KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Krystian Shek “Eisblumen” [Fax Records]

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

I love how this album begins, like a nighttime strafing of an
army of flying saucers. After that we get a good headphonic
mix of stark darkbeat. Shek evidently is a Russian, and this
is his sonic snapshot of a trip from Moscow to St. Petersberg.
From the sounds of it, he travelled during winter, strapped
naked to the top of a train. Gulag rave? Certainly has plenty
of danceable moments, as the steel wheels find a rhythm on
the rails. I prefer the more ambient textures of coal smoke
that blow through now and then. Some processed vox (as if
lifted from a station’s loudspeaker or a police bullhorn) are
mixed into the murk and add to the mystery. Good rubbery
tone in part and lots of friction percussion also help
this to stand out.

Peter Kowald, Miya Masaoka & Gino Robair “Illuminations” [Rastascan]

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

Liquid strings and bowed drums, these are the dreams
this trio spins. For me the album found its voice when
Kowald used his (Tuvan style on #5). After that point,
I was hooked…(well aside from grunting byproducts
on other tracks) The first two tracks have a muscular
maelstrom approach…if you want something with all
three off to the races. On the third Masaoka’s koto is
flinging shadows over Kowald careening between two
bowed notes. Track four has Robair’s drums upfront and
ominous and the koto keeping closer to its nature.
Then that vocal breather (Kowald has sung this way
before and worked with Sainkho Namchylat so he may
have picked up a tonsil trick or two.) After that it
was all gold to me, Masaoka sounding more harp-like
on #8 (like on her Monk tribute), Kowald slaps fat
rattling lines on #10, it’s hard to see but track 11
might be Robair bowing styrofoam, and track 12 maybe
he’s got the e-bow on the snare? He’s inventive so
it could be a brand new maneuver… This is also on
his label (glad to see its still going). Applaud the
discrete efforts, as much fevered inspiration as in
a 60 minute single session but with more scope and
better prospects to hop into a KFJC playlist.

Guy Klucevsek/Phillip Johnston “Tales from the Cryptic” [Winter & Winter]

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

FWIW, we’ve never met but I’ve always heard Guy’s name
pronounced clue-SEHV-ick. Including by his understudy
Miss Murgatroid! Klucevsek’s accordion is not as
crazy here as her free-based version, or even some of
Guy’s earlier work. Johnston’s alto/soprano sax seems
to pull higher, clearer, cleaner tiny notes out of the
bellows. This is feathery, but with melodies that are
just gorgeous. The Satie tribute (#7) is a start for
that. As is “The Gift” (#4), the slipperiness of “The
Needless Kiss” (#14), gypsy twists in “No More Mr.
Nice Guy” (#9 but sadly *not* an Alice Cooper cover,
would not have surprised me if Klucevsek had done so).
Instead that has a nice Balkan bounce to it. This album
does not rely on shock and gimmicks. The interplay of
Klucevsek’s right hand parrying with Johnston, while he
pumps the accompaniment is no mean feat. Tastes like
European jazz in parts, rising notes, hyperclean sound.
Yet circus flavors waft too.

Kill Yourself “Soft Touch of Man EP” [Gringo Records]

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

Three piece from Leeds, heavy with middle names, but lean
with lancing guitar rock. James Richard Islip fights the
drums, roundhouse cymbal crashing and below-the-belt toms.
Lurching along with punch-drunk guitar staggers from Giles
Edmund Joseph Bailey, those drums get KY’s dukes up like
early Don Caballero. Meanwhile bassist Andrew Derek Ross
Abbott is impervious to any of this, steadfast and stolid
he keeps each song on its legs. Thick unflappable songs
that have no problem supporting a ragged, jarring guitar.
Each cut leaves a similar metallic taste in your mouth,
this gang of three seems to have plenty of bite. 80’s
scrape with those always-welcome angry Anglonized vocals
from Bailey. Remember sneering started in Britain. Meat
and potatoes, cooked over an open fire on barbed wire.

