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Music Reviews

O Paradis – “Serpiente De Luna, Serpiente De Sol” – [Aorta]

victoria west   11/30/2011   A Library, CD

O Paradis is Demian Recio of Barcelona. Serpiente de Luna, Serpiente de Sol gives us a dark, romantic, melancholic, poetic, experimental folk album with Spanish vocals. Each song reminds me of a scene in a massive, very well produced theatrical performance with some industrial, steampunkish accents. Clinks and clanks, bells and whistles, powerful drumming, soothing keyboard, organ, xylophone, horns and more all provide the loops of sounds to this project. Nietzsche text featured in “Llama”. This album is a beauty to listen to.

-victoria west*


Roots of Chicha 2, The [coll] – [Barbes]

victoria west   11/30/2011   CD, International

This is a collection of 16 Peruvian cumbias or chichas as they later became known from 1968-1981. Inside is a fabulous booklet with the history of the transition of how the word chicha came to be. You can also find excellent details on each of the bands featured in this Vol. 2 collection. The entire album is very lively and upbeat with a tropical feel and a bit rock, pop and surf sounds too. Psychedelic guitar, organs, cowbells, maracas, hand drums, drum kit and many more percussions fill the entire album. Some tracks are instrumental only (#1, 6, 8, 10, 12). All tracks a joy to listen to! = )

-victoria west*

Abunda Bida – “Politics and Sex” – [Cochon Records]

Grizzly Adam   11/30/2011   12-inch, A Library

A jalopy of classic technique from early cut and paste mixtapes, fly boy beats, not hardfast dancefloor pound, building up atmosphere via Idm, the disco successor the house dance party, real bass ‘n’ funk, charming goofy aerobics, and seeing musical stars, indebted to James Brown, Stanley Clarke, Gov. Schwarzenegger, soundbites and tidbits; dirty breathing and muhs, guns, tribalism, echo voice, a thrash rock and dance track and that’s just the A side. B side, filled with language, and moans all over, intersecting with horns and tire squeals, doesn’t start that way. Namlook ambience, birds, water and a paradise of keys, rustling walking, and string chorus A or E drone, fragment poetry, slowly plays with introducing lounge beats and asia instrumentation, a tutu e ta voots oaisis, then turns contradictorily ambiguously sleazy and hateful, puddles and exploring the operatic registers, and a surf favorite. Lastly there are flow distinctions, but no real hard track gaps.
A1_5:00 A2_7:00 A3_5:30 B1_8:00 B2_6:40 B3_2:00 B4_6:30
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

Language B2 fucking, B3 cunt cock

Plaid – “Scintilli” – [Warp Records, Ltd.]

Train Wreck   11/30/2011   A Library, CD

Plaid is an electronic music duo out of London made up of Andy Turner and Ed Handley. Not only do they make their own music but they have done remixes for many artists, most notably Bjork who also has collaborated with them. Every song on this album sounds completely different. From dub step (track 2) to something that sounds like an homage to Dr. Who’s opening title (track 4), to a lyrical almost balletic piece (track 6). They even have a song called “African Woods” (track 11) that sounds like Miami in the 80’s. If you don’t know where to start with this release may I suggest “Upgrade” (track 12) as it sounds akin to something you would hear while watching TRON.

Train Wreck

Bizarre Uproar / Death Key [coll] – [Audial Decimation Records]

surferrosa   11/30/2011   12-inch, A Library

Bizarre Uproar and Death Key deliver two agonizing sides of pure noise straight from hell. Here you will find some terrorizing sounds, though the noise is not saturated, there is use of negative space here. Both sides are about 16 minutes of grating, unpleasant, apocalyptic noise. Bizarre Uproar creates a waking nightmare. It sounds like death. Riddled with the screams of people being burned alive. Sticky with the static crackle of destruction. These sounds are possessed and demented. Quite painful to listen to. Death Key creates a dark dronescape in two movements. A storm of static and low gritty moans, not loud, but tense for about the first half, before the second movement kicks in like machine gun fire unleashing the piercing sounds of warfare, annihilation and general unpleasantry. This split is like sandpaper to my ears. -Surfer Rosa

