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Forced Exposure New Releases for 8/31/2015

New music is due from Helen (Liz Harris of Grouper), Beequeen, and Matt "MV" Valentine, while old music is due from Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia, Colin Potter, and Bernard Vitet.

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Benoit Pioulard, "Sonnet"

cover imageTo my great shame, I slept on this excellent album for entirely too long, as Thomas Meluch’s mannered songwriting has never quite connected with me despite my appreciation for his hushed, bleary, and languorous aesthetic.  With Sonnet, however, he largely dispenses with vocals in favor of a suite of warm, lush ambient drone, which is (predictably) far more to my taste. That said, I would definitely hail this as a stellar album even without the benefit of my unfairly subjective stylistic predispositions, as it is an archetypal Great Kranky Album, consistently hitting the same woozy, blissed-out sweet spot as other label luminaries like Windy & Carl.  As if that were not enough, the end of the album shows hints of something even better (and far more distinctive).  This may very well be Benoit Pioulard's masterpiece.

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Radioson, "радиосон"

cover imageThe moniker and title of this debut album from the enigmatic Russian artist translates to "radio sleep", the codename given to a secret USSR project during the Cold War.  Much like similar experiments in the USA, it was an attempt by scientists to use radio waves and sound to control and subjugate the masses.  Even though I had no idea about any of this for my first listen to this tape (the text describing the background is in Russian, with a URL for an English translation), I got a distinctly sinister feeling just based on the sound:  a mix of dissonant textures and subtle, hypnotic melodies that lurk just beneath the surface, making for a multifaceted release that slowly reveals its brilliant secrets.

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Simon Scott, "Insomni"

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Although probably doomed to be primarily known forever as "the drummer from Slowdive," Simon Scott has had quite an impressive, varied, and somewhat inscrutable solo career, releasing some fine albums on labels like Miasmah and 12k and dipping his toes into a whole host of underground subgenres.  With his latest release, he continues to alternately dazzle and perplex me–even more so than usual, actually.  Curiously (and misguidedly?) presented as a single 42-minute track, Insomni feels more like multi-artist mixtape than a coherent longform composition.  Naturally, some of the passages are quite beautiful, but the overall presentation left me scratching my head quite a bit.

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Public Speaking, "Mountainmurals"

cover imageUnlike some of Jason Anthony Harris' previous work as Public Speaking, Mountainmurals is a conscious attempt at specifically creating a "noise" release.  Using only a variety of household objects as sound sources (none of which are obvious), the 11 untitled pieces, or at least discernible segments result in a gamut of sounds, some very different but all exceptionally well executed.

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Flying Saucer Attack, "Instrumentals 2015"

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After roughly a fifteen year hiatus, cult shoegaze/basement psychedelia visionary David Pearce has resurrected the Flying Saucer Attacker moniker, albeit in somewhat diluted form.  Instrumentals 2015 is certainly sketchlike and devoid of vocals, but it still boasts Pearce's wonderfully smeared, fractured, floating, and tape-hiss-enhanced aesthetic, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  While some actual songs or a fully formed new album would certainly have been even better, late-period FSA was already quite abstract.  Also, I never looked to Pearce for great vocal melodies, tight songcraft, or killer hooks.  His talents lie elsewhere.  Everything that matter is here: this may not a complete return to form, but it nevertheless feels like the welcome return of an old friend who has not changed at all.

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Thom Martin, 1975-2015

We are devastated at the unexpected loss of Thom Martin this week. Thom was a dear friend and multimedia artist, whose works included the eponymous Dresden Dolls album and visuals for both Brainwaves festivals. He is a longtime friend and our love goes out to his family and friends.

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Greg Stuart & Ryoko Akama, "Kotoba Koukan"

cover image Although she composes scores meant for others to perform, there are times when Ryoko Akama seems intent on preventing performances of her work. Like when she asks, on Kotoba Koukan’s “con.de.structuring,” for two or more collaborators to play three “soundless” sounds at fixed intervals without the help of a clock or a stopwatch, or when she inserts an observation about silent letters into “e.a.c.d.” that suggests silence will be as essential to its realization as positive sound. Even with a talented interpreter like Greg Stuart around to meet such challenges, questions are bound to arise in the audience, who might wonder how a sound could ever be soundless or how a piece of music apparently devoted to silence could end up being so concrete and loud. Attentive listening may resolve some of these quandaries, but is as likely to generate new ones. Ambiguity and irresolution appear to be at the heart of the matter, at least in part, and besides, focusing on the conundrums in Akama’s work overlooks its power and impact. Ryoko and Greg’s music works on the body and mind in equal proportion, tempting interpretations and provoking reactions with confrontational sounds and understated twists.

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Majutsu No Niwa, "The Night Before"

cover imageMajutsu No Niwa is not a band that strives to be understated.  The last release that I heard was the two part Volume V, capturing the classic rock excess in both presentation and sound, but in the most tasteful of ways.  Their newest album is not only a disc of new material, but accompanied by a full length DVD collection of performances captured in 2014.  Both capture the band’s peerless approach to space and psychedelic rock, with more than a bit of abstract improvisation to keep things unexpected.

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Lycia, "A Line That Connects"

cover imageLycia's reappearance after an eight year hiatus with 2013's Quiet Moments was a surprise for me, having heard very little about the legendary Projekt band for quite some time.  That album was more than a mere blip, however, as it has been followed up with A Line That Connects, and the return of former band member David Galas.  The result is a record that has a richer, more fully fleshed out sound than its predecessor.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Non

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

GREG DAVIS, "SOMNIA"
Kranky
Greg Davis has illuminated the link between sound and light. Perhaps, when the universe was first unfolding, the explosions sounded like buzz saws or pure white noise, but when the heavens came to be and from its convulsions the universe produced stars and angels, the sound generated must've been close to the music on Somnia.
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