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Music Reviews

Dark Time Sunshine – “Vessel” – [Fake Four Inc.]

humana   6/30/2013   CD, Hip Hop

Chock up another genre for my training! Hip hop lyrics are like poetry, yet with a definite cultural snapshot quality to them, and this is what makes hip hop so crucial. I may not understand what they’re talking about, but Dark Time Sunshine have a lot to say, and they say it over pretty impressive, throbbing beats that I can relate to, if I can’t relate to the words. 9 has a nice female vocal and goes into the band’s name; 7 and 16 have catchy bass beats and quirky outros that sound nothing like the rest of the song (some are like samples). I enjoyed this.

C.O.T.A. – “Marches and Meditations” – [Tesco Organisation]

cinder   6/26/2013   A Library, CD

Moved to the Bay Area in the early 90s for school, and started their venture with Sonick Sorcery. This album is from 2001. ‘C.O.T.A. is a vessel for creating trance states and ritual, combined with an interest in deep ecology and new mythology.’ This has some super low humming drones that are the underbelly for rich, frothing rumbling and growling overlays. Wind tunnels, wild west and spooky female ghost vocals. Gypsy backward words and bells. Definite tribal vibes… more electronic than hippie percussion though. This has a darkness, but not evil. Hypnotizing. A sister in sound to Crash Worship, who helped them with publishing around this time.

Mystery Triangle [coll] – [Feeding Tube Records]

cinder   6/26/2013   12-inch, A Library

Devil’s Triangle, Bermuda Triangle…. and Flaherty, Gas Can and Limo’s Triangle. The A side is just pure saxophone. From the highest, most annoying pitches to the repetitive fingering, to the silence and loud. It actually drove me nuts, which is hard to do. Great for layering since it’s just Paul whaling and squonking away.
Sam Gas Can is having a freak out. Making mouth noises, like a little 5 year old kid. Monster noises, guns, motor bike engines, silly groans and moans… he covers it all! White Limo have the easiest track of the three. Electronics, with a space satellite-like beeping over a humming drone that comes and goes. Computers of the 70s have the mid-tone affect. Sniffs and shuffles complete the sound.

Les Geometries Souterraines [coll] – [Tanzprocesz]

cinder   6/26/2013   12-inch, A Library

A split 12″ from Fusiller (France) and Balinese Beast (Greece). Fusiller has electronics that waver, quiver and quirk. Random wordless vocals. Sounds that reflect trying to find the right frequency on the radio. Humming and rotating, rolling tape. Balinese Beast has more quirk, but in a random choppy way. Short stabs of electronics, mixed with other things… like a slice of piano, Scooby Doo’s running feet and other cartoon sound effects, the blowing of air through a horn, parts of jazz songs, possibly video games, and of course high end squirks and bleeps. Spazzy fun!

Keszler, Eli – “Oxtirn” – [Esp-Disk]

cinder   6/26/2013   12-inch, A Library

Crazy chaoticness! Keslzer plays drums, guitar, piano, prepared piano, motors, cymbal, crotales (bowed and unbowed), snare drum, prepared/riveted sheet metal, spring harp, bass board, and microphones…damn! Three others join him, adding in trumpet, tuba, French horn, trombone, clarinet and piano. It’s a rhythmic rolling, rattling balance of improv styles (it’s actually all composed!) and organized mess. The percussions skitter about, while the strings & metal scrape and churn. You listen to one instrument and its perfection within itself, and then focus in on another and hear something completely different. I can see how this lead into his Cold Pin release, the following year. Side B has more minimal sounds and higher pitches.

Tequila Worms, The – “Cantina” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   6/26/2013   A Library, CD

The Tequila Worms are a 4-piece surf band from Anaheim, California. They cite punk influences and have a strong, energetic sound on this album with some surf standards and many originals. Instruments are well played and their arrangements and effects give a new spin to the surf sound.

