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It's another episode featuring nothing but excellent music by women. This week's music comes from Monika Werkstatt, Diana Rogerson, dolphin midwives, Park Jiha, People Like Us, Jessica Bailiff, Fovea Hex, Laurie Spiegel, Electrelane, Tara Jane O'Neil, Damiana, and Myriam Gendron.
Thank you Inge from Netherlands for the self portrait.
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The world would sound a lot different today (at least the music we listen to a lot of here at Brainwashed) were it not for the ears of of Lee "Scratch" Perry. Beginning with his role in Jamaica's legendary Studio One in the mid 1960s up until this year, he has been active in music, a visionary who would take the sounds he heard in his mind and create them for the world to hear.
The list of musicians he has collaborated with is massive, from Bob Marley to Paul McCartney to the Clash to Brian Eno to Andrew WK! Known as the Godfather of Dub, his creations may have originally nestled under the genre of Reggae, dub has proliferated throughout music since its inception, finding its way into rock, electronic, jazz, avant-garde, metal, ambient music, and nearly everything in between.
He will sincerely be missed however he has left us with nearly a lifetime of music to listen to and catch up with.
Our love goes out to his family and friends.
Saltern‚Äôs latest Yoshi Wada reissue unhappily coincides with the composer's unexpected passing, but at least he managed to live long enough to see his work get some wider appreciation in recent years. Or at least managed to see some of his major albums finally get remastered and released outside Japan, as "wider appreciation" is very relative when one's vision is as unapologetically challenging as Wada's. In fact, I always viewed him as a Final Boss in the appreciation of difficult and adventurous music, as it takes a lot of immersion in dissonant and outr√© sounds before one reaches the "I crave a deep dive into avant-garde bagpipes" stage. In fact, I am not sure I am yet there myself. Given that, The Appointed Cloud is probably more for devout connoisseurs of sound art's more prickly fringes than, say, the heavy drone of Wada's 2009 triple LP Earth Horns With Electronic Drone. However, this album was one of Wada's personal favorites, as it documents the "memorable" opening performance of his "first large-scale, interactive installation" at the Great Hall of the New York Hall of Science in 1987 (which featured "spaceships hanging from the ceiling so people felt like they were traveling in outer space"). That certainly seems like a suitably disorienting environment for sounds this fascinating and unique. I dearly wish someone had thought to film some post-concert audience reactions, as I bet they were quite something.
Saltern/EM Records/Edition Omega Point
There are some artists who seem like that they have absolutely no influences other than themselves, but there are also some equally rare visionaries who combine such bizarre and seemingly clashing influences that they seem equally unique. Yoshi Wada was arguably the king of the latter camp, as he began his creative life studying sculpture in Kyoto before moving to New York in the '60s and falling in with the burgeoning Fluxus scene there. He also studied composition with La Monte Young, North Indian classical singing with Pandit Pran Nath, and Scottish bagpipes. That impressive collision of jarringly divergent impulses makes sense if one simply accepts that Wada was a deeply curious person though. And The Appointed Cloud similarly makes sense if one understands that sculpture was Wada's first love and that Fluxus showed him a path to applying those talents to music, as one of its primary themes is emphasizing the artistic process over the finished product. Appropriately, process lies at the heart of this performance, as it is a based around "a custom pipe organ, among other homemade instruments, controlled by a computer equipped with a customized interface and software designed by engineer David Rayna." The ensemble is further rounded out by four bagpipe players (one of whom was Wada) and a percussionist. All of those elements make their presence strongly felt at various points, but most of the album sounds like a very tight and professional bagpipe ensemble with one rogue member who keeps steering them towards crescendos of squalling dissonance (and it also sounds like he may have invited some friends from a gagaku ensemble along). It also occasionally sounds like a pipe organ jam at a Zen retreat, an air raid drill during a mass at a cathedral, a flock of crazed geese fleeing a storm, or an appealingly frayed and out-of-phase Philip Glass homage. Needless to say, that makes for quite a wild and unpredictable ride and it is not one for the timid: Yoshi Wada was truly a one-of-a-kind artist and The Appointed Cloud is exactly the sort of ambitiously challenging and strikingly unfamilar album to (emphatically) affirm that.
Samples can be found here.
Words cannot describe how devastated we are about the unexpected sudden loss of Nari Mann.
She was one of those music fans who just got it, had impeccable taste, was a classically trained pianist, a fantastic photographer (flickr.com/photos/nariposa), a local hero (Keep Austin Warm), a writer (nariposa.wordpress.com) who just recently became a contributor to brainwashed, and a friend for decades.
Here's her pictures from Brainwaves 2008.
Our hearts go out to all her friends and family.
She is loved and is dearly missed.
The world is a much more bearable place thanks to Harold Budd.
While he began composing in the 1960s, teaming up with Brian Eno in the late-1970s brought him greater acclaim through more widespread album releases. Collaborations with acts such as Cocteau Twins, Andy Partridge, and Brian Eno may have put him on the radar for people who would not normally be listening, and those who explored more were almost always rewarded by his aural treasures.
His influence is immeasurable.
Singer, musician, art director LD Beghtol one of those people who kept you laughing. He released five full-length albums as Flare, but is most famously known for singing in The Magnetic Fields and authoring 69 Love Songs, A Field Guide for the 33 1/3 book series.
He was also one of the first contributors to Brainwashed.com when we began writing about music in the late '90s.
He will be sorely missed.
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Silver Apples founder, Simeon Coxe. Not only was the music Simeon created back in the 1960s with Silver Apples influential beyond measure, he was an amazing gentleman and wonderful soul.
