Music Reviews

Arandel – “Solarispellis” – [InFine’]

Naysayer   6/28/2015   A Library, CD

“Solarispellis” is the sophomore output of anonymous producer Arandel. InFine’, the Parisian label, has put out this interesting project which is supposedly a soundtrack to a fictions film. Completed all on analog “this album was made using a bunch of old vintage analog keyboards (elektronika em-26, teisco ps-60, crumar multiman-s, gem sprinter 49, moog slim phatty, korg monotron, antonelli electric organ 2377, casio pt-1, excel-o-tone), a stylophone, a mfb-522 drum machine, a couple of gongs, various acoustic and electronic percussions, drums, a handle of shells, a bike bell, a touch of field recordings, some analog effects, vocals, and a few samples from ?? in d ??.” Unquote. “In D” was the first album of symphonic quality. “Solarispellis” is different in some ways. Set up as sections and interludes, Arandel explores the different sonic qualities available from using the above mentioned analog tools. References abound: Eno, Krautrock, early Reich and Glass minimalism, techno light. I hear a tailored down Add N To X. It’s all good. Rich analog beats, some more ethereal, others with a focus on movin’ IT, all add to the ever changing atmosphere that the soundtrack provides. It’s fun trying to figure out what scene would go with the sounds, yet it is more enjoyable falling into the music. The hints of 70’s revisited but redone with a 21st century outlook filled my sonic soul. Play it play it play it.

Zagers, Jeff – “Still / Alive” – [Wharf Cat Records]

abacus   6/24/2015   A Library, CD

rural synth-pop from Savannah, Georgia’s Jeff Zagers. he has a background in experimental dance-tronica and while hints of that are peppered in here, the style is decidedly that of indie pop, with some elements of spacious psychedelia tinkering around the edges. he plays all the instruments: synths, keys, programming, drums, guitar, bass and alto sax, with layers of vocals swirling over the top. ethereal, soft spoken, and personal, with personable production and melodies. a true gem of DIY style

Granli, Gaute / Torus, Clifford [coll] – [Drid Machine Records]

billiejoe   6/24/2015   12-inch, A Library

Omg so confusing wtf. After some exploration it seems the outside of the double gray line takes you to the edge of the disc, the inside takes you inside when played in the regular direction. I encourage you to experiment with it. Not for those who like to play one song at a time one right after the other. This was just released in May. Called a split on the internet. It sounds awesome. Noisey guitar and drums. GG is guitarist in Skadne Krek and Freddy the Dyke. Clifford Torus is a four dimensional geometric shape. Also a musician.
Billie Joe Tolliver

Squarepusher – “Music Is Rotted One Note” – [Warp]

abacus   6/24/2015   A Library, CD

3rd full-length from Tom Jenkinson leaning away from the abrasive drum and bass beats of Hard Normal Daddy and towards a more abstract yet groovy jazz-fusion / electroacoustic style. interestingly, the drums and bass are there but played live by Tom himself giving the album a more live feel. some of the tracks (4,6,8,10,12,14,15) are more of spacious glitchscapes while the rest bounce along, heads bumping. musically accessible with a serious touch of decomposing. just wait for that beat to drop.

Slime Girls – “Yumemi / Lonely Planet Girl” – [Phat ‘n’ Phunky]

Grizzly Adam   6/24/2015   7-inch, A Library

Experiential music; the expression of absorption, both Guan (observe) and Ding (stabilize).
Definitely a mix of insular melodies of (J)game soundtrack music and auteur pop rock, with
fleeting moments of melodies reminiscent of those explored by popular Japanese music more
broadly. A) Has the whole band. Chiptune or synth-y instrumentation plus dirty guitar,
bass, and drums. Everything reminds me of Virginia Dare, this included. Just a few jammy
parts, no fake ass “movements”. B) No improv/exploration, solo composition of electro-pop
by Pedro Silva. Not strings, not -well it is synth- but tries to be more like a rhythm
machine. Although the record is 45, play this 33 for the nine melodies of Earthbound.
Definitely can alienate a crowd, listen alone, for the over arrangement is quite
embellished. Out of LA, 2nd release. -Dada Diogenes

L’Horrible Passion – “Lucidique Et Les Limites Du Bon Sens” – [Reminiscences Production]

abacus   6/24/2015   A Library, CD

“A cold and rainy autumn evening. Rats in the walls. An old portrait of a deceased child hanging on the wall. An old cylinder wax playing while drinking a glass of absinthe to confront the absurd. No colours at all, only black and white is painting the room. And mnemosine torturing you incessantly…..”

limited debut full-length from Spanish artiste and absinthe connoisseur; mournful melodies of victorian tragedy evoking lingering memories of lost loved ones and creeping uncertainties. lush harmonies in a dark, icy cold ambiance mixing old gramophone recordings with neoclassical piano and unsettling musique concrete. beautiful, beautiful nightmares.

