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Podcast Episode 328: October 1, 2016

Adam Bryanbaum WiltzieIt's a special podcast episode featuring guest artist Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid. European tour is taking place NOW, and we hear from SOTL, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, and solo music including a piece from the forthcoming soundtrack, Salero, due out in November. Other music in this episode comes from Hypnopazuzu, The Dead C, The Caretaker, and Chris & Cosey.


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Forced Exposure New Releases for 9/26/2016

New music is due from Barbarisms, The Early Years, and Hannah Peel, while old music is due from Coil, Booby Hebb, and Eek-A-Mouse.

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Hypnopazüzu, "Create Christ, Sailor Boy"

cover imageThis collaboration between David Tibet and early Current 93 alum and erstwhile Killing Joke bassist Youth is quite a fascinating, bizarre, improbable, and intermittently perplexing release.  Given how little attention I pay to mainstream music, I had completely forgotten that Youth also has an ongoing project with Paul McCartney (The Fireman) and a long history of production and remix credits involving artists like U2, Depeche Mode, Erasure, and almost Duran Duran.  In short, he is primarily an ingenious chameleon whose greatest gift lies in adapting to new situations, figuring out how to make the most of them, and egolessly fading into the background.  That is exactly what he has (mostly) done with Create Christ, Sailor Boy: consciously opting to be as invisible as possible to avoid shifting the focus onto himself.  As such, this album is primarily a showcase for David Tibet's snarling and singular poetic rantings, some of which rank among his best.

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The Dead C, "Trouble"

cover imageThis latest opus captures The Dead C at their most endearingly perverse, brilliant, and anti-virtuosic, as they have somehow managed to craft a double album without actually having any conventional content at all: no real riffs, no hooks, no grooves, and no songs (unless some mumbling in a sea of feedback counts).  That approach seems to tailor-made to alienate most potential new listeners, but the towering monolith of guitar squall that is Trouble is an absolute delight for the faithful like myself.  These five sprawling and amorphous pieces sound like someone dropped napalm on rock music, leaving nothing but a smoldering, heaving, and howling wreckage.  Occasionally something resembling a melody will emerge from the blown-out entropy, but the album’s real appeal is its visceral chaos.  In some ways, this may very well be The Dead C's finest album yet.

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Public Speaking, "Caress, Redact"

cover imageSome of Jason Anthony Harris' previous recordings as Public Speaking have flirted with more traditional song-like material, but would just as often end up being more in line abstract and chaotic world of noise.  For this newest album, however, it seems as if he has settled more comfortably into the role of songwriter, and here, across these seven pieces, he creates a dark, at times very disturbing world presented as off-kilter, bizarre electronic pop.

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Ekin Fil, "Being Near"

cover imageThe influences that helped shape Turkish artist Ekin Üzeltüzenci’s latest work, and her work under the name Ekin Fil overall are not hard to place.  For the most part, Being Near is an album of pop songs, yet enshrouded in gauzy reverb and blurry production that gives them a somewhat alien, but simultaneously melancholic edge.  Sounds of guitar, voice, and electronics all define these eight songs, but the whole is greater than the sum of those familiar parts, culminating in an achingly beautiful excursion of music.

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Insect Factory, "Work"

cover imageUnsurprisingly, this newest work from Maryland’s Jeff Barsky is cut from a similar cloth as his recent works, such as his split record with Earthen Sea from 2014.  To be clear, this is a very good thing, as it is clear that Work again emphasizes his judicious use of effects and processing on understated guitar work.  Because of this, he is able to hit that difficult sweet spot between novel sound treatments while still retaining the instrument’s natural sound.  As a result of that careful production and performance, Work is a beautiful, complex record that demonstrates his skill both as a performer and as a sound artist.

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Sarah Davachi, "All My Circles Run"

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Following hot on the heels of this year’s synth-centric Dominions, Sarah Davachi returns to Students of Decay for a bit of an unexpected curveball: an album with no synthesizer at all.  Employing an organ, some strings, a piano, and her own voice, Davachi mostly reprises the minimal, drone-centered aesthetic of her previous work (she is quite fond of sustained notes and slow-building harmonies), but also impressively expands her niche with a few more conventionally melodic pieces.  As a result, the elegant and understated All My Circles Run is likely the most diverse of Davachi’s albums to date, sustaining a slow-burning and subtly shifting reverie for forty sublime minutes.

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Overtone Ensemble

cover imageDespite being one of the more inventive and intriguing artists in the contemporary experimental music milieu, Australia's Tim Catlin is not a particularly well-known name here in the US, though he has collaborated with both Jon Mueller and Machinefabriek in the past.  It is hard to say whether or not his first full-length for Important will raise his profile though, as it easily stands as one of the most uncompromisingly hyper-minimal and outré releases from the label in recent memory.  For one, it is devoted primarily to works composed for the Vibrissae, a set of "microtonally tuned metal rod instruments" built by Catlin.  Secondly, it provides exactly what the name "Overtone Ensemble" suggests: plenty of eerily harmonizing sustained tones and little more.  As such, it is probably a hard sell for anyone not deep into the more rarified fringes of sound art, but it is a quite unique and wonderful release for those of us with ears attuned to that wavelength, at times exploring terrain not dissimilar to that of Catlin’s label mate Ellen Fullman.  Other times, it probably sounds like absolutely nothing else on earth.

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Jeph Jerman/Tim Barnes, "Versatile Ambience"

cover image In Versatile Ambience’s second half, Jeph Jerman and Tim Barnes cobble together a sequence of individual words and short phrases from a small ensemble of speakers. As each solitary fragment, captured with varying degrees of fidelity, falls into place, a kind of instructional sense emerges from the cut-up poetic randomness: “Your voice arrested; the smithy’s forge displacing hard footfall with scrutiny of boot-leather. Attempts to redirect equally malleable.” A final exchange points the way to Versatile’s heart: “You, the anvil?” someone questions. A faded voice replies, “I’m the hammer.” Using insect and animal life, tape noise, and acoustic performances from Jacob Duncan and Ken Vandermark, Jerman and Barnes temper their field recordings like a smith tempers metal, constantly moving from ambiguity to particularity and back again, molding their music with heat and cold. Seemingly inconsequential sounds, like the dry splash of fallen leaves, become intricate explosions. The wooden hum of a violin unfurls and sinks like a wave at sea and the album sways between modes, constantly eluding the firm grip of a total view.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

The New Year

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Review of the Day

loscil, "Triple Point"
There's a lot of electronic music out there that either plain bores or annoys the absolute piss out of me. So much of it sounds the same, and what it sounds like is something so pedestrian that it was all created using standard ACID loop libraries. That's why it's so refreshing when something like loscil comes around. "Triple Point" is a fantastic release just based upon the rather unique palette of sounds here. But there's so much more going on in the mix. Sampled sounds so buried you really only hear them faintly, and treated keyboards that sound hollow and distant have such an eerie effect. Each track starts of easy enough, but builds to amazing heights as more sounds are added and volume increases. Scott Morgan, who is loscil, has an amazing ear, as these songs are dense and droned-out but you never lose sense of this music and Morgan never lets you stray from the path long. "Triple Point" is reportedly based on the concepts of thermodynamics, and that couldn't be a more appropriate analogy for the effect this music has on the listener. It soothes, it relaxes, it resonates with a warmth that almost defies description, and it propels you in the same instant, willing you to create or submit to its will. Never has an artist's debut on a label impressed me more. loscil has obviously just begun, and there's great promise for the future.

 

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