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Brainwashed Premire: VVV "Talking in the Dark"

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Why El Paso Sky is the upcoming mixtape on Holodeck by Austin, Texas’ own VVV (Shawhin Izaddoost), serving as a way to whet the appetite for his upcoming full length record later this year.  Here we present the premiere of "Talking in the Dark," both in the recent Brainwashed Podcast (Episode 341) and here directly.

Preorder Why El Paso Sky (HD038) by VVV

"Talking in the Dark" is an excellent teaser for what Izaddoost will be delivering on both the tape and his release later in 2017.  From its sweeping opening synths that herald the foundation rattling beats and rapid melodic lead that quickly follow, VVV covers an infinitely complex array of sounds and vibes in the span of a few short minutes.  With a lush, ambient breakdown that quickly jumps right back into the rhythms, both Izaddoost's prowess in building memorable rhythms and his nuanced, complex approach to production and mixing are clearly at the forefront.  Look for the limited mixtape Why El Paso Sky to be released on March 10, 2017 on the Holodeck label, and more new work to follow later this year.

 

Podcast Episode 343: February 19, 2017

Graham LewisLawrence English is this week's podcast guest. His new album Cruel Optimism, is out now on Room40 and we hear music from him in Hexa, plus Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, Monopol, Puce Mary, and Xiu Xiu.
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Forced Exposure New Releases for week of 2/20/2017

New music is due from Fay, Áine O'Dwyer, and The Golden Filter, while old music is due from Marcel Duchamp, Yann Tiersen, and Heat Exchange.

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Envenomist, "Bleeding Out"

cover imageDavid Reed's newest album as Envenomist may be a collection of six songs, but the presentation and consistency between them seems more akin to a long from composition broken into distinct pieces.  His bleak analog synthesizer works have been notable as a recent member of Bloodyminded, and as part of the trio Nightmares with Mark Solotroff and Jonathan Canady, but here he is in sole control.  Perhaps due to it being a fully solo excursion or his compositional intent, the arrangement is sparse but strong, and the final product is a bleak synthesizer creep that hints at film score but is an entity entirely unto itself.

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Steel Hook Prostheses, "Calm Morbidity"

cover imageTexas duo Steel Hook Prostheses are a decade and a half into their career of blackened electronics and malicious noise, and with each new release they continue to find new spins on their intentionally desolate and unpleasant sound.  Calm Morbidity is a consistent, yet diverse record that does different things and goes in varying directions, but never loses focus, and also never lightens the mood.

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Alan Courtis, "Los Galpones"

cover imageAlan Courtis (aka Anla Courtis) is one of those composers that at times is occasionally too prolific, spreading himself thin over numerous collaborations and solo works each year.  Because of that, his work is sometimes less focused than it could be, simply due to the extreme breadth of what he puts out.  However, when one of his releases is obviously a fully realized concept, his work is usually exceptionally compelling.  Los Galpones (The Sheds) is one of his more targeted works, by that standard.  A record built upon mostly just guitar and metallic objects, it is a wonderfully unified suite of four distinct pieces that work together perfectly and creates a nuanced sense of post-industrial decay.

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Jim Haynes, "Flammable Materials from Foreign Lands", "Throttle and Calibration"

cover imageFor his two most recent (near simultaneous) releases, Jim Haynes has scaled back his audial representation of decay to something a bit colder and more intentionally off-putting.  Both albums are largely based on field recordings taken from a residency in Estonia, and capturing the detritus of Soviet era electronics (and some still active) via shortwave and then processing the results.  The final products may be somewhat sparser than his other works, but no less fascinating, and with an additional menacing edge.

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My Cat is an Alien, "Eternal Beyond" and "RE​-​SI​-​STEN​-​ZA​!​"

cover imageThis winter marks the 20th anniversary of Maurizio and Roberto Opalio’s singular My Cat is an Alien project, a milestone that they are celebrating with a pair of fascinating and divergent releases.  Originally recorded back in 2015, Eternal Beyond is the fruit of an explosive and wildly experimental 4-day session with French black metal vocalist Joëlle Vinciarelli that does not sound at all like black metal.  RE-SI-STEN-ZA!, on the other hand, is billed as a sort of culmination of My Cat is an Alien’s entire career.  As I have not yet heard much of the Opalio’s earlier work, I cannot vouch for the truth of that, but I was pleasantly surprised by the title piece, which sounds like the work of a radical art commune a la Amon Düül embellished and collaged by a talented noise/musique concrète artist.

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Emptyset, "Borders"

cover imageEmptyset has always been a project that I felt weirdly guilty about not appreciating more, as they seemed like a more cerebral and mercilessly deconstructed twist on the UK's industrial-damaged post-dance milieu of Raime, Haxan Cloak, and Demdike Stare.  Also, I love James Ginzburg's Subtext label.  Unfortunately, all their songs sounded vaguely the same to me and I found all the praise for their architectural inspirations a bit mystifying.  Yet still I kept optimistically buying each new album hoping for a masterpiece that never arrived.  Thankfully, this debut release for Thrill Jockey finally makes everything click for me.  The same general template as always is still in place (improbably dense, ribcage-rattling bass and a slow-motion kick drum pulse), but Ginzburg and Paul Purgas have now distilled it into a thing of truly bludgeoning elemental force: Borders absolutely explodes from my speakers.  Also, the duo now wield a bass-heavy homemade "zither" to wonderfully visceral and snarling effect, which I did not see coming at all.  I am officially now a convert.

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Eli Keszler, "Last Signs of Speed"

cover imageEli Keszler's Cold Pin was easily one of most remarkable and inventive albums of 2011, but he has largely been working under my radar ever since, steadily releasing a flow of live recordings and small-edition vinyl-only collaborations.  Consequently, I was delighted to discover that he was finally ready to unleash another solo opus.  Last Signs of Speed, the inaugural release from Berlin's Empty Editions, is inherently a bit less radical than Cold Pin, as it is sadly not built from a motorized string installation.  It may as well have been built from a motorized percussion installation though, as Keszler's hyper-kinetic free-jazz-inspired drumming is compellingly inhuman and unpredictable.  There is also some music: the album description intriguingly references both Scientist and Iannis Xenakis as key influences, but that dub influence is a damn subtle one.  Instead, Last Signs generally sounds more like Xenakis mixed with a truckload of drumsticks being fitfully poured down a long and winding flight of stairs (in the best way possible).

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus


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Review of the Day

ukiyo-e, "inland"

While it's not my practice to review things nearly impossible to get, this CD deserves a mention. My first exposure to this Australian quintet was through their song on Fat-Cat's "No Watches.No Maps" collection of demo songs from bands they weren't going to pursue anything with at the time. What I heard can be described as somewhat derivative from an Aerial M/Tortoise/Fridge sound but their mastery of musicianship, songwriting and production skills are quite appealing. Inside the disc there was contact information listed, so I wrote to them and said I wanted to hear their album, with possible interest to send it to some friends at labels/distributors but I had no intention of writing about it.
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