KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Andersen, Kristian Eidnes / Von Trier, Lars – “Antichrist” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, Soundtrack

Two beautiful (and to my ear, cloying) tracks composed by George Frideric Handel and 6 brooding, malevolent horror-scapes by department head of the sound design department at the National Film School of Denmark in collaboration with film writer/director Lars Von Trier that could be just about anything, heavily modified cello, an empty room, bowed sheet metal, a tea kettle with reverb, singing bowls submerged in tears, human breath through a saxophone sans reed, a blue whale on ergot of rye dreaming of the crypts below Paris.
The dichotomic nature of this album is alarming, especially within the context of the film. The lush aural filigree of Handel juxtaposed with the dark, abstract, and otherworldly landscapes built by K.E.A.and L.V.T. adds to the tension. The profound contrast is as jarring as any of the film’s three major climaxes. A film I enjoyed but was also slightly alarmed by. When it first came out I watched it alone and was perplexed. I needed others to see it as well, though I had a hard time recommending it, which might be easily understood by anyone who has seen the film. Let’s just say that it isn’t entirely clear who the target audience is or the message there in. So that I could perhaps gain some perspective, especially a woman’s perspective I asked the girl that I was flirting with at the time to come over for dinner and a movie (which would turn out to be my first ever Netflix and chill) but with the caveat that this movie might not be the best date movie (much less a first date movie). I was pleased when she suggested we watch it after we finished dinner. I was also pleased, though I fell asleep about half way through my second viewing, that the beautiful and slightly touched object of my desire chose to invite me into her libidinous clutches for a passionate and satisfying tête-à-tête after the credits began to roll. However, I thought this could be a very serious red-flag as well. Happily that turned out not to be the case and even if our courtship was relatively short lasting, I have only fond memories of this quizzically complex and stunning belle, and as of this writing, we remain friends. I’m sorry that it ended but it was painless and simple, very unlike the film, Antichrist.

Black Cilice – “Transfixion of Spirits” – [Iron Bonehead Productions]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Murky depressive black metal. 

One might choose to describe this album as grey metal though that moniker has already been attributed to another. Perhaps trve grey metal is more apt. This is lo-fi one man black metal, simple and barren. Flat, dead. dreary and bleak. But not because of poor recording but of purposely burying everything in the mix. Like the microphone was hung from the mouth of a cave while Black Cilice performed deep within the bowels of this earthen grotte. Heavily distorted, repetitive, and simple trem-picked guitar, blast beats, frozen vapor enveloping a crypt, affected wails, all the elements are in place but they are obfuscated by distance or perhaps the walls of cthonic chambers. Much like the depiction on the cover of Transfixion of Spirits, a diaphanous shroud of fog conceals the scowling spectre whose malevolent intentions can only be speculated. And fittingly, little is known of this esoteric project’s curriculum vitae, though said to be the creation of a single soul from an undisclosed location in Portugal. Beautifully packaged by German label, Iron Bonehead, on grey vinyl. An excellent accompaniment to any afternoon spent alone drawing skulls, or casting spells but especially as the heavens weep ceaseless tears.

Sixx – “Sister Devil” – [Nuclear War Now!]

whngr   1/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Stripped down sad boy rock in the vein of Bauhaus, early Christian Death, and Sisters Of Mercy composed and performed by local heavy metallers, Von (Goat, Kill, and Snake) who would, in time, establish themselves as one of the most cvlt black metal projects of their era.
Originally released as a demo in 1991 on 500 cassettes and then pushed into the craggy depths of obscurity, this recording is a slightly low fidelity but reasonably well recorded and rehearsed chorus drenched guitar adulation of the macabre. Some might venture, to a level absurdity. But not I. I adore this kind of thing, and as it came from members of a band that had such power, speed, and vision adds a layer of context. Another level of morbidity. Repetitive, unpolished, atmospheric, brooding… it is an excellent snapshot of a time and a place, that many of us would be unaware was happening in the inky shadows just up the peninsula. I can’t say if I would have totally appreciated Sixx in 1991, but I would have loved Von had I been aware of their existence. Their history is mysterious and contentious among black metal mavens but this recording puts the a final nail in the coffin of any debate as to their talent, range, and foresight. This L.P. is beautifully packaged by Nuclear War Now! which is, in the opinion of this miserable volunteer, a fitting label to introduce this stunning project to 2020.

