Fundraiser 2018 — Donate now!

Music Reviews

Somethings #1 [coll] – [Last Visible Dog Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

The Last Visible Dog label is consistently interesting, especially in
the past when collections were output. This time, label runner Chris
Moon steps aside to allow Ilya Monosov to curate the choices. As
befits his releases with Preston Swirnoff, this is a peaceful chill
plus by and large. Some of my favorite moments were in Masayoshi
Urabe’s piece (#7) but these little eruptions of almost vietnamese
khene are embedded in long passages of pure silence. Make it work,
even without mixing. The collection starts off the most active, with
the mighty Chie Mukai and her violin processed, some flurries fly and
she intones with moan while someone scrubs a box of mini-snare drums (?)
..maybe Chie herself. The next up Andrew Deutsch plays shell like
metal percussion, while Joe McPhee flutters about for awhile, then
Deutsch squeezes some sounds out of a sax reed making it sound like it
was a balloon being pulled through a tight space. Downright ducky in
parts, after awhile McPhee stops the soft-shoe flutter and opens up a
sweet and skonky solo. Hard to put into words, but really an outstanding
piece. Nick Castro is up next for four pieces, nothing poppy here, more
mediation in miniature. Three tracks that are more percussive in nature
but very soft. Then a motor rumbler…all four Castro numbers are more
static, and thus droney than the two openers. Sarah Peebles offers nice
shoegaze pop…without the shoes…and without the pop. An nice evolving
drone. Monosov then calls his own number for a gentle microscopic
movement, and his pal Preston Swirnoff sends things out with a spiral
of piano on peddles. I always dig when bands visit KFJC and play guest
DJ, and that’s sort of what this collection is like.

-Thurston Hunger

Spektr – “No Longer Human Senses ” – [Candlelight (UK)]

Thurston Hunger   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

Two piece from France, Krig from Battlehome and Hth from Haemoth. While
others are more versed in, and drawn towards, the doom boom, this snared
my ear for the ambient flotsam and jetsam drifting in. For the sections
when the hellbent, crunchdrive guitars abate, the vocal growl vanishes
and we get washes of deceased organ, loops of macabre vinyl and a lot
of foul wind blowing. Those haunted mansion moments are what make this
release, cinematic more than just dark noise, and often they dominate
tracks (not just used as intro/outro pieces). “Nothing’s Been Worth
Saving” drifts along like a buoy clanking in the river Styx, with
some heavy chains lashed to and locking the listener in place. There’s
enough Black Sabbath worship in the guitar, and infernal drumming
runs to retain the dark masses, but this might also appeal to fans
of Swill Radio or maybe Helen Mirra (for the creaky atmospherics here
remind me of her lost-at-sea 10″). -Thurston Hunger

Branca, Glenn – “Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses ” – [Atavistic]

cujo   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

1981: Branca “writes”, records (with help from Thurston Moore) Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses for 10 guitars and 1 drums/tympani.
1982: John Cage, a living idol, attends a new music festival in Chicago, hearing all 100 concerts. He singles out Branca for derision, going on record as labelling IAoRM as portentous of the “end of the world” during the course of So That Each Person Is In Charge Of Himself, a recording of Cage’s responses. This causes a scandal.
1997: Tensions over Cagegate flare up again, this time between Branca and online Cageheads.
2005: Branca is still bitter, and releases IAoRM and STEPIICOH on Atavistic, with the piece Harmonic Series Chords as filler. OK, I’m exaggerating the drama, but Atavistic’s packaging sure makes it seem like Branca is overcompensating, which makes me want to think that Glenn should be thankful that his piece was good enough to attract Cage’s attention, even if Cage misreacted like a crazy pompous ass.

Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses: 10 guitars and some drums & tympani in a slowly oozing rhythmic sludge. Think Dreyblatt without the math (though this well predates Dreyblatt) with a hefty dose of metallic Lucier resonance. Nice.
So That Each Person Is In Charge Of Himself: Supposedly an interview between Cage and Wim Mertons (author of American Minimalist Music), but mostly Cage does all the talking on Navy Pier. He talks crazy for 20 minutes, ragging on Branca, throwing out absurdities, and also showing some world-artist-weary insight. I’d never heard him talk before; he’s so effeminate!
Harmonic Series Chords: 7 minutes of a series of harmonic series chords. Filler only; not the best Branca out there.

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2007

Ved Buens Ende – Written in Waters (Candlelight)

outlier   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

Carl Michael Eide is an artist whose achievements in audio art are legendary.?? Aura Noir and Ved Buens Ende are??two of??the better known projects but his contributions and influence reach far beyond.?? Serpentine and sinister vocals over a pounding rapture of precise percussion and power guitar progression.?? The theatric delivery of vocals in a madman’s voice is the trademark of VBE, a crying laughter or polyphonic quality found nowhere else.?? Thorzine thrash, slowed down to the point of a grooving swagger.?? Anthems for the dark knight dispatched to slay the dragon and a gentle piece with??male and female vocals that achieves a timeless beauty??that will never fade no matter how often it is heard.

3W:????BEAUTY AND BEASTLY?????????????? -Outlier

Mahogany Brain – Some Cocktail Suggestions (Fractal)

outlier   2/28/2007   12-inch, A Library

French underground legends Michel Bulteau and Patrick Geoffrois unleash??the gods’ stash of avant wisdom on the unknowing masses.?? Slightly deconstructed delicacies, fender flange at lightspeed and HIGH-end audio art is what these artists deal in.?? Bulteau throws down some inspired Burroughsian vocal stylings nested in nebulous and nefarious??experimental sound??sculptures.?? This is the 3rd lp from the group in 2005 following two releases in the early 70’s.


3W: MEMORIES HAVE MELTED??????????????????-Outlier

Marclay, Christian – Guitar Drag (Neon)

outlier   2/28/2007   12-inch, A Library

Recorded in San Antonio, TX, the soundtrack for this icon’s eye candy first shown at??London’s Hayward Gallery exhibition??’Sonic Boom’ in 2000.?? Fender stratocaster, rope and truck recreate barbaric punishment rituals in the Texas sun.?? Rambling rattling roughed up 14 minutes of guitar abuse producing an aggressively ambient flux.?? This could only be heard at installations until this release came out in 2005.

3W: Inconceivably Conceptually Fucked???????????? -Outlier

Eddie the Rat – Once Around the Butterfly Bush (Edgetone)

outlier   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

Altered upbeat enchanting chimes sound with a ‘Spires That In The Sunset Rise’ meets the Residents and take some psychotropics feel.??Complexly simple piano, voice and percussion transcend the jazz/pop/avant elements??in??this magical mix that approaches a Caroliner cabaret in the limit.?? A mesmerizing but sensibly evolving path wherein parts initially clash then fall slowly into perfect place with revolving pieces of the moving musical mobile.


Jackie O Motherfucker – America Mystica (New Friendly) 2xLP

outlier   2/28/2007   12-inch, A Library

Drifting dreamstate trance magic from Tom Greenwood and Brooke Crouser joined by Honey Owens, Alexander Tucker, Jeff Mooridian, Samara Lubelski and others.?? This Portland portal to the other side has once again busted our at another seam in the fabric of what is American music.?? Live recordings from Bristol, England and WFMU… Forest moments, trance seance and other minded outsounds from the group that knows no bounds.

3W: Trip Trance Troubadors???? -Outlier

Berio, Luciano – Differences Sequenza III & VII Due pezzi (Modern Music Series)

outlier   2/28/2007   12-inch, A Library

Early works from the Italian master composer ranging from 1951 to 1965.?? The use of magnetic tape on Differences is one of the most captivating experiences in modern music.?? You are floating along in a symphonic cloud of elegance and then….WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ??? When the higher dimension is abandoned, returning to the atmosphere of classical aesthetics you realize that some dude in the 50’s transported your ass to the triposphere with the precise vision of composition not some electric guitar freakout.?? Surely God smiled when he found out about this.??


