the brainwashed brain
a weekly digest from the staff and contributors of brainwashed
V05I19 - 05192002
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four tet shares a bill with richard h. kirk
Kieran Hebden, as Four Tet and Richard H. Kirk, formerly of Cabaret Voltaire, will be playing on Friday, May 24th at a Simian-curated evening at St Peter's Heritage Centre (310 Kennington Lane), Vauxhall. For more information, check out www.wearesimian.com. A new Four Tet 7" single, 'I'm On Fire' is out now on Domino while The Grey Area of Mute will be releasing a Cabaret Voltaire 'Best Of' and box set of unreleased and rare material in early autumn.

hafler illness
Andrew Mckenzie of Hafler Trio has been diagnosed with Hepatitis B. In order to fund treatment and provide support for his children in the worst case scenario, he is selling H3O items from his archive to those interested. For more detailed information, please email Mckenzie directly at h3o@veda.is.

flesh eating ants release limited run of EKS lp
LPD singer Edward Ka-Spel's 'Tanith and the Lion Tree' was originally released in 1991 on Third Mind Records. Edward had always planned for Tanith to be released on vinyl, but due to label concerns, this had never come to be. Now, over a decade later, flesh eating ants records is proud to bring Tanith and the Lion Tree to the medium it was always meant to be released on. Early June 2002, will see Tanith and the Lion Tree being released as a double LP on grey, 220 gram audiophile vinyl (using direct metal mastering for the highest sound quality), in a limited edition of 512 copies. Pre-orders and MP3 samples are available now at www.flesheatingants.com.

MUSIC IN REVIEW

Mm, "Finally We Are No One"
Fat Cat
In the course of just over a year's time, Mm has captured the attention of music fans worldwide, through a debut full-length album, two albums of various mixes, and more than a handful of collaborative work and compilation appearances. (Their adorable looks and their ambiguous song titles probably didn't hurt by adding to their appeal either.) Perhaps the most often associated words concerning a sophomore album after such a large success are both anticipation and expectation. This album could very well possibly be one of this year's most anticipated releases, but the amount of expectations it exceeds is unmeasurable. I have to admit that at first, I was rather taken aback with the amount of vocals on the disc, but there's also a much larger presence of non-synthetic instruments on the whole, including accordion, guitar, bass, strings, horns, melodica, percussion and organic effects. The quartet use everything wisely, never saturating any song with an abundance of instruments which would render these songs impossible to recreate live. Thomas Brinkmann may have been playing his records' inside grooves but not until the sounds of those lock grooves combined with Mm's signature wistful lullabye sound on the third track, "We Have a Map of the Piano" do those groove sounds feel like they have been properly harnessed. Mm's years of experience with improvisation and collaboration have undoubtedly given them a necessary unique approach in taking that necessary step to bring more human elements back into electronic music. It's probably why they have gained so much recognition by both the electronic music and indie rock crowds. Fear not the evolution, however, as there are a number of pretty, instrumental, digital songs which could please any fan of their previous work. Any fanatic lucky enough to order their CD-R and other obscure releases will indeed recognize a few melodies contained herein. They make it seem so damned easy, with the glitchy beats retired to the back of the mix underneath organ, accordion and string counterpoint on truly jaw-dropping climactic songs like "I Can't Feel My Hand Any More, It's Allright, Sleep Still" just before the masterpiece title track, which could easily be the 'nod' to 'Yesterday Was Dramatic...'. If you didn't fall in love with the twin girls with their photo on the Belle and Sebastian cover ('Fold Your Hands Child...') their voices on the 11-minute album closer, "The Land Between Solar Systems" will most certainly win your heart. [Hopefully since their first band was a Pixies cover, they'll be enthusiastic about playing Boston. In which case, I'd be more than happy being a tour guide for a few days. How about it?] Fanatics of the Icelandic language and Mm die-hards should note that there's a super limited edition with the vocal songs in Icelandic available only from Bad Taste. - Jon Whitney

samples:


