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Richard H. Kirk, 1956-2021

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Richard H. KirkWe are absolutely devastated by the news of the loss of Richard H. Kirk, music pioneer, founder of Cabaret Voltaire, and one of the most prolific musicians. Kirk formed Cabaret Voltaire with Chris Watson and Stephen Mallinder in the early 1970s, concurrently releasing music under his own name, and continued on in Cabaret Voltaire with Mallinder after Watson's departure, and alone, following Mal's departure. Kirk also released numerous recordings under various aliases such as Sweet Exorcist, Sandoz, Electronic Eye, Biochemical Dread, Al Jabr, Vasco De Mento, Orchestra Terrestrial, and Digital Terrestrial, just to name a few. He also recorded with Peter Hope, and a one off collaboration as Acid Horse with Paul Barker, Al Jourgensen, and CV bandmate Stephen Mallinder.

Mute records issued the following statement on their Twitter feed:

"It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away. Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular and driven path throughout his life and musical career. We will miss him so much.

"We ask that his family are given space at this time."

Cabaret Voltaire was one of the original groups we hosted a web site for on beginning back in 1996. He will be sorely missed

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 09:05

Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 1/17/21

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New music is due from Knights of the Realm, Drop Collective, and Jesper Munk, while old music is due from Sonic Youth, Joshua Abrams, and Nahid Akhtar.

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 January 2022 21:33

2021 Readers Poll: The Results

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Alas we are finally here to present the Annual Brainwashed Readers Poll. Once again, this is what the readers choose, as staff and contributors, we only make our comments here and there.

Sorry for the delays, these have been exceptionally stressful and demanding times for just about everybody. Production may be high, but morale remains low. This couldn't be more evident with this year's poll, which had the most entries in years, but had a remarkably low voter turnout. It is difficult to hold out until the very end of the year to be all-inclusive, where most places have made up their mind by November, and music of the year is being released constantly until the clock strikes midnight. So by the time we come around to soliciting votes, most people have checked out for the year.  We will do some re-evaluation to the process prior to future polls.

Thanks again to everybody who participated. This is your voice.

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 January 2022 19:37

Anatomy of Habit, "Even if it Takes a Lifetime"

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cover imageIt certainly does not seem as if it has been seven years since Ciphers + Axioms, but it has, and Even if it Takes a Lifetime is the first music Anatomy of Habit have released since then.  The heaviness that pervaded their previous two albums and debut EP is here for sure, but there is also a greater sense of melodicism, spearheaded by band leader Mark Solotroff’s (Bloodyminded, The Fortieth Day) vocal approach.  The album still sounds like the same band, but one that has solidified into a pummeling, yet nuanced machine that is as complex as it is heavy, resulting in their best work to date.


The album opens with "A Marginal World" and, at less than seven minutes, is the shortest song the band has created so far.  With the limited duration the band wastes no time launching in to a heavy chug by rhythm section Skyler Rowe and Sam Wagster, nicely complemented by Solotroff's bandmate in Bloodyminded Isidro Reyes' metal clattering accents.  Solotroff's booming voice comes right in quickly, his stentorious delivery as severe as ever.  Rapid fire snare and cymbals soon come in, upping the tempo and giving a slightly less doom laden feel compared to their other work.  There are a lot of transitions given its short length, but it leads to a complex, yet immediate sound from the start.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 December 2021 15:00

Tasos Stamou, "Monoliths"

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cover imageDiscovering this London-based composer's adventurously psychedelic collages of traditional Greek music was one of 2021's great musical pleasures for me, so I was very eager to hear this ambitious double album follow up to Antiqua Graecia.  As expected, it is a characteristically wonderful and unusual release, but it is also marks a detour away from Stamou's impressive run of Greek-themed albums.  The theme of the aptly titled Monoliths is instead Stamou's attempt to "collide" the two sides of his working methods: live performances and studio work.  By my estimation, it was a very successful collision, but it was mostly a behind-the-scenes one, as I would be hard pressed to determine where one approach starts and another begins.  As a result, the more immediate and striking theme of the album for me as a listener is that each piece feels like an extended experiment in crafting an immersive, complexly layered sound world from just a single recognizable instrument.  At least, that is how Monoliths unfolds for its first half, as the bottom drops out of the album's hallucinatory feast of bells, organs, and steel drums to reveal a considerably more processed, abstract, and psychotropic second hour of drone-damaged mindfuckery.  That approach admittedly makes Monoliths a bit less accessible than some of Stamou’s more conventionally melodic work, but serious heads looking for a deep and sustained dive into otherworldly psych meditations will likely love this immersive tour de force.

Moving Furniture

The opening "Bells Drone" sounds deceptively like it could be layered field recordings of wind chimes at first, as bells of different sizes amiably jangle and clang for couple minutes before any real evidence of Stamou's hand starts to emerge.  Soon, however, some tones start to linger supernaturally and the mood darkens into uneasy shadows of dissonance.  It is quite a wonderfully hallucinatory and entrancing piece, evoking an ancient ritual in a cavernous subterranean temple revealed behind a dissolving reality.  While it is the shortest piece on the album at a mere 13 minutes, it is nevertheless a solid representation of the album’s first half: a simple and minimal theme gradually transforms into a vividly multi-dimensional dream world.  On "Chord Organ #2," for example, an organ drone slowly evolves into a Catherine Christer Hennix-esque nightmare of dark harmonies before unexpectedly resolving on a note of sundappled transcendence.  "Steel Drum Drone," on the other hand, steadily becomes something akin to a lovesick tropical Steve Reich.  That one is another favorite, as I am quite impressed with how Tasos weaves together patterns of plinking and bleary steel drum melodies into a thing of woozy multi-layered beauty.   In fact, I love every single one of the opening three pieces, but they turn out to be a mere prelude to two pieces in which Tamou goes totally bananas.  In the first, "Supernormal," Stamou mingles a chirping electronic drone with squealing and sliding strings en route to an harrowing mindfuck that calls to mind a goddamn demon summoning (the final stretch of oscillating synth thrum is especially choice).  The closing "Synapse" improbably features some even more gnarly sounds, passing though such colorful stages like "menacingly gelatinous bass throb," "an undead gamelan ensemble wanders the deserted streets in search of their next victim," and "a simmering and intense prepared piano performance over quasi-industrial rhythmic loops."  This is an absolute feast of an album: five great longform pieces in a row spanning nearly two hours.  Most days, I admittedly prefer the more meditative/ritualistic first half to the more nightmarish second half, but Stamou was swinging for the fences with every single piece on this album and the result is a monolithically stellar release.

Samples can be found here.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 January 2022 14:15
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