Jesu – Conqueror (Hydra Head)

outlier   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

Justin Broadrick lays down some simple wisdom and sensible songs to rise through the fog of underwhelmed emotions in an overwhelming world.?? Pushed to the point of not caring but realizing the empty reward of detached reasoning, comfort is found in knowing that circumstances are beyond any one person’s struggle.?? Sounds that reflect the rays of sunlight breaking through rainclouds that have overstayed their welcome, surrendering to emotions while holding faith in recovery and return to better days. Chrystalized Movements may come to mind on some of these tracks

3W:Hear Feel Heal???? -Outlier

Daryl Licht posted this review on 10/25/07:

On their latest release Justin Broadrick???s Jesu continues its evolution down the musical path illuminated on the ???Silver??? LP. Although this release contains the same basic sonic elements as all previous Jesu recordings (thick, ???wall of sound??? guitars, mechanical rhythms, layered, droning keyboards, and reverbed/delayed vocals) the emphasis continues to focus more on the pop spectrum. So, yeah, there???s still thick guitar feedback heaviness, but now it comes in waves, accompanied by dreamy keyboard dronescapes, instead of the precision pound and massive blocks of riffage featured on their self-titled double LP. Personal favorites include the fuzzy dream pop of ???Transfigure??? and the distorto pop dirge “Weightless And Horizontal”.

This special, Japanese-only issue also contains a bonus disc with the two lengthy tracks from the, as of yet, unreleased ???Sun Down / Sun Rise??? LP. The first of these two tracks,???Sun Down???, is another piece that sounds very much like an extended version of the material on the first disc. ???Sun Rise??? continues to feature similar elements of sound, as well, but lowers the level of sonic density considerably to create a more ambient piece that even includes some electronica informed touches. Personally, I thought these two tracks were among the better pieces on this two disc set.

While I must admit that I found this release, overall, to be quite enjoyable, I???m not sure how interested I???ll continue to be in future Jesu titles if Broadrick???s sonic evolution continues further down its current path. When the ???Sun Down / Sun Rise??? LP does come out, it (also containing only two lengthy tracks) will make a fitting bookend to the ???Heart Ache??? CD (still the best Jesu title, in my humble opinion!) and, perhaps, a good note on which to close out the Jesu phase of Broadrick???s career before he runs its good name and reputation into the ground of disrepute like he did with Godflesh.

I Am The Arm – Glory Bound (New Line)

outlier   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

A tight midwestern rambler sound (ala Jesus Lizard/Number None) with some metallic blues accents that belies their Portland origins. Finger-snapping skanked-out city rhythms and chiseled six-string scales setup the sassy vocal delivery that will remind of Richard Hell.?? Angry and aggressive with some bipolar moments, rock and roll hybrid sounds emanating from dub, black leather and a handfull of pills.?? The occasional voiceover drop-ins revisit the early 90’s sound without nostalgic aftertaste.??

3W: Wiseguys Out West?? – Outlier

Weasel Walter Quartet – Revolt Music (UgExplode)

outlier   2/28/2007   CD, Jazz

Smash and grab jazz with nothing but furious free sounds in mind.?? Artful pursuits of nothing in particular and everything in general, ambitious in assembly and unpretentious in delivery.?? This kind of session usually sails some rough waters but here all the waves are generated by mass voluntary response, all at once, without trying to govern the groove.?? The Weasel rips the space-time continuum and leaves a trace of sensibility in the wake of the group’s path. Standing on the shoulders of giants and pissing on the prissy penned prose of jazz critics dead or alive. Several tracks recorded at 21 Grand??


