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Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
September 2002

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

THE SNARES / Something Happened On the Way To Heaven (Horrible)
Terrific weird-ass rock trio fronted by a 16 year old girl named Brett Moodie (who also doubles on some Teenage Jesus-like slide guitar) and also featuring Mike Dooley on drums who may be familiar to NZ-o-philes as a member of the legendary Toy Love (punk band that featured Alec Bathgate and a then-mohawked Chris Knox prior to the founding of Tall Dwarfs). They swing from dirgy Birthday Party-esque graveyard blues to all out scum-surf akin to fellow countrymen Chris Heazlewood or Snapper sans keyboards. It's all very fragile and on the verge of falling apart but totally powerful, Moodie's voice filting in and hovering about in a very instrumental way (even recalling the tension of the late great Faith Healers). Way recommended!

AKUFEN / My Way (Force Inc.)
"Microsampling" is the name of Marc Leclair (aka Akufen)'s game, hearing music within the quick-snippet sounds of the rolling across a radio dial, shortwave broadbads, heard and lost seconds of rhythm, voices blurting. On this release, Leclair harnesses it all in studio, literally finding the funk inside these quick-takes, and then amplifying it into trancy motion with some excellent beats that invoke classic disco, French House, minimalist German techno. This may be the crossover the Conet Project has been waiting for the get into the clubs? Excellent stuff.

HANS ZIMMER / Black Hawk Down Soundtrack (Universal Classics)
When Damon Albarn of Blur/Gorillaz went to West Africa in 2000 as part of a charity cultural program, he was armed with just a melodica and the desire to jam in live surroundings with the region's purveyors of contemporary and cultural sounds. With just tape running in live surroundings, he came away with a flurry of colorful tapestries; besides well-known musicians Afel Boucom and Toumani Diabate, there was Ko Kan Ko Sata Doumbia, the country's only female Ngoni player, James Brown-insprired combos, and those who sat in at an all night party at Diabate's place. Then, Albarn took the recordings home and soaked them with some of his own musical trademarks: "Niger" ripples with analog electronics and effects feeding back between acoustic guitar breaks, and other tracks bear electronic loops, looped live instrumentation of chimes and percussion recorded on the trip plus other stamps of Albarn's other musical world. And it works splendidly; by allowing all the worlds to collide in a haze of fading and flowing parts, the general vibe of this record often sounds like a live jam between aliens and Africans, where post-production and Albarn's enhancements get blurred with the music itself. Similarly, the score to the blockbuster "Black Hawk Down" (which depicts the ill-fated manoever in Somalia a few years back) fuses Western sensibilities with tribal sounds, but rather than in an intimate setting, it's via a gigantic Hollywood studio with tons of musicians (including Michael Brook and a former Zappa sideman). But wow, what an incredible sound fusing crushing techno, and African/Middle Eastern sounds (the desire to invoke the feeling of the West invading with its big guns) with such a massive movie studio budget it actually sounds like the record Muslimgauze could have made if given unlimited cash to burn, a 96-track mixing board and enormous ensemble of musicians.

KEUKHOT / Peruskivi Francon Betonia (Radon)
We've literally been invaded by the Fins here at WFMU; live sessions from Aavikko (following Circle's amazing show last year), an avalanche of new releases. We've definitely made a few good friends over there (especially Jussi from Circle, who runs Ektro) who have been spreading the word through the Finnish underground about WFMU, and thankfully they've been sending such incredible sounds our way. The latest, Keukhot, is on Jussi's label and is the demented musings of one fellow by the name of Kake Puhuu playing everything from home-built contraptions to samplers and live flutes, bass, drums, etc. This record sweeps you right in the middle of some bizarre Scandinavian carnival, complete with woozy organs, folky melodies that give way into complete art-trash that would feed the jones of hardcore DAF & Neubauten fans. Chaotic, threatening, yet totally fun.

The best new Domino UK export since the Clinic EPs comp back in 99; Yorkston hails from Scotland and resides in the melancholy Brit-folk basket (recently doing shows opening for Bert Jansch and John Martyn), but is no revivalist. This 10 minute single rolls with a gorgeous Richard Thompson-esque electric riff over subtle drone while a sad tale is delivered in dry vocalstyle somewhat akin to Malkmus or Arab Strap. And for a different slant, there is an accompanying Fourtet remix. This is a really good and dare I say even epic tune, hope he gets some deserved attention with a stateside deal.

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