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Music Reviews

Four Tet – “There Is Love In You” – [Domino Recording Co Ltd]

SAL9000   2/28/2010   A Library, CD

Kieran Hebdan has been inactive for the last five years as far as his own material goes. He has been busy creating remixes and collaborating with Steve Reid. His latest release, There Is Love In You is lovely, hypnotic, minimalist dance music, with some hazy electronics layered over contrasting dance beats. This sprawls over numerous music styles from the jazzy to house rhythm and textures, but playful. All fun and cute, loops, drums and childlike at times.

Davignon, Matt – “Living Things” – [Edgetone Records]

SAL9000   2/28/2010   A Library, CD

Oakland based artist, Matt Davignon has been producing stellar experimental sounds since he was a teenager. Since 2004, he has been using a drum machine, which he plays manually and then processes the sounds. Living Things is like looking at tiny creatures in nature under a microscope – you hear chirps, whirrs, gurgles crackles and many other sounds. Nifty!

June, Sarah – “In Black Robes” – [Silber Records]

humana   2/27/2010   A Library, CD

Sure the songs she writes are filled with themes of death, loneliness, and sadness, but Sarah Rose sings like an angel (a baby angel) and plays guitar with fantastic musicianship. The songs may be simple, but their lyrics are fascinating (4 is a sweet, sad love song, while 2, 5, and 6 deal with death, which June sees as ???home???), and her versatility as a guitarist is admirable (alternating between folk, jazz, and blues). This is a must-play for The Suicide Watch, as well as for many others who will appreciate this talented musician.

White, Ralph – “Navasota River Devil Squirrel” – [Self Released]

humana   2/26/2010   A Library, CD

Folk: Ralph White???s voice with its Texas twang offers simple lyrics, and his musicianship on banjo, fiddle, button accordion, and kalimba fill these tracks with a down-home flavor not to be missed. Some of the fiddle tunes make you want to step lively, and there???s nothing like skillful banjo picking to lift your spirits. Tracks 2 and 6 are instrumentals.

Sons of Alpha Centauri / A Death Cinematic – Split Release [Simple Box Construction]

humana   2/26/2010   A Library, CD

Sons of Alpha Centauri: ???A Death Cinematic??? CD Simple Box Construction (2009)
This is a fabulous split CD of long songs.?? Sons of Alpha Centauri is a ???dark instrumental riff rock band??? hailing from Swale, UK.?? Track 1 is ambient and atmospheric in the first two parts, with powerful heartbeat drums; part 3 is a rock composition, very psychedelic in nature; part 4 is a radio transmission with sirens and electronics used to great effect, like listening to the breathing of a respirator.?? A Death Cinematic is a one-man U.S. band creating magic from a guitar, amp, and effects that he mixes to create a unique improvisation characterized by reverb and feedback.?? This will appeal to many.

Cash, Johnny – “American VI: Ain’t No Grave” – [Lost Highway Records]

Cousin Mary   2/19/2010   CD, Country

These were the last recordings Johnny Cash made before his death in 2003, but you’ll know that the minute you hear his voice – a bit husky and trembling, every bit as affecting as ever. This album is about the end of life and what lies beyond and more. Even the old chestnuts like Cool Water and Aloha Oe are stunning and moving.
PGM: Watch out for having a lump in your throat when you take a mic break right after one of these tracks.

IO (Margaret Lancaster, Flutes) [coll] – [New World Records (2)]

Cousin Mary   2/19/2010   A Library, CD

This experimental music fits in the category of modern classical. A variety of sounds and composers (three of them women!!) performed ably by flute virtuoso Margaret Lancaster. Track 1 with soprano written in 1936 by a composer who was only recognized after her death. Track 2 with nice marimbas. Track 3 scary, growls, breathy Joan LaBarbara. Track 4 haunting, lovely solo flute. Tracks 5-9 rhythmic versions of Shaker tunes with guitar on track 9.

Unusual, wonderful.

White Mice – Ganjahovahdose – [20 Buck Spin]

Number 6   2/19/2010   A Library

monotonous mockery of metal, noise, punk, Christianity, Maus, Satan, hipsters and anything else sacred you can glean from the gnarled rasps of mostly unintelligible vocals. although this is their 6th album and 5th one dumped into the KFJC catacombs, it continues a familiar course of filthy, murky, harsh, pounding rock caught in a fuckoff between Brainbombs and Butthole Surfers raping Ministry with the Mayyors on top. no surprise there’s a former Skinny Puppy behind the meat curtain, Ken Marshall, or that it occasionally falls off the groove in favor of anticlimactic distractions and fortunately less samples than expected including an excerpt from Edward ???Dirty??? Sanchez???s emergency services call.

