Music Reviews

RM74 – “Reflex” – [Utech Records]

cinder   6/30/2010   A Library, CD

RM74 is Swiss musician, Reto Mader, which is half of the duo Ural Umbo. He also plays with Sum of R. This is his fifth solo release. Dark, ambient, moody and spooky. Rumbling electronics roll through hazy guitars and empty dreams. A few other sparse instruments make appearance: organ, piano, harp, gong, guitar, kalimba. Very dark experimental, forboding music. No lyrics, just evil dreams.

Conrad, Tony/P-Orridge, Genesis Breyer – “Taking Issue” – [Dais]

cinder   6/30/2010   12-inch, A Library

Film maker Marie Losier had been recording Conrad & Genesis, separately, for years when she had the bright idea of having them meet (for the first time ever) and record it together! Genesis had watched her film on Tony, and when Conrad spoke of his love for the violin, she confessed HER love for the violin, and then the idea was formed. They played together, January of 2009, in NYC. Dueling violins, in an experimental, improv sort of way. A thumping drum, and ringing bells keep it all tied together. A wonderful album from two big names of the minimalist-experimental and industrial scene!

Male – “German For Shark” – [Other-Electricities]

cinder   6/30/2010   12-inch, A Library

Male is a rotating cast of characters from Chicago. This is their second release, of predominantly improvised sessions, made for to record. It’d happen with each member adding or subtracting to the piece, with limited manipulation of the final piece. Their main idea was to capture the live feeling of spur of the moment playing. You have drums, bells, chimes, sax, vibraphones, guitar, piano, and even a cornet! Beautiful improv!

Bait and Switch – “What Is Known” – [Clean Feed]

loun   6/30/2010   CD, Jazz

The lineup may look familiar – these are the same four players who comprise Go Go Fightmaster, but it is Lisa Mezzacappa, not Aaron Bennett, who leads this effort, and there is a distinct difference to the resulting sound – less driving and phrenetic, more comtemplative and dissolute, although there are significant beats laid down and worked on many of the tracks. This is unadulterated, unapologetic jazz without an attitude problem – just a sincere delivery from musicians that have played extensively together yet get to explore new ground in this form; diverging, exploring, and coalescing harmoniously in spaces where harmony is optional.

Foxtails Brigade – “Bread and The Bait, The” – [Foxtails Brigade]

lombard   6/29/2010   A Library, CD

When Foxtails Brigade dropped by KFJC a few weeks back they brought in a copy of this album, The Bread and the Bait, which is their forthcoming full-length debut (official release in Fall 2010). This San Francisco-based project features the lovely vocals and guitar of Laura Weinbach, along with Anton Patzer (Judgment Day) on violin. Known for busking on the streets of Oakland, the quiet elegance of their music hearkens back to an earlier era, with lyrics evoking childhood delights and mysteries (The Doll). Laura Weinbach recently put together an interesting show in San Francisco featuring both music and fashion and is a champion for visual arts, crafts, and underground designers.

Cline, Alex – “Continuation” – [Cryptogramophone]

Cousin Mary   6/29/2010   A Library, CD

Interesting variety of sounds from bells, violin, bass, and cello with Myra Melford on piano and harmonium and Alex Cline on percussion and kantele (a type of zither). Dips into the realm of jazz and contemporary classical – sometimes is thoughtful and moody, but gets noisy and experimental at times. Energy seemed too low to me on the first listen, but I enjoyed it much more on the second hearing; perhaps its appreciation requires investment of time.

Alex Cline has performed on many recordings and is the brother of guitarist Nels Cline.

Haiku review:
Of music requires not just
Memory, but foresight.

Adasiewicz, Jason Rolldown – “Varmint” – [Cuneiform Records]

Cousin Mary   6/29/2010   CD, Jazz

Good energy – good tunes all but one written by Adasiewicz – five amazing players. Fine work from Adasiewicz on vibes, Berman on cornet, Shelton on reeds, Roebke on bass and Rosaly on drums. These guys can really play and what a pleasure to hear this take with the vibes in the lead.

Pronounciation of Adasiewicz: ad-uh-she-vits.

Haiku Review:
Some extra cool jazz
Jason on vibes, Frank on drums
Cousin Mary smiles.

Cloud Cuckooland [coll] – [Finders Keepers]

Cousin Mary   6/29/2010   A Library, CD

Tracks produced by Eckart Rahn for the Kuckkuck (Cuckoo) label prior to 1974. German prog rock, psych, UK sound, sound track, early electronic. I liked Out of Focus’s organ, Ihre Kinder’s folky sound. Some lyrics are English, others in German, some all instrumentals, good energy.