Kretzmer, Yoni – “Overlook” – [Out Now Recordings]

Max Level   11/29/2011   CD, Jazz

Not afraid to step outside, these guys. It’s all about forward-thinking jazz with this sax/bass clarinet/bass/drums quartet. Tenor saxophonist Kretzmer in particular colors way outside the lines when he gets going. He also wrote all the material, and his compositions seem fairly complex. There is a wide range of sounds here–some of the tracks have an abstract, almost soundscape feel, while others are more aggressive and feature a lot of moving parts. Track #7 has a blues vibe and all of the guys get to do solos on it. The final track (#9) has a minute of silence in the middle for some reason, starting at around 4 minutes in, and then the band comes back for a strong finale.

Tarfala Trio – “Syzygy” – [Nobusiness Records]

abacus   11/29/2011   12-inch, Jazz

Syzygy is a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system. These three celestial bodies, Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy and Raymond Strid, give us ferocious improvisations that range from blistering intensity to formless textural conversations.??Tarfala Trio met in 1992 at a music festival in Stockholm and proceeded to perform live together over the years, releasing a couple albums before this piece, a live performance in Belgium in 2009. Mats provides a fraying gruff that always seems on the verge of erupting into caustic howls yet constantly displays its subdued lyricism. Guy provides a more cerebral yet dizzying array of twangs, plucks and scrapes that matches Strid’s seemingly endless supply of percussive sounds constantly rolling and unloading and rarely coalescing into anything concrete. Each piece is devoted entirely to the journey with a telepathic expectation of how and where it will unravel. Broken by Fire explodes immediately in pyrotechnics then allows itself to decompress and deconstruct only to erupt again. Lapilli Fragments seems to build from the bottom up yet never quite reaches its peak. Cool in Flight showcases the expressive power of Guy on bass after a long minimalist exploration. Tephra comes comes together like water down a drain, dripping at the edges until finally swirling to the center. The 7″ title track seems to be the encore, succinctly summarizing the whole album within 6 short minutes. This shit sizzles…Check out live videos on youtube!

Jandek – “Where Do You Go From Here” – [Corwood Industries]

Max Level   11/29/2011   A Library, CD

I really don’t know what to make of Jandek–this is not at all what I expected one of his records to sound like. Spacious, mostly instrumental tone pieces here with piano, guitar, drums and percussion, a bit of harmonica, and minimal vocals on a few tracks. Not sure where this fits into the KFJC library genre-wise; some of these pieces could be inserted for subversive purposes into a spaced-out jazz set; others would seem right at home next to Floating Flower or even Deerhoof. I dig the overall atonalism. Vocals on 4, 5, 9 & 10.

S.W.A.T. – “Deep Inside a Cop’s Mind” – [Amphetamine Reptile]

abacus   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

The soundtrack to the new police state from shit disturbers Adam Parfrey and Jim Goad, authors/publishers of the controversial and misanthropic zines Apocalypse Culture and Answer Me!, along with the folks from Poison Idea. This silly perverse satire is dedicated to the boys in blue, “the only real people left,” because while you “sit and criticize like the cowering, two-bit punk you are,” they’re out protecting you from the “killers, rapists, dustheads, welfare cheats, puke-smeared drunks and crusty schizos.” Seriously though, this is a bunch of goofy covers with self-glorified cocky cop catchiness inserted throughout along with clips from Dragnet and police broadcasts from the LA riots mixed in. An expose of real life on the streets for all you bleeding heart do-gooders. Each side has an interlude of peace officers talking philosophy at a diner that shouldn’t be missed (cameo from Anton Lavey and Boyd Rice!). All the lyrics are clean but they might get some local police to start profiling for KFJC bumper stickers. Watch out!

