the brainwashed brain
a weekly digest from the staff and contributors of brainwashed
V06I31 - 08102003
Click here for other issues

On Thursday, October 9th, Carter-Tutti (formerly Chris & Cosey) and CURRENT 93 will jointly headline a show at the South Bank MIND YOUR HEAD festival. This is the first British show ever by Carter-Tutti (doesn't it sound like a law firm?), and the last Current 93 show in 2003. Tickets go on sale on 10:00 AM (GMT) on Monday, 11th August and are available from the Royal Festival Hall Box Office. Doors open at 7:15 PM and the show is scheduled to start promptly at 7:45pm. Please note: this is seated venue only, and all tickets are for a specific seat reservation, not for a "sit where you want" seat. For more information, see

be a guest dj at brainwashed radio!
Didn't you always want to be a DJ when you grew up? Now, Brainwashed Radio is giving the opportunity for readers/listeners to be a DJ! Here's what we want you to do: pick out an imaginary playlist of music from bands and labels hosted here at brainwashed (hint: see the home page and follow the links to artists, archives and companies) and record some MP3s introducing yourself and introducing the songs, what albums they're from and what they mean to you! Arrange the playlist in an email (don't email songs, just email the artists and titles) and send MP3s for the times in between certain songs you want to break. We'll pick the DJs who have the most variety (hence, it won't get you anywhere if you only choose Coil songs) and we'll start putting up DJ sets here and there. So get thinking about your dream playlists, record your voice and send some compressed MP3 (32 kbps, mono) and a playlist to radio at brainwashed dot commmmmm and we'll announce your sets on the brainwashed radio page! Best of luck.


Chairkickers: Singing everybody's songs
25 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video Alan Sparhawk of Low went around on tour with other Chairkickers recording acts and fellow Duluth residents If Thousands and Haley Bonar. The Eye caught two performances: one night in Cambridge, MA at the Middle East and the following night upstairs at the AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island. Low fans will enjoy two brand new unreleased Low tunes "Everybody's Song" and "When I Go Deaf." (Look for Dan Littleton of Ida in the background trying to keep up with the song!)

25 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video


  • A current web browser
  • A modern computer
  • The latest quicktime plugin for streaming media


  • A fast connection
  • A willingness to learn


  • 'tude

If you see a blank window without anything streaming, don't complain to us. You don't have the latest version of Quicktime for streaming media. Go download it. It's free.


Broadcast, "haha sound"
Over three years after the release of their full-length debut, The Noise Made by People, Broadcast have returned full force with a truly exceptional follow-up. While staying true to their moody, late '60s psychedelia-influenced core sound, the band opens up further to make their retro-based stylings something that is truly all their own. Haha Sound is both more playful and more experimental than its successor, evidenced in the opening track, "Colour Me In." Trish Keenan's vocals are sweet and girlish, offsetting the ghostly machinations and audible squeaks in the background. Her vocals, however, are more often haunting and melodic such as on "Before We Begin," "Man Is Not a Bird," and "Ominous Cloud," while on "Pendulum," the first single from the record, Trish's voice sounds slightly emotionally detached. On "Minim," they cascade like a hypnotic waterfall, and she turns "Valerie" into a lullabye. The lyrics are full of rich, abstract imagery—like "If green is chasing the hills over miles / If blue is pursuing the sky" on "Colour Me In;" and "Shake your earrings over my head / Lay down your dreams on my pillow before bed" from "Valerie"—that suits Broadcast's music well.
Percussion is without doubt a centerpiece of Haha Sound. The band's drummer Steve Perkins shines. Throughout he helps ground the fey electronics and balance out the airy vocals. The combination of these three has its greatest success on the song "Lunch Hour Pops," which is possibly also one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded. Other outstanding titles on the record which demostrate a good blend of all the band's strengths include "Man Is Not a Bird," "Before We Begin," and "Winter Now." These are dotted with a handful of short instrumentals like "Black Umbrellas" and "DistORSION."
The overall ambience of Haha Sound is sweeping and spaceous. Although the instrumentation and pruduction is tight, the result is not one of preciousness or overbearance. All the songs feel like they have room to breathe, without being so extraneous as to need 70+ minutes for an album. Instead it clocks in at a compact 45 minutes. Although I am typically hesistant to attach superlatives when describing an album, I nevertheless must admit that Broadcast has released what is hands down one of the finest albums of the year. It is undoubtably a remarkable achievement for the humble little band from Birmingham. - Jessica Tibbits


