KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Wollesen, Kenny / Haffner, Jonathon / Naujo, Dalius – “Rasa Rasa” – [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   A Library, CD


The Mystery of *Lithuanian* Voices? Wollesen, a former
Santa Cruzer, working in NYC with fellow drummer Dalius
Naujo, guitar/saxman Jonathon Haffner and plenty of
friends plus these amazing Lithuanian Ladies who Lunch!
Seriously, I feel like you could be on death’s door
and they would surround you and bathe you in their
phonic rounds, waves of sound permeating you and
restoring you to health. Their voices are by no means
all there is to this album, and the genius of the
project is how they are placed (well that and maybe
the army of “Wollesonics” employed!) Listen to “Ti Ti Ti”
at the end how it fizzles out into a distant phone call
to 1957 and the birds fly in the window. Or how about
the arctic sweeps of electronics and wisps of the
women’s voices blowing through “Pasisecia”. “Einu” has
a rusty concrete intro, those voices pulling you
between a New Orleans funeral and some guitar bombast!
Check the love of dub found in “Rasele.” And let’s not
leave out Giuseppe_Zevola (whom I sure hope is this guy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Zevola!)
The steady sway of the lithe Lithuaniacs (their voices
like a sacred see-saw, know what I mean), versus Zevola
who bursts in passionate dramatic flair to start “I
Love My Friends” and he gets the last word on the album
too. I thought on first blush he was some Japanese
madman who had lost his taiko troupe. I have no idea
what he or the women are singing, but I believe every
word! Miraculous meistrikumas!

PS There may be a CD defect on “I Love My Mother” !@#!@#$!
which is another joy of pop-corn electronics, wind-up toy
and voices! Maybe we can get a replacement copy from KW?!?!

Interference – “Interference” – [The Social Registry]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   12-inch, A Library


Originally not released in 1982, not picked up by KFJC in 2010 when it
was released, but finally added to KFJC in 2015, and about time. No Wave
New York rightly has a lot of DNA (literally and metaphorically) spliced
and scattered through our 30+ years since its eruption. On initial
listen to the first record of this double-12″, flashes of Branca
orchestras “Number Four”, Band of Susans “Excerpt #1” and other
downtown killer drillers found gold in my musical memory banks.
That being said, the herky-jerky scratch’n’snuff numbers, “Contempt”
and especially “She Said Destroy” felt exciting and new even now.
The former with brittle guitar sounding like an army of tiny
Arnold Dreyblatts, some piano pounding, an accordion wheezing
and team vocals, disaffected and confused/confusing. Excellent!
“She Said Destroy” has a similar propulsion, with a more stripped
down sound, and thus more emphasis on the lyrics, delivered like
a bunch of people walking on the street or riding on bus started
yelling at each other. And the “baby” chorus, with Anne DeMaranis
pouting like a mascara vampire. Two brooding interludes with Eliot
Sharp sounding like a digeri-dude! Cannot go wrong, but can go
in many different directions with the angles cut by the first disk.
Then for good measure, there’s a second disk of remixes of “Excerpt
#1” which are pretty damn tasty as well, and spacey in the thought
provoking way, not blissing out. Kinda Spooky. The bump of the No Wave
bass (kudos to Michael Brown) works its way nicely to the funk
floor, but in fitting with some of the offbeat precedent set originally,
the remixes get some nice kitchen sync drop ins. Also as with the
original Interference folks, not really big names at the remix
console, but working with purpose and passion. David Last was one
name I recognized, and his take was a personal fave, with a jungle
via tabla urgency peppered in. Criterion’s “Interferix” with the
bass scraping, while digital bubbles burst over head also nice.
Feeling like a pretty essential add….finally! All hail our
Sonic Elders!

