KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Toned – “Private Sector” – [Shhpuma]

Max Level   9/22/2020   A Library, CD

Abstract pieces by this electroacoustic trio featuring alto sax, electronics, and drum set. Often crazy, jagged, blurting, and in your face, other times more restrained and seemingly thoughtful. I especially enjoy it when Tom Weeks uses his sax to make unusual sounds—squeaks and pops and flutters. Track 5 starts quietly with what could be water sounds but may be electronics; about halfway through the track, things get louder with what sounds to me like train noises(or something…?) and then it ends quietly. There are a couple of tracks with snippets of conversations added. This material is weird and messed up, but I hear it as mostly coherent sound—which is good—rather than random stuff thrown in just to be weird and messed up.

Hollander, Celia – "Recent Futures" – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/22/2020   12-inch, A Library

So Leaving Records gets a socially distant (350 miles) virtual slap on the socially distant back for being a pretty amazing and diverse label. Here we find Celia Hollander’s debut, Hollander an LA musician and erstwhile Dublab DJ. The lead off track uses a stringed sample for effleurage up and down your spine, short and sweet. More digital processing on the second piece with a hovering pulse, but then maybe she’s tapping on her cello after awhile for percussion. Those manual beats question a twitchy drum machine and other tones. “Surround Sound Me” follows with a kind of gamelan waterfall, not gamelan per se but a soothing cascade of soft metal into a brief softer storm. The sound of ball bearings going to heaven? The piece that called me is “Big Talk/Small Talk” voice chat chopped so fine you cannot pull any words out, so it has the aura of Robert Ashley, but recalls Alessandro Bosetti’s talk-cussion or some art installation on the joy of information overload. I’m not a synaesthete, but this pushes those sort of buttons for me. This record exists in a space between drone and beats, which “Spared Time” illustrates very well. The concluding piece is my second favorite, elegance and elegy….simple piano wandering in between the magnetic fields. A stimulating release, I suspect there are detailed stories behind each pieces. A glistening electroacoustic listen.

-Thurston Hunger

Pantha Du Prince – "Black Noise" – [Rough Trade]

cinder   9/18/2020   A Library, CD

Gorgeous third release from this German producer. Said to be born out of a period of musical exploration in the Swiss Alps, his sounds are often labeled as minimal techno. This is so full of sound though, very earthy and rich. Lush electronics, intriguing dance-able beats, organic instruments, field recordings, bells, tropical flairs. All instrumentals except track 4 which features vocals by Panda Bear (Noah Lennox of Animal Collective), and track 7 also has vocals but I’m not sure who, himself perhaps? It’s optimistic and beautiful!    

Trou – “Grjóthaugr” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

“Trou” (pronounced trū ), french for “void” is the mysterious and prolific  rhythmic noise, harsh industrial project from France ca. 2012 to present. Three gloomy tracks of mind wipingly repetitive dark ambient/industrial fare suitable for the final round of stripping your captive of their ego. Apply liberally to the feeble minded in order to gain control and begin supplanting capitulation for autonomy as you guide them towards self destruction and they bend to your terrible will. Originally self-released on cassette in 2017 this outing is another delectable/detestable disc from Chicago label No Part Of It.

Maximin, Bérangère – “Land of Waves” – [Karlrecords]

lexi glass   9/17/2020   12-inch, A Library

French sound artist Bérangère Maximin transforms an assortment of instruments – percussion, small objects, synths, guitar, and voice – into the Land of Waves on her sixth album. Over two LPs, we visit the imagined corners of this strange land, starting with its terrain: the underground drones and gemlike synths on “Day 41” (A1), idiophonic melodies emanating from deep caverns on “Kalimba Rough” (A2), the swarm of tremors on “The Broken Shoe” (A3). The B side sets out on a night time walk through an unusual wilderness, its sounds of glowing insects, wind-up birds, leaping fish, calls of owls and other unidentified creatures beaming through the darkness. “L’Echappee” (C1) begins at the edge of a dock before unmooring, drifting into a shadowy sidelong journey. The final D side holds some of the most exciting and varied tracks: “Walking Barefoot: Imaginary Quintet” (D1, a collaboration with Fred Frith on guitar and the Swibeckico Quartet on electronics) an eerily beautiful techno piece, “Des Tigres Multicolores” (D2) with its jeweled tones, purrs and growls, and closer “The Thread” (D3) where the most familiar of sounds, like a cell phone notification chime, are absorbed into Maximin’s dreamworld. More of her previous work can be found in our library, here and here.

Nital Etch – “Simalacrum” – [No Part of It]

whngr   9/17/2020   A Library, CD

Eerie Cinematic Vignettes.

Haunting, serene, and at times unnerving like dreams of lovers long passed, entropy, and the death of hope. A collection of modulated strings, samples, and ambient sound collage by Washington state’s Kevin Lewis culled from unreleased selections by this magnificent composer, released August 2020 by the label No Part Of It  (Chicago). In a word, perfect.

Alefa Madagascar! (Salegy, Soukous, and Soul From The Red Island) – [coll] – [Strut]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, International

An outstanding 2019 release from Strut which showcases the popular music of Madagascar during a heyday of Malagasy popular music. Most recordings from Madagascar are traditional instruments and music, this one is not. Salegy is a fast tempo local dance based on 5/8 and 12/8 rhythms [tracks 1, 4]. Soukous  is from the Congo, brought into Madagascar’s music in the ‘60’s via the radio,  along with music from Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique.  At that time the newer styles and instruments replaced many of the traditional ones. Be sure to check out the Behind the Scenes Alefa Madagascar! Video on Youtube. The liner notes give a very rich and well researched guide of music in Madagascar. AArbor    

 

   

Cafe De Los Maestros – [coll] – [Surco Recrods]

aarbor   9/16/2020   CD, Soundtrack

The soundtrack to a documentary movie directed by Miguel Kohan featuring interviews with  musicians and singers from Argentina’s Golden Age of Tango ( 1940’s and ‘50’s – before Astor Piazzolla). Uruguay’s Lagrima Rios appears here on the 2nd track on both CDs. Two CDs worth of lovely antique tango music, the grandmother musically speaking of what you hear from Gotan Project, Bajofondo and others these days.

AArbor

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