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Kettle Black Reviews K-P

 

King Chubby - qedishim (Black Market) “the qedishim were the sacred male harlots of Asherah, ancient semitic mother goddess, devoured lover of Yahweh, source of all life and taker of the dead...” qedishim is the soundtrack. Beautiful minimalist ambience. No instrument takes a front seat yet through the course of 50 plus minutes the number of different sounds is practically uncountable. The overall mood is very subtle, sometimes feeling oriental, sometimes middle eastern, sometimes African. Melodies weave back and forth and intertwine through periodic percussion patterns of several styles and feel with none weighing in heavier than others with the exception of “Primal Chaos” a more energetic jazzier piece that ends the album. The musicians are Ed Bialek, Marc Black and Will Ryan with guests. Excellent for a mesmerizing evening. (Band: 860 UN Plaza 18D, New York, NY 10017 Web: www.kingchubby.com : E-Mail: kingchubby@aol.com)

The Legendary Pink Dots - Nemesis Online (Soleilmoon) It is written, “Can you sense the Zeitgeist?.” We could discuss, ‘the spirit of the times’ all day & all night, but the point is: with the coming of the new millenium & the unseen changes that await us, The Legendary Pink Dots offer us a taste of what is yet to come. And they do that perfectly with their new album, “Nemesis Online.” Some would say this is a new turn for the band, but there are the classic sounds that we have all fallen in love with. From the opening track, “Dissonance,” I was hooked.... and my head started to fill with a myriad of images unlike any Pink Dot listening I had experienced before. When the last track, “Slaapliedje” was over, I had to listen again because I was in a trance the entire time. This album offers excellent listening enjoyment, the chilling, yet moving acoustic piece, “Fate’s Faithfull Principle” to the eerie-lovesong, “Sunset for a Swan.” The upbeat tempo & sci-fi undertones of “As Long as it’s purple & green” will hold you until the disc is done. I haven’t listened to this much Pink Dots in a long time, the album is worth any amount you spend. The tour for “Nemesis Online” will be fantastic. (Label: PO Box 83296 Portland OR 97283 : www.brainwashed.com/lpd) Gub X Fook

Lucid Technologies - Off-Line (Ind) This release from Chicago’s LT (aka Mark Jacobs) quickly climbed into J’s favorite albums of all-time list. The opening track “Now What We Need” sets to tone with a solid energetic beat dressed up with kinetic keyboard lines and light melodies. This type of soft energy continues throughout the album, even on the percussionless tracks which seem to float on a still pond more than move in any direction. One in particular is the first track that I heard from LT, the Eno-esque “Submerge.” “Wong ToFu” is another stand out track opening with a couple minutes of ambient keyboard beds, then introducing a sparse tribal-like beat that continues underneath for a couple more while the beds and melodies repeat. The melodies are repetitious and remain airy and light. Several of the tracks remind me of the soundtrack work of Eno and the Edge, but don’t get me wrong, Jacobs truly creates beautiful music with an identity all its own. (www.lucid-technologies.com : e-mail) J Mundok

Robert Lurie - You Speak In Too Many Voices (Black Rider) Lurie’s 1997 release mixes moody instrumentals with guitar/vocal pop songs. Possibly classified as lo-fi, this record far exceeds most of the lo-fi I’ve heard. Sometimes using acoustic drums, sometimes programmed, sometimes solo, sometimes with a full band sound, Voices as a whole feels like a collection of songs from different sessions with different intentions. It’s a fantastic sample of Lurie’s diverse work. Personally my favorite tracks are the Replacements-esque disorder and the 70’s pop belong. Awesome work. (E-mail: lodger7@yahoo.com Web: http://www.angelfire.com/biz/lodger7/lurie.html) J Mundok

Mara’s Torment - Across For Show (Baby Bat Boy) CD The latest from Mara’s Torment (aka Rik Maclean) opens with the melancholy “Where We Go To Die.” Mellow and moody with motion (a very paced motion), the track is all atmosphere as deep as the night sky blue. There is a constant established on this opening track that remains throughout the remaining instrumental tracks. Sometimes hypnotic (“Where It Begins”) and sometimes divine (“Under Starlit Skies”), but always ambient, I recommend this gem to anyone interested in music that can take you to that other place where all is dim, soft and beautiful...an ambient masterpiece. (web site : e-mail) J Mundok