Truchy, Jean-Sebastien – “…and The Hearth of Skulls” – [la cohu]

abacus   6/22/2015   A Library, Cassette

composer from Quebec experimenting in structures that are both beautiful and chaotic; an almost organic decomposition crackling beneath, cracking open a desert overtone drone; ominous pulsations whispering devilish incantations and sweeping into celestial dementia and tense static suspicions; the dynamics are startling and unsettling, eerily morphing through monastic chants, glitched sonic shredding, heady vacillating vocalizations over a strangely uplifting synth serenade. a trip for sure, cerebral in all the right places and cathartic where it needs to be. final installment of a trilogy of out of body introspections.

Alvaro – “Drinkin’ My Own Sperm” – [Feeding Tube Records]

abacus   6/22/2015   12-inch, A Library

lost 1977 debut record from mysterious radical individualist, “the chilean with the singing nose”, Alvaro Pena-Rojas. originally released on his self-fronted Squeaky Shoes label with money set aside from his advertising copywriting job in London while living with Joe Strummer only to languish on record store shelves that were wiling to carry it. he appeared on Nurse With Wound’s legendary list yet failed to gain recognition at the time, the world not ready for his strange outsider vaudevillian latin rock unplugged; staccato piano clattering, various endemic percussions, whistles and flutes, and raving mad lyricism about political negation and social empowerment. a surrealist preservation of chilean folk traditions by a man defiant in his stylistic uniqueness yet without an overt intention to stand out. a record lucky to still exist, and we’re lucky to have it.

Hamer, Fannie Lou – “Songs My Mother Taught Me” – [Smithsonian Folkways]

humana   6/21/2015   CD, Soul

I listened to the CD first, then read the booklet. Hamer’s rich, soulful voice recounts memories of songs her mother sang to her at various times, such as while the family picked bale after bale of cotton. Hamer was the 20th child of a sharecropper family in Mississippi, but really she was so much more–she used the songs her mother taught her to shore up spirits and rally support for civil rights. She was a crucial participant in Freedom Summer activities, and she worked tirelessly to achieve voting rights for blacks, despite the retaliation and threats of white supremacists. She ran for Congress, she sang, and she spoke at mass meetings. Some of those speeches are included here. This is a must-listen, a slice of African American history that needs to be told. Inspiring and horrifying at the same time.

Dorough, Bob – “Multiplication Rock” – [Capitol Records]

humana   6/21/2015   12-inch, Soundtrack

Saturday morning cartoons, with Multiplication Rock intervals, learning with the aid of fun music. Almost as much fun as eating the cruellers my mother left out so I wouldn’t wake her up too early. Seriously, this is a blast from the past. Side A features Bob Dorough’s child-friendly voice singing the lyrics he wrote. Side B is a bit more funky with other voices joining the mix. I can visualize the whimsical cartoons that accompanied the music. This is a great add to our Soundtrack library. Remember, zero is a hero.

Flying Hair – “Haunted Hangout II” – [Self Released]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2015   A Library, Cassette

A frothy blizzard of fuzz guitar. What did you expect
they’re called “Flying Hair” and have tracks named
“Pills” and “LSD Dracula.” So yeah stacks of Marshall
stacks, and Kurt Mangum’s psych bombast guitar will
tug at your ears like Monster Magnets. On “Pills”
there’s also some kind of slide/lapsteel shadows too
that are quite nice. Bobby Martin shouts rock exhortation
Redd Kross-y vox, but his thick bass drizzled into the
heart of songs is equally crucial. “LSD Dracula” has an
excellent chorus bridge warpath bass/guitar line (and some
ghost organ on top too, Dan Horne provides that and the
album’s lapsteel). LSDD feels more epic than its mere 5
minutes! I bet that track expands wildly live. Drummer
Matthew Clark rounds out the trio, and can whip up a
frenzy when needed, plenty of attack toms, but also
knows when to cool his jets for the slow-down/quiet-down
moments. (Plus he’s Mr. Acid Casual Tea, serving up the
7″ series of Museum of Kind Men singles!!) “Tiny Little
Man” closes this LA trio’s cassette and you feel the warp
and weird rising, but it’s still solid psych rock that
will bounce as high as lost classic reissues, with a heaviness
at the core that will rock milennial chakras.
Dig in! Thurston Hunger

