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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 03/18/2019

New music is due from Zeitkratzer with Terre Thaemlitz, The Young Gods, and Maja S. K. Ratkje, while old music is due from Steven Stapleton and David Tibet, A Handful of Dust, and Esplendor Geométrico.

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Abul Mogard, "And We Are Passing Through Silently"

cover imageHot on the heels of his appearance on last year's In Death's Dream Kingdom, Abul Mogard returns to Houndstooth with a collection of his work as an unlikely remix artist.  Of these five lengthy pieces, I was only familiar with the one from Fovea Hex's The Salt Garden II, as his reworkings of songs by Nick Nicely and a pair of Houndstooth artists (Aïsha Devi and Penelope Trappes) somehow eluded me.  The beguiling centerpiece of the album, however, is an entirely new work that reimagines Cindytalk/Massimo Pupillo's sublime Becoming Animal project.  All of the chosen pieces suit Mogard's aesthetic beautifully though, adding up to an album that is more like an unexpectedly strong and song-based follow-up to Above All Dreams than a collection of one-off works that were never intended to coexist.  Naturally, this is easily Abul Mogard's most accessible release to date, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is also one of his best too.

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My Disco, "Environment"

cover imageThis Australian trio first appeared on my radar with 2015’s somewhat polarizing and aptly named Severe album, which stripped away all of the more conventional post-punk elements of their sound to leave only a beautifully chiseled and pummeling strain of minimalism.  I suppose most My Disco albums have been a bit polarizing though, as the band have undergone a series of transformations since their early days as a math-rock band and not every fan has wanted to stick around for the next phase.  With Severe, however, it felt like My Disco had finally found a truly distinctive niche that felt like their proper home.  Environment happily continues to explore that same vein, yet takes that aesthetic to an even greater extreme, replacing surgical brutality with an ominous, simmering tension and dissolving any last traces of the band’s more "rock" past.   It is hard to say if Environment quite tops Severe, but it is very easy to say that it is another great album from an extremely compelling band.

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Pass/Ages, "Taken Underneath"

cover image Consisting of two thirds of the band Ars Phoenix, namely Jonn Gauntletier and Caitlin Grimalkin, it is not overly surprising that there are a lot of similarities between the bands.  Both are equally synth heavy and rife with memorable hooks.  However, the two are distinct projects, with Pass/Ages mining somewhat darker, distorted territories in comparison to the slightly more up beat Ars Phoenix work.  Never are the moments of catchiness far off, however, resulting in a tape that is rough and experimental, yet as memorable as any pop record out there.

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Podcast Episode 407 & 408: March 10, 2019

Episodes #407 & #408 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition are now live.Daniel in Oslo

New and old stuff from Meat Beat Manifesto, Carla dal Forno, Legendary Pink Dots, Steven Stapleton & David Tibet, Kyle Bobby Dunn, My Disco, Automelodi, Benoit Honore Pioulard & Sean Curtis Patrick, Nihiloxica, Simon Scott, SPC ECO, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee, Chasms, INRA, My Disco, Richard Youngs, Jay Glass Dubs, Hekla, and Tim Hecker.

Photo comes to us from Daniel in Oslo, Norway.


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Simon Scott, "Soundings"

cover imageThis is Simon Scott's formal debut for Touch and it is such a quintessential example of the label's aesthetic that it almost feels like a homecoming.  It is similar to a homecoming in another way as well, as Scott composed these pieces from field recordings taken during Slowdive's extensive touring over the last few years, diligently editing and shaping them in hotel rooms during his idle hours.  Upon returning, he teamed up with cellist Charlie Campagna and violinist Zachary Paul to transform his impressionistic audio diaries into a lushly beautiful and bittersweet ambient travelogue of sorts.  In some ways, this side of Scott's work is less distinctive than his more dub-inflected albums, but he has a remarkably great ear for striking the perfect balance between vibrant textures and blurred, dreamlike elegance.

