Music Reviews

Vagusnerve – “Go Back to The Sirius” – [Utech Records]

abacus   1/30/2013   A Library, CD

The vagus nerve in human anatomy is responsible for a number of functions, including receiving information from the visceral organs and slowing down heart-rate, keeping it from beating uncontrollably. In KFJC world, this is the experimental drone duo of Li Jianhong on electric guitar and vocals and VAVABOND on laptop and electronics. The science lesson did however, speak to the effect these three 20 min pieces had, forcing me into a deep trance as they evolved. In a way, they speak to the evolution of universes and galaxies in general, and the expansion and contraction specifically. The first piece, the lighter more floaty of the three, goes star hopping across the astral plane with an intergalactic guitar goliath guiding the way, wailing away in the upper register as he’s slowly sucked through a black hole accompanied by the interdimensional ghosts of nowhere. We emerge in a new world entirely on an undulating merry-go-round of warped orbits (track 2). To circular circus melodies ghostly whale apparitions twirl around and around up and down backwards and forwards as does the mutant ringmaster beckoning forth into the next wormhole, introducing a whole race of disfigured aliens. Don’t get too comfortable though, as the rubber band snaps and we’re pulled back towards the center (track 3) flying at hyperspeed through galaxies at such a blistering velocity we’re gradually torn apart, with only the great guitar gods to bring us peace. “It is the DNA of our universe, and some day we will all be a part of it.

Bay Blue – “S/T” – [Anticon.]

MSTiZA   1/30/2013   12-inch, A Library

Bay Blue aka Matth, born Matt Chang. Roots out of the Bay Area via Pacifica. Here’s?? a record that the guy wanted to put out. The sample artist and producer has laid together a nice story. Rainy jazz mornings, mid-day blues breaks, kin folk freak out (sorta), to sunny afternoon big band all done with the greatest ease. No pretension, just a relaxed style that only a vinyl lover could do. This would have been a nice cassette.

Axeman – “Arrive” – [Crepusculo Negro]

abacus   1/30/2013   12-inch, A Library

Project of Black Twilight Circle cult member Volahn, collaborating with fellow henchmen Arizmenda and Impious. This is not, however, black metal. A countryfied acoustic intro with some synthefied spaciness opens the album. As the drums signal a turn into some hair metal Slash attacks we get a slight hint of cheese stink, until the snarling vocals come in fully tortured fury lamenting the extermination of ancient cultures (see European Colonialism). They call this war metal, maybe the reactionary outgrowth of the hate and anguish that is black metal, like rounding up an oppressed people to raid the villages of the oppressed, burning and pillaging all the way. I imagine they really hoped 2012 would be the end, and the Mayans would prove victorious afterall, witnessing the obliteration of the white devils that raped their land and history. We could always pick up where they left off…

Holley, Lonnie – “Just Before Music” – [Dust-To-Digital]

mickeyslim   1/30/2013   12-inch, A Library

L. Holley (aka The Sand Man) is an artist based in Alabama who works with soft sandstone to create abstract shapes and uses recycled found objects to create small to large scale sculptures. He started making art carving tombstones after his sister’s daughters died when their house burned down… and it probably went uphill from there. Apparently this guy’s house and yard is littered (pun intended) with all the found object sculptures and his neighbors weren’t particularly happy when he moved in. Check out some of his work in the liner notes.

The music, on the other hand, is a politically inspired, completely improvised, hallucinagenic dream that takes you through passages of your morphing mind. The lyrics, being totally made up on the spot, are sometimes repeated several times giving it a chantlike sound, and he isn’t particularly eloquent. The music in the background is kind of ambient organ sounds; fluid and ethereal, imaginative, creative, and active. Sucks you in and won’t let go, almost to the point where it feels like you’re creating it with him. Some of the lyrics are silly, but it’ll just be another Morris Minor fav

Find The Others – “Find The Others” – [Canada Council For The Arts]

Naysayer   1/30/2013   A Library, CD

“Find The Others”, the most current project by Canadian multi -artist Andy Sheppard, recording under the name Find The Others, is a beautifully produced, textured group of songs. Sounding like it swallowed a whole bunch of Mum and Sufjan Stevens, this collection feels like it belongs in the wintery north. It is music to be listened to on cold nights when everyone else in the house is asleep. It’s filled with acoustic guitar, obscure movie samples, guitar loops, vibraphone, whispering, slightly straining vocals, crackly background sounds, and the obligatory banjo plunking. Lyrics set a bittersweet yet hopeful and quiet mood.

Toral, Rafael – “Space Elements Vol. 3” – [TAIGA Records]

Max Level   1/29/2013   12-inch, A Library

Love this. Toral is playing an assortment of not-exactly-instruments and reveling in the fact that he can’t accurately control what happens. The devices have a life of their own and that’s just the way he likes it. He’s doing oscillator, feedback, sinewaves, amplifier, noise, etc, along with a few guest musicians on drums, percussion, Rhodes piano, and guitar. There are moments of expansive ambience here, along with several tracks that could pass for the outer fringes of Jazz, especially when the drums and Rhodes are working out. Tatsuya Nakatani on Track 3.

