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Forced Exposure New Releases for 7/28/2014

New music is due from Sia Tolno, Alessandro Cortini, and Tom Carter, while old music is due from The Velvet Underground, The Staple Singer, and MF Doom.


Kyle Bobby Dunn & The Infinite Sadness

cover imageI am fairly certain that this triple album is a lock for the most aptly named release of the year, as it is both unrelentingly melancholy and seemingly infinite (it clocks in at over two hours).  It is also excellent, as Dunn is one of the most reliably great ambient/minimalist drone artists.  While there is admittedly a somewhat exasperating interchangeability to these 19 songs, the sameness and epic length of The Infinite Sadness mostly work in Dunn's favor, as being sucked into an endless, dreamy loop can be quite a pleasant and mesmerizing experience in its own right.


Daniel Menche/William Fowler Collins; Mesa Ritual

cover imageNew Mexico's William Fowler Collins might have a smaller discography than others who work in similarly bleak moods and sounds, but the quality of each has been impeccable.  These two new releases, one split with legendary noise artist Daniel Menche and the other a collaboration with Raven Chacon (Death Convention Singers), is up to the same standard, and conveys the barren and hostile, yet beautiful desert environment he hails from.


Bremen, "Second Launch"

cover imageThis sprawling double-album is the second release from this Swedish guitar/organ space-rock duo and it absolutely floored me.  Built primarily from improvisations, Bremen largely avoids most of the jamminess, heavy-handedness, and self-indulgence that normally make me want to avoid the genre.  At their worst, they offer up a pleasantly languorous and simmering strain of post-rock, but the handful of highlights on Second Launch are nuanced, haunting, slow-burning perfection.  The best moments are easily some of the finest music that I have heard this year even though the complete album perhaps errs a bit on the sleepy and too-long side.


The Tobacconists, "A Secret Place"

cover imageOn their second LP, the duo of Scott Foust (Idea Fire Company) and Frans de Waard (Kapotte Muziek) chose to integrate more traditional instrumentation into their distinctive sound, namely bass guitar, overt synthesizer, and idiosyncratic rhythms.  This was in a conscious attempt to pay tribute to one of both artists' favorite projects, Dome.  While none of these six pieces sound directly like Graham Lewis & Bruce Gilbert's legendary project, that influence of bent post-industrial and playful absurdity resonates brilliantly throughout.


Russell Haswell & Pain Jerk, "Electroacoustic Sludge Dither Transformation Smear Grind Decomposition nO!se File Exchange Mega Edit"

cover imageA collaboration between these two artists makes perfect sense, given how both have carved out their individual niches working with rhythmic sounds in non-traditionally rhythmic situations.  Russell Haswell has worked overtly in both realms, and his recent work with power electronics legends Consumer Electronics has him going as far as conventional techno beats.  Pain Jerk's Kohei Gomi, on the other hand, has worked mostly as a harsh noise artist, but one of the few that has shaped harsh noise outbursts into ersatz rhythms.  Split into two discs (one edited by Haswell, the other by Gomi), this is a sprawling, brilliant mass of sound culled from solo recordings and live performances that stand out strongly amongst both their other work.


Erik K. Skodvin, "Flame"

cover imageFlame is only Skodvin's second solo album under his own name (following 2010's Flare), but he has long been quite a prolific fellow in both his Svarte Greiner solo guise and as one-half of Deaf Center.  While I do not yet have a comprehensive command of Erik’s entire oeuvre, this latest effort seems like a significant detour from the bleakly heavy drones that I normally associate with him.  Flame is still dark, of course, but it is more of a gently smoldering darkness than a crushing, oppressive one.  More importantly, this is a wonderful album, as Skodvin's lighter touch, clarity, and increased use of space combine to bring his excellent ideas into sharp relief.


Pjusk, "Solstøv"

cover imageConsidering its title is a hybrid of the Norwegian words for “sun” and “dust,” I almost expected a drastic change from this duois usually frigid, frost-laden landscapes.  Even more so upon finding out that the primary source material utilized by the duo was that of a trumpet, which to me seems like anything but a cold, isolationist instrument.  There are some notable variations in the sound of Solstøv, but as a whole it remains a faithful addition to the Pjusk discography.



cover imageShivers is a new jazz trio (of sorts) featuring Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt, though "anti-jazz" might be a more accurate descriptor given their willfully plodding rhythms and murky anti-virtuosity.  What the trio have going for them instead, however, is a distinctive strain of creepy, broken-sounding sci-fi brooding, which makes a great deal of sense for a band named after an early David Cronenberg film.  Appropriately, my opinion of this debut closely mirrors my opinion of almost every Cronenberg film that I have ever seen: an inspired aesthetic and some cool ideas, but it seems like it probably could have been a bit better.


Godflesh, "Decline & Fall"

cover imageAfter what almost seemed like a begrudging festival reunion to play Streetcleaner, it was exciting to see that the pieces were coming together for a true Godflesh reunion, and even more so when the likelihood of new material appearing got higher and higher.  Unexpectedly announced as a precursor to the upcoming full-length album, Decline & Fall sounds as if it could have been recorded around 1993 through 1995, because it has such archetypical Godflesh sound, which is reassuring to say the least.

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Jan St. Werner (of Mouseon Mars) and Markus Popp (of Oval) have cooked up a third offering of glitchy, cryptic ambience for us, this time without all the rhetoric about music as software and digital revolutions in musical composition. "Nine excursions into the world of downtempo speedcore," as Thrill Jockey's webpage puts it, but to me it sounded like the drones and rumbles that were so fascinating on Mouse on Mars' "Instrumentals" providing an unappreciated undercurrent to Popp's software-generated quirks, bleeps, and glitches. Now and then it resembles a fully realized orchestral work mangled into utter unrecognizability by its composers' computers.
Your reaction to "model 3, step 2" will no doubt be determined by your attitude towards Popp and his studies in computer-generated incoherence. If you're the chin-stroking type who plumbed the fascinating depths of "94diskont," "Dok," and "Ovalprocess" and came back hungry for more, then this will probably prove rewarding after a few listens, or at least briefly interesting. "Dok," the result of another Popp collaboration (with Toyko's Christophe Charles), shimmered with an organic beauty that fails to materialize here; likewise, the weird sonic explorations and occasional thematic coherence that made Microstoria's "INIT DING" worthwhile just aren't apparent. The result is neither compelling nor essential.


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