Munition – “Gaze/Gauze” – [Absurd Exposition]

lexi glass   1/22/2020   A Library, Cassette

Munition is the alias of Dexter Outhit, a noise artist from Toronto. This cassette is his second release, and KFJC’s second library addition from Montreal-based label Absurd Exposition. Gaze/Gauze would stand well alongside the first Absurd Exposition release that we recently added, the excellent Base Waters LP by Rusalka; both works draw the sound of ocean waves into enveloping expanses of composed noise. This Munition version has an anxious, suspenseful feel, as deep pulses surface and mobilize into martial rhythms. The marching beats summon visions of ancient voyages, hunts on the high seas, naval warfare. One ~15 minute piece that repeats on Side B of the tape.

Seba Kaapstad – Thina

cadilliac margarita   1/22/2020   CD, Soul

Groovy neo-soul from a multi-cultural quartet of 2 singer/songwriters from South Africa, and 2 German multi-instrumentalists, equally contributing to the intriguing sound tapestry presented.  There is piano, synth, drums, guitar, and strings. This is lovely and mellow, shimmering with positivity and upbeat in a very relaxing way.  The lyrics never get too preachy, just contemplative in an existential way that can make even the most cynical of listeners stop and consider getting out of your own head for a while. Take a look at the world around you to consider others, their existence, and how you can relate and connect.

Barriga, Rodrigo – Silere/Continuo

Louie Caliente   1/21/2020   A Library, CD

Rodrigo Barriga is a Mexican composer who studied at Mills College. His work focuses on improvisation, communication, and openness. Silere/Continuo contains three new performances of his early works. The mood is seriously avant-garde, but playful and rooted equally in rock, jazz, and classical.

Continuo (T1) is a piece for voice trio, exploring harmony and resonance. Soaring acrobatics, shifting pitches, sustained gurgles, and raspberry trills.

Silere (T2-T5) features Barriga on electric bass alongside with electric guitar and drums. These pieces have lots of space in them and can take a while to warm up (many start with near silence), but they are well worth the wait. Quiet, accidental sounds flutter, slowly gathering momentum Cohesive grooves emerge abruptly out of thin air, but somehow remain intangible, and melt away before your ears.

Continuo (T6) again features Barriga on electric bass, this time paired with a trio of electric guitars. Collective concret noodling. Psychedelic time warps.

Radical Empathy Trio – Reality and Other Imaginary Places – [Esp-Disk]

Max Level   1/21/2020   CD, Jazz

Three masterful improvisers—Thollem McDonas – keyboards, Nels Cline – guitar, and Michael Wimberly – drums–present two 18-minute pieces of inspired improvisation, recorded 2017 in Brooklyn. We feel very early on that we are in good hands. I especially enjoy hearing Thollem’s acoustic piano give way to his electronic keyboards, usually leading to some noisy interactions with Cline’s guitar, and then back again. As usual, Cline’s guitar exists on a completely different plane from the rest of us–he’s that advanced. Wimberly’s tasteful percussion accents are pretty much perfect throughout. Dive in.

Perspectivas [coll] – 33RPM

Cousin Mary   1/18/2020   7-inch, International

In Paris, Luis Briceno recorded interviews and music that were broadcast in Chile 2013-2016 featuring musicians from before the 1973 coup d’etat that toppled Allende’s government. There is an “old is new” theme to this album (1) that these musicians of the past will be new to many Chileans and (2) that the old flexidisc format within this book will be new to many who play it.

The music is very enjoyable and the sound quality is surprisingly good. It features flutes, guitar, drum and vocals in Spanish. Just flip the page to the disc that you want, put the book on the turntable, and drop the needle! More here https://vimeo.com/269718583

John Bender – I Don’t Want To Talk About it / I Don’t Remember Now

cadilliac margarita   1/17/2020   12-inch

Home Recordings from 1978-1980 by the prolific John Bender while living in Cincinnati. Tracks are labeled by number based off various catalogue positioning (i.e. Cassette 31, Side A, Track 4). Everything about these lo-fi synth bangers with manipulated robotic but entertainingly nonsensical vocals was DIY. The 1980 original release came with sleeves individually hand-designed by Bender, and put out on his own “record sluts” label.

Re-released here on limited edition red vinyl by Superior Viaduct in 2016.

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