The Epidemic, "I Am Compltely Oprationa l"
Ache
Occasionally that CD comes along that is almost bizarrely unique, practically defying description due to its out-of-the-ordinary construction and hard to quantify affect on you. The Epidemic is certainly not a band that belongs on decidedly punk Ache Records, but that seems to be the point. The solo side project for Andy Dixon of d.b.s., and he's chosen a peculiar sonic path. "I Am Compltely Oprationa l" is a quirky debut release, combining an indie rock sensibility with vague electronic flashes and jilting experimentation with arrangements. Tracks start in one direction, abandon it and its tempo, and evolve into something else, usually better, only to flutter and fade over time from that structure to begin a new track. It's very engrossing, slightly confusing, and, ultimately, utterly creative. Vocal harmonies are delicate and slight, but beautiful; guitar lines blend together, playfully, then dissapear; electronic pulses, beeps, whistles, and howls come in, go out, feedback, and otherwise convolute, but never in a distracting way. Dixon's voice sounds like a combination of Blair Shehan (The Jealous Sound, Knapsack) and Ben Folds. It works well for this music, and for these lyrics: 'The West Coast As A Robot,' while featuring the robot-voiced sample that gives the album its title, also features the lines "Vancouver lifts like a cancer recovery" and "You don't have to make a hospital bed/cut her dosage in half." Someone had a horrible time in British Columbia. But still, the music is very sweet in a slightly disturbing way, full of gorgeous melodies and steady rhythms. This is the logical extension of emo: add some electronics, still make the kids sway at the shows, and punish them with lyrics of fury that are understated. Even the playful poke at the band's moniker how it relates to another well known band whose title is the anithesis of theirs, 'Robert Smith Vs. Crosstown Music,' is extremely tongue and cheek with a killer guitar line and synthesizer horns (plus the line "I'd listen to Disintregration if I owned it on vinyl, but the record store never seems to have it in"). It really is quite lovely, even if a bit short, and I look forward to hearing more from The Epidemic. - Rob Devlin

samples:


JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, "PLASTIC FANG"
Matador (North America) / Mute (UK)
EMI buys Mute? Robert Rental, Michael Karoli and Frank Tovey die. Did they fall or were they pushed? Are EMI hitmen knocking off the less lucrative Mute artists so that back catalog can be hastily deleted with little complaint? Did anyone notice when they kidnapped Jon Spencer, entrapped him behind the Green Door and replaced him with Shakin' Stevens, that top 80s Welsh Elvis impersonator? There is some shakin' rock'n'roll going on tonight in this ole house, but these ears are just hearing a lot of mouldy old dough. The fang has little bite but chews on anyway in plastic denim clad daddy-o sideburn style. The only part comparable in excitement to former Blues Explosion fun is the moment when opening track "Sweet 'N' Sour" crunches to a stop and fires up again. I wish Shaky luck in this new found career and hope he will let Jon free without too much brainwashing. No sound files on this one. Let the corporate-u-lent fill up their own webspace. Genesis P. Orridge watch your back! - Graeme Rowland

764 Hero, "Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere"
Tiger Style
764 Hero, I feel, have never really received the acclaim and notices they deserve. And why? Their contemporaries in Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, who 764 Hero even did a split EP with, have gone on from Up Records to great acclaim and larger audiences. True, they signed to major labels to do so. And maybe that's what separated 764 Hero. They aren't willing to make sacrifices to move ahead. This, their fourth full-length on Tiger Style Records, is a breath of fresh air for the band, and it sounds like they had the time of their lives making it. A slight change of line-up - bass player James Bertram left the band, replacing him is Robin P, who, coincidentally, plays bass for Modest Mouse on tour - means a slight change in the name, too, apparently, as this is the first 764 Hero record without a hyphen in the band's name. It's the little things that count. With Phil Ek at the boards once again, the band has a great straightforward rock sound, showcasing their strengths in spades, even when they are slowing down the pace a bit. John Atkins has always sounded a bit like Doug Martsch from Built to Spill with his delivery, and on this record he embraces it with gusto, belting out each track as though it were his last attempt, and it's clearer in the mix than ever before. The band is tighter than ever, the songs are more confident and catchy. Atkins' lyrics are quirky, as always, providing fluent descriptions of change. This is the album that will get this band the individual notice they deserve. Let's hope so, at least. - Rob Devlin

samples:


