KWJAZ :: KWJAZ (Not Not Fun)

An uneasy-listening analogue bubblebath, more remnants of the recent past but stretched, dubbed and arranged with consummate skill into delicious alienations of the familiar.

Kwjaz ‘Kwjaz’

Another very successful underground cassette forced above ground by the sheer groundswell of approbation. Not Not Fun has re-issued both vinyl and compact disc versions, the latter featuring both twenty-two minutes sides and Mutt and Jeff bonus tracks, one very short, the other almost as long as its predecessors. Recalling West Coast AM radio station call latters, KWJAZ is the solo debut of San Franciscan Peter Berends in the form of an imagined mix tape, one side featuring a kaleidoscope of smooze jazz, shopping centre muzak, African highlife, and anaesthetized psychedelia, the other a more amorphous and aquatic and even slightly harrowing New Age, ghostly as if still playing in all those abandoned shopping malls erected on the wrong edge of exurbia.

They say that if you can remember the sixites, then you weren’t there. That’s actually a hipster put-down sneered by the small percent of the population who dropped out and turned on. The rest of us were willingly or not wrapped up in the cling film of the plastic fantastic Great Consumer Society. Aptly titled “Once in Babylon,” the first track is the sound of that sixties (or the sound of the sound of the sixties as it bled over into the me-decade seventies) remembered by someone who has suffered a mild stroke. Music to ease the mindlessness while moving through nonplaces, screwed down, overlapped, dubbed and underminded with an unerring sense for dallying in a déjà vu inducing loop at just the right spot.

Critics couldn’t get enough of this cassette when it came out and unfortunately neither could fans, because only 121 copies were issued. But now you can (the vinyl edition runs to seven hundred, the CD five hundred) and more with the bonus CD tracks that while not making the original any “better” certainly extend the enjoyment. First a mere interlude, a little elevator music between floors, and then “Elevation: Elation/Jah Wad,” which plays more like the radio station running a number of tunes in sequence (rather than smeared into each other) with no commercial breaks.

An uneasy-listening analogue bubblebath, more remnants of the recent past but stretched, dubbed and arranged with consummate skill into delicious alienations of the familiar.

KWJAZ is available on Not Not Fun.

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