Kazumoto Endo “While You Were Out” [Box Media]

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

Singles collection from Kazumoto Endo released in 1999.
I know KFJC’s own Nancy Reagan proclaims noise will be
at the top of the pop charts in 100 years…but why
wait? This is an album that is bursting with sound,
from the first track that has a throbbing pulse under
the metallic screech of train wheels grinding sparks
out on tracks. A lot of the noise on this has that
almost Godzilla like quality of shearing metal, and
lest you think noise is just random sound, try to
create such gorgeous tortured structures yourself.
In noise, I’m a big fan of the chasm…the space
between the sputtering…and Endo uses that well on
this. Sometimes slipping some J-pop or disco ditty
into those spaces, as if to contrast their week
meekness with his arcing cathodes of sound. Those
moments also hint of digital hardcore, but make no
mistake, this is noise at its most extreme, most
powerful and most glorious. Each time I’ve listened
to this I am struck by the diversity of the din that
Endo commands.

Kalaparush and the Light “The Moment” [Entropy Stereo]

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

Grant Kalaparush his new name, Maurice McIntyre
must seem like another man, a lifetime ago.
In his lengthy absences, one assumes lesser
musicians would have vaporized into myth. But
this CD proves he’s very much alive, indeed
these are all live recordings. Thus fidelity
is okay, but the fluidity is assured. Even
at his speedier cycles, Kalaparush has an
unshakeable lyricism. Thus as he near 70 years
of age, his playing here is fresh, driving. He
is rarely resting now once he’s going, this
makes a nice workout for young tuba player,
Jesse Dulman. Dulman huffs and puffs, and
gets whoops of encouragement from Kalaparush
at times. This release seems to ride on
Dulman’s back…when he’s on the album
succeeds (check the end of #5) but when he
gets soggy, it slogs.

Jucifer “Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip” [Capricorn]

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

NOTE: This is their debut release and it came out back
in 1998, but aside from jabs at Tabs (Tabitha Soren on
“Hero Worship”) the shelf life on this is still active.
A peachy pair of Georgians, when her ire is up vocalist
Amber Valentine’s sounds a little like fellow hellish
belle Jarboe. Her partner in sound and crime is drummer
Ed Livengood, who provides a lot of colosseum whack to
their attack (he sneaks in some scratching as well
here.) Amber also pedal-pushes guitar distortion we
get something like pop metal with an aroma of glamour.
Amber’s voice can shapeshift nicely: whispery coquette,
hoarse hellion, “rock star” (allegedly the words
tatooed across her knuckles.) This album is prettily
produced, a lot of overdubs…especially with vocals.
I’m not sure how that will translate to their leaner
live set. To their credit, this album gets weirder
as it goes along, and they’ve escaped $ucce$$ so far.
Anthemic anathema from Athens.

Josephine Foster and the Supposed “All the Leaves Are Gone” [Locust]

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

These songs embrace their pain. Well really more than that
they admit the pain…and tower above it. Foster’s pipes have
the warbling ache of a silent movie actress speaking after so
many years voiceless. The leaves are gone like Garbo. While
Josephine may also be a “Born Hell(rais?)er” her stylized
soprano is stirringly at home guiding cautionary folk with
scattery treble guitar. I suppose that the Supposed may turn
some people off, notably Goodman’s noodling may seem thin
and tweaky to some, but I *really* like its chaos clashing
into these simple strum-along songs. And the percussion that
Rusty Peterson contributes is what gives this album its
unbreakable backbone. Evidently this was originally created
as a rock musical but the songs stand firmly alone, alone
without a lover, alone without forebears (as the poignant
“Deathknell” decries), but powerfully alone.

Jojo s/t [Alchemy]

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

Fuzz bluster rock from the master magician of Alchemy. This
album launches from zero-to-90 mph with the first freeway
rocker, a two-chord lane changer that even hits a classic
Hijo-hijacked searing solo. On #2 the rust still doesn’t
sleep…don’t miss the great ggggaarrrr screams. #3 stops for
air and a twinkling delay number. Next up a surprisingly pure
garagey power pop. #5 has a tense sort of glam rock build up
into a power-sludge of divine distortion. #6 a cool feedback
statue is carved, with dry patting drums at its base. Only to
be followed by a trip to janglesville. #8 provides bursting
psych with gut-punched oomph vocals… #9 has a nice bouncing
bassline over a little slice o’ bliss. #10 leaves us wanting
more with sticky, staticky eruptions of effect-ladenn guitar
with Jojo howling what sounds like “More my brothers…more
my brothers.” You’ll be screaming for more too!

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.

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