Some Pronunciations and Translations:
Ihre Kinder (EAR-a KIN-der) Their Children
Deuter (doy- ter)
Lied des Teufels (leed dez Toy-fulls) Song of Devils

Haiku review:
Soundtrack, prog, psych, rock
Label is named for a bird
Music from Deutschland!

Chin Chin – “Sound of The Westway” – [Slumberland Records]

lombard   6/29/2010   12-inch, A Library

I couldn’t be happier about the recent reissues of material by several girl bands from Switzerland from back in the day (KFJC just added material by Kleenex/Lilliput, as well as a Chin Chin 7″). The latest is a 1985 release by Swiss girl group Chin Chin, reissued just a couple of months back by Slumberland/Mississippi Records. “Sound of the Westway” stands the test of time and is a fun blend of classic 50s/60s girl group sounds with 1980s attitude and a punk rock undercurrent with edgier/more persistent vocals than from the earlier eras. More recent bands like Heavenly and Tiger Trap come to mind, but there’s also some unmistakably ’80s elements like random bits of harmonica (reminding me of The Alarm) and sax. I love this!

Haiku Review:

Swiss girl band Chin Chin
Delivers 80s pop punk
And Da Doo Ron Ron

Rosaly, Frank – “Milkwork” – [Contraphonic Music Ltd.]

Thurston Hunger   6/26/2010   12-inch, A Library

Chicago drummer crosses his sticks with wires. For a solo
release that is sometimes a duet versus himself. It’s
Rosaly’s drumming that generally wins out, he’s just got a
lot more precision with percussion. “Adolescents” is a nice
example of his battery skill, a pure drum solo that has wide
receiver jukes over a rollicking rhythm. That being said, his
piece “Burnshine” really works well delivering control more in
conjunction with both inputs. On a lot of tracks, either the
drums or synth/pedal/etc work reminds me of quick bursts of
rain. “He’s Junkin'” uses that flash flood style with volume
washouts reminding me of Supersilent in a very good way.
Some of the found or otherwise tweaked percussion is quite
nice, maniac metronome, toy gamelan, tuned drum drama, bicycle
spokes spooked. “Zoquete” offers a too short harmonium hymn
No wrist for the wicked…

-Thurston Hunger

Selda – “’71” – [Eggy]

Thurston Hunger   6/26/2010   CD, International

Selda pre-plugged. While this album has some electric bass,
and keys (#4), it’s mostly Selda’s powerful voice (often with
cavernous reverb) and some acoustic accompaniment. #9 includes
a flight of kanun I think… The last track adds light piano
and a sweet/sour nostalgic flute, this is the strongest I
feel the hurt that would be amplified and melded into anger
as time (and travail) wore on. Even if the words are sung
in Turkish, and lifted from poets long gone, their heart
beats true, especially in the hands and throat of Selda.
Later releases, rising over fuzzed guitar, would celebrate
her singing as the undeniable power of righteousness, w/o
knowing the language this albums seems more drawn from the
undeniable power of hope. Track 7 alone will lift you out
of whatever jail, real or imagined, and send your flying
through a field of poppies. Anatolian over totalitarian.

-Thurston Hunger

Yona, Yair – “Remember” – [Anova]

Thurston Hunger   6/26/2010   A Library, CD

Israeli gears up for guitar echoes. The album’s title is
more than a clue, it’s a mission; as Yona summons strings
long ago snapped. He’s got finger picking pluck, he’s got
boozy slide, he’s got a sense of history. Fahey shows up more
than in a parenthetical song title. Other spectres include
the blues, but Yona is more of a traveling bluesman,
crossing genres and roads. Even the slower tracks have that
kind of bounce that feels like a hobo riding the rails.
“Struggled So Hard” and “Brave Walls” are exhilirating
examples. On “Russian Dance” he squares off with Erez Kriel’s
mandolin to bust a sweat if not a high-E. Other moments get
that dry lonesome, kinda Paris, Texas or maybe it’s just
Jerusalem dust. Check the title track and definitely
“Sympathy for the Jack” but BYOB. Overdubs and friends
pop in, but this is mostly a steel string thing. The last
track approaches a song cycle, and clicks history long
and short. Nice personal track notes to match the nice
personal playing.

-Thurston Hunger

Da We Mobb – “Da We Mobb” – [Yay Area Entertainment]

Thurston Hunger   6/26/2010   CD, Hip Hop

New underground, coming out of Oakland and bursting with
sideshow pride. Three mouths to feed on Smoky’s homecooked
beats, rappers Zipp, Young Truth and Big A leading the way.
The album has its own fun, prank calls, fake radio giveaways,
and an imaginary gig at the House of Blues. These guys are
so new, they don’t even have a song about being screwed by
the record industry. Instead this is homegrown, over the
course of years, but still retaining a sense of the
spontaneous. Even when the prose ain’t purple, the trees
are, a blunt front blowing over the bridge. Probably Smoky’s
and I do think his production is the secret sauce here,
tracks like “We Go”, “Addicted to Da Game” and “Get Money”
just come infectious while the lyrics will play hopscotch
on the roof of your heads. More than a sideshow memento, and
even if they don’t get the money, they’ll still be laughing.
Promising debut.