Atomic Bomb Audition – Light Will Remain

Number 6   2/18/2010   A Library, CD

after the opening drone jumps into an experimental but clinical breed of thrashcore the album veers into an epic post prog rock blend of modern subgenres that sounds less adventurous than the debut album. unlike the first album, where there was a crowded juxtaposition between unlikely companions such as surf instrumentals, black metal blasts, deck waltzes, orchestral numbers, psych trippiness and of course, math riffage this second album is thicker, fuller and more cohesive like they’ve been listening to a lot of Tarantula Hawk, Pink Floyd, old Rush, Mogwai and especially the psychedelic metal of Enslaved. barely a hint of the surf fun that lifted up the first album, but this will still have the wide appeal of Pelican, Ocean, etc. although elements of various instruments continue to poke through the mix, there’s more attention to threading the parts together to make songs, not work-outs, as evidenced by the addition of melodic vocals. although hinting at post-apocalypse this self-described aural cinema is too gorgeous to feel intimidating. even its heavier, slower edge gives chase to a mutant redneck we all wish was directing this feature.

Floating Corpses, The – “Live From Ragnarok” – [Self -released]

humana   2/18/2010   A Library, CD

Any friend of Ophelia Necro???s is a friend of KFJC???s, and that???s exactly what The Floating Corpses are. Well, that, and so much more. This live recording from an Oakland warehouse is full of energy, particularly from drummer Krispy Corpse, who masterfully resuscitates each song with percussive rhythms. Roxy Arania Corpse delivers some amazing guitar work and sax, and LuLu LaCorpse does fine keys, synth, and joins Roxy on vox. This rockin??? punk makes death sound pretty lively.

Our Love Will Destroy The World – “Fucking Dracula Clouds” – [Blackest Rainbow]

cinder   2/18/2010   12-inch, A Library

Post Birchville Cat Motel project from Cambell Kneale. A tornado of feedbacking guitars, and under currents of drones. All held together with vibes that sound like they’re in their own world. Apparently this is 3 tracks, but the first side melds into the other, creating a nice sidelong. Side A ends with rushing water and magical chimes, and something that sounds like a subway train. Abprut ending. Side B is a mix of squirrely guitars and spacey psych laser beams. A little ways through, it sounds like someone is having a tantrum in the other room, hitting things with drumsticks and shouting. Reach the halfway mark, and you’re suddenly in a futuristic robot dance club, with circuits buzzing and sawing as they stomp to the beat.

Rita, The – “Skate/Snorkel” – [Rrrecords]

cinder   2/18/2010   12-inch, A Library

Three loud and noisy tracks from Canadaian duo, The Rita (Christian Nicolay & Sam McKinlay). Apparently live recordings of skateboard rail grinds & snorkeling/scuba horror films messed up & processed with electronics. Full on noise explosion here. It’s a bit on the insane extreme noise side, pretty hard to tell that it’s really skateboarding, but I bet that’s what cops here in hell (skateboarding’s not a crime). The second side is just as harsh as the first. Would have been cool to hear some actual shark attacks, or glub glubs underwater, but it’s still nice for a white wall type of sound.

Dieb13/Korber, Tomas/Kahn, Jason – “Zirkadia” – [(1.8) Sec Records]

cinder   2/18/2010   A Library, CD

Recorded in Switzerland, 2004. A collabration between three experimental artists, all who I think live over in Europe (one US born). Track one might trick you at first, it gives the sound of a CD stuck on repeat, but soon smoothes out to almost jazz stick sounding reverbs and warm hums. All tracks are quite ambient and minimal, giving you serious minutes of thought. Electronic stretches of subliminal subconcious. Almost has an underwater tone to it, sounds of the anglerfish perhaps?

Bingo – “Close Up” – [Bondage Records]

ophelia necro   2/17/2010   12-inch, A Library

Recorded in 1998 and released in 2000. Bingo seemed to be a threesome out of Italy; Alex Vargiu, Manolo Morea and Allesandro Petrozzi. Close Up is their first full length having previously released a 7″ and a split EP. Credit is given to Guilty Razors which is a French punk band who originally did the song “Provocate” and Vom, a 70s punk band out of California who originally did the song “I’m in Love With Your Mom” both of which are covered on this album. Members of Vom later went on to form the Angry Samoans. This is punk rock with snotty male vocals.

