Listen on the Internet  |  Contact Us  |  Music & Programs  |  WFMU Home Page  |  LCD  |  Support Us  |  FAQ

Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
April 2003

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

AKA: "Early Finnish Avant-Gardeners"! Yes, indeed the Finnish avant-garde movement in the 1960's has been underdocumented, to say the least, but it flourished. This disc kicks off with a bunch of modernists circa 1961 belching into a microphone over bluesy background tapes, and takes you for a wild ride from there. Primitive samplers, atonal choirs, weird loops forwards and backwards, Warholian voice experiments (including a vote count?), even a 1970 anti-Spiro Agnew rant ballad (in Finnish folk tradition and language). You even get a weird, operatic rock band called "The Sperm" who apparently got banned for obscenity everywhere, and an free-wailing jazz ensemble, Juoni Kesti & Seppo I. Lane, who were blaring out distorto-mic-inside-the-saxophone-bell skronk years before Borbetomagus. A wild document!

BERT SWITZER / 1977-2002 (Bert Switzer)
Besides being an early punk cohort of then-Bostonian Henry Kaiser, drum man Switzer was a member of the Destroyed and Monster Island, and this CD is about 85% comprised of some low-fi thud from those two bands. While the bands' sounds definitely might have fit in with the 90's Columbus and Siltbreeze camps, they definitely lack those scenes' artfulness. But I like this nonetheless. I think Lester Bangs definitely would have dug the average-Boston-joes-jamming-out-and-not-giving-a-fuck attitude that's well represented here (apparently J. Geils invited the Destroyed to open a 12,000-seat arena show for them only to wind up having the band pelted by bottles and having the plug pulled.) There's a boombox recording of Switzer playing drums in his basement backing up a 13 year old kid on guitar who shreds a lo-fi version of Ozzy's "Crazy Train" that turns into a blazing lo-fi shred-fest that Acid Mothers fans would certainly appreciate. It's nothing as great as unearthed Simply Saucer or Debris, for sure, but again, I dig it.

ASA CHANG & JUNRAY / Jun Ray Song Chang (Leaf)
Apparently Asa-Chang is a tabla session player, but this record surely bends some musical borders. I am not sure who Junray is, or hardly any of the other musicians listed. Yoshimi is listed (Boredoms, 00100, etc), and this record does hint at some of the brightly-produced genre-fuck of recent Boredoms releases, but even those fail to stack up to some of the weirdness happening here. Eastern strings swirl around caribbean steel drums, hypnotic drones flow through jabbering-unknown-language voices, off-kilter rhythms somehow synch up cosmically with things they totally should not. Trumpets, melodica, bleeps and weather sounds flow through Asa Chang's tabla, some of this is lo-fi and sounding like an ancient Ocora disc, some of this could be state-of-the-art. And dropped in as well is a great cover of Brigitte Fontaine's "Comme A La Radio" (originally recorded with the Art Ensemble of Chicago on her record.) This is one of the best things to come through the station all year for sure.

Other Old/New Bins lists | WFMU Main Page