Nina Nastasia, "Run To Ruin"
Touch and Go
These songs make me into another person. I'm a criminal, then a scared little boy, and the next minute I'm the loner walking through the desert with a storm at my back. Nina Nastasia forces me to assume these roles with her voice in my ear and her guitars cutting down at me like vicious slaps. One minute I'm in quiet solitude, hiding in a thicket and the next I'm being whipped around by a squall bursting with lightning and unexhaustable power. Run to Ruin is just that: powerful and excited. Nastasia's voice is absolutely entrancing and the instrumentation is a fluid swarm of acoustic strumming, near-classical arrangements, and cabaret-styled, instrumental passages. "We Never Talked" starts the album as the perfect preface. Nastasia's lyrics are somewhat vague and manage to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery in every song, but especially on the opener. "In the car, you'd have brought it up / But I went on about that job / All the love I have left you won't know / All the fear I have left you won't know." The way it's sung puts a knot in my stomach every time... and then the storm begins. "I Say That I Will Go" is a story about keeping a promise. It has a deliciously twisted ending that suggests all sorts of mischievousness. Violins, cellos, banjo, dulcimer, piano, and some distinctive drumming from Jim White of Dirty Three drift, collide, and wail with Nastasia's excellent story-telling and clear, graceful, and at times absolutely earth-shattering voice. Though the album runs at just over thirty minutes long, each song is full of character and developed completely. There's more variety on Run to Ruin than on most albums that last twice as long. "The Body" begins like an imitation-baroque piece and "On Teasing" sounds like a tale told by gypsies around camp fire; it features an instrumental duel that sounds as if it comes from the spirit world. "You Her and Me" creates a hybrid sound that holds country and folk music dear to the heart but is much more bare and delicate. Despite all the acoustic and familiar instruments used, this is a unique album with a myriad of styles and alien melodies. Every time I play this record, it's like being transported to another world. Not one song is disposable and after the album stops, I have this incredible urge to play it again just so I can drift away. - Lucas Schleicher


Disko B
Austrian-born Rancho Relaxo All Stars collaborator Susanne Brokesch is an electronic-based sound artist whose work has resulted in various outputs such as group art shows, soundtrack work and several recordings under her own name as well as the pseudonyms of Sil and Sil Electronics. Her latest release, So Easy, Hard To Practice, is mostly a collection of various soundscapes and minimalist-type compositions where, at times, the rhythms are implied more than outright stated. What I found to be interesting about this disc is Brokesch's arrangement of synthetic sound patches, which at times convey a somewhat organic feel. The mild pulsing of "Confidence" lays beneath a wash of obscure drones and sci-fi movie lasergun blast sounds with the occasional squelch until sparse, linear drum machine patterns move in to take the track out. "Bel Air Mix 1" is a nice and subtle blend of reverbed synthesizer chords and heaving electro-cello over top of quiet, swinging drum machine tom-tom and snare hits which fade in and out throughout the mix. Rounding out the disc's forty minutes is the somewhat out of place and longest track, aptly titled "Dancing." The mid-tempo programmed rhythms and syncopated bass end thump away against a backdrop of flitting, somewhat harsh treated synths and other near-industrial type sounds. The introduction of electro percussion and handclaps add to the dance elements which are already very prominent. Although too fractured to be considered an ambient-type disc and generally lacking a steady pulse for head nodding, the interesting make up of So Easy, Hard To Practice finds a fair middle ground that had me following the shifts without it being too obvious. - Gord Fynes