Cohran, Phillip and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble – The Malcolm X Memorial (Katalyst Entertainment)

outlier   2/28/2007   CD, Jazz

Inspirational ensemble depiction of Malcolm X’s life in four parts.?? Starting from bluesy beginnings then moving to a streetwise jazz demonstration the swing is hard and the swagger undeniable.?? Uplifting in tone and rhythm, sobering in overall sound, this is wake music for all time beyond the moments of Malcolm X.?? A monumental musical experience that honors its master with proud sounds from the roots the struggle to the funeral flowers.?? This definitely is a recording that reaches beyond its genre to a higher ground and inspired sound.??


Thrall, Ure – Arabian Knightmares (Tesco)

outlier   2/28/2007   A Library, CD

Donated by Mr. Hate so you know this serious. Deep sound collage explorations of depraved civilizations and the addiction of aggression.?? A style not unlike Phillip Jeck with a more purposeful message underlying the drift and dreamdrone currents.?? UT is a former Voice of Eye collaborator who is not afraid to offer commentary on the ongoing struggle of Arabic identity.?? One of the more interesting packages of sound as well, complete with postcards to piss off the imperialists.?? Find yourself questioning what the fuck is going on while the sounds enter your system and know that audio art makes a big fucking difference in the perceptions of whatever reality you live in.??


Charles Wuorinen “On Alligators” [tzadik]

cujo   2/27/2007   A Library

A mixed-bag 2005 release from Tzadik featuring the music of Charles Wuorinen (b. 1938). Wuorinen is known for writing lots of serial music and for being the youngest winner of the Pewlitt Surprise (in 1970 for the electronic work Time’s Encomium).

Title Track: shrill instrumentation and poor miking/mixing make for an awful chamber work.

4th String Quartet: apparently an academic triumph, but this expansive, breathy work is a bit of a yawn.

Natural Fantasy: _now_ we’re getting somewhere… this is a fractally-inspired impromptu for organ. Delicious temporal liberties are taken. This is proof that pitch selection isn’t necessarily the most important thing in writing music.

3rd Piano Concerto: …and now we’ve arrived. Ohlsson surprisingly breaks out of the Chopin mold to deliver this work with all the thrust of your typical fast-slow-fast concerto, but with none of the melody or harmony. I believe this is what they call a good romp. Your ears also can’t miss the great percussion and trombone writing.

-Cujo, KFJC, February 2007

the Satoko Fujii Orchestra “Maru” [Bakamo Records]

cujo   2/27/2007   CD, Jazz

They’re good, really good! I get the impression all members are superlative instrumentalists possessing perfect control of fatness and squeal. What makes this stand out from recent big band additions? An undercurrent of funk, and a reliance on rhythms. Some standouts:

Track 1, Slip-on: It’s funky!

Track 3, Maru: A jangly electric guitar slashes its way through very martial rhythms & riffs.

Track 5, Bennie’s waltz: Japan-Sicily foreign exchange program!

Track 6, Sakuradori sen: totally tubalar intro (somebody light the Richoux-symbol!), a nearly epic trumpet/tenor duet, a drum solo fit for Max Level, and a collapsing wrap-up.

Booyakasha Maru!

-Cujo, KFJC, January 2007


sailordave posted this review on 03/09/07:

This is an upbeat hip fun to play fun to listen 6 song CD that I suggest everyone take a listen to. Track 3- MARU is catchy and has an awesome quick beat and tempo. SLIP ON is perhaps my favorite. All are worthy as I see all 6 tunes have been played on various shows. Some thing here for all to enjoy

Om: Hip Hop, Volume One [coll] – [Om Records]

