Music Reviews

Henneman, Simon – “Black Magic & Moustache” – [Assophon]

Thurston Hunger   4/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Seattle secret saucepan weapon, delivers a not so Diminshed one-man
not-bland band! Pulling this moustache apart strand by strand is tricky,
not only does Henneman deftly deal with guitar/bass/sax/keys/drums/+
but he mixes up styles as well. Overall his focus is on composition
I’d say; more than a type of sound, he digs an intricate piece. So there’s
the St. Louis strut of the opening/closing snatch of Satchel. Some James
Chance footsteps scuff up “Killing An Elephant” which also has these very
familiar sax dubby stops (kinda Don King like). The “Bone House” has
an ominent hum and ghostly drone. “Allegro” is one track with vocalizing
blown in from Morroco if not from Northeast Bukkake. “Woo Woo” seems to
be a love song between a didgeridoo and a fog horn, you know that’ll end
in tears…if not some Twin Peaks white lodge clarinet. String bass as
the bouncer on “Wrath…” along with a cool walking guitar bridge at
parts. Acoustic guitar plotting found on “Allegro.” Recorded back in 2006
for Hisham Mayet’s Assophon, it was a bit backed up until its recent

-Thurston Hunger

Z’ev + Watson, Chris – “East African Nocturne” – [Atavistic]

Thurston Hunger   4/29/2011   A Library, CD

Another example of natural/unnatural, with the empasis truly on nature.
One long track for one long trek through Africa by Dr. Watson I presume
combined with Z’ev’s trip through a crypt in East London. Sound samples
scrambled as per the ping pong liner notes, Z’ev’s percussion is notably
un-Z’ev-like. No thunder strikes or violent rhythms instead just sweeps,
scrapes and a cavernous hum perhaps? Or is just the aftershocks of a
lions croaky rumbling roar? Birds a plenty and a twitter (if the lion
provides the brass, they are the violins in this organic orchestra).
Some sounds introduced I think are artifacts of man/machine, and not
just the jeep firing up early on, some of the whoosh sounds feel like
mini-airplane strafes, probably coming from the mic itself? Like a lot
of safari’s, more flora than fauna, and plenty of bushy brush work.
Best listened to VERY LOUD for immersion effect, otherwise DJ’s may
find themselves mixing this, or using it for a bed for creative
whispered back-announces. Krikey, that was close! Otherwise a sound
preserve for our dwindling relatives on this planet.

-Thurston Hunger

Kubin, Felix – “Bruder Luzifer” – [Omni Recording Corporation]

Thurston Hunger   4/29/2011   A Library, CD

A kollection of Kubin kookery, a few of which KFJC is fortunate to have
already (the ego mangling of the Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” for example).
Another cover on here, of Klaus Nomi’s is what drew me to this CD.
Like Nomi, Kubin flourishes the further from the mainstream he can
float. A sonic astronaut adrift in his own orbit. He can connect the
dots to Kraftwerk on the opening track and dream alongside Tangerine
talent Conrad Schnitzler, but you get the feeling he’s happiest in
his own orbit, shaped by the early use of Moog, Korg and other synths
and how they were first used as exotic flashes of a future back in
the 70’s on documentaries and cartoons. Kubin himself is part cartoon,
with nice touches of creepiness too! Is “Hotel Super Nova” a soundtrack
to French animation or a corny porny treatise for fetishists? Bachelor
plaid, but all electric fabric. His keyboards are always the focus,
too rude to be robotic (nice squelchy rips and bubbly burps of tinkly
sounds). Rhythms never quite tip-toe into dance or techno, but instead
keep working like OCD. Kubin is still Tetchy after all these years. His
lyrics are often the icing on the vice. “There is a Garden” and “Hit Me
Provider” are evidence of that. Is the unifying factor a serious camp
approach? Like a detailed photo of a pie pan in the sky, extraterrestial
aliens are out there and recording great music.

