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Episode 446 & 447: January 12, 2019

Northern France by RomainEpisode 446 & 447 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition are now live

New year, new decade, and two new episodes with music from Amy Douglas, OOIOO, Innocence Mission, Sore Eros, Robert Ashley, This Mortal Coil, Red Axes, Ceremony, Marcus Fjellstrom, Leo Takami, Skip Mahoaney And The Casuals, Warren Ellis, Joseph Allred, Wire, Jonnine, Severed Heads, Christoph Heemann, Oogbogo, Ulrich Schnauss, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, of Montreal, Oval, In The Nursery, and Coil.

Picture in Northern France by Romain.

NOW AVAILABLE through SPOTIFY and AMAZON (links below) in addition to the other platforms.

Review, share, rate, tell your friends, send images!

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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 1/13/2020

New music is due from Christoph Heemann, Chris Brokaw, and Jennifer Gentle while old music is due from Muslimgauze, Deee-Lite, and Don Cherry.

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2019 Readers Poll: The Results

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the nomination and voting rounds of this year's annual readers poll.

All the best wishes for 2020!

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Vaughan Oliver, 1957-2019

It is impossible to estimate the impact Vaughan Oliver had on the importance of the intersection between music and visual arts. Throughout his years at 23 Envelope, Oliver was responsible for the artwork and art direction of most 4AD releases along with Chris Bigg. While based in the UK, 4AD had the occasional support of radio, magazines, and promotional campaigns but overseas, most people had only the record cover artwork to go on. The stunning visuals of the 4AD catalog were enough to stop, pause, and appreciate while flipping through records down at the local shop. Over the years of the music industry downsizing, graphic downsizing, and rise of digital media and international communication, album cover art became less of a factor with music. The vinyl renaissance over the last few years, however, have sparked a renewed appreciation for art and Vaughan Oliver is often at the tops of everyone's lists of artists.

4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell has paid tribute at 4AD.com.

Our hearts go out to Vaughan's friends and family. He will be sorely missed.

 

Envenomist/Murderous Vision, "Liminal Presence", Murderous Vision, "Surface Bone"

cover image With these two new releases recorded and released in 2019, Stephen Petrus's long running noise/death industrial/ambient/whatever project continues to be productive and constantly evolving, demonstrating his wide array of influences and talents.  Here are two distinctly different sounding discs, one a shared release with fellow dark synth fan David Reed (also a member of Nightmares), and the second featuring Murderous Vision in duo configuration with the addition of Jeff Curtis on bass.  Each of the discs are remarkable, and exemplify just how much versatility there is in Petrus's work.

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Rrose, "Hymn to Moisture"

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I suppose I have been probably been aware of Rrose since the project first appeared back in 2011, but the electronic music scene is teeming with hot new trends and hip new producers that come and go all the time and I lack the time and will to keep up with them all.  If someone is doing something genuinely interesting, I tend to find out about it eventually and I can live with being a little late to the party.  That said, there were obviously some signs that Rrose was different right from the start (the mysterious alter ego, the nod to Marcel Duchamp, etc.).  It was not until she recorded a James Tenney piece, however, that I realized that this project was something considerably weirder and more ambitious than I would ever have expected.  Happily, Rrose's trajectory has only gotten more unpredictable and intriguing since, arguably culminating in a recent collaboration with Charlemagne Palestine.  It was her series of collaborations with Lucy (as The Lotus Eaters and otherwise) that ultimately drew me fully into Rrose's fitfully stellar discography though.  Much to my delight, this debut solo full-length (after nearly a decade of EPs and collaborations) is roughly in the same vein as those Lucy collaborations, as Rrose continues to perfect her potent mix of deep bass, heavy rhythms, and warped, hallucinatory electronics.

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Shasta Cults, "Shasta Cults"

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Shasta Cults' Richard Smith has not been releasing albums for very long, but has been an integral and in-demand figure in synthesizer circles for quite a while due to his singular talent for repairing vintage Buchla gear.  In fact, this project was originally born from recordings that Smith made to demonstrate the various rare synths that wound up in his workshop.  In keeping with that theme, this full-length vinyl debut was composed entirely on the world's sole fully operational Buchla Touché.  That certainly makes this a unique and significant release for vintage synth enthusiasts, but it is also a remarkably excellent and well-crafted album that I can enjoy too.  Whether or not this is the strongest Shasta Cults release to date is up for debate, however, as competition from 2017’s Arguments for Trivialism and 2019's EP is quite fierce.  Each Shasta Cults release has its own distinct character though and the Touché seemed to bring out Smith's warmer, more meditative side, making this release a bit more accessible than the colder, heavier drones of his previous work.

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Fovea Hex, "The Salt Garden III"

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This third installment of Fovea Hex’s excellent "The Salt Garden" trilogy brings the series to a close on an unexpectedly uplifting note, as Clodagh Simonds' ensemble transform their signature haunting and meditative hymnals into joyous, light-filled ones.  Much like its predecessor, however, The Salt Garden III has also been released in an expanded edition with some bonus remixes.  In this case, however, the remixes are a track-for-track reimagining of the entire EP by Headphone Dust's Steven Wilson.  In essence, that offers two significantly different versions of the same EP, as the Wilson remixes take these four songs in a more shadow-shrouded and meditative direction akin to the previous EPs.  Naturally, both are a delight, as Fovea Hex is a project like no other, occupying an enchanted and timeless realm of sublime, organic beauty.

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Lee "Scratch" Perry, "Rainford" and "Heavy Rain"

cover imageIt is hard to overstate Lee "Scratch" Perry's influence on Jamaican music, hip-hop, and evolution of electronic music, as everyone who has ever used sampling or any dub-inspired production techniques is part of a continuum that he played a massive role in conjuring into being.  For the most part, his most visionary work was recorded during the white-hot creative period in the '70s when Lee was obsessively recording at his Black Ark studio in Kingston, but his career after (allegedly) burning down his studio (to purge it of evil spirits) has objectively been a strange and erratic one with Perry embracing a sort of cosmic jester persona.  He has always remained a boldly original thinker, however, and has continued to fitfully release some fine albums whenever he finds a sympathetic foil.  One of the earliest artists to fill that role in Perry's post-Black Ark era was Adrian Sherwood for 1987's Time Boom X De Devil Dead (a union that was reprised two decades later with The Mighty Upsetter).  With Rainford and its dub companion Heavy Rain, those two dub heavyweights are reunited once again (and at a time when both artists are experiencing a bit of a well-deserved renaissance).  Both albums boast their share of killer material, but Heavy Rain is the more focused and uniformly strong of the pair.

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Ebony Steel Band, "Pan-Machine"

Ebony Steel Band are a primarily eleven-person group of Trindadian and Caribbean musicians most well-known for paying tribute to other bands. Not to pay disservice to their original works, as they have produced Steel Away! (1976), Best of Steeldrums (1990), and Carnival (1998), but still, no one can deny their ability to breathe new life into classic songs. After their tribute to The Beatles with 2010’s Popular Beatles Songs - Caribbean SteelDrums, director Ian Shirley challenged EBS to cover Kraftwerk, one of the most classic and enduring pioneers of electronic music in history. Their effort was a complete success.

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