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Music Reviews

Monypeny, Derek – “Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce” – [This Is Raheem]

Thurston Hunger   2/29/2012   12-inch, A Library

Oakland citizen, world musician. Connected to Oaxacan,
this release looks east past the pyramids on the cover
and deep into the soul of the oud. Monypeny’s music
moves to desert time on side A. Stark, sparse and crisp
in the dry-fidelity of a sonically-sealed crypt. Slow
motion sufi spirals. African strong, Tai-chi precise.
Flavors come not just from Saharan winds, but the Mississippi
delta as well on “Point Pinole.” When I first checked
this album out on online (free at
I was moved to introspection, but then surprised as
the dark echoes started to filter and flange. On vinyl
it is even better as you enjoy side A’s purity of solo
wanderings, and side B opens up the flood-gates and other
effect gates, for that sort of Eastern psych glory that
KFJC hungers for. Further intrigued by Mr. Monypeny, I found
what a great soul/ambassador of sound. And as us Sublime
Freaks have been enlightened, the use of phasers and
overdrive have woven themselves into the Agadez, the
Doueh and the Jakwar. I only hope listeners can afford
a few moments of stillness in their lives/minds to
dive into this compelling release, which features the
most graceful “Lummox” I’ve ever seen or heard.?? Looking
forward to a killer double biller with Derek and Bill
Orcut live on KFJC 3/30/2012!
?? -Thurston Hunger

Diminished Men – “Six O’clock Baby” – [Bowels of Lunacy]

Thurston Hunger   2/29/2012   A Library, CD

You know that amusement park they shut down when you
were a kid? It had like three different haunted houses
and supposedly a surf guitarist got lost in the hall of
mirrors and was never found. Well it turns out that
is where the members of the Diminshed Men go at night,
as soon as their day jobs end, it’s “Six O’Clock Baby”
and they strip off the shackles of various day jobs and
family obligations and spend hours in the shadows and
broken arcades creating instrumental oddities. Behold
“Excellent Cadavers” with clocks sewn up inside them.
“Accidental Return” is awash in ghostly twang. The title
track leads off this CD with warped vinyl rollercoaster
moments and lugubrious drums. Secret Jimmy Page insignia
on #2 and the latter part of #5? Simon Henneman, Dave
Abramson and Steve Schmitt are the main men, tag teaming
their way across a variety of instruments, but rooted
respectively in bass, drums and guitar. But check out
every track and you’ll see that these guys just have a
bigger blender by far than most. Dub-drone-fusion-a-billy
often with neck-ringing tension. If Rod Serling hosted
a slow dance party black and white TV show…

-Thurston Hunger

Shanley, Scott – “Equinox, The” – [Self -released]

mickeyslim   2/29/2012   A Library, CD

Electric guitar chaos from Scott Shanley, noisemaker extraordinaire!
Scratchy, ear-bleeding crunch and static manipulation. Sounds like a
cat screaming as it wakes up from a nightmare. A police siren on an
oil rig stuck in a massive thunderstorm. The two long tracks remind me
of coming up on a bad acid trip, as they slowly ebb and flow. Last
track has trippy distorted spoken vocals and a couple false endings. Turn up and enjoy

Satoshi Kanda / Nick Hoffman [coll] – [Pilgrim Talk]

Thurston Hunger   2/29/2012   A Library, Cassette

Cassette release from adventurous Pilgrim Talk label,
with the label leader Nick Hoffman delivering the
heavy duty b-side. A 22+ minute wandering number in
the electronic wasteland, where the sun hums and
the birds are static clicks that flutter by. Lots
of silence between sonic valleys, so be prepared to
be soothed, even the the start which delivers more
industrial sizzle has a rough but reassuring texture.
The Kanda pieces I need to understand more about.
I dig the first movement, with it’s shrill blasts to
separate the meat from the bone of your inner ear.
A switch is thrown to connect the charge, over a
steady drone for most of the piece. Kind of feels like
metal dragging behind a car, making a circuit for
the louder sounds, but tinkling at other times. I
think it stops at 6:30, unless there are canine
frequencies after that. Then the second movement just
seems to be a constant hum, with more than 2X the
length, so not sure about the simulataneous nature of
it. Is it the 2nd derivative of the 1st at half speed?
Formulas may be at work, but evaded my ear/mind.
Dig the first and the last though.