-Thurston Hunger

Chaton, Anne-James – “Evenements 09” – [Raster-Noton]

Thurston Hunger   4/29/2011   A Library, CD

This album should come with a warning, I think listening to it end to
end repeatedly could drive one insane. Literally, you will be hearing
voices, well the one deep, driving voice of Anne-James Chaton. This is a
“techno” album solely constructed from his voice, samples hyperspliced
from nothing but the nine inputs found at the end of the CD. Each input
is about 17 seconds and 90% of those 17 seconds are already looped. So
really it’s only 10-20 seconds of sound that are used to build this 30+
minute album. A percussive focus on the popping of plosive’s; whereas
we try to soften our B’s and P’s, Chaton shoots them right into the mic
so it feels like a bass drum dream. When this is dropped into a KFJC mix,
it will turn heads and ears strongly. It’s like a language lab gone to
hell. Track 3 was a nice hypnotic one for me. Possibly some humor is
lost in translation, so a frantic Francophile may get even more out of
this. There is also a nice connection to old Text-Sound euro-scenesters.
Bernard Heidsieck and Vaduz anyone? Pop is dead, but long live
experimental irritainment!

-Thurston Hunger

Fatal Figures – “Blue Zed” – [Big Neck Records]

Thurston Hunger   4/29/2011   7-inch, A Library

Red-ass vocal holler, slack Rickenbacker bass rough-throats along,
buzz whirr guitar. Boozy, chomp rock from the leftovers of the
Blowtops. On the flip-side, a cover of Pussy Galore’s “Alright”
brings a little more karate to the mix. Again the bass leads the
charge, guitar just zings in feedback on the verses, the vox are
a bit more tweaked/treated…kind of a tunnel effect early on then
blares the air towards the end. Not quite Mainliner as a US bar
band, but definitely a Pabst Blue Zed ribbon kind of rock.

-Thurston Hunger

Von Hausswolff, CM – “800 000 Seconds In Harar” – [Touch]

cinder   4/28/2011   A Library, CD

Amazing release from this Swedish experimental composer. I liked this description from Discogs: In later works, Hausswolff has retained the aesthetic elegance and the drone and added a purely isolationistic sonoric condition to composing. This release is based around poet Arthur Rimbaud, and utilizes the combination of drones, tape and found sounds. The first track combines a steady plane-engine drone with chirping crickets, rushing air/water and what sounds like children at play in the background. Eerily summer evening sounds. In blends straight into track 2 which continues with just the solid drone hum. Close your eyes and relax into pure meditation. The third competes the beginning trio by drawing in a violin-style ambiance and raising the sounds to a higher float. Ends about 10 seconds early. The final track stands on its own. Almost like a test pattern for going off air. A lovely listening experience, almost feels like there’s something hidden inbetween.

Minutiae – “Plane Sight” – [Stunned Records]

cinder   4/28/2011   A Library, Cassette

Spacey, floaty ambient planetarium in the aquarium music. Electronics and more. A glitch element is had… Definitely has a beat, but you can’t dance to it. Rainforest dreams and bird chirps on track 8! Track 9 has the most rhythmic beat. Some have abrupt endings, so beware. Very nice and high on the chill out factor. Good summer breeze music. Originally on cassette.

Deaf Center – “Owl Splinters” – [Type Recordings]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   A Library, CD

aka Norwegian friends Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland.
This is so beautiful!! A cloud of perfection and simplicity. The combination of classical elements (piano and cello) and electronics are mesmerizing to me. Murcof without the beats, just pure simple dark cinematic soundscapes. An earlier release is an homage to David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti just to give you an idea of where they are coming from. This may just be my new favorite thing!

Red Math – “Unhinged” – [Digitalis Industries]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Lance Dibblee. I hated this at first. Its a perplexing mix of harsh noize, bleeps, “industrial dance”, glitchy frenetics and techno. So you can see why I was confused. It has a hollow analog quality that bugs me and I wish it wasn’t so noize-y. The choices are noize or beats and nothing in between it seems. I preferred the simple nature of tracks 6 & 10 but I think there is definitely something to be found for everyone.

Barricade – “Aleko” – [Victoriaville]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   12-inch, A Library

aka Stefan Goldman a Berlin based DJ and producer. I would just ignore the title trace “Aleko” as I find it to be fairly irritating and not very pleasing techno but the B-side has two great tracks “Frantic” a nice hollow clang-y electronic beat-y song and “Heliotrope” a spacey, dark, moody track. Its hard to believe those two tracks are by the same artist, they are that different.
Please enjoy!

