a duo) though there was a tour with Dödsrit and Lamp of Murmuur that included this year’s Roadburn Festival in April of 2022.

Somewhere in Holland – 2017

Golem Mechanique – “Nona, Decima et Morta” – [Ideologic Organ]

puplaif   8/17/2022   12-inch, A Library

Golem Mecanique is Karen Jebane, a French songstress, composer, and sound artist. Through her music she aspires to transcend herself and listeners to another time space. She takes a minimalist approach to her compositions, incorporating her voice, drone box, a pedal or two, and in the case of this album, organ. Marion Cousin makes a special appearance, contributing vocals and harmonium. 

The album title features the names of the Three Fates, the mythological goddesses who determine human destiny, lifespan, and allotment of suffering. The lyrics appear on the back album cover, and suggest the full on embodiment of the fates through these two, side-long pieces. This sacred music puts listeners in direct communication with these faded goddesses who lurk, waiting to lure you into a state of meditative half sleep. 

At first impression it’s a bit eerie, but if you allow yourself to let go and immerse your senses, there’s an unexpected comfort to be found in the drone’s womb-like pulse and the soft, elongated vocalizations. 

pressed on clear, crushed blackberry vinyl.

american “Violate and Control” [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

atavist   8/16/2022   12-inch, A Library

american are a duo out of Virginia who prefer not to capitalize their name. In this 2017 release, their mix of vocals, stripped-down guitar, and industrial-adjacent precision recalls recent efforts to take vestiges of the black metal format and stray well outside those bounds. This is territory that has been explored in recent years by projects like Loss of Self, Botanist, and Liturgy, among others. The track “Bedsheet Ossuary” is an early standout. Climbing, yearning, but ultimately bleak, like cresting a slag heap only to find a plain of ruin stretching to the horizon. They’re willing to go shoegazy (“Forever a Wicked Form”) and dabble in pure noise (“Submission Psalm”). They can also lay down a riff and drive the fuck out of it (“Amorous and Subdued”) before spiraling into dissolution. “Ischemia- The Longing Agony” features a 911 call of a child reporting the suicide of her brother. They even throw a Godfleshy doom-tempo track in for good measure (“Defecting Ways”). I hear a bit of Unsane in “I Am Thine Enemy”. Save room for the staggering, reeling defeat of “Paradise Again”. One LP, several ways to ingest your gloom. 

The Manakooras – “The Manakooras” – [Hi-Tide]

Cousin Mary   8/15/2022   7-inch, A Library

Exotica with a capital E from this North Carolina band. Three instrumental pieces that are gorgeous and tropical. Love, love, love the steel guitar. (Manakoora in Polynesian language loosely translates to witchcraft. Manakoora is a reef in Western Australia)

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