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Music Reviews

Unholy Crucifix – “Black Mass Metal” – [Yersinia Pestis Records]

atavist   9/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Two to three minute bursts of lo-fi, Satan-worshipping black metal from Eureka, California (though originally from Norway). The record starts with an interesting, quiet intro, vaguely ominous, nearly pleasant. But everything after that charts a descent into the defiled pit. Wreathed in filthy guitar tone, a spectral distortion cleansed of its soul. Sometimes the drums come in really high in the mix—some tom strikes achieve a separation so as to be disembodied from the band. In this lineup they still had a bass player, and at best he adds a bit of thickness to the din. Super washed-out vocals are the right sound for this maelstrom. If side A isn’t suitably lo-fi, switch to side B, which is all rehearsal versions, including rehearsal versions of tracks found on side A. The guitar tone here is more of a common noisy variety and loses some of that “spectral” quality noted earlier. It’s clear that they just went through the set, playing each track in succession, so it’s a cool approximation of a live recording. The last track is the filthiest of all, like it was recorded by a single mic going into a Radio Shack tape recorder. The cymbal crashes just clip out completely. This is a heavy dose of sickness.

Various Artists (A Simple Procedure) [coll] – [Estuary Ltd.]

lexi glass   9/11/2019   A Library, CD

KFJC DJs are masters of the “superimposition,” Cy Thoth’s term for a live mix of multiple records at once. So here’s an advanced challenge:

Choose 42 records. Cue up eight at a time. For each record, using a chart inspired by the I Ching, determine whether to press play, press pause, change its playback volume, or switch it out for another record.

Follow this simple procedure, and you’ll have performed John Cage’s 1952 work Imaginary Landscape No. 5. For this 2015 release from Estuary Ltd., label founder Mark Cetilia (of Mem1, recently added to our library), commissioned fellow artists to create 42 original works to be used as source material for a new imagining of Cage’s piece, here spread over two CDs.

In contrast to the jazz records Cage used to create the original version, Cetilia’s source material is far more abstract. Overall, the tracks on CD1 have a subtler feel – icy drones (T5), ocean waves (T6), glacier caves (T15), electronic birds (T10) and insects (T14), treated piano and guitar, organ (T20), and some serious ASMR mouths sounds (T3) – while the tracks on CD2 are propelled by livelier rhythms, from dance beats to dogs’ barks to noise textures.

At the end of each CD is an instance of Imaginary Landscape No. 5. For the first, Cetilia uses the 42 tracks each pressed onto a 7″ record to create an analog version of the piece (CD1-T22). For the second, Cetilia used software to edit the original files to make a digital version (CD2-T22). Each landscape matches the material on its disc, with CD1’s analog version softened by a sea of surface noise, while CD2’s digital version cuts abruptly from one sonic idea to the next.

Gnaw Their Tongues – “Genocidal Majesty” – [ConSouling Sounds]

whngr   9/11/2019   12-inch, A Library

Horrifying wails buried in industrial dissonance. Solo project of one Murice “Morie” De Jong, maniacally prolific (Mystagogue, Black Mouth Of Spite, The Sombre, Golden Ashes, Obscuring Veil, Cloak of Altering, De Magia Veterum, Caput Mortem, et al, ad nauseum) Dutch musician and demagogue of disorder and decay, whose singular aspiration seems to be illustrating sonically the scope and breadth of human suffering. Drone, synthesizer, spite, choral guttural chanting, cudgels embedded in palates, shimmers, wrath, obscenely tight “tom” strikes, misery, white noise, horror, deranged booms, and anguish. A recoiling from all things benevolent and yet there is also a kind of grandeur present as well. Like a priest who was well trained in the language and practice of venerating God, who knew the price he payed when he chose to bathe in goats blood and spew heretical vitriolic blasphemy towards the kingdom of heaven and his holy Father. Rejecting the promise of eternal rewards in the afterlife to bask in the raging trash fire that is humanity. Noise elements abound and while at times quite harsh can offer an interesting and sometimes slightly soothing texture over one of the most notable aspects of this album; its “percussion”. Devastating blast beats, crushing snare drops (flams from heaven), plodding and lurching drum terror that reminds this wretched volunteer of the project The Body which is further reinforced by the guest vocals by one Chip King on track B1 “The Doctrine Of Paranoid Seraphims”.  A terrible feeling of personal reckoning is represented on this delightful L.P. wrapped in a fittingly colourless and appealing(appalling) jacket. 

La Danza Del Agua [coll] – [Discrepant]

Louie Caliente   9/10/2019   12-inch, A Library

A compiltion of modern experimental music from South America.

Artists from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia & Venezuela build on tradition, using cumbia beats, folk flutes, and exotic latin rhythms. But the focus is purely modern, with synthy instrumentation, electronic beats, and soundscapes. Everything is very creative, playful and highly listenable.

These tracks were originally released on a larger compilation from the Argentinian Papaki records, which is available online in the Free Music Archive. The original album featured 38 artists across two volumes (both cassette). Discrepant out of the UK focused things down to just 12 tracks and released on vinyl.

A1. Space age synths and binaural Peruvian flute.

A2. Electro-cumbia. Dancy and hypnotic.