The Swords Project, "Entertainment is Over if You Want It"
Arena Rock
The title of this album leads one to wonder if it is in a way, a sly indictment of certain purveyors of experimental, progressive, or post-rock music that they themselves are one of. Are they trying to say that perhaps these genres are somewhat more susceptible to self-indulgence at the expense of entertainment? In any case, the members of the Swords Project are at least saying that we have a choice in the matter and in that spirit they seize control of their musical destiny presenting an album that is both complex and enjoyable. Their music has a shimmering, buoyant quality that wraps around itself in a dizzying assemblage of layers. "City Life" is a veritable möbius strip, beginning with the faint, choppy voice of vocalist seeping through a pastiche of programmed train-chugging drumbeats, static, and electronic manipulation. The beats soon crackle into live drums and a flickering melody begins to unfold, floating without an anchor in the music surrounding it, like catching faint sight of a porch light through a thicket of trees. It sounds as if the core of the song is bursting from within with only enough energy to fall back into itself and repeat the same process once again, leaving behind a mesmerizing vapor trail as it sinks back to earth. "MD11" reveals a cleaner sound, moving swiftly and building off of a single melodic idea throughout the song. It seems like more of a rock song than the tracks that precede even as it briefly delves into a stutter-glitch bridge. "Cocktails and Shuttlecocks" continues in this vein, though it progresses in a more subdued shoegazer style, utilizing a violin for dramatic effect amidst the warm bass lines and gentle melody. "Audience of One" takes the atmosphere of that previous track and expands upon it instrumentally, and by using minimal whispered vocals the band allows the violin to take the forefront in what makes for a really impressive long piece. They balance space and dynamics extremely well, building tension and taking the music through peaks and valleys that make the track a true standout. "Immigracion" presents itself as a rather standard indie rock song, perhaps more in the vein of Death Cab for Cutie than any of the references the band itself might name check. By this point in the album, it seems like the collage aspects presented in "City Life" have been altogether abandoned, and that is a shame, but what remains is still an interesting collection of songs that have a knack for melody played by a band in perfect harmony with one another. The Swords Project closes with "New Shapes," a long, droning track that incorporates some elements of their earlier flair, but never commits to the sound fully. The song is slow to develop, but with patience the final minutes take off into a propulsive workout. Throughout the album, the percussion is a major highlight. It fits each composition perfectly, knowing the right time to sit back and let the rest of the band squall along and when to push through the din to give the piece a little extra oomph. Entertainment is Over if You Want It seems to lean away from the more brazen attempts at experimentation of it's contemporaries, instead bringing these elements into the music in brief spurts or bursts. At its core is just good music, approached with a sense of what makes for a compelling and enjoyable listen. - Michael Patrick Brady


Greg Davis, "Precursors"
Greg Davis has spent the past few years finding the perfect cross between the real and the artificial, manufacturing music that is part traditional instrumentation, part electronic samplings. Precursors is presumably named for the fact that these songs precede his new album, and offer hints to the songs he's been working on. The frequent tourmate of Hrvatski has apparently unearthed something heretofore uncharted within himself, as these songs represent a marked departure from his usual style, and also a less organized vision. Where before Davis would use acoustic guitars and electronic percussion to create a relaxed mood, "Lightning Proves to be Unnecessary" opens with an almost cacophonous display of noise. Organs are melded to electronic scratches and other noises that build and grow to what seems like a forced climax. Then silence. Farm noises fill the air next, as a rooster crows and birds can be heard in the distance. It's the battle, the anger, the blood and bone crushes, and then suddenly elysium. Acoustic guitar and organs play out a funeral march or fitting tribute to a fallen comrade. Although the melody grows monotonous over the brief length of the track, there is a beauty to it all that warms the heart nonetheless. On the flipside is more percussion-less music from Davis, with clarinet, melodica, Rhodes piano, and guitar forming a simple yet swelling progression. Eventually more instruments are added, creating a jarring stutter with instruments playing on the up and down beats. Full-sounding while delicate, the track never progesses much past that, but luckily it never threatens or promises to. It's all very minimalist, and a new start for Davis, one that should hopefully see more complicated structures come to fruition. This is just a taste, and a good one at that. - Rob Devlin


Vibracathedral Orchestra/Phonophani, "Milkland 2"
Safe as Milk/Melektronikk
The second single in the Safe as Milk/Melektronikk collaborative Milkland series brings together two subjects that couldn't be more opposite from each other, and that seems to be part of the point. Safe as Milk is a Norwegian label that releases acts more rock in nature, while its sister label Melektronikk specializes in acts that are experimental electronic; so any collaboration between the two will have mixed effects on the psyche, as this one does in spades. Milkland 2 features Vibracathedral Orchestra, whose music easily reminds me of asylums. Not the patients, mind you, because I think this music would drive them even more over the edge if they heard it; but I clearly feel the waiting rooms and observation stations where you can actually see the afflicted in this music. I imagined an entire dance troupe of loonies, or as I called them the Psychotic Conservatory, flailing around in anger, sitting in the middle of the floor chanting nonsense, and crying while jumping up and down. "Rain Gutter Teasing Rusty Cat Sneezing" is an amalgam of instruments and sounds that is not easily digested or understood, and although I found it at the same time interesting and unnerving, it made me want to listen to their atonal drone more. Phonophani, on the other hand, a side project of Alog member Espen Sommer Eide, is manic noise of a far different sort. Beeps and bloops are the main percussion of "Bees - They Will Sting You" for a few seconds, then layer upon layer of flourish and glitch are added on top, compelling the rhythm and tone into some bizarre robotic choreography. Eventually, it seems as though the machines are acting on their own accord, no longer caring or paying attention to what the human programming them is asking or wants. Wonderfully creative music from both artists, even though it makes me ponder whether either has a screw or two loose. - Rob Devlin