-Thurston Hunger

Axolotl – “Telesma” – [Spooky Action]

mickeyslim   2/29/2012   A Library, CD

This release by Axolotl (pronounced axel-ottle) is the solo output of
Karl Bauer, who says he tries to create a physical experience from the
music, which you experience when throwing on your head phones and
blasting it. Much louder and multi layered than other releases. Static
and voices, melodcally daunting layered electronics create gorgeous
drones and ambient squeeks that make you feel stuck in the colorful
bubble of a lava lamp.
1 Giant orchestral wave of spacey noice that crashes suddenly
2 Space station musical chairs, foggy construction site stuck on spin cycle
3 Sea static stuck in traffic, helicopter dream fades out
4 mermaid chorus with reverb, futuristic copcar sirens, wave of dragon
fire at end
5 melodic EAS test from across church, ends at :04

The Sensitive Side – Moon Kids

gretaclue   2/29/2012   A Library

5 piece LA punk- new wave. This is some sloppy, garage-y goodness with some 80’s style keyboards thrown in to taste. These boys seem like a good time. You can tell they have some solid vintage punk influences. This is easily something Rodney Bingenheimer would approve of. I’m backing it.

Dirt – Black and White

gretaclue   2/29/2012   A Library

Formed in 1980, this UK ararcho-punk band had about a million lineup changes. It basically sounds like Crass if they let a girl sometimes sing. They toured with Crass a lot and with the exception of this record, which is a compilation of everything the band recorded, were on the Crass Records label. Do you see a theme here? If you like Crass, you will probably like Dirt, but in my opinion, with the exception of female vocals, I don’t think there is much new territory explored. Don’t get me wrong, its good crusty UK punk, but nothing new here really.

Shipp, Matthew – “Elastic Aspects” – [Thirsty Ear Recordings]

Thee Opinataur   2/29/2012   CD, Jazz

Studio recording from July 2011, Trio – Matthew Shipp: Michael Bisio: Bass, Whit Dickey:drums. The masterful jazz pianist Matthew Shipp has covered nearly three decades of brilliant works, however he is always composing something we have not yet heard before to stimulate our senses. While Shipp is in fine form throughout, he brilliantly waits his time to allow bassist Michael Bisio to set the tone for us in opening track Alternative Aspects with spiritual moanful bowing. By the time all three play together in track 3, Psychic Counterpoint, we are transfixed and compelled to see where they will take us next. And just when you think you know where you are going, you are abruptly pulled back again and again, especially on track 9 Rainforest where once again Bisio shines with suggestive droning bow play to compel the listener forward on this journey. The album is correctly titled as the last 2 tracks build beautifully together to a climatic end in which we are grateful we came along for this wild ride. A highly improvisational compilation Shipp teases throughout with bright melodic licks only to take us to his next bending pathway which is always a delightful surprise. The brilliant relationship of these three musicians to his own instrument and to each other is an incredible harmonious feat.

T.D. Skatchit & Company – “Skatch Surveillance” – [Edgetone Records]

Grizzly Adam   2/29/2012   A Library, CD

Finding; inner sounds (Greenlief), over sounds (Stackpole), rhythm (McDonas), pre-sounds (Moller), analogue sounds (Brown). Feeling song structure (Aurora 1), getting super tones (Segel), rainy exteriors (Djll), and rocky mountain flag capture (Dryer). The majority of the recording was done in public installations (prior to guest collaboration), with an assembly of combs and recording equipment, capturing anonymous players on this instrument of plastic combs. Its sound is like a shuffling across of similar sounds (each part of the same comb), a bit like sawing, zipping, or the sounds of a fence when walking by with a stick sliding on it, or a bit like the crank ensemble. 1 also gives us phone and speaking fragments from a male. 2 female voice spit, spritz, spray, gargle, piggy noises, mood intonations, hm, arigato, ah!, ahhh, grumble, end of voice awes (stretched), and some words “we do (know)”. 4 snakes, garbling fish, arcade noises, and further (very accessible track). 5 more wind-voice then flute. 6 male voice, Italian? French?
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

Dilloway, Aaron & Yeh, C. Spencer – “The Squid” – [Hanson Records]