BURNT FRIEDMAN & JAKI LIEBEZEIT, "SECRET RHYTHMS"
Nonplace
Two of Germany's renowned rhythmists unite. 'Secret Rhythms' is very much in line with Burnt Friedman's usual repertoire and Liebezeit's beats fit right in. So much so it's difficult to discern who does what where. Not that it matters. Each of the 10 tracks fuses percussion, bass, keys, vibraphones by Copenhagen's Morten Grnvad and strains of Josef Suchy's electric guitar into a gravity defying sort of ambient electro jazz. Friedman foregoes samples, such as the many spoken ones found on last year's 'Plays Love Songs', to keep the mix instrumental and minimal but also very open and very comfortable. Track four begins an all too brief dub deviation. "Shades of Soddin Orion" and "Rastafahndung" are stunning examples of what happens when Friedman applies his musical physics to, and thus redefines, dub. "Shades.." is the album highlight, a gorgeous deep space journey of slippery bass and guitar notes and microscopic sound soup. The disc concludes with three versions of "Obscured by 5" - short, Nonplace (Friedman's label) remix and 13 plus minute extended. The finale is the most satisfying with a lengthy stretch of little more than gentle steel drums and the hustle and bustle of an unidentifiable inner city. Perhaps this is the secret rhythm Friedman and Liebezeit have found and wish to expose to the rest of the world. - Mark Weddle

samples:


Brick Layer Cake, "Whatchamacallit"
Touch and Go
Jesus, Brick Layer Cake is a strange "band." Todd Trainer's (Shellac, Rifle Sport) one-man project that allows him to step out in front of the kit occasionally, hasn't released a record since "Tragedy Tragedy" in 1994. Trainer took the occasion of hs moving to Chicago to record with Steve Albini, and he plays every note, every beat, and sings every line on "Whatchamacallit." And it's just getting weirder, folks. Again, it's the same formula: simple song stuctures, slower tempos, and all driven by low register growl of contempt. Hell, it's even the same type of cover photo as the last record. And the only thing that has changed is that apparently Trainer's contempt for most things around him. It's increased exponentially. From the first track, 'Stars,' Trainer is shredding people and situations apart. This is the harshest song with that title EVER. Sample lyric: "One who fucked straight to the fucking top and didn't fucking stop fucking/blows everyone off." The music itself leaves a lot to be desired, as it's often a bit cacaphonous with one crunchy guitar and one wailing guitar clashing. When it comes together, though, it's pretty good. 'Softie,' for instance is just plain sinister, and would work very well if BLC played a haunted house. The problem is that since Marilyn Manson and others have used Trainer's vocal delivery style in the past few years, it's become very stale. It doesn't have the same affect, in fact on repeated listens I skip most tracks. It all sounds incredibly juvenile, particularly because of the lyrics, specifically the use of the "fuck" word. If you liked BLC before, you'll probably like this one. I'm gonna say it was pretty good the first listen, pretty boring on repeated ones, and definitely listen before you buy. - Rob Devlin

samples:


We know that sometimes these CDs are somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.