Vertical Form
Smyglyssna is Henrik Johansson, a Swedish electronic musician who is desperately hoping that the music-buying public will be able to distinguish the music on his new album We Can Fix It from that of his numerous European contemporaries. Perhaps I don't possess an ear properly tuned towards these subtle distinctions, but it seems that Johansson has produced an album that is more or less wearing the IDM uniform: a postmodern combination of beats lifted from the past 20 years of electronic music, processed and edited within an inch of its life with the kind of surgical precision only possible with an expensive new Powerbook. The nine tracks add up to something slightly better than average, but slightly less than great. "Might-It-Be's and If-It-Were's" opens with some creepy alien sound washes, before Mr. Johansson introduces his limited sound palette, which involves Carl Craig-style Detroit electro with all booty-shaking potential carefully removed and replaced with a dry, academic contempt for accessibility. It bears more than a passing resemblance to earlier IDM such as Black Dog Productions, with its shifting patterns and cubist beat construction. It all comes together nicely, and even achieves some genuinely funky moments, but I can't help feeling that this kind of thing was a bit more compelling five years ago. For its entire six-minute length, "Work Shall Be Abolished" threatens to turn into a full-on electro-funk song, but Johansson is too restrained to engage in anything that might be construed as fun. "Triangular Ears" is probably the best track on the album, as it is the one time Johansson fully absorbs the listener in his infectious beat construction, with funny, eclectic sounds that are reminiscent of Mouse on Mars. The ugly looming spectre of Boards of Canada haunts most modern electronic artists, and many seem afraid to venture out of their shadow. Smyglyssna is no exception, with his obvious BoC pastiche "Foaming Prairie," a pastoral keyboard melody matched with hazy distortions. The R&B flavored "Tea With Angela" finishes the album on a slightly messy note. I believe there is hope for Smyglyssna, if he can somehow manage to remove his head from the collective ass of the European IDM community and make something that sounds a little less like everything else. - Jonathan Dean


Vertical Form
A little less than a year after the release of We Can Fix It comes the inevitable collection of remixes, which has been creatively titled We Can Fix It Remixes. The remixers chosen for this project must have been asking themselves: Can we fix it? Can something be done to improve the aggressively average material that Smyglyssna produced for this non-landmark album? The answer is a guarded yes. Modern hip-hop beat assembler Boom Bip turns in an impressive re-imagining of "We Can Fake It," giving the song a regular beat and adding dramatic melodic elements that make for an entertaining listen, though it ends rather suddenly. England's Fujiya & Miyaga succeed in mutating the boring "Tea With Angela" into a weird pop song, with backwards vocals, handclaps and marimba added. Anticon's Sixtoo adds an irregular loping beat to "Foaming Prarie," which neither improves nor detracts from the original, but does succeed in making the song sound even more like Boards of Canada. Soft Pink Truth's reworking of "Work Shall Be Abolished" should be called "Queer Eye for the Boring Swedish Guy," cleverly using his homo touch to transform the boring raw materials into a smart disco-house number with weird samples and plenty of attitude. Underground white-boy hip-hop group Restiform Bodies do a strange treatment to "Tea With Angela," making it sound way more textured and varied than the original song. Icelandic artist Einoma ends the disc with the dark, industrial hip-hop groove of his "We Can Fake It" remake. I should probably add that Smyglyssna also contributes two remixes of his own to this disc. They are both as predictable as the material on his original album. We Can Fix It Remixes certainly does not cohere as an album, but it does contain some good songs that don't betray their trite origins. - Jonathan Dean


