Music Reviews

Gobeil, Gilles – “Les Lointains” – [Empreintes Digitales]

cinder   12/2/2022   A Library, CD

Uncomfortable listening from Québecian Gilles Gobeil. A cacophony of field recordings and found sounds. You’re a fly on the wall in someone’s home, a factory, car warehouse… bursts of intricate sounds tickle your inner ear, while you wildly imagine what the hell is going on. Layered foggy synths and sounds accompany, but the game of figuring out what you’re hearing is key. A fine musique concrète experience.

Pinkcourtesyphone – “Shouting At Nuance” – [Helen Scarsdale Agency]

cinder   12/2/2022   12-inch, A Library

Los Angeles based minimalist, Richard Chartier. Slow, murking lurky droned out passages that raise your neck hairs as if a ghost is whispering dear nothings in your ear. ‘Hauntological compositions’ as he describes. Low tones and dream like states. Washes of ambience. What your mind might start to hear as you drift in a self deprivation chamber. It’s not scary or menacing, but reflective and gloomy. Lost in space. 

Akusmi – “Fleeting Future” – [Tonal Union]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

J’accuse Akusmi as Pascal Bideau behind Big Ben with the candleabra. But the album has a whirlwind of world winds, Pascal plays a bunch of diverse instruments and enlists Berliner Ruth Velten to help share sax duties. Add in some trombone from Florian Juncker, and a dash of drums from Daniel Brandt, and the album feels like a larger group, in part due to the multi-work of Bideau. There are clues of Philip Glass on the minimalist beach here, maybe recorded in part in Indonesia, thought I tasted a bit of Brazil, German precision on the arpeggios. All instro, with piano and other percolating percussion. This LP slightly reminds me of Club Foot Orchestra meets Bang On A Can with Arnold Dreyblatt cracking the baton/whip. “Neo Tokyo” builds a cartoon cityscape before your eyes, really all tracks have that bustling urge. Hyper clean recording, this Future feels uplifting.
-Thurston Hunger

Sunfear – “Octopus” – [Dark Entries]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

I was digging out behind the back of One Eyed Jacks looking for Laura Palmer’s real diary when I found this pristine 12″ record buried beneath the clumps of mud and whiskey-soaked weeds. Turns out “Sunfear” is Eylul Deniz, and this is one sweet soulache of bedroom fi beauty. Drenched in reverb and multitrack mystery, enjoy a girl and her best friend, her guitar. When things move smoothly, Slowdive vibes arise. When things are pretty but broken, Julee Cruise’s profile emerges on a full moon. This is a Dark Entries entree, but not one plucked from long ago, Deniz is a current poet/artist/singer/songwriter out of Istanbul. She may have a doppelganger DJ bumping beats in Berlin’s Boiler Room, I think I saw her there or maybe that was Maddie Ferguon? Anyways this album is slow-core supreme. I was almost shocked when a drum-machine stuck its tentacles into the title track. The leadoff instro dips your ears into the waters, which return later with vox punched in between waves. The lead track is called “Dokun” which apparently translates as “Touch” in Turkish and while that as a tactile found sound swirl, the
low-fi slow pop here is ethereal.
-Thurston Hunger

Niton – “Cemento 3D” – [Pulver Und Asche]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

From musique concrete to prog cemento? Niton is a three piece (we have their “Tiresias” also at KFJC), in the center is Swiss cellist Zeno Gabaglio – his bow/scrape done on an electic instrument, joined by Italian soundscapers Luca Xelius Martegani and El Toxyque (who apparently performs and bathes in a beautiful blue and silver helmet). This is a remixing of their 2021 Cemento, re-poured through samples, filters and odd audio processors. In 3D! Gabaglio’s e-cello serves as fiber for each piece, “Asmant” & “Maas” have pulses added for percussion. I was trying to listen to some of the original Cemento and at times had both that and this playing (worked as a form of “Mixed Cemento”?). The recordings are atmospheric enough, but more active than drone. Kind of a Cluster booster. Electro-acoustic sound clashing too at times, I don’t think those are synthetic chains scraping sepulchral. Other samples and/or voices are spliced in as well. “Baylanis” holds a portal for our myriad metal-heads. The cello groans, electronics wince. Zeno’s conscience elevates this album, gorgeous sharp slices on “Shuini” w/ some astral vox and perhaps found flute. Track titles are not Magma-fied, but instead translate to cement through-out the world. This really grew on me, and comes with a clever flexi we will also add.
-Thurston Hunger

