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brainwashed

Helm, "Chemical Flowers"

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cover imageLuke Younger has been increasingly ambitious in reinventing the Helm aesthetic with each fresh release over the last several years, but this latest release still caught me off-guard a bit: the bulk of Chemical Flowers is very different from the killer single ("I Knew You Would Respond") that preceded its release.  To some degree, that admittedly fits Younger's pattern, as each of his EPs tends to feature one brilliant centerpiece surrounded by the more expected post-industrial sound collages.  Though it is a full-length (and one that features string arrangements from JG Thirlwell), Chemical Flowers more or less replicates that same approach by simply doubling the amount of collages.  That is perfectly fine by me, as I tend to enjoy Younger's abstract side almost as much as his beat-driven side and he is in especially fine form here.  These collages are quite a bit different than usual though, as it sounds like there are a handful of '70s or '80s New Age/ambient albums lurking at the heart of Flowers that have been scorched, warped, and mangled beyond recognition.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2019 17:46 Read more...
 

Skylark Quartet, "Live in Tokyo"

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cover image Live in Tokyo is a series of 11 distinct interpretations of the 1941 song "Skylark" by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael performed by the quartet consisting of Orlando Lewis on clarinet, Franz-Ludwig Austenmeiser on keyboards, Hayden Pennyfeather on bass, and Roland Spindler on drums.  This fact is anything but obvious upon listening, however.  Based on the sound alone, it sounds more like an intimate series of improvisations rather than interpretations of a popular song from the 1940s, which was, I am sure, the performers' intent.  It may bear some resemblance to its source material, however the quartet manage to create something nearly entirely original.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 May 2019 21:36 Read more...
 

Nodding God, "Play Wooden Child"

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cover imageOver the last few years, House of Mythology has become a vacation home of sorts for David Tibet, as he keeps returning there for one unique and ambitious side project after another.  This latest divergence finds him teaming up with Andrew Liles for a very quixotic undertaking indeed: an album sung entirely in a dead language (Akkadian, one of Tibet's many deep interests).  Given that, I had no doubt at all that it would be one the year’s strangest and unapologetically indulgent releases, but I was still unprepared for how truly bizarre it ultimately turned out to be.  Suffice to say, there is nothing else out there quite like Wooden Child, as it feels like an especially unhinged prog opus that took a darkly phantasmagoric turn leading far from any recognizably earthly territory.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 May 2019 18:59 Read more...
 

Reality Tunnels

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cover image In its ongoing series of artist-curated compilations, the Idle Chatter label asked interdisciplinary New York-based artist Muyassar Kurdi to compile its latest release.  Specifically presenting female artists from around the world, Reality Tunnels not only further demonstrates the vast expanse of what can be defined as experimental music, but also gives some largely (and unjustly) unrecognized artists a platform to be heard.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 May 2019 21:30 Read more...
 

Meat Beat Manifesto, "Opaque Couché"

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cover imageBilled as a companion piece to 2018's stellar Impossible Star, Opaque Couché continues Meat Beat's recent hot streak with a double album packed with inventive and meticulously crafted dance music virtuosity.  Given that Jack Dangers' work has passed though quite a succession of different phases over the years, Impossible Star is indeed Opaque Couché's closest reference point, yet the two albums go in significantly different directions within their roughly similar stylistic territories (and only this one pays homage to one of the world's ugliest colors).  Whereas its predecessor embraced the feel of an inhuman and paranoid sci-fi dystopia, Opaque Couché takes that futuristic bent in much more playful and propulsively kinetic direction.  Naturally, it all sounds great, as Dangers is a singularly exacting producer.  His true genius, however, lies in how seamlessly he is able to mash together high art, deadpan kitsch, and vibrantly infectious drum loops.  Admittedly, that has been true for quite a long time, but he seems to creep closer and closer to achieving the perfect balance with each new release.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 May 2019 07:02 Read more...
 


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