NEW RELEASES

WEEK OF MAY 19-25
Dot Allison - We Are Science CD/LP (Mantra, UK)
Laurie Anderson - Live At Town Hall: New York City Sept 19-20 2001 2xCD (Nonesuch, US)
Aquasky vs, Masterblaster - Beat The System 4xLP (Botchit & Scarper, UK)
Asa-Chang & Junray - Hana 12" (Leaf, UK)
Babalu - The Ultra Wide Band Meets The Mighty Babalu Pt. 2 CD (Kindercore/Electronic Watusi Boogaloo, US)
Baby Dee - Love's Small Song 2xCD (Durtro/World Serpent, UK)
Boyracer - To Get A Better Hold... CD (555, US)
Bright Lights - Bright Lights CD (555, US)
* Capitol K - Island Row CD (Beggars Banquet, US)
Christ - Pylonesque LP (Benbecula, Scotland)
* Cujo [Amon Tobin] - Adventures in Foam 2xCD/2xLP [reissue with bonus material] (Ninja Tune, UK)
Desert - I See The Light 12" (Future Groove/Mute, US)
DJ Shadow - You Can't Go Home Again 12"/CDEP (Island/Universal, UK)
DJ Spooky/Various - Modern Mantra CD (Shadow, US)
Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma CD (Mego, Austria)
Figurine - The Discard CDEP (555, US)
Fila Brazillia - We Build Arks 12" [mixes by Q Burns Abstract Message & Hawke] (23, UK)
Folie - Misspass CD (Mitek, Sweden)
Freq Nasty/Various - Y4K: Next Level Breaks CD/3xLP/three sampler 12"s (Distinctive Breaks, UK)
Guardner - Somedays In My Life CD (Electrolux, Germany)
David Grubbs - Rickets & Scurvy CD/LP (Fat Cat, UK)
Guided By Voices - Back to the Lake 7" (Fading Captain, US)
The Herbaliser - Something Wicked 12"/CDEP (Ninja Tune, UK)
HOH - I Wanna Be A Rhythm CD (Fuck Subtle Recordings, Norway)
Edward Ka-Spel - O'er a shalabast'r tyde strolt ay LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, US)
Naoki Kenji - Denshi Ongaku CD (Electrolux, Germany)
Kettel - Smiling Little Cow CD/2xLP (Neo Ouija, UK)
Kid 606/DJ Rupture - split 7" (Tigerbeat6, US)
Kid 606/Printed Circuit - split 7" (Tigerbeat6, US)
The Loveletter Band - Even The Pretty Girls CD (555, US)
Marumari - The Remixes CD [mixes by Electric Company, To Rococo Rot, Lusine, Cex, Greg Davis, Casino vs. Japan, Lackluster and Stars As Eyes] (Carpark, US)
Mrz - Love Streams CD/LP (Karaoke Kalk, Germany)
Takagi Masakatsu - Opus Pia DVD/CD (Carpark, US)
MRI - All That Glitters CD/2xLP (Force Tracks, Germany)
Mm - Finally We Are No One CD/2x10" (Fat Cat, UK)
Nurse With Wound - Man With the Woman Face LP [limited clear vinyl edition] (United Dairies/World Serpent, UK)
Pan American - Renzo 12" (Vertical Form, UK)
Pantytec - Pony Slaystation CD (Perlon, Germany)
Posthuman - Posthuman CD/LP (Seed, UK)
Printed Circuit - Acrobotics CDEP (555, US)
Psychic TV - Snowflake 7" picture disc [ltd to 200 copies] (Klanggalerie, Austria)
Radioactive Man - Dive & Lie Wrecked 12" (Rotter's Golf Club, UK)
Sica - Partially Function Stub CD (Neo Ouija, UK)
Sol Invictus - Thrones LP [limited signed edition] (Tursa/World Serpent, UK)
Souvenir - There Is Only One Thing Left Now 7" (Tummy Touch, UK)
Speedy J - Bugmod 12"/CDEP (Novamute, UK/US)
Sutekh/Swayzak - Wavemail Project 12" (Two Hundred & Forty Volts, UK)
The The - 45 RPM: The Singles Of The The 2xCD (Columbia/Epic, UK/US)
Various - A Room Full Of Tuneful CD [with Chessie, Minotaur Shock, Pedro, Empire State and more] (Melodic, UK)
Various - Australian Pop CD (555, US)
Various - Documenta II CD/2xLP [with Mice Parade, Tarwater, Savath & Savalas, Lali Puna, Labradford and more] (Agenda, UK)
Various - Friendly Selection CD (Beatservice, Norway)
Various - Instrumentals: Staedtizism 3 CD/2xLP [with Andrew Pekler, Bus, Kit Clayton, John Tejada and more] (~scape, Germany)
Various - Mission Three: Establishing Electronix Network CD/2xLP [with Adult, Jolly Music, Mat101, Marco Passarani and more] (Nature, Italy)
Various - Roots Of Dub Funk 2 CD (Tanty, UK)
Luke Vibert/Various - Firther Nuggets CD (Lo, UK)
James Yorkston & The Atheletes - St. Patrick CD/LP (Domino, UK)

