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Forced Exposure New Releases for 4/20/2015

New music is due from Jonny Nash, Christian Wallumrød, and Django Django, while old music is due from Bruce Gilbert & Graham Lewis, Beatriz Ferreyra, and Daphne Oram.


Muslimgauze, "Zilver/Feel The Hiss"

cover imageI had been doing an excellent job of ignoring the constant trickle of unnecessary Muslimgauze vault scrapings for the last few years, but the surprising amount of excitement surrounding this one enticed me into grudgingly giving it a chance.  I am glad I did, as Feel The Hiss's mingling of heavy dub and sound collage is probably my favorite of Bryn Jones' myriad stylistic threads.  The album still falls prey to the usual "Muslimgauze vault" curse of sounding like endless slight variations of the same goddamn song, but in this case the song being endlessly replicated is actually good enough to warrant it.  This is the best Muslimgauze album to surface in a long time.


M.C. Schmidt, "Batu Malablab: Suite for Prepared Piano, Flute, and Electronics"

cover imageMatmos has long been one of the most uniquely outré and inventive projects around, so it follows that Schmidt's debut solo album would be similarly bizarre and Batu Malablab is certainly that (and more).  In fact, it actually turned out to be far stranger and more challenging than I ever could have imagined: I was expecting a Can- or Harappian Night Recordings-style "ethnographic forgery," but what I got sounds much closer to an electronics-damaged imaginary soundtrack for a '60s Southeast Asian avant-garde theater piece.  Or what the Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack might have sounded like if jointly composed by Cage, Stockhausen, and Harry Partch.


Sewer Goddess, "Painlust"

cover imageBoston’s Sewer Goddess inhabit the blurry, aggressively dark space between doom metal plod and power electronics/industrial, blending those two extreme genres in a way that works flawlessly.  Those two genres are not known for anything subtle, and Painlust is anything but, resulting in an album that embraces the best elements of both of those genres while managing to avoid the cliché pitfalls that are a significant problem within both.


Loscil, "Sea Island"

cover imageDigitally generated sound has been a staple of Scott Morgan's career as Loscil since his first release.  With the project named for one of the basic operators in the popular Max/MSP software package, it is unsurprising that much of Sea Island is the result of DSP programming.  However, the sound Morgan creates has a far richer, more organic quality than many who work with similar strategies and methods, and this album is one that is gripping in its natural sounding warmth.



cover imageContinuing a strong and consistent period of activity that began in earnest with the third installment of the Read & Burn series, the legendary band's 14th album is yet another high water mark in their expansive (and extremely impressive) discography.  Primary songwriting duo Colin Newman and Graham Lewis provide 11 all new songs that blend their artistic obtuseness with catchy songwriting and melodies, the type of sound that made Chairs Missing and The Ideal Copy so brilliant.  With Robert Grey's steady drumming and an expanded role for guitarist Matt Simms, Wire is full of moments that are weird, sometimes challenging, but always fascinating and memorable.



cover image All art, whether by design or by accident, contends with time. But music’s relationship to it, like cinema’s, is pronounced, as is evident in the case of Anjou. On their Kranky debut, ex-Labradford members Mark Nelson and Robert Donne join Haptic’s (and Innode’s and Pan•American’s) Steven Hess for eight melancholy preludes focused on form, color, light, and time. Their songs are short, no longer than nine minutes, and expressionistic, dotted with half-heard rhythms and implied melodies orbiting a tonal center. They issue into the room in suspended animation and hang there mysteriously, heavy like a storm cloud. In them, the passage of time ceases to mark minutes and seconds and instead denotes the availability of different perspectives. Sounds are typically thought of as moving through spaces, but in this case spaces move through sounds, guided in their course by a trio of directors with an impossible view from above.


Everyday Loneliness, "False Validations"

cover imageJon Borges, who also records as half of Pedestrian Depot, has chosen a project name that is only partially fitting for the sound he creates.  While the Loneliness part is most fitting, given its isolated and depressing sound, the Everyday part maybe not so much.  False Validations is a standout within a field of frigid waves and minimalist drone, the sound of beautiful depression.


Colleen, "Captain of None"

cover imageBack in 2013, Cécile Schott unexpectedly ended a very long hiatus in appropriately unexpected style by reinventing herself as an eccentric, viola da gamba-wielding singer/songwriter.  Captain of None is both a continuation and refinement of that vein, but with an additional twist: Schott has found a way to subtly integrate her love of Jamaican dub techniques into the Colleen sound.  That turned out to be a great idea, as I have already seen Captain compared to Arthur Russell's World of Echo more than once.  While it does not all that sound much like Russell stylistically, Schott's hushed and poetic pop experiments are similarly idiosyncratic and starkly intimate.  Also of note: Captain of None is yet another absolutely stellar Colleen album.


Felicia Atkinson, "A Readymade Ceremony"

cover imageI have historically not followed Felicia Atkinson’s prolific career too closely, aside from enjoying the excellent Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier album on Aguirre, but this latest experiment in surrealism/dada/collage/detournement piqued my interest.  For one, it is billed as a "concrète/post-digital oratorio in five parts" and was made in willfully constrained/minimalist fashion using only a laptop with limited software (Atkinson has previously sounded like a one-woman psych-rock band).  Also, it was partially inspired by being frightened as a child by Pierre Henry's "Apocalypse de Jean" and is built upon texts ranging from George Bataille's erotic prose to Felicia's own writings to snippets from random Italian art magazines.  To me, that either sounds like a recipe for a pretentious towering fiasco or a goddamn masterpiece, but the end result is mostly neither, though one piece ("L'Oeil") does manage to veer quite close to the latter.


The Eye: Video of the Day


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Review of the Day

trans champs, "double exposure"

New levels of ironica are reached on this extended play single when retrofitted 1980s heavy metal and analogue techno rock collide. Thinking back a couple decades, I recall that fans of both camps would despise each other. Take a look at Heavy Metal Parking Lot for clues. Today, however, the music is being warmly embraced by indie rock hipsters. Two groups of three members: the Fucking Champs (who I swear are the pawns in a diabolacal plot from Yngwie Malmsteen to stage a crossover attack into the sweater-clad Buddy Holly glasses-wearing indie crowd) versus Trans Am (who confuse me to this day whether they're paying tribute to or parodizing ZZ Top and Kraftwerk).

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