Drumm, Kevin – “Relief” – [Editions Mego]

mickeyslim   1/29/2013   12-inch, A Library

Noisician Kevin Drumm, based in Chicago (who works with the likes of Daniel Menche, Jim O’Rourke, and Mats Gustaffson) bring us a new album, a little bit more noisy and experimental than other releases, but harmonious nonetheless. Electronic manipulations over organ or synth, Both sides start off right in the middle (oxymoronic?) of the hazy electronic ramblings. Here’s a list of phrases I came up with listening to this:

Sonic adventure

Aural abduction

Auditory seduction

Neurological gestation

Sensatory hallucination

Thwerps, thwarps, blips and clang. I hallucinated the sounds of motorcycles, helicopters, electric guitar feedback, voices, racecars, a jet engine, geese, freeway traffic. Felt like going through an endless underground BART tunnel, with all the lights off and everyone’s got a candle, chanting. Oh, and the conductor is passing around peyote buttons. Harsh and cozy, comforting and bludgeoning, soft and sharp, lay down tired on a bed of nails and R-E-L-A-X…

Shin Joong Hyun & The Yup Juns – “_” – [Lion Productions]

Dianthus   1/29/2013   CD, International

Released in 1974 as a very limited- edition promotional item intended for radio stations, this album was originally dropped by Shin’s record label. This power trio consisted of Shin & the Yup Jun-” In Korean, yupjun literally means a brass coin,” Shin explains. “However, during that time it was used as slang to describe a sense of unpleasantness and dislike. Since I was so unpleasant and dissatisfied [in my career], I told myself, `Ok, fine, I am just a yupjun,’ and named my band with a rebellious attitude.”??Shin started this musical exploration by renting a room in Seoul’s Tower Hotel for 6 months and collaboratively wrote songs and created music with his band for this amazing and powerful release. Strong funk , psychedelic and catchy guitar riffs envelop you with the opening track ” Beautiful Woman” and Shin’s vocal intensity duets with bell ringing on “I love You”. Monster grooves and bar raising lyrical approaches can be heard all throughout this museum- worthy masterpiece . A must have for all music lovers!


Protestant – “Reclamation” – [Halo of Flies]

mickeyslim   1/29/2013   12-inch, A Library

Dark, doomy, daring, dynamic, and many other words starting with the letter “D.”

Seriously hardcore straight from the depths of Lake Michigan, or at least the Milwaukee area… Brian?? Morrison on drums, Chris Ellis on guitar, Jesse Smith on bass and Cory VonBohlen on vocals and other guitar. Self proclaimed as “dark hardcore punk,” they start with fast drum beats, and melodic distortion f rom the guitars almost to the point of sounding pretty. Vocals sounds like Howlin’ Wolf singing metal… Check out the liner notes for the story behind the track Jan Palach (or look it up online, pretty cool) but don’t read the rest of it (kinda lame.)

PGM: short transitions between tracks, FCC on A2 (but it’s unintelligible, so, go ahead, I’m not listening to your show….)


brought to you by the letter “D”

Charlie Nothing – “Outside / Inside” – [De Stijl Records]

abacus   1/25/2013   12-inch, Jazz

Outsider free-folk tribal improv from Charlie Nothing, a man of legend and mystery, and his bearded buddy Tox Drohan. Charles Martin Simon was (or is) a father, author, horse/beekeeper, organic farmer, philosopher, clown and inventor of the Dingulator (guitars made out of car metal); most importantly he is a serious nobody and damn good at keeping his loner status. Here we have some authentic 1969 hippie zen shit, jamming around on non-music grooves with Charlie on the holy stick (flute) and Tox bangin on bongos (or something). Two sidelongs (about 21 and 12 mins, with music on A side dropping out at about 4 and 9.5 mins) of minimalist meditations on the spirit of now in the world of dropouts. Definitely home recordings here with lo-fi sound and conversations from all their stoner friends hangin round the circle. Originally on the small Hollywood label Everit Enterprises, this is Charlie’s second Long Playing Record (see Psychedelic Saxophone) and he only went on to release some singles and cassettes through the 70s. Keith from NNCK wonders, “perhaps it is not you who has found nothing, but Nothing that has found you…”

Mellowhype – “Numbers” – [Odd Future]

Dianthus   1/25/2013   CD, Hip Hop

Mellowhype consists of Odd Future’s Hodgy Beats and producer/ MC Left Brain. Bass-heavy beats swerve around catchy synth-pop licks while weed-driven , sometimes angry , lyrics are spit out on tracks like ” 65/Breakfast” and “Monster”. This is Mellowhype’s second release which also features cameos from Frank Ocean on the smooth track”Astro”. Slightly funky, parrot head parading, thumping beats shimmers upon the falsetto of Pharell on the lady lumps praising ” La Bonita”. Hodgy demands attention with his raspy and fast rapping style, but I enjoyed Left Brain’s goofiness and laid back flow. Get the whip out and bump this this cd loudly.


