KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Black Joker – Watch Out- [Pacific City Sound Visions]

Thee Opinataur   10/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Side 1 – Untitled

Opens with tribal drumming, adding high timber beats beginning the long quest upon camels in the fictional Chalisa Desert, circa 2027. This must be a long incessant dream of the artist ‘Black Joker’ 

Desert flutes romance the listener in the next stage of the quest, whose destination is unknown, and creates tension amongst the clan as to its purpose. Yet they continue along the windswept dunes. Their spirit is uneasy, yet this is who they are…tradition, culture, routine.

Mind spitting intermittent pings, relentlessly, over and over, as the sweltering heat overwhelms them, their minds are melting, yet the camels know the way, they have been here before.

Evening approaches, awakening from the unconscious spell, realizing their predicament, the pursuit of rest is near, and there’s a feeling of hopefulness, joy, that begins to awaken the spirit within.  

The pace quickens and is consistent as the drudge of the daily routine wears off and they inherently know who they are. The beauty of the blackness of the sky, the stars sparkle with the illumination that they not only seek but crave. 

Side 2 – Untitled

Another day continues similar to the last, methodical beat of the camels’ pace, and there’s a new inspiration unlike before, as a mirage appears in the distance. Even the knowingness of this false hope, the spectacular vision of the distant mountains lets them know they are closer to their destiny and offers a sliver of hope. 

the rhythm of the caravan is comforting to the soul and they know who they are…

Disruption and confusion enter in suddenly, as there is a treacherous path to climb, and it is the urging on of the leader that this is but temporary. The desert wind blows its might, but alas they are through it. Press on, press on, upward, onward….the destination is just over the summit…and it is clear, their journey is near the end. Excitement builds, as the overwhelming sandscapes begin to lessen and reveal the lush life approaching. We began together, this odyssey, wandering through the sand, and as the cool evening descends upon our arrival, we know this is just a temporary pause; we have not yet reached our final destination

Experimental musician Black Joker, aka Spencer Clark, The Skaters, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Vodka Soap, 

abstract – ambient experimental, Desert atmospheric soundscape, hypnotic , tribal 

Uzel, Nezih – "Mevlana: Instrumental Mevlevi Music" – [Kent Elektronik]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, International

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana — which means scholar. When he died in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony. The Mevlevi Ayin is a form of Ottoman art music that evolved around an organized religious ritual: the Whirling Dance ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes . It was based on musical composition and poetry, taking the form of an original cyclical suite format. The instruments which accompany Mevlevi music are: the Bendir – a wooden frame drum, the Oud (lute) and Ney (and end-blown flute). The Dervishes consider this kind of dance and music a form of meditation. The dervishes wear long white robes and very tall conical hats when they dance. Nezih Uzel was a very famous bendir player and dervish. He once said that this is music for participation rather than just listening. I was surprised by the gentleness and pace of this music which accompanies Whirling Dervish dance/meditations. AArbor

Shirley and Lee – "Complete Singles As & Bs 1952-1962, The" – [Acrobat Music]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, Soul

Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee were teenagers in New Orleans who were pioneers of the boy/girl R&B duo style in the early 1950s. Their biggest hit was “Let the Good Times Roll” [Disc 1 track 23]. They hardly ever harmonized. Instead they sang separate verses and choruses using a call-and-response style, mostly because Shirley’s voice was piercing, sat in a narrow range, and she often sang a bit sharp or flat – hard to harmonize with. They recorded at the important Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studios which created the New Orleans R & B sound. Shirley and Lee were dubbed “The Sweethearts of the Blues” although the relationship they supposedly sang about in their songs (on CD1) may not have been real. I preferred CD2 for the better arrangements and more interesting songs. AArbor

Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues [coll] – [June Appal Recordings]

aarbor   10/13/2021   12-inch, Country

A history in song of the white (Southern) cotton mill workers and the mills they worked in. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues started at the end of the Civil War. Black people were excluded. Instead poor whites and especially women and children worked in these mills. Promises made by mill owners about schooling, good pay and realistic hours were broken. It was a tough life and the conditions were unsanitary, leading to TB. brown lung and other complaints. The workers unionized and had strikes in the 1920s and ’30s which eventually gained the attention of leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt. The music is largely Appalachian Southern song style with guitar, banjo and mandolin accompaniment. Learn the history you never learned in school through these songs. AArbor

