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Music Reviews

Sparks, Tim “Tanz” [Tzadik]

angel   5/31/2006   A Library, CD

Tim Sparks = guitar
Greg Cohen = bass
Cyro Baptista = a vast array of percussion
Sparks made guitar adaptations for traditional Yiddish, Sephardic, and Oriental Jewish songs and shared them with some friends. The sounds are homegrown, heartfelt, nostalgic, dreamy, refreshing, and rocking! Music from different regions of the world can sound so similar. Persian, Blues, Brazilian, Klezmer, and The Far East: These musicians and composers bring it all together beautifully!

Bozulich, Carla “Evangelista” [Constellation]

angel   5/31/2006   A Library, CD

Carla is a howling, engulfing power, who takes you just past the brink of all misery and then comforts you back to surreality, in her arms . there are some guest musicians, including other singers, violin, viola, cello, contrebasse, rained-on piano, guitars, drums, rain, cat sounds (#4), casio, bass, mandolins . an organ bellows into the infinite darkness . strange instruments and samples creak and quiver, like the confines of a troubled brain . move through ebbs and epic flows, an orchestra of Earthly rage, from soft whispers to torrents of sound .
a continuous work of art, cut into seamless tracks
a symphony of gleeful sorrow
a desperate plea for reunion

Carter, Tom – “Glyph” – [Digitalis Industries]

Numa   5/31/2006   A Library, CD

Lawn Chair Joints. A well deserved reissue of some of Tom Carter’s solo instrumental work here. Tom Carter (? of the Charalambides) originally released this album in 2004 as a very limited CD-R, but thanks to Brad Rose and Digitalis, this three track album sees the light of day again. Two acoustic guitar pieces surrounding a slow roasting, 34:37, lap steel barrage is what makes up this album. No effects, overdubs, and tom-foolery on this album, just Tom at Bullbabe studios in Austin, Texas with his instruments. The lap steel track was recorded in one of the hallways at the recording studio. This loose style of the recordings is a large part of what opens you up to Tom Carter’s solo work. Throw the metronome out of the window, and just open your ears to let the music flow into your mind. — Numa

Hella – “Homeboy” – [5RC]

Numa   5/31/2006   A Library, CD

Avant-garde Noise Rock. Hella is the Sacramento-based duo of Zach Hill and Spencer Siem. The anarchic drumming of Zach Hill continues to be a staple of the Hella sound on this 4 song EP. Spencer Siem adds in the guitars and electronics giving some of the tracks the sound that you only wish your old 8-bit Nintendo could have put out. (not surprising since Spencer plays drums in a Nintendo cover band) This is what computer game music should have been like 20 years ago, not that laptop modified stuff that every teenager is making these days. In the way that Nintendo bridged the international teenage culture gap through localization of video games, Hella does the same for the ‘Noise Rock? genre that embraces them. A woman on tracks 1 and 3 randomly screams non-sequitur rants at the video game unfolding in your mind. — Numa

FCC Unfriendly Language: Track 1

Cherry, Don – “”Mu” First Part ” – [Byg Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   12-inch, Jazz

’69 finds Don Cherry and frequent collaborator Ed
Blackwell going OFF…off to the races. Lot’s of
staccatto infused energy. Blackwell’s drums are
really mic’d crisply, horse-power percussion just
barely harnessed. Sounds great w/ the ebullient,
sweet trumpet of Cherry. Don even moves on to some
great flute on this, well-bridged by Blackwell who
literally never misses a beat. After that, Blackwell
works in cowbell clanking; all the percussion segues
on this album are spot on! Tribal enchantment flair
in abundance, something Cherry often brought to his
music. His wordless incantantions turn up on A-side.
There’s even piano on the flip, and some more somber
sephardic scaling. Cherry’s a nomadic musi-genius.
LP starts with this exhillirating little passage
and pace pretty much never languishes…morse code
urgency at most times. Cherry lived from 1936-95,
his music (and with Ornette, Ayler, Sun Ra) will
always be here. Always very alive! -Thurston Hunger

