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Music Reviews

Peter Peter & Peter Kyed – “Valhalla Rising” – [Milan Records]

cinder   2/28/2014   CD, Soundtrack

Dark and spooky sounds from triple Peter, with a Kyed tossed in. A film score that doesn’t have the cinematic feel, if you listened before knowing, you’d think it was a normal record. Low rumbles, and creeping fills. Guitars that sound like the beginning of an epic Godspeed song. Droned out organs that give the sense of desolate fog fueled mountains. Slow paced heart beats in pounding effect. Tension. And Mads!

Untitled [coll] – [Humbug]

abacus   2/26/2014   A Library, CD

The Humbug label out of Norway started in 2001 and released close to 100 releases, mostly very limited CDRs and other handmade goodies, before dissipating and/or going on hiatus in 2011 and cater primarily to the Norwegian underground experimental scene, from noise to electronic to improv. In 2010 the label head went on to open a Cafe in Stavanger under the same name that has become a central hub for performing experimental music in the region, on top of being a record store and coffeshop. The compilation here was started early on in the label life but completed in 2004 and is meant to be a showcase of the DIY aesthetic of the Norwegian underground in late 90s early 2000s. Lots of odd sounds ranging from ancient funeral drones to circus pop drowning in radio static. Not a lot of ‘harsh’ noise per se, other than Lasse Marhaug’s projects Nordic Miracle that grants all apocalyptic desires. Equally unnerving is his solo piece, an inconsistent buzz that doesn’t know top from bottom or start from finish. Mostly just ear tickling odd sounds, like the retinal brain scans of Test and Collagoll or the flacid balloon chime migraine on Kommode. Some artists like HOH, Dr. Poliakov, and the Detonators evoke mangled guitars toppling about themselves. Several found sound featurettes make appearances also. The icing on the cake is indeed the pixie pop trips that close each CD, a pleasant liquid release to the broken roller coaster rides of each CD. A wide variety that any adventurous soul can find their path on, as challenging as it all is. Easy listening for difficult people. Dig in

Devin Gary & Ross – “Honeycomb of Chakras” – [Feeding Tube Records]

Thurston Hunger   2/26/2014   12-inch, A Library

The band name connotes a local pizzeria perhaps, or with their
last names : Flynn, Panter and Goldstein maybe the law office
that protects said pizzeria from health service injunctions,
but they are three pretty talented twisters in their day jobs
(including Gary Panter as the former art director for Pee-Wee’s
Playhouse!!) and their hippy hobby delivers a slice of KFJC
heaven. Actually two slices, and I’m not just talking about
the gorgeous gatefold displaying cartoonist Devin’s handiwork.
One record is chock full of Nuggets, Pebbles and Rubble…
psychedelic covers done with devotion, craft and dollops of
weirdness. Mostly these are found on the first record, right off
the bat with the “Smell of Incense” where these East Coast
critters take command of the West Cost Pop Experimental number
(that bassline tapping at the back of your skull, ahhhhh!)
But don’t miss the monkeying cover of Tiny Tim of Bill Dorsey.
The liners list all of the equipment each gent brings to the
party, I’m surprised they didn’t list their specific pedals
as well; they strike me as those kind of guys (you know, our
friends!). But it’s not all Love, Peace and Poetry, as promised
weirdness abounds, side C is a pretty trippy triptych trek maybe
closer to improvised loopy “Lamia” than sweet psych pachouli.
Stick “The Exploding Eye” in your ear, for Illuminati-ation!
Perhaps Feeding Tube can be thanked for these freakier flavors.
And what about the wacked closing extended skit/tweakage that
includes a shakedown of Mickey Mouse, some raving D&D dude with
ADD and slight FCC return and is aptly titled “What Did The Hippy
Pen Say To The Hippy Pencil?” I can only guess he said,
“Honeycomb’s good, yeah yeah yeah!”
-Thurston Hunger

Album title comes from a poem of one of the gent’s uncle by the way. Who reads on KPFK at time apparently?!?! Viva radio in all weird forms.