Mystic Soundz of Afrika [coll] – [Lost In Space Records]

abacus   6/25/2013   12-inch, International

The title says it all… Sacred sonic incantations from cosmic cultures of a lost era. With little to no information to be found on this record it is so enigmatic I wonder if it’s even real. Regardless, there’s ancient knowledge and custom embedded on these cuts, especially the vocal tracks that offer a glimpse into the minds of these otherworldly characters. Like the frantic recitations on B1 or the ‘Guji Men Chorus’ track of droning vocal chant layering, which sounds great alongside the swirling flute serenade set in reverse on A7. The variety of handmade instruments all sound like alien kalimbas, harps and horns of all sorts; strange and perplexing tones that almost have no relation to our modern instruments. B2 offers an epic love song that is mysteriously heart-squeezing. The music here is hypnotic, beautiful and surreal. An amazing find, could not recommend enough…

Nathan, Jesse and Janzen, Chris – “Dinner – a Record of Madness” – [Self Released]

mickeyslim   6/25/2013   12-inch, Jazz

One crazy cool album sure to be a KFJC favorite. So… in June 2007, Janzen approached Nathan with an all instrumental CD that he was to put lyrics/poetry to. The words Nathan came up with narrate the obviously fictional story of a crazed dinner party hosted by Virginia Woolf and attended by other eccentrics. The poems were performed in 2008 at Bethel College, then the poems and songs were presented in a chapbook that included collaged portraits of the people from the album.

The music here is definitely jazz, but changes from groovy and funky, to a more abstract and free kind of playing. Electronics at times, sometimes monotonous slow beats, or a funky groove, the music mixes it up as much as the words.

The words mix with the music very well, and get drowned out at times, making it just seem like another instrument. The lyrics themselves almost seem random due to his bizarre diction, but paint a unique picture of this deranged dinner party.

This is gold for spoken word lovers, but if you’re just looking for a wild ride, come buckle up…

Robin Fox – “Handful of Automation” – [Editions Mego]

incognito   6/25/2013   12-inch, A Library


Electronic, digital noise and drones from Melbourne-based Robin Fox. Complex and ranging from subdued and introspective to hit-you-in-the-face harshness. The digital shadows of the collective unconscious. Digital manipulation, oscillation, tearing, scratching, pulsing; deconstructed and mutated strings. Heavily processed and cerebral, this is an album for noise connoisseurs.

X-Ray Pop – “Pirate!” – [Finders Keepers]

incognito   6/25/2013   12-inch, A Library

X-Ray Pop’s “Pirate! The Black K7: The Dark Side of the X” was originally released in 1985 as a limited edition of 100 cassette tapes. Re-released on Finders Keepers, this is a collection of minimal electro synth breaks. Self described as “micro-kosmic domestic-synth-pop, pocket punk, French funk ultra rarity,” this release is just… bonkers. Totally home brewed electro, jittery and spastic drum machine beats, simple basslines , analog synths and vocals; and while my french is pretty rusty, the lyrics seem really out there. Great early 80s electronica that is simultaneously a throwback, yet sounds totally fresh and really original in the context of today’s overproduced pop electronica.

Drexciya – “Journey of The Deep Sea Dweller III” – [Clone Records]

incognito   6/25/2013   A Library, CD

The third compilation volume of re-released a Drexciya material, “Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller” focuses on the group’s work between 1992 and 1997. The group was staunchly against commercialization of techno and shunned mainstream media attention, maintaining high levels of secrecy and remaining completely anonymous throughout their recording career. Underground even by electronica and techno standards, Drexciya was active until 2002, when James Stinson passed away and identified posthumously as one of the members. Gerald Donald is supposedly the other member, who still records under a number of aliases, although this has not been proven. The group recorded underground Detroit techno, focused on 808 beats and synths with electro, acid and breakbeat influences. The group explored undersea and outerspace narratives with an undercurrent of Afrofuturism. “Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller” contains two previously unreleased tracks. It still sounds underground, if maybe a bit dated. This is a great piece of techno history from a legendary Detroit group some choice cuts.

Vlatkovich Lee Mclagen – “Succulence of Abstraction” – [Thankyou Records]

humana   6/24/2013   CD, Jazz

What an utterly pleasant experience listening to this CD is! A live recording from 8/11 in Albuquerque, the straight-ahead jazz is atmospheric and highly accessible. Vlatkovich composed the pieces, and his trombone, Lee???s drums, and Mclagen’s bass converse together in a coherent, natural way that makes it plain these talented musicians know how to create some magic together.

