Music Reviews

Stasis – Past Movements [coll] – [Peacefrog Records]

humana   3/31/2012   A Library, CD

This 2-CD collection is actually all written, produced, and mixed by one artist–UK-based Steve Pickton–who in the course of his career has assumed various monikers. No matter what you call him, his brand of electronica is soothing and pleasant ambient energy that is as suited to accompanying a long drive along a freeway as it is to providing a soundtrack to a supercool, future space movie. CD1 has longer tracks, while CD2 offers shorter, more scintillating forays into minimalist beats interspersed occasionally with human voice and bird sounds (on 7) that will enhance many a KFJC set.

Rex The Dog – “Prototype” – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

MSTiZA   3/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

Rex The Dog can be found on Kompakt Total comps and finally making it’s debut in the KFJC library (this is a 2004 Kompakt release) This is a must play of two solid tracks. Take your pick, 33 or 45 rpm. All for your listening pleasure REx the DOg delivers hypnotic beats with just enough bark and byte. Sirens edits, electro, and beats to be handled. Donation courtesy of G’wrench.


Subcontents – “Death Becomes H.E.R.” – [Heratik Productions]

MSTiZA   3/28/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

This single hit the ground in 2000. A year that hip hop was growing up. Y2k had left a bad taste in the mouths of GenXers and GenYers were running for the hills of humboldt to work out their futures. Well, maybe for many but not everyone. Some stayed in the trenches spitting hard hitting raps with staccato ??cadences. That would account for Sub Contents, the San Jose Duo consisting of Dave Dub and Persevere. This single has two tracks: Death Becomes H.E.R. ??and Moderation Vs. Excess. Those familiar with the movement in HH during these times can empathize with the sentiment -Murder the beat, Hip Hop is dead, and how to strike balance with watching what you love be taken away by the mainstream. Now 12 years later this single still holds ground.

Haack, Bruce – “Electronic Record For Children, The” – [Mississippi Records]

MSTiZA   3/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

Bruce Haack, composer, genius. When he passed away in 1988 the world didn’t quite know it’s loss. Haack was a child prodigy. Playing in his first band the Swing Tomes by age twelve. He studied at the U of Alberta in Edmonton which landed in theater productions, radio station, and playing in a band. Through the Juilliard School of music, Haack came to America to study with composer Vincent Persichetti. Haack eventually dropped out of Juilliard due to the restrictive structure of the school. He kept this rebellious side through out his career. He collaborated with Children’s Music Teacher, Esther Nelson (Miss Nelson) and with Ted “Praxiteles” Pandel starting their own label Dimension 5. Every song on this record (re-released by Mississippi Records) has a unique themes and abstract sound. You will find voices/dialogue, spooky soft structures, organic, vintage, lullabies, cosmic, and astronomical storytelling. It’s a psychedelic experience at the schoolyard.

Luftwaffe – “Solipsistica Nihilisti” – [Punch Records]

abacus   3/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

10″ follow up to their recent full length CD from this American martial/industrial noise outfit with members from Ostara, Valence and Gnomonclast. This is great for fans of Boyd Rice, Death in June and Aleister Crowley which leads to somewhat questionable political leanings with sinister themes like dictatorship, war, mass executions and general human evil. Lyrics can be a little straightforward but definitely reflect blatant misanthropy. Supporting the thematic material is a diabolical musical underbelly of decrepit bass rumblings and serrated gritty noise with some instrumental appearances, all punctuated by driving, repetitive military beats. Dubbed vocal samples creep out from the terror recounting fascist speeches and a subjugated populace. Tracks 4, 8 and 10 offer a brief respite from the march to oblivion with more folk/ambient sounds. Album ends with an apocalyptic ballad set to swirls of synth complete with samples of crying women. Happy night terrors!

Walls – “Future Is Wide Open, The” – [Iron Lung Records]

mickeyslim   3/28/2012   12-inch, A Library

Four guys out of Seatlle, WA who are very pissed off. Luck enough to have them up in the Pit early this year, and what a performance it was. A lot of the songs they performed are here on this album released last year. With socially provocative lyrics and a hardcore-punk/ noise-metal sound this album does a good job of getting you nice and pissed off as well (especially after checking out the killer lyrics sheet inside.)

Slow and drudgy in places, crazy fast and insane at others, throathy and also peircing screaming lyrics, and the drums create a sense of urgency with a slow tempo. This band has an incredible diversity of sound, and also had you moving around like you’re having an epileptic seizure.