Illusion of Safety – “Surrender” – [Finite Material Context]

mickeyslim   2/26/2014   A Library, CD

Daniel Burke has brought Illusion of Safety into it’s 31st year and has released dozens of records, this is just the most recent in what will probably be more to come. All 8 songs track together, and Burke uses a really wide variety of sounds: electronic and found. The layers sometimes fade back and forth between the right nad left channels. Fluttering electronics, clangs, ringing, grinding.

The impressive thing for me was the choice of what to layer, there’s so much going on it almost sounds like a KFJC DJ mixing on air. Static, drumming on metal, electronic beats, lasers! Dripping water noise. Track 2 sounds like part of a soundtrack and ends with the sound of someone hitting the jackpot, which this album does. Enjoy.

Decadence – “a Beheaded Winner and Fragrances of Happiness” – [CAPP]

lombard   2/25/2014   A Library, CD

Beginning with the rumble of thunder and an enveloping rainstorm, this 1999 release from Decadence is a slumber-inspired journey into darkness (is it a dream or a fairy tale?). Spoken word vocals from a poetic, possibly tormented narrator are the focal point of the 8 spooky tracks. Each piece leads into another and the journey ends in a nightmare, with music box lullabyes interrupted by a growling demon (using sampled sounds of chinchilla screams at a slaughterhouse). With bits of lyrics credited to Nietzsche and Dostoievski (Dostoyevsky?), it’s dark and haunting and at times reminiscent of elements of Chris and Cosey (vocals) and This Mortal Coil (instrumental swirling).

Kink Gong – “Voices” – [Discrepant]

abacus   2/24/2014   12-inch, A Library


Laurent Jeanneau has been recording music of endangered cultures in Southeast Asia since the end of the 90s, a key contributor to Sublime Frequencies. As Kink Gong he electronically treats and layers his recordings to create hallucinatory manifestations to this aural reality. Sometimes the treatments to these witches brew concoctions are subtle, like on Baozoo Khen, just enough to induce a slightly altered state. Other times, like 3 Hani Pipa the collages are stacked together so crowded the somatic effects are disorienting. The pieces pretty much always maintain a grasp of the original sounds, though not even sure on Haoshendd, with the various voices and acoustic sounds of percussion ensemble, different types of lutes and a leaf keeping their true timbre. The recordings here are collected from Yunnan and Guizhou regions of China, as well as Sapa, North Vietnam and Phongsaly, Laos. Ritualistic meditations and somnambulist dissociations, a DMT parallel memory dream.

Live At The Bootleggers [coll] – [Sutro Park]

mickeyslim   2/19/2014   12-inch, Blues

Good ol’ fashioned, foot stompin’ live blues music. REcorded live at a bootlegger’s place of business while these three show us what they’re made of. Lattie Murrel, William Floyd Davis, and the Bootlegger himself all make an appearance on here. Murrel plays solo clean fingerpicked Mississippi Delta style, kind of slow and drudging. Davis is more of a faster paced shuffling strumming. The Bootlegger is accompanied by a few others and plays with a full quartet on a couple tracks.

Keep in mind there’s some FCCs between the tracks on the B-Side. Apparently the Bootlegger is a cusser, too. Well written liner notes. Enjoy!

Fedai – “to Avenge Nizar” – [Clell Miller CD-R Label]

mickeyslim   2/19/2014   A Library, CD

Clell Miller CD-R Label release giving us a nice little five song EP. Fedai Tigr, Franco Prussian, Geedo Dred, and Clell himself bring us a nice amalgamated blend of field recordings.

Chirping crickets and TV fuzz with buggy vocals. Tracks two and three are mostly beat driven, track three could find a nice place in Groove Therapy’s heart. Four starts with a nice little rant by Ponytail Rick mixed with some electronic noises and a pleasant piano, before ending in a guitar groove with killer samples. Last track is 12 minutes of space warbling and possibly heavy breathing?

Great stuff here, inaudible FCC on track 1.