Gnaw Bone – “Rotten Earth” – [Auris Apothecary]

Max Level   10/12/2021   7-inch, A Library

Sick, rotten black metal out of Bloomington IN. Discordant ringing guitars and pummeling. The sound of drowning in primordial sludge. Three members and they all do vocals; one of them reminds me of Gollum— how sick is that? Among the lyrics on the B side: “carcasses, piles of carcasses, piled on carcasses.” You have been warned. A lathe-cut release on clear vinyl; both sides about three minutes long.

Curtis Chaos – “Magic Dreams” – [Lost Treasures of The Underworld]

Max Level   10/12/2021   12-inch, A Library

This short-lived Brooklyn outfit was the garage band’s garage band. Here they offer seven all-instrumental rock jams, heavy on guitar. Muddy recording mostly buries the bass and especially the drums, but the lead guitar freakouts are front and center and that’s what it’s all about. The final track is the longest and it starts off in a gentle manner. The other tracks pretty much start off full-tilt and never let up. Recorded in 2018, released in 2019.

No Silence – Sounds of The Underground [coll] – [Psychic Eye]

Thee Opinataur   10/7/2021   A Library, CD

Released in December 2020, this compilation is jam-packed with 43 bands, heavily steeped in Oakland’s Darkwave and Punk scene. Curated by Akiko Sampson, the founder of Psychic Eye (who also performs in Yama Uba and the post-punk band Otzi) we find bands representing all regions of the US. Great care went into mastering these tracks by Michael Daddona of Ratskin Records who also contributed with his band Malocclusion. 

While many of these bands may not necessarily be familiar to KFJC, there are several, Anarchy-punkers Resist and Exist out of SoCal, Cold-synths L’avenir, from Baltimore, hardcore from Iconoclast, tripped out galaxy girl Maya Songbird and of course our dear friends Moira Scar.  

A wide range of genres fills this album, with large doses of Darkwave and Post-punk, as well as Dark punk, Goth, synth wave, cold wave, funk, hip hop, and more. It’s hard not to like any of these tracks, and I’m careful not to list favorites as there are far too many that simply stand on their own.  

Akiko Sampson’s motivation for this compilation was to raise money for two relevant organizations that effectively push for institutional change in hostile local environments; BLM Louisville and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which represent migrants in ICE detention centers. Great music, even greater cause. – Thee Opinataur

Kondo, Toshinori – "Blow The Earth India" – [Subcontinental Records]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, Jazz

Toshinori Kondo, who departed this life last year, was a prolific Japanese composer, trumpet player and wanderer of the Earth. This release (from 2019) is a part of the series called “Blow the Earth” which he moved to Amsterdam to start in 1993. The film BLOW THE EARTH JAPAN came out in 2011 – it was his first project as a film director. He composed, performed and mixed all of the tracks on this album. After moving to New York in 1978, Kondo collaborated with many notable jazz musicians including: Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Ernaldo Bernocchi, John Zorn and Peter Brotzman. This is arguably one of his best releases. AArbor

Colombian Soul [coll] – [BBE Music]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, International

Dean Bagar a/k/a Tricky D a producer from Croatia, who now lives in Colombia, has compiled a magnificent collection showcasing the works of native Colombian musicians. Tricky D moved to Bogotá in 2013 after living in London, Berlin and Jamaica. He is active as a DJ, producer, remixer, and bass player, as well as teaching workshops on musical production. Since moving to Colombia, his new works contain Afro-Colombian influences. As a bass player, he’s now working on live projects which merge soul, dub and Afro-Colombian elements. His intention with this compilation was to find dubby, downbeat, minor tuned songs. Colombian Soul is soulful songs recorded by well-recognized Colombian artists. [ Most tracks updated traditional music: 6-world folklore and electronic dance music, 10 – Afro-Colombian reinterpreted, 11 – Latin drum ‘n bass, 12- Peruvian Cumbia reinterpreted, 13- Contemporary Colombian tropical, 14- Dub textures morphed with rolling bass, percussion and cumbia rhythms]. AArbor

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