Music Reviews

Ital Tek – “Hollowed” – [Planet Mu]

Kai Sync   8/31/2016   A Library, CD


This 2016 Ital Tek release is very different from his earlier busy-creative pattern, evolutionary dual-tempo dubstep/DnB/anything electronic music. Here instead Brighton UK based Alan Myson took his new favorite guitar just purchased to the studio and recorded sixty minutes of more atmospheric and synthwave-like electronic music. The beat patterns sneak in here and there, but they are mostly used as nuances rather than in-your-face kick drums. And yes the bass lines also have their presence, but more toned than manifested via brutal speaker attacks. The instrumentation moves between modes and fascinating utterances of depth and insight. This is more of a listening album than a club record, as such it’s wonderful that a contemporary producer is mindful and moves into unexpected directions on his fifth record, using classical composing techniques such as dynamic passages and unexpected turns.

Jakobsons, Marielle V. – “Star Core” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

billiejoe   8/31/2016   A Library, CD

Synth and strings creating ambient drone and subtle melody. Her voice is not front and center but it is there. Jakobsons studied piano at Case Western before getting her MFA from Mills College. She is also an installation artist working with video and photographs and is based in Oakland. We have more of her work in the library.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

Star Turbine – “Altitude” – [Sonic Meditations]

billiejoe   8/31/2016   A Library, Cassette

Doomy droney fuzzy spacey twinkly bright heavy deep meaningful. Self-described, “Improvised space age explorations” from Sindre Bjerga and Claus Paulsen from Copenhagen. I really liked it and want more, something that doesn’t happen that often.
— Billie Joe Tolliver

Schmidt, M.C. – “Batu Malablab” – [Megaphone Records]

Max Level   8/30/2016   A Library, CD

Here is M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) with something he’s calling a suite for prepared piano, flutes, and electronics. And that’s pretty much what it is–along with percussion, homemade instruments, voices, bird calls, a steel bowl, and more. Two long pieces of electroacoustic adventure. For the most part this is spacious music and all the instruments and sounds are given room to breathe. The piano tones sometimes remind me of gamelan sounds, but on a small scale, not one of those big gamelan orchestras. When the Asian flute comes in, it makes for an exotic listening experience. Track 2 has a passage where someone is speaking in Chinese, and there are also vocoder vocals, and at another point backward vocals. Local sound wizards Thomas Dimuzio and Wobbly are collaborators on this, adding electronic textures and (one would think) treatments with their Buchlas and Super Manetrons and whatnot. At one point I heard what sounded like classic analog Moog sounds and that was nice.

Birote The Musical – “That Weird Boy Lorenzo” – [Self Produced]

Naysayer   8/30/2016   A Library, CD

San Dimas’ own art rockers, Birote The Musical, explore and expand the sounds that are of the family of Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum and Andrew Jackson Jihad. Quirky, stop/start motion, jangly guitars, fast pace-slow pace. Total DIY folk punk. Surreal or drug induced lyrics are beyond clever, traveling into the realm of new meaning and twisted vision. A real original that brings smiles.

Jolliffe, Daniel & Robert, Jocelyn – “Ground Station” – [Surrey Art Gallery]

humana   8/30/2016   A Library, CD

Canadian media artists Jolliffe and Robert deliver a unique creation of beauty here. They wrote an algorithm that tranforms global positioning system (GPS) information from satellites inside a computer and then outputs the data into an electronic Disklavier piano. Although they say it’s not about the music, the resulting notes together make for a surprisingly pleasant aural experience. Their intention is to show how our technological world affects us (thus the use of a technology originally created for military use). Listen to this and meditate on the meaning of location, both in space and in time.

