KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Barker, Andrew / Irabagon, Jon Duo – “Anemone” – [Radical Documents]

Max Level   2/25/2021   CD, Jazz

Drums and tenor sax duo. Free Jazz Explorations. Inspired and interesting interplay. I can recommend each track individually, but listening to the whole CD in one sitting is somewhat exhausting. Free jazz drums/sax duet records tend to be like that for me. I can’t help it–after a while I’m like where’s the upright bass dude? Four adventurous tracks here, 11 to 14 minutes each; pick one (or two) and you can’t go wrong.

White Hills – “Splintered Metal Sky” – [God Unknown]

Max Level   2/25/2021   A Library, CD

Abrasive noise rock with pounding machine beats, seething electronics, and semi-sneering talk-singing. I was not familiar with White Hills, but I have been reading other reviews that portray them as guitar-driven and psychedelic. This CD isn’t like that at all. I would describe it as urban-sounding, synthetic, and damaged. There are a few noise pieces that only last a minute or two, and sometimes just a few seconds. Dave W, one of the two constant members of this prolific, long-running project has said “I’m very conscious about making the records sound different from each other.” Quite so. If you know White Hills from their previous releases, this one may surprise you.

Judgitzu – "Umeme / Kelele" – [Nyege Nyege Tapes]

abacus   2/24/2021   10-inch, A Library

hyper hypnotic rave seizures from punk ethnomusicologist Julien Hairon lacing together soundscapes acquired from years of traveling throughout Asia, Africa, and Oceania (see link below) these tracks are the results of his artist residency in Tanzania, and are reflective of the local Singeli style (see other link below). Umeme opens with frantic polyrhythms reminiscent of much of the label’s catalog, blasted by startling stabs of alert tones over undulating attacks. Kelele is less aggressive but no less mesmerizing, with recordings shining through more overtly about halfway through. this label has been shredding dancefloor vibes internationally, hopefully we can keep up

https://lescartespostalessonores.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR228hhzkU19FCftXIDUuI12W8QNOSIL3qRFPIRSpecX9HAJxROUW-WY_OQ

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/dec/17/this-cuts-across-society-how-singeli-music-went-from-tanzania-to-the-world

Armenie – "Armenie: Musique De Tradition Populaire Et Des Achough" – [Ocora | Radio France]

aarbor   2/24/2021   CD, International

This is a compilation of 26 tracks of Armenian folk music. The first 16 teacks are love songs, work songs, legends, laments, historical songs, songs of emigrants, marriage, funerals, lullabies… Tracks 17-26 are “Music of the Ashugh“. An Ashugh is a combination musician, poet, song writer and story teller (like an itinerant bard). This music dates back to the 17th century. Sometimes these songs relate historical events or extol the merits of particular people. Their principal theme is usually love. These songs are accompanied by the kamantcha (a 3-stringed viol), the kanun (a zither), the tar ( a lute) and/or the doudouk (an oboe-like instrument). AArbor

Dickey, Whit Trio – "Expanding Light" – [Tao Forms]

aarbor   2/24/2021   CD, Jazz

Whit Dickey made a name for himself as the former drummer of David S. Ware’s famous quartet. Since then Dickey’s musical contributions have gone well beyond his work as a drummer. Dickey is also composer. In recent years he has been recording with small groups. Here he plays with a new trio: his long time collaborator alto saxophonist Rob Brown, and an amazing young bass player, Brandon Lopez. Dickey described the experience of recording with his new trio as “incessantly and mightily grabbing the dragon by the tail, and not caring.” In other words, losing oneself to intangible inspiration, wherever it may lead. The result is a visceral ferocity that is very appealing. AArbor

Kinny – "Idle Forest of Chit Chat" – [Tru Thoughts]

aarbor   2/24/2021   A Library, CD

Kinny whose name off stage is Caitlyn Simpson, released this full length on Tru Thoughts in 2009. She was born and raised in Canada and her family heritage is a mixture of Jamaican, Native Canadian Indian, French and Swedish. Trained as an opera singer her singing style and attitude is more jazzy soul. Here she partners with other label mates to create some tracks with a spunky attitude. “Forgetting to Remember” will always be my favorite but the other tracks are also very fine. AArbor

Frost, Ben – “Dark Original Soundtrack” – [Invada Records]

whngr   2/23/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Foreboding dreamscapes of cinematic majesty.Gorgeous sweeps of strings and synthesizer. Tension, terror, and psychological torpor.It’s a good series with an excellent soundtrack by Australian/Icelandic composer, Ben Frost who is both well represented in our library and an absolutely stunning example of masculine beauty. Every element of this album works perfectly to instill a disturbing aural environment to accompany the imagery and performances. The cadence is impressively somber. Themes to a nightmarish journey through mysterious other-worldly confusion. A masterpiece in my esteem.

Dark is a beautiful science-fiction series from Deutschland that on paper should tick all my boxes but sadly due to its pace, plot, and perspective has a tendency to put this miserable volunteer to sleep. I will not relent however, though I have attempted to watch the sixth episode six times now, I will tenaciously repeat until satisfied… perhaps another six attempts will suffice. I have come to believe that this soundtrack and its visual accompaniment is, in fact, a diabolical spell devised for deep sleep with disturbing dreams. Whose opening stanzas weave a nearly narcoleptic incantation propelling the listener/viewer into a fathomless cavernous repose.

Bombardment – “Bombardment EP.” – [Destructure]

whngr   2/23/2021   7-inch, A Library

Bordeaux France, female fronted guitar driven five-piece hardcore punk.
Blazing, ripping, shredding, squealing onslaught of dystopian D-beat.

Havoc of detonation. 

Conscision, derision, precision.

Emphatic and brief, Bombardment EP. is a terse, vital expression of an established genre with chops and vision that will get the coldest of hearts thumping. 

Mountain Ocean Sun – “Peace Conference” – [Home Normal]

whngr   2/23/2021   A Library, CD

Drone with minimalist accoutrement.

Understated, meditative vehicle with allusion to aural healing. Ambience for introspection. Sublimity slithers through this single sixty-four minute piece executed thoughtfully by an international quaternity. A measure of Buddhist teachings appear to inform this project with their first performance taking place at a five-hundred year old temple in Osaka. Perhaps an excellent accompaniment for ritual nature worship, drain your dour perspective in drone.


Jean Cook – Violin, Viola, Shruti box – Collabs with Jon Langford, William Parker, and Assif Tsahar
Hitoko Sakai – Harmonium, Shruti box –  MSBR, Japanese Noise scene writer
Daniel Littleton – Harmonium, Bells, Kubing – IDA, Tara Jane Oneil collaborator
Warren Defever – Bells, Percussion, Gong – UFO FACTORY, His Name is Alive (4AD)

Fuller, Wesley – "Seven By Seven" – [Neuma]

aarbor   2/17/2021   CD, Jazz

Wesley Fuller died at the age of 89 as this, his first full length release was about to be pressed. He was a pioneer in the field of electroacoustic music. His music combines acoustic instruments (piano, violin, viola, flute and percussion) and fixed media (formerly known as tape). It illustrates the development of electroacoustic music over the decades – from 1970s-era analog synthesizers housed in institutions to living room digital studios. He described his approach here by saying “…the computer is being used as a composer, and it is, if you will, a kind of collaboration between composers.” AArbor

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