Roland Blunt   2/29/2012   A Library, CD

The sonic collision of two midwestern experimental noisestronauts…Aaron Dilloway ( formerly of the post-industrial noise outfit Wolf Eyes ) and C. Spencer Yeh ( past collaborations with John Weise, Tony Conrad, and Ryan Jewell ). Tracks 1-3 were originally released as an LP, on Dilloway’s own Hanson Records label, in 2007…now re-issued with a 4th bonus track collage of the 3 movements from their out-of-print “False Speech” cassette. The aftermath is an example of classic psychedelic ambient noise…a haunted, abstract, nebulous, entrancing, disturbing, languid cacophony of sounds. This is far from aimless noodling, or a happy accident…tape loops, tape delay effects, tape-bow, violin, electronics, field recordings from Tibet, and effected vocals are deployed to produce a dark, elliptical din that elicits a disturbed mindscape into a seemingly ancient conflict.


Kommissar Hjuler Und Mama Baer & Ninni Morgia/Silvia Kastel – “Two Couples” – [Ultramarine]

Max Level   2/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

This record is just too damned weird. Deranged German couple on one side, incomprehensible Italian couple on the other. On the Kommissar/Mama side there is talking, and somebody repeatedly hitting something squeaky, then Mama’s agitated voice shrieks and wails and howls while Kommissar taps/bangs rhythmically on a guitar. Two short pieces and one long one; all of them cut off suddenly. The Ninni/Silvia side is more listenable and less random sounding than the other side, but still kind of a mess. It seems to be mostly electronic sounds, and there is nothing I recognize as a voice until the last track, which is probably the closest thing to music on this record–all psychedelic guitars and heavy reverb, and eventually some Yoko Ono-inspired squealing atop a throbbing background. I kind of enjoyed listening to it but now have a headache as a result.

Sister Iodine + Masaya Nakahara – “Meth: Live In Tokyo” – [Premier Sang]

abacus   2/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

Joyful euphoria for those that take to sonic terror and brutal destruction like heroin, or meth for that matter… Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t just a monotone blanket of noise, rather unpredictable chaos at every corner that might get you foaming at the mouth. Only 300 copies exist of this live recording of primal improv from this French trio dating back to the early 90s and Violent Onsen Geisha frontman Masaya Nakahara. Brain scalding eruptions of psychotic savagery. This probably kills brain cells…. I love it!

Timmy’s Organism – “Squeeze The Giant” – [Sacred Bones Records]

abacus   2/28/2012   7-inch, A Library

Creeping out of the Detroit wasteland, broken robot junk rock from Timmy’s Organism, the perversely personal alter-ego of Human Eye frontman Timmy Vulgar. Timmy sings and plays guitar, synths and primitive noise effects (with guests on bass, drums on No Hassle and??Body of Love)??in a stripped down, decrepit garage rock format. Tree Thirsty Earthquake??and??Toes in the Grass slow things down a bit for a demented, nonsensical love ballad and spaced out dream waltz but other than that, riffage, howling and noise. 5 song EP full of melting guitar wah excrement, synth delay noodling and crooning gibberish… Another treat from Sacred Bones!

Sachiko – “Anro” – [Utech Records]

Max Level   2/28/2012   A Library, CD

One track, 37 minutes long. Sachiko (from Overhang Party and other projects) journeys alone through a strange, unknown place, offering her voice, viola, recorder, and percussion as her prayers for safe passage and understanding. Though the traveler is surrounded on all sides by unknowable ancient things watching, the path must be followed. This hypnotic, ritualistic piece sounds like an apprehensive walk through a fog-shrouded Japanese drone-forest at dusk. Eerie and powerful.

Batsumi – “Batsumi” – [Matsuli Music]

abacus   2/28/2012   CD, Jazz

Sowetan group started in 1972 by blind guitarist Johnny Mothopeng (son of imprisoned rebel leader), brother Lancelot Mothopengon keys and Zulu Bidi on bass. This is a reissue of the groups first full length 1974 LP and hits us like a message in a bottle, reminding us that we still don’t understand. Defiantly creative township jazz infected with a soulful psychedelia rich in reverb with mesmerizing loops compliments of bass, organ and guitar over which we hear echoing sonorities of sax and flute and entrancing chants all with a peppering of traditional percussion, bongos and modern drumset. Song titles harken to times past, bringing an ethnographic focus to their modern sound. This comes from a time and place when self-expression was considered radical and Steve Biko had calls for a radical reorientation of black culture towards political and mental liberation.

