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Forced Exposure New Releases for 6/29/2015

New music is due from S S S S, Slum Village, and The Senior Allstars, while old music is due from Anrew Liles, Karin Krog, and Lord Flea & His Calypsonians.


Granite Mask, "Her Venomous Hiss"

cover imageWith only a handful of releases available, Granite Mask is quite an enigma.  Little information about the project can be found online, and the artwork on their output is abstract to stay the least.  The lack of information is fitting their murky, abstract sound, which does a brilliant job of mixing conventional electronic rhythms with dissonant, abstract blasts of noise.


Tim Robertson, "Outer Planetary Church Music"

cover imageI hate to throw around the woefully overused phrase "great lost album," but Aguirre stumbled onto something quite amazing with this record.  I have no idea if Tim Robertson is still involved in music at all these days, but in his teens he was a church organist who traveled the world with his missionary parents.  After returning to Barcelona following a few years in Africa, he bought a four-track and spent two years obsessed with the idea of creating music "for future temples on Neptune and Saturn."  Eventually, that bizarre phase passed and Tim threw out all of his recordings except for two tapes, which he gave to his (presumably bewildered) parents as a gift.  Roughly 20 years later, those surreal experiments have now publicly surfaced thanks to a chance meeting in a thrift store.  This is "outsider" music for sure, but its guileless simplicity and elegiac beauty nevertheless place it very high in the pantheon of early New Age fringe-dwellers.


THU20, "Vroeg Werk"

cover imageInitially founded as a side project of Club Rialto, with the line-up expanded over time to include the likes of Roel Meelkop and Frans de Waard (so a veritable who’s-who of Dutch experimental music), THU20 has been sporadically active since their formation almost 30 years ago.  This set collects compilation pieces and unreleased live performances largely from the 1980s and early 1990s, and acts as an excellent overview of this period, while still managing to compliment their studio albums.


Phil Maggi, "Motherland"

cover imageDuring their prime, Zoviet France pioneered a strain of music variously known as either ethno-ambient or sci-fi tribal, but they quickly moved on and nobody since has quite been able to quite fill the resultant void for me.  Others have certainly tried, but they usually have an "overwrought" or "overproduced" feel that dispels whatever illusion they are trying to evoke.  Consequently, I was absolutely delighted to find out about Phil Maggi and his eerie, mesmerizing, and loop-based sound collages.  Maggi's aesthetic is exactly what I was looking for, particularly on 2011's Ghost Love.  His similarly fine (if not even better) new album is a travelogue of sorts, culled from field recordings and snatches of traditional music accumulated during a 2011 trip through Umbria, Italy.


BOAN, "Mentiras"

cover imageMentiras may be BOAN's first release, but the duo of vocalist Mariana Saldaña and José Cota (who also record as SSLEEPERHOLD) previously made up two thirds of Medio Mutante, who also mined similar classic synth-centric sounds.  Working exclusively with classic equipment and embracing the limitations of such, the result is a wonderfully vintage feeling album of five songs that capture an era while having their own unique identity at the same time.


Yen Pox, "Between the Horizon and the Abyss"

cover imageThis sort of dark, atmospheric work has always been a favorite of mine, but too often I find the records hard to discern from one another.  Between the Horizon and the Abyss does not have this problem at all, because while there is a consistency from piece to piece, it is far from monochromatic.  Each individual composition has a distinct sound and mood that makes for a dynamic, ever changing piece of music.  That variation from piece to piece is where this album excels.


Container, "LP"

cover imageI think I can safely guarantee that no one familiar with Ren Schofield’s work has ever wondered what a new Container album might sound like, nor have they likely exhausted much time wondering about what its title would be: LP is yet another dose of no-frills, bludgeoning, percussive, and noise-damaged anti-dance.  The only real change is Schofield has become a bit more skilled, a bit wilder, and a lot more aggressive since his last album.  Part of me admittedly misses the more "human"-speed, mid-tempo grooves of past Container albums, but LP is probably Ren’s best work in this vein by a landslide, as he has trimmed down his song lengths and dramatically ratcheted up his visceral intensity.  This is an absolutely bulldozing album.


Insect Factory, "Mind", Earthen Sea/Insect Factory

cover imageAn artist working primarily with guitar used in abstract compositions, Jeff Barsky, also known as Insect Factory, does an exceptional job of carefully using effects and processing to create complex compositions, rather than chaotic walls of sound.  On this solo cassette and older split LP, he avoids the temptation to simply run his instrument through a battery of guitar pedals on every song and instead uses that technique sparingly, along with less obscured, more conventional playing.  It is his careful balance of texture and mood with conventional melodic playing that makes his work fascinating.


William Basinski, "The Deluge"

cover imageGiven how much I loved Cascade, my curiosity about this more ambitious companion album made for quite an impatient month of anticipation.  Unfortunately, now that The Deluge has finally arrived, I do not know quite what to make of it.  My initial gut feeling was that Basinski's added intervention diluted a piece that was already perfect and complete, but it has since grown on me quite a bit with repeated listens.  While I still feel that Cascade is the superior album, The Deluge mostly balances out its flaws with some higher highpoints than its predecessor.  Also, it will likely hold a lot of appeal for anyone who has always wanted to love William Basinski, but wished he were more dynamic (though I personally prefer him as just an invisible guiding presence).

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