FCC: A1, A3 (which tracks into A4), A6, B1 (tracks into B2), B3, B4, B6*

*awesome lyrics though

Big Black & Black Harold (Ray, Daniel & Murray, Harold)) – “a Message to Our Ancestors” – [Uni Records]

Cousin Mary   3/28/2012   12-inch, Jazz

This 1967 recording meets at the intersection of African tribal music and jazz. Congas take the melody and flute does rhythm, or so they say. Flutes flutter, sing, and sometimes scream. Human voices mostly make sounds that are not words.

Percussionist Big Black (born Daniel Ray in 1934) was inspired by radio broadcasts from Cuba as a child in the southeastern US. He played with salsa and calypso bands and later with Bepop artists and was called “The King of the Congas”. Undeservedly obscure flautist Black Harold (Murray) also worked with Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra.

Very cool, recommended!

PGM: Volume levels seems low.

Wooden Shjips – “Remixes” – [Thrill Jockey]

Roland Blunt   3/27/2012   12-inch, A Library

Remix EP featuring source material from San Francisco psych-rock band Wooden Shjips…guitarist Erik “Ripley” Johnson, bassist Dusty Jermier, organist Nash Whalen, and percussionist Omar Ahsanuddin…whose collective sounds hark back to the driving, melodic, minimalist, ethereal transmissions of Hawkwind, The Velvet Underground, The Soft Machine, Loop, Spacemen 3

Side A/Track 1 – remix of “Crossing”, from 2011 album West, by producer Andrew Weatherall (previous collaborations w/ Paul Oakenfold, New Order, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine)…a techno-dance interpretation featuring electronic drums, pitch-shifted vocals, manic synth, and sticky-sweet bass.

Side A/Track 2 – mash up of sounds from West by Sonic Boom (Peter Kember of Spacemen 3/Spectrum/E.A.R)…a swirling fog of sonic boomage inspired while Kember was mastering the West album, as well as recognizing the influence of Red Krayola on the band’s sound.

Side B/Track 1 – collaboration w/ Kandodo (Simon Price from The Heads)…sound bed provided by “Ripley” Johnson, with additional instrumentation/production by Price…entrancing, almost a locked groove feel.

Group Ongaku – “Music of Group Ongaku” – [SEER Sound Archive]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, A Library

A side is home studio recorded, where the site of confluence becomes the basis for new sound music, where participants play round robin with objects and instruments, use their voice and hands to generate sound with more than just the tradition of a european tuned orchestra. A discord of music technique, this study break be it from musicology, literature, or vocal music studies, brought out an understanding of performance away from the bench and based it squarely on a kind of audiology, understood as where “creation and performance occur simultaneously” and “acoustics” [are tracked] within actual time and space” such as where in poetry action disrupts representation, and a kind of realism is exposed. These performances contain evidence of a later concern of some of it’s members, where in it can be heard/felt that sounds have transitioned environmental conditions, turning morning to night, sun to rain, house to hall to political address, worded as “directly connect[ing] everyday experiences with musical expressions in an attempt to transcend conventional music concepts”. A side is full on music in chaos. Weo weo (woman) re a re a (radio scan) percussive door, shakers, crunchy food, bugs bunny piano humor, bowed string, vibrating surfaces, inner pockets of sound, tapping on glass, pilot voice, large motorcades, and escape action sequences, oil drum and delay processing, slide flute and dolls; Group Ongaku is ensemble outre. Cacophony. Hear the sheer gravity of a synthesizer which inhales all the surrounding sound into a giant black hole. Is that someone cleaning the studio while they record? Later they get in on it, flipper jocking the on-off switch. Music concrete by sheer effort, and ingenuity with tape. B side is live at Sogetsu Hall. This is straight post classical-jazz improv. Alan Silva comes to mind, as does Lawrence Butch Morris. They hold off the percussion until the levee breaks and wamo, the performance is reinvigorated, except the musicians hadn’t yet returned from a walk around the hall, and so the performance returns to quiet development. Also some organ, or accordion with piano keys, comes in.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Icy Demons – “Fight Back” – [Cloud Recordings]

Laethaka   3/27/2012   A Library, CD

Pretty good 2003 indie rock from a Chicago-based Elephant 6 project. Vocals enter and exit a variety of jazzy melodies at their own convenience. Tracks 3, 7, 9, and 11 are very soothing in an instrumental texture kind of way. The title track is very nice and will fit with just about anything. Tracks 4 and 12 are more upbeat and a little tremulous with falsetto. Tracks 9 and 10 have some neat pulsing and ticking electronics. Track 5 gets a little menacing and the last track is a toned down and worried version of track 4. No two songs sound too closely alike, and that really seems what they were going for.