Birdman (Sanchez, Antonio) – “Birdman” – [Milan Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/21/2015   CD, Soundtrack

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the best actor in
Innaritu’s “Birdman” was the drummer, he stole many a scene
(snaring them one might say). Listening to Antonio Sanchez’s
work here reminds me of the old Bernard Purdie release,
although I think Purdie had a little longer to stretch.
The first “Get Ready” piece here cuts off abruptly after
91 seconds and starts informally, likely trying to emphasize
how great Sanchez is off the cuff. “Just Chatting” a mere
37 seconds feels like a whole song, your imagination starts
to bring in horns and a bassline just as it vanishes.
“Strut Part 1” brings back images of sexist cartoon
boom-chicka chicks walking. Other times Sanchez nails a
kind of crime-about-to-happen 70’s cop show feel. He really
made the film crackle and while this CD is not quite as
striking, there’s still plenty here to work with on the
radio. And it all leads up to “The Anxious Battle for
Sanity” which is maybe sliced from “Get Ready” those two
both have a faint underlying string drone that adds to the
edginess. Also it may foreshadow the lyrical, dramatic
classical pieces that close this release. Not sure how
useful these are for our KFJC vibe, but Mahler moves from
flight to staggering self-doubt as well as Keaton did.
#18 leaps like a ballet, #19 (Mahler again with Violeta
Urmana singing) breaks like the dawn. These are pieces that
strike a familiar chord and gave nice weight in the film,
contrasting nicely with the more impulsive percussion
from Sanchez which I prefer.
-Thurston Hunger

Wizard of – “Naive I-V” – [Zamzam Records]

abacus   6/17/2015   A Library, Cassette

futurist electrobeats from Toronto’s Bob McCully, I guess possibly part of Women in Tragedy, a post-metal-drone-dance-shoegaze group that has apparently been rather prolific for the past several years. this isn’t really any of those things

Color Coded – “Everyone Tied For First” – [Self-release]

abacus   6/17/2015   A Library, CD

Warm and fuzzy electronic grooves; well maybe not warm, let’s say hot and dry afternoon loops with stoney repetition that keeps your head bobbing throughout, except for maybe Too High (to find a beat apparently). Wading through tall grass letting the bristles poke and itch as you sweat the stress away.

FEED YOUR EGO [coll] – [NAT Records]

abacus   6/17/2015   A Library, CD

international collection of sonic decrepitude: Poochlatz = ceremonial sampling and eviscerating squall of crumbling empire; Caravana = feedback laced excrement noisecore chaos; 7 Minutes = post-traumatic gut growling and suppressed fart rage; Dave Phillips = sentient deconstructions activating primordial humanimalism; Dead Peni = livestock slaughtering doom scare; Goatworshipper = subliminal static. ALL PAIN, MAXIMUM GAIN

Three-way Vol. 1 [coll] – [Deep Eddy Records]

Cousin Mary   6/17/2015   A Library, CD

This is a short surf music compilation with 3 tracks from 3 bands each – Invisible Surfers from Greece, the Twang-o-matics from Norway, and El Pincho from Holland. All excellent playing with influences such as Spanish guitar, spy, horror, and Spaghetti Western – each with their own modern European surf sound. Fun spoken lead-ins to two of El Pincho’s tracks.

Schnellertollermeier – “X” – [Cuneiform Records]

abacus   6/17/2015   A Library, CD

Swiss trio Andi Schnellmann (bass), Manuel Troller (guitar) and David Meier (drums) unleash a powerful barrage of minimalist muscle and progressive brutality. holed up in a house in the Alps to hone their sonic mastery, concocting a fusion of rock’s brute force and a jazz-inspired conceptualism: the eponymous side-long building and peaking tension on its teetering march to oblivion, heaving its mass about and subsiding to lurching drones; Riot showcasing their syncopated asymmetry and Massacre du Printemps especially highlighting the jarring unpredictability of experimental music’s predecessors. Surely the mountainous backdrop of their alpine landscape instilled a sense of something colossal coming forth in their music. a landscape fit for legends.