Hotel – “EP” – [Self-released]

abacus   2/19/2014   A Library, CD

Lost in the pretty lights of grimy Pacific Ave Hotel brings us psychedelic space pop out of Santa Cruz. Three piece of guitar-bass-drums incorporate elements of garage rock, surf and shoegaze for a signature beach bum sound. The opener brings a party pumping groove that’s as gritty as it is groovy with melodies and rhythms simple enough to catch your ear and smudged enough not to offend it. The first instrumental contrasts with subtle raga repetition where the bass shines as the real driving force while guitar lounges in clouds of its own reverb. A brief rollicking rocker carries us over to black tar, a paranoid ballad as lethargic and disheveled as the name suggests and VU a lonely lullaby just as lethargic. The closing instrumental peaks with a spacious blues tripper that leaves you dripping for more. Liquid lava lamp la la land, lose it.

Fungus of Terror [coll] – [El Suprimo]

cinder   2/19/2014   12-inch, A Library

Released in 2007. One original by Black Sash, and 3 remixes by the likes of Solar X, Tipsy, and Snakeoiler (Billawtm & Cotton Casino). Inspired by the 1963 Japanese film Matango! (Attack of the Mushroom People). This floats all over the place with ‘psychotropic tempos, murky hypnotic beats, distorted guitars, and cinematic atmospheres’. Black Sash has film dialogue layered over heavy drenched electronics and dub beats. Oozing with psychedelics. Solar X flips the table and presents super glitch. Tipsy of course brings the lounge exotica vibes, with the best use of film sampling. Snakeoiler bring it back to some dub, with an alien ambient wind trailing throughout that leads into some psych guitar. This is pretty killer!

Gilbert, Bruce and BAW – “Diluvial” – [Touch]

cinder   2/19/2014   A Library, CD

Sound explorations from Bruce (ex-Wire) and BAW (David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin). They used rising sea levels as their theme, imaging the world before, during and after a great flood. Lots of aquatic hints… drips, running, gushing and sloshing in electronic tones. Ambient drones of melancholy. Cold shivering winds. Stormy and desolate. Dark and gloomy.

Burr, Ellen and Unruh, Michael – “Where Am I From, Where Am I Going” – [Pfmentum]

cinder   2/19/2014   CD, Jazz

Almost theatrical musical sounds from Ellen and Michael. Flute and bass clarinet argue, then sing, then quarrel, then celebrate in harmonious delight. Playful textures. Flute as duck, clarinet as goose. Animated visions of colorful 60s musical notes bouncy and rebounding, then splashing into each other to create a new monstrous tune. I’m not sure if these are all improvisations, or planned, could take a cue from either. Free and floating. Tickled woodwinds and reeds.

Fox, Terry – “Ataraxia” – [Plate Lunch]

cinder   2/19/2014   A Library, CD

Sound works from Terry, dating back to the late ’70s and early ’80s. Creative use of natural instruments. Each performance was entirely acoustic, no electronics were used, which is surprising given some of the sci-fi sounds that escape. Many of the tracks are of piano wires stretched entirely out and straight across a stage, or an attic, or a church… then either plucked, bowed, hit with chopsticks or played. He does the same with an aluminum rowboat inside a tunnel for ‘Culvert’. ‘Lunar Rambles’ has him playing two metal bowls, with a violin bowl. The resonating tunes that bounce back from the various locations are intriguing. Experimentalism.

Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet – “Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet” – [Epigraph]

Cousin Mary   2/19/2014   12-inch, Jazz

The quartet provides a base of electric jazz that brings Miles Davis and others to mind – that base is funk, psych, and definitely groovy. Guest Kris Tiner (trumpet, also of Empty Cage Quartet) and Phillip Greenlief (sax) put waves of improv free jazz on top of that base. AND IT WORKS!!! What a pleasure to hear this mostly accessible, unique sound. Cannot wait to hear more from this Bakersfield label.

Michael Henderson was a bassist at one time with Stevie Wonder who played with Miles Davis. Miles reportedly saw him play and told Stevie “I’m taking your bass player.”