Max Level   2/27/2007   CD, Hip Hop

The Om label, with a history of fine collections, such as those Deep/Deeper Concentration LPs, comes up big in 2007 with this batch of tracks. Many diverse styles, influenced by R&B, reggae, dub, Latin funk, disco, and a few other things, are heard here. Every one of the tracks has something strong going on ???whether it???s good production and beats, impressive lyrical flow, vocal harmonies, etc??? as well as real creativity and some elements that are, well, just a bit weird. And that last one is the real secret, I think; these artists give you some of the hip hop sounds you expect and they also hit you with things you don???t. Some familiar names pitch in: Erykah Badu guests on one of the tracks by Strange Fruit Project, and the track by E Da Boss features Gift Of Gab and Lateef the Truth Speaker. I can???t really get with the lyrics on the two tracks by The One, just because of his ideas and the way he expresses them, though I do kind of admire the slow dirge feel and clunky beats on his tracks. #9 is an apology to women for the inconsiderate way men treat them. Everything here is worth a listen, and, as any good collection should, this set makes me want to explore most of these artists further.

Franziska Baumann “Eternal Ice Melts (Voice Sphere Remixes by Lull, Seetyca, Clemens Presser, and Submerged)” [soleilmoon]

cujo   2/26/2007   A Library

Well before you know what the ???gimmick??? is, this album is a keeper. It???s remixes from Baumann???s 2004 album Voice Sphere, which is music made by recording the sound of melting glaciers (stereo, zoom, contact mics).

Of particular worth is Track 3, which takes you on a spelunking trip through the human psyche. You wander through a cavernous human brain, observing drippy medulla oblangati, underground rivers of id, thunderclouds of doubt, and some husky song and crazed yodel. Left hemisphere and right hemisphere are explored.

This is brought to you by Mick Harris aka Lull, who also supplies Track 5, a basso profundo drone that will put your subwoofers to the test (mine failed).

The sound of glaciers melting is sterile, pure, and just a switch away from being foreboding. Even the techno/glitch beat that emerges on track 6 (which is in no way unwelcome) seems like it???s a ProTools click away from Venetian Snares destruction.

-Cujo, KFJC, January 2007

Zu & Takemura, Nobukazu – “Identification With The Enemy : A Key to The Underworld ” – [Atavistic]

Max Level   2/26/2007   A Library, CD

Italian bass/drums/sax trio Zu are known for their loud, radical, often sludgy, prog-math-jazz. In addition, they are always up for an inspired collaboration. Their partner this time is DJ/re-mixer/noise expert Takemura (his discography includes work with Steve Reich, DJ Spooky, Yo La Tengo… need I go on?). Zu do what they do best, hitting hard with metallic, overdriven bass, crazed drumming, and squealing baritone sax. Takemura adds strange electronic flavors; low buzzing ambience, percussive glitchiness, and things like that. Just a guess, but some of the source material for his electronic manipulations may have been Zu-generated; I hear things that might possibly be bass, drums, and/or sax severely processed into near unrecognizability. This is a great release, and for me the best parts are when the Zu crew aren’t playing at full volume. Takemura adds something completely new to Zu when they leave him space to work. There are also some sections that sound like they are pretty much just him, and those are also good but in a different way.

Chrome Cranks, The – “Diabolical Boogie ” – [Atavistic]

sailordave   2/22/2007   A Library, CD

The DIABOLOCAL BOOGIE is a two CD set with previously unreleased and demos that the band has done through out their long careers.
Band member and song writer Paul Aaron calls this an exorcism.
Well LINDA BLAIR MY HEAD because I am exorcised.
This is an excursion into the depths of punk and blues. Every song is worth listening to. They do an AC/DC Dog Eat Dog. which is as good if not better than AC/DC’s.
CD 2 has longer and bluesier jams. CD 1 more traditional shorter punk tunes.
JULIE DO YOU LOVE ME on cd 2 is a jam.
NO foul language except on SACRED SOUL I heard a MOFO. I listened over and over and it sounds like it. It may not have been an actual mofo but it isn’t worth the risk.
THIS IS GOOD STUFF. If you like Punk you will like this . If you don’t like punk, you do not pass go and you do not collect 200 dollars. AND must listen to Britney Spears.