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Podcast Episode 429: August 18, 2019

Gundam model photo by MichaelEpisode 429 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is now live

New episode with music from Lightning Bolt, Seefeel, Rắn Cạp Đuôi, Salford Electronics, Lee Noble, Lea Bertucci, Shigeto, Kali Malone, Catherine Christer Hennix, and Dino Spiluttini.

Gundam model photo by Michael.

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

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Forced Exposure New Releases for week of 8/19/2019

New music is due from The Legendary Pink Dots, Molly, and Loscil, while old music is due from Electric Funeral, Fernando Falcão, and Lydia Lunch.


Consumer Electronics, "Airless Space"

cover image After two amazing, although tantalizingly short albums in the past five years (2014's Estuary English and 2015's Dollhouse Songs), the Consumer Electronics trio lineup of founder Philip Best, Sarah Fröelich, and Russell Haswell have decided to go all out on this hour long, double record masterpiece.  Turning the thematic focus from the bleakness of austerity, pre-Brexit United Kingdom to the bleakness and violence of Donald Trump's America (where Best and Fröelich emigrated before the recording of this record), Airless Space is another work of fragmented, destroyed electronics and forceful, violent vocals.  Besides how strongly it stands as an individual work of art, Airless Space also makes it abundantly clear how much CE has evolved since beginning as a teenaged Best with a shortwave radio, a microphone, and a lot of annoyed people around him.


Ramleh, "The Great Unlearning"

cover image Following their last work, the lengthy two CD Circular Time, the double record The Great Unlearning features core Ramleh members Gary Mundy and Anthony Di Franco again staying largely in rock mode, but comparably bringing a bit more of their noise history back into the fray.  With an expanded roster of both drummers Stuart Dennison and Martyn Watts, as well as long time collaborator Philip Best and his Consumer Electronics partner Sarah Fröelich, the final product is their most varied, fully realized work to date, blending their guitar focused sounds with the early electronic experimentation from the band's inception.


Kali Malone, "The Sacrificial Code"

cover imageI was recently very surprised to discover that Kali Malone is from Colorado, as she has been quite an uncannily ubiquitous and quietly influential presence in European experimental music circles over the last couple of years.  That role is especially remarkable given how her solo work increasingly sounds like it could have been composed a few hundred years ago (a direction largely rooted in a fateful meeting with an organ tuner).  This latest release is the culmination of Malone's recent passion for pipe organs, following in the wake of last year's brief yet excellent Organ Dirges 2016-2017 EP (Ascetic House).  The two releases are quite similar aesthetically, as Malone remains quite found of slow-moving and meditatively drone-like compositions, but The Sacrificial Code is simultaneously simpler and more ambitious than its concise predecessor.   In fact, this sprawling double album of organ works is an absolutely monolithic statement (and a fitfully mesmerizing one at that).  To my ears, it admittedly errs a bit on the side of overwhelming, but The Sacrificial Code is probably exactly the album that longtime fans were hoping Malone would someday release.


David Berman, 1967-2019


Our hearts go out to the friends and family of David Berman, a beloved cult figure who was one of the most brilliant and poetic lyricists of his generation.  He was best known as the sole constant member of Silver Jews, which he formed with Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich in the late ‘80s.  Though Malkmus and Nastanovich were soon drawn away by the demands of their other band Pavement, Berman kept the band going with a shifting array of like-minded collaborators (1996's The Natural Bridge with New Radiant Storm King is a personal favorite).  Throughout it all, Berman remained a deeply reluctant live performer with an open aversion to touring, though he occasionally did public readings of his writings.  Consequently, he surprised everyone by finally touring with Silver Jews in 2005 in support of Tanglewood Numbers.

Berman released one more album after that tour, then famously ended the band in 2009, vowing "to stop before we got bad" and planned to instead devote himself to undoing the influence of his lobbyist father ("I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.").  Eventually, however, Berman was drawn back to music, unveiling a new project (Purple Mountains) that debuted on Drag City in July.  At the time of his death, the ensemble was poised to embark upon their inaugural US tour.