Niton – “Maas (flexi)” – [Pulver Und Asche]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   7-inch, A Library

Companion “record” to the excellent Cemento 3D cd. This has an excerpt of the audio sculpture “Maas” from Niton, a 3-piece electroacoustic project that straddles the Italo/Swiss boundaries and sonically straddles prog/industrial regions. Other pieces on the full length have more prominent electro-cello, this is more pulse/wave/squelch electronics. Really could serve as a stellar sci-fi soundtrack to alien animation. Well crafted sounds, and the clever craft continues in fabricating this medium. Sure, it is a flexi, but it has grooves on the see-through packaging, and the cardboard disk inside is just a decoy that you must take out to get the square outer record to spin round on the turntable. On the evil genius seismograph, that rates pretty soundly, glad we have the full length as hopefully this entices KFJC DJ’s to pour out more
Maas! The full length 3D is well worth a foray!
-Thurston Hunger

Onodera, Yui and Celer – “Generic City” – [Two Acorns]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

Natural squonk to start, a flock of feathers lays down in a bed of synth drone. That is the recipe here a blend of found sounds and ambient tones, for this 2010 release. Celer these days is Will Long operating alone out of Tokyo, where collaborator Yui Onodera runs the Critical Path. They are joined on this by sounds and images echoes of Danielle Baquet-Long (once Celer dweller and partner of Will) who sadly died in 2009. The blend of who-provides-what is hard to separate, the generated sounds often a halcyon tonic to the samples (loose notion of air, from the opening flock to a Calgary boarding call for a jet?). Or maybe with the album’s name and Dani’s photo (city all in silhouette, the space surrounding emphasized over buildings and people) maybe that is a theme? Yui adds some excellent guitar sputter on #3, and don’t miss the chant (Shingon?) ascends towards the end of #4 before disappearing into a pure electronic drone.

-Thurston Hunger

Flowertown – “Half Yesterday” – [Mt.St.Mtn.]

Thurston Hunger   11/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

SF duo, Karina Gill and Mike Ramos are Flowertown. If you dug their previous eponymous lp, (or Gill’s other project Cindy) this follows suit. The masks are off, the gloves still on, the guitar with sleep in its eyes. On some tracks the tambourine heart machine serves as pacemaker for gentle drums. The songs use two or four chords to keep the female/male vox aloft like Zoloft. Lofi bedframe bedroom blooms – tunes that might make your old Tascam recorder weep tears of joy if it were not sent to the local chop shop to be cannibalized into an e-bike that drove itself off the cliffs into the Sutro Baths. To be fair, at times the sun breaks into the Fog City Flowertown neighborhood, like on the title track and for “Beachwalkers” but the sonic weather overall is overcast. Note clear vinyl, if you want to look through these indie rock waltzes as life spins past.
-Thurston Hunger

Bauchklang – “Jamzero” – [Ecco.chamber]

aarbor   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

This is Bauchklang’s debut album from 2001 and it put them on the map. Bauchklang means belly sound. They’re an Austrian outfit whose sound mixes human beatboxing, mouth percussion and other kinds of vocal sounds. They cover a musical landscape stretching from Electro over Minimal, to Dub and Hip Hop, using only their voices. It’s kinda 21st century doo wop – very delightful, playful, experimentative. Vocals are in English (French lyrics on track 9). AArbor

Calabar Itu Road: Groovy Sounds From SE Nigeria [coll] – [Comb & Razor Sound

aarbor   11/30/2022   CD, International

When most people think about Nigerian music, the first thing that comes to mind is Lagos—the country’s main commercial center, and the musical luminaries such as Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and others. Nigeria has other interesting music: Igbo highlife and rock bands of the east-central region, Edo roots rhythms from the midwest, and the keening, ornamented Fulani melodies of the north.

The least known is the music of the south eastern land of the Efik and Ibibio ethnic groups in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State—the region colloquially referred to as “Calabar.” This region was one of the earliest outposts of Nigerian popular music. Its rhythms traveled across the Atlantic during the slave trade to provide the part of the foundation for Afro-Cuban grooves that would go on to influence the development of jazz, rock & roll, R&B and funk. This is 15 tracks recorded between 1972 and 1982, spotlighting rare music from “Calabar” superstars such as Etubom Rex Williams [14], Cross River Nationale [2], Charles “Effi” Duke [8], The Doves [10] and Mary Afi Usuah [11]. Most tracks are upbeat, dancey, excellent playing, and do not have English lyrics. AArbor

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