Record Reviews Spring ’16

I’ve reviewed some great records for KFJC in the past quarter. I write these reviews and read them in a booming voice at the staff meeting, I sit at the top of the lecture hall and let ‘er rip. Most have youTube links so you can check out the tunes yourself. It’s a far-reaching mix of jazz, psych, and classical and beyond. Play the youTube links while you read. Dig it!

Hauschka, Abandoned City (City Slang)

A is German pianist Volker Bertelmann and electronic processing. Violin and bass on one track, otherwise all sounds come from the piano. Percussive rhythmic patterns.
B is remixes with big washy effects. Remix by Devendra Banhart.

Monkey Power Trio, Left Behind (Pocohontas Swamp Machine)

Freaky band meets up one day every year and makes recordings. These are from years 13, 14, & 15. There are several 7″s from other years in the KFJC library.

Sounds made up on the spot because it mostly is. Absurd, juvenile, amateurish There is a recorder. First song on each side is best, A1 has pathos, B1 has autotune. Last track on B a space transmission from Earth saying Don’t come here.


Raoul Björkenheim ecstasy, Out Of The Blue (Cuneiform)

Helsinki jazz quartet – guitar, sax, bass, and drums. The tight and funky rhythm section supports outwards-looking lead instruments. The guitar uses distortion and the saxophone plays a variety of voices and textures. Some times more mellower, sometimes all out whammy-bar.

Track 3 “Fly In The House of Love” buzzes along, blinking, water dripping, buzzing.
Track 4 “Uptown” has a commanding intro – sax and guitar trading off with bass and drums. Slide guitar. Really energized.
Track 7 “Roller Coaster” shares something cool with Ornette Coleman.
Track 8 “Zebra Dreams” muted guitar strings sound like African thumb piano, sax animal cries. Then it gets more complicated..

David James GPS, Billionaire Blues (Self Produced)

Chamber jazz septet – viola, guitar, drums, bass, clarinet, trombone. Lush arrangements. Sounds downright old-fashioned sometimes. Sesame Street, bowling alley. All composed by guitarist David James. Vocals on #4. We have more David James in the library. Features Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, Beth Custer on clarinet. Funded by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.

Pat O’Keefe, Conetnts May Differ (Innova Recordings)

Six pieces written for clarinetist Pat O’Keefe, mostly solo. On this release O’Keefe is concerned with legacy, and considers the composers as his collaborators.
Dissonant Grooves opens the album with dissonant pitches set to accessible rhythms. Dendrite soundtracks snowflake formation. Contents May Differ explores close-miking. The Broken Mirror Of Memory (6-9) adds piano and electronics to very compelling effect.

Andrew Jamieson, Heard The Voice (Edgetone Records)

Dedicated to spiritual transformation at the piano, Andrew Jamieson earned his Master’s degree in music composition from Mills College. Passionate about black gospel music, he plays for faith communities in Oakland and San Leandro. Jamieson is also a free improviser with Ell3 and Nine Fingers. “Heard The Voice” is his attempt to integrate these traditions. African American church music is reconstructed with an eye towards Sun Ra, John Cage, and free improvisation. Reharmonized and improvised passages illustrate the struggle and fervor of a spiritual journey. Harmonies recall Thelonious Monk. Descending harmonies and extensive use of the pedal gives the music a wild conflict. We have other versions of many of these traditional songs in the library from artists like Mahalia Jackson and Fishbone.

James Freeman, Echoes of Nature II (Edgetone Records)

Improvisers on strings, reeds, and synth-percussion paint an abstract foreground over naturalistic sound beds. “Frog Pond” “Owls” “Stream” and “Jungle Flute” are 4 impressionistic tracks between 9 and twenty minutes.
Recalls field recordings, Lou Harrison, Loop 2.3.4, Cut Hands.

Kevin Murray Quartet, Primary Sound (Subruckus Collective)

Four tunes recorded straight to tape from this local quartet led by 16-year old drummer and Subruckus Collective label head Kevin Murray. It’s 1 of 40 copies.
Opening tune by Murray, 2 & 4 are improvisations, 3 is an Ayler tune.
The recording is straight-to-tape, very casual in feel, like a jam session or live set. Murray played with William Parker at school and it inspired him. The band feels for a way out but never gets too far gone out even particularly skronky, rhythm keeps it moving. Very enjoyable.

