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Podcast Episode 376: November 12, 2017 (guest artist Carla Dal Forno)

Carla Dal FornoThis week we welcome Carla Dal Forno as our special guest of the podcast. Blackest Ever Black has just released her latest EP, The Garden as well as Akwardly Blissing Out, the album from her previous group F Ingers. Other music includes new music from Robert Haigh, Godflesh, Benoit Pioulard, and Nocturnal Emissions.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for 11/13/2017

New music is due from Godflesh, COH, and Delivery Health (Giovanni Di Domenico, Jim O'Rourke, and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto), while old music is due from Stefan Weisser (Z'EV), Band Of Holy Joy, and Linval Thompson.


Blaine L. Reininger, "Night Air"

cover imageNewly reissued in a much-expanded edition, Night Air was recorded in 1983, not long after Reininger left Tuxedomoon to try his hand at a solo career as an expat in Belgium.  Described by Les Disques du Crepuscule as a classic (which it may very well be in some circles), Night Air is certainly a curiously moody and idiosyncratic bit of art-damaged pop music that is very much of its time: Reininger borrowed a bit of the gloom from post-punk and a bit of the larger-than-life pomp from big glossy pop to carve out his own strange niche of cosmopolitan, theatrical pop and noirish atmospheres.  Night Air feels like Reininger attempted to forcibly distill late-night existential crises, hip European art scenes, and chain-smoking in coffee shops into something resembling a macabre, brooding, and vampiric Duran Duran.  As such, a lot of Night Air’s appeal is of the nostalgic variety, but it is unquestionably a unique release and there are quite a few intriguing gems and rarities included in the extras.  In fact, the bonus material is frequently better than the actual album.


Six Organs of Admittance, "Burning The Threshold"

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Ben Chasny’s latest release takes a quietly melodic detour from the more challenging fare unleashed by his recent hexadic composing experiments, a gentle path that seems to have been willfully chosen as a modest counterbalance to the pervading darkness of the last year.  I have some mixed feelings about that plan, as championing love and forgiveness sounds just fine to me, but Chasny occasionally errs a bit too much on the side of mellow, bucolic '60s/'70s folk rock for my taste.  If that side had always been the Six Organs aesthetic, it is doubtful that I ever would have become a fan, as I am most drawn to Chasny's psych side, as well as his unconventional guitar heroics.  As a one-off event, however, Burning The Threshold is quite a pleasant and disarming sincere album, offsetting occasional shades of classic Six Organs with a generous supply of surprisingly accessible hooks and melodies (as well as a bevy of talented guests).


Colleen, "A Flame My Love, A Frequency"

cover imageCécile Schott has long been my absolute favorite kind of artist: the kind who thoughtfully and quietly pieces together wonderfully distinctive albums and tends to only surface when she has something new and intriguing to say.  As a result, being a Colleen fan has been a deliciously unpredictable slow-motion rollercoaster that has taken some expectation-subverting turns over the years: most artists who come right out of the gate with a sublime and timeless masterpiece like Everyone Alive Wants Answers would just keep revisiting that success with diminishing returns, but Schott has tirelessly kept moving forward with each new album.  That evolution reached a crescendo of sorts with 2015 vocal-centric Captain of None, shedding a lot of artifice to reveal a more intimate and direct incarnation of Colleen.  In some ways, this latest album continues that trajectory, but it also finds Schott setting her viola da gamba aside for a synthesizer.  Admittedly, I tend to shake my head sadly whenever someone makes a synth album these days, but Schott has managed to bend those electronics to her will rather than falling under their spell like so many others.


Scanner, "The Great Crater"

cover imageIt is difficult to fathom that Robin Rimbaud’s Scanner project is nearing its 25th year, given the self-titled debut appeared in 1993.  In that span of time he has become involved in a diverse array of artistic endeavors, from soundtracks to performance art, even to oblique pop music as a member of Githead, all of which stray far from his initial digital snooping and nod to the surveillance culture, which has only grown since.  Conceptually, The Great Crater is a different beast entirely:  a sonic examination of an odd phenomena occurring in Antarctica, and perfectly captures the wonder and potential dread of the event.


Ogive, "Folds"

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This new collaborative project pairs one of the UK’s most gifted and unconventional drone artists, Chris Herbert, with Spanish sound artist Elías Merino.  The duo were initially brought together by their shared interest in creating lushly textured soundscapes, but each has a very different process for arriving there: Herbert is quite fond of natural and non-musical "found" sounds, while Merino's work is primarily computer-generated.  Their commonalities handily eclipse any potential aesthetic clashes though, as Folds sounds like an absolutely gorgeous drone album enlivened by a churning undercurrent of grainy textures and sneakily obscured small-scale kinetic transformations.  I suppose that description could probably apply to much of Herbert's solo work as well, but Folds definitely feels like an extra layer of depth, textural complexity, and visceral power has been added to the picture.  Merino's presence has taken something already wonderful and elevated it to a whole new level.


Sum of R, "Orga"

cover imageThe title of the third full-length album for this Swiss duo is an abbreviation for either organic or organism, and both are fitting descriptors for the music contained within.  Across 11 pieces, Reto Mäder (guitars and electronics) and Fabio Costa (drums and electronics) and a few friends construct a sinister creature, living and breathing, but not of this world.  With a strong pairing of chaotic experimentation with some more conventionally structured song-like works, it is a captivating and diverse record from beginning to end.


Elodie, "Vieux Silence"

cover imageFor their latest album, the duo of Andrew Chalk and Timo van Luijk (Af Ursin) take an unexpected detour from their impressive run of limited self-released albums for an appearance on Stephen O'Malley’s eclectic Ideologic Organ imprint.  To honor this auspicious occasion, the core line-up is fleshed out with returning collaborators Tom James Scott and Jean Noël Rebilly, as well as pedal steel guitarist Daniel Morris.  In all other respects, however, Vieux Silence is every bit a traditional Elodie album, unfolding as a flickering impressionist dream that seems to emanate from a time and place totally unlike our own.  As an album, it does not necessarily tower above the rest of Elodie's consistently fine oeuvre, but the title piece might be the single most achingly gorgeous piece that Chalk and van Luijk have recorded together to date.


Lawrence English concert at Landmark, Bergen, October 22, 2017

A quiet Sunday night in Bergen, Norway, was enlivened by the electronic compositions of Lawrence English. Following a short set of mostly original songs by Brigid Mae Power, with her impressive haunting voice and spirited guitar accompaniment, he transformed the intimate Landmark venue into a bewildering and unique landscape. English advised everyone to get out of chairs and lay on the floor, or on several low couches, instead. This encouraged a truly relaxed and meditative openness to deeper listening.

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