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Forced Exposure New Releases for 2/23/15

New music is due from Carter Tutti, Anthony Naples, and Peter Gordon, while old music is due from Piero Umiliani, The Notwist, and Eleh.


The Dead C, "The White House"

cover imageThis 1995 release is generally regarded to be one of the dirt-encrusted jewels of The Dead C's frequently perplexing discography.  For the most part, however, that place of honor is almost entirely due to just one song: the lumbering and smoldering epic "Outside."  A fairly strong case can also be made for one or two other pieces, but the remainder celebrates the trio at their messy, contrarian, hookless, and indulgent height.  Some listeners will likely find those pieces brilliantly annoying, but most (like me) will probably find them exasperatingly pointless and half-assed.  On the bright side, "Outside" is almost longer than all of the weaker pieces combined and it is about as good as noisy guitar music gets.


Dennis Young, "Reel to Real"

cover imageReel to Real collects Liquid Liquid percussionist Dennis Young's early home recordings while a member of the pioneering New York dance band.  Captured on reel-to-reel recordings, hence its (somewhat painfully cliché) title, these pieces range from random experiments to near songs that still have an endearing demo quality to them.


*AR, "Diagrams for the Summoning of Wolves"

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Being a rabid Richard Skelton fan, I was initially heartbroken when this release sold out before I could get my hands on it, but now that I have the digital version I feel quite a bit better.  As far as Skelton albums go, this is a comparatively minor one.  Also, it sounds weirdly like a solo album: while collaborator Autumn Richardson is present in name, her usual vocals are nowhere to be found.  Consisting of just a single 27-minute piece, Diagrams is a likeable, if very slow-burning, drone work built upon a characteristically groaning, melancholy string motif that casts off a (characteristically) glittering spray of harmonics.  Compared to last year's The Inward Circles album, Diagrams admittedly feels like a step back into somewhat well-trodden territory.  However, it is territory that Skelton basically owns and he ratchets up the intensity a bit more than usual this time around, so fans will probably still find plenty to enjoy about this brief dispatch.


Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, "So Long"

cover imageSigmarsson's work with the Icelandic group Stilluppsteypa frequently showcases both absurdity and dissonance heavily, and while his own work bears traces of that, divorced from any imagery, has more of a dark quality to it.  At times austere, but not at all devoid of humor, it is three long pieces that never become stagnant resulting in a gripping collection of tones and textures.


Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, "A Year With 13 Moons"

cover imageBack in 2010, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma released what is arguably his masterpiece to date, an improbably successful celebration of love entitled Love Is A Stream.  Several years later, its melancholy follow-up captures Jefre in a rather different personal and creative place, albeit one in which his talent for woozy shoegaze guitars remains wonderfully intact.  Within those confines, however, there has been a dramatic change: Stream's lush, dreamy torrent of shimmering guitar noise has been replaced with a much more fragile, fragmented, and submerged-sounding aesthetic.   The overall effect is not dissimilar to a playing a sun-warped Cocteau Twins cassette on a malfunctioning tape machine, but in a good way, as Moons evokes a unique mood of bleary, flickering, and half-lit remembrances.


Weirdo Weekly #421

Supposed to be a ton of snow again tomorrow, but the shop will absolutely be open. Foam & Ted Lee are scheduled to play, as is Ancient Origin in a makeup date from last week. If weather allows em to make it here, we'll have a great show ready to go at 8. Call or check online in the afternoon for the latest.


Theologian, "Pain of the Saints"

cover imageLee Bartow, the de facto head of Theologian (and previously Navicon Torture Technologies) has never shied away from creating intense music.  The newest release, the two disc, two and a half hour plus Pain of the Saints is daunting in both its sound and its epic length.  With regular members Matt Slagel and Fade Kainer, Theologian includes a variety of collaborators on this set, resulting in a complex, sprawling bit of sinister noise.



cover imageCombining two previous tape releases, with a special edition including a third remix CD, the enigmatic German project defy any sort of classification or clear genre identification.  The trio of Christian Dräger, Eric Bauer and Nils Lehnhäuser pull bits of ambient, jazz and drone together without ever fully locking into one style.   The pieces here drastically range from conventional structures to unadulterated, foundation shaking pure bass tones.


Disappears, "Irreal"

cover image2013's Era was a criminally underappreciated monster of an album that marked an significant, unexpected surge forward in forging a distinctive and wonderful aesthetic all Disappears' own.  I am not sure quite what I expected from this follow-up, but it certainly was not still another dramatic evolution.  That is exactly what I got though.  While I still give Era the edge from both a songwriting and simmering menace perspective, Irreal takes its predecessor's hypnotic, machine-like precision and echo-heavy minimalism and runs with it.  Admittedly, the band's brilliance is primarily stylistic this time around, but Disappears have nonetheless provided yet another thoroughly bad-ass avant-rock tour de force.

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Review of the Day

Tyondai Braxton, "History That Has No Effect"
JMZ Records
Tyondai Braxton has an intimate relationship with his guitar pedals. Every sound Braxton makes on this CD - primarily using guitar and voice - is processed through various combinations of a bevy of effects. The nine tracks on this disc are surprisingly diverse, and I imagine there's a good deal of improvisation going on. The first three tracks use only voice and guitar pedals, but you wouldn't know it - "(A Sentence Worth a Thousand Words) Great Mass" is a dense atmospheric soundscape and "Light Pitch Black, I'm Gonna Start Shining Bright!!!" is beat-heavy minimal electronica (probably the most impressive use of beat-boxing in a long time). A disc full of these voice experiments would still be interesting, but things quickly take a turn as the guitar becomes a focal instrument: there's the anthemic post-rock of "Raise Yr Arms & Cross Them", featuring a violist and cellist, and then there's the excellent "The Violent Light Through Falling Shards," where Braxton's guitar stirs up echoes of Charles Bullen over beat-boxed industrial beats and siren-like noise. In fact, the entire disc is reminiscent of This Heat, not so much in sound (though at times the comparison can be made), but in application; Braxton's hands-on computerless approach to making layered music reflects This Heat's experiments using traditional instruments combined with the live manipulation of tape loops. The final two tracks on the album feature Braxton's singing, a voice that at times almost sounds like (dare I say it) Peter Gabriel. Of these two tracks, "Struck Everywhere" is particularly engaging: a 10-minute, free-flowing melodic piece bedded on a ride cymbal loop. This disc pretty accurately replicates Braxton's live show, where he sits on the floor with a guitar and mic in the middle of a sea of wires, constantly playing, singing, and fiddling with his pedals. He's definitely got it down to an art, as I'm pretty sure all his sounds are created on the spot, with no samples. I wouldn't be surprised if most or all of the intensely-layered tracks on this disc were done in one take without overdubs. It's really an impressive disc.



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