Pink Elln – “Electronic Dreamplant, The” – [Saasfee]

Belladonna   2/17/2010   12-inch, A Library

aka Tobias Freund is an established sound engineer/producer and is also one half of “Sieg Ueber Die Sonne” and one half of Non Standard Institute. This is chirpy, dreamy, loopy electronics. It gets a tad glitchy but doesn’t lose the dance element. There are also Kraftwerkain vocals that really bug at times, not my thing but it might be yours. Enjoy!

Retarder – “Enquiries Concerning Number, Modernity and Other Interesting Subjects” – [Tourette]

lombard   2/16/2010   A Library, CD

Retarder is UK-based Lloyd James’ (Naevus) solo experimental project and this release, “Enquiries Concerning Number, Modernity and Other Interesting Subjects” is his 2009 debut, featuring material written and recorded between 1993 and 2008.

The album begins dramatically on the instrumental track “Dancing,” with pounding piano in conversation with some droning trombone that fades in and out, and perhaps some electronic treatment, which would appeal to fans of both modern classical and experimental sounds.

Track 2, “Turn the Light Off,” begins more peacefully with a bit of post-rock jangle, but heavy bass. Rumbling fuzzy male vocals are introduced and it turns into an upbeat, toe-tapper, interspersed with slow bass interludes.

Other pieces are more experimental, some have a vintage electronic feel, whereas others are spacy or cinematic. “Modern Evening” has a lovely dark, nearly gothy approach with a bit of strum and lyrics about a butcher shop and patisserie.

Clarinette – “Nul” – [Cassetto Editions]

lombard   2/16/2010   A Library, CD

On this new release (January 2010), a limited edition (105 copies) double CD-R called Nul, local outfit Clarinette produces 8 spacey drones. Around since the 1980s, Clarinette is the project of Dan Vallor out of Santa Clara. Each track name is a keyboard command ( ?? stumped me!) and mysteriously enough I wasn’t able to get all of them to display when entered in our KFJC music database. Mysterious, ephemeral, experimental. Swirling atmospherics will take you, transport you, like endless Maverick-style waves or orbiting satellites billions of light-years away.

Sun Ra and The Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra – “Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency December 26, 198, Th” – [Transparency]

humana   2/13/2010   CD, Jazz

???When the world was in darkness, along came Ra.??? (Disc 20, Track 4) No better way to ring in a new year (1981) than with six days of concerts from Sun Ra at the Detroit Jazz Center. With around 224 tracks (some repeated) spread over 28 discs, there???s plenty to choose from in what Dale calls the Sun Ra ???Box of Magic.??? Consult the inserts for a listing of the musicians, track times, and breakdown of concerts by date. As the master composer and improviser says, ???if you visit Planet Saturn, get your passport from me.??? (Disc 22, Track 6)

Overstreet, Reverend Louis – “With His Sons and The Congregation of St. Luke’s…” – [Mississippi Records]

ArtCrimes   2/11/2010   12-inch, Blues

subtitled “His Guitar, His Sons And The Congregation Of St. Luke’s Powerhouse Church Of God In Christ”
This is a resequenced and revised version of a 1962 Arhoolie LP (adapting the original Arhoolie sleeve art) with the Rev. Louis Overstreet (1947-1980) and his sons at one of their “services” in Phoenix, AZ. This revised edition adds some recordings from a club date in Berkeley, 1963. A “service” for Overstreet is a wild, raucous blast furnace of sanctified primal gospel anchored by Overstreet’s Strat and his sons’ percussion, with vocals by all concerned. Chris Strachwiz (still running Arhoolie today) first heard Overstreet doing his gospel work out in the street in front of a bar in the South, and then arranged to record him some years later after tracking him down again in Phoenix. Along the lines of Reverend Charlie Jackson and other electric guitar wielding holy men already in KFJC’s library, Overstreet claimed to have been chosen by God to learn the guitar and preach the good news. The first and last tracks are lengthy and furious, throwing you into the wild communion already in progress; the shorter tracks are more orderly and self contained. (( crimes ))

Love of Diagrams – “Mosaic” – [Matador]

loun   2/10/2010   12-inch, A Library

Sometimes there’s no better way to look forward than to look to the past. Love of Diagrams gets that. Bearing all the sonic and visual accoutrements of the 80s, this trio of Melbourne-again rockers mod-estly clash with conforming iconoclasts. Basically, they rock, and rock is good – the estrogen don’t hurt, either, especially on the vox. Pairs nicely with current “fuzzpop”, or whatever else you please. Two of the tracks have already been through current on the self-titled CD. Play ’em again anyway, or pick another track – they’re all solid: different moods, different driving beats, plenty of playability here. Enjoy!