-Thurston Hunger

DJ Baku – “Goth-Trad, Saidrum, Bleeder” – [Self-release]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   CD, Hip Hop


Y2K! Turn of the milennium, turntablism. Actually two disks,
the first one preferred by me with some fine flickery of the wrist
on steel wheels! Fader, pitch and other patches over tracks that
are already pretty heady. I could see a lot of people plying
the 2nd “Instrumental” disk with their own samples/mixes dropped
on top, or even just letting them run alone. Honestly, I’m a
little turned around, I think the instro disk is a bunch of pieces
by three different Japanese producers (Goth-Trad, Saidrum and
Bleeder) and then Baku busts out the ju-scatch-jitsu on the
first disk. If so, Bleeder’s two pieces are deep and dark,
“Wrong Trousers” moving through movie scores and stringing
tension, and “Rendomaccesssample” floating a funky flute through
a searching bass line. Really all six tracks are pretty dark,
Goth+Trad opens icily (sample from a Scooby Doo drop?) and
his closer “Alchemy” slow as a mad scientist walking up the
steps to his mountain top laboratory. Saidrum with two
“Eartifacts” the first found percussion in the world, maybe
a pachinko parlor? The second, an ear-worm burrowing bass, with
breathing appartus and chimes added on. All tracks are solid
but the scratching (and dropping in some vocals, maybe Dose One,
help make the first disk a wilder ride. Check out what he does
with the “Wrong Trousers” enhanced beyond mere pants! Zipper
cuts included! Looks like Baku has his own Pop Group imprint
still rolling, curious to see if he’s still on the experimental
tip. This was a nice find in the used bin by our Music Dept
truffle-sniffers! -Thurston Hunger

Fumaca Preta – “Fumaca Preta” – [Soundway Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   12-inch, International


Why can’t we find more “psychedelic soul” like this. Holy
(black) Smoke! Alex Figueira, a gent of Portuguese and
Venezuelean descent, builds a little barracao behind his
house in Amsterdam, and somehow the Amazon river flows
through it! Psycho-tropicalic-super-freak-tastic sounds,
like a bunch of happy monsters eating forbidden flowers
digging up tried and driven beats, fuzzier than an
Electric Turk’s beard, more powerful than a Soul Train in
Space, and less calories than most coctails. Figueira
pretty much screams as if he’s under attack by Vampyros
Lesbos on the dance floor. Every band member wearing
cow-bell-bottom pants I assume. But this is ear-spanking
new stuff, check out the break with the diseased robot
thank-a-thon in the eponymous lead off track on side B.
“Pupilas Dilatadas” drops a rave tab before rock-star
orgasm-face solo. At times lyrics just repeat in various
shades of madness. Kika Carvalho is brought in as mind
and heart doctor with go-go voices from attending nurses,
Elaine, Paula and Cissa who try to help. But the patient
is too far gone, too far happy. Check out the haunted
house organ on “Voce Enlouqueceu” and “Perdidos” the
latter even finds flute and a chamber quarter before
going surfing in that secret tie-dyed river. Such
a great album capturing abandon and musical fun!
More please…
-Thurston Hunger

Discepoli, Massimo – “Parallax” – [Depth of Field]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   A Library, CD


Definitely a cloud-watcher of an album. One (talented) man
ambient album, somewhat unique in the prominent placement of
drums, which is Discepoli’s primary instrument of choice, no
surprise. But his floatational electronics and bass/guitar
work are very graceful, and he’s had previous releases under
the name “Nheap” (Monty Python reference, or a programming
index into a heap?!?!). Hard to call things ambient when
you listen to Discepoli cut loose on “Settling Down”, which
is really the album where he’s most wound up. Even the opener
after some shape-shifting sounds launches into a drum break
that would break a sweat on a jazzbo forehead. Really nice
on that “Simmetry of Night.” Other pieces though are rolling
cymbals and wet waves of hi-hat. Some brush and super echoey
snare, and plenty of anti-gravity keyboards to chill out with.
Lonely guitar in an empty pool on “Above the Electric Clouds”
(see even Discepoli knows…and he has a previous Nheap
release called “Clouds Under the Table”). This CD should come
with a little piece of dry ice that melts as it spins in the
player. Drumbient?
-Thurston Hunger
PS Looks like a different/new Depth of Field than the one that released
Zorn/Previte’s fine “Euclid’s Nightmare”

