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Episode 489: October 25, 2020

Hoosesagg Museum in Basel Switzerland by Wesley Episode 489 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is now live

It's got new music by Majik Markers, Black To Comm, yadayn, Soft Kill, Fritz Pape, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, and Panoptique Electrical, and not-so-new music by Arurmukha, Sybarite, and Reighnbeau.

Thanks to Wesley for the photo of the Hoosesagg Museum (Pants Pocket Museum) in Basel, Switzerland.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 10/26/2020

New music is due from Christian Kjellvander, Sarah Hennies, and Kölsch, while old music is due from Juan Piña, Bridget St. John, and Fennesz.

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Yellow6, "Silent Streets And Empty Skies"

Cover of Yellow6 - Silent Streets And Empty SkiesYellow6, the solo project of British guitarist Jon Attwood, first came to my attention through his collaboration with Thisquietarmy for the 2011 album “Death Valley,” but Attwood himself has been active in since 2000. Recorded between April and June of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the title of his latest is an indicator of the eerie lack of traffic, people in the streets, and vapor trails from air traffic from a neighboring airport. The fresh time to reflect and social distance—along with the purchase a new guitar—inspired Attwood to create nine pieces of beautifully layered electric guitar and effects that instill calm, to be enjoyed as ambient background music or appreciated for the guitar craft. The sparse, delicate sounds parlay a stillness of these strange times; a stillness that can be both disturbing and enriching, and wrapped in contemplation.

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Lucrecia Dalt, "No era sólida"

cover imageWith 2018's Anticlines, this Berlin-based artist established herself as one of the more adventurous and unique composers to surface in the experimental music scene in recent years and I am pleased to report that this follow-up burrows even deeper into the oft-fascinating rabbit hole of its predecessor.  On a conceptual level, that deepening manifests itself in No era sólida’s deeply unusual themes, as the album is billed as a "suspended auditory illusion" that "embraces the possibilities of possession."  Thankfully, the possession in this case is not of the demonic variety, as Dalt instead envisions the album as a sort of interrogation room where she interacts with an invented character named Lia.  If Dalt were a lesser artist, such a premise would likely send me running in the other direction, but she executes it in such a subtle and abstract way that listening to No era sólida feels akin to unexpectedly finding myself in Twin Peaks' "red room": everything familiar is unrecognizably transformed into something disconcertingly alien and enigmatic.  While the rare songs that blur into pop-like territory (such as "Ser boca") are generally the album's strongest moments, the entirety of No era sólida casts an impressively unique and haunting spell.

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The Fall, "The Frenz Experiment"

Cover of The Fall - Frenz ExperimentThere are three main periods The Fall may be grouped into: the raw punk early years, the more “melodious” classic years, and the post-'90s period up to Mark E. Smith’s passing in 2018. The Frenz Experiment, originally released in 1988 and reissued this year by Beggars Banquet, is part of the “classic” years, a time when the band churned out a series of nearly perfect albums.

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Sky Furrows

cover image As a four piece from the Albany, New York region consisting of some of the most well known members of the small, but dedicated noise/psych scene, Sky Furrows is a project that is seemingly from another time that belies the band’s avant garde tendencies.  Rather than blending disparate genres or delving into deep electronic improvisations, the album is a concise, somewhat predictable one, but that is in no means an insult.  Instead this self-titled album is almost like a time capsule uncovered from some three decades past, and one that beautifully encapsulates a sound and a scene that was all too brief.

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Alessandra Novaga, "I Should Have Been a Gardener"

cover imageNew albums from Die Schachtel do not surface very often these days, but just about everything they choose to release is at least enticingly unusual.  That trend happily continues with this latest album from Milanese guitarist Alessandra Novaga, who follows her 2017 homage to Rainer Werner Fassbinder with this tribute to yet another iconic cinematic auteur in Derek Jarman.  As someone currently obsessing over Andrei Tarkovsky's writings about art, I can say that Novaga is a definite kindred spirit, as I Should Have Been A Gardener obliquely celebrates Jarman himself rather than presenting itself as an imagined soundtrack for any specific film.  In fact, I actually wish it was a bit less oblique, as the album only reaches its most memorable heights on the final piece when Novaga’s slow-moving and sublime guitar work is entwined with an old interview with Jarman himself.  While that surprise posthumous cameo is certainly welcome, it is not necessarily his presence that elevates that piece into something more transcendent—it is more that Novaga's lovely and understated playing is most effective when it interacts with other textural layers.  Almost the entire album is a modest, quiet pleasure though, which I suppose is entirely befitting for a tribute to a man who would have cheerfully devoted his life entirely to gardening under different circumstances.

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Asteroid No. 4, "Northern Songs"

Cover of Asteroid No 4 - Northern SongsThe tenth full-length from Asteroid No. 4 finds this group of professed musicologists flowing between a myriad of musical styles, each tinged with the band’s brand of psychedelia, with a balance between jangly and anthemic melodies. Having relocated from Philadelphia to the Bay Area, their sound takes on a less grungy east coast feel, opting for a more open, “cool” west coast feel, extra bass added to offset the lighter notes with heavier undertones. While less drenched in lysergic reverb, their romance with the past still runs deep, nostalgia a key thread throughout the album.

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Einstürzende Neubauten, “Alles In Allem”

Cover of EN - Alles in AllemThe German language has words for nearly every complex emotion imaginable. “Weltschmerz” translates to “world-weariness” or, literally, “world pain.” Einstürzende Neubauten have touched on many aspects of it throughout their multiple manifestations, but never quite as deeply and consistently as on their 40th anniversary release Alles in Allem (All in All). Formed around insights on their home city of Berlin, the album’s “schwung” expands beyond the German capital city’s borders, achieving weltschmerz twofold: the album was a collaboration for and with worldwide fans, allowing them to contribute lyrically to the album by answering questions posed by Blixa Bargeld, resulting in an album that — while retaining a presence of their home city — maintains no lyrical patriotism to any specific geographic location. Filled with edgy sounds blended with poetry, Bargeld's rich baritone, and traditional sound elements, Alles in Allem showcases their most mature compositions to date whilst maintaining their unique approach to songwriting.

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Richard Skelton, "These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound"

cover imageAs a longtime and somewhat obsessive fan, I am always eager to hear any new Richard Skelton project, but it is fair to say that his discography has become an increasingly varied, unpredictable, and prolifically expanding world to navigate in recent years.  While I would hesitate to describe this latest release as "back to basics" or a return to form of any kind, These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound is nevertheless an unambiguously significant album for Skelton, as it is both his first vinyl release in roughly a decade and an extremely rare departure from his own Aeolian/Corbel Stone Press imprints.  As befits such an auspicious event, the album unveils yet another new stage in Skelton's restless creative evolution, expanding upon the epic scope of his recent heavy drones towards both increasingly industrial textures and a more melodic and harmonically complex sensibility than usual.  While I personally welcome the latter more than the former, These Charms is easily the most ambitious and substantial stand-alone opus that Skelton has released in years.

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