KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

EXIAS-J electric conception – “Balance of Chaos” (PSF)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Free music exploration of the organic guitar sound with smart electronics in support. Enters the same sonic space as Wired but less orchestral. Cavernous, echoes with deep resonance and some eastern psych meditations (less tribal than Tohosara and less wall of sound than Tsurubami- last two tracks excepted). Flowing sonic energy that reaches climax in an AMM style with 2 gtr-pn/synth-elec-bs-dr. Guitar tones cast the sonic beams by which the unit is led, the path is true and free.
3w:
– Outlier

Morris, Butch – “Homeing” (Sound Aspects)

outlier   4/10/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Dense tapestry of orchestral sounds that displays wondrous collective cohesion in a multi-directional, multi-dimensional work. Improvised symphonic group exploration led by the master vision of Morris. Cacophony never results from the mass layering of sounds that rise from each wave. 12 musicians that sound like a full orchestra with musicianship that rivals any classical artists. Each movement flows into the next seamlessly, making the sonic voyage an inspiring flight over what would seem an exhausting path of musical destinations. Recorded live in Berlin 1987, this work is an undeniable masterpiece.
3w: STRAVINSKY WOULD DIG
– Outlier

Milton, Anthony – “Sirens” (Last Visible Dog)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

New Zealand acoustic psych folk with an air and wood sound, occasional guitar in distress strumming and solos. Slightly angered, spacey Direen and Morley influenced songs with a serious folk mentality. Occasional early Dead C blownout acoustic sound with clever lo-fi drums that give the vocals an edge of tension accented by steady, sometimes furious strum. Traveling rhythms that have phasing qualities and evolving structures but the center of gravity is on a steady path to psych folk truth.
3w: NZ PSYCH FOLK
– Outlier

Sandoz Lab Technicians – “Live at MacDougal Art Gallery” (C.PSI.P)

outlier   4/10/2005   A Library, CD

Tim Cornelius, James Kirk, and Nathan Thompson ascend to the heights of drone with a 45m free music piece that ranges from a subway station fuge to flowing rivers of strings and winds in electrified vapor. Sounds billow outward like clouds, surging in a collective waveform flux. Dense textures that move up to cacophony’s edge, stepping back to sense the void of where the sounds have vacated. Similar to Sakada or Organum, always exploring the essence of music in the NOW.
3w: Free Music Installation
– Outlier

Flow Dynamics — ?Live In The Nation? — [Invada Records] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This 12″ single contains two nearly perfect songs recorded by Australia’s Flow Dynamics. It’s almost as if someone hooked me up to electrodes and used bio-feedback to carefully calibrate a song to my musical taste (or lack thereof).

You could drop these tracks anywhere short of a nursing home and all available floor space will be filled with people dancing. In fact, I heard that they played this for the pope to confirm that he was dead.
Flow Dynamics is Dave McKinney, who gave up a promising career in marin biology to explore Brazilian drumming and co-found Rhibosome.

These tracks are blessed with a disco-funk beat from the 70’s, samples, flute, horn stabs, turntablism, big-sound production, and a singer named Sunny Amorganda who sounds just like James Brown.

They have a full-length coming out later in 2005 that I am looking forward to hearing.

–Hunter Gatherer

J.C. Davis — ?A New Day!? — [Cali-Tex] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Soul

36 years ago, tenor sax player J.C. Davis and his band went into the Mus-I-Col Studio to record a few tracks. The results of this session have been re-mastered by Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow, no relation) and released on his Cali-Tex Records.

J.C. Davis would be completely obscure except for the fact that he led James Brown’s Famous Flames for a few years. Four of the tracks on this album were released as 45s, which are highly sought after and can be had for a few hundred dollars. Only 1,500 of these were pressed, so this album will become a rarity as well ‘I’m sure.

The music is not as funky or outrageous as one might expect from someone who led James Brown‘s band. There’s plenty of funk and ‘I’m sure we’ll be hearing the breakbeats from these tracks on future recordings that we add. The band sounds relaxed and disciplined at the same time. (Maybe they are relieved that they aren’t going to get fined for coming in late or missing a note, like JB used to do.) Shelly, notable for its unselfconscious singing, and A New Day (is Here at Last) are the slowest tracks.

The recording quality is amazing. I wouldn’t have known that this was recorded 36 years ago unless it said it on the back of the album. The drums sound fat and Mr. Davis‘s sax in particular sounds full.

–Hunter Gatherer

Time Machine — ?Grime Machine? — [Glow-in-the-Dark] — (33 rpm)

Hunter Gatherer   4/9/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

Released in 2/2005 on their own label, Glow In The Dark Records, this is Time Machine‘s latest offering. It is comprised of three songs in various forms. Time Machine is DJ Mekalek, Jaysonic, and Comel. They work closely with producer Stoerok. Based in LA now, they formed in Washington DC and lived a while in Rhode Island.

