KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Flaherty / Corsano / Yeh – “a Rock In The Snow” – [Important Records]

lexi glass   8/21/2018   CD, Jazz

Live recordings from 2004 from avant saxophonist Paul Flaherty, drummer Chris Corsano, and C. Spencer Yeh aka Burning Star Core. Flaherty and Corsano had been developing their high energy free jams as the Flaherty/Corsano Duo for years before these sessions, and here Yeh adds violin and vocals to the mix. Yeh’s distorted playing moves in parallel with Flaherty’s white hot saxophone solos, like a form and its fuzzy shadow that follows along until it suddenly finds a life of its own. At times Yeh escalates the intensity into some Flynt-style fiddling freakouts. Corsano’s drumming is, as always, a total pleasure to hear – thoroughly precise and powerful, but still free, artful, brilliant. When he steps away from the action in the middle of T2 and T4, it feels like being in the eye of a storm. Yeh’s vocal stylings – from his throat-scraping utterances in T2, crazed yelps in T4, and last dying gasps in the final aftermath of “Swamp-Like Heartache” – add another weird dimension to the tracks. I’ll stop now and refer you to the much more entertaining track-by-track liner notes from Johnny Coorz, aka John Olson, who got to know the trio well when they toured with Wolf Eyes (and Prurient, damn… and that probably explains the title of T2) in 2005.

Coil – “ELpH Vs Coil: Worship The Glitch” – [Dais]

Lord Gravestench   8/19/2018   A Library, CD

Coil seem to be legitimately famous now– posthumously of course, and is that not always the way? Every record store with a separate ‘Gothic and Industrial’ section seems to have a bunch of their records now. The erstwhile lovers and longtime counterparts Jhonn Balance and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson were legends long before they were legendary and the exposure probably would have irritated them.

Originally released in 1995, this is a reissue from this year of what may be Coil’s most abstract recording. Taking a page from Brian Eno’s book (or a card from his deck?), the Industrial mad scientists/ritual magick practitioners employed aleatory (that is, chance-based) methods of composition, subjecting their own minimal session recordings to a variety of software-driven manipulations. Balance and Sleazy dubbed the incorporeal third member whose collaborative intentions emerged from the randomised manipulations ‘ELpH.’ I’m not clear on the exact details of the methods the band employed, but it seems likely that drugs were involved, possibly MDMA, as contrary to popular belief the diagnosed schizophrenic Balance was not a real-life fan of ‘Love’s Secret Domain’ (I’m not so sure about Sleazy).

This is not ‘glitch’ in the Techno sense. Whispy, spectral, often barely musical, sometimes quite queasy and frequently possessed of an otherworldly beauty, this looks back to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Tangerine Dream and “honorary member” K. Stockhausen but doesn’t really sound like them and gosh, I guess nothing that’s come out since really sounds like this either. Coming from a band who so defined the ‘song-based’ quadrant of Industrial music, this is challenging listening indeed, calming and maddening all at once.

It’s all over the place. T.2 is like getting smacked in the face with the pixelated alarm clock. T.8 might be singing. T.9 sounds like an aviary. T.12 is kind of fucked-up minimal techno, with hyper-sped-up voices. T.13 alleges to be an instrumental cover of ‘These Boots are Made for Walking.’ T.16, the most overtly musical piece, is a manipulated recording of Aleister Crowley’s wife Leah Hirsig singing part of ‘For All We Know.’ Most of the tracks are pretty short.

It makes no sense, and although vaguely in line with Coil’s other ‘drone’ works from the mid-90s, it’s quite atypical for a Coil album. If you play it for dogs or infants, they may attain samadhi.

At the end of the day, I think Coil was the best of the three groups formed out of the ashes of Throbbing Gristle. A truly singular pair of sound manipulators. RIP.

Amofas – “Blood Like Fire” – [Cinereous]

Lord Gravestench   8/16/2018   7-inch, A Library

Gloomy, necro Black Metal with an old skool pagan/NS sound (lyrical themes unknown). This is the solo project of one member of Bone Awl. Galloping Shadow, AKA He Who Gnashes Teeth, runs the Cinereous label also.

On this 2012 EP, neither side gets too fast, but there is a glowering aggression akin to Akitsa, early Graveland or perhaps Coldness from Portugal. Only this limited test pressing has the excellent cover art.

In terms of the classic 90s BM sound this is much more traditional than Bone Awl. Elite riffs both sides. The B side has a more aggressive vocal and a keyboard part. On the other hand, the A side has more pride and spite and it may be the better one.

Everything is rusty, broken, falling apart here. All that’s left is your honour. Must be time to kommit suicide in your bunker. Don’t forget to poison the kids first.

SEF III – “Selling SEF III” – [Ehse Records]

Louie Caliente   8/14/2018   12-inch, A Library

A science fiction narrative told through sound from SEF III, a trio composed of Duncan Moore, Max Eilbacher, and Alex Moskos. Composed in a barn in rural Virgina and recorded in Montreal, Selling SEF III tells the electro-synthetic saga of Phil and the SEF III computer.

Introductory Remarks (T-1) is an instrumental preview of the sounds and structures that will be on display through the rest of the piece. Meticulously unorchestrated glitch, floaty musique concret, and slooowwly tuned radio dials.  Layers of bugs and buzz-saws.  Lots of attention to static and its subtleties.

Most of the vocals are are dispassionate descriptions of scenery, stage direction, and monologues. The very notable exception are the two Machine Themes (T-2, T-11), which feature deep perfectly pitched harmonies and smooth melodies.

