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Forced Exposure New Releases for 5/29/2017

New music is due from Ellen Allien, Félicia Atkinson, and Woe, while old music is due from Medium Medium, Peter Garland, and JD Emmanuel.

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Podcast Episode 352: May 21, 2017

Patrick, Amanda, EdwardIt's a very special podcast episode featuring Edward Ka-Spel (of the Legendary Pink Dots), Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls), and Patrick Q Wright (of the Legendary Pink Dots). The group is on tour in the US and Europe and there's still free tickets left for listeners!


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Drøne, "A Perfect Blind"

cover imageDrøne's second album was bizarrely released as a part of Record Store Day, which was quite an unexpected strategy given that few record stores are clamoring to stock new sound collage albums from Swedish record labels.  As a result, I was kind of expecting A Perfect Blind to be some sort of collectible minor release with eye-catchingly ambitious packaging and swirled gold-flecked vinyl or something.  Instead, it is just another excellent album, though Mark van Hoen and Mike Harding do enlist a murderers' row of talented collaborators including Philip Jeck and Anna von Hausswolff to help realize their expanded vision.  In fact, this album marks quite an impressive and unexpected evolution from the duo’s 2016 debut, using Reversing Into Future's beguiling miasma of shortwave radio transmissions, cryptic snatches of dialog, and droning synths as a foundation for something a bit more substantial and melodic.

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Thalassa, "Bonds of Prosperity"

cover imageThalassa is the new collaborative project between two titans of the metal tinged avant garde world of guitar:  Aaron Turner (Isis, Mamiffer) and William Fowler Collins.  Mythical and elemental imagery abounds on the four lengthy pieces split across two LPs, no doubt informed by the contrast of their respective homes:  Turner’s cold and damp Pacific Northwest versus Collins’ arid New Mexico home, but the two are entirely on the same page when it comes to performance.  Equally fitting into the worlds of old school ambient composition and metallic darkness, Bonds of Prosperity is as bleak as it is engaging.

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Helm, "World in Action"

cover imageLuke Younger’s latest EP draws inspiration from his fascination with the UK's media chaos surrounding last year’s Brexit vote.  I suppose that is arguably one good thing to come out of that dark bit of recent history, but Helm already seemed to be doing a perfectly fine job producing fine albums without that unfortunate muse.  Inspirations aside, Helm EPs generally tend to feel a hell of a lot like maxi-singles and they only surface when Younger has made a significant creative breakthrough.  World in Action is no exception to that trend.  In this case, that breakthrough takes the form of the 9-minute "Blue Scene," a gloriously skittering and jazz-damaged cacophony that often resembles a hallucinatory flock of worried geese...with a groove.  Naturally, the remaining three pieces adhere to characteristically Helm-esque levels of quality, but it is quite clear that the wildly skwonking, must-hear tour de force of "Blue Scene" is the reason that this release exists.

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Francisco López, Untitled (2012-2014), Untitled #352

cover imageThese two new releases from the legendary composer may have come out around the same time, but they both represent extreme ends of his work. The former is a two disc, 16 piece compilation of shorter works created over the span of two years, covering a wide gamut of the López sound. The latter is a flash drive containing a single work (split into 11 distinct parts) five hours and 20 minutes in length, all based on a single sound source. They may be distinctly different in composition and construction, but both are brilliant works in his already shining discography.

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Olson/Case/Hardiman, "March of the Mutilated (Vol. 1)"

cover imageSpurred on by an open Facebook post during one of John Olson’s (Wolf Eyes) visits to Upstate New York, this album features him with two local luminaries, Eric Hardiman (Rambutan, Century Plants) and Jeff Case (Burnt Hills) in a purely improvised setting.  These three lengthy performances are surprisingly restrained, with Olson exclusively on reeds and wind instruments, Case on drums and Hardiman on saxophone and synths.  I am guessing the result is an excellent example of psycho jazz (still not knowing exactly what that means as a genre), though it is surprisingly more conventional than I had expected.

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The Inward Circles, "And Right Lines Limit And Close All Bodies"

cover imageAs a longtime Richard Skelton fan, I have been watching his recent trajectory with quite a bit of fascination, as he has been restlessly diving into increasingly varied and arcane territory while distancing himself further and further from his brilliant earlier work with each new release.  While there are still some lingering vestiges of that vibrantly harmonic-strewn string work in his *AR project with Autumn Richardson, Skelton's solo work as The Inward Circles is explicitly (and increasingly) intent on exploring an aesthetic of "burial, obfuscation and mythologization."  In fact, The Inward Circles often seems like a rather perverse name, as Skelton has seemingly ceased burrowing inwards and thrown himself into the epic, timeless, and vast.   At times, that newly cosmic scope falls uncomfortably close to dark ambient (a genre that I am generally quite happy to avoid), but it can sometimes yield absolutely crushing and awe-inspiring results as well (Nimrod is Lost).  This latest opus does not quite sustain the lofty heights of some previous Inward Circles classics, but it compensates with a slow-burning majesty that builds to a sustained and wonderful crescendo.

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Aaron Dilloway, "The Gag File"

cover imageSince releasing two stellar albums in 2012, Aaron Dilloway has been comparatively quiet, contenting himself with a steady stream of cassettes, collaborations, and reissues.  Apparently, he also spent a bit of that time slowly assembling The Gag File, the long-awaited follow-up opus to Modern Jester.  Given that Dilloway has long been one of the most influential figures in the American noise scene, it is no surprise that The Gag File is a bizarre, aberrant, and fine album.  That said, some aspects were still deliciously wrong-headed enough to catch me off-guard (though the cover art should have been a fair warning).  At its best, The Gag File transcends mere noise entirely and ventures into realms that feel like a vivid kitschy nightmare or the infernal horror of an endless bad party.

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Félicia Atkinson, "Hand in Hand"

cover imageFélicia Atkinson's radical artistic transformation over the last several years has been quite an interesting one, as each new release seems to distance her further and further from her excellent work as Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier and into much stranger and more challenging territory.  With her last major statement, 2015's A Readymade Ceremony, Atkinson shifted the focus away from music towards a strong emphasis on whispered spoken-word performance of repurposed found texts mingled with George Bataille and her own poetry.  Hand in Hand goes still further in that direction, often reducing the accompanying music to an absolute minimum to focus almost entirely on an eclectic and evocative array of hushed readings from old plant books, magazines, JG Ballard, Philip K. Dick, and her own writings.  The overall effect is often wonderfully surreal and intimate, but Atkinson’s hyper constrained and minimal palette does not offer enough melodicism or dynamic variety to quite carry a full album.  A few of the individual pieces, however, are quite mesmerizing (particularly the closing "No Fear But Anticipation").

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Valerie Forgione

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

Of, "Rocks Will Open"
cover image Loren Chasse is a busy man. A founding member of the famed Jewelled Antler Collective, he also takes part in projects as varied as the delicate dronescapes of Thuja and the woodsy pop of The Blithe Sons, both of which also feature label co-founder Glenn Donaldson. When he sets out on his own though, Chasse opts for the Of moniker, and it is in this habitat that he seems most at ease. Combining ambient subtlety with a dense and immersive drone aesthetic, Chasse creates initimate sonic structures that seem to resonate from the earth itself.
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