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Forced Exposure New Releases for 8/29/2016

New music is due from Marisa Anderson, Æthenor, and John Chantler, while old music is due from Psychic TV, Alice Coltrane, and Georges Garvarentz.

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John Chantler, "Which Way to Leave?"

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I first encountered John Chantler's work with 2010's Luminous Ground and summarily dismissed him as just another vintage gear fetishist making gently blooping, blurting, and semi-random-sounding modular synth music.  In hindsight, I still do not think that I was entirely wrong about that, but I was quite mistaken in my assumption that that album conveyed the full range of Chantler's artistry.  While some parts of Which Way to Leave? similarly invite comparisons to the fading analog synth revival that has plagued me for the last few years, the more substantial pieces show that Chantler is a formidable composer with a vibrant and distinctive style of gnarled and grainy unpredictability.  When Chantler is good, he is extremely good.

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Old Man Gloom, "Mickey Rookey Live at London"

cover imageFor a band notorious for doing the absurdly perverse, such as releasing two albums both titled The Ape of God simultaneously, but with entirely different track lists, Mickey Rookey Live at London is a surprisingly straight-forward live album.  Across 18 songs, spanning since the super-group’s inception in 2000, it works great as a stand-alone release, but also as a distillation of the band’s decade and a half career, captured one night in 2014.

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Thomas Brinkmann, "1000 Keys"

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Lamentably, I have not been following Thomas Brinkmann’s career at all until now, as I had unfairly assumed that he was exclusively a techno producer and probably not of much interest to a connoisseur of the fringes like me.  As it turns out, however, his releases for Editions Mego are quite radically experimental and very much to my taste, particularly this one.  1000 Keys has its roots in an intriguing and ambitious premise: Brinkmann basically converted the sound of a grand piano into binary code as a "fatal homage to minimalism and a consequent denial of virtuosity and the idea of creative genius.”  Naturally, that claim was more than enough to pique my interest, but I would not have stuck around for very long if that concept had not translated into such a gloriously visceral and dissonant tour de force.  Brinkmann decisively delivers on his bold promise, taking the more chromatic and violent strains of modern classical piano composition to an impressively inhuman extreme.

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Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler, "Music Inspired by Philippe Garrel's Le Révélateur"

cover imageThis duo’s latest collaboration is a score composed to accompany Philippe Garrel’s haunting 1968 silent film Le Révélateur, which Lattimore and Zeigler have been intermittently been performing across the US since its debut at Ballroom Marfa’s 2013 silent film festival.  Naturally, Lattimore's harp is the most prominent element, imbuing these pieces with an eerily dream-like and rippling "music box" feel.  However, Zeigler’s presence is much more conspicuous here than it was on their previous Slant of Light (2014), balancing the delicate harp motifs with a bevy of synths, processed guitars, and lovely accordion-like melodies.  In general, I am not enthusiastic about soundtracks disembodied from their visual component, but this is an atypically good one, finding the perfect understated balance between whimsy, melancholy, menace, and surreality.

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Santos Silva/Wodrascka/Meaas Svendsen/Berre, "Rasengan!"

cover imageConsidering Rasengan! is a documentation of the first performance this pan-European free jazz quartet ever had together, the balance of unity and chaos here is exceptionally well done.  The two pieces that make up this 36 minute performance drift between what sounds like perfect synergy between the players to some all out messes of sound, both of which I have always felt is essential for this style of music.  Which, of course, means this is a very impressive record.

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Marielle V. Jakobsons, "Star Core"

cover imageFor better or worse, Marielle Jakobsons’ first solo album for Thrill Jockey continues her evolution away from her darker and heavier early work into more mellow, gently psychedelic territory more in line with her Date Palms project.  On the one hand, that makes sense, as Date Palms is probably the most popular of Jakobsons' many endeavors and quasi-New Age revivalism is still more or less in vogue.  On the other hand, I tend to loathe just about anything that resembles toothless pastoral burbling, regardless of who is making it.  Consequently, this direction is not for me much of the time.  While there are admittedly a few faint traces of the Jakobsons’ more distinctive and compelling past scattered throughout Star Core, this album is mostly significant for continuing the ambitious expansion of her palette and for being the first time that Marielle sings on record (as far as I know, anyway).  Also, the album's closing two pieces are sublimely mesmerizing.

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Sparkle in Grey, "Brahim Izdag"

cover imageFollowing their recent split release with legends Controlled Bleeding, this newest work from Sparkle in Grey retains the band’s improvisational flexibility, but lightens the mood somewhat.  Brahim Izdag takes a lot of directions, from complex post-rock excursions to traditional folk sounds and much in between, but somehow the band still manages to make it sound like a cohesive and unified, if somewhat sprawling record.

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Dylan Cameron, "Infinite Floor"

cover imageInfinite Floor may be his first solo record proper, but Austin's Dylan Cameron has honed his craft as a producer and engineer in that scene for a number of years now.  That technical expertise shines through on the eight songs that comprise this record, a suite of songs that ooze with rhythm, yet also a depth and complexity that rivals the most nuanced of electronic artists.  Strong rhythms, infectious melodies, and amazing production all come together as an excellent record.

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Robin Hayward, "Stop Time"

cover image The cover for Stop Time is meant to convey the nature of the tool used to compose it, an invention of Robin Hayward’s called the Hayward Tuning Vine. The idea behind it is to spatialize (and colorize) the relationship between just intervals played, in this case, on a baritone saxophone, a cello, and a microtonal tuba. At the performance from which this album is drawn, each instrumentalist was illuminated in a color corresponding to the pitch he played on the Vine. If the pitch shifted, so did the color. Those pitches were in turn fed to a surround-sound system and projected into different parts of the performance space. In the move to recorded medium, the spatial-visual element is partially flattened, making the slow accrual of rhythm, texture, and harmony the music’s driving feature.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

A Northern Chorus

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

Faust, "Od Serca Do Duszy"
cover imageThis double live album documents the group's first foray into Polish territory. The sound quality is vastly superior to last year's In Autumn box set of live recordings. Each little noise right up to the mightiest clamour is captured quite clearly; it is almost possible to smell the sweat.
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