Sonny Simmons, Leaving Knowledge, Brilliance of Wisdom (Improvising Beings)

Shamanic drone quartet gives 10 long tracks over 4 CD’s. Released in 2014 to celebrate Simmons’ 80th birthday. His English horn plays an Eastern scale, an incantation is heard, hand percussion, organ atmospherics or subtle electronics. Long reverbs. Commanding, ceremonial tone pervades throughout.

Tapio & Tuomi Duo, Matka (Karkia Mistika Records)

Finish duo Jorma Tapio on reeds and flutes and Janne Tuomi on percussion. “Ranging in mood from serious to wanton.”
Sometimes it’s a heated free jazz duo, other times it’s very primitive with vocalizations and hand percussion. Draws you in.

Claudio Gizzi, Flesh For Frankenstein (dagored)

Strings. Horror! Terror! Suspense… & Fucking!!!
Composed by Claudio Gizzi, this is the 1973 soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s Flesh For Frankenstein, directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol. Re-issued with great art, vinyl, and numerous alternate takes by Florence-based Dagored.
Baron Frankenstein dreams of restoring Serbia to glory, so he builds male and female monsters whose children will become the new master race. Determined that they be fruitful, he aims to equip the male body with the brain of someone possessing a powerful libido. Thinking horny stable boy Nicholas (played by the Factory’s top hustler Joe Dallesandro) will be perfect, he mistakenly gets the head of Nicholas’ pious friend. Meanwhile, Nicholas seduces the baron’s wife. Rated X.
Orchestral music for horny sluts. Admirably trashy. Great colored vinyl.

Chippendale Gustafsson Pupillo, Melt (Trost)

Recorded Aug 12, 2014 in East Berlin at Radialsystem. Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) on drums vox & fx. Mats Gustafson (The Thing) plays a belligerent sax and live electronics. Massimo Pupillo (Zu) plays bass.
Two long tracks. For me the 2nd track between 18:30 until 30, or even 40 minutes was best. Brian tells about his first show, a Metallica concert. For Lightning Bolt fans this is a must. Chippendale is very energetic and tenacious as usual.

William Parker, Stan’s Hat Flapping In The Wind (Aum Fidelity)

19 Songs about the mysteries of death and life as revealed to a Native American who’s hat began flapping in the wind. Between 5:00 and :22 long.
Music & Lyrics by William Parker. Sung by Lisa Sokolov. Cooper-Moore at the piano.
Sokolov does a great job interpreting and straddling the line between brassy Musical singing and more delicate Jazz vocals. The lyric is very well written.
16 (Prayer) & 17 (Invocation) deliver two different looks to the album. Reminds me of Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee which is the apropos because one of the songs mentions her.

Lubomyr Melnyk, Rivers and Streams (Erased Tapes)

Shapes merge, multiply, fade, regroup, and fade again and again. Echoes and ripples. The surface of clear water makes the things inside dance and wobble, and flow around.
Meditative trio. “Continuous piano” arpeggiates and self-immolates. His hands become “Water, Air, and Stone … the three manifestations of he Continuous Technique.” Like Philip Glass.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

Stone Cold Lampin’ #17

Stone Cold Lampin’ #17
April 7, 2016

I put together a playlist featuring great music from around the world, new experimental rock, and Classical, and Beethoven. And Cumbias! It was fun and I further developed my program format for a specialized show focusing on a canon created from Western Classical music and indigenous music of all cultures. I learned some things. Check out the streams below.

Lonnie Holley

Hour 1: Starts at 9:55 so you get a few minutes of Fox Populi. Then psychedelic shaman songs, Lonnie Holley, Burma, Benin, Luc Ferrari.

Lord Invader

Hour 2: African funk, calypso, Sonny Simmons power drone.

Cambodian Rock and Roll

Hour 3: Gipsy songs, Sahara blues, Cambodian rock, Cumbia!!

Igor Stravinsky

Hour 4: Stravinsky, Pauline Oliveros, Teiji Ito, Beethoven.

Here’s the playlist.

Each mp3 is 70 minutes long and starts a few minutes before the hour, and ends a few minutes after.
Streams will be available until April 21.

Streams via

His First Barbershop Visit

It was finally time.  Happily, Big Jim’s had a gold vinyl booster seat just right for John John.  He watched another boy get his hair cut, then his Papa.  He was ready!image


Not too squirmy for a two year old…

Soon enough he’ll get a cut by Big Jim himself.

He was pretty happy with the results.  We were, too!