Yasume, "Where We're From the Birds Sing a Pretty Song"
City Centre Offices
There is something about the way this music sounds that brings back memories of some art long lost in electronic music. There is melody, counterpoint, harmony, rhythms based half way between space and hip-hop, and a completely uplifting feeling throughout. Where We're From... is dance-inspiring, but it isn't a dance record; everything swells and flares slowly, emitting a warm light that radiates for miles around. It reminds me of when I first began listening to electronic music and how I was captivated by the way melodies could be made to sound on a keyboard and how the rhythms were completely hypnotic, made out of the strangest of sounds. There's an emotional aspect to every song on this record; the melodies invoke memories, ideas, and images as they crawl slowly through the air. It's a sound I've heard before, a sort of style that held me prisoner for so long and started my addiction to all things strange and beautiful, but it doesn't sound old or unoriginal at all. Yasume know that composition is just as important as the alien feel of their sounds, so they weave together deep bass rumblings, piano-like melodies, humming string sections, and metallic percussion with a careful ear and penchant for some angelic atmospheres. The juxtaposition between the lazy melodies and the curving, sexy beats only add to the experience, creating a mood that is neither ambient (in the dictionary sense of the word) nor cluttered and heavy. Take note: electronic music can be interesting without having to go to extremes. Yasume is gentle, passionate, and other-worldly all within the realm of the familiar. They might not be doing anything that hasn't been done before, but what does that matter when Where We're From... is as lush and elegant as it is? - Lucas Schleicher


Parts and Labor, "Groundswell"
It's pretty incredible to hear a keyboardist thrash along with a bassist and drummer. It's even more incredible when the keyboard manages to sound heavier, more melodic, and threatening (all at the same time) than any guitar could. Groundswell is the debut album from Parts and Labor and to put it simply: it rocks. It's like being strapped into a jet for the first time and being introduced to mach-5 and blackouts. Although the keyboard often holds the lead role in each song, it's the duo of bassist BJ Warshaw and either Jim Sykes or Joel Saladino on drums that propel every song into overdrive. The entire album sounds as if it could've been recorded in an abandoned warehouse somewhere on northern Jersey's shore. The bass is absolutely unhinged, rattling about as if it were on fire and ready to explode. Above it all is an unexpected partner: the keyboard twirling, performing loops, convulsing, and generally ejaculating over everything. It serves another role, however: every now and then gentle tones and wavering notes will hover over the near-tribal rhythm section creating an odd juxtaposition of sounds that will either produce nightmares or light a fire under my ass and send me into the stratosphere. The music isn't particularly violent, but it's LOUD and determined to beat the three minute mile. "TB Strut" also happens to be one of the best headbanging songs I've heard, it's just impossible to resist that melody! As a nice little bonus, Parts and Labor have included a video for "Intervention" on the CD (it's also available on their website). It's a fun video in a very twisted way. These guys must be monstrous live so hopefully they'll expand their tours a bit further west soon. - Lucas Schleicher


Angelika Koehlermann
Schmoof are the U.K. duo of Sarah and Lloyd, whose over the top kitsch music is firmly rooted in the style of 70s disco meets 80s synth pop production. I'm usually not one to judge a book (or CD) by its cover, but the pink clad, pixelated figures jumping on a leopard print bedspread on Bedroom Disco doesn't exactly leave too much to the imagination as to the type of music to expect. At the same time, the inner sleeve quote from composer/entertainer Noel Coward, "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is" acknowledges the duo's sense of irony. Bedroom Disco's twelve tracks are thick with four on the floor drum machines and bubbling synthesizers set to Sarah's poppy vocals, without a lot of variance in the BPM department. The infectious "Disco Dancing" kicks the disc off with the all too familiar metronomic rhythms and pulsing basslines associated with said genre, while glitzy synth patterns interplay with the vocals and vocodered choruses that repeatedly remind you that you are, indeed, disco dancing. The humorous dilemma of "Chocolate Boyfriend" is the having to choose between the beer and football watching boyfriend versus chocolate, while wishing for a guy made by Cadbury. The boomy drum machine sounds on the all too brief "Dummy" propel a track littered with distorted keyboard and vocals with more of a post new wave feel. A stand-out track at just over two minutes, its brevity makes it the teaser amidst the other thirty-one minutes. With Bedroom Disco, Schmoof breathe new life into the tired genres from decades past with an enthusiasm that tries to make it all fun with varying degrees of success. Everything old is new again. - Gord Fynes