Sopor Aeternus – “Ich Tote Mich Jedesmal Aufs Neue…” – [Apocalyptic Vision]

Naysayer   8/29/2016   A Library, CD

Gothy goth gotherson. This 1994 recording is the first solo project of Anna Varney-Cantodea, originally of the Neue Deutsche Todeskuns (New German Death Art) movement from Germany. Her back story is as interesting as the cd “Ich Tote Mich…”. Transgender, animal rights activist, pro euthanasia supporter, vegan and vegetarian efforts supporter, abused by both parents from an early age, out of body experience at age six while under sedation having a tonsillectomy, follower of Roman gods Saturn and Jupiter, pen pals with Rozz Williams of Christian Death. This just scratches the surface of this complicated, fascinating person. Her music is not made for humans but for herself and dead children. “Ich Tote…” is early Sopor, all darkwave synths: medieval and renaissance orchestration, chimes, synth drum beats, lyrics of despair, loneliness, vampires, darkness. And the best darn goth voice around: that nasal, spidery, high pitched spooky warble that only the best can provide. This type of dedication to one’s belief in all aspects of their life is so honorable. On a par with Nuit Noire. Pure out-there sincerity.

Beach, Amy – “Fire-Flies” – [Arabesque Recordings]

Cousin Mary   8/29/2016   A Library, CD

Amy Beach (1867-1944) was an American pianist and composer and as such, is said to be the first woman to have had success with large-scale music works. Here we hear music for solo piano – no 12-tone from this 20th century classical composer, but strongly reminiscent of Chopin, Liszt, and romantic and impressionistic pieces. Lovingly and expertly played by pianist Joanne Polk. A bit of bombast here and there, but overall very enjoyable.

Payne, Cecil & Jordan, Duke – “Brooklyn Brothers” – [Elemental Music]

Cousin Mary   8/29/2016   CD, Jazz

Very nice approachable jazz with especially fine performances from baritone sax and flute player Cecil Payne (1922-2007) and Duke Jordan (1922-2006) on piano. Sam Jones on bass and Al Foster on drums also excellent. Despite mainstream appeal and covers of jazz standards, this excellent 1973 recording belongs in the KFJC library.

Wonderfuls – “Only Shadows Now” – [Bruit Direct Disques]

Naysayer   8/28/2016   12-inch, A Library

Robert Vagg writes the lyrics and sings the tales of woe, loss, remorse, emptiness, and missed opportunities, all in a slow, somber, drawn out voice, off key and sorrowful, too tired to try again, too tired to end it all, because continuous suffering of all the missed opportunities is possibly what feeds him and pushes him forward. Forever lonely and sad. God I LOVE this kind of stuff and I’m a sucker for that type of vocal. Put me in a cottage with the fireplace roaring while the storm pours outside and this sound filters through the room. UMMMM, yes. Dan McGirr and Natasha Buchanan complete the trio that is Wonderfuls, playing sparsely with guitar and synthesizer, quietly filling out the sound, fulfilling the sense of longing and sadness. I am reminded of Felt, Nikki Sudden and the Jacobites and, of course, Durutti Column. Light up a Djarum and sigh.

Krausbauer, John – “Blues For The Grave” – [Debacle Records]

lexi glass   8/28/2016   A Library, CD

John Krausbauer is a West Coast based solo artist; this is his first release for the Seattle based purveyor of fine experimental sounds, Debacle Records. This 30 minute piece focuses on a single note – a high-voltage horizon line that buzzes, radiates outward, and swallows you whole. Acoustic sounds join the central electronic tone, following in parallel: deep chants that ride on a slow breath, and, later, dissonant strings. Listen closely, put in the time, and feel the line as it projects to infinity. We are not in the grave yet.

Walter – “Poetics of Space / Like The Fly” – [Famous Class]

humana   8/25/2016   7-inch, A Library

This is a great little 7″ of garage rock (I only classify it to be helpful; it’s a class of its own). “Poetics of Space” is a solid musical asking the question of where does time go, and the guitars and vocals of the trio provide the apt setting for such a question. “Like the Fly” is slightly more upbeat and danceable (to us old rock dancers) and makes us wonder about what being a fly on the wall would be like. Do flies dance? Try this out.