Thompson, Leon “Whitey” – “Unfinished Tattoo, The” – [Afour Records]

Cousin Mary   11/29/2011   A Library, CD

Leon “Whitey” Thompson did time at Alcatraz from 1958 to 1962. This interview was produced by a National Park Service employee and others and is accompanied by a guitar background. Thompson, while not sounding intellectual or well educated, is a very articulate story teller. One is left with a feeling that he is genuine and listening to this spoken word is riveting. Accounts include arrival at Alcatraz, an escape, his MO for robbing banks, and his release.

After his release from Alcatraz, Thompson landed back in prison again (San Quentin) but married after he left there, leaving behind his life of crime. He died in 2005.

PGM: Language on Track 9, one word at 1:23 (minus 9:19).

Lewis, George – “Les Excersices Spirituels” – [Tzadik]

abacus   11/29/2011   A Library, CD

“Ancient philosophy should not be viewed simply as a system of abstract discourses but as a set of practices or ‘spiritual exercises’ that aim at individual and social transformation.” -Pierre Hadot

George Lewis brings us three modern classical pieces in which he composes and/or provides live electronic processing and spatialization performance. The pieces are performed by three different New Music chamber orchestras that are each brilliant in both their technical skill and unsettling emotion. The title piece, firmly rooted in philosophical traditions, moves elegantly through both composition and improvisation carried by the dynamic interplay of flute and strings set in counterpoint to the guitar work and bass clarinet rants and musings. The electronic manipulations give the acoustic performance a fragmentary, dream-like experience. Hello Mary Lou, posed as an alternative soundtrack to the experimental film Mary Lou, presents a tense drone that creeps and creeps, refusing to reveal the echoes of a lost chamber piece. Bassoon and tuba shine! Ikons was composed for an acoustic octet with no electronic processing but instead used for a live interactive art installment where huge pyramidic ‘Ikons’ respond to visitor movement. More bassoon! Lewis uses the computer software/live electronic processing as an ontological framework to explore the possibilities of improvisation in the modern day. Enjoy!

Kaprow, Allan – “How to Make a Happening” – [Primary Information]

Cousin Mary   11/29/2011   A Library, CD

Allan Kaprow was an artist who coined the term “happening”. He made this recording (first released in 1966) to describe and instruct about these events. Track 1 gives the 11 rules of happenings. Track 2 educates us more by discussing some actual happenings. Lo-fi voice recording with occasional mic bump noises. Sort of funny and dated, at the same time an intriguing examination of avant garde creativity.

Hertta Lussu Assa – “Hertta Lussu Assa” – [De Stijl Records]

lombard   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Finnish trio Hertta Lussu Assa creates a spooky soundscape on their self-titled LP of material recorded between 2008 and 2010. Utterances from ghostly voices (was that a distant scream?) drift in and out as the music buzzes, slinks, clinks, and sways. Bees buzz, keyboards twinkle as if in an abandoned saloon, and an unseen specter munches on caramel corn. On side 2, things begin ethereally, with laughter, the jangle of a bracelet, the whirr of an appliance, keyboard, and the squealing of a cat. It’s a tremendously lovely, mesmerizing trip.

Heavy Chains – “a Very Real Hell” – [Broadway to Boundary, The]

lombard   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

I’m a sucker for sampled preachers, so this Heavy Chains EP (an October 2011 release from the Vancouver band) drew me in from the opening notes of “Crying Demons”, as it starts with a sermon. As the minister calls, bass responds and the whole business gets heavier until the sermon is buried beneath guitar/bass/drums. As the album progresses, things get a bit more metal with screamed vocals. Yet that balance of hard and soft continues on tracks like “Commo Wire,” in which a lovely melodic start leads into a heavy finish. In addition to screams, there’s some actual singing on here, albeit it’s warbly as if underwater.