In 2008, Simeon played Brainwaves as Silver Apples to the only standing ovation during the weekend. Click here to see some photos by Greg Cristman. He will be missed.
It is impossible to estimate the impact Vaughan Oliver had on the importance of the intersection between music and visual arts. Throughout his years at 23 Envelope, Oliver was responsible for the artwork and art direction of most 4AD releases along with Chris Bigg. While based in the UK, 4AD had the occasional support of radio, magazines, and promotional campaigns but overseas, most people had only the record cover artwork to go on. The stunning visuals of the 4AD catalog were enough to stop, pause, and appreciate while flipping through records down at the local shop. Over the years of the music industry downsizing, graphic downsizing, and rise of digital media and international communication, album cover art became less of a factor with music. The vinyl renaissance over the last few years, however, have sparked a renewed appreciation for art and Vaughan Oliver is often at the tops of everyone's lists of artists.
Our hearts go out to Vaughan's friends and family. He will be sorely missed.
Daniel Garcia launched hollyfeld.org in 1995. In a world before multinational multibillion dollar social media empires, Dan provided a place for numerous communities to flourish. Hollyfeld.org began hosting the email discussion lists for Coil, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Legendary Pink Dots, Cabaret Voltaire, and Throbbing Gristle, among others, all out of the kindness of his heart, all 100% free of cost and advertisements. All lists remain active however the future is uncertain.
Daniel and Yulia lived life to the fullest, were active in photography, travel, digital arts, and remained supportive of the brainwashed music community. Our hearts go out to their closest family and friends. We will miss you dearly.
This latest release is more of a diversion than a fresh addition to the canon of William Basinski masterworks, as it was originally composed for a pair of installations for an exhibition in Berlin. In keeping with theme of the show ("Limits of Knowing"), he stepped outside of his usual working methods to craft floating ambient soundscapes sourced from recordings captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Looked at another way, however, On Time Out of Time could be seen as Basinski's normal working methods taken to their ultimate extreme: instead of harvesting sounds from decaying tapes a few decades old, he is now harvesting billion-year-old sounds created by merging black holes. As far as singular, awe-inspiring cosmic events go, that is fairly hard to top, but it must be said that Basinski on his own has a more melodically and harmonically sophisticated sensibility than most (if not all) black holes. As such, the appeal of On Time Out Of Time lies more in the ingenious transformation of the source material than in the finished compositions (though they are quite likable).
As someone who already reviewed Bowery Electric's third album 19 years ago, I can't discuss it now without recognizing the importance of their second album and the differences in the world where each existed. Whereas Beat was very much the right record at the right time, Lushlife, in hindsight, feels like the wrong record at the wrong time. What made the world listen to Beat was its seemingly effortless mastery of sound, structure, and songcraft. The group didn't follow a particular formula between tracks and it never felt as if they were obliged to reach for a hit single. Released originally in late 1996 on Kranky in the USA, it grabbed the attention of Beggars Banquet for a release in Europe followed by two remix 12" singles, a remix album, and worldwide distribution to the follow-up. While they may have not explicitly been tasked with the duty of creating a pop-breakthrough, Lushlife feels at times like Bowery Electric are aiming for it. The songs were certainly more consciously composed, lyrically dense, and the sounds on the whole were much more vibrant and stunning than previously. Martha's vocals are more pronounced and confident, the bass riffs are a thunderous force, the guitars are sublime, and the strings are gorgeous. The dominating backbone of the record is the hip-hop beats, which eventually becomes its weakness.
Everyone at Brainwashed is devastated at the unexpected loss of composer J√≥hann J√≥hannsson. Brainwashed was first made aware of him through his releases on Touch and 4AD, and I had the pleasure of spending a brief amount of time with him while on tour in the USA, thanks to Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid, who helped book his tour and provide sound for the shows. Since then, J√≥hannsson has composed music for films such as Prisonders and Arrival, earned Academy Award nominations for best original film score for The Theory of Everything and Sicario, and won a Golden Globe for the score for Sicario. Our condolences to his friends and family.
In 1984, long before anyone's grandparents were only a few keystrokes away from obtaining every morsel of information, this non-descript album cover appeared in the shops. Nowhere on the record were there band member photos or names and roles, producer credits, or lyrics. It was a gamble to purchase a costly import record if you were located here in North America, especially without hearing it first, but most of those in-the-know would gladly take that risk. In this case, it certainly paid off.
Jon began his music career at the age of 14 as a disc jockey for WMUA at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently spins at WZBC at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. At 18 he moved to New York and interned at three major record companies. He moved back to Boston at 19 and began working part time with one more until graduating from Northeastern University with a bachelors degree (double concentration of music and business). Jon also currently DJs/VJs a music video night, The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow regularly in the Boston area and irregularly elsewhere.
Jon began Brainwashed.com in April of 1996 to host websites for some bands that needed some representaion on the web. In 1998, he began the weekly magazine The Brain as a weekly digest for the staff and contributors of Brainwashed to keep tabs on each other featuring the news of the bands and labels whose Web sites are hosted at Brainwashed, to post brief reviews of music that we're listening to, release dates, and in 2003 began producing video segments for the Web site featuring exclusive interviews and live footage of some of today's most innovative independent artists. The Brain was retired in 2005 to make way for the new Brainwashed.com which is nearly the same thing: a weekly dose of independent music and information.
Jon's personal website is turbid.com.
In the mid 1980s, there was no internet, eBay, discogs, and if you didn't live in a metropolitan area, music was expensive. These two releases were the first affordable releases to surface on the North American continent from Cocteau Twins, and while neither were issued by the band themselves in this form, the arrangement of the collection and the pairing of the two EPs are flawless and remain a fantastic listen three decades later.