Montreal's Soft Canyon are the latest in a recent outcropping of bands attempting to recreate the power and majesty of 1970's Neil Young-style psychedelic-inflected guitar rock. They are also in the unfortunate position of having named themselves Soft Canyon, a strange choice given the fact that Canyon, a Washington D.C. band with a strikingly similar sound, have just recently released their album Empty Rooms to wide critical acclaim. Recording an album inspired by 70's arena rock under such a similar band name makes this Canadian five-piece seem a little like copyists, even if they came up with the idea first, which is doubtful. Furthering their unlucky destiny, their first album Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings is not nearly as good as Canyon's Empty Rooms, falling far short of the bar set by their obvious influences. This incredibly brief album tries and fails to recreate the epic sweep of Neil Young's Zuma. Their tepid guitar pop has little to offer the listener, being entirely derivative in a largely uninteresting way. Where Canyon's Empty Rooms was an awe-inspiring set of majestic, atmospheric guitar anthems in the mould of "Cortez the Killer", Soft Canyon's Broken Spirit is a snore-inducing half hour of over-produced, under-written songs that sound more like those late-70's albums Young phoned in because of contractual obligations. Soft Canyon's vocalist has an annoying, unpolished presence, and the lyrics are lukewarm amalgams of teenage love poetry and fake mysticism. Also, these average pop songs are not given enough room to breathe, most ending before the four-minute mark. Neil Young's spacious, "canyon-esque" guitar solos were the key element in his magical rock n' roll, but the instrumentalists in Soft Canyon are not talented enough to stand on their own. To cover up for the dearth of musical invention, Broken Spirit's producer has added a number of laughable psychedelic interludes that seem terribly out of place. By the time I reached the final, failed seven-minute epic "We Threw Our Love Into The Universe," I just wanted to hear the other, superior Canyon. Soft Canyon need to go back to the drawing board for their next record, or they run the risk of creating another disposable cliché of an album destined to be unfavorably compared to their American counterparts. - Jonathan Dean


We know that our music picks may be somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.


Broadcast - haha sound CD/LP (Warp, UK/US)
* Can - Out of Reach CD [reissue of rare album originally released in 1978] (EFA/Marginal Talent, US)
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - God Is In The House DVD (Mute, UK)
DJ Wally - Emulatory Whoredom EP2 12" (theAgriculture, US)
The French - Local Information CD/LP (Too Pure/Beggars, Canada)
* Higher Intelligence Agency/Biosphere - Polar Sequences CD [reissue] (Headphone, UK)
* Interpol - Obstacle 1 EP (Matador/Beggars, Canada)
* Interpol - Say Hello To the Angels EP (Matador/Beggars, Canada)
Ill Cosby/Various - Breakadawn CD (condsc, US)
Jericho One - Replica Automata (Urbcom/Alfa-Matrix, Belgium)
Pretty Girls Make Graves - This Is Our Emergency 7"/CDEP (Matador, UK/Europe)
Mark Spybey - I Have No Money But I Am Antonin Artaud CD3" [ltd to 211 copies] (Piehead, Canada)
Treva Whateva - Dance Class 12" (Ninja Tune, UK)
Various Artists - Rising Tide Compilation CD (DTRASH, Canada)
VNV Nation - Pastperfect 2xDVD (Anachron Sounds, 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 page,
since release dates can and will often change.

