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Podcast Episode 392: September 16, 2018

Jon Whitney, statue with VW bug, Leicester Vermont Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is now up to episode #392!

It's an all new episode with tunes by Sugar Plant, Omni Gardens, Alexander Tucker, Catherine Christer Hennix, The Skygreen Leopards, Less Bells, Gavin Guthrie, Immersion, Jason Lescalleet, Julia Kent and Jean D.L., Blue Chemise, and Toshimaru Nakemura.

Photo of a gorilla holding up a VW beetle taken in Leicester, Vermont taken once again by Jon your host.


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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 9/17/2018

New music is due from Factory Floor, Sarah Davachi, and The Field, while old music is due from David J, The Heptones, and Ben Patterson.

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Ozmotic, "Elusive Balance"

cover image For their third album, the duo of Stanislao Lesnoj (saxophone, electronics) and SmZ (drums, electronics) work effortlessly to achieve the state described by the album title:  a precarious mix of vastly differing instrumentation and genres that end up complementing one another quite effectively.  The final product largely straddles that unlikely line between jazz and abstract electronica, but in a way that comes across as unique and fresh.

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Olson/Case/Hardiman, "March of the Mutilated Vol. 2 & 3"

cover image In what has become a yearly tradition, Wolf Eyes member and meme master John Olson again hooks up with Upstate NY's Eric Hardiman and Jeff Case to deliver two more discs of psy jazz/free improv/whatever sessions from Case's basement studios.  The progression throughout these latest two installments of the March of the Mutilated series is indicative of a clear trajectory, with the trio keeping some things constant, but also a significant amount of change, evolution, and hints at what may be to come during the holiday season of 2018.

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Träden

cover imageIt seemed like last year's Tack För Kaffet / So Long was the bittersweet swansong for a shape-shifting creative force that brought the world so much timeless psychedelia, but a handful of the participants from that album have now surfaced anew.  Of Träden's four members, only founding guitarist Jakob Sjöholm remains from Träd, Gräs Och Stenar's original line-up, yet this latest incarnation feels like the natural next chapter for an entity that has always been fairly loosely defined.  While there is nothing particularly ambitious or revelatory on this album, this new foursome prove to be especially adept at crafting warm, fluid, and unpretentious music that perfectly evokes the quiet pleasures of a handful of talented friends comfortably jamming and bouncing ideas off of one another in a countryside studio.  Some of those jams ultimately turned into very good songs, of course, but the real magic of Träden is that the band feels free, sincere, casually experimental, and joyful in a way that is rarely heard these days.

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Catherine Christer Hennix, "Selected Early Keyboard Works"

cover imageIt is quite rare for me to be interested in anyone's archival rehearsal tapes, but Catherine Christer Hennix's oft-fascinating career has been woefully under-documented until only recently.  In fact, this is arguably her formal vinyl debut, a milestone that improbably took more than four decades to reach.  These recordings date back from 1976, when her ensemble The Deontic Miracle was performing at the Dream Music Festival in Sweden, but the album mostly features Hennix by herself playing a keyboard tuned to just-intonation.  Given that these three pieces were never intended for release, it is no surprise that there is occasionally a meandering, improvisatory feel, but a few of them blossom into a wonderfully hallucinatory swirl of uneasily harmonizing overtones.  Selected Early Keyboard Works is a bit more than a fine collection of unreleased material though, as it highlights a more unpolished and intimate side of Hennix's vision than her other releases.  More importantly, it features one of the greatest pieces ever recorded by the La Monte Young/Pandit Pran Nath milieu.

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Thomas Ankersmit, "Homage to Dick Raaijmakers"

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I suspect I am far from alone in being unfamiliar with the music of Dutch composer Dick Raaijmakers, as there is not a hell of a lot of electronic music from the '50 and early '60s that has aged well.  In his time, however, he was an important and pioneering figure in that milieu, performing significant electro-acoustic research and co-founding STEIM.  He was also a thoughtful and inventive theorist and his ideas have proven to be a bit more timeless than his recordings.  For this piece, originally commissioned by Sonic Acts, Thomas Ankersmit worked with similar tools to those that were available to Raaijmakers, but the album's true raison d'être is the exploration of holophonic sound fields.  Wielding frequencies with scalpel-like precision, Ankersmit is able to trick the inner ear into conjuring new sounds that do not actually exist on the recording, transforming and evolving as the listener's spatial relationship to the speakers changes.  It is a very neat trick, obviously, at times feeling like the album has physically burrowed directly into my head and started aggressively rearranging things.  Ankersmit definitely would have been burned as a witch if this album had been made in earlier times.

