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Music Reviews

Jute Gyte – “Old Ways” – [Jeshimoth Entertainment]

abacus   10/27/2014   A Library, CD

it is sometimes surprising how the most evil and disturbed of projects can come from the most unassuming people, but then again it’s the polite ones you usually have to worry about; like Adam Kalmbach here, a college student out of southwestern Missouri, experimental BM project that is sure to polarize listeners. cracked decrepit guitar tones creak against the maelstrom of drone swelling and spilling in harmonious fury, with buried drum machine marching through the void and anguished vocals recounting an ancient war of mass slaughter. electronics and treatments figure more prominently than on other BM projects, sure to piss off purists and blurring the divide between metal and noise: overwhelming buzzing distortion and delay; especially with Round falling into an almost industrial goth beat. pushing even further outside classification and harkening deeper into the primeval is the mandolin Interlude echoing through chambers of memory. the album slogs along, rarely traveling above mid-tempo, making it and even more painful and tortuous test of perseverance, suffering through the sludge onslaught of Peace and into the discordant flogging of brittle guitars and psychotic feedback of Snail into the epic finale aptly titled Death. with the degree of misanthropy displayed here few are meant to enjoy this sort of torment and abuse, but for the sonic masochists such as myself this is pure agonizing pleasure

Pablo, Augustus – “Let’s Get Started / Eastman Dub” – [Greensleeves Records Ltd.]

humana   10/25/2014   CD, Reggae

Two albums for the price of one! Both are projects of the late, great Jamaican Pablo, who made the melodica famous and gave a lot to the reggae world in his too-short lifetime. The first part of the CD features music from his band Tetrack, and it is all upbeat. How could it not be, with Pablo’s keyboards? The second CD features Pablo with his Rockers International Band. It is more dub-y, but equally worth listening to. Props to the producer/musician!

Unwoman – “Circling” – [Unwoman]

humana   10/25/2014   A Library, CD

Erica Mulkey is magnificent, with her earthy, medieval brand of music characterized by hearty cello and strong vocals that are simply nourishing to the ear. The lyrics, printed out on an insert, are fascinating, as well. She is described as a steampunk artist based in San Francisco, and she reminds me of Faun Fables because her music is textured and grounded. On this release, as on others, she wrote and performed all the music. Get ready for a rich experience with this one.

Hindemith, Paul – “Cello Concerto/Clarinet Concerto” – [Etcetera Records B.V.]

humana   10/25/2014   A Library, CD

Please read the liner notes for this release, as they go into wonderful detail about the way the music is composed. They are an excellent accompaniment and guide for listening to this classical music that is not so much soothing as it is stimulating. It gets under your skin and makes you reevaluate your life. It nags you, in a good way. The Amsterdam label has made it possible for us to enjoy music composed by Hindemith and performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. The first concerto highlights the cello, while the second, which was dedicated to Benny Goodman, features the clarinet. Goodman was the first to perform this piece with the Philadelphia Orchestra directed by Eugene Ormandy in 1950.

El Ray – “Chasing Ray” – [Blackout Music]

Cousin Mary   10/25/2014   12-inch, A Library

This 2010 release is another stunning achievement from this Danish 4-piece surf band. Expert playing and arrangements are evident. You will hear horror, garage, exotica among the variety of influences. Arguably one of the finest surf bands on the planet, enjoy!

Clone – “Son of Octabred” – [Finders Keepers Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2014   12-inch, A Library

“Push Breathe. Count. Babies by numbers” an excerpt from
the spoken words intro that kicks off the nutrient musical
mix here. Big round ARP synth notes that feel sonogramic,
and some squishy waves wash up as well…is this a rebirthing?
Or the sonic story of one of Octo-mom’s litter? A very retro
walking bass synth line, moving more nimbly than a toddler,
crawls infant-like for a stretch. Things get a little darker,
demon-seed? That inner space birth canal might be a monolith
to outer space? Flip side has an analog rocket with a drunk
R2D2 to start off. Next, here comes the John Carpenter
digitellganger. Rocking chair squeak becomes a siren, it’s
just a noodle fest that could have come from a space-gazing
bachelor pad 40 years ago or whenever man first landed on
the Moog, but remains weird enough for the child comsmonauts
of today. Apparently Clone is a trio of gearbots and this was
broadcast a live set on KGOT (Alaska’s #1 Hit Music Station)
out of Anchorage. The time machine should read 1982 for that
recording, and one of the Clone’s, Gary Sloan had the radio show,
along with Kurt Riemann and Paul Alexander they were one.
Times three. Two side long pieces, good for mingling with other
work, especially on the second set. Recombinant radio lives!
Can’t go wrong with the Dead Cert-ificiation!

