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Music Reviews

Munly, Jay “Jimmy Carter Syndrome” [Smooch]

Thurston Hunger   4/2/2002   A Library, CD, Format

Well-constructed dilapidation. Gravel in the
gullet vox of Jay Munly (from Slim Cessna’s
Auto Club). Ballads with ballast, a weight
that is lifted by a shoestring quartet (that
being Tarantella cloaked in shadow and soot).
Munly’s voice rises with an angsty twinge of
twang almost gets to a Gene Loves Jezebel
screech at odd moments. Songs of heresy and
fallen heroes, of people like Gerry Cooney
and Weegee, that Powers of Celebrity try to
pretend never supped at the popular table.
Like a barn in Faulkner story… every song
is ready to catch fire. Slow fuses throughout,
rocking chair rhythms. Has the acrid flavor
of moonshine with plenty of kick that catches
up to you long after you have imbibed the
lyrics. Perfect for that Belladonna/Joe Ed
team show! Gothic chamber country rides on….
-Johnny Palerider

Faint, the – “Danse Macabre” – [Saddle Creek]

Thurston Hunger   8/14/2001   A Library, CD

Slap a retro-EARGASM sticker on this nugget. The
best new wave album to come down the pike in some
time. The panicky lead singer (Todd Baechle), the
sense of detachment, the air raid “subtlety” of
synthesizer, the little machine gun guitar rounds,
unabashed drum machines w/ their insistent slap
of digital ass. This supernovas on the promise of
their early (and excellent) 7″ split “Brokers,
Priests, Analysts” I am an unfair judge because
right now I’m 100% infatuated with this. “Control”
(about orchestral conductors in the dark) is a
massive masterpiece. Killer treated vox thoughout,
add some cello for the ultimate in pop. Omaha,
where infection meets confection.

-Hunger

Cohran, Philip & the A.H.E. – “On the Beach ” – [Aestruarium]

Daryl Licht   7/21/2001   CD, Jazz

Although he has been credited on only a few releases, Phil Cohran has been among the leading lights of the Chicago Jazz scene for over 40 years. Highlights of his resume include being a member of the Arkestra in the early 60’s and being one of the founders of the AACM, along with such notables as Richard Muhal Abrams, Lester Bowie, and so on. This release documents previously unissued recordings of Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble from the mid-60’s. The music sounds like what you’d expect from an associate of Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble crew: extended jams that display a heavy African/Middle Eastern influence, with lots of hand percussion, bells, and exotic, homemade instruments like the violin uke and the Frankophone (an amplified Kalimba). Highlights include the showcase for the droning violin uke, ‘Unity? and the two Frankophone showcases, ‘On The Beach? and ‘New Frankophone Blues?. Truly a great discovery. Play! DL

Note – This is an archival review. This CD was originally added to KFJC’s library in 2001. It is a long-running tradition at KFJC for DJs to add their own comments to these ‘official? reviews. As a matter of historical context and plain ol? ‘purient interest?, these comments (mis-spellings and all!) are provided below.

‘On The Beach? shreds! – Hawkeye Joe

Cohrannasaurus Wrecks!! – Thurston Hunger

Benjamin, Sathima Bea – “A Morning in Paris” – [Enja Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/30/1997   CD, Jazz

Quite a story from ’63: a Nazi’s secret tape, a young chanteuse takes a chance, the Duke helps and heralds here husband’s (Dollar Brand to-be Abdullah Ibrahim) combo and we’re the happy ending when we play these refreshing trad ballads. Sathima’s voice is satiny, evoking a soulfulness beyond today’s brand of vocal cords on steroids. Makaya Ntshoko’s drums are mic’d as pure fountains of cymbals with soft, splashing snare. Svend Asmussen pops champagne violin bubbles. Ellington guests on two of his pieces, Billy Stayhorn adds a pair working the lower 44, and Ibrahim fills the rest with subtle strength. On all cuts, you can hear the space between their fingers. For a one-day session of one-takes, this is remarkably relaxed. Soothing and lucid as a clear mind in dawn’s light.

-Thurston Hunger

Bryars, Gavin – “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed… ” – [Point Music]

Thurston Hunger   7/13/1997   A Library, CD

A simple sampled tramp’s prayer song unravels to reveal an amazingly rich orchestral life. Casual listening will miss the gradual momentous emotional shifts. This is actually a recreation/re-issue of the original sparked by fan and guest vocalist on the epilogue – Tom Waits. An excellent library add, excerpted overplay wouldn’t do this justic, invoke occasionally for lengthy stare-at-the-ceiling existential crises or fill an absent Public Affairs slot with this gorgeous listener epiphany generator.