Escama Serrada – “La Reina Esta Mala” – [Tourette]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2013   A Library, CD

Tourrette 2008/9 twins separated at birth, see also O Paradis’ “La Corte
del Rey Pescador.” This project is Sergio Mendez with some help from
the other side of Paradis. While reflecting a cinematic feel akin to
its twin, this is the more experimental, sound collage creation.
It does include slices of song, like the nostalgia easy 60’s pop
that collides with veering noise signal on the opener, #3 has a sort
or bass-driven private-eye alley rocker, the ghost of John Lennon is
re-Imagined on #5 after a brief rainstorm drives our ears to a fire
to dry out. Well first a marching band walks through. It is a
a confusing album, but I sense not a confused one. Mendez’s cuts
are too deliberate, too precise…so even if there is no actual film,
it does feel like there is a story behind the music and the evil
queen on the floor. How else to explain the final cut (the deepest
cut against the king?) where a hungry volcano rumbling and grumbling
for a sacrifice gives way as a horse canters in, wild dogs then challenge
the lullaby music box singing “Auld Lang Syne” to a disconsolate child.
The king is dead, long live the king…and the dark aquatic dreams
that haunt Escama Serrada.
-Thurston Hunger

O Paradis – “La Corte Del Rey Pescador” – [Tourette]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2013   A Library, CD

Tourrette 2008/9 twin CDs separated at birth, see also Escama Serrada’s
“La Reina esta Mala.” This is the more song-oriented of the two,
Demian delivers his lyrics in suave style, reminding me at times
of Bryan Ferry, or the devil in a cocktail cabaret. Sergio from
Escama Serrada lends a hand and a sampler to the fray. That hand
may contain a knife, as the images and titles suggest something is
rotten in the fish kingdom. This short release may be a sort of
soundtrack without a film, dramatic sequences…a piano gets
scared, an accordian begging for a tango, a march of snares, a
lonely trumpet on the parapet, screams of passion or crime or both.
Mi espanol no me permite entendierlo. “El Trono de la Razon” was
my favorite track, with the aforementioned scream, and programmed
drums trying to stomp a fly. The romantic closer “Mi Dios” with
its sea castle keyboards was short and sweet.
-Thurston Hunger

Vampillia – “Alchemic Heart” – [Important Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2013   A Library, CD

2011 release featuring a sort of Japanese punk chamber orchestra
with special friends. Two of those are huge names in the devil’s
jukebox, Jarboe featured on track 1 and Merzbow on track 2. Inswarm
also assists. The two lengthy tracks are “Sea” and “Land” whether a
nod to Paul Revere, or Negativland or the elements I’m not sure. This
does seem to be aimed at the Godspeed-freaks. Rising dynamics and
that chamber vibe, guitar soft-pedal-ing shadows and Jarboe opening
her wallet to find blood pouring out; breathing in the dark arcane
and breathing out pure peace. If you take away the sounds, and the
Jarboe-ness, it could almost be a new age self help book on tape.
But that ol’ Jarboe-ness makes me almost believe it’s a real arrow
piercing her flesh. At 11:30 in, the “Sea” gets a little rockier
(perhaps it is Inswarm dropping the power chord monoliths). Violins
start to do more than weep, and does Jarboe turn into a shivering
tantric priestess. Waves of sound thicken and overlap, until a
quiet piano requiem and a breath-defying benediction from J-boe.
Next we move to “Land” mixed and fritzed by Merzbow. He peppers
EMP detritus over the barren landscape of cello + violin. Piano balms
the noise bombs. Tantric tranny priestess returns? Plodden sadness,
keep those schoolgirls away from the railway tracks. “Land” is
chaotic enough, one could add sonic ingredients and perplex/please
the listeners with a one-off wonder. Have fun.
Thurston Hunger

Wooden Indian Burial Ground – “Wooden Indian Burial Ground” – [Mon Amie Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/24/2013   12-inch, A Library

