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The 2017 Readers Poll: Nomination Round Open!

http://brainwashed.com/2017/images/2017-eclipse.jpgIt's that time of year again. The longest running online interactive music poll of its kind returns for another year of nominations and votes!

As readers, we thank you for your years of support and contributions, and we'd like to ask once again for this year to start filling in the nominations.

Please review the list that has been compiled so far and submit additions where you find things missing. Once again, be patient for your nominations to appear as they will be carefully reviewed by the staff.

Nomination round is open now, will run for 2 weeks and will close on December 24th, 2017.

Voting round will take place soon thereafter and run until December 31st.

Thanks again!

 

Forced Exposure New Releases for 12/11/2017

New music is due from Manudigital, Luca Ballerini, and Sam de la Rosa, while old music is due from Current 93, Dungen, and F/i.

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Merzbow, "Pornoise 1 KG"

cover imagePornoise 1 KG is somewhat of a landmark release in Masami Akita’s sprawling, ever expanding and complex discography.  Recorded in 1984 and issued multiple times as a five-cassette set not long after, it represents one of the first long form collections of Merzbow to have been released.  Reissued here on six CDs (including the separately released Pornoise Extra as disc six), it makes for an excellent snapshot of what Akita first started out doing, and hints at what would come later in his long career.

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Dub Syndicate, "The Pounding System"

cover imageNewly reissued, this 1982 debut from Adrian Sherwood’s eclectic dub project is an ambitious and occasionally perplexing affair.  The album’s subtitle, "Ambiance in Dub," goes a long way towards explaining the unusual and embryonic aesthetic, as does the fact that it was recorded by a revolving cast of guest musicians during a fortuitous window at a well-equipped studio: these are very simple and stripped-down bass-driven songs that leave plenty of room for each individual element to breathe.  That is ideal for Sherwood’s experiments with reverb and mic placement, which seem to be The Pounding System's raison d’être: this is very much a playground for Sherwood’s production and recording wizardry.  I suppose that could be said of all dub, but it feels like Sherwood is animating skeletons rather than deconstructing complete, fully formed songs.  To my ears, Dub Syndicate's later, more layered work holds up much better than the semi-traditional dub reggae found here, but The Pounding System is a pleasant (if uneven) teaser for the more substantial work on the horizon.

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Matt Weston, "Searchlight Swings"

cover imageMatt Weston’s last release, the Organum-esque scrape and drone fest "Kidnapping Denials/Put on a Good Face" did an exemplary job at capturing him in his natural habitat as a percussionist, albeit a rather unconventional one.  While that was based upon live recordings, his newest 7" is a bit more multi-instrumentalist and studio-centric in its approach.  Made up of two rather brief pieces, it is a tantalizingly short yet fully engaging single.

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Robert Haigh, "Creatures of The Deep"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a3539007225_16.jpgRobert Haigh’s latest piano-based album is his first for US-based label Unseen Worlds. It has a finely crafted pace with such richness and delicate variety that even the most languid and pristine tracks avoid the doldrums of melancholy.

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Terry Riley, "Persian Surgery Dervishes"

cover imageFew people have played as crucial a role in shaping the experimental music landscape as Terry Riley, yet his impact and historical significance have not necessarily translated into a discography of timeless classics ("Poppy Nogood" excepted).  This particular reissue, originally released on Shandar back in 1972, still sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary though.  Part of that is pure luck, as we are currently in the midst of an aesthetically similar analog synthesizer renaissance, yet these two improvised performances would probably seem immortal and transcendently consciousness-altering in almost any cultural context.  Though the two pieces take somewhat different paths and evoke different moods, the overall experience is like being present at an organ mass that slowly transforms into a mass hallucination where all the notes bleed and swirl together in a lysergic haze of otherworldly harmony.

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Gregg Kowalsky, "L'Orange, L'Orange"

cover imageDate Palms’ Gregg Kowalsky has been atypically quiet over the last several years, as his last solo full-length was 2009's inspired and fitfully mesmerizing Tape Chants.  I am a huge fan of tape loops, so it would have absolutely delighted me if Kowalsky had spent most of the last decade secretly deepening and perfecting that side of his art.  It is certainly possible that he has been, but L'Orange, L'Orange is not Tape Chants II.  Instead, Kowalsky consciously set out to make an album that "felt like a human made it."  He certainly succeeded at that, as L'Orange, L'Orange is a warm, drone-based twist on Date Palms' sun-dappled psychedelia.  Aesthetically, it also shares some common ground with a lot of the Cluster-loving analog synth fare so much in vogue these days, yet the best moments achieve a lushly enveloping, meditative bliss that is uniquely Kowalsky-ian.

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Razen, "The Xvoto Reels"

cover imageAs a devout fan of drone's weirder fringes, I was casually aware of Razen before this album, but I had never taken the time to dive particularly deeply into their bizarre sonic sorcery: Brecht Ameel & Kim Delcour have historically erred a bit too much on the side of shrillness for my taste.  I certainly admired their frayed, idiosyncratic, and somewhat unhinged approach to the genre, but it still made for a somewhat rough listen.  This latest release, their first for Three:Four, falls quite squarely in my comfort zone though.  For one, there are no bagpipes or modular synths to be found, just an organ and a curious array of traditional acoustic instruments spanning several cultures.  More importantly, the band believes that "a presence" surfaced in the church where they recorded these improvisations and that the resulting tapes were supernaturally altered in some way.  I am not a big believer in the spirit world, but whatever transpired certainly led to a uniquely compelling album, as the best pieces on The Xvoto Reels take ritualistic acoustic drone to a wonderfully hallucinatory and haunting place.

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Tomoko Sauvage, "Musique Hydromantique"

cover imageAlthough she has only released one full-length album before now, Paris-based artist Tomoko Sauvage has been making very strange and beautiful music for over a decade.  The reason for that lean discography became instantly apparent when I watched video of one of her performances, as a mere recording cannot hope to capture the fascinating and ritual-like installation that makes her work so singular: Sauvage sits in a circle of ceramic bowls beneath ice blocks suspended from the ceiling by rope (each bowl mic'd with a hydrophone).  As can be expected, there are plenty of slowly dripping and gently sloshing sounds to be found here, but Musique Hydromantique takes the idea of water-based sound art to a much deeper and more compelling extreme than I previously thought possible, manipulating subaquatic feedback and "singing bubbles" to wonderfully eerie and otherworldly effect.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Tara Jane O'Neil

YouTube video
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Review of the Day

Sam Prekop, "The Republic"

cover imagePrekop’s first modular synthesizer solo album (2010's Old Punch Card) came as quite a surprise, but he adapted to the instrument extremely well and later used it to excellent effect on The Sea and Cake's Runner.  He returns with another solo synth opus and the only real surprise this time is how great it is: Prekop seems intent on making an unexpected run to the head of the synth revival pack.  While I do not think Alessandro Cortini needs to start panicking that he will stop getting calls for gigs anytime soon, the nine pieces that comprise the "Republic" half of The Republic are as masterfully composed, assured, beautiful, and effortlessly contemporary as anything by any of the genre's other luminaries.


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