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Episode 468: May 24, 2020

Water from Danielle in Halifax Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition Episode 468 is live

Some old and new tunes this week from Irr. App. (Ext.), Jason Molina, Duenn, No Trend, Our Love Will Destroy the World and Tomutonttu, Lawrence English, Calvin Keys, and Emeralds.

Much gratitude for everyone who continues to create music and listen and interact.

Picture from Danielle in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

NOW AVAILABLE through SPOTIFY and AMAZON (links below) in addition to the other platforms.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 5/25/2020

New music is due from The Dorf/Phill Niblock, Matthew Shipp, and Sean McCann, while old music is due from Terry Riley, Siglo XX, and Maggi Payne.

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Kassel Jaeger & Jim O'Rourke, "In Cobalt Aura Sleeps"

cover imageAs both an experimentalist and a songwriter, Jim O’Rourke has been responsible for a number of beloved and highly influential albums over the course of his storied career, but he is a bit of a prolific wild card as well: it is damn near impossible to guess which albums will capture him in an especially inspired mood and which will not.  That said, his previous collaboration with Kassel Jaeger (2017's Wakes on Cerulean) had some very promising passages that transcended typical drone/sound art fare, so I was quite curious to see if this follow-up would flesh out their shared vision into something truly great.  As it turns out, In Cobalt Aura Sleeps is a hell of a lot like its predecessor: fitfully wonderful, but not without some lulls.  Nevertheless, it does feel like a significant evolution, as it is both darker and more tightly focused than Cerulean, erring more on the side of "understated" and "curiously constructed" rather than "too improvisatory."  Fortunately, those hurdles can be mostly overcome with the aid of some headphones and suitable volume, revealing a satisfyingly strong album that is richly textured, absorbing, and mysterious.

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I Feel Like A Bombed Cathedral, "W"

cover imageI am an enormous fan of this latest endeavor from Ulan Bator founder Amaury Cambuzat, as AmOrtH was easily one of my favorite albums of 2019.  Notably, this latest release marks the project's vinyl debut, which makes it the first album in which Cambuzat's real-time layering has had to contend with actual time constraints.  I was not sure how well that would work, as the core Cathedral aesthetic has always been to allow pieces to unhurriedly and organically unfold until they complete their "natural" progression (and the project's crowning achievement thus far is a piece that stretched out for 40 glorious minutes).  As it turns out, however, Cambuzat handled that challenge quite well.  Given the greatness of the opening "Indignation," it is entirely possible that he simply had a killer 20-minute piece in the vault just waiting for this opportunity to arise, but it is equally possible that he mathematically converted that duration into a fixed number of heartbeats and simply worked from that.  While the B-side is admittedly a more minor pleasure, I remain continually amazed by the depth and breadth of what Cambuzat can achieve with just a guitar and some pedals.  This is yet another excellent release.

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Laraaji, "Sun Piano"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0125218454_16.jpgEnigmatic Afro-Transcendentalist figure Laraaji has a long, fascinating history with music and is still very active at the age of 76. He is known for being "discovered" by Brian Eno, and working with such underground darlings as Sun Araw, Dallas Acid, and Blues Control. He studied piano composition in college, and then found himself with Eastern mysticism and began improvising with zithers and mbira. This album finds him returning to his roots with an all instrumental piano meditation.

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Matt Weston, "Tell Us About Your Stupor"

cover imageWith A New Form of Crime coming out last fall, and a new double LP on the horizon, Matt Weston has been prolific as of late.  One thing that sets Tell Us About Your Stupor apart from these other albums, however, is that it is a live recording, although that of an installation project rather than a traditional concert setting.  That is an important distinction to make because, having seen Weston perform on multiple occasions, the live experience is a significantly different animal, and that is clearly captured here.  As an installation, it would seem that this is more of a live performance augmented by other instruments or recordings rather than a purely live, solo recording, but it has an exceptional balance between live Weston and studio Weston.

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Flat Worms, "Antarctica"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2754474725_16.jpgLos Angeles' Flatworms kicked off their career creating psychedelic-tinged and feedback-driven guitar riffs embedded in a foundation of high-octane garage punk, with lyrical content to match. The latest direction finds the trio of vocalist and guitarist Will Ivy, drummer Justin Sullivan and bassist Tim Hellman (Ty Segall, Oh Sees) painting on a less fuzzy canvas, with a more refined sound and finer songwriting precision, with both Steve Albini and Ty Segall in the engineering booth. Segall's '60s psychedelic influence can be felt here, as well as Albini's commitment to high fidelity, but some of the musical experimentation heard on their prior work has been traded in for a more well-oiled machine, albeit a well-oiled machine with punk sizzle.

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Plone, "Puzzlewood"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1061089243_16.jpgPlone's album Puzzlewood continues in their very specific oeuvre of midtempo music with a playful, childlike hue to it. It's all soft edges and singable tunes in a digital mishmash that includes electronics, synths, trumpet, piano, guitar, strings, and exotic percussion. This happy orchestration yields bite sized songs full of lift and happiness. The album is a comeback after a twenty year absence, and although the genre they helped pioneer has fallen out of favor, their self-consciously retro sound makes their music a timeless affair.

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Jasmine Guffond, "Microphone Permission"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2170065173_16.jpgOn Microphone Permission, Jasmine Guffond has created some truly rapturous detours and alleyways in sound. The ever shifting musical landscape is like an aural house of mirrors, though there is nothing circus-like about this project. It contains inward, reflective compositions—at times somber and at other times buzzing about—but always interesting and beautiful.

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Container, "Scramblers"

cover imageRen Schofield might be living in a new country (England) and releasing music on a new label (Alter), but no one need worry about those differing circumstances having any impact at all on the single-minded and relentless brutality of his work as Container.  That said, Scramblers is (rightly) billed as a more "high-octane" incarnation of Schofield's punishing aesthetic, as it evolved directly out of his aggressive live performances.  To some degree, such a statement is largely academic, as just about every Container album has felt like the techno equivalent of a runaway train, but it is true that this particular album offers virtually no breaks at all in the intensity of Container's splattering and pummeling rhythmic assaults.  That is just fine by me, as Schofield's primal violence is consistently executed with surgical precision and visceral power, but more casual fans may find themselves wishing that Container would someday evolve further beyond the mercilessly one-dimensional onslaught of previous albums.

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Review of the Day

The Fun Years, "God Was Like, No"

The last album that Ben Recht and Isaac Sparks put out (Baby, It's Cold Inside) was named Boomkat's "Album of the Year" for 2008, so there was quite a bit of buzz and excitement surrounding the release of this follow-up.  Fortunately, God Was Like, No (the band's vinyl debut) does not disappoint and delivers yet another pleasant batch of warm and crackling soundscapes to enjoy.  Also, their streak of witty album titles continues unabated.


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