KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Blanck Mass – “Ted K (Original Motion Picture Score)” – [Sacred Bones Records]

atavist   9/28/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

Luscious dark electronics. Martial precision for a mind marching to war with everything, offset by tranquil moments shot through with unease. Though I’m familiar with the Unabomber story, I haven’t seen the film, so I’m assessing the work of Scotland-based Blanck Mass as I would any other addition to the library. These are short tracks that establish a variety of moods, though all have a tension rattling underneath them. As we get deeper into side B, some of the sounds get just a bit scarier, with jarring, clanging bits and crescendos. Interesting segues, beds, and superimpositions possible…

Cuba: Music & Revolution (Culture Clash In Havana Cuba: Experiments In Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1) [coll.] [Soul Jazz]

aarbor   9/28/2022   A Library

DJ Gilles Peterson and Soul Jazz Records founder Stuart Baker compiled this collection of fine Cuban tracks made “after the revolution”. Before Fidel Castro and Communism in Cuba it was where all the major dance crazes came from: mambo, rumba, cha cha, bugalu… Communism restricted some of the innovation in Cuban music, although bands like Los Van Van and Irakere (both on this album) are known outside Cuba. This compilation uncovers many other gems. Some are pre-revolutionary artists whose careers were given a funky reboot in the 1980s. It’s not just an Afro-Cuban or Latin Jazz sound. There’s also unusual time signatures, heavy-duty psychedelic organ solos, FX-laden guitars and touches of atonalism, along with spiky horns, squeaky Farfisa organs and occasional American funk. AArbor

Sound Storing Machines: The First 78rpm Records [coll] – [Sublime Frequencies]

aarbor   9/28/2022   CD, International

The first commercial recordings from Asia were made in Japan in 1903 by Fred Gaisberg. He was a producer and recording engineer who traveled the world making recordings for the Gramophone Company (later His Masters Voice). The recording industry barely existed at this time. These fragile discs survived: wars with Russia and China, the fire bombings during World War II, modernization, and the onslaught of Western media. They document, through a dreamlike haze of surface noise, a Japan that had just barely begun to open its doors to the rest of the world.

You’ll hear Japanese classic music like gagaku (court music) [1,8], noh drama [6?,10], solo instruments like the shakuhachi (flute) [11], shamisen (plucked stringed instrument) [2,3,4, 12, 13, 14], chikkin (a bamboo xylophone) [9], storytelling [7, 15], and folksong [5]. These recordings are a unique glimpse into an ancient culture and an important document of the beginnings of the recording industry. Sound Storing Machines spans only 9 years of recording—-from 1903 to 1912, the beginning of Japan’s homegrown record industry, and a few sides taken from Japan’s notorious bootleg 78rpm industry. AArbor

Dreadnought “The Endless” [Profound Lore]

atavist   9/27/2022   A Library, CD

This Denver-based project has been honing their craft in relative obscurity for some years now. “The Endless” marks their fifth full-length release, and this second release on Profound Lore may create a larger audience for their ambitious blend of progressive structures and metal-inflected textures. Dreadnought partakes in contrasts: clean, melodic vocal harmonies versus rending cries that pierce the night, massive overdriven guitar and bass mixed with clarion keys and drums. Their fusion of seemingly disparate musical influences challenges new listeners. The musicianship and musicality is there. With this release they’re keeping the song structures a bit more succinct—earlier releases feature longer, sprawling tracks that I happen to enjoy, but I suspect these shorter tracks provide an easier introduction to the Dreadnought sound, an exploration of far-off lands discovered in dusty books, assailed by dark forces, with hope shuddering in the cold winds of time. Queue up a track and let the story unfold.