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William Basinski, "On Time Out of Time"

cover imageThis latest release is more of a diversion than a fresh addition to the canon of William Basinski masterworks, as it was originally composed for a pair of installations for an exhibition in Berlin.  In keeping with theme of the show ("Limits of Knowing"), he stepped outside of his usual working methods to craft floating ambient soundscapes sourced from recordings captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).  Looked at another way, however, On Time Out of Time could be seen as Basinski's normal working methods taken to their ultimate extreme: instead of harvesting sounds from decaying tapes a few decades old, he is now harvesting billion-year-old sounds created by merging black holes.  As far as singular, awe-inspiring cosmic events go, that is fairly hard to top, but it must be said that Basinski on his own has a more melodically and harmonically sophisticated sensibility than most (if not all) black holes.  As such, the appeal of On Time Out Of Time lies more in the ingenious transformation of the source material than in the finished compositions (though they are quite likable).

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Legendary Pink Dots, "The Golden Age"

cover imageNewly remastered and reissued on Metropolis, 1988's The Golden Age hails from an especially transitory and unsettled phase of The Legendary Pink Dots' history: it was composed in the wake of a disastrous tour in which half of the band quit.  Also, Edward Ka-Spel and The Silverman were kicked out of their squat in Amsterdam and left the city to take up residence in Niels van Hoorn's caravan in the countryside.  And, to flesh out that scene still further, the album was recorded in a poorly heated farmhouse.  That seems like quite a dark and rough stretch to me, yet it is clear from interviews that Ka-Spel found the experience refreshing and creatively rejuvenating and both he and The Silverman have since singled out The Golden Age as one of their favorite LPD releases.  I cannot say that I fully share that assessment myself, as it is a bit of a difficult and uneven album at times, but there is definitely a brilliant EP lurking among this strange and kaleidoscopic suite of songs.  At its best, The Golden Age feels like a playfully lysergic, darkly whimsical, and endearingly baroque series of regret-soaked scenes plucked from a vivid, haunting novel that only exists in Edward Ka-Spel's head.

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Akira Rabelais, "CXVI"

cover imageIt took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it, but Akira Rabelais has quietly been one of the most unique and intriguing figures in experimental music for the last couple of decades, blurring the lines between collage, modern composition, ambient music, and conceptual art with each release.  This latest album has apparently been a labor of love for years, drawing contributions from an eclectic array of collaborators including Harold Budd, Ben Frost, Kassel Jaeger, Stephan Mathieu, Geir Jenssen, and a pair of French photographers.  Admittedly, a bevy of talented participants is not always an infallible recipe for a great album, but it was this time, as CXVI resembles a temporally dislocated and hallucinatory mélange of This Mortal Coil, Erik Satie, and a 19th century Parisian opium den.

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Francisco López, "Sonic Fields Vlieland", "Untitled #337"

cover image Taken together, these two recent releases from the always prolific Francisco López perfectly encapsulate not only the breadth of his work, but also the extreme duality of his approach. Sonic Fields Vlieland is a three hour, six segment piece made exclusively by treating field recordings captured on the Dutch island of Vlieland while Untitled #337 is a full-on technology-based work that utilizes software creation and the limitations of digital recording methodologies.  Both works are very different in their sound and methods of composition, but both also showcase López’s exceptional artistry.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Volcano the Bear

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Review of the Day

MASCHINENSCHLOSSER, "ORANGE NOISE"
Maschinenschlosser (Machine Fitters) is the latest project of Christian Stefaner, aka Neat and a member of multimedia design team c2s2, and "Orange Noise" is his 4th audio release, first for Austria's Dbelltime label. Twenty tracks, eight of which are exactly 3 minutes and 2 seconds apiece for whatever reason, add up to about 74 minutes of unassuming electronica. The flow and variation of the disc is very peculiar. An 11 minute opener of softly pitter pattered beats and mild, looped tones is followed by numerous, more experimental pieces based on different, somewhat simple sound waves. I guess this is how Stefaner defines 'orange' noise, with digital hums, buzzes, drones and such left on repeat. "Vas 1" and "Reset (Plane)" offer the most turbulent, barely listenable selection of sounds, sort of like a laptop devised Throbbing Gristle. Out of the blue, er, orange, comes "Funky Shark" at track 13 with pseudo funky beats, followed by the incredibly grating and funk less bursts of "Funky Ericsson". Yes, I get the joke, but guess what, cell phones make really shitty (non)music. Then finally, mercifully, something truly interesting as "Rec6+jw2" and "Stompa" nicely blend tones and beats. "La Internacional" is an odd but welcome closer as tender music box bells gradually wind down. What a strange album. But all in all, there's very little of anything memorable and far too much tedium and annoyance along the way.

 

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