What I assume is the climactic battle between Phil and Sef III takes place in T-10. It’s a dizzying 6+ minute instrumental of mechanical tapping, blasting ray guns, crickets, horns, and eerie metal-machine wails. The return to the Machine’s Theme in the following and final track suggests that things do not work out well for poor Phil.

Crazy Doberman – “Live Fall 2017” – [Easy Listening]

lexi glass   8/14/2018   A Library, Cassette

Inzane Indiana trio of Drew Davis, Tim Gick, and John Olson of Wolf Eyes. This cassette collects recordings of live sets from around the Midwest during the Fall 2017. The first two tracks on Side A are slow burning, late night jams recorded at some dude’s apartment. Droning horns, temple chimes, and what sounds like a harmonium give these tracks a heavy, ritualistic feel. The next two tracks are live recordings from one of Olson’s infamous Psy Jazz nights at Trixie’s bar in Detroit. The first is a thick, twisted throng of brass sounds (T3) while in the second, deep electronic drones and distorted recordings of chanting provide the backdrop for the horns in the foreground (T4). The final track was recorded (secretly?) in the Japanese gardens of Michigan State University, with the chanting voices and echoing sax rising again from the dark mists of Lansing. Now That’s What I Call Psy Jazz!

Kole Galbraith – “PANNA I” – [Self-released]

lexi glass   8/14/2018   A Library, Cassette

Two longform hallucinations from Seattle-based sound artist Kole Galbraith. Our copy of his latest cassette release found its way to the station during his visit to the Pit in June 2018. On each side of the tape, Galbraith uses an electric guitar with effects to create two contrasting scenes. The earth rumbles in “Cordilleran Rupture” (A), as rough electronic sounds collapse into a massive drone sinkhole. Justin Lazar and Paul Walsh assist with noise on the track. “Burnt Hair on Disautel Pass” (B) is a desolate landscape, swept by roaring winds, with chimes and blunted guitar plucking appearing like distant points of light. His first release (here) can be found in our library.

Ames Sanglantes – “Chindia Tower Impalements” – [Hospital Productions]

Lord Gravestench   8/13/2018   A Library, CD

Quebecois Pierre-Marc Tremblay is internationally recognised as half of the Black Metal project Akitsa, founded in the late ’90s. What perhaps fewer fans may know is that he has been equally renowned in Noise circles for about the same span of time under the name Ames Sanglantes, trans. Bloody Souls. A.S., long a member of the Hospital Productions inner circle alongside like minds such as Prurient and Alberich, is genuinely one of the harshest and most difficult Power Electronics/Noise projects your reviewer has ever encountered.

The project’s releases often seem to be intended as abstract representations of physical violence – in KFJC’s library already are albums called ‘Street Violence’ and ‘Le Cri du Pendu’ (‘The Hangman’s Cry’). This 2018 reissue of a 2015 cassette release is in a similar vein, as it were…

Inspired by European folk hero, whoops I mean infamous sadist and tyrant Vlad The Impaler, this is Slow Execution Electronics, or as the artist would have it, “Ancient Blood Soaked Architectural Column Noise,” a nod to Vlad’s starkly fortified Chindia Tower, which stands to this day. Each of the 3 CDs in this attractive edition houses two basically endless Harsh Noise tracks reminiscent of Vomir, Richard Ramirez, Maurizio Bianchi, and Whorebutcher among others.

What’s so fascinating about this album is how it manages to create the impression of a continuous, crushing wall of noise, when in fact it has many changes happening all the time, just not obviously. To a casual listener it may create the impression of Harsh Noise Wall, but up close, the very gradual variations in the pulsing electronic tones, buried samples and crumbling distortion create an incredible sense of slow, agonizing progress, rather akin to an iron stake gradually working its way up along the spine.

Play this if Brighter Death Now’s ‘May All Be Dead’ or Will Over Matter’s ‘Power Dances’ had just a little too much going on for you. Layers upon layers of ravaged electronics create maniacal nightscapes where you’ll encounter screams and sadistic laughter (1.1), night birds ousting day birds (1.2), thunderstorms (2.1), hissing dungeons (2.2), wolves, some of which may be human (3.1), and full-on burning, twisting synth impalement (3.2). Each track is a mystifying gem of the deepest blood red. Most will drive a certain kind of KFJC listener absolutely nuts; if you’re dumb enough to pick up the studio phone please remind them that they are not actually being impaled on an iron spike and that it’ll be OK. Also recite the following: “Hail Dracul! Hail Wallachia! Hail the Underground! Hail Darkness and Oppression!”

Each track is about 30 minutes long, but you can always play part of one.

Fail Association / The Cherry Point – [Tronix]

Louie Caliente   8/13/2018   7-inch, A Library

Ouch! Two quick hits of roaring blasting screaming screeching noise wall from A Fail Association (Gregory Babbitt) and The Cherry Point (Phil Blankenship).  A single-sided 7″ released back in ’03 on Blankenship’s Tronix label.  Only 178 were made.

I *think* it’s supposed to be played at 33, but to be honest I couldn’t tell much of a difference vs. 45. I also couldn’t tell much of a difference between the two tracks, but in a good way, since both are balls-to-the-wall take-it-to-eleven total aural scorchers.

Big Chief Ellis – “Big Chief Ellis” – [Trix Records]

humana   8/9/2018   Blues, CD


This is a slice of blues history (first released in 1976) that is a great addition to our library. All compositions created, played on piano, and sung by Big Chief Ellis, with Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee, and John Cephas on guitar. Be sure to read the liner notes that describe how Wilbert Ellis, despite his religious parents’ mandate that forbade music in the house, got his aunt to let him play her piano by mowing her lawn. His clear, strong voice, and his sure-fingered piano work make this a must-play for any blues show.