KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Rose, Jack “Apocalyps. X.” [Eclipse]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Rose continues his path from Pelt straight to the heart of
a twelve-string soul. The A-side featues a darker current,
thick ropes of vibration…bubbling up the neck of the
guitar on the lower deep end strings. Near flamenco finger
flicking starts “black pearls from the river.” On “tower of
babel” the frenzied fingers give way to bouncy swipes at
the end of that track. On the B-side, it seems like a Rose
made a conscious effort to work the upper strings more, the
sound is brighter, but still brass rattling. With the higher
notes, we can hear the sympathetic halo of echo shining
through easy. As the record spins towards its end, Rose
chose to slow down his playing…the earlier fast ripples of
arpeggios now separate into more distinct drops of guitar
rain, beads of sound. Thornless and acoustic black.

Illoin “Pinafore” [Notenuf/CollisionCollider]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library

Pronounced “ILL Owen” but the guy’s name ain’t Owen it’s
Andrew Ryan from a chilly part of Philadelphia. Most
cuts have quick-click ticking percussion in them, which
contrasts the slower pulling of chords from synth and
accordion. I actually like it when the bullet-train
metronome ticking cuts out…usually at song’s end. But
then on the title cut, we just have the electric piano
sans *any* beats, and that was far worse. It plods
towards prehistoric New Age. My favorite was “Ask the
Dust” (possible John Fante tribute?’), it was the most
upbeat of these otherwise beat-up and iced-down pieces.
It and the initial track only have vocals. “I Am Never”
replaces the clicks with cricket samples, and a gentle
guitar instead of keys. “Starmaps” has a Raymond Scott
twinkle to it, overall the latter half of this CD works
best. While I enjoy “bleakbeat” music, it’s a simple
pleasure. By the time an album passes, I want to go out
and hug a drummer.

I Remember Syria

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   CD, Format, International

More sublime slide shows of sound, this time with some aid
coming from Porest’s Erik Gergis. Besides dizzying cultural
doppler effects, this release is strengthened by some man in
the street recordings. Bizarre bazaars, popular politics
and mucho mujahadeen. On the road to Damascus we get what
almost sounds like a rap over machine gunned beats; sirens,
cellphones and other forms of prayer; transactions and
transglobal underground conversations and middle-eastern
sonic youth radio. The excerpts of young boys singing are
just tough and vibrant. The deeper in, the Greater Syria
you get. Outstanding pop pieces, outspoken Arab Women in
Focus and a not-so-out aleppo sitting in cinema. Radaio
Tartus sounding like a cross-over point between worlds
and frequencies created naturally. There’s more unnatural
doctoring on some of the tracks, but scintillating…
Ali Dada.

Hood / Themselves – split “You Shins Break My Heart” [Rocket Racer]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   7-inch, A Library, Format

Further fruits from the cross-pollination of Hood with the
cLOUDDEAD heads. We get more solid drifting vortex pop from
Birmingham’s Hood…a constant state of exhallation. Breathe
out…breathe out again. Repeat until you pass out blissfully.
Themselves (aka Dose One along with Jel and Dax) then take
that track as inspiration and P.U.S.H. it up with their tiny
trademark martian vocals and their own sped up swirl of
sound. Only seven inches, but seventy layers of sonic veils
wrap this little picture disc gem.
Streamy dreams of subconciousness.

[coll] Homework 102: US DIY/Punkwave and Postpunk [Hyped2Death]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

From the masters of Messthetics, comes another sloppy second
serving of records that KFJC didn’t hit the first time round.
Proof that innocence and cynicism can mix, that might be one
theme I can pull out of this alphabet slice of history and
hysteria. Another theme might be the importance of DEVO?
While the hairspray might be on too thick on #6 for my liking,
maybe that’s your favorite. My favorites…even without the
connection to Swill Radio – #12 rolls like a bowling ball.
#17 has a crisp surfishness to its SanFrantic sound. #8’s
T-wrecked homewrecking. #11 has a duty then for the future
now. #16 marks X’s old spot, well in the vocal heteroplay.
#24 is spastic with a sublimely retarded brief guitar solo.
#20 can be used to drive someone insane, tell them it is a
cover of a TV theme (it isn’t) and ask them to name it; with
their every guess, say “Closer…” #4 borrows a riff and
accidentally hits some vocal harmonies. #21 has a nice
oom-pa-pa chorus and wiggily keyboards. #9 has wonderfully
defective electrones. Check the liner notes for info, and
reps and Repp. Test out of advanced displacement.