SAF Publishing
Although they are perhaps the most consistently innovative group of artists for the past two decades of underground music, the English post-industrial bands that evolved from the cultural monolith of Throbbing Gristle have long remained under the radar of the music press. Many of these "esoteric" artists thrived throughout the 1980s and have persisted until today, but most have been ignored by critics and writers, surviving only because of a loyal cult following bordering on the zealous. Only recently have established publications such as The Wire begun to validate these artists by documenting their activities and placing their music into the larger context of modern avant-garde experimentalism. Anyone who has followed these unique musicians knows that this attention is long overdue. David Keenan, a frequent contributor to The Wire and Mojo, has authored England's Hidden Reverse. Subtitled "A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground," Keenan has chosen to focus on the scene's three most enduring artists—Current 93, Nurse With Wound and Coil. The story of these three is told in chronological order, with Keenan attempting to give equal coverage to each. The prevailing thesis of his book is that David Tibet, Steven Stapleton, John Balance, and Sleazy Christopherson are not idiosyncratic madmen that fell from the sky, but are rather quite naturally following in the footsteps of a long line of English eccentrics and outsiders. To support this contention, Keenan takes the reader for many tangential side-trips, telling the stories of great and obscure figures such as Louis Wain, Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, William Lawes, Eric Count Stenbock and a host of others. It provides interesting background information, quite valuable for a deeper understanding of many of the lyrical themes of Current 93, the occult influences on Coil and the surrealist aesthetic of Nurse With Wound. For fans of these artists who have already digested the numerous interviews, fanzines and website material that has been available for years, this book offers a treasure trove of completely new revelations. Some of the startling anecdotes revealed in the book are truly unbelievable, such as the first meeting between David Tibet and Jhon Balance (which I won't reveal, except to say that it involves someone getting urinated on). Keenan does an admirable job of placing these musicians into the context of the post-industrial scene, giving a liberal amount of time to trace their connection to concurrent acts like Whitehouse, Psychic TV, 23 Skidoo and Sol Invictus. Keenan has interviewed a staggering number of the people who were there—the musicians, the scenesters and the witnesses—and the substantial amount of direct quotes lends credibility to the project. The book is copiously illustrated with hundreds of previously unpublished photographs. Although it is unmistakably a thorough study, there are a few nagging problems with England's Hidden Reverse. Among these is the disproportionate amount of time spent on the formative period of the timeline, to the detriment of the last decade of activity, which is the most fertile creative period for these artists. Latter-day masterpieces like Current 93's All The Pretty Little Horses and Coil's Musick to Play in the Dark are given only a few paragraphs each, which is unequal to their significance. Perhaps the most flagrant problem with this book is the near-total absence of any material regarding one of the best and brightest of the esoteric scene: Douglas Pearce. Death in June most certainly exerted a hefty influence on the development of Current 93's brand of "apocalyptic folk." Before David Tibet met Douglas P., his music was all tape loops and dense noisescapes. After their partnership, Current 93 adopted Death in June's approach, appropriating the sounds and aesthetics of 1960s psychedelic folk. Despite all this, and the fact that David Tibet and John Balance have frequently collaborated with Death in June over the years, Douglas P. was not interviewed for the book and his influence and importance in the scene is played down. Certainly Death in June's But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? and Rose Clouds of Holocaust are as epoch-defining as Current 93's Thunder Perfect Mind, Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy for Lilith and Coil's Love Secret Domain. Despite these glaring omissions, David Keenan's book is certainly an entertaining and essential document. Even those who are not already ardent fans will find much to like about Keenan's engaging prose and analysis. Also included with each hardcover edition is a CD collecting some of the most representative tracks from the three groups. All things considered, England's Hidden Reverse exceeds expectations as a captivating history of the most unique grouping of experimental musicians working today. - Jonathan Dean


Results from last poll:


the brain endorses mary carey for governor
Could it be the tax-free lap dances this 22-year old porn actress supports? Maybe. But probably it's because we can just watch this all day long.


keep dreaming: graeme's list of things that don't exist
Melt Banana - compilation(s) of all singles and various artist compilation tracks.
It's nice that Melt Banana do so many split singles but they should consider the fact that often these sell out or are distributed poorly so that fans can't get them, and when they do reach the shops some of them have been charging rip-off prices. It'd be nice if they could include some more tracks on their albums too - Teeny Shiny is great but its one of the shortest albums I've heard! (Also add the Peel Session too.)

Ground Zero - Consume Red Remixes (Consumation & Conflagration)
These were impossible to get in the Uk unless you did one of the remixes or worked at These Records, as far as I can tell. Matt Wand did a remix and said I wasn't missing much, but of course I still want to hear for myself.

WIRE - The Albini Session
(no comment)

UK release for all those hard to find Boredoms releases from the largest entertainment corporation on the planet who despite their vast tentacles in so many pies can't organise distibution of Boredoms into Uk shops.

Pan Sonic & FM Einheit - VVE
This was scheduled for release by Blast First ages ago but hasn't appeared.It'd be nice if they'd stop farting about with trendy bollocks compilations (Tepid Diarrhea from Sonic Mook) and put out a proper album once in a while. It'd also be nice to have a recording of the VVE live set on the roof of the RFH too. What happened to the Labradford remixes? Indeed what has become of Labradford?

Shellac - singles / compilation tracks / Peel session compilation
Mostly for that Dutch comic book split single, also The Futurist but I have a good recording of that direct from a friend's copy, however the first side sounds great if you play it at 45rpm!

- Graeme Rowland, Manchester UK


the key to joy is disobedience

Subject: keychains

I was wondering if you'd any extra "brainwashed" keychains available for purchase? The plastic is coming off of mine and I'd sure like to have at least one other. That said, I'd prefer not to have to pay for an entire brain in the wire set just to get the keychain.