This is simply this week's highlights from the NEW RELEASES provided by Greg and Feedback Monitor.
For a more detailed schedule stretching into the future, please check out the site,
since release dates can and will often change.
CONCERT REPORT

Fischerspooner
Deitch Projects, NYC, Wednesday, May 15, 2002
I saw Fischerspooner perform last fall during the Electro-Clash festival, so I had an idea what was in store for me as I entered Deitch Projects in Soho for the first of six Fischerspooner shows this past week—lip syncing, a lot of dancing, outrageous costumes, in-between-song 'backstage' banter, false starts. Electro-Clash, however, was held in Exit, a ridiculously huge cheesy dance club, and Deitch Projects, normally a white-walled art gallery, was completely retooled specifically for Fischerspooner and turned into a theater-techie's dream (or nightmare). There were stages on three of the four walls connected by a series of catwalks, two different levels and a set of bleachers for the audience, and an enormous skeletal rig of light and smoke machines. Clearly Fischerspooner wants to make an impression with their shows, and the hype must have worked because the place was beyond packed (the shows were free but incredibly hard to get reservations for—how I got in remains a mystery). There were a lot of industry types lurking about, and supposedly a lot of celebrities too, though the only one I spotted was Jim Jarmusch, but he's hard to miss. A Fischerspooner show is not really about the music—if you've heard the CD, then you know what the music will sound like live, since they pretty much just play the CD (if you don't know, breifly: it's Euro/Detroit-influenced electro, and very well-crafted in my opinion). Live, Fischerspooner is an amalgam of the extremes of dance, theater, cabaret, comedy, costumes, lights, smoke, video and film (and the music, of course); a glam-rock show to end all glam-rock shows. Maybe it's the concentration of so many mediums in one act that's made them darlings of the art world, but my reaction to a Fischerspooner show is more along the lines of "Wow, this is fun!" than it is "Ah, what geniuses they are!" The elaborate set-up at Deitch turned out to be very well thought out in that no matter where you were in the audience, at some point you were going to be right near the action; at any given point the 15 or so dancers/performers could be on one or all of the three stages or somewhere in-between. Generally, the numbers weren't too different from what I saw at Exit, but being in the middle of the action made it much more impressive, especially with frontman Casey Spooner's elaborate costume changes. Particularly notable was Casey posing in the wind machine, pictured here (that's how close we were to the stage—that was taken by my date without zoom), which I remember from Electro-Clash but enjoyed more now that I could basically touch the guy working the wind machine. What really makes a Fischerspooner show stand out is what goes on between songs. Casey and the other dancers all had headset mics or lapel mics so that when they talked to each other about the next number, everyone in the audience could hear too, breaking the barrier between performer and audience down. Most of this banter was pretty obviously scripted, giving the show more of a theatrical feel, but some of it was obviously ad-libbed, and Casey and the rest were pretty clever given the circumstances, and it definitely made the entire experience a little less pretentious. At one point Casey pointed to a cameraman whose wires were in his path and said jokingly, "You're interrupting my craft!" Part of this intentional behind-the-scenes act were false mistakes - Casey pretending to trip at the beginning of a song and cutting the music off to start over, and, in the case of the closer, "Emerge," having someone miss a cue in the last 30 seconds, prompting a re-do of the entire song. By the time the show ended, the temperature in Deitch had risen about 25 degrees and I was sweating in a T-shirt, even though I'd barely moved, and we were all herded out the doors so Fischerspooner could get ready for the 10 PM show; to me that's an impressive physical commitment as a performer. Like I mentioned earlier, the show was a lot of fun and there's no denying that, but I'm not going to say that Fischerspooner are the Genius Art Gods that some people have been making them out to be. I'd be very interested, though, to see where their live shows go from here; if I see Fischerspooner perform in six months or a year, will it be more of the same, or will there be something new up their elaborately costumed sleeve? - Nate Smith