“brims with Zappa weirdness”

Axaxaxas Mlo – “S/t” – [Self Release]

Laethaka   3/27/2012   A Library, CD

Neun Welten went back in time to bone Satyricon’s Dark Medieval Times and they had a goat-baby. It’s icy black metal plus folksy black metal in this self-titled almost demo-sounding release, and I don’t know if that makes this crossover black metal or eclectic black metal or what but it is so good.

Tracks 1-3 are great intros to their metal style. Folksy stuff kicks in around track 5 and he starts bringing in a new instrument almost every song. Lots of cute organ backdrops for growly screeching. Final track starts as a wickedly confused & remixed social commentary that decays into black metal AND IS SILENT FROM 4:20 UNTIL 5:10, whereupon black metal resumes.

Brown, Chris – “Iconicities” – [New World Records]

Cousin Mary   3/27/2012   A Library, CD

Chris Brown composed and performs on 3 longish pieces that combine traditional instruments and electronics, both digital and analog. There are bells, chimes, vibes, and an overall feeling of an Indonesian gamelan influence. Pleasant sounds, but whether it is monotonous or trance inducing depends on your point of view. Liner notes describing the iconicity concept are rather incomprehensible, but I think it involves takes a simple idea, making it more complex, and using electronics to transform the percussion.

William Winant teaches at Mills College and at UC Santa Cruz and is considered a leading avant grade percussionist.

Orchestre Regional De Mopti – “Best of The First Biennial of Arts and Culture…, The” – [Mississippi Records]

Art Crimes   3/27/2012   12-inch, International

Although packaged and described in such a way as to suggest that the Orchestre Regional de Mopti was some sort of academic cultural exercise, what you actually hear is more along the lines of Orchestre Baobab: a large Malian dance band with some hints of Cuban rhythms (their earlier name, Bani Jazz, was perhaps more appropriate). The cover displays the group floating along Mopti in a lengthy boat, but they don’t just wear those instruments for the PR shot; there is pretty hypnotic guitar and bass work throughout the LP with horns and flute on top and a varied percussion section. All the tracks feature vocals (the last track features a female vocalist). The second track is a live recording. No band members are identified in the liner notes other than the bandleader Sorry Bamba, who would rename the group once again as the Kanaga Orchestra in the 1970s (KFJC also has Sorry Bamba’s LP “Volume One 1970-1979” which overlaps with this one slightly). ((( crimes )))

Queen Omega – “Away From Babylon” – [Jet Star]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

#1 Entertainment, Rob Rankin’s Solid Foundation introduction tune, KKUP 91.5. Half rap half gospel “indeed”, Jahmazing Grace. Lovers conflated with heavenly overtones of love. #2 Above the conflict and friction in babylon, on large stepping rhythm. #4 Top joint, joyous, without the economy of the bare pop production (solely pop), and not for the dating either, for “single” reasons. Spins with the likes of Tarrus Riley. #5 Evidence of her large voice like used in top 90s soul. B #2 Hip hop style, like Damian Marley. Dancehall in a snap of the body rhythm. “I am the junglist-bring me my cannabis-and you just can’t stop this-you want this.” #3 On the “Satisfy My Soul” wavelength. #4 Did this end up on the Jeff Sarge (WFMU) compilation for the mothers, during the Reggae Schoolroom fundraising marathon, end of February beginning of March, a few years ago? #5 Play with Aisha’s “Wickedness Increase”; on an in common riddim.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Francis, Winston – “Mr. Fix It” – [Coxsone]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

#2 A lifted melody. Sure is sweet, and given fine treatment, in vocal and bass. The guitar is a bit prominant, give it a great character, and anticipates since much loved reggae sounds. #3 A sound explored by Jimmy Cliff as well, could have been The Harder They Come or You Can Get It If You Really Want. #4 A cover, “too experienced to be loved by any one”. #5 Eretta a girl, being wooed by the crooning voice of Winston Francis. #6 Tambourine, and the sounds like might be found on old country radio, Elvis and the such. B #1 Built on the melody of that other ancient tune, The Long Black Veil by Lefty Frizzell, which has the coda that talks about the mind going or over my bones, and is quite sad. #2 Funk/Rocksteady. Highly recommended, anticipating funk free jam. #3 About regretable attraction, that kind not good for you, like Philip for Mildred in Of Human Bondage; done in an upbeat style with a nice hand percussion accompaniment. #4 This was upgraded and redone and used many times as a riddim, you might recognise it. #5 Well known. “That’s the sound of a man working on a chain.” Recommended for the Soul Patrol. #6 With a brief solo on the guitar. Composed with having some improvisation in mind.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Romeo, Max – “Our Rights” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Better on headphones or extremely loud sound-systems, the music otherwise suffers and does contain noise error in it’s production, while the music also is not very compelling. The messages however are. #1 Image, and theoretical diagnosis, theological and philosophical, indicting the realities of mass relativism. #2 Anti-formalist, anti-theoretic-reductionism, is rather, social constructivist, and, economic and rights progressivist. #3 Congos style down-tempo dank saddened sounds. #4 Sensi spirituality, visiting Jah. Genealogy of the smoker, from present to HIM – his imperial majesty. B #1 Keys and bass helixially interwoven. The same year as Luciano’s Where There Is Life, and shares musical qualities with the like of Luciano. Segues right into the next cut (with silence). #4 Black man time, like the cover shows “We want Mandela face on the *kuger rand”. #5 Show stopper, shortened horns, deeper bass played like a strobe light, dub dancehall.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Twinkle Brothers, The – “Wind of Change” – [Twinkle]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