Waldo the Dog Faced Boy – “Suite American ” – [Win Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Damn, where is Waldo now? This is bounty from the
2000 Mayhem Special on the splendid W.I.N. Records
Label, launched by this band’s bassist Devin Sarno
( W.I.N.= Waldo International Network)
Released back in ’92 as a single to “Tingle,”
two tracks here are taken from that full length.
“Suite American” is really the lp’s “western”
portion of that suite…has some stops
and starts to it, gentle gingham picnic
pop over rattling rimshots and a clearly
front and center tromboner – Jim Richards!
“Rumpus the Muncher” has a trombone nearly as
blissfully obscene as its title. Saucy
female carney vox from Mary Ellen Mason.
“John” is the piece unique to this 7″, we hear
the early rumblings of Devin’s love for
big boom bass drone. Poop Alley-head Tom
Grimley adds skittish guitar, and more
arcing t-bone. Fiesty free.
Putting the riot in patriots…. -Thurston Hunger

Funk Soul Sisters [coll] – [None]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   12-inch, Soul

Ebony chiffon grace and grit, voices of vitality
and vulnerability. Etta James spells out what it
is to be W-O-M-A-N, the buttery entreat of Nina
Simone coos to be rescued, while Dione Warwick
eschews the saintly high road, with enough
pride to hide the pain inside. Music like this
is so strong, simple and true…I don’t mind
writing or hearing cliches. A haircut is a simple
thing, but if you spend all day in the beauty
parlor, look OUT. Similarly these ladies can
gussy up phrases like “Hang On in There” and
“Shake Your Booty.” I dug the brisk guitar flicks
behind Little Denice, the strangely Fripplike
soundscaping with Lynn Christopher. On the funk
to funny phase, Susan struts down Sesame Street
and Patrizia plucks soul from the mouths of babes.
Are you my mother? -Hunger Hears a Hoo Yeah

Devl – “Devl ” – [None]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

Dark massivity…shrapnel left over from the band
“Tin River Junction.” Drew aka Action Housecat,
and John aka King Bass Chord whip thick guitar
with some moog mulch. Volcanic mechanics…as
heavy as sludge, but not slogged down. Lot’s of
ignition. Firecracker drums/drum machines…
guitar solo conflagrations…cruisin’ for a Band
of Susans’ sound? Don King Caballero Crimson?’
Traces of Scorn…nice bottomed out basslines.
Very few vocals, and even less mercy. Some mutter
buttering on “Syithos”, bad phone call frantic
antics on “Falling-is-the-next-big-thing” and
a little mantra mumbling at the end of that too.
Music for branding!?!? Worshp Ths! – Thurston Hunger

Autechre – “Basscadet Mxs ” – [Tvt Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

’94 remixes from the first/only single off
the Incunabula cd. AUdio TEchnical REsearch.
Would Pan Sonic and Pole have happened w/o
Autechre? I’m only asking…check with
Goodwrench or Toni Rumori if you want the
answer. Remember Artificial Intelligence
collections, ever unweary machines pummell
us fleshtrons into submission. Great
“klungs” and “pings” and synthcymbals
coupled with sweeps of floodlight string
impersonators. First cut is sticky viscuous.
#2 portrays happiness for meat grinders.
#3 is Mark Clifford deftly applying his
“SeeFeel”, 3+ minutes of life-support
tension dropping to just a stark drumbot,
and then back to drone paradox. Throaty
#4 is Beaumont Hannant, I guess this is
representative of that “Intelligent Dance
Floor” tweakery with squeeze-toy faux(?’)
turntable wheels spinning? Stong finish
with a La Brea Tar Dub. Stark mechanical
machine language from the 90’s.
-Thurston Hunger

Polly Shang Kuan/Smack Music 7 [coll] – [Ecstatic Peace]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   7-inch, A Library