Robert Rich
Cowell Theatre, Sunday May 12 2002
This was truly a wonderful experience. Never having had the chance to see Mr. Rich live prior to this event, I was not sure exactly what to expect, but the pleasant and relaxed image I inferred from the advertisement of the event turned out to be completely true. A better setting I could not have chosen: a wonderfully intimate concert, with about 50 people in the audience and Robert up on stage (a mere 15-20 feet away from me). Robert had with him his enormous modular analog synthesizer, which glowed and had pulsating lights all over it, looking like something out of Star Trek. He was also equipped with a couple synths (I recognized a Nord Lead), a laptop, and some gear hidden behind a stand.

After some soothing music (Robert's?), he came on stage and sat at a strange looking piano. Never seen one like it. Not a typical grand piano, it looked almost like a player piano, with the strings arranged vertically, which let you see what it looked like while it was being played. He played a delightful short piano bit, which I later learned was exclusive to live shows (though he was considering releasing some of his piano work on CD). This beautiful piece warmed the audience up for the first set, a forty-minute set of Rich's trademark "glurps" and electronic ambience. He tweaked his giant synth, triggered some stuff on the keyboards, and for an excellent live accompaniment, played (and edited in real-time) a steel guitar. The guitar added a wonderful melancholy tinge to the otherwise swirling ambience and it was great to see him play it. I'm only slightly familiar with Robert Rich's music, and I haven't had the chance to listen to his new electronic stuff, but judging from the show, I'm missing out. Any fan of Fax Records or that blissful style of mid-90s synthesizer ambience would have been in heaven.

The second set followed a short intermission, and as Robert explained, this second set was more akin to his older work - i.e., lots of tribal/Indian influences and a more rhythmic, active set than before. Percussion was in full force here, and it was used beautifully, sometimes triggered by Robert's keyboards and other times pre-recorded. For the most part Robert ditched the steel guitar and instead beautifully played an assortment of flutes - Indian flutes, I believe - which fit right in with the other stuff going on.

The whole show was somewhat short - about two hours of music - but it was truly wonderful. The setting and the venue proved to be as essential as the music, and everything fit together perfectly. I also have to say how refreshing it is to see and speak with a musician so down-to-earth and unpretentious as Robert was - you can only take so much hardcore spooky dark-doom-death ambience for so long before it starts to wear on your nerves. Robert said he may play at Neurosis's Neurot festival this November, and if he does, I'll be sure not to miss out. - Chris Zaldua

