KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Disciples of Mockery – “Prelude to Apocalypse” – [Necroharmonic Productions]

whngr   6/5/2020   A Library, Cassette

Death Metal from New Jersey ca. 1999 with a sepulcher full of nauseating vocals. Speed, dirge, lurching, driving, pick scrapes, feed-back, shredding, pummeling, and an unbearable amount of pinch harmonics. Clutch your soul and a hurghll a wave of sick into oblivion as you thrash your greasy hair and blaspheme in the key of misery. Includes three ex-members of an early incarnation of Incantation ca.1991. The sounds might slightly date themselves but this miserable volunteer approves of the imagery and packaging on this malevolent cassette from yesteryear.

Chicago Sinfonietta & Mei-Ann Chen – “Project W – Works By Diverse Women Composers” – [Cedille Records]

Medusa of Troy   6/3/2020   A Library, CD, Music Reviews

This 2019 album of classical works is based on the highlights of Chicago Sinfonietta’s 30th season (2017-2018) [Mei-Ann Chen, conductor and musical director], which featured the works of American women composers. Most of the compositions on Project W were newly commissioned by the orchestra, from Jennifer Higdon, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, and Reena Esmail. The album starts with a performance of Dance in the Canebreaks, written by pioneering African-American composer Florence B. Price. Dances, consisting of 3 jaunty pieces, is sweet and fun, reminiscent of Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess”, but with its own flair. “Sin fronteras” by Clarice Assad & “Coincident Dances” by Jessie Montgomery (part of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble) sound like traditional classical music. Reena Esmail’s “Charukeshi bandish” has traditional classical Indian arrangements along with vocals, while her “#metoo” is skittish and tense. The album ends with Jennifer Higdon’s 5-movement piece, Dance Card, which alternates between high-energy pieces (no. 1, 3 & 5) and slower, sweeter pieces (no. 2 & 4). This album won’t fit on all shows, but certain pieces can work around the edges of international, blues, drone and ambient sets. Check it out.

Les Yper Sound – “Explorations In Drums and Sax” – [Figure & Ground]

aarbor   6/3/2020   12-inch, A Library

Originally Les Yper-Sound (also sometimes called Les Hyper-Sound) was a fake band consisting of Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry. On this recording  (which was released in 2016) there are 5 tracks written by the originals and 10 written by Jas Walton [sax] and Miles Arntzen [drums] who are the current version of Les Yper-Sound. The “remarks” on each track will tell you everything you need to know. My favorite remark is “about the track Potato Brain: “Moroccan Qarkabeb. Dramatic. Lights off.” It’s playful, tongue-in-check and lot of fun, after all it’s on clear vinyl – do not miss this one!

AArbor

JAMBU E OS MITICO SONS DA AMAZONIA 1974-1986 [coll.] – [Analog Africa]

aarbor   6/3/2020   A Library

Jambu and the mythical sounds of the Amazon. Jambu, it turns out, is an appetite stimulating plant which is used in the cuisine of Belem in the Brazilian state of Para (Northeast Brazil) the gateway to the Amazon. This collection is a well-researched guide to the music of this region by the folks at Analog Africa. A range of styles and music which reflect the local culture as well as influences from the Caribbean and Africa.

AArbor

Karma to Burn – “Almost Heathen” – [Spitfire]

atavist   6/2/2020   A Library, CD

Groove laden, instrumental stoner(ish) rock. Not stoner metal, that is—the vibe is more of the “take a shot of whiskey and jump in the mosh pit” variety than “smoke a bowl and space out on the couch”. The energy level is high, with a precision-engineered rhythm section and disciplined guitars that swerve, stop, and start to match. Reminds me of bands like Walrus who were working in a similar vein at that time in the mid-late 90s and early 2000s. They frequently draw comparisons to Kyuss. The tracks on this CD are pretty interchangeable, in that they are consistently well-made and will induce rhythmic head nods of approval if this is your kind of thing. Not having a vocalist means they never stay in one place too long. They allow themselves to get a little spacy and chilled-out in the last track. Turn it up and hit the wayback machine to 2001.

