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"And Suddenly Everything, Absolutely Everything, Was There"

cover image Utech Records has, over the past decade, released critically acclaimed albums from established artists such as James Plotkin, Lasse Marhaug, and Justin Broadrick, as well as fostered the work of newer projects like Locrian, Nadja, and Horseback. Many of those artists appear on this digital compilation with exclusive or live material unavailable elsewhere. It is nearly four and a half hours of music, with all of the proceeds going to support the Utech family at this incredibly difficult time. In an era where so many crowd funding campaigns are simply a cash grab, this is one that will truly help a family in need.

The digital compilation is available at http://utechfamilybenefit.bandcamp.com

Kim Utech lost her battle against breast cancer on July 1, 2015. She leaves behind her husband Keith and their two children, 12-year-old son Jackson, and 9-year-old daughter, Piper. Keith's sister-in-law, Michelle Kubler Utech, created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to assist Keith with living expenses while he takes time off to be with their children and to help with the expenses incurred while Kim was receiving treatment.

This compilation, assembled by friends and supporters of Utech Records, contains forty-one tracks worth of exclusive material–some previously unreleased, some recorded live, some created specifically for this release–with a runtime of nearly 4 1/2 hours.

100% of the proceeds (after Bandcamp and PayPal take their cuts) will be donated to the Utech Family Fund.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for 8/3/2015

New music is due from Alvarius B, Alessandro Cortini, and Stephen O'Malley, while old music is due from Kaleidoscope, The Cramps, and John Fahey.

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Stephen O'Malley, "Gruidés"

cover imageStephen O’Malley’s already unusual career has certainly taken some odd and unexpected turns in recent years, as the erstwhile amplifier-worshipper currently has both an insanely ambitious and jazz-inspired avant-metal masterpiece (Monoliths and Dimensions) and a Scott Walker collaboration under his belt.  The latest unlikely development is that Frédéric Blondy recruited O’Malley in 2014 to compose for the French improv orchestra ONCIEM, helpfully noting that he should be "punk rock" about it.  Ethos-wise, O'Malley did not disappoint in that regard, cavalierly disregarding some very key perceived limitations for various orchestral instruments.  In a musical sense, however, Gruidés is a wonderfully droning, heaving, and dissonant epic of modern composition (and all done without distortion or a wall of amplifiers).

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Jim Haynes, "Scarlet"

cover imageAs a sound artist, I have always felt Jim Haynes is criminally underappreciated.  His work always resonates with me as an intricate, dense matrix of processed and found sounds, always with some organic, natural elements, but demolished and treated to bear no resemblance to their origin.  Like his visual work, Haynes captures that powerful sense of rust and decay on Scarlet, culled from electromagnetic and organic sources, and shaped into a dizzying but beautifully bleak cassette.

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M Ax Noi Mach, "Raw Elements: 1999-2009"

cover imageToo structured to be labeled noise, yet too dissonant to fit into any other genre, Robert Francisco's work as M Ax Noi Mach is an idiosyncratic project in the best possible way.  On this collection of four track recordings over the span of a decade, guitar pedal feedback loops are set immediately next to skittering 808 hi-hat cymbals, defying categorization and being extremely memorable for just that reason.  Clocking in at 22 songs and over 70 minutes, it is a daunting yet rewarding collection.

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Loop, "Array 1"

cover imageWhen Robert Hampson reactivated Loop and toured after a lengthy dormancy, I was rather surprised (as were many other fans).  When the recording of new material was announced, I was shocked.  As an artist who had gone so long intentionally avoiding his return to the guitar, it is not a move I expected.  Not necessarily surprising, but definitely reassuring, Array 1 sounds exactly like Loop should sound in 2015, and the natural expansion of the sound Hampson and company perfected during their first phase.

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Evan Caminiti, "Meridian"

cover imageAs much as I have enjoyed both Barn Owl and Evan Caminiti’s solo work in the past, his career has certainly been an unusual and chameleonic one, generally alternating between heady drone and his own particular strain of desert rock.  In theory, that history of creative restlessness should have prepared me for Meridian, but I truly did not see this monster of a synthesizer album coming.  The surprise is not that Caminiti’s guitar is nowhere to be heard or even that he made an entirely electronic album–it is that his first foray in this direction is such a mesmerizing tour de force that effortlessly transcends the rest of the synthesizer pack (and most of Evan's own previous discography).

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Flatliner, "Black Medicine"

cover imageAs much of a showcase for vintage synthesizers as it is an EP of dance beats, the duo of Flatliner have complied this showcase of their combined collection of prized gear, but work those instruments into strong and memorable songs, rather than just collections of classic noises.  Adam Fangsrud and Jesse Strait present four distinct pieces on Black Medicine that all have their own specific mood and identity, but also blend together thematically, resulting in a diverse yet cohesive release.

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Oiseaux-Tempête, "Ütopiya?"

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Back in 2013, Oiseaux-Tempête’s excellent debut established them as something akin to Europe’s answer to Godspeed You Black Emperor, which is not a bad niche to occupy at all.  For their follow-up, however, the band have changed things up a bit, significantly altering both their approach, their vision, and their line-up (they enlisted bass clarinetist Gareth Davies).  While they generally seem like good moves in theory, the aforementioned innovations have resulted in something of a confounding and (at best) lateral transformation, as Ütopiya? is generally a bit weaker and more bombastic than its predecessor.  There are unquestionably a handful of bright and inspired moments to be found, of course, but Ütopiya? mostly lies somewhere in the unfortunate no-man’s land between "misstep" and "transitional album."

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Black Love, "Unlust"

cover imageOstensibly a hard rock band, there is much more to Black Love lurking beneath the superficial.  Drummer Tony Cicero and Sergio Segovia’s bass (and electronics) may sound like a conventional arrangement, but David Cotner’s vocals and unconventional additions (a mule jawbone, for example), add an additional layer of depth.  Across these four songs there is more than a hint of broken romance bitterness, but with the right amount of sardonic and wry self-awareness to make it anything but trite.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Baby Dee

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Review of the Day

"NOTES FROM THEE REAL UNDERGROUND"
A couple weeks ago, I had a lot of time on my hands on the highway to Austin for a Pigface show. I figured it would be a good time to take in the entirety of this various artists collection handpicked by Pigface and Invisible Records head honcho Martin Atkins for Underground Inc., an affiliation of 15 or so indy labels including Invisible. "Notes.." showcases 52 tracks over 3 discs by 28 artists, none of whom I'd previouslyheard of. I kept a simple 'thumbs up' vs. 'thumbs down' tally as I listened and 20 tracks got the thumbs up. Not bad considering the single disc price tag. It's a diverse lot that represents both genders and many facets of pop, punk, rock, industrial rock, dance, rap, etc. (but you won't find a single glitch) and, of course, the unavoidable Skinny Puppy/Orgy/Leatherstrip imitators. My bias lies more towards the original and weird stuff rather than the cookie cutter refuse. Some of the highlights: Louie Fontaine's Foetus like swagger, Tub Ring's cut and paste carnival punk on acid, Kill Pop's explosive Big Black meets Minor Threat sound and Livesexact's "You Must Get Down" amusing samples and raps. And the cream of the crop: Mistlethrush's utterly delightful melodic rock gems "Heavy Set John" and "Jody Stone" ... they will be huge given proper exposure). Volume 2 was recently released with 2 more discs packed with another set of artists. I have it on order.

 

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