TURNTABLE HELL, MANCHESTER BAND ON THE WALL
Friday, May 17, 2002
Band on Wall late opening. Nipped across road to pub for a piss. Trickling urinal water mixed with Blondie hanging on telephones. Outside milled younger man Keloid and older man Wand. Soon inside, seven turntable hellraisers from all four corners took up their slip mats. Black Sabbath blared and black curtain backdrop half collapsed to reveal cut up venue name and n the all. This seemed appropriate for the occasion. All went quiet and ears were pricked to pick out minimal scrapings of a compositon from Australian Helltablist Martin Ng. Video feed overhanging courtesy of Ben Drew closed up to objects rendered unrecognisable in their magnification, and was a fitting accompaniment to the microscopic movements characterising Ng's Cageian atomscape. The 'Zero' emblazoned on Lepke B's T-shirt also seemd aptly descriptive of Ng's low key approach. At the back Janek Schaefer tapped out a tiny rhythm on a turntable arm and New Yorker Marina Rosenfeld swayed sexily. Eruption of Otomo! Cymbal crashed to Otomo's turntable stage right. He lifted the whole thing off the table and shook it with glee sending a knee shaking bass throb from the amp on which he perched. Japanese Helltablist Yoshihide yet again proved himself a master of comedic feedback sculpting. Video resembled a morphing abstracted linescape of the original 'Faust Tapes' sleeve. Then a high droning Janek Schaefer construction to wind down the opening triad. French Canadian Martin Tetreault took the lead for a performance of his as yet unfinished cartridge piece on which he and Paul Hood stood to let rip some well fucked up noises as they dangled the needleless cartridges from their wires and crashed them all about. After bar hopping interval the second half proved to be much more plunderphonic, with Paul Hood conducting everyone for a while as if he was having the time of his life. Tetreault asked the crowd to name a Helltable excursion and misheard some wag shouting, "Bollocks!" as "Boing!" The video fed close ups of the turntables and they'd been smart enough to get Otomo's priceless grin into focus. It was nice to see how Schaefer's legendary triphonic turntable looked. Steve Noble's cut up Shakespeare recordings were rib tickling, but it was perhaps Marina Rosenfeld who really shone with a beautifully arranged emerging soundscape of lost memory shards. As she indicated its end, Tetreault cheekily ran one more loop. Latterly Lepke B played the humour card and beer slopped to the dance floor. I was lucky enough to be able to buy the last copy of the excellent Amoebic 'Turntable Solos' compilation at the well stocked CD stall. Those in the South of England still have a chance to witness the joy of Turntable Hell over the next few days. Check cmntours.org.uk for the itinery. - Graeme Rowland

MOVIE REVIEWS

The Piano Teacher
It's funny, actually. I would have ignored this movie based on title alone. 'The Piano Teacher' could have slipped past my radar altogether if I hadn't scanned over a review of it in New York magazine, a gossip-slanted publication that offers exceptionally detailed movie and theater listings in New York City. Instead of the 16th-18th century French prodigy film I had expected, the article portrayed it as an artful take on sexual inhibitions and sadomasochism. Let me be honest here. "Artful" and "sadomasochism" belong in a sentence together about as much as "doughnut" and "metallurgy," and often make for awful speculative films and literature. So I decided to give it a shot, my only reason being that I had hoped it would be as bizarre and intriguing as 'Trouble Every Day', another French art house film I had watched recently, and maintain my interest more than typical Hollywood glut. The premise borders on the stereotypical: a reserved and bitter middle-aged woman teaches piano to adolescent and college-aged students at an esteemed conservatory, while secretly nurturing dark sexual fantasies. These, however, are kept concealed and suppressed by her own doing, and by the meddling domineering ways of her mother, who she both lives and sleeps (in the same bed) with. Into this imperfect world enters a student with amorous intentions for the unhappy professor. His flirtations with her grow ultimately into a first encounter that is both awkward and ill-timed, happening over an hour into the film. From this point on, the issue becomes the balance of power between the two, but the audience is essentially bored and will accept any outcome by this point. Sadly, I was underwhelmed by the subdued and often tedious storyline that forced the viewer to wait until close to the end for some real meaty plot twists, which were pleasantly unexpected. Perhaps that's where the real sadism lies, in torturing the audience for over 2 hours with some occasional gratification, such as a delicious scene involving vicious sabotage when the male lead focuses his flirtations on another student. And like most sexual encounters, the movie's ending leaves the viewer unfulfilled and selfishly wanting for more. I'm pretty sure that director Michael Haneke feels satisfied. Typical male. - Gary Suarez

LINKS OF THE WEEK

when you lose, do you win?
I guess some people reading this will probably enjoy losing more than winning this flash game where you get to shoot nudists! Thanks to our conservative French friends for this obsene and offensive fun! www.esel-filme.de/Fun/flash/escopeta.swf

Rolling into the future without love or sorrow
"Why is it unsurprising this sculptur is German?" asked a friend when shown www.phallic.org/alvermann. The rest of the stuff at phallic.org is mildly amusing but the sculpture is probably the most impressive.