A3. Shimmering day-dreamy guitar. Heavy on the echo.

A4. Digital congas and saw-tooth slaps and lazer zaps.

A5. Hyper latin rhythms and surf guitar. Reverb-hour approved! Wish it was longer.

A6. Concret sound exploration. Blissful drones mix with crunchy loops and aquatic scraping sounds.

B1. Distorted pop debris. Distant, scratchy and beautiful.

B2. Solo percussion drips and drops. Rhythms appear, evolve, and return to emptyness.

B3. Folk drones for horns and percussion.

B4. Whistling flute and marching-band drum groove.

B5. Thumping bass-heavy electro beats with spanish spoken-word.

B6. Abstract digital cosmic soundscapes.

Cell Rot – “Violent Spirals” – [Vitriol Records]

atavist   9/8/2019   12-inch, A Library

Oakland’s Cell Rot released this deput LP just over a year ago, and now it’s time to bring it to the KFJC airwaves. Recommended for heavy rotation: this is well-built hardcore flecked with metal, completely enraged and death-obsessed. The album basically drops into full speed after the introductory track and doesn’t relent. Drop in, spit your pain and disgust, repeat. Tracks are short and to the point. The vocals are furious and consistent throughout, finding that balance between control and abandon. That description could apply to the instruments as well: the band is tight without sounding uptight; they hit their marks with enough confidence to allow reckless performance to inflect the outcome. The record is so consistent that any track will do (look out for a couple FCCs). Well, except for the intro, which really is an intro, consisting of just a vocal track and brooding, ominous guitar feedback, and leads immediately to the following track. Playing both “Intro” and “Born Into Pain” could be a nice choice, and that will still only take 2:29 to play. Tracks are typically threaded together with walls of feedback—in other words, there aren’t clean breaks between tracks and you’ll have to rev up to 33 quickly when cueing (plus cut away quickly to your next track at the end). The last track, “No Redemption”, is a great way to close out the record, and might be my early favorite.

Tomhet – “Eklipsens Hord Och Karavan Demo 2005 / Apokalypsimz Legend Demo 2009” – [Goatowarex]

whngr   9/5/2019   A Library

Cold and bleak black metal from Mora, Sweden. A Chinese (Beijing) release of  demos from 2005 and 2009 with a potentially deliberate ham-fisted production (left a cough in, etc.), simple/crude structure and technique that can sound derivative of the music scene that was exploding around them but with a smattering of notable departures. It might sound like I am slagging it but this is in fact how I like my BXM. I like it raw, I like it grim, and I like it Nordic. In 2019 we are awash with bands similar to Tomhet but that is because the  formula is good or at least it is one that speaks to the (aging) youth. Miserable, misunderstood, and fundamentally aware of their (our) inevitable demise but this project came to being in 1999 in an idyllic mountain resort about equidistant between Stockholm and Oslo so its got some provenance and if the art wasn’t so fucking crude I would probably champion them more steadfastly. Bonus points for wind sounds, general weirdness especially in the vocs, and for being a Swedish band released by a Chinese label with ties to Australia (wtf 2019).

Golden Braid – “Golden Braid” – [Bluesanct/Red Frost Industries]

whngr   9/5/2019   A Library

A glorious ambient/industrial sidelong single with shimmering drones, whirs, thumps, pulses, and dreamy abstractions culled from tapes sourced from six (6) noisicians in real time by Michael Anderson (aka. Mkl Anderson, Mkl Drekka). Primarily sedate layers of narcolepsy inducing sounds that could be a Vicodin holiday or a fever dream depending on the listeners perspective going in to this drier-lint lined cocoon of an album. A limited colaborative release (300 copies) from Anderson’s own Bluesanct label and Red Frost Industries. B side is side A in reverse and vice versa.Aserv eciv dna eserver ni A edis si edis B.

St Hugh, William – “The Luciferian” – [self released]

whngr   9/5/2019   A Library, CD, Music Reviews

Lovely and somber orchestral movements from this mysterious project out of Fairhaven Massachusetts. Primarily string compositions with sparse accompaniment from timpani, cymbal, and flute (I suspect all instruments are synthesized) that evoke a lonely and perhaps haunted soul’s journey towards damnation. This release is so new and possibly cvlt that as of this writing it had only a singular presence on the internet (bandcamp) and thus prompted me to submit my first ever addition to discogs. Though nothing about this album is exceptional or ground breaking it does feel very personal and it is easy to imagine the artist pouring him/herself into this release with abandon. Slightly lacking in emotion it  can feel cold and intellectual or perhaps dead inside, not unlike a sociopath trying to connect with the strange emotive world they sometimes encounter at the cemetery where they often go to reflect. 

Bootsy’s New Rubber Band – “Blasters of The Universe” – [Rykodisc]

Medusa of Troy   9/4/2019   CD, Soul

This double Bootsy-blast dates from way back in 1994, but it hasn’t aged a bit. The Boots takes all the lessons he learned from he sojourn with James Brown and Funkadelic and distills them down to two hours of solid boogie! The tracks on Disc 2 are extra-funkified version of Disc 1 tracks, without the banter. Any of the tracks will boil water but go for CD2 if you really want to blow your speakers. Reviewed by Goodwrench, January 14, 2015.

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