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble – “Live Snakes” – [Accurate Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   CD, Jazz


Pretty heavy duty one-two punch starts this album from a fast flying
hydra big band led by Ken Field. Track 1, “Parade” while touching
on elements of the New Orleans tradition, caught my ear as a
lost modern brother of the South African bands with Chris McGregor
and Dudu Pukwana. Breath-taking upbeat on that, and the energy
drives on into “Cassandra 4” the second track. Both of those
feature TWO drummers, Kenny Wollesen and either Phil Neighbors
or Joey Lefitz (actually most tracks have two drummers) but
you really feel the snap from them on those two lead-off cuts.
Jerry Sabatini’s trumpet is at times alone (although doubled
in spacey delay) with the drummers on #2, and it’s quite the
stirring cockatil. Alex Smith’s electric bass thumbs along for
the ride, and when Field hops on for his solo, the funk button
is in full effect. Their first cover “Rock of Ages” is up next
and New Orleans flavors are strong. On “Slots” Matt Darriau
(we’ve got some old killer Paradox Trio stuff from him), makes
his presence felt, not just with the criss-crossing melody lines
with Field, but a flute-flavored color-by-numbers section that
trickles to near silence, before Wollesen jumpstarts it back
to finish. More covers follow “Caravan” is pretty damn sauntery
if not stoney and the best of that lot IMHO. “For Karen” offers
a drifty fog, “I Got It” is a sunny marching band. I wonder of
the last two tracks were CD add-ons, but whoever put them on
thanks…the theremin-pierced remix is galacti, and “Breakdown”
hearkens back to some of the best Thirsty Ear beat-collider
digi-blue jazz. Ride the Snake!
-Thurston Hunger

Opal Onyx – “Delta Sands” – [Tin Angel Records]

abacus   1/28/2015   12-inch, A Library

a surprising debut at first glance as this feels like a long awaited breakthrough from some mysterious group honing their sound for decades; but no, indeed a debut from this Brooklyn group with no previous projects to note. how is it that someone can just spring onto the scene unannounced and create a masterpiece such as this? almost frustrating… if not for the magnitude of beauty contained here: the opener immediately pulling you into its viscous clouds of ambience with its slogging and churning rhythms; not dark, but a shimmering black hue like the shiny opaque of its namesake. a misleading start though as the album’s sound grasps for clarity to its folky americana roots driven by guitar and cello melodies; like a dream we drift in and out of disjointed narratives, from the rustic confessions of Personal to the more gothic turn in Evaun and the morose desert dirge on The Devil, squinting in the hollow reverberating glare of the scalding black sun. as i said before, this album strikes as coming from a veteran supergroup perfecting their purpose over decades, with a distinctly dark-wave style traveling through the modern folk revival while passing through fields of trip-hop minus the beat and experimental noise plus the music. stylistically ambiguous and all the stronger because of it. sure to wow audiences with future endeavors and strike it big sooner than later, get ’em while they’re fresh.

Trampling The Holy Faith [coll] – [Gasmask Productions]

abacus   1/28/2015   12-inch, A Library

4-way split of disgusting disease ridden grindcore greats: mucous molesting vomit vocals and jagged repetitive riffage on the Profanatica end, leading into some plodding sludge stomp. Unholy Crucifix evokes a fiery haze where ungodly rituals of blackened hate and violence haunt the horizon. rapid fire blast attacks plague the flip-side, Nuclear Desecration bringing the damage of its namesake to both living and dead and Goatsodomy engaging in a collapsing inferno of frantic thrash. distinctly different sounds from each band, all utterly terrible.

Infinite Waste – “Ghost Town EP” – [Self-release]

abacus   1/28/2015   A Library, Cassette

relentless misanthropy out of Oakland recorded here by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios. alternately crust ridden doom and manic time-confused grind. double-kick-happy drumming and fancy fretwork make this assault of penetrating metalcore feel restless throughout; overlapping vocals calling out for human eradication, total apocalypse.

