KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Asa-Chang & Junray??Jun Ray Song Chang??[The Leaf Label]

Hunter Gatherer   1/23/2005   A Library, CD

This music was found in the CD player of the flying saucer that crashed in 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico. Due to the Freedom of Information Act people outside of Area 51 can finally hear what extraterrestrial Top 40 radio sounds like.

It took me two weeks to play this CD past the first track, Hana, because I kept repeating the song when it would end. Fractured voice samples bubble out of slowly repeating chords one syllable at a time each one punctuated by a hit on a tabla. It sounds like it might be a requiem for a space alien.

Asa-Chang & Junray are three people: Asa-Chang, session percussionist who favors the tabla and bongo and plays trumpet on a few tracks, U-Zhaan, formally trained tabla master, and Hidehiko Urayama, guitarist and programmer of their sound system, which is called ‘Junreitronics.’
This release compiles all of their Japanese releases to date. (It was released in 6/2002.) We have their follow up EP, Tsu Gi Ne Pu, in the A library.

On this CD, you will hear trumpet, heavily distorted vocals, Casio keyboards, tabla, electric guitar, drum machines, harmonica (I think), sitar, and more. All elements – voice, percussion, and timbre – are isolated and presented out of context so that even the familiar sounds unfamiliar. Every sound on the album feels intentional and precise.

–Hunter Gatherer

Sound Tribe Sector Nine – ?Artifact? – [1320 Records]

Hunter Gatherer   1/23/2005   A Library, CD

This is the 4th studio album by STS9, and it was more than two years in the making. It will be released on February 7, 2005.

STS9 was formed in Atlanta and is based in Northern California now. The ‘Sector 9? in their name is an oblique reference to ‘Baktun 9,? a period (435-830A.D.) when the Mayan civilization was at its artistic peak and its most communal. ‘Sound tribe? refers to their vision of a collective artistic movement.

This album combines the improvisational style of a jam band with the possibilities of electronic music. Jam-tronica? The jazzy and soulful influences are deep but the music is always looking forward.

This music was not created to challenge you. It is there to help you. Imagine Blade Runner if the replicants were created to feed the poor and help the homeless.

Instrumentals: 3,4,5-7,9-15,19;Soulful female vocals: 2,8,17,18,20

Favorites: 1,4,8,17

–Hunter Gatherer

CKW Trio “The Is” [Black Hat]

Thurston Hunger   1/22/2005   A Library, CD, Format, Jazz

There’s a lot of doors into this fine release from this local
trio (and once and future veterans of KFJC’s pit). #4 offers
an acid-folk tablet of tabla, flute and bouzouki, as welcome
as it is unique on this CD. “Mondrian en Amerique” has more
complicated lines and colors than its title’s inspiration,
it’s kinda of Clusone-y in its sawing cello and giddy spurts
and stalls. On “4+#11m6m7” (known as track 7 to its friends)
a bassoon goes hunting in a forest of trinkling percussion,
bowed cello grows like shadows on the trees. “R’izhii” is a
hobo’s waltz with dixie DT’s and Klezmer shakes. “Augmented”
was my fave, very fluid, high register intertwined sax and
cello. “Iram” pumps a spastic, avant funk nicely. On #8 Alex
Kelly’s slithery cello (sounding like some analog electronics
oscillating wondrously) connects a more fiery beginning to
passages with chinese gong and sweeter pondering’s from band
and label leader, Michael Cooke. While Cooke is the obvious
sonic focal point, Kelly’s wildcard nature is what I think
elevates this band. The letter W and assorted batterie are
provided by Andrew Wilshusen, his talent is as an empath
between the other two gents. I could see him adding touches
of electronics to the mix as well. This ain’t “Was” jazz,
enjoy the evolving “Is.”

Lazzara, Marina – “Wind on the Firecracker of the Building Next Door, the songs” – [Pax Recordings]

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

San Francisco musician and poet (she’s even credentialed with a Master’s degree in Poetics) Marina Lazzara puts out a nice debut. It’s just her voice and guitar, laid down in one day on 4-track by Ernesto Diaz-Infante. It ranges from jangly to fuzzy and pissed off, with underlying break-up and bad-world-events part of her thematic inspiration. Some songs were composed before the recording session, whereas others were improvised, although you’d be hard-pressed to figure out which is which. Very nice emotional release.
-Cynthia Lombard

Maher Shalal Hash Baz – “Faux Depart”- [Yik Yak}

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

Maher Shal Hash Baz is Hebrew for “the spoil speeds, the prey hastens” and is also Biblical–Isaiah’s son has the name. The band, however, is Japanese and are “legends” of the underground, led by Tori Kudo. The majority of the album was recorded at Dub Narcotic and you can detect the Olympia, Washington DIY influences. The sax, clarinet, trumpet and bassoon give it a high school marching band vibe, but it’s wackier. There are also some punctuations by what sounds like exotic birds and indeed nature themes are also reflected in song titles like “Sea & Seagulls,” “A Wind,” etc. Dub Narcotic meets chamber music on acid.
-Cynthia Lombard

White, Simon – “S/T” – [Sincere Recordings]

lombard   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

Globetrotting (born in Hawaii, lived in London and NYC and now LA) spawn of a folk singing mom; with perhaps some dreams of stardom in acting, photography and/or music–Simone White’s 2003 release is spare, featuring her vocals and guitar along with guests on organ, piano, drums (including a Luna guy and John Zorn associate Sim Cain on drums). This is very SUNNY and pleasant, like the visions of L.A. by a new arrival like Simone White.

-Cynthia Lombard

Mraz, George – “Moravia ” – [Milestone]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

George Mraz is from the eastern part of what was Czechoslovakia so his jazz influences include a lot of the more traditional folk music of the area. His bass playing is very full and classical and that sets the pace for this recording – no “up” songs. Zuzana Lapcikova plays the cymbalom (hammer dulcimer) and sings some songs in Moravian – you probably won’t understand them, but it is pretty, interesting and different – give it a try! *review by David Richoux

Khevrisa – “European Klezmer Music ” – [Smithsonian/Folkways]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, International

This is the first recording of traditional klezmer tunes using original instruments and music. Many of the tunes might be familiar to you (if you listen to modern klez) but the tempos will drive you crazy! Not because they are fast and lively, but just the opposite – I guess they just danced a LOT slower back in the 1700s and 1800s. In those times the violin was used the lead instrument ( the clarinet is today,) but the voice and feeling of the improvised melodies is still very beautiful. Note the bowed string bass and dulcimer-like cimbal. These are all instrumental tracks. A very detailed notebook will tell you anything you want to know about early klezmer music. Enjoy! *review by David Richoux

Irzarry, Ralph & Timbalaye – “Best Kept Secret ” – [Shanachie Entertainment]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Following many years working with Ruben Blades, Timbal player Ralph Irizarry has formed his own group. The result is naturally percussive, but there is a lot more going on here. It is a bit hard to figure expressive jazz in a danceable Latin style, but these guys do it somehow, without being too “commercial.” *review by David Richoux

Cimposium Vol 7 [coll] – [Creative Improvised Music]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another great sample of jazz and more from all over the place. All recorded at the Spirit Room in Rossie, New York in 1999. From slightly scary sax squirts to tasty violin & guitar, cello & trombone duets, this covers a lot of territory. Track 9 is an almost trad reading of “Just a Closer Walk,” but most everything else is original compositions. Lots of short tracks here, drop them in anyplace! *review by David Richoux

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