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Episode 459: March 29, 2020

Christopher at Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Los AngelesThe latest episode of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is live

Thanks to everyone who has been writing in saying they're safe and continuing to listen in these difficult times.

We continue this week with new music Edward Ka-Spel, Matt Elliott, Roedelius, JK Flesh vs Echologist, Anna Burch, TALsounds, Electric Indigo, Asmus Tietchens and CV Liquidsky, Jake Schrock, and Cucina Povera.

Thanks to Christopher for the photo taken in Los Angeles at a Yayoi Kusama piece at the museum.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for Week of 3/30/2020

New music is due from Container, Tamikrest, and Roedelius, while old music is due from Betty Davis, The Monochrome Set, and Beatriz Ferreyra.

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Ian William Craig, "Red Sun Through Smoke"

cover imageI am generally not someone who believes that everything happens for a reason or that tragedy breeds great art, but I do think that the emotionally fraught and unusual circumstances surrounding the creation of Red Sun Through Smoke steered Ian William Craig in a direction that feels uncannily appropriate for the current moment.  Craig's original plan was simply to sequester himself for a couple weeks in his grandfather's empty house in Kelowna, British Columbia while he wrote and recorded a new album.  As it turned out, however, fate had quite a macabre cavalcade of unpleasant surprises in store for him, as Kelowna became surrounded by forest fires, his grandfather died, his parents moved into the smoke-shrouded house, and the woman he loved moved to Paris.  Naturally, all of those events resulted in quite an intense swirl of emotions, but at least a correspondingly intense (and beautiful) album ultimately emerged from that fraught period, as the best moments of Red Sun Through Smoke distill Craig’s art to its simplest, most direct, and most intimate form.

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Matt Elliott, "Farewell to All We Know"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1241889506_16.jpgOn the eighth solo album from the French-based British musician behind Third Eye Foundation, it is impossible to not compare Elliott's delivery to late bard Leonard Cohen. Elliott's accomplished Spanish guitar craft further add to the resemblance, particularly if followed by Cohen's final album Thanks for the Dance. Working as a solo artist since 2003, Elliott has achieved a new aural mastery on his latest work. At the start of the new decade, we face anticipatory grief, a collective loss of safety, and ultimately have been forced to bid Farewell to All We Know. Many artists use songwriting as a way of making sense of a bewildering world, and Elliott has crafted a perfectly timed accompaniment to grief, offering resignation and renewal with his heartfelt message "Maybe the storm has passed and devastated everything, now we just have to rebuild and live again."

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Sarah Davachi, "Horae"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0934194369_16.jpgSarah Davachi is a luminary in the field of electroacoustic music, with a master's degree from Mills College and an in progress doctorate from UCLA. Her self-released album Horae builds on a noteworthy career that includes 17 releases and worldwide tours with such notable contemporaries as Grouper, William Basinski, and Oren Ambarchi. Named after Greek goddesses, this album evokes the same feelings and visceral reactions experienced when listening to similarly unstructured soundscapes found in nature. Describing the post of the horae at the gates to Olympus, this minimalist document is regal, stately, and emotionally potent.

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Tongues of Mount Meru, "The Hex of Light"

cover imageThis latest release from Jon Wesseltoft and Lasse Marhaug's long-running (if fitful) drone project was recorded all the way back in 2013, which makes for quite a perplexing mystery, as I cannot understand why such a great album would remain on the shelf for so many years (especially since Marhaug himself runs a label).  Most likely, however, The Hex of Light was simply the victim of Marhaug's incredibly prolific output, as well as Mount Meru's tendency to bounce from label to label with every release.  Also, it appears as though this project was either on hiatus or completely defunct for quite some time, though Wesseltoft and Marhaug have performed together in Meru-esque form as recently as 2016.  Aside from that, it is probably also safe to say that Wesseltoft poured quite a lot of time into mastering and editing this monster, as The Hex of Light's two longform pieces represent crushingly dense and mind-melting drone heaviness at its absolute best.

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Anna Burch, "If You're Dreaming"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2574698978_10.jpgAnna Burch is the singular creative force behind so-called "bummer pop" album If You're Dreaming. This album is a departure from Burch's earlier effort, and one that shows off her stylistic breadth and thematic depth. In contrast to the high energy first album, for this release she slips into the fireside armchair and contemplates feelings and relationships, rocking gently and raising in inquiring brow. It's a relaxation of pace that I much prefer, and every song on the release is an instant favorite.

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My Cat is an Alien with Joëlle Vinciarelli, "Eternal Beyond II"

cover imageThe Opalio brothers have had quite an impressive history of adventurous collaborations over the years, as they have been joined by many of the most iconic figures in underground music, as well as an inspired array of interesting folks that I had not previously encountered.  Naturally, a number of those unions have yielded wonderful results, but one of my favorites was the Opalios' pairing with Talweg/La Morte Young's Joëlle Vinciarelli for 2016’s Eternal Beyond.  Several other artists have gamely and effectively adapted themselves to the brothers' unique aesthetic and working method over the years, yet Vinciarelli is the one who was most successful at finding and filling a space that made the collaboration feel like something more than the mere sum of its parts.  More specifically, she brings some welcome bite and visceral intensity to the Opalios' phantasmagoric and alien reveries.  Consequently, I am absolutely thrilled to report that this trio has now become a recurring project and that Eternal Beyond II is every good as its predecessor (if not even better).

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Windy & Carl, "Allegiance and Conviction"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0859851360_13.jpgWindy Weber & Carl Hultgren are ambient rock royalty and a household name among the Terrastock devout. Their music is an ethereal lattice of sparkling, layered melodic fragments like so much brightly entwined coral, and subdued, profound vocals expertly placed. It uncovers the strata of human emotion, evoking emotions like hope, sadness, vitality, and joy. I find myself irrepressibly moved to tears by their clean, beautiful creations, both live and recorded. Allegiance and Conviction is squarely within their prior sound, while still being fresh enough to warrant spending quality time with.

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Wrekmeister Harmonies, "We Love to Look at the Carnage"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a3609393215_10.jpgJR Robinson and Esther Shaw explore the Greek philosophy of Stoicism and the path to happiness known as eudaimonia for this new album with the addition of Thor Harris (Swans) and Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu). This is a contrast to the prior album, The Alone Rush, which was steeped in personal tragedy. To achieve eudaimonia involves accepting the present moment as it exists, and not to be controlled by pleasure or fear of that moment. Wrekmeister Harmonies present a form of eudaimonia through We Love to Look at the Carnage with songs that expose the strength achieved through victory over darkness. Written in Oregon in near total isolation, the music feels like a winter evening in the Northern Hemisphere. Their translation of winter to sound is marked by understated grim simplicity, melodies syncopated with urgent resignation through orchestral gloom, and a mastery of emotional subtlety. It is an intensely intimate musical journey that begins at night but ends in the promise of a new day.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Animal Collective

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

The Noyes Brothers, "Sheep From Goats"
cover imageAnother chapter in LTM's Boutique Label reissue campaign of obscure Manchester post-punk label Object Music, this collection presents more than 100 minutes of experiments, improvisations, skewed pop, drone-laden blues, minimal electronic synthpop and weird, dislocated Nurse With Wound-style audio surrealism. A reissue of a double-album originally issued in 1980—a collaborative release by labelmates Steve Solamar (Spherical Objects) and Steve Miro—Sheep From Goats was certainly the most adventurous release by Object Music during its brief existence.
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