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Glenn Jones, "The Giant Who Ate Himself and Other New Works for 6 & 12 String Guitar"

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Every couple years or so, a new Glenn Jones album modestly enters the world, unveiling a fresh batch of warm and lovely American Primitive-inspired guitar works.  Appropriately, The Giant Who Ate Himself is a reference to Jones' longtime friend and mentor John Fahey, who certainly casts a formidable shadow over much of the more compelling acoustic guitar music in his wake.  More than anyone else, however, Jones seems like the underappreciated (yet considerably less hostile) spiritual heir to Fahey’s throne, though Jones is far more of A Comparatively Well-Adjusted Artist Who Reliably Releases Good Albums.  Of course, the American Primitive aesthetic quickly became much larger than Fahey himself and it is all too easy to fall into the trap of legend worship–there is a much larger tradition of great and visionary American acoustic guitarists that continues to thrive and it would be more accurate to simply state that Jones is one of its unbending pillars.  Trends come and trends go, but Glenn Jones remains a timeless, distinctive, and consistently delightful presence through it all.

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Thomas Bey William Bailey, "La Production Interdite"

cover image Musician, researcher, and author Thomas Bey William Bailey has been prolific in all of the disciplines in which he has worked, and La Production Interdite is an excellent entry in his musical body of work.  Spread into two 30 minute pieces, one fully instrumental and one with spoken word vocals, Bailey succeeds in a strong piece of sonic, as well as conceptual art that comes together brilliantly with both distinct elements enhancing the other perfectly.

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Julee Cruise, "The Voice of Love"

cover imageNewly reissued on Sacred Bones, The Voice of Love (1993) was Cruise's second and final album with the singular songwriting team of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.  I suspect it did not sell particularly well upon its release, as I found my copy in a cut-out bin and it was Cruise's final album for Warner Brothers, but it has since rightly attained the cult stature it deserves.  It is admittedly a bit uneven compared with its more illustrious predecessor (1989's Floating Into The Night), uncannily mirroring Lynch's own changing fortunes, as Night featured music from Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks while Voice features pieces from Wild at Heart, Fire Walk With Me, and Industrial Symphony No. 1.  Still, a significant amount of that initial magic lingered and continued to blossom, as The Voice of Love fitfully captures some of the finest work of Cruise's "ghostly chanteuse" phase.  It may be an imperfect classic album, but it is a classic album nonetheless.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Mono

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Review of the Day

Cursor Miner, "Explosive Piece Of Mind"
Lo Recordings
This debut full-length from Rob Tubb, who must surely be Chichester's premier retro-electro crooner, follows his recent "Remote Control" single, also on Lo Recordings. While the electroclash cultural blip has made me wary of contemporary musicians who pay overt homage to the 1980s, I've plenty of time for those working in a more underground, principled, fashion (for example Gerhard Potuznik). Cursor Miner is definitely to be counted amongst the most interesting of such musicians, fabricating something original and fun from the lighter side of 1980s English synth-pop and the geeky, meticulous side of modern electronica.
Instead of just dropping a ponderous vocal on to a club-friendly beat, he deftly merges the electro-pop basics of warm, resonant keyboard riffs and fey vocals with up-to-the-minute production work that's manic and crisp. The package is completed by a nice line in retro-futuristic lyrics, most notably on the single "Remote Control" itself, which ironically feigns both wonder at, and fear of, modern technology.
Cursor Miner's music is a forward-looking form of nostalgia. The fact that he doesn't take the easy route of pure 1980s revivalism means probably won't get the following it deserves, but on the other hand, he won't end up eviscerated and embarrassed on the altar of mass whim like, say, Fischerspooner. Quite simply, this is an excellent album for fans of interesting electro-pop and one which brings something new to the game.

 

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