KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Winderen, Jana – "Heated: Live In Japan" – [Touch]

humana   9/13/2021   A Library, CD

Even though this was performed live in Japan, the sounds captured on this disc by Winderen are a balm for our times. This Norwegian seeker of the hidden sounds found in glaciers and oceans gives us a treasure trove of sounds that refresh us in times of drought, creak through our souls, and wash away our angst like so many tears. The first track is a vocal introduction by musician Tetsuro Yasunaga. Ambience and field sounds at their best.

Ocher, Mary – "Mary Ocher + Your Government" – [Klangbad]

Thurston Hunger   9/13/2021   12-inch, A Library

Reprint of 2016 album where the talented tweaker Mary Ocher pits herself between dueling drummers, Stefan Widdess and Oliver Rivera-Drew (aka Your Government) hard at work. The drums keep her grounded, and keep the bpm meter running. Things get off with a blast-off, “#&*” is like a space-chimp hyperventilating, Ocher’s voice often is a third percussive instrument. On other tracks, her voice has razor blade runner sharpness, cutting through spaced lady synths beneath the boys with the beat. Catchy art-pop that could fill the skies nicely next to old floating Silver Apples swarmed by Damaged Bugs. Little guitar strum on the swaggering anthem “The Sound of War” – a song with funk/fury and excellent cold stops. But mostly the music here has bloomed from her rock to artwerk krafted from keyboards. “Man vs Air” at 2:18 begs for a 12″ dancehall remix, synth slithers through the left and right channels. Her Dad reportedly was a voice (and puppet theater) actor! Her vocal gyrations would do her otyez proud! Check out “Now (Fear)” for crazy flair and a serious kookiness. If David Bowie hadn’t been eclipsed by that damn Black Star, she’d probably be opening his next tour (and they’d talk about how they both feel such happy discomfort recording in Berlin). Seems she goes through drummers like Spinal Tap (rough enough for Government workers).

Bonus tip: her evolving visuals won’t disappoint fans of these audio trips!
-Thurston Hunger

Ocher as in “Oh-chen” Horrorshow, my-ee droogs!

Ahmed, Ilyas – "Goner" – [Root Strata]

Thurston Hunger   9/12/2021   A Library, CD

Released in 2009, KFJC has a couple of other cds circa that time by Portland-based guitarist Ilyas Ahmed, as well as a healthy smattering of Root Strata issues. Most recently Ahmed collaborated with Root Strata helmsman Jeffrey-Cantu Ledesma on an album. Back to this slice from 2009 while featuring Ahmed’s shambolic guitar (some electric, plenty of jangle) and his lo-fi ghost whirled vocals, there is a kinda driving blues vibe on earlier tracks. Over all, the recording needle gets pushed hard into the red, to help cloud up the fever dream feel on tracks especially “Out Again” and “As Another.” Ahmed adds rudimentary percussion on many cuts, but there’s also a freer freak folk vibe to be had on “Some of None” and a Mazzacane guitar rain in “Two Breaths.” Liz Harris of Grouper materializes on the closing track offering a soft wordless balm to the opening blues-battered numbers.

-Hunger

Hauras – “Hebron Suite, The” – [Stellage]

mickeyslim   9/9/2021   A Library, CD

experimental electronic piece in four movements, each shorter than the last. The first track is thick and sludgy, with momentary tones that sound as if being played on (electric?) didgeridoo, fading out slowly. The second movement is a little rougher around the edges, with harsher electronics, fuzzed-out distortion chilling in the background. The third movement is warbling and slow with a distinct melody that makes this almost come across as a bizarre leftfield pop piece. The fourth and final track is just the warbling from the previous track. Another great release from Howard Ryan of San Francisco, composed and recorded during lockdown Winter 2020.

Bunnett, Jane and Maqueque – "On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme" – [Linus Entertainment]

aarbor   9/9/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Jane Bunnett is a Canadian alto sax player, flutist and pianist, with many recordings to her credit. With Maqueque she set out to mentor up-and-coming young Cuban women jazz musicians. The group has become very successful playing at high visibility festivals.They are being touted as the “New Queens of Afro-Cuban Jazz”. They are deliberately trying to sidestep the machismo of the Cuban jazz scene and have succeeded, although I find myself wishing for playing with a bit more grit or attitude. AArbor

Cortini, Alessandro – "Scuro Chiaro" – [Mute Records]

cinder   9/1/2021   A Library, CD

Yes, he is a member of latter Nine Inch Nails, but don’t let that mainstream-ity scare you off from this. Cortini’s solo works are beautiful, lush ambient drone excursions that fall perfectly into place on KFJC. He’s really into synths and keyboards, and for this latest release, he’s made the instrument himself and focuses on using just that. Pulsating rhythms, wafting tones, cinematic touches, washes of dystopian lands… accurately felt as the title of the album translates to dark light (Italian). Bellisimo!

Thollem's Astral Traveling Sessions – "Trio With Avreeayl Ra and Lux, Matt" – [Astral Spirits]

cinder   9/1/2021   A Library, CD

This CD is pretty much like wearing two different pairs of socks. The first 2 tracks are live, improv jazz jams, both around 20 minutes. Those two are Thollem (piano) along with Matt Lux (bass) and Avreeayl Ra (drums), 2019 in Chicago. Intermission takes place on track 3, which is completely silent. The following 9 tracks are Thollem along with Sunken Cages (Ravish Nomin) and are synth and drum driven psychedelic space, ethnic fusion, whispering words, even a little hip hop beats, and where I would apply the word astral. Recorded in Philadelphia, also 2019. Buckle up and enjoy Thollem’s travels!

Brown, James / Live At Home With His Bad Self

carsonstreet   8/31/2021   12-inch, Soul

This album is a complement to the 50th anniversary release of Live at Home With His Bad Self (which itself is an expansion of a 1969 live show that was heavily edited into the LP ‘Sex Machine’), this Record Store Day Black Friday exclusive is the after-show set, featuring extended versions of rare cuts, new mixes, a duet with Marva Whitney and some revealing stage patter.

Davis, Miles / Live In San Juan

carsonstreet   8/31/2021   12-inch, Jazz

By the late ’80s Miles Davis had radically overhauled his style yet again, incorporating prominent synthesizers and using an ever-changing cast of young backing musicians. This remarkable set took place in the intimate setting of the Coach House Concert Hall in San Juan Capistrano, California, on June 15, 1989, and was broadcast on American Public Radio. It features just two tracks, a tribute to Jaco Pastorius from Davis’s 1989 Amandla album and the title-track from 1986’s Tutu. Check out the insert with lots of additional information. This is on serious 180g vinyl and is a UK import.

Present Quartet – “Routes, Paths, Courses” – [Pfmentum]

Max Level   8/31/2021   CD, Jazz

Inspired sounds — flutes, woodwinds, harp, bass, and electronics — by this So Cal quartet. Interesting and enjoyable movements as the instruments combine, diverge, drop out, rejoin, combine, diverge… Four masterful players confidently expressing their ideas, each leaving plenty of space for the others. Another top notch release from the reliably remarkable Pfmentum label.

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