Hyun, Shin Joong – “Beautiful Rivers and Mountains” – [Light in the Attic]

surferrosa   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Shin Joong Hyun is South Korea’s godfather of rock and roll, bringing psychedelic sounds formerly foreign to the Korean mainstream. Shin is a guitarist and composer. The pieces contained here are a collection of his solo works and collaborations with vocalists and bands from 1958-1974. Personal commentary from Shin on each track is included in the liner notes. Shin was first and foremost a musician and stressed the importance of not only the vocals but especially the music itself. Shin likes to jam. He likes to improvise, and you can hear it all over these recordings. He took his musicianship seriously, the guitar sings on all these tracks. The music here is incredibly artful, full of soul and never takes the backseat. Vocals are expressive, powerful and share the spotlight with clean guitar work and some super savvy organ sounds, along with all sorts of various instrumentation which elevates these compositions. Sides A and C are my favorites. A kicks in with some bluesy, surfy, 60s sounds. C starts off with 15 minutes of epic improvised blues jam trading off solos with guitar, organ and drums and continues to deliver solid awesome on the other two tracks. B contains 70s style Korean pop-rock ballads. This is really a great collection of Shin’s works, showing his various styling and impeccable musical ability. Mr.Shin never made it big outside of Korea and his music was certainly not embraced (much of it was banned or destroyed) by the South Korean dictatorship in power in the mid 70s. It is interesting to note that In 1975 Shin was arrested, tortured by government officials and sent to a mental institution for possession of marijuana. -Surfer Rosa

Aelter II – “Follow You Beloved” – [Wolvserpent]

humana   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Out of the depths of Idaho percolate these two sidelong pieces from Aelter II. To describe them as intense is an understatement, and Thurston Hunger’s observation that they are raga-like is astute, as always. Male vocals emanate from the murkiness from time to time to add just the right touch of gothic atmosphere. B is somewhat more disturbing, while A is somewhat more soothing (I thought it was a locked groove because it seemed to go on and on, in a good way).

Post-Alarmist Dracula Safari [coll] – [Oms-B Records]

abacus   11/29/2011   12-inch, A Library

Collection of solo projects from former members of spastic jazz-punk Portland band Alarmist. Tracks are a little less chaotic than the band’s previous efforts, engaging in a much darker, more contemplative climate of haunting, unhinged, sometimes industrial sounding projects. Inca Ore is Eva Saelens: ethereal wind-chime drones cradling ghostly whispered vocals set over a sound collage of clips from old Alarmist shows. Argumentix is James Squeaky: post-apocalyptic anthems rapped over rumbling gothic/industrial beats with mic rustlings and tenor sax musings. Ghost to Falco is Eric Crespo: tormented western folk-dirge with slowcore build. Tunnels is Nick Bindeman: caustic, piercing psych-pop with gloomy synth and moaning vocals. Limited to 300 copies.

Elisha, Ehran / Campbell, Roy – “Watching Cartoons With Eddie” – [Out Now Recordings]

abacus   11/29/2011   CD, Jazz

Another thorough jazz exploration from Ehran Elisha and Roy Campbell teaming up for a free-jazz duet in the tradition of Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell’s collaborations from the past. And acutally, the title track and album title are a reference to Elisha’s history with Blackwell, being forced to watch cartoons before drum lessons together. This album is full of tributes to free jazz greats: For BD is an improvised sound poem dedicated to Bill Dixon (written right before his death) and The Dizzy Roach is a reference the Dizzy Gillespie/Max Roach duet album. The influence of Cherry and Blackwell is very apparent throughout the album though they do stray from the freewheeling hard-bop feel to delve into more subdued, meditative and introspective pieces (Side B/C). Contained here are the aforementioned lyrical jazz licks but also all sorts of African polyrhythmic techniques, Middle Eastern modalities, and all sorts of textural experimentation. One of the first releases from new label Out Now Recordings.