-Thurston Hunger

Ausmuteants – “Order of Operation” – [Goner Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2014   A Library, CD

Some people seem to want a musical war between New Zealand
and Australia. If so, airlift this Aussie quartet to the front
as either a secret weapon or cannon fodder. Super goofy synth
with rock and roll commando drumming, they aim for that
seriously unserious attack. At the point of Devo-lution
when spud boys leaned towards the dead boys, that point is
a reference for these panicky punkish rawkers. “Now Whole”
felt like the outro rock number from John Hughes remake of
“The Elephant Man.” The album starts with a driving bass,
chattering guitar and arcing synth while vocals snurkle
“You’re itching to see me, but I don’t wanna touch”
Sounds like they’re getting their act together without
maturing too much, they bonk the stupid funny punk bone
with reckless fecklesness. Overall synth is nice and
disgusted and guitar sparks enough…

-Thurston Hunger

T-White – “Gift Vol. 5!, The” – [Fatbeats]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2014   12-inch, Hip Hop

Instrumental hip-hop, short and upbeat, slip the needle
scratch the service. The dance floor is denied in these
short cuts with long memories (did I hear Flip Wilson as
Geraldine on “Discovery”). “Eternal Lee” has some pretty
majestic moves inside, “Ow!” doesn’t hurt (although a
cartoon baby bird was crushed by the heavy drum and piano
drop on top), a French discussion gets woven in between the
beats on that. The lead-off track makes you think DJ Shadow
meets comedy, samples are less ear-popping after that, but
definitely a fun and creative vibe. Yeah, there’s cowbell
sampled and apparently some organic elements as well
(behold the Old Nasty Organ), hard to pull everything
apart. T-White is a Chicago operative…damn shame KFJC’s
Spiderman is not around for this House Shoes party mix.

-Thurston Hunger

Tusques, Francois – “La Reine Des Vampires 1967” – [Finders Keepers Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2014   12-inch, Jazz

Out-takes to a further out French film

Possibly the first French vampire film (or was it supposed
to be like Dark Shadows, a running melodrama).
The music certainly has a haunted feel, the sax of Barney Wilen
gives an edgy “Angel Heart” flavor, with bouts of sweetness in
whirlwinds of suspicion. The skeetering violin of Eddie Gaumont
is what cranks up the tension, often flying at angles to Wilen’s
sax, or pizzicato plucked like that spider-alien in Carpenter’s
“The Thing” remake. Echo is slapped all over both of those gents
(and at times overdubs too, notably nice and nightmarish on
the “Rejected Theme 1.”Interesting that Gaumont is a drummer
too, as his approach to the violin was certainly percussive on this.
The B-side has some incidental discussion perhaps between
musicians and friends, or maybe the Queen of the vampires turned
up herself. Let in through an open window, and kept mostly in the
shadows. Many tracks stop brusquely. On the A-side, I really
feel Tusque took his piano composition and drove the players
off the score (and possibly mixed them at angles?). The piano
does show up at the end, on the last must be first take. Tusques
intentionally removing himself, as he writes in the liners. By the
way he’s still releasing music as of this year. so possible vampire
himself!?! Killer artwork (as can be expected from Finders-Keepers)
Filing it under jazz though it has its soundtrack place.

-Thurston Hunger

Baxter, Les – “Cry of The Banshee and Edgar Allan Poe Suite” – [Varese Sarabande Records, Inc.]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/2014   12-inch, Soundtrack

Wow., *unquiet* village here, from Les Baxter. The sidelong
“Cry of the Banshee” piece is a jarring, unsettling piece of
music to push you to the edge and over. Feels like a modern
classical madhouse, with no simple melodies to hold on to
for a moment’s security. The flip side has shorter pieces for
Poe (but alas there is not a drop of Vincent Price or spooken word
to be found anywhere, it’s all music). Some electronics and other
malevolent forces conspire. Scarier than any Halloween.
Razor blades in the orchestra pit… 1970 era, Gordon
Hessler directed. It’s a shame no film clips are included
but youtube is just….over………there.

-Thurston Hunger

Boron and The Grebes – “In Your Water” – [Self Release]

mickeyslim   10/22/2014   A Library, CD

Recorded by Garrincha of Garrincha and the Stolen Elk/Weird Forest Records as an exercise to teach himself how to properly use his digital recording setup.

The band is Boron on bass/vox and Grebes on guitar, with session drummers. It’s a raunchy lo-fi attack of bleeding discordant guitar riffs and pounding drums. The vocals are beautifully lost like a growling werewolf in the moonlit mist.
Sometimes annoyingly repetitive, but only leads into more heavy sounds.

Arrived by mail in a cereal box with shipping labels and “padded” by the kinds of trash you see on the cover art: bags of chips, tea-bags, candy wrappers, etc.

