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Podcast Episode 384: May 27, 2018

Adam: Warsaw An all new episode of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is available now. This episode features 10 new and old songs from Gnod, Laurie Spiegel & Don Christensen, Bruce Gilbert, Wire, Marissa Nadler, Landing, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Sarah Davachi, Grouper, and Clarice Jensen, all of which come from releases out this year.

Special thanks to Adam for this episode's photo of Warsaw, Poland.


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Forced Exposure New Releases for 5/28/2018

New music is due from A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Guided By Voices, and Surgeon, while old music is due from Wire, Pyramid, and Morton Feldman.

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Lucrecia Dalt, "Anticlines"

cover imageThis album, Dalt's sixth, is my first exposure to the iconoclastic Colombian's work and it feels like an ideal entry point, as it is quite a beguiling album that is universally hailed as a major creative breakthrough.  Due to its stark and unusual futurist aesthetic and constrained palette of primitive-sounding electronics, Anticlines definitely calls to mind both classic Chris & Cosey and minimal wave fare, yet Dalt's vision is transcendently bizarre enough to feel like something radical and new.  Her desiccated and industrialized Latin/South American rhythms are certainly a part of that, but the real brilliance of Anticlines lies in Dalt’s lyrics and vocals: on songs like "Tar," she resembles a sexy cyborg, bloodlessly and seductively intoning breathy, cryptic poetry that feels like it alludes to vast depths of hidden meaning and feeling.

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Simon Crab, "Demand Full Automation"

cover imageThree years after his eclectic and excellent solo debut, Bourbonese Qualk founder Simon Crab is back, albeit in radically transformed fashion.  Crab's eclecticism certainly remains intact, yet Demand Full Automation is a bit of a tough album to wrap my head around: it kind of sounds like Crab started composing a similarly fine follow-up, then got commissioned to soundtrack some kind of neon-lit impressionist urban noir film…then took a break and time-traveled back to the '90s to do a DJ set at the Haçienda.  Unsurprisingly, those disparate threads make very strange bedfellows indeed, yet the enigmatic logic of Crab's overarching vision is countered by some sizable leaps forward in his craftsmanship.  While I admittedly miss the homespun charm of After America a lot, Demand Full Automation is quite a likable (if sometimes quizzical) album in its own right, as it is a considerably tighter, more beat-driven, and more hook-filled affair than its predecessor.

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Sarah Davachi, "Let Night Come On Bells End The Day"

cover imageSarah Davachi's first album for Sean McCann's Recital Program imprint marks yet another intriguing stage in the evolution of her expanding vision, beautifully blurring the lines between drone, psychedelia, and neo-classical composition.  Composed primarily for mellotron and electric organ, Let Night Come On often resembles a time-stretched and hallucinatory re-envisioning of a timeless mass or requiem.  There are certainly some nods to Davachi's earlier drone-centered work as well, yet the most stunning pieces feel like achingly gorgeous classical works that wandered into an enchanted mist where time loses all meaning and all notes dissolve into a gently lysergic and lingering haze after being struck.

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Howard Stelzer, "Dawn Songs", "Normal Bias"

cover imageHaving sat on these tapes for far too long, I felt that it was a good time to revisit them in light of Stelzer's newest works (reviewed here) to more fully recognize this legendary artist’s work.  Dawn Songs is a pleasantly succinct piece of music that covers a nice gamut of sounds while Normal Bias is a sprawling, magnificent set of six tapes that feels like an "everything plus the kitchen sink" type release where everything just happens to be golden and indispensable.

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Howard Stelzer/Brendan Murray, "Connector", "A Strange Object Covered in Fur Which Breaks Your Heart"

cover imageIn his two most recent works, Howard Stelzer branches out to less aggressive, more subdued sounds, while still heavily staying faithful to his core roots as a noisy manipulator of all things cassette.  His work with long-time friend and long-time collaborator Brendan Murray shows a wide variety of approaches and styles, while A Strange Object is largely him at his most focused and meditative.  The two tapes may seem vastly different at times, but make for excellent complements to one another.

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Gnod, "Chapel Perilous"

cover imageGnod’s previous full-length, 2017's Just Say No..., was a feast of gloriously thuggish and focused brutality, but it was bit of an outlier for the shape-shifting psych collective from Salford.  Consequently, I was a fool to expect Chapel Perilous to continue along the same lines, as Gnod is an entity in a constant state of explosive reinvention.  There are a couple of lingering shadows of Just Say No's aesthetic in Chapel Perilous's lengthy bookends, however, as this album partially took shape as Gnod were touring in No's wake.  For the most part, Chapel Perilous is a completely different animal though, deconstructing the band's more hostile side into something a bit more seething, sprawling, indulgent, and experimental.  That makes this release more of an uneven, fitfully inspired detour than a great album, but it still manages to kick open a few new doors in decisive fashion.

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Held There, Beside the Signified

cover imageFollowing the Idle Chatter's label curated tape set Transparens by Wren Turco, the label has released another, similar project, this time by Drekka's Mkl Anderson.  Again consisting of three artists, each contributing their own tape (Drekka, Pillars and Tongues, and Skrei), there are a multitude of different experimental sounds and approaches here, blending traditional with electronic instrumentation on this trinity of albums.  Like the label’s previous collection, each artist’s work differs greatly from one another others, but the big picture is a series of works that complement one another splendidly.

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Grouper, "Grid of Points"

cover imageLiz Harris's Grouper project has taken on quite an unusual and fascinating trajectory over the last several years, transforming into something that feels like a slowly unfolding series of poetic postcards from a ghost.  Grid of Points, the most recent window into Harris's soul, continues to further distill the stark and tender fragility of 2014's Ruins, unfolding as a 22-minute suite of gorgeously ephemeral piano sketches that blur together to weave a hypnotic spell.  I suppose the word "sketches" conveys a somewhat unfinished aesthetic, which is not far from the mark, as these sessions were unexpectedly curtailed by a bout with high fever.  In a deeper sense, however, that fever was providential, as these pieces are perfect in their spectral elusiveness, evoking (as Harris herself puts it) "the space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone."

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Locrian, "The Clearing"

cover imageWith only a single and a few collaborations out this year, Chicago's Locrian have been rather quiet, with this being their first (and so far only) full-length release of the year.  The Clearing both recalls their earliest, noise-addled drone work while still looking forward to their current unique take on metal/prog/kraut rock.


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