Alps, The – “Easy Action” – [Mexican Summer]

olmec   4/27/2011   A Library, CD

Easy Action [Mexican Summer, 2011] is album number six from The Alps, who describe their music as tropical, psychedelic easy listening. This is certainly the case. Sun-drenched, resin-coated strings, piano and static define Easy Action to be an album for mid-afternoon listening, ideally around 4:20 pm. Exotic influences combine with familiar Mendocino/SF stoner psych to send the listener on a nice world tour. This is a trip from the shores of California, to India, to Thailand, and back home again. I liked much of this album, but it became a little repetitive during a full listen-through. You won’t go wrong playing any one track, however.
I especially liked:
Spray (2): Cool drums, acoustic guitar plucking, and electric guitar jam sesh. Levels are perfect, each instrument balancing and tempering the others. Focus on one, or appreciate the track as a whole.
For Isabel (4): Spanish lounge music, with static keeping the song on its toes.
Loves of a Blonde (5): Genre-hopping, multisegmented piece. Sometimes piano takes center stage, sometimes Grails-esque drone comes into predominance. Sitar neatly wraps up this track.

Cortez, Lula – “Rosa De Sangue” – [Time-Lag Records]

Sir Cumference   4/27/2011   CD, International

Lula (aka Luis Augusto Martins) Cortes’ third and final solo album, originally released in 1980. A mix of Brazillian, middle eastern and folk – with a touch of classic psychedelic and a little I don’t know what. I really had a hard time trying to figure out what to say, but thoroughly enjoyed the record over multiple sittings. Give it a spin – it won’t kill you… – pi2r

McDonas, Thollem and Stefano Scodanibbio – “On Debussy’s Piano And…” – [Die Schachtel]

Max Level   4/26/2011   A Library, CD

Really, it would be hard to come up with a more stately situation than this: virtuoso pianist McDonas sits at Claude Debussy’s piano, engaging in musical dialogues with virtuoso contrabassist Scodanibbio. According to the liner notes, these are “improvisations based on a scheme Thollem devised specifically for this occasion.” As with many of McDonas’s improvisations, the pieces range from quiet meditations to wild storms of sound. We aren’t told what Thollem’s scheme was, but he was undoubtedly thrilled to have this opportunity to play the Maestro’s piano, and some brilliant musical conversations take place here. A bit of a quibble, though: the recording seems to have been made from a distance, and the large amount of room ambience dilutes the impact of the piano a bit. Perhaps they could have moved the mics just a tad closer? That said, what really stands out here is the excellent musicianship of these two. Overall, a highly satisfying listen.

Metabolismus – “Mauser O.K.” – [Amish Records]

Max Level   4/26/2011   7-inch, A Library

Four catchy pop-style tracks with sinister undertones, from this veteran German musical collective who come from the Krautrock tradition of guitars, keyboards, and minimal, repetitive beats, but will seemingly try just about anything. A1 and B2 are perky instrumentals. The other two tracks feature deadpan male+female vox. A2 is a Crass song jazzed up with vibes and brushed snare, and B1 is a minimal arrangement of a Brian Brain song, with some horns and stuff added. Mellotron appears on a couple of the tracks. There’s no telling what this pleasantly odd group will come up with next.

Group Doueh – “Zayna Jumma” – [Sublime Frequencies]

Thurston Hunger   4/26/2011   CD, International

Behold Sublime Frequencies, the great uniter…not only in terms of
musicians from lands far and further, and times long ago in the present,
but of simple KFJC djs. And is Group Doueh not the flagship focus for
the Freq. flag? This the Group’s fourth release, continues to offer strange
furious guitar for the psych fiends; ebullient rhythms that can ride
right over reggae’s dancehall and the techno racetracks; amd a drought
resistant ecstacy that even lightens the heart of the most melancholic
minor-key addict. The percussion just clips along (and claps too).
Secret sauce may be the keyboards of El Waar Bamaar (not overlooking
the Tea Glass work of Tricha! Of course, Doueh aka Salmou Bamaar’s guitar
is the blaze that warmed KFJC’s interest, and it still burns, the last
track a devoted flourish for the diehard Doueh dealers. And throughout
the release, his guitar does that crazy scorched sustain. But this album
seems to really punch up the vocals, even on the more subtle “Met-Ha”
which feels like an excerpt from a prayer. On the other tracks, I feel
like the vocals want to challenge the frenzy of the guitar. Love the
tilting choruses of “Aziza.” So when will Group Doueh play the Super
Bowl halftime show? And can the unifying power of the Sublime, help
Connect more to the source, the Brothers Bishop+??