Low Life / Last Exit [coll] – [Jazzwerkstatt]

mouthbreather   8/24/2016   CD, Jazz

energetic skronk improv jazz fits recorded in the late ’80s.
LOW LIFE Brotzmann + Laswelltracks (1-10) bass sax and electric basses, dramatic progression story telling with fart sounds abound.
LAST EXIT (tk 11-14) is fuller free jazz sound, of guitar, drums, tenor sax, 6-string bass, and even vox on trk 12. loud crazy playing over the top of each other punctuated with occasional Primus proggy vibes.
yummy stuff, throw LOW LIFE on continuous and add liberally to your mix – dr. mouth’s orders

Cline, Nels – “Dirty Baby” – [Cryptogramophone]

Hemroid The Leader   8/21/2016   CD, Jazz

Conceived as a “trialogue” between the music of Nels Cline, paintings of Ed Ruscha and poems of David Breskin. This is the musical component to Dirty Baby, a multimedia work of music, poetry, and pictures performed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. A deluxe monograph was published by DelMonico Books.
Two discs of instrumentals from two different nonets. A major work in the canon of Nels Cline, features brother Alex, Vinny Golia, Wayne Peet, Scott Amendola et al. CD1: Longer tunes. CD2: Shorter tracks, wildly eclectic, Funky Bluesy Thrashy, Great track names taken from Ed Ruscha paintings. Ambitious; the larger group gives Cline a lot of different possibilities.

Porest – “Modern Journal of Popular Savagery” – [Nashazphone]

Thurston Hunger   8/19/2016   12-inch, A Library

First world problems breaking down the fourth wall and some
catchy third world melodies. Porest is no stranger to KFJC,
a Sublime Freak who tripped from the land of Molam to
Syria, remember? Trapping us with Neung Phak and stomping
us with the unstoppable Mono Pause before that. And
he built a Sham Palace along the way. Many of his friends
from those incarnations are summoned here. This album could
be what would have happened if Stan Freberg freebased with
hop hop? Or if Ken Nordine got stopped for a full security
cavity check EVERY time he thought about flying. Porest even
gets the band back together (not Conheim/Bishops/Albee)
but those secret agent quasi-NGOs-in-the-know Tourrorist
cloaked in computerized voices to protect the guilty.
Check out “The Field Recording” for their latest hits and
democracy operations. Or dig the family drama on “Schalked.”
Other cuts are infectious like the Agit Pop of “Diplomat Smile”
and “Some Law” and “Au Revoirs of Blood.” There’s fuzzy b
ellybutton slink on “Your Vertebrae” that is mostly an
instrumental so you can be safe, or can you? Hey, the album
has kazoos, karaoke jingles of hate and lyrical nods to
Negativland and Public Enemy, so enjoy the revolutions of
this disk, those at least are real. Ko Ki!
-Thurston Hunger

Ferrari, Luc – “Interrupteur / Tautologos 3” – [Blue Chopsticks]

Thurston Hunger   8/19/2016   A Library, CD

1999 re-issue of pieces from 1967 and 1970 respectively.
Each composition is carved up into segments for the CD
(or anxious DJ). Anxiety is at a premium on “Interrupteur”
hovering half-notes rising like steam, strings sawing
and lighter-than-air French Horn make up the soup,
percussion tumbles in at times then subsides, also a
trumpet occasionally hits like Batman and then rest. The drone is uneasy and the attacks
make the listener lurch even more. “Tautologos 3” (KFJC
has renditions of 1 and 2 on another album) sounds like
a game piece, set in motion by rules, and not without
its humor. Like the “Interrupteur” there are sudden
spasms of sound, but no soup this time, instead a
background series of instruments that sort of volume-pedal
in a note at a time, like sheep bleating. Segment two
starts with a gallop, the electric guitar though often
stops the fun like a frustrated substitute teacher. On
segment three, faux sirens clear the orchestra for a
spell, then build a see-saw before something like a
mazurka breaks out. But it jump cuts to bouncing
twinkly organs. Tape splice delights. All of this back
when attention spans were long and uncorrupted by
TV/internet and the fly buzzing aroud in your skull.
Two very different tonnes of 12 tone fun! -Hunger

On the life and death tip, this reissue was the birth of
David Grubbs’ “Blue Chopsticks” label and RIP Luc 8/22/2005