More Klementines – “Who Remembers Light”

carsonstreet   9/27/2022   12-inch, A Library

This Connecticut band plays extended jams that harken back to the gritty space rock sound of Guru Guru. Made up of Jon Schlesinger on guitar, lap steel and vocals, Steubs on mandolin, second guitar and bass and Michael Kiefer on drums, this group seems to improvise based more on atmosphere and vibes than anything else. They lock into a stoically cosmic mood and let it guide them into the stars. With howling guitar solos soaked in rippling, nightmarish effects, walls of fuzzy, crumbling distortion and slippery passages of ambient space, this record fits in well with the work of fellow astral travelers like The Cosmic Dead, Eternal Tapestry and Expo ’70. The one track with vocals, “Key of Caesar,” might at first appear to be a bit of a departure from the rest of the record. However, its pulsing layers of neon guitar and blurred harmonies coupled with its entrancing grooves keeps the tune in the same dreamy headspace as the rest of the record. Not in your face loud -just driving forward unrelentingly.

Manic Hispanic – “Back in Brown” – [Smelvis Records]

beastofbourbon   9/26/2022   12-inch, A Library

Vatos Locos Por Vida – RIP “Jefe” y “Hoakie”

Manic Hispanic is a Southern California based punk supergroup founded in 1992 by Mike “Gabby” Gaborno of rockabilly/punk band Cadillac Tramps and Steve Soto of Agent Orange and Adolescents. Lifting their name from a 90s hair dye (Manic Panic) and recruiting other Mexican American members of established punk bands they began writing parody and satirical lyrics referencing Chicano/Latino culture to accompany classic punk songs. They also dressed as East LA Cholos and took on stage names to round out their comedy infused gigs.

Back in Brown released on 9/16/21 (Mexican Independence Day) is the fifth studio album and the first after the deaths of Gabby (1965-2017) and Steve Soto (1963-2018). This album includes some of their last recordings. The band continued on at the request of the founding members, adding vocalist Efrem Martinez Schultz of Voodoo Glow Skulls. Retaining their satirical and humorous takes on Latino culture it also takes on serious issues that impacted the community during the Trump Era. The songs parodied range from 1970s Midwest punk anthems, 80s Horror Punk, Washington DC Emo, 90s Oi!/Street Punk, East Bay Ska Punk, and plenty of So Cal classics. The musicianship is impeccable and lyrics are clever and thought provoking at times. They may surpass the original recordings. Most of the originals can be found in the KFJC library so give both a spin and judge for yourself. 

Beast of Bourbon

Burial — “Antidawn” — [Hyperdub]

Ms. Conduct   9/26/2022   A Library

A virtual crepuscular landscape folds into new sonic domain-worlds. Liquid lyrics from the wormhole hyperreal. This album constructs a different relationship to time that is so ordered as to feel immersive.

Ambient synths, various sound effects, blank moments to open the channel. Cross-sections of ambient, game music and composition theory with sampling and field recording imports. A careful balance between natural and synthetic sounds constructs an afterlife inversion of this world. The melancholia feels suspended in a transparency heaven superimposed on common earthly tragedy.

Sándor Vály & Júlia Heéger — Sacred Songs — [Ektro Records]

Ms. Conduct   9/26/2022   A Library

A contemporary re-imagining of the medieval mystic & composer, Hildegard Von Bingen’s soaring monophonic monastic chants replete with heavy reverb feedback and layers of hard drone. Originally scored for an audio-visual artwork seeking to center sacred embodiment through dance, this is a saintly provocation earthbound in stone cloister chamber twisted in poisonous vines.

OurTown — “Here we are” — [Gumbo Studio]

Ms. Conduct   9/26/2022   A Library

This is the kind of art-folk rock music that brings together the wise wonder of the NY Downtown scene with rural New Mexican sensibilities into a post-hallucinogenic dayglow gratitude journal. Both yoga-mat and cigarette-smoke free, this album avoids most cliches that one would expect to find of this kind, but still manages to relish in its idiosyncrasies shamelessly. There is a perennial-perfect-afternoon-mixed-with-life’s-laments-feel to this album for those that can appreciate undressed music which weds desert colors to the urban mundane.

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