Left Hand Side, The – “Left Hand Side, The” – [BodyDeep Music]

selector   1/28/2015   CD, Reggae

Lots of cool jazzified-reggae and some instrumental funk from local artist. Has very nice roots bass lines, with plenty of sax, keyboards, and guitar melodies woven in. Vox on last track Woman Be Free. Also, an array of other interesting instruments appearing: sitar, tabla, baritone sax, and melodica.

Favorites: Praying Mantis, Not Even, Desert Sand, Heartbeat

–Selector

S.C.O.A.M. – “Fucking Corpses” – [Teen Action]

Belladonna   1/28/2015   A Library, Cassette

aka “Student Considers Other Academic Models” from SF. This is quirky, wonky, synthy, noizy, strangeness and pretty much what I would expect from a cassette release on Teen Action. I wouldn’t say “punky” but definitely experimental and overall weird. Theres a lot of interesting things going on so its worth the listen.

Altered Labyrinth – “Lifeless Husks” – [Cream Cloud]

selector   1/28/2015   A Library, CD

Alternative/indie/pop, slow to mid-paced, not quite so “labyrinthy”, but lots of cool bendy jangly guitar on most tracks. Has elements of My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno, Adrian Belew, and XTC. Vocals seem a bit drowned out in most places.

Favorites: Blinded, Chameleon Stripes, In The Lake

–Selector

Roura, Oxai – “Melanesia X” – [Or Sound]

Belladonna   1/28/2015   A Library, CD


Oxai Roura is a musician/composer, film maker and a researcher of ethnomusicology. Oxai was facinated by ancient African polyrhythms and chants so he trained with traditional masters Famoudou Konate and Mamady Keita. This release is the original soundtrack for the welcoming show performed by the Posue dance company and this performance has received many awards.
This is special, perhaps some might consider it a combination of electronics and international? But thats really selling it short. This is very complex and interesting with very unique instrumentation. It does have a thematic/dramatic quality but does not read like a typical soundtrack. Please give this a listen, it will charm you.

Naked Island – “Naked Island” – [Peak Oil]

Belladonna   1/28/2015   12-inch, A Library


A collaboration from Brian Pyle (Ensemble Economique) and Felicia Atkinson (Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier). This is a handpressed limited edition of only 300 copies and the cover has “lenticular” artwork. This is a long ambient(ish) techno(ish) ep a bit more on the psychedelic side of things. To call this “Techno” (which they do) is quite a stretch. This is long minimal shimmery tracks with mild droney elements and the faintest of beats (which very gradually fade in). Track 1 has female vocals in French which is intriguing and some minimal old school synth sounds. Track 2 is a bit more space jam. Actually both tracks really are space jammy scoundscapes. No this is not techno but you will like it a lot.

Walker, Scott & Sunn O))) – “Soused” – [4AD]

Naysayer   1/27/2015   12-inch, A Library

After your initial disappointment with the Scott Walker and Sunn O))) collaboration, “Soused”, sit back, enjoy and relish in the beauty and power that is “Soused”. “What does this mean?” you may be asking yourself. Well, nothing can rarely ever be as great as might be imagined and that is the case of “Soused”. When the names Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) are put together for a collaborative effort, well the juices get flowing and hopes and desires run rampant. It’s just not possible to meet those hopes. Which is unfortunate in this case because many have, and many will, turn away from this album. So be it. More then for the open minded. Sunn O))) approached Walker in 2009 to collaborate. Walker got back to them several years later with the proposal for a project, having written songs with Sunn O))) in mind. Thus, it came about. 5 tracks. 3 LP sides. Scott Walker lyrics to decode and decipher over whiskey and smokes. Sunn O))) being Sunn O))) but then more. Simple incessant percussion. A horn honk here. A scraped metal sheet there. Grating electronics pop in and out, short, sweet and emotional. Dirge guitar. Dirge. Silence, then a sound. Scott Walker’s almost chant like recitation of his verse. Now this kind of dark I understand. Bump the Beaky.