Industrial Priest Overcoats – “Godbless This Hellhole” – [Napkin Records]

abacus   10/22/2014   A Library, Cassette

self-described bedroom punk dorkadelic scrap metal wasteoid blues; this is a real high-energy thrasharound rock riot. psych saturated garage weirdness too together to be art rock but too out there to be anything but. i see them call themselves shardXcore too and i have no idea what that means but sure. fun, danceable, trippable, i’m lost but apparently they’re not. they keep their shit together beautifully for how out of control it all seems. the most sensible bit of insanity i can dream of. special tour edition cassette of this Vancouver band with first 4 tracks on the CD special digital only downloads.

Mosfett – “Roswell” – [Napkin Records]

abacus   10/22/2014   A Library, Cassette

rain-soaked gutter grunge out of Vancouver, B.C. drinkin Molson on your mouldy garage couch. they got that pacific northwest feel without the redundancy; sludgy bass, pummeling rhythm changes, a couple straightahead tunes amidst a whole lotta ruckus. the epic closer drifts out on some hazegaze while never losing the heaviness. hipster punks not afraid to get heavy, like real fuckin rock n roll heavy.

Rosenthal, Laurence – “Rashomon” – [Carlton]

Belladonna   10/22/2014   12-inch, Soundtrack

Laurence Rosenthal is an award winning Film/TV/Broadway composer who is known for his work on Cinema Paradiso, Miracle Worker, A Raisin in the Sun, Man of La Mancha, Clash of the Titans (original) and even Fantasy Island. Rashomon is two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa which were then adapted into the Oscar-winning film by Akira Kurosawa but THIS release is from an adaptation for the Broadway stage, using elements from the Kurosawa film that were not present in the short stories. The Broadway production stared Rod Steiger and his wife at the time Claire Bloom who are obviously not Japanese although the story is about a Samurai and his wife. The story is told from four different viewpoints which vary greatly. This is very visual and unique, quite dramatic and heavy on percussion and flute, gamelan, gongs and cymbals.

Led Bib – “Good Egg, The” – [Cuneiform Records]

humana   10/20/2014   12-inch, Jazz

Described by Wikipedia as a modern jazz group from London, this quintet performs fantastic jazz composed by Mark Holub (also the drummer). It is utterly accessible, and the standout instruments for me are the saxes (played by Pete Grogan and Chris Williams). Of course the keyboards by Toby McLaren and bass by Liran Donin are stellar and absolutely crucial to the energy created by the whole. It is invigorating, upbeat jazz, and a must-listen.

Collings, Matthew – “Splintered Instruments” – [Denovali Records]

humana   10/20/2014   12-inch, A Library

What I know about Matthew Collings is that he is a British artist who enjoys collaborating with most excellent musicians. He composed and performed the pieces on this album, and they are cathartic. Take “They Meet on the Subway.” The percussive undercurrent that mimics the subway rushing along its tracks ties together the hazy vocals and other instrumentation. The instruments themselves don’t sound especially splintered, but there are many great ones, including violin, piano, contrabass, clarinets, trumpet, trombone, synth…the sounds are sometimes bordering on noise, but mostly they surround you and make you feel good. Everyone’s “Routine” should have the soundtrack on this album. The music moves you, and is anything but routine.

Zeek Sheck – “Joinus” – [Resipiscent Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/16/2014   12-inch, A Library

Holy guacamole! Can this really be the end of the Zeek
Sheck saga, it must be a trick or a trap or some part
of the battle between Beepers and the Cloud People
(for further investigation : )
The goddess behind this cosmic comic book, Rose
Perkin-Meyers has assembled some like-minded brain
washers and sound scrubbers, including the mightee
Liz Albee, our friend Moe Staiano, Matt Ingalls
and more. As a result the music here is never
airtight, the concluding side long piece (behind
the green door?) “The Mind Will Travel” works
its way from bachelor pad to volcano sacrifice
(or is someone tied in front of an oncoming train)
before fritzing out on synth blitzes, and then
this gorgeous piano (are spiders playing it?)
trickling underneath a soliloquy of pain and pride.
That’s just one song. Is this double LP a game,
there’s a maze in lyrics and concept…and if
there’s a way out, I don’t want it. I’m going to
call the Red Door an opening to a pop album in
another universe, Sure, it ends with “we’re all
going to die” and isn’t that the feeling most
pop music elicits? The blue side has weirdness
and Sheckian martial pound percussion. “Slow
Walking” hits hard, keep on moving. Whirls of
gunfire on “Joinus” in case you though this battle
wasn’t real. Meyers tweaks her voice and themes,
on “Son” she’s gotta hayseed delivery (the
country chart-topper?) and a sweet tale from a
dying loving father? Possible euthanization?
Open the side-long yellow door and “Notch Your
Stick” odd ball intro leads into a pointilistic
jazz-like game of tag in a forest between Ingalls
and Allbee. There’s a heavy synth vibe, but if
you weren’t into Zeek Sheck before (she’s visited
KFJC in the past, but that only added to the
confusion) then now is the time to Joinus. There
must be more, Dot Dot Dot…

One of thee albums of the year I suspect!

-Thurston Hunger