Thurston Hunger

Update: These mighty nomads will wander to Sand Francisco on 7/1/11

Travel Light [coll] – [L’animaux Tryst (Field) Recordings]

humana   4/25/2011   12-inch, A Library

This record split could best be described as freak folk psyche. Side A brings you the Cursillistas (who is Matt LaJoie, with a little help from his friends). As you can see, I’ve had some trouble with track times, as the first song segues nicely into the short second one. The fourth track is an epic psyche journey into an instrumental, earthy realm. Side B brings you White Light, whose drummer is Matt LaJoie from Side A. I had a slight preference for Side B, with the jazz-tinged rollicking gait of “Five Horses” standing out. Enter the woods, and follow the sounds of mystic incantations.

Metal Mountains – “Golden Trees” – [Amish Records]

humana   4/23/2011   12-inch, A Library

Although the overall feel of these songs is melancholy, their mellow beauty flows over you in a soothing way. Helen Rush’s pretty, subdued vocals, Patrick Gubler’s guitar, and Samara Lubelski’s violin combine to summon natural images on this album where one song is almost indistinguishable from the next–it’s all a wash of loveliness. B1 stands out with its bells and xylophone. Prepare to zone out in peace.

North East Surf Music Alliance Vol. 2 [coll] – [Beach House Records]

Cousin Mary   4/22/2011   A Library, CD

NESMA (North East Surf Music Alliance) is an association of surf bands who live and play in the eastern US and Canada. This special not-for-sale 2-CD set shows that surf is alive and well on the right side of North America. Strong contributions and lots of variety from all 48 bands — unequivocally surf music! More information on the artists and more about NESMA is at . www.nesmasurf.org

PGM: All tracks are instrumental except for vocals on tracks 24 of both CD A and B.

Kaboom Karavan – “Barra Barra” – [Miasmah Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/20/2011   A Library, CD

Feels like music to plan a coup by…electro-acoustic edges, hints
of grit in samples, a grit tracked in from underground tunnels.
Someone from the orchestra is a double-agent, I suspect it is
the cellist. The acoustic guitarist was poisoned, they slipped
something into his reverb. At night you can hear them torture the
horn player, and on this release it is always night. Looks like
this ensemble has its headquarters in Belgium, and Bram Bosteels
is the ring-leader. And oh yeah, they’re artistes, trafficking in
all sorts of cultural contraband, theater, film, dance…and music,
if you can call this music, and I definitely do. Lots of great
wha-tha-fa percussion. Is someone playing a fuse for rhythm on
“Nuit Nadar.” This is an album chock full of muffled suspicion,
but that opening track with eavesdropped moan/conversation. Yow!
Wait, I have to stop listening….I’m being followed. Play this
on the radio, 89.7 FM, I’ll be listening, and I’ll know what to do.

-Thurston Hunger

Slovenly 2010 Sampler [coll] – [Slovenly]

Thurston Hunger   4/20/2011   A Library, CD

Imagine a beverage that could both assure and cure the most
powerful hangover known to man. It might taste like this,
there’s pop like Bazooka Joe bubblegum, but mostly this is
rock on-tap. If rock and roll lies in the fountain of youth
then there’s a motor underneath of frenzied angst, and many
of the bands here have that down cold. I was drawn to this
on hearing Electric Crush’s “Clock Stands Still” timeless
timesplice. But so much top shelf stuff here, Juanito Wau
gets all Popeye on uno de dos! Fans of stoopid rock like
me will find a chorus on “Closing Time” with an iq of 3!
(one for each “yeah”). Billy Childish is on here (as is
required by Pub Rule), after him the Masonics deliver a
power pop infection. Th’ Losing Streaks move in big
side-swiping jumps, Reigning Sound will make a dead man
rise for air-guitar power chords with such great morgue
moaning background vox. Not to risk too high praise, but
Vex Ruffin is not far off the target of the Brainbombs,
double shot of him and his Jerkheads. Slab City’s guitar
eats glass, the Wildebeests are Flintstone’d (don’t even
know what I mean, but I dig it), Black Jaspers seek
Shelter in ’77, Lo-Lite crumble amps! The latter-most
tracks bear the Black Gladiator imprint and deliver the
gutter-butter. Some ol’ KFJC faves here, but plenty of
new spirits to imbide. Quick segues, DJ responsibly but
rock otherwise.

-Thurston Hunger

PS Check out – http://slovenly.com/mp3s/