Finger, Benjamin – “Bet, The” – [Watery Starve Press]

Naysayer   1/26/2015   12-inch, A Library

Benjamin Finger, Norwegian sound sculptor collagist, photographer, film maker and pianist, has a new album called “The Bet”. Put out through Watery Starve Press, the micro press, “The Bet” is their first LP “publication” and what a smart move to start with this work. On this release, Finger delves into sounds taking the listener on a journey of dreamlike proportion. Whispering, scratches and clicks, indecipherable voices, electronic tones and hums, background recordings of the ephemera of nature and cities, piano tinklings, plucked metal strings, humming and singing voices, items struck, almost tunes??? this is a work of epic proportion which feels very small and personal, like a fever dream. If only my fever dreams sounded like this. Other reviews have referenced Alice falling down the rabbit hole or getting lost in a building of endless windows and doors and opening each which leads to another secret space. Those both work also. However you feel it, describe it, sense it, experience it, all should agree??? Benjamin Finger knows what he is doing. There is a level of sophistication to this production which blows away so many other sound collagists who try to do the same thing. Yet it does not sound larger than, cold, or overdone. It is so warm and comfortably uncomfortable. Listeners will wonder how this crawled into their head. Crawl on in.

Finger, Benjamin – “Bet, The” – [Watery Starve Press]

Naysayer   1/26/2015   12-inch, A Library

Benjamin Finger, Norwegian sound sculptor collagist, photographer, film maker and pianist, has a new album called “The Bet”. Put out through Watery Starve Press, the micro press, “The Bet” is their first LP “publication” and what a smart move to start with this work. On this release, Finger delves into sounds taking the listener on a journey of dreamlike proportion. Whispering, scratches and clicks, indecipherable voices, electronic tones and hums, background recordings of the ephemera of nature and cities, piano tinklings, plucked metal strings, humming and singing voices, items struck, almost tunes??? this is a work of epic proportion which feels very small and personal, like a fever dream. If only my fever dreams sounded like this. Other reviews have referenced Alice falling down the rabbit hole or getting lost in a building of endless windows and doors and opening each which leads to another secret space. Those both work also. However you feel it, describe it, sense it, experience it, all should agree??? Benjamin Finger knows what he is doing. There is a level of sophistication to this production which blows away so many other sound collagists who try to do the same thing. Yet it does not sound larger than, cold, or overdone. It is so warm and comfortably uncomfortable. Listeners will wonder how this crawled into their head. Crawl on in.

Unexamine – “Carnal Opponents No Brothers” – [Oxen]

mickeyslim   1/22/2015   7-inch, A Library

unforgiving, unrelenting, and inhuman Unexamine is drummer Charlie Mumma, co-organizer of the Pure Harsh Noise Worship Festival in Portland and Danny Costa of l’Acephale. Unexamine has the same lineup as Rohit (a release titled Judge from our cassette library.)

Two sides of excruciating noise, side A claims to have two tracks, but it looks and sounds like one to me. A lot going on, multi-layered electronics blasting out the stereo into your broken, bleeding eardrums. Favored by the unfavorable..

Bog Oak- A Treatise on Resurrection and the Afterlife (EP 45 rpm)

rasbabo   1/22/2015   A Library

Bog Oak-
A Treatise on Resurrection and the
Afterlife (EP 45 rpm)
Dark brooding metal sludge bog core. Your
passage into the swamps of the abyss.
Screaming, harsh vocals coupled with a
dark angel’s voice makes for an eerie calland
-response tandem.
Heavy guitars, pounding drums, and a oneway
ticket into the wood chipper.
Play it loudly, Cythoth would want it that
way.
Ras Babo

Plaid- Reachy Prints (2014)

rasbabo   1/22/2015   A Library

Plaid- Reachy Prints (2014)
Electronics of many descriptions and layers,
but with a cinematic and orchestral bend
rather than pounding dance tunes. Slow,
pensive tracks that create somber moods
and drift in and out of dreamscapes.
Tracks 4 and 7 have some giddyup, and for
me the highlights of this CD.
It’s too slow even for the chill room, maybe
for the Ketamine hole if you’re spending the
night.
In his defense, he really fills up the space,
maximizing the frequency range from super
high tweets and squeaks to wall-shaking
bass.
Ras Babo