Tape manipulation experiments from Thurston
Moore’s “Ecstatic Peace” label. A side
project named after a Shaolin warrior
actress? Recalls Alga Marghen style, French
de/re/composition of language lessons?’
“Cadillac” and “cl-cl-click” loopage lead up
to a rather stellar locked groove. B-side
brings us “Smack Music 7”, and the piece here
could be called “Smile”, clearly the response
to too many force photogenic moments. Sounds
a little like Alvin and the Chipmunks on
an avant garde tip. Homemade hypnosis…
-Thurston Hunger

Future Pilot Aka – “Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea ” – [Geographic]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   12-inch, A Library

A curry boils in Glasgow…tranplant Sushil
K Dade is the captain of Future Pilot, but
he commands a pretty free-wheeling crew.
Members from Teenage Fanclub and Belle and
Sebastian don uniforms, pick up whatever
instruments are handy and help craft this
sunny and relaxed pop album. The calmest
day at sea…like a lullaby in parts. As
gentle as a plush toy, and as comfy as
slippers…Hindi hints and mantra moments
make this prayer pop…but it’s not so
solemn, no brooding monks…more soothing
joy. A wide array on instruments give this
more color than its base of sheer synth
pop. Friend-ship sails on these tiny waves.
Excellent (ocean?)liner notes. -SS Hunger

Sun Ra & Intergalactic Infinty – “Night of the Purple Moon, the ” – [El Saturn Research]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   12-inch, Jazz

Herman Poole Blount walked this planet (others
too) as Sun Ra. He spoke and played in koans,
and cloaked his message in the early marriage
of synthesizers and jazz. On this release
it’s just him and a few select crew members,
an Arkestra away team, exploring the realms
of the purple moon. Initially the atmosphere
has an air of bluesy swing, the solar wind
mounts though. Ra’s blocky, choppy Roksichord
keyspace twinkerings constitute the whole of
A-side closer “Outside the Time Zone”. On the
flip we find a dark side of this Moon, some
lunar clarinet roving but most prominent is
the Roksichord, (allegedly stolen from Sun Ra
some time in the early 70’s after this initial
release) What a sound! John Gilmore plays
*drums* on this album, instead Danny Davis is
the main reed man, including uncredited flute
on “The All of Everything.” The Sun shines on
this “Night.” Ra-velation! -Thuston Hunger

Satlah – “Satlah ” – [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   CD, Jazz

The initial release from this remarkable trio
lead by alto sax Danny Zamir, who moved from
Israel to NYC in 1998. The guy sizzles, this
smokes as smoothly as *any* Masada release, not
only did Zorn dig this, and release it on his
own label…but he couldn’t resist joining in.
There are some interesting excerpts of taped
rabbi chanting (#3) but generally this is just
a glistening sweet/sour release, as Klezmer
often is. I know Klezmer is traditionally
wedding music but I guess it is written for
both the bride/groom as well as ex-lovers
of both who might be in a more bitter mood.
Check the great construction of #6, and then
after that #7 you could hear as 60’s village
vanguard…I bet big band arrangements of
these would also rule. Cabbalah calypso at
times. Listen and oy vey! -Thurston Hunger

Botkin, Perry – “Combines 3 ” – [Botkin Music]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

Tantrum electronic composition and confessions.
Something very early-sounding to the synth
tones Botkin generates. Mushroomy horn sounds,
cartoony attacks of sound… Spliced up
utterings…”Fists” is the life and death of
a piano and its player as told by a heavy
breathing troll. That troll voice returns
for a sort of Twin Peaks tale on “Stravinsky
Dream.” “What’s That Supposed to Mean?” keeps
sex and confusion entwined in a chaotic,
cohesive embrace. Irrational cum irritating
hormone tones and porno vox. Martial tenseness
at times…and yet eerily playful. There’s
a large hairy man in the children’s sandbox,
look and listen! -Thurston Hunger

Sapera – “Snake Charmers of India ” – [Canyon Records Productios]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   CD, International