Yeah, I know, "it's a collectible and you're a moron for ruining your set"... but hey, it's a fookin' keychain, if G-d didn't want me to use it as a keychain he wouldn't have pushed you guys to make a keychain... right?

Thanks for any help you might or might not give regarding this matter.

ps: you can keep the swab... I've got plenty.

Funny you ask right about now: we're actually dangerously close of selling out of the entire thing and have some pieces left over and was thinking of selling pieces separately. Some people got the free CDs in The Wire and want to order Disc X on their own, some people like you might want a new keychain, some people might want more patches for their backpacks, so, possibly in about a week's time we'll announce what individual items will cost. Unfortunately, that damned keychain was perhaps the most expensive piece of the entire set! So keep reading the brain - it'll be announced here first.

Subject: Diminishing Shadows

After reading your review of "Diminishing Returns" I went out and bought it. But apparently I got the wrong one. The one you reviewed was 2 CDs, one which was 60 minutes long and the other 40 minutes. The CD I got is 39:23 long, and broken into 9 tracks. It also has different cover art.

So, I have a couple questions.

Is the supposed to be disc 2 on the one you reviewed?

At one point there's this BBC DJ that starts talking over the top of the music. So, I'm thinking I might have got a bootleg.

Also, this is probably a dumb question, but is this just a bunch of old songs played one after another? I thought DJ Shadow took old songs and combined them to make new ones. These don't sound like new songs. Thanks for your time, and for helping out brainwashed.

Take care.

Jonathan Dean replies: I have no idea what you've gotten your hands on. The official release of Diminishing Returns is a 2CD set, comprising a full 80 minute live mix split up into two discs mix as well as a bonus track on the second CD called "War is Hell". I believe there was also a limited edition "party pak" version packaged in a cellophane package with bonus stickers and drink coasters.

About the mixing, some of the records appearing on the mix are played without extra mixing, and others are combined with different breakbeats and effects from other records. For more of his constructivist material, check out the albums Endtroducing... and Preemptive Strike. Hope that helps.

Subject: no subject

Hello! I've just discovered this site. I am using this program called 'Fruityloops' to make make this type of music and would really like to talk to you guys and ask some questions. Also, i want you to hear some of the sonds i've made and tell me what you think. Please get back to ASAP. Thanks alot.

You and hundreds of thousands of other kids in their bedrooms...

Subject: Re - your comments on re-tg :

The facts are as follows:

The mission is not terminated .... we're going to get Terminator 3.......

Wreckers of Civilisation?? no... Slackers for Consumerism

...and as for all the americans coming over for the event,,,,,go ahead and part with your dollars and be entertained....maybe take in a hamburger.

Industrial music was a British/European movement...not the Skinny Puppy/Pigface crap that followed later.

To re-iterate an earlier point - re-TG is a money spinning venture ready for the fast bucks.....enjoy the merchandise!

British Beef? ew! How dare you insult everybody else by trying to pawn off your mad cow on us? How sick. Anyhow I can't figure out if you're trying to attack "Americans" but Skinny Puppy were Canadians and Pigface was Martin Atkins' project (he's a Brit). Other "post-industrial" movement pioneers like Front 242 were Belgians and anything current that is remotely respected is German.
Get your nationalism correct next time, ya bitter limey!

Subject: Radio


Just wanted you to know how much i've enjoyed your radio the last few days since I've found it. Its alot like how I'd like my own poor dj show, on another internet station, to sound at times.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Now YOU can be a DJ on Brainwashed Radio too!

Subject: re : re : re : tg.

when i first toke a look to that flyer i felt really sad.

why tg became interested in making people happy with such a meeting?

and why does it seem so similiar to any fuckin' isle of mtv?

i was really angry, industrial culture received a bunch of shit... and tg threw it.

but try to reflect... it's too absurd for tg to organize such a shitty party...

and wasn't their motto "we guarantee disappointment"?

i think that something interesting will happen soon.

things will take a strange turn.

maybe there will be no fuckin' party.

maybe there will be no fuckin' tg reunion.

.. we guarantee disappointment...

Maybe people have to feed their children and their drug habits.


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too hungover to write
Pow(d)er Pussy: One Day
Larvae: Mothra
Orb: Orbvs Terrarvm
PMD: The Awakening
Gang Starr: The Ownerz
Substanz T: Electric Opium

Gary Suarez, Queens NY, who claims something in here is waiting in the wings for a review.

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Brainwashed New Romantics
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