PGM: On digital download sites, each side is called a track. That implies that it is okay to play one track or both on a side.

Sani, Mammane – “La Musique Electronique Du Niger” – [Sahelsounds]

Cousin Mary   2/18/2014   12-inch, International

Mammane Sani’s music has been used as background in Niger for radio and television. This album comes from a recently discovered 1978 cassette where he plays an electric organ for melodies and a hint of percussion. It features repetitive, simple themes and mellow tempos. One internet reference I found says the music incorporates traditional African tunes.

PGM: Face B has an unlisted track 4.

Gori, Lallo – “La Morte Scende Leggera” – [Beat Records]

Naysayer   2/17/2014   CD, Soundtrack

Holy moly, the Italians have done it again, or did it again back in 1972. The Italian film composer, Coriolano “Lallo” Gori, best known for our purposes as Lallo Gori, was a prolific composer for over 100 films, mostly spaghetti westerns, comedies and space farces during the 1960’s and 1970’s. His style follows those of the time, orchestrated pieces with wah wah and reverb guitar. His soundtrack for the 1972 film “La Morte Scende Leggera” (“Death Falls Lightly”) is a classic piece of early 70’s craziness, filled with psychedelic sound effects, slow funk, edginess and space. Lots of space. And the crazy psych guitar stylings so important of that time. There is a superb leitmotif consisting of bongos and mouth harp (listed as the oft used term “jew’s harp”) that repeats throughout the soundtrack. When hearing it you just know trouble is around the corner. The songs have no titles because, according to the excellent booklet that comes with the CD, these films would list music according to the sequence it was involved with. Hence, Seq.1, Seq. 2, etc. The opening song, not recorded by Gori, is a stand out stunner of all that is wrongright about these types of soundtracks: the over-the-top-not-quite-right instrumentation that is ohhhh, so good. “Sunday in Neon Light”, sung by Ghanian, 1969 Europa Song contest winner, Mak Sigis Porter, is a knock out. Originally part of Porter’s blues prog rock concept album, “Peace On You”, “Sunday” does it’s best to rip off Hendrix with bad psych lyrics about flowers in pots and neon lights. How can you not like that? This whole album is a pleaser. It will satisfy for sure.

Life Stinks – “S/T” [SS Records]

fox   2/14/2014   A Library, CD

Same monotonous thumping drums in each track and whining guitars, sounds like mellow stoner rock punk. Moderate steady tempo. They hate the world, so I dig it. Vocals are often indiscernible and are not the focus. May have missed some FCCs.

Ambarchi, Fennesz, Pimmon, Rehberg, Rowe – Afternoon Tea [Ritornell]

fox   2/14/2014   A Library, CD

High tea of grasshopper infusion and Nana’s scones topped with metal shavings, served in the midst of a deep-space electric storm.

This is electro-acoustic improvisation – prepared, treated guitars alongside computers. Warm, deep rumbling throughout. Very gradual crescendo and sonic evolution on both tracks bring us in from the edge of audibility at the limit of the known universe. Higher frequency electronic bips and boops for contrast. First-rate layering material.

Ssleeperhold – “Ruleth” – [HoloDeck]

incognito   2/12/2014   12-inch, A Library

Jose Cota, formerly of Medio Mutante makes his solo debut here as Ssleeperhold. This is dark/minimal wave techno, or total shoegaze electronic. Elements of 80s horror films, dated soundtracks, poorly recorded minimal-wave tapes, clanging industrial and martial beats, overprocessed synths give the album a distinctly cinematic, thematic feel. Fans of Dark Entries more electronic releases might dig this a lot.


Dolor – “Misteria” – [Technicolour Records]

incognito   2/12/2014   12-inch, A Library

Dolor’s “Misteria” walks a line between quiet and funky-bouncy – something introspective and glitchy, yet bouncy enough to get your head moving. Elements of post-rave and techno on this one, mixed up with some gospel synths, hip hop and vocoded nonsense. The stand-out here is the title track, Misteria.