FEEDBACK

you want my mom?

Subject: Mouse on Mars

A little bird told me you wanted a live recording of Mouse on Mars... I have an audience recording of the Calgary gig. Do you want a copy? No charge of course, I am not a bootlegger.

Well, I wrote in a review once how their live shows are much different from their recorded albums and that the band should strongly consider doing a full-on live recording release or something close to that.

I'm personally not a big fan of audience recordings usually, honestly.
Thanks for the offer, however.

Subject: Squarepusher

You know, 'Go Plastic' really isn't a good album.

It's not nearly as good as 'Big Loada' or 'Hard Normal Daddy.'

...and it took you a year to figure this one out?

Subject: [no subject]

It's all about Padme, you will drool too!!!

It sure as hell wasn't about the acting. The sabre-fights rocked however.
Did you notice the "BMF" engraved on Samuel L. Jackson's light sabre???

Subject: labels

Just wanted to say thanks for including the label name with the artist/title in the reviews. A very welcome addition to the Brain.

everything else still rocks, etc etc

Thanks. Took long enough!

Subject: Lusine ICL

You seem to have a typo in your Lusine ICL review. The links to the samples don't work, but by going to your directory full of samples, I was able to find them. It appears that your links have lusine spelled luisine_icl, while the samples are actually named lusine_icl. I am not sure which is right, but hopefully you do and can fix them. I'm just happy I got to hear the samples. :)

Keep up the good work, Mondays are always brighter thanks to The Brain!

Oops, thanks. We try our best to be here for you every Monday.

Subject: mute and stuff

The Mute thing is a bit weird, especially since they'll be releasing a bunch of very un-EMI music this year (Diamanda, TG). And I thought that geniune indie labels were getting confident again, like Rough Trade selling off The Smiths to EMI and then getting back on its feet again independently.

Consider it like a parasite/host relationship.

Subject: stars of the lid

does anyone know where a poor american can purchase some of the Belgian releases of fellow Kranky recording artists Stars of the Lid? here in the usa i can only get ahold of a few albums and i'm looking for cd's like:"Music for Nitrous Oxide"," Avec Laudenum" and so on. if anyone could provide some information on how to obtain these rare releases.....i would appreciate it.

"Nitrous Oxide" has been re-pressed and should be readily available through a number of usual channels again.

Subject: lord of the stupid

um... I be aghast... are people REALLY so stupid? Christ, I suppose so. It was the name of the book. It was the name of the damn book. Holy shit, I may come into contact with some of these people while walking down th' street and I wouldn't even know it... scary scary...

They're probably easy to spot as they'll be holding signs and waging a protest for something or other.

Subject: Drug Test

I may have a surprise drug test coming with a new job. Does anyone know how long the following drugs stay in ones system? Cocaine, mushrooms, and opium.

Aren't these tests designed to keep junkies like yourself from making my copies?

WHAT'S IN YOUR PLAYER?

the in sound from out there somewhere
bob dylan - the bootleg series volume 4: live 1966 the royal albert hall concert - columbia
nick drake - tanworth-in-arden 1967/68 - anthology
angus maclise - the invasion of thunderbolt pagoda - siltbreeze/quakebasket
the taj mahal travellers - july 15, 1972 - showboat/skystation
kluster - eruption - marginal talent
troum - tjukurrpa (part one: harmonies) - transgredient records
mimir - (first s/t) - flabbergast
nurse with wound - who can i turn to stereo - united diaries
zoviet france - mohnomishe - charrm
gyrgy ligeti - konzert fr violoncello und orchester/lontano/doppelkonzert/san francisco polyphony - wergo
joy division - closer - factory

John In, olympia, washington, usa when i should be in macclesfield, england for a day (it's may 18th)

feedback and submissions:
Brainwashed Bottle Openers
P.O. Box 7 / Arlington MA 02476 / USA
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