The three songs have a different sound:

A1: Mind In A Spin (clean) – Heaviest of the three about how the streets are a particularly unpleasant place to be. Features a cool sample of How Can You by Third World, which gives this track a reggae feel.

A2: Caught On Tape (clean) – A cautionary rap warning us that there are cameras about. Various people famous for being on tape like Tommy and Pamela, Paris Hilton, etc. are name checked. The ‘808? referred to is a police code for disturbance of the peace, not the Roland TR-808 synthesizer.

A3: Matter Transporter (clean) – A playful rap about how cool it would be to have a matter transporter so that they could beam themselves to their next show rather than having to drive by van. Moving is very stressful and it appears that the trauma of moving from DC to RI to LA has left a mark on their psyches. This track wouldn’t sound out of place on De La Soul‘s 3 Feet High and Rising.

The other tracks are dirty, instrumental, or a capella versions of one the tracks above.

Also check out the cool cover by LA artist D.W. Frydendall. Let’s get him to do an artist T-shirt.

N.B.: After track A4 there is a :12 snippet of another song before the A side runs out. Don’t let this trip you up during your back announce.

–Hunter Gatherer

Islaja “Palaa Aurinkoon” [Fonal]

Thurston Hunger   4/8/2005   A Library, CD, Format

This must be the sound that hibernating animals hear telling
them to claw through the ice and snow back to sunlight. It
starts with faint toy piano tinkering under a prayer of sorts.
Islaja is a Finnish femme intoning that prayersong. Her voice
is a warm whispered remembrance of the sun shining through
icy keyboards, bare-tree guitar scrumbling and other bits of
cold, crystalline sound from various Kemialliset brothers and
sisters helping out. On “Rukki” her voice becomes both a fly
buzz and then a phone-call-from-beyond singing ahh-eee-o-ah,
ah-eee-o-ah. Regrettably on other tracks the lyrics are as
wordless to me, as I speak not a lick of Finnish. Using a
translater, I just found the title may mean “burn sun” (but
this is not to say “paivetys” or sunburn) still I stick with
the notion that this has that chill of other free folk from
Finland (and the fine Fonal label). Most songs melt slowly
the title track has little Terry Riley keyboard spirals and
a clap and stomp rhythm. We’ve got to track down her first
release. Tune in, turn on, snowdrop out.

Radar Brothers “The Fallen Leaf Pages” [Merge]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Jim Putnam and his brethren create a swirling ocean of song.
Rococo crests of soundwaves lap at the melodies, melodies
that sink like extravagant luxury liners. I mean the chord
patterns almost always descend, in that “Dear Prudence” kind
of way. It’s a good sinking feeling. Like such lush liners,
the movement is stately, so there you are slow dancing on
the Titanic’s top tier, your date has gleaming hollywood
gloss liberally applied to her lips as she whispers along
with Putnam’s vocals. His vocals do their best to stay
afloat, tentatively bobbing up at the very tip top of his
range. As befits the son of a recording engineer/equipment
inventor, Putnam gets along swimmingly in the studio…and
these tracks awash in production seem to flourish rather
than drown. Very thick synth in the forefront of most cuts,
dollops of doo-woppy vocals on some tracks. But below all
the billowiness, the lyrics often twist in little wry
tweaks. A corpse here, a bucket of blood there, a stable
full of manure… I like the holes those lyrics punch
through the pretty, cloudy consistency of this fine album.

Volga Select “The Unconditional Discipline of the Bastard Prince” [Output Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   4/7/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Parisian pair Ivan Smagghe and Marc Collin hook up for this
2003 top notch tour de fanny. Heavy thudliness reclaims the
dance floor, the bottom line is the bottom end. You can set
your oil derrick to the pound of the title track; discipline
indeed the beat never strays, never breaks. There’s a nice
fuzzy morse code squiggle rhythm on top as well, it closes
out the piece too. Additional bubbles of analoguery get
dropped in here and there, Things really lock in step with
“Sister Poverty.” Superfat synth oozes on top of jackbooty
basslines, with those searchlight pitchwheelin’ and dealin’
keys whirping in on top. Drum-machine gets in some solid
face slapping as well. But it’s the gladiator chords that
give “Sister” her blister. The EP closes with “Joie de
Vivre #1” which feels more like foreplay than aftermath,
a little more motorized movement to this piece (instead of
the megathick marching on the first two). Slippery servo
snippets and a sort moebius soundstrip make this piece
less dancey, but dodgey…in a good, evasive way.

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