KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Moon Duo – “Occult Architecture Vol. 1” – [Sacred Bones Records]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

Moon Duo “Occult Architecture Vol. 1”

Another superb musical trip  released by Portland’s Moon Duo. This 2017 release, “Occult Architecture Vol .1” is the first in a dual psychedelic journey through light and dark.  (Occult Architecture Vol 2 in the cue) This first LP in the series explores the darker side or life and hints at demise, death of the human spirit, and prepares listeners for a rebirth. Fuzz guitar, rhythmic pounding, and head jaunting explorations await. Join Moon Duo on a journey through your mind and through the musical expansion of psychic imagination.

El Banda – “Skutki Uboczne (Side Effects) ” – [Pasazer]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

El Banda “Skutki Uboczne”

Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, El Banda brings it with their unique blend of in you face punk energy with occasional sprinklings of an electronic dream scape. Be prepared to engage and confront your angst as front woman, Anna Zajdel, brings it with an energetic vocal energy that doesn’t hold back on the outrage. Fast, furious, and full of surprises, El Banda is a perfect release for that pent up disappointment in the human condition. This double LP release may cure you of all your mental derangements. 

Anthology of Traditional Guqin Music [coll]

SlartiBartfast   9/14/2021   CD, International

Anthology of Traditional Guqin Music [Coll]

The guqin is a seven stringed Chinese zither aching with notes of tranquility. Played correctly, this beautiful instrument can give rhythms of a thumb scratching on the wound strings, eerie base like notes, and harmonic tones that will transport you to other worlds. I dare say the guqin masters profiled on this 4 CD set represent some of the best guqin players in China that produce a sound equivalent to a slow, slide, blues guitar. Boil your water, prep your Yixing pot with good Oolong, and relax to a good session of Gongcha.

Sludge – “Just Die” – [Cheezy Farm Records]

Max Level   9/14/2021   7-inch, A Library

Sludgy, grindy garage punk on this 7″ from 1995. Three short songs on Side A and one longer one on Side B. Car crash guitars. Yowling vocals remind me of Stooges-era Iggy. General discontent expressed. I could find no info about this band.

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!

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