Rich, Robert – “Nest” – [Soundscape Productions]

cinder   1/25/2013   A Library, CD

Local man, Robert Rich, is a master at creating the most celestial, comet gazing, aquarium jelly electronic music. After reading his liner notes, the whole album really has a distinct view, and I can envision his quest. Words were written about morning dew drops, and the standing waters that tadpoles need to survive. This release has an incredible emotional feeling to it, definitely a life-birthing experience. Meditations will be had. He also expresses editing his music so much that almost no music is left, testing the tuning and paning effects, until each sound is flowing just right. Piano, flutes, lap steel guitar, glass and copper bells along with electronic drones and nature sounds. This is gorgeous, optimistic and relaxing ambiance.

Sparhawk, Jesse & Carbonara, Eric – “Sixty Strings” – [Revolver]

cinder   1/25/2013   A Library, CD

Jesse (from folk band Fern Knight) plays the Lever Harp, which is those gorgeous tall harps that consist of 27-38 strings usually. The classical “goddess” style harp that creates the gorgeous mellow tones. Eric plays the Upright Chaturangui, which is a guitar with a super thick neck and 22 strings and usually played in the lap with a slide. A sound that’s heard a lot in Indian music, it has the higher zen like trance-drone enduring sounds. The ones that cascade over like waterfalls of shooting stars. This album is two 17 minute tracks, both incredible. Lots of finger picking, electric and acoustic strings, a tone always floating. An ethnic flair. The intensity is raised on the second track, with addition of a snare drum. Drum cadence, party of one.

Radio Free Clear Light – “Labyrinth of Ohgel, The” – [Black Note Music]

humana   1/24/2013   A Library, CD

Gone are images of David Bowie or a crazed Jack Nicholson frozen outside a maze when I hear the word “labyrinth.” Now I go into a trance induced by the manipulations of found sound into an aural experience that isn’t complete until combined with the web installations representing each of the chambers of the labyrinth that can be found at http://www.extradimensional.com/ohgel/ . Click that baby, and you too can participate in the photos and poetic descriptions of the chambers within the Ohgel Labyrinth (Legos and bristle blocks are a theme in the pictures). It is like a virtual museum with surround-sound, and it is completely enveloping and awesome. Lose yourself in this unique ambient enchantment. Challenge yourself to discover the Innermost Chamber.

Chatham, Rhys/Kane, Jonathan/DJ Elated System – “Septile” – [Ninja Tune/Ntone]

abacus   1/23/2013   A Library, CD

In the late 90s prolific minimal composer Rhys Chatham got together with Ninja Tune’s Ntone sublabel to do some experimental trip-hop stuff alongside Swans cofounder/drummer Jonathan Kane and experimental turntablist Elated Systems. He’s playing trumpet here, loose narcotic improvised tangents swirling amorphously around the chopped up, nebular trip-hop. Mutated bugle calls heading into thrashed and slashed breakbeat treading water and splashing about to stay afloat but the pulsing waves of bass throb and murky, subaqueous currents constantly threaten to pull him under. The third track has a marching-band slow-build rhythm chugging along as we soar through cosmic 40s radio tuning, communicating with unseen forces (FCC ALMOST INAUDIBLE MOTHERFUCKER ON 3). The fourth track has a more nefarious nightmare feel to it like hiding from supernatural demons and ghoulies in dark Facility corridors and air vents. He says the music is supposed to make people think less effectively in order to feel more thoroughly, I think you can do both just fine.

Son of Jor-El/Larson, Erik [coll] – [Underdogma]

mickeyslim   1/23/2013   7-inch, A Library

Son of Jor-El (Corey Bing, Big Metal Dave, and C.T.) will have you cringing with fear, hiding in a dark corner. Played at 45 sounds pretty normal, but becomes super drudgy at the incorrect speed (not necessarily recommended) Super scary shit, takes you straight down to the ninth layer of Hell in a burning plane…. oh yeah, and you’re high on acid. Ecstatic madness.

Erik Larson (from stoner metal band Alabama Thunderpussy) turns up the stoney-ness all the way up to 11for the B-side. Time to pull out the bong, bust out the Jack Daniels and get ready for some loud music to get that head banging. This song will definitely get some plays on the blues show, fo’ sho’.

PGM: turn this mother fucker UP because I say so!

White Shit /Megafuckers [coll] – [Limited Appeal]

surferrosa   1/23/2013   12-inch, A Library

Two quick sides of filthy dirty under-produced hardcore punk as part of Limited Appeal’s limited pressing of 480. WHITE SHIT- includes members of Big Business, Melvins, Monorchid and Skull Control (to name a few..) messy, punch you in the stomach sort of punk… T.H.R tells the very special story of an organically grown little radish which gets eaten by Teri Hatcher and embarks on a magical journey through her bowels. Lyrics are included so you can follow along! A good story to tell your children before bedtime.Democracy starts of sounding like a good idea and ends up a shit show (aint it so.. )MEGAFUCKERS- Drugs II is riddled with feedback, delivered at a dirge-ier sort of pace with a cabinet shaking bass line and unintelligible lyrics. Extra lo-fi, super sloppy and proud of it. Mechanical Bull is a live track starting off with a spoken intro containing some very clear FCCs… but if you skip the intro you’re more or less in the clear. Tastes like blood, sweat and semen. Yummy. -Surfer Rosa