-Thurston Hunger

Mokele Mbembe – “Mokele Mbembe” – [Cut Hands]

Thurston Hunger   6/26/2010   A Library, CD

Previously only known to cryptozoologists, it was said that a
pygmy tribe in Africa captured, killed and consumed a Mokele
Mbele, afterwhich those who had done so, perished. Thus we
recommend merely listening to this release at a safe distance,
at least until we can insure its effect remains as pleasant as
its first impression. These Mokele Mbele tracks were found in
the neighborhoods of Oakland California, signs of cables
dragged through dirt indicate muliple electric guitars as a
staple, evidence of struggle denotes percussion, likely one
drummer…unsure how many arms at this time. Keyboards
apparently are used to try and trap the unwitting fusion
afficiando. It is possible that the Mokele Mbele has
swallowed Japanese exchange students whole, wearing Acid
Mothers Temple’s t-shirts, and at night…nocturnal input
solicits a space rock reaction as seen on “Dad Rock.” At
the end, the scent of “Werewolves” is confusing, a whiff
of MOR scat dissipates into more fight-and-flight jam into
a tight pitch. If it is a dinosaur relative, it has some
chameleon DNA to it. The first track rules by the way…

-Thurston Hunger

We Like Cats – “Proper Eats” – [Marriage Records]

humana   6/26/2010   A Library, CD

This is the debut of Adam Forkner of White Rainbow, Honey Owens of Valet, and Eva Salens of Inca Ore. Dub reggae is the predominant vibe here, with tribal riddims (3), meow chanting (2), spoken word set to a hazy atmosphere interrupted by bells chiming (5), and mellow upbeatness that summons equatorial warm climes (4, 6) changing it up somewhat. You can select from short and long tracks on this one.

Watkins, Zachary James – “Black Spirituals” – [None]

cinder   6/23/2010   A Library, CD

“Doepfer modular synths + gospel field recordings + marshall half stack + the amazing drumming of jordan glenn = holy shit!!!” – from the website of The Norman Conquest, who engineered some tracks on this release. Zachary comes from Oakland, but I think is currently teaching music in Santa Cruz. It all starts out with the first track, which sounds like a glowing alien hub. Slowly keeping the place in tact, it could alternate as a sci-fi sound effect track. It leads you into the next, 20 minute long epic doom track. Warning: ends about 2 minutes early! Track three has a sort of melancholic, but uplifting feel from the guitars. Crazy drums hide in the background, while words speak over the whole thing. The final piece is a long ending drone, very monotone and finishing. Altogether a great collection!

Century Plants – “Frozen Generation” – [905 Tapes]

cinder   6/23/2010   A Library, CD

Century Plants are a type of cactus that grows insanely sharp leaves, and blooms only once in their lifetime. They are also an experimental band out of Albany, New York. Two guys with bass, guitar, electronics and lots of distortion. Their website describes them as slow motion psych drift, lazy and blown out. This release is two long tracks of just that. Semi-Sunn doom sounding bass here and there, but more fuzzy. At times it’s like heading full speed down the Wonka River tunnel, psychedelic drone trippage.

Sudden Infant/Sixes [coll] – [Terminal]

cinder   6/23/2010   A Library, CD

First six tracks feature Sudden Infant (Germany), while the last blast is from Sixes (Oakland). Sudden Infant gives you short tracks of blasting spooky noise. Indecipherable words, illness, and crunched electronics. It’s like walking through the darklight halls in a cheesy 80s horror flick. Sixes doesn’t let down with his insane ear-blowout electronic chaos. High pitches and blasting wall of noise, mixed in with subtle heartbeats and airplane sounding jets.

Konitz, Lee; Cheek, Chris; Leibovici, Stephane Furic – “Jugendstil II” – [Esp-Disk]

Cousin Mary   6/23/2010   CD, Jazz

Slow, spare, quiet, dreamy interweaving among 2 saxophones and a bass, subtly joined from time to time by other instruments. Nicely balanced with beautiful tones. Lee Konitz (born 1927) is a jazz composer and alto saxophonist born in Chicago, Illinois. Chris Cheek (born 1968) is an American jazz saxophonist from St. Louis, Missouri. Stephane Furic Leibovici is French new music composer and bassist known for his improvisational groups.

The album’s title Jugenstil translates literally from German as “youth style” but means “Avant Garde”.