Butler, Ken – “Voices of Anxious Objects” – [Tzadik]

abacus   2/28/2012   A Library, CD

Ken Butler studied viola as a child but went on to study visual arts in France and Portland, though constantly maintaining an interest in music. He fused his interests in music and visual art becoming a renowned inventor of eccentric hybridized instruments using everyday objects like snow-shovels, bike wheels and golf clubs and turning them into instruments. What we have here is a perplexing but approachable array of melodies conjoining rock structures with eastern stylings in a jazz atmosphere dominated by international beats and spattered with all sorts of unheard sounds. Broken playhouse jabbering set within playfully waddling rhythms featuring invented and traditional instruments alike, with a handful of guests including Matt Darriau from Paradox Trio. As Butler describes, it speaks to the transformed identities of material objects as we move from a mechanical to an electrical era of information overload. What arises is a living corpse of juxtaposed and deconstructed items.

Sneakers – “Children Into People” – [Hungry Mother]

Thee Opinataur   2/27/2012   7-inch, A Library

Produced in 2009, this 7″EP is one of the first releases from the young label Permanent Records Chicago. It is a side project from two members of the Chicago based progressive/noise group Cave. This brand of Sneakers will never be confused with the 70s power pop band and most assuredly nothing in common with the DePeche Mode tribute band of the same name.

These six short tracks are collectively repetitive lo-fi punk jams. Most of the songs contain reverb enhanced , echoed vocals that have a washed out wailing effect. Almost all vocals are inaudible except for B5 I Am the Disease

Each track possesses similar efficient catchy driving riffs and progress nicely throughout. While this 7″ was cut to play at 33rpm, when played at 45rpm it will take you back to the glorious garage punk days of late 70s.

All 6 tracks recommended, however the following are the highlights of the this EP

A2 Chicks Freaked Out

B2 I Am the Disease

B3 Nudes

CiM – “Do Not Multiply Models” – [Delsin/Ann Aimee Records]

Roland Blunt   2/27/2012   A Library, CD

Compilation of work from Londoner Simon Walley (aka CiM). Two 12-inch EPs and one 12-inch single spanning the years 1999 -2000….originally released on the Delsin and deFocus labels…digitally remastered (by electro-funk artist Dexter) and re-released by the Delsin deep electronica sub-label Ann Aimee (artwork provided by Delta Funktionen). These are gently crafted ambient, techno-tronic transmissions…mechanical, pensive, intricate, angular, paradoxical grooves. Imagine…icy warm, aggressively subtle and futuristically nostalgic beat-scape expressions of machine- elf DJs pressing toward a warm yonder…skipping through the burbling funkmosphere in a synth-esthetic reverie…the harmonious clockwork of the cryo-spheres….air-locked grooves…subdued nano-beats…modem-mentum…synth-sweeps, blips, bleeps, clicks, squeaks and squelches…the articulations and mutterings of a techno-geist.

Tracks # 4, 6, 9 are particularly satisfying, and Track 13 radiates some hip-hop particles. Original Vinyl EP containing Tracks #1-8 in A-Library

Monk, Meredith – “Songs of Ascension” – [Ecm Records Gmbh]

humana   2/25/2012   A Library, CD

This is simply astounding, whether you listen to it and can hear the beauty of the music, or just appreciate what went into creating this recording. Composer Meredith Monk optimizes the voice as musical instrument, and experiments with it in singular settings (her Vocal Ensemble) as well as choral settings (The M6 and Montclair State University Singers). The Todd Reynolds Quartet (violins, viola, and cello) adds another layer to these songs (based on 15 Psalms intoned by pilgrims ascending on their journey). The true icing on the cake is that this was performed in an 8-story tower in Sonoma County, CA, with 2 staircases mimicking a double helix, while the performers ascended to the top. Listen and marvel.

Dun, Tan – “Water Passion After Saint Matthew” – [Sony Classical]

humana   2/24/2012   A Library, CD

The composer of the music for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon here directs a performance in Stuttgart of this work commissioned for the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death. Stunning, spare settings featuring a “Water-Instruments-Orchestra” as well as soloists, choir, violin, cello, electronic sampler make this a worthy alternative to Jesus Christ Superstar. Water is more than just a theme here–it is the life-force of the entire production, forming the essential ingredient in the percussion instruments (among them 17 water bowls underlit and forming a cross). Dun proves that you don’t need to grow up Christian to render the passion inherent in Jesus’ story as told by Matthew.