Marooned - S/T (Diffused/Static) While only officially consisting of John Briggs (music) and Kimberly Ballard (voice), a host of other Detroit musicians contributed to this fine ’96 debut disc. Electronic beats, layers of lush ambient keys and a fretless bass that will not stop hold down the fort while Kimberly’s sultry vocals and interwoven guitar/keyboard melodies give each track the icing. Don’t get me wrong, they cover a lot of ground, from instrumental ambient soundscapes to smooth R&B (sometimes a bit to R&B for my tastes). “Love Butterfly” is the obvious stand out track, warranting a bonus remix at the end of the disc. One can only hope for more from Marooned before too long. (Diffused: 19825 W. Warren, Detroit, MI 48228 - Static: 17215 Mack Ave, Detroit, MI 48224 : E-mail) J Mundok

Meat Beat Manifesto - Acid Again CDS (Nothing) (US) Where in the world does Jack Dangers keep finding these great beats? The law of averages says that after 11 years of making his brand of aggro-jazz/hip-hop, he should be getting a little stale, but the man is like the Energizer bunny. “Acid Again,” the first single from his latest album Actual Sounds & Voices, punches out with loud breakbeats, tweaking synth lines, and astaccato, percussive buzzing which gets the remix treatment from Freddy Fresh, Depth Charge, and an additional Dangers production. Of the five variations, Danger’s dub mix is the standout track here simply because he isolates the beat and mutates it beyond the norm into seemingly impossible spheres of space. Brilliant, as usual. ( MEAT BEAT ON-LINE) Dave Bellard

Mentallo & The Fixer - No Rest For The Wicked (Metropolis) Being the collection of M&TF’s unreleased material from the 1990-91 period, “No Rest For The Wicked” is a visit to the inner artistry of Gary Dassing. Although this collection wasn’t intended to be released due to its personal nature, it somehow made its way to the shelves; and I’m glad it did! 2 CDs of pure, dark, bewitching electro, 25 tracks total, with early versions of our Mentallo favorites is something that no fan could pass by. The title accurately describes every facet of this set, even down to the artwork. Evil, destructive beats wrap around sinister and sometimes gothic keyboards and samples, creating an atmosphere which only could have been inspired by the turmoils within Gary Dassing’s mind at work. If you already have the other M&TF releases and are longing for more, or you loved the off-the-path sound of “Continuum,” “No Rest For The Wicked” will not disappoint you. (www.metropolis-records.com : e-mail) Daryl Litts (In_Faction)

Musical Nature - Forgotten Textures (Ind) Don’t be fooled by the fact that this cassette release is only 5 songs as the entire piece checks in at over an hour. Long ass ambient jamms include heavily manipulated drum loops over haunting drones and noise. “gaia.mother.earth” is a standout 20 minute track that could easily be the soundtrack for a journey to the center of the third rock. Tripped out noise drones attack the ears from all angles seeming to never end. Certainly not to played at summer block parties but perfect for dreaming while awake. (E-mail: mn@juranet.net Web: mn.juranet.net) J Mundok

Chris Osburn - A Beira del Sereno (K-Pod Audio) A reflection of a journey home. While living in Lamego, Mozambique and later in Maputo, Osburn began composing. Those tracks, together with a few written in Chickamauga, GA (the destination) make up this seven song story. With the exception of “Democracy,” which was recorded in Lamego on a portable recorder, all tracks were recorded later in El Sereno, CA. Though all acoustic based, such elements as background vocals/keyboards (courtesy of Kedron Parker) and Hawaiian lap steele make for a rather psychedelic record. Osburn tells his unique tales of the journey through verses and music as you were sitting right next to him Namango. (K-Pod: 3251 Kenneth Dr, LA, CA 90032 : k-pod@earthlink.com) J Mundok

Otherness - Somewhere Between Something & Nothing (Subspace) If the goal was to pick up where Depeche Mode left off after Violator, these guys not only reach that goal, but clearly go above and beyond the call of duty. This disc is almost more DM than the failed real DM efforts this decades. From the choice of synth sounds and the vocals of Jeff Gahan (uh...I mean Bruner) to the excellent cover art, Otherness give a fresh twist to the sounds that were once called new wave. If you miss the old days, Otherness should be on your list of must haves, as they do for the 80s what K Billy’s Super Sounds does for the 70s. ( SUBSPACE ON-LINE subspace1@hotmail.com) J Mundok

