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Forced Exposure New Releases for 8/20/18

New music is due from The Residents, Roy Montgomery, and Echo Beds, while old music is due from Bernard Parmegiani, Girls Of The Internet, and Arthur Russell.

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Thomas Bey William Bailey, "La Production Interdite"

cover image Musician, researcher, and author Thomas Bey William Bailey has been prolific in all of the disciplines in which he has worked, and La Production Interdite is an excellent entry in his musical body of work.  Spread into two 30 minute pieces, one fully instrumental and one with spoken word vocals, Bailey succeeds in a strong piece of sonic, as well as conceptual art that comes together brilliantly with both distinct elements enhancing the other perfectly.

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Julee Cruise, "The Voice of Love"

cover imageNewly reissued on Sacred Bones, The Voice of Love (1993) was Cruise's second and final album with the singular songwriting team of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.  I suspect it did not sell particularly well upon its release, as I found my copy in a cut-out bin and it was Cruise's final album for Warner Brothers, but it has since rightly attained the cult stature it deserves.  It is admittedly a bit uneven compared with its more illustrious predecessor (1989's Floating Into The Night), uncannily mirroring Lynch's own changing fortunes, as Night featured music from Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks while Voice features pieces from Wild at Heart, Fire Walk With Me, and Industrial Symphony No. 1.  Still, a significant amount of that initial magic lingered and continued to blossom, as The Voice of Love fitfully captures some of the finest work of Cruise's "ghostly chanteuse" phase.  It may be an imperfect classic album, but it is a classic album nonetheless.

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Sungod, "Wave Refraction"

cover imageMuch like their previous, self-titled album on the Holodeck label, Austin’s Sungod—the duo of Michael C. Sharp and Braden Balentine—completely ignore any sort of traditional genre demarcations and instead produce a sprawling instrumental work that covers a little bit of everything, musically speaking.  From gigantic, boisterous jam sessions to restrained, intricate compositions, Wave Refraction is an expertly composed, diverse work with an exceptional sense of style and panache.

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Lovesliescrushing, "Bloweyelashwish"

cover imageReleased on Projekt back in 1993, Lovesliescrushing’s debut remains one of the great underappreciated shoegaze albums of all time, as Scott Cortez and Melissa Arpin took the deliciously warped guitars of My Bloody Valentine and stripped away all the rock elements to leave only a churning ocean of fuzzed-out bliss.  With their later albums, the duo smoothed out their rough edges a bit and became a bit more focused on crafting more structured songs, but the more frayed and experimental nature of Bloweyelashwish has made it an enduring favorite of mine.  In a perfect and just world, Scott Cortez would be a fixture in any conversation about the most inventive and compelling guitar stylists of the last two decades and this album would be held up as the irrefutable evidence of that.

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Ian William Craig, "A Turn of Breath"

cover imageRecently reissued in expanded form, A Turn of Breath was Ian William Craig's 2014 formal debut, though it was predated by a handful of digital-only and cassette releases.  In fact, I am quite fond of his first two Recital Program albums, even if they betray a strong Tim Hecker influence.  With A Turn of Breath, however, Craig made a major creative leap forward, casting aside any lingering derivative touches to establish himself as one of the most talented and distinctive sound artists in recent memory.  Using just his voice as his primary instrument, Craig employs an arsenal of tape players to transform his simple, naked melodies into swooning and warbling dream-like bliss.  He later expanded considerably on that aesthetic with the more song-based and shoegaze-inspired Centres, but that vision was already quite lovely and fully formed here–A Turn of Breath just happens to be a more fragmented, flickering, and hallucinatory incarnation of it.

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Neutral, "När"

cover imageThis duo of Sofie Herner and Sewer Election's Dan Johannsson is probably my favorite project to emerge from Sweden's flourishing underground in recent years.  När, their third album, was originally released on vinyl back in 2017, but I believe it only became widely available in digital form this spring.  While Neutral's aesthetic has certainly evolved over the years, Herner's idiosyncratic and oft-creepy lo-fi pop experiments and Johannsson's noisy textures always combine to form something stranger and more compelling than the sum of their  parts.  I suppose Neutral's closest kindred spirits are probably The Shadow Ring, but the best moments on När sound more like an surreal and intimate answering machine message or a ransom note delivered in the form of a blurry and distorted VHS tape.

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Caterina Barbieri, "Born Again in the Voltage"

cover imageLast year's Patterns of Consciousness was a massive, ambitious, and occasionally dazzling psychotropic opus that sought to reshape consciousness through pattern manipulation, instantly establishing Caterina Barbieri as one of the most compelling contemporary synthesizer composers.  Naturally, it will be a damn tough act to follow, but Born Again in the Voltage is not its highly anticipated successor, as its four pieces were recorded back in 2014 and 2015.  On this more drone-based affair composed for the Buchla 200, Barbieri is joined by cellist Antonello Mostacci for a more modest and understated batch of songs.  As such, Voltage is not quite as striking or distinctive as Barbieri's debut, but it is still quite good and "How to Decode an Illusion" is an absolutely gorgeous work.

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Birchville Cat Motel, "With Maples Ablaze"

cover imageFor years, I have rightly hailed Campbell Kneale as one of the true dark wizards of gnarled guitar noise, but I did not fully appreciate the depth and breadth of his vision until only recently: pre-Bandcamp, it was quite a difficult, expensive, and overwhelming endeavor to keep up with his sprawling body of work.  As a result, several landmark albums fell through the cracks and remain woefully underappreciated to this day.  One such example is this 2004 release on the now-defunct Scarcelight label, a hallucinatory suite of musique concrète, deep drones, and innovative collage that drew in a murderers' row of talented collaborators like John Wiese, Bruce Russell, Jonathan Coleclough, Peter Wright, and Neil Campbell.  As with many Kneale releases, With Maples Ablaze occasionally dips into some nerve-jangling and dissonant territory, but the high points are legitimately amazing to behold.

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break_fold, "27_05_17-21_01_18"

cover image Following up last year’s equally difficult titled tape release, the mysterious break_fold project’s newest work, 27_05_17-21_01_18 continues the stripped-down techno style that the artist cultivated on that previous release, but in a way that demonstrates a sense of growth and complexity in comparison.  With a unified sound across each of the seven songs—but different arrangements for each—the final product is a varied, satisfying one that draws from a wide variety of rhythm oriented electronic music.

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Review of the Day

Ben Frost, "The Centre Cannot Hold"

cover imageBen Frost continues to mine the rich vein of recordings he made with Steve Albini with this full-length follow-up to this year's excellent Threshold of Faith EP.  Naturally, The Centre Cannot Hold is a similarly face-melting eruption of ambient drone beefed up to snarling, brutal immensity, yet it feels a bit anticlimactic and redundant after the EP, as three songs are repeated (although usually in different versions) and one piece clocks in at a mere 13 seconds.  A few of the totally new songs are quite good, however, and Frost allows himself to indulge and experiment a bit more with structure and melody than he did with the more punchy and concise predecessor.  I personally prefer the punchy and concise approach in Frost's case, but the less essential and somewhat over-extended Centre could have been a similarly strong EP if it had been distilled to just its high points.  There is some prime Frost to be found here, even if the presentation is less than ideal.


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