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Forced Exposure New Releases for 2/23/15

New music is due from Carter Tutti, Anthony Naples, and Peter Gordon, while old music is due from Piero Umiliani, The Notwist, and Eleh.

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The Dead C, "The White House"

cover imageThis 1995 release is generally regarded to be one of the dirt-encrusted jewels of The Dead C's frequently perplexing discography.  For the most part, however, that place of honor is almost entirely due to just one song: the lumbering and smoldering epic "Outside."  A fairly strong case can also be made for one or two other pieces, but the remainder celebrates the trio at their messy, contrarian, hookless, and indulgent height.  Some listeners will likely find those pieces brilliantly annoying, but most (like me) will probably find them exasperatingly pointless and half-assed.  On the bright side, "Outside" is almost longer than all of the weaker pieces combined and it is about as good as noisy guitar music gets.

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Dennis Young, "Reel to Real"

cover imageReel to Real collects Liquid Liquid percussionist Dennis Young's early home recordings while a member of the pioneering New York dance band.  Captured on reel-to-reel recordings, hence its (somewhat painfully cliché) title, these pieces range from random experiments to near songs that still have an endearing demo quality to them.

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*AR, "Diagrams for the Summoning of Wolves"

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Being a rabid Richard Skelton fan, I was initially heartbroken when this release sold out before I could get my hands on it, but now that I have the digital version I feel quite a bit better.  As far as Skelton albums go, this is a comparatively minor one.  Also, it sounds weirdly like a solo album: while collaborator Autumn Richardson is present in name, her usual vocals are nowhere to be found.  Consisting of just a single 27-minute piece, Diagrams is a likeable, if very slow-burning, drone work built upon a characteristically groaning, melancholy string motif that casts off a (characteristically) glittering spray of harmonics.  Compared to last year's The Inward Circles album, Diagrams admittedly feels like a step back into somewhat well-trodden territory.  However, it is territory that Skelton basically owns and he ratchets up the intensity a bit more than usual this time around, so fans will probably still find plenty to enjoy about this brief dispatch.

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Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, "So Long"

cover imageSigmarsson's work with the Icelandic group Stilluppsteypa frequently showcases both absurdity and dissonance heavily, and while his own work bears traces of that, divorced from any imagery, has more of a dark quality to it.  At times austere, but not at all devoid of humor, it is three long pieces that never become stagnant resulting in a gripping collection of tones and textures.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, "A Year With 13 Moons"

cover imageBack in 2010, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma released what is arguably his masterpiece to date, an improbably successful celebration of love entitled Love Is A Stream.  Several years later, its melancholy follow-up captures Jefre in a rather different personal and creative place, albeit one in which his talent for woozy shoegaze guitars remains wonderfully intact.  Within those confines, however, there has been a dramatic change: Stream's lush, dreamy torrent of shimmering guitar noise has been replaced with a much more fragile, fragmented, and submerged-sounding aesthetic.   The overall effect is not dissimilar to a playing a sun-warped Cocteau Twins cassette on a malfunctioning tape machine, but in a good way, as Moons evokes a unique mood of bleary, flickering, and half-lit remembrances.

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Weirdo Weekly #421

Supposed to be a ton of snow again tomorrow, but the shop will absolutely be open. Foam & Ted Lee are scheduled to play, as is Ancient Origin in a makeup date from last week. If weather allows em to make it here, we'll have a great show ready to go at 8. Call or check online in the afternoon for the latest.

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Theologian, "Pain of the Saints"

cover imageLee Bartow, the de facto head of Theologian (and previously Navicon Torture Technologies) has never shied away from creating intense music.  The newest release, the two disc, two and a half hour plus Pain of the Saints is daunting in both its sound and its epic length.  With regular members Matt Slagel and Fade Kainer, Theologian includes a variety of collaborators on this set, resulting in a complex, sprawling bit of sinister noise.

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Laube

cover imageCombining two previous tape releases, with a special edition including a third remix CD, the enigmatic German project defy any sort of classification or clear genre identification.  The trio of Christian Dräger, Eric Bauer and Nils Lehnhäuser pull bits of ambient, jazz and drone together without ever fully locking into one style.   The pieces here drastically range from conventional structures to unadulterated, foundation shaking pure bass tones.

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Disappears, "Irreal"

cover image2013's Era was a criminally underappreciated monster of an album that marked an significant, unexpected surge forward in forging a distinctive and wonderful aesthetic all Disappears' own.  I am not sure quite what I expected from this follow-up, but it certainly was not still another dramatic evolution.  That is exactly what I got though.  While I still give Era the edge from both a songwriting and simmering menace perspective, Irreal takes its predecessor's hypnotic, machine-like precision and echo-heavy minimalism and runs with it.  Admittedly, the band's brilliance is primarily stylistic this time around, but Disappears have nonetheless provided yet another thoroughly bad-ass avant-rock tour de force.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Jessica Bailiff

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

THROBBING GRISTLE, "THE TASTE OF TG"
Mute
The subtitle of this new collection from Mute, A Beginner's Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle, is a fairly accurate description of what the disc provides. The problem with a group as culturally significant and influential as Throbbing Gristle is that the music is only half the story, and that other half is what this disc can't provide. Released to coincide with the glut of Throbbing Gristle reissues and reformations surrounding the cancelled RE~TG event, this disc showed up in bins at the same time as Mutant TG, Mute's pointless collection of tepid remixes. I suppose this disc was created for the legions of curious who have read the enthusiastic, worshipful praise heaped on TG in various publications, but have no obvious entry point into the daunting discography of the so-called "wreckers of civilization." To that end, the compiler of this disc (the suspiciously named Olivier Cormier Ota?o), has done a fairly decent job of putting together a wide cross-section of TG's recorded output. All of the major phases of the TG sound are present; the ominous industrial soundscapes of "Industrial Introduction" and "Cabaret Voltaire;" the agitated, screamed provocations of "We Hate You (Little Girls)" and "Zyklon B Zombie;" the jagged psychedelic mutations of "Dead on Arrival" and "Hamburger Lady;" and the proto-techno experimentation of "Distant Dreams, Pt. 2" and "Hot on the Heels of Love." There is a decided emphasis on more-or-less "accessible" material, although with a band as abrasive and uncommercial as TG, accessible is truly a relative term. Taken together, the tracks present a good argument for TG as musical innovators, with a few well-chosen live recordings that evidences their legendary talent for provocative live performance. My main complaint with the CD lies with the packaging. The total lack of any historical notes or perspectives on TG is strange, especially for a release purporting to be a Beginner's Guide. It is impossible to separate TG from their historical and social context; to do so is to misunderstand the scope of their significance. Further, the band's visual presentation—in costuming, symbolism, record sleeves and the various "reports" and missives—is at least as important as their sound on record. I suppose beginners could seek out this material elsewhere, but would it have killed Mute to reproduce some of it along with the disc? Adding to the problem is the cover art by Peter Christopherson. While I appreciate its powerfully grotesque, Salo-esque brutality, it doesn't mesh with the visual strategies of early TG artwork, with its clinical style relating the activities of the band like some classified document from the KGB, slyly satirizing and attacking the status quo of music and culture. I can guardedly recommend The Taste of TG for its musical content, but for beginners, further study will be required. 

samples:


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