Pokeweed - Baby I’m a Star (Independent) I first wanted to say this is unadulterated punk rock, but not being a big fan of punk I didn’t really think that would be appropriate. The disc came with photocopied collage art in a very DIY package and the quality of production is fantastic: very solid drum sound and punchy driving guitar. The more it rolls (and believe me it rolls with great energy) I can hear the influence of a lot of the last decade’s heavier bands like...Tool, old Smashing Pumpkins and by all means Jane’s Addiction (complete with the delayed out “Mother Fucker, ucker, ucker, ucker...” in “A for Apathy”) as well as the new wave influence of the Knack/Devo like tracks “Sick” & “4 Days.” I’m usually not one to compare new albums to old bands but sometimes an album, such as this one, instantly reminds me of music I’ve heard before. The highlight of the disc is definitely the unnamed track 11 which consists of explanations and examples of the different meanings and uses of the word fuck. These guys sound like a very fun time live. (KSK Music: e-mail) J Mundok

Port - Breaking Up (Cuddlebot Recordings) I’m such a big Port head I almost scare myself. This follow up to “Cuddlebot Steps Out” captures the same John Hughes soundtrack sounding synth pop mood and consistant musical gearshifting only this time the music is set to a telephone conversation between and boy and girl breaking up. The tape was allegedly found in a second hand answering machine at a Goodwill store. At first I’m thinking she’s dogging him but later I’m thinking he’s dogging her. By the end of the 50 minute disc I’m not sure who’s dogging who but I know one thing...it’s over. Highlights are the girl trying desperately to take a call waiting and failing miserably on “Hold.” My favorite track is by far “The Slap” which defines “teenage romantic angst” set to a beautifully haunting piano riff. I’ve listened to this over and over and I can’t get enough. Did you ever wish you could be the “fly on the wall?” Now’s your chance with these unsuspecting humans. (E-mail: Portx1@aol.com Web: http://www.port21.com) J Mundok

Port - Cuddlebot Steps Out (Self Released) It didn’t really surprise me to find a nod to John Hughes in the liner notes of this DIY/CDR release from Port as the music therein could have easily been lifted from the audiotrack of one of his 80s masterpieces. From beginning to end Cuddlebot moves back and forth from electronic beeps and swirls to lush keyboard drones all over some of the finest minimalist percussion programming I’ve heard in quite a while (similar to mid 80s Chris and Cosey). Imagine a musical interpretation of R2D2’s life from assembly through adulthood and eventually the scrapyard with all the trials, tribulations ups and downs included. Could we be witnesses to the life of Cuddlebot? See for yourself. (Port: c/o BBU, 217 1/2 W Holly #9, Bellingham, WA 98225 : portx1@aol.com) J Mundok

Porter Ricks - S/T (Mille Plateaux) GER Porter Ricks (Thomas Kroner and Andy Mellwig) produce a fascinating new breed of trance by combining low frequency, dubbed-out, hip-hop rhythms with the repetition of 4/4 techno. Their self-titled debut released on uber-German label Mille Plateaux (responsible for the essential Electric Ladyland compilations) brims with this minimalist, down tempo experimentation that, like an intense movie, is only really appreciated after careful, patient attention. Though I’m not sure these tracks would be compatible with the usual dance floor trance (and my hat is off to the DJ with the balls to play this), it is indeed the stuff that total, space-out daydreams are constructed with. It kicks off with “Explore,” a hard and heavy bass beat that is fazed over by a muted, distorted guitar loop, then a ping-pong synth riff that starts playing in perfect pitch with the loop. From there it goes into a series of tracks (aptly) titled “Redundance5,” “Redundance(Version),” and “Redundance6,” all of them completely different in their approach to what the word actually means. “Exposed” breaks up the trio with a sound that’s very similar to Flux’s (James Plotkin) guitar-hop, but Porter Rick’s pull a little more inventive studio chicanery with the layered bass drums to create an off center drum & bass effect. Deep, deep trance states are easily obtained in the murk of “Spoiled” or “Scuba Lounge.” Both contain excellent, almost subliminal hip-hop rhythms that you only get toby navigating the drone-like atmospheres of the intros (on “Scuba Lounge” a good 5 minutes). It’s not at all dissimilar to the more recent output of Primal Scream (specifically Echo Dek), but with even less concentration on accessibility, no vocals, and a deeper exploration of the logistics of slow momentum. They have become one of my new favorite groups. No shit. Dave Bellard

 

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