Him “Lila” [Galaxia-Platform]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Rob Mazurek coronet-crowned cornet hornpainter is held aloft
here by Him’s drums and Fender Rhodes. Doug Scharin, aka Him,
creates a swirl of soul, with deft afrobeat accents. At 21+
minutes, this flows smoothly, evaporates almost too quickly.
I hear mbira, or is that just an incredibly gourdy Rhodes,
resonance unparalleled. On “the lila” at about 2.5 minutes
in, we get doppler tranced vocals from Christian Dautresme,
and there’s rippling kora underscoring that second piece as
well ultimately leaving an angelic aftermath. The swelling
sweep of Scharin’s polyrhythms interact near perfectly with
Mazurek’s cornet: its dips, mellow mutes and sparkling
bursts, all enveloped in a rich mantle reverb. Add in some
subtle guitar juju from Joe Goldring and Griffin Rodriguez
on bass. This EP takes on a deceptive vibe of effortless
grace, a queen walks among her people and alongside Him.
One wishes she could stay longer, but perhaps that would
detract from the majesty.

Gerald Hawk “The Honey Guide Bird” [Abduction]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Miss those voices inside your head? Fear not, they were
summoned by the musical magnet that Gerald Hawk operates.
Plentiful odd vocalizing on this dangerous disc o’ din.
First we had thousands of god-fearing folk who realized
that listening for Backwards Masking was as much fun as
self-flagellation with spiky switches. More recently all
the cool kids are going cuckoo over Reverse Speech. But
both of those processes require you to manually play a
medium backwards. That can give you Carpal Tunnelvision
in your ears. Hawk’s message is messed up straight from
the get-go to save you time and get to the important job
of hearing communiques from deities, aliens and your
deceased guinea pig. All scrambled by what sound like
civil war era submarines, shoddy gardening pipes and
some sort of space elevator. The pieces often are put
together with abrupt links, like a lion’s head on a
lamb’s body. The tail of track #2 is mesmerizing, an
angel singing the lost Conet Bible. Loops are used to
the point where ears begin to blur and you hear a phrase
change. Like magic, only it’s real. I thought I heard a
“fuck” on #5. but it’ll probably morph by the time you
play it. There’s water on Mars and this too!

Hannah Marcus “Desert Farmers” [Bar/None]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Gorgeous album of glass-blown ballads. Hannah’s vox are
metrosexual and meticulous. Languid but not anguished.
The lyrics feel as though they are an oblique slice
though intricate novels. Indeed two songs are cobbled
from author Rick Moody’s work. Sonic streakings from
two God Speeders highlight the music so well, never
obliterating or interfering with these stories of
people in motion. Working against the odds, against
the heat, driven into dead ends…they persevere.
Piano is telescoped, far-away on many tracks. Acoustic
guitar blends so well with her singing. Wistful and
wishful meet and marry. This is a good album to take
your time to.

Julius Hemphill “One Atmosphere” [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Elegant austere treatments of Hemphill compositions. All
recent realizations of pieces. Tense start w/ suspicious
strings and inquisitive piano, a lot of pressure for
“One Atmosphere.” Next “Savannah Suite” has percussion
unlike the other pieces here; Pheeroan Aklaff’s rattling
and rolling and hi-hat/cymbal riding hit the spot. That’s
the most this release swings…everything else is stately
and cerebral. It is nice how the Marty Erhlich’s playful
flute on “Savannah” hands the torch over to the more
somber flutes that commence “Water Music”. The second
suite section with its array of horns recalls the World
Sax Quartet (founded by Hemphill) and is reminscent of
ROVA too. By the third section, a thick driving groove
of saxes marches in beneath a return of the flutes, and
rides that rhythm till its squeak and flutter finish.
The “Backwater” closing has a last call boozy flavor
though still poured into a crystal champagne glass.
Hail Julius, RIP April 2nd 1995.

Lou Harrison “Drums Along the Pacific” [New Albion]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

A collection over time and timbre of Harrison’s
percussion music. Extremely melodic (often tuned
instruments, percussive and otherwise) give flesh
to these soothing numbers.) William Winant leads
his group through some numbers that are fun to hum
along to, honest. Gamelan flavors come through on
various works…as does an air of celebration.
Harrison worked on the left coast, Santa Cruz as
a “maverick” composer long before that tag gained
any sort of notoriety and evidently was quite
supportive of many musicians, local and worldwide.
Sadly he died earlier this year, the music here
will be around long after his demise…indeed, it
seems almost as if it existed long before him as
well…he merely was able to help it flourish
within chamber captivity. This music will grow
vines over speakers in harsh climates…

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