-Thurston Hunger 7/13 1997

Sun City Girls – “” – [Majora]

Thurston Hunger   2/3/1997   7-inch, A Library

The mandala mandate continues. It may have started out as a crash hash course, but at this point one assumes the Girl’s devotion pure. “Borungku Si Derita” is one of them thar A-minory ballads which, despite achingly anthemic vocals, tastes like Middle-Eastern Meatloaf to me. “Abydos” however is a fine Hindu-Flamenco Locomotive Surf instro and “Carousel Tapsel” spins a Ferris prayer wheel of vocals chasing guitar melody chasing percussion slaps of the acoustic melody. Hello Dalai Lama.

Thurston Hunger

Part, Arvo – “Litany ” – [Ecm Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/23/1996   A Library, CD

Technically black is not a color, but the absence thereof. Similarly, silence is not a sound, but its absence. And yet silence is critical to Arvo Part’s sonic palette. Aural afterimages echo as quiet caverns of drone. Dissonant tension stretches taught across gaps between notes.

Arvo Part is dynamics. Stark yet strangely serene solitude. Quiet majesty. Ethereality. “Litany” is an epic offering, English lyrics transcribed from prayer are felt rather than heard, thanks to the Hilliard Ensemble’s “volume pedal” grace. “Psalom” is a latticework of breaths on strings. “Trisagion” is the sound of a high priest walking at midnight among the dead upon a battlefield in a religious war. Faith and doubt commune. Music for epiphany.

Thurston Hunger 10/23 1996

Tinklers, the – “U.F.O.’s” – [Frownland Recording]

Thurston Hunger   6/18/1996   7-inch, A Library

A concept 7″ exploring the vast reaches of sci-fi B Movies – mixing
levitation and levity with just enough fi, detuned guitar and detoxed
vox. “Comrade Cosmonaut” parallels the former Soviet Union with a
former red giant star flamed out into a flickering white dwarf. “Bad Aliens”
takes an eastern scale and sketches worst possible scenarios for
close encounters. “Galactic Living Family” is like the anthem for an
inter-species, outer-space equivalent of the Indian Guides. Complete
with too many words stuffed into the hilarious couplets…and ocarina too!

The truth ain’t out there, it’s right here.

Gate – “Metric ” – [Majora]

Daryl Licht   5/4/1994   12-inch, A Library

This latest LP from Gate (the solo/side project of Dead C. guitarist, Michael Morley) is a reissue of a 1991 cassette only release on Morley’s own Precious Metal label. The sound here is similar to the Dead C. (in fact, ‘Hope? and ‘Constellations? were later recorded by the Dead C.), although these tracks have a noticeably more ‘normal? song structure. Each side begins with a quietier, somber track which is followed by two tracks of dense Dead C. distorto-disintegration. The final track on each side is short. ‘Evidence? is a spliced tape sampler and ‘Forced Sight? is an excellent track with thick feedback over a droning organ. A great record: possibly my favorite by the Dead C. or any of its members. Play! DL

Note – This is an archival review. This CD was originally added to KFJC’s library in 1994. It is a long-running tradition at KFJC for DJs to add their own comments to these ‘official? reviews. As a matter of historical context and plain ol? ‘purient interest?, these comments (mis-spellings and all!) are provided below.

An impressive demonstration of quality and quantity – Gram White

It’s in the numbers – Dominic Trix

Sun City Girls – “Kaliflower ” – [Abduction]

Daryl Licht   12/22/1993   A Library, CD

Another blast from the prolific Sun City Girls. Most of the tracks exhibit their trademark
eastern influences with lots of chanting, an emphasis on percussion, and twisted,
psychotic instrumental workouts. A couple of the tracks, however, have an almost
‘normal? pop/rock sound. Yes, this is probably their most accessible release to date, but
it is still great. Hopefully, those of you who’ve been scared by their previous releases
will now give some airtime to one of the most innovative artists going. One of the best
releases of the year. Play! DL

Note – This is an archival review. This CD was originally added to KFJC’s library in 1993.
It is a long-running tradition at KFJC for DJs to add their own comments to these ‘official?
reviews. As a matter of historical context and plain ol? ‘purient interest?, these comments
(mis-spellings and all!) are provided below.

Fukin’ Grate Record – Angus Grim

This is definitely more accessible than their previous material that I have heard. Tracks, 1, 2, and 7 are pretty cool. – Slade Grantham