The Twinkle sound seems to have branched off toward a more crisp electro-disco sound, embracing the treble pop of the prior decade (it being 1990). I think of cross-over rock reggae, dub dance disco, and the such. Right Here Waiting is the wonderfully sentimental chart topper, commercial hit, and hear the woo woo magic of I Still Love You. Not the disco mix sound, more synth-pop. Last track “Live Good” is great, and would like to dedicate to my neighbor who recently passed away.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Toyan – “Every Posse Want Me” – [Live and Learn]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

#2 Ganja is what “It have fi light”, on the pass the kutchie riddim. #3 “Joyce” on a truncated dub of the entertainment riddim. #4 I concur with Toyan, these are more rub-a-dub than otherwise, this one also being quite a strong tune. #5 “Calypso” is fun and dare I say “Ribbit!”. B #1 !! #4 On a much enjoyed riddim, see black roses and eek-a-mouse at sunsplash.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Aisha – “There Is More to Life…” – [Ariwa]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   12-inch, Reggae

Like Christmas at the heart, Jah in the inside brings happiness in the 12″ form. As good as Alanis Morissette, and in other ways outdoing Ella Fitzgerald. Sound production is top, a studio sound inviting of the lyric Aisha brings. A side, each cut brings out different emotional responses. #1 A choral or humming response along side Aisha (beautiful hidden flute flurries aswell as Christmas reserved reggae technique, the vibraphone). #3 Sticking out the no-no finger and dancing in place in a circle at the hips. #4 Heavy guitar part, for a bar dance crowd or late night radio, with bass punctuating the delivery of the words. B #1 Rebel music, “wrap it in a draw”, do the twist. #2 Faith based chant music in free verse in the style of Prince Far I. #3 The bass line from one of those crooning dance oldies, recommended for the Soul Patrol. #4 This rhythm in vogue on Jah’s Music, recommended. #5 Disco plate style. Like Twinkle but more of the class rather than particularly Twinkle.
-eveningly infinitely wipes

Garcia, Miguel A. – “Red River/Rio Tinto” – [Ghost and Son]

Grizzly Adam   3/27/2012   A Library, CD

A few seconds of field recording start the album, and this, the first track, has the most of the percussion that appears on this album. As the sun shiny noise rock stretches out over nine tracks it takes you through, cone-wise, from many to more discrete noise, in a kind of noise collage much like a blender does to a variety of ingredients, all tracks ending early, and have silence in places within (false endings throughout all tracks), the blended noise going to rumble to bumpy noise (like speed bumps), static noise to distortion, clipping to frequency noise. The key ingredient is the semi-processed vocal work. The Spanish that appears in this is extremely funny, like getting your little sister on the mic to broadcast sound emergencies (4) as if it were a godzilla approaching, and to voice imaginative opinions on what the sound is or does. Very funny stuff, and hard to translate. Later (6), some words are distinguishable, and happen to be angry criticism made in a traditional style that is partially a religious standpoint, with well regarded Spanish explicatives such as, peludo (hairy), degrassado (mf-er), and para mierda (like shit). This is common cultural humor. The voicing is in quite well done childish inflections and cartoonish kiddy language. A cushion of noise both obscures some of the word content while supplementing the inflectional content quite well (3,6), reminding me of noisy tv reception of cartoons overdubbed in Spanish like Speed Racer. One gripe is that the screaming that appears in some of the tracks takes away from the humor of this work, I wish it were left for a different release. Track five has a little of something one might term a beat, that is thankfully absent from the other tracks. Guitar work like Skullflower. Percussion crisp and clear, sounding as if done on a stairway (5), or a stairway played like a piece of percussion.
-eveningly infinitely wipes