Laguerre/Noetinger – DnT – [Aagoo Records]

Max Level   5/27/2020   A Library, CD

Two well-known French electro-acoustic sound artists (Anthony Laguerre and Jerome Noetinger) bring us many forms of noise by way of tape loops, manipulation, distortion, live processing and… drums! This release seems to be centered around the sounds of a drum kit. It shows up everywhere, often being processed in some way or other, and is combined with some odd noises–notes and blips and hums and is that a dog barking in the distance on Track 4? The dynamics vary from track to track, but it never takes long for this thing to get back to spotlighting the drums. Track 2 is probably my favorite–it starts in a quietly tense place and ramps up to a crashing drumscape on some weird planet, accompanied by an overload of intense alien shrieking.

Moenda – "Moenda" – [Kinnikinnik]

Thurston Hunger   5/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Now-defunct three piece Moenda released this back in 2011. Band (and label) were from North Carolina, for me this jumps into the parade that features bands like Guerilla Toss and Sea Moss, groups that have a pretty amazing drummer as their majorette. For Moeda, Davey Blackburn is the
percussion whiz, he’s joined by guitar and galactic synth effects courtesy of Ross Wilbanks and Jeremy Fisher. Unlike the referenced bands, there’s not a lot of vocals here (a little chatter on “The Wider the Smile the Sharper the Blade” and maybe a sampled Brazilian priestess on the closer). The music is not so menacing as that Smile/Blade, I’d color it “angry cute” mostly based upon the arsenal of toys that Wilbanks and Fisher. I mean check out “Eschaton” after the big fat synth burbles evaporate, there’s a kind of Gershon Kingsley joy before returning to the world’s end. Another fave is “Cut Here and Here” with a teapot whistle sound slicing through as the song sambas on. Indie instro march and perculate powder, hop in line.
-Thurston Hunger

Himukalt – “Vulgar” – [Found Remains]

lexi glass   5/27/2020   A Library, CD

As Himulkalt, Nevada visual/sound artist Ester Kärkkäinen relates her experience of female sexuality as “a feedback loop of misery and desire.” In her visual work, xeroxed grayscale photographs of bodies are cut and superimposed in repeating patterns, as if her subjects were reflected in a shattered mirror. Her power electronics work could be heard as the sonic analogue of these images: on Vulgar, jagged, repetitive rhythms are layered with blasts of noise, while Kärkkäinen’s whispers, moans, and screams are fractured by effects and static. A creeping menace builds through the tape, suggesting a scene of violation that we finally witness on “to whisper intent” (T8). A violent reaction follows on “not in this body” (T9), exploding into the ecstasy of revenge on the final track “want you to see me” (T10). Originally released in 2017 on No Rent Records and reissued this year on Found Remains.

Moctar, Mdou – "Ibitlan" – [Sahelsounds]

Thurston Hunger   5/27/2020   7-inch, International

Mdou Moctar, c’mon even his name rocks! Mdou (aka Mahamadou Souleymane) was introduced to KFJC by this same fantastic label on the Music From Saharan Cellphones Vol 2 collection, let that be an inspiration to anyone worrying about how the pandemic will impact music, sound will always survive, silicon chips swirling around the desert! Along those lines, apparently this single was to be a limited edition 2020 tour offering, but fortunately this record and songs are unstoppable. The Agadez sound often leaves listeners agog, side A of this does not disappoint, dizzying spin start by Mdou alone, the band then jumps on board – spirited singing doubled by rhythm guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drives Mdou up higher both in voice and on the guitar later in the song, possible dual lead but I suspect it’s Mdou overdubbed and double-fuzzed.
Side B follows that lead with an anthemic, surging number. No vocals
on this one, so a good chance to appreciate the rhythm section, drummer
Aboubacar Mazawadje strikes that snare launching each spiral;
then Mazawadje and Michael Coltun on bass tumble through to the next
round. But make no mistake, Mdou is the Prince here, hammer-on/hammer-off guitar trills reign in a bluesy way, with touches of red.
Pretty amazing that he built his first forbidden guitar, and these days it seems like Agadez is ground-zero for Fender.
Driving modern psych from Niger by way of Sahel Sounds.

-Thurston Hunger

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