Many wonderful tributes have been written about Berman's life and work this week.  This is an especially fine one:


The Deontic Miracle, "Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku"

cover imageThis second installment of Blank Forms' ongoing Christer Hennix archival series is quite a radical departure from the wonderful Selected Early Keyboard Works, which is a hell of a surprise as both albums originate from roughly the same period (Stockholm, 1976).  The key difference is that Keyboard Works was composed of (mostly) solo rehearsal tapes made during the Dream Music Festival, while Hegikan Roku captures the ensemble's actual public performance.  In fact, it was to be The Deontic Miracle's only public performance, as Hennix wryly notes that the trio were "the most rejected band ever formed in Sweden."  While that is somewhat heartbreaking, it is easy to see why this project was not warmly embraced: challenging art is often described as being "ahead of its time," but The Deontic Miracle must have seemed like they existed outside of time altogether.  Even by today's standards, an amplified Renaissance oboe and sarangi trio playing dissonant, Just Intonation drone music would likely clear a room instantly (as would a lot of other albums that I like).  As such, this is definitely one of Christer Hennix's most difficult releases, but it features some very bold and uncompromising work indeed.  It is wonderful to see it finally surface.


Lea Bertucci, "Resonant Field"

cover imageThis latest release from Lea Bertucci ambitiously follows in the footsteps of Pauline Oliveros' landmark Deep Listening album (1989), though site-specific performances are certainly nothing new for the NY-based saxophonist/composer.  In this instance, the site was the Marine A Grain Elevator at Silo City in Buffalo, which NNA Tapes describes as a "silent, hulking concrete corpse" that stands 130 feet tall.  Unlike Oliveros, Bertucci chose to make her celebration of extreme natural reverb largely a solo affair, using the 12-second decay of the cavernous enclosure to create a rich haze of sustained drones and ghostly harmonies.  After the initial performance, however, she reworked the material with the aid of some collaborators, so the final album is a bit more complex and layered than a solo sax performance might have been.  Not much more though, as Resonant Field's primary appeal lies in those original performances, making it a very different animal than its more composed predecessor Metal Aether.


øjeRum, "Alting Falder I Samme Rum" and "Forgotten Works"

cover imageEvery now and then, I plan to have a productive evening, get sucked into a Bandcamp rabbit hole, then wonder where the hell my night went.  I first encountered Paw Grabowski's øjeRum project during one such plunge last year and quickly fell in love with 2018's Selected Organ Works tape.  Notably, Grabowski does not seem to share my time-management issues, as he has released roughly ten more albums since then (three of them in the last month).  Needless to say, he is a difficult man to keep up with and tracking down which releases are especially inspired is a legitimate challenge.  These two recent ones are quite good ones, though they take very different directions.  The stronger one is arguably the newer Alting Falder I Samme Rum, which intermittently contains some of the most beautiful examples of Grabowski's blurred, slow-motion vision.  Forgotten Works, on the other hand, is exactly what the title implies: a collection of unreleased songs spanning nearly a decade.  It is quite a well-curated one though, as the Vaknar label unearthed some surprising gems that had miraculously eluded release up until now.


Joseph Allred, "O Meadowlark"

cover imageI first encountered Joseph Allred on a massive compilation of American Primitive guitarists that I believe surfaced on the Dying For Bad Music blog sometime last year, but my ears must not have been working that week, as the experience did not leave a strong impression.  In my defense, my ears were likely hopelessly numbed by the sheer volume of relatively similar (and often wonderful) artists who have worked in that vein over the years.  John Fahey cast a long shadow and inspired a lot of dazzling instrumental performances, but the best compliment one can pay such an iconoclast is to use the American Primitive style as a mere starting point for a distinctive new vision.  And if there is one thing Joseph Allred has (besides virtuosity), it is definitely vision, as O Meadowlark is an impressionistic suite of songs that abstractly chronicles the travails and ultimate transfiguration of Allred's alter-ego Poor Faulkner.  Of course, there is a long tradition of storytelling among steel-string guitarists, as it adds some welcome depth and color to what could otherwise just be a mere display of instrumental prowess.  To his credit, Allred is on an entirely different level in that regard, as his stories are singularly strange and unique ones and he channels them vividly.  This is a fascinating release.

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