Hypnotic sonic cocktails – captured raw and
vibrant like some slithering Amps for Christ
and Sun City Girls collaboration…instead this
is authentic snake sorcery. A swaying to every
track stirs your spine, the inner serpent.
“Pungi” are the reed instruments wherein circular
breathing drones ensnare these buzzing neo-techno
lines. Bouncy juggling percussion from “premtals”
contrasts a more relaxed, loping vibe to the
striking insistent improvised “pungi” airs.
Bubbly plucking under dry fuzz soaring. Liner
notes beckon you as surely as the playing here
does. Skin and sin shedding. -Thurston Hunger

Danielson Famile – “Fetch the Compass Kids ” – [Secretly Canadian]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

…if the Brady Bunch were visited by the
Pixies on that lost turnpike episode, where
Alice wound up in the emergency ward ‘cuz
she od’d on Marcia’s helium stash. All the
kids got on their knees, prayed and made up
instant hymns. They had a campfire there
between i.v. drips and cough drops. I know
this is an acquired taste, but dammit if you
like Lucky Charms, and people who can just
plain YELP, please join me in adoring this.
Sounds like a flea circus du soleil or high
school talent show take on Sonic Youth at
times. Guess what it’s a Catholic school.
This is why the monsignor feared “acoustic
mass” in the 70’s. Oh man, they got handclaps
too! Squeaky clean pop. It is right to give
them thanks and plays… -Brother Hunger

Lloyd, Demarnia – “Trace ” – [Arclife]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

Girl meets Cloudboy, listener falls in love.
Girl records solo ep for a non-profit coffee
shop/label, listener can’t stop playing CD.
Listener begins to defy gravity, and rise on
cushions of layered, feathered tracked vox.
Wistful and wishful whispers beckon. Imagine
a delicate-appearing flower, seemingly as
frail as it is beautiful. Fixated on it,
you draw closer to breathe in every nuance of
scent and of sound, except the experience
overwpowers and pppaaarrrraaalllyyzes uuyuou
Caann”’t feeellllll anytthinng bbbbut th
ppppretttty poooissson poppop poppies her.

Hear Her Here Her Hear Here Here Hear Her.

New Zealand’s Demarnia Lloyd reminds you
that you are the frail one. No antidote.
Ethereal garden fragrant iso-songs -Thurston Hunger

Monster Under Bed – “Tomorrow’s Hangover ” – [Pervertidora]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

Finally a band (person? being?) not afraid
of the dark, the dusty, and the pitch wheel.
Lot’s of slowed-down-to-the-point-of-a-
fallen-arcangel voice loops, over programmed
synth pogroms. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Mugwump?
Overall more Baby Godzilla than the big guy
himself. Scaly, flakey, a special spew of
old Gary Numan lps and flea market hi-finds.
Spooky good…upchuck on the downbeat.
-Thurston Hunger

Need New Body – “Need New Body ” – [Cenotaph Audio]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

Twisted pop, fake jazz, and a sorta Woody
Allen sense of humour (check out “20$sh”
for some great monkey business). Rapid
fire numchuk chuckles and musical white
knuckles. Pretty much cover all genres
known to mankind, and invent a few others
at the same time. All done with a poof
of spoof. (You can’t call “C R Eyeball”
reggae, but “Gamble On/Banji” sure is
gamelan country) Sickly sweet synths,
slightly drunk drums and odd bursts of
amazing horn playing. Add in occasional
fresh-out-of-the-asylum vocals.
Beefheartache? -Thurston Hunger

Magic Carpathians, the – “Denega ” – [Obuh Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/29/2006   A Library, CD

So Atman was a tremendous basement psych
project that lasted well over 20 years but
vanished into the air in 1998…in it’s
stead we now find these Carpathians, named
after the mountains in Poland where the
lead singer hails from. Anna’s voice is a
rare bird, cutting through dense clouds of
reverb. A lot of the songs here are remixed
to an even more blurry status, sometimes
submerged in little sonic tide pools. Too
stony for folk, to edgy for mystical music,
gypsy techno, ethereal jazz, makes me think
of ambient pop in some ways but not so
charted out. Man, this is the balm…a
soother of exotic instruments. When they
performed at KFJC, there was more of Anna’s
voice, this is a driftier side to the Magic.
-Thurston Hunger