KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Places, the – “Autopilot Knows You Best, the ” – [Absolutely Kosher Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

Are you people ready to mope! I know I am,
and singer/strummer belle-on-a-bummer Amy
Annelle is. She just may put The Places on the
musical map. It’s a slo-core center of vox,
guitar and drums weighted and antiquated with
dulcimer, fiddle and banjo. Her vox are way
up front, often multi-tracked to multiply the
whispery intimacy. It’s a slow dance with the
saddest princess at the ball. Many tracks
segued with Forties style news bulleting
snippets, kind of a jarring juxtaposition to
the overall mood. Syd Barrett cover, debut
of this band from Portland (Amy’s had solo
singer/songslinger things out before)

Phlegm – “Poppin’ and Milkin’ ” – [Jerker Productions]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

Nowadays Phlegm are 2 breasts, um, guys from
Australia : Oren Mbarchi and Robbie Avenaim.
Or are they a lost tribe of pygmies with a
bunch of electronics?’ Pleasantly disturbing
pieces. Do they take records and then layer
gibberish and gadgetry on top? Experimental
*and* humorous, jarring juxtapositions of
sounds and samples and some stellar guitar
sewed in the lining. Excellent scream therapy
on #3 and #8. The insistent bile of punk, the
bloody power of noise, and pure carbonated
fun concentrate blended into Phlegm.

Shipp, Matthew Trio – “Prism ” – [Hat Hut]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   CD, Jazz

Archival live performance split into two
piano landscapes built up by Matthew Shipp.
Lots of dark rumbling, ultraviolet thunder
clusters to start the first piece, but
befitting a prism…much light will pass
through before this is over. Shipp is a
furious creator, instant melodies erupt get
tinkered with then supplanted. He is joined
again by William Parker and Whit Dickey on
bass and drums, somehow they stay with him
through every hue, every cry. Parker adding
some tense bowing at times. They’re solid
Shipp-mates, but this is Matthew’s voyage
and vision.
NOTE: Currently I believe Shipp’s piano
is dry-docked. Well, at least he’s
on a recording sabbatical.

Black, Jim – “Alas no Axis ” – [Winter & Winter]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   CD, Jazz

Get ensnared by another drummer-led project.
Jim Black (of Ellery Eskelin’s recent Hatology
releases and much more) has a real firecracker
attack on the kit, even on more paced numbers
like “Maybe” things eventually fulminate! Hilmar
Jensson flat-out rocks…big ripped distortion
chords, squeezed feedback binges…and best of
all, dualing catfights with sax/clarinet. Chris
Speed provides the reeds with claws…this guy
is so fiercely good. You wind up with a Sonic
Youth ECM album almost. Definite alchemy and
energy here, borders blown-up, labels stripped
off…Black Magic. Abraxis, Alas No Axis!

Tchicai, John/Schweizer, Irene – “Willi the Pig ” – [Atavistic]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   CD, Jazz

Re-issue of a rare lp. 1975 at the(first?)
Willisau Fest in Irene Schweizer’s homeland,
Switzerland. Born from virgin vinyl; as
packaging denotes, this still bears the two
sides split. You could stretch and mark
them as his/her tracks. Sainted saxman
John Tchicai sparks the first, while Irene
dominates the closer. Fury comes fast on the
first, she sustains alternating octaves &
Tchicai is on fire out of the chute.
While Schweizer can rumble and clammer
the piano, she also has some deft lighter
moments. Parallel arpeggios start/stop,
some great drama built with -14 minutes
on track two. Powerful rolls added by Makaya
Ntshoko in the most free moments, and there
are plenty of those. Sorta weird ending, not
sure what happened…some nearly inaudible
bustling on stage…maybe fending off fans
who were rightfully demanding more.

Faultline – “Closer Colder ” – [Thirsty Ear Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

If the self-involved solipsism of techno
leaves you cold, its overly economical
nature tricking big bands into musical
tar pits, this release offers redemption.
Faultline is one man : David Kosten
but one man with lots of connections.
The inner booklet details the array: cello,
trumpet, harmonica and even live drums on
one track. “Mute” is a doozy, dig the
Artificial Intelligence style synth washes,
Michael Bearpark’s shivering guitar and
Miles-style “Sketches in Spain” embroidery.
Composition conquers algorithm. This genre
(cf. Karl Craig’s Innercity Orchestra) is
really an exciting new electro/magnetic
field. Well-named and well-done.

33.3 – “Plays Music ” – [Aesthetics]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

yale grads play calculated but comforting
melodies…favoring obtuse angles over
acute ones…a clean, bright guitar is
the only electric instrument here. cello
sways like trees in a breeze. all instro
pop, you could say tortoise, you could
say post-rock, but you don’t have to…
trombone is welcome, but polite…could
use more backbone or bite. it does often
go in the opposite direction of guitar
or cello lines, that counterpoint adds
some tension. some good lonely alley
trumpet at times (#8), steven walls
strives to drum up some fervor to fight
the melancholy tendencies of cello.
(a lovely quaalude of an instrument)
fun fact – cellist dominique davison comes
to this by way of punk acts Spitboy and
Instant Girl.

Johansson, Sven-Ake – “Six Little Pieces for Quintet ” – [Hat Hut]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   CD, Jazz

Drummer led jazz groups usually rule the
roost…knowing how to keep pieces
percolating, and slapping folks back in
line before a solo becomes a solipsism.
In addition, Sven-Ake’s creds date back
to 1967 and a record with Peters Brotzmann
and Kowald! Like Han Bennink, it’s hard
to take your eyes off Sven-Ake even when
you can’t see him. Drums are up and front
on this release…the last two releases
seemed to really connect. Horn lines would
fall down into little sinkholes and then
burst out in solo. Clarinet/sax both caught
nice throat colds, got a little rougher.
Piano does more adorning than carrying the
pieces. Throughout the whole release
Sven-ake is a hyper-shuffling snake on
snare and cymbals.

Orso – “Long Time By ” – [Perishable]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

On the outskirts of Americana and Popville
there’s a saloon that brews retrodated,
antiquated spirits. Neil Young’s “A Man
Needs a Maid” spooks the jukebox, the taps
spill Palace, Lambchop, and Vic Chestnut
into mugs….hell, I’ll drink their wells
dry. This is the second indispensible
Perishable product from Red Red Meat/Loftus
minstrels — striving for porch-fi, but
winding up as the best-dressed hobo hoppin’
the freight. Frilly cozies on every guitar,
banjo bliss, harmonica heaven…an easy
drawl and delivery. They create doleful dusty
environs, then whet your wistful whistle.
Bottom’s up….

V. Majestic – “Dynamic Alloy ” – [Flydaddy Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2005   A Library, CD

Providence smiled on these Rhode Island
sonic scholars when Terrastocked them.
Hodge podge psychodelic psyrup poured
over rudimentary repetoriffs. A disarming
sloppy charm, and some fine kitchen-sink
thinking. I applaud them shoe-horning a
french-horn/trumpet into the mix. Our
Heroux’s exploits add a mocking muted
horn to an odd German sitcom/porno/both?’
on “Her Five Sisters” Excellent bristling
guitar beneath (voice-sped?) she-monkey
scat on “Sub Zero One.” Vocals are often
hidden by phones, fuzz and general fuckery.
Other electro-twisto-tones fused in too.
Rough-hewn jam music for toasted minds.

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