Behold the retrosexual…a garage cloudy with reverb, sleeves
rolled up to store doo wop cigarettes, choruses of prom queen
deserters (on A2) or drunk neanderthals (on A3). Nice oddball
excursions of keyboards, farfisa for frenzy or dig the electro
piano meandering out of A3 into A4 while a echoplex wormwhole
flits about. The basic, rock and roll primitive structure will
appeal to many, but the peculiar breaks or even breakdowns in
songs are what I dig about this Portland project. They allow
plenty of room for sloppiness, the lines that draw the melodies
are pretty tight, but there’s plenty of space to color outside
of them. Thee Oh Sees may pop up on your retro-radar, and
Justin Fowler hits some of those kinda Dwyer-esque hiccup
yelps at times, and at times you hear that big buzzing
E-string on some dirty pawnshop guitar slapping a song or
two in the ass, like the intro to “White Bats” and during
“Crows.” “Crows” also features a nice whiplassh trade-off
between vocals and guitar, but then after 1.5 minutes that
all disappears for a minute of keyboard cotton candy and
then a screech and back into boogie down slap guitar with
psych leads scorching for another minute before the pink
fluffy sounds return. “Helicopter” the lead off cut does
that too, and was the killer piece for me. The closer
dabbles in sci-fi effects. -Thurston Hunger

Sieben – “Line and The Hook, The” – [World Serpent Dist.]

humana   6/23/2013   A Library, CD

Gravestench, when he bequeathed this CD to me to review, asked if I’ve read Siegfried Sassoon, a noted poet soldier decorated for bravery at the Western Front in World War I. Matt Howden’s poetry in this CD (in addition to a few penned by his father) commemorates the somber experience of all soldiers. His violin is of course a hallmark, but what you notice throughout these is the percussive drumrolls that invoke images of marching, a steady heartbeat beneath the lyrics (printed out on the insert) sung by Matt and Jane Howden, her voice an echo, a chant, or a partner in duet. 10 is kind of creepy in a cool way, with its connections between witches and battle scars. 11 begins with an interesting Latin feel but ends in an acoustic guitar rock-out. There are modem sounds on 8, light spots (5), and dismal ones (6). All of it is provocative and beautiful in its own way.

Cold Showers – “Love and Regret” – [Dais]

humana   6/22/2013   A Library, CD

This band from Los Angeles goes through the paces of slower and faster rock (with the latter half of the CD picking up speed). Percussion is impressive, especially in the energetic songs (7), and the vocals sometimes sound as though they are British-influenced. Male vocals prevail (except there’s a feminine touch in 2), with lyrics printed on sleeve. “Seminary” (8) indicates a special confusion about the dueling claims of spirit over body, duty over love. There’s even a bonus track at the end to mull over.

Menche, Daniel – “Feral” – [Sub Rosa]

cinder   6/21/2013   A Library, CD

Four noise excursions from Daniel Menche, out of Portland.
1 – Imagine being right in the center of a giant waterfall. Piercing water blades that sting your face. Building intensity and blasting your skin off until there’s nothing but skull. Ends with a quiet low end.
2 – Droning, vibrating sawmills. As if 20 were buzzing all at the time same time, bleeding into one solid humming tune. Subtle shifts.
3 – Piles of wooden sticks. Where is my pencil? It’s not here, so you set fire and stick a mic right in the mess. This one builds into some deep intensity, and only lets up 12 seconds to the end….barely. Personal favorite.
4 – Lastly we have some intense winds on the barometer. Layered over a solid, buzzing drone. Whipping and thundering. Brisk and dark.

Clell Miller’s Corpse – “Bill Chadwell Demo, The” – [Clell Miller CD-R Label]

cinder   6/21/2013   A Library, CD

Clell Miller was an outlaw, and known from the (Jesse) James-Younger gang. On September 7, 1876 Miller was shot and killed by townspeople in the robbery attempt on the First National Bank of Northfield, along with outlaw Bill Chadwell. His body was photographed (insert), then buried. This cd is distorted noise, with subtle rhythmic, sort of gothic, tones that float underneath. Sometimes coming with a low-budget horror movie feel. Three piece from who knows where, with synths, superfuzz, mpc 3000 and no-input Behringer listed as the sound makers (a bunch of pedals, samplers and knobs.) Slightly spooky, definitely annoying, and perfect for the chaos lovers.