stuff your stocking with the eye volume 6
The Eye of the Tiger is Volume 6 of The Eye and features a parade of Tigerbeat6 acts: DAT Politics, DJ/Rupture, Dev Null, Gold Chains, Numbers, Dwayne Sodahberk, and Kid 606. It's now available in the Commerce section of brainwashed.
Brainwashed shirts priced to move
People with Euros and Pounds can take advantage of that weak ass US dollar by buying up the last of the Brainwashed Shirts. There are a few left available in the Commerce section.
kranky announces the first release of 2005
The first Kranky release of 2005 will be their first full-length album with Ben Vida as Bird Show. The album, Green Inferno, was recorded alone at home during the winter of 2003 and 2004. Ben Vida describes it as an attempt to fuse all of his favorite aspects of the groups he has been playing in. While Vida is probably best known for his work in Town and Country, he has played and recorded with the experimental chamber group Terminal 4 with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jeb Bishop and Josh Abrams. He is in the improvising group Pillow, formed in 1996 with Michael Colligan, Liz Payne and Fred Lonberg-Holm. There will be a new Pillow album out later this winter. Ben Vida and his brother Adam (who also drums in U.S. Maple) founded Central Falls with Jason Adasiewicz and Steve Doreke. That group has recorded two albums and toured. And he is a member of the rock group Everyoned with Chris Connelly and Tim Kinsella. More information and sound samples are available at the website.
new out hud album and single announced
Kranky has issued the following statement: "After recording sessions in spring 2003 at National Recording Studios in Maryland there was new music for Justin to mix. No more live drumkit, lots of machines. The girls singing. There is a taste of house, maybe even of Moroder. All we had to do is wait while the magic did its work.
By the summer of 2004 music started showing up at kranky hq. While an agreement for licensing the new album in Europe was worked out with K7 Recordings in Germany the band added some overdubs at home and Justin mixed some more. On Feb. 7, 2005 the wait will be over as a single called 'One Life to Leave' will be released. It features a track from the forthcoming album, a remix of that song that is exclusive to the single and a third, non-LP track.
The second long playing Out Hud record is entitled Let Us Never Speak of It Again and will be released worldwide on March 21, 2005. The band plan to begin touring in April 2005 in the East Coast, South and Midwest portions of the United States."
hafler trio looks to help save iceland
Andrew Mckenzie of the Hafler Trio sends the following message: "I normally do not endorse such things, but under the circumstances, I feel that it is of possible benefit to bring the following information to others in this small way, and encourage anyone who feels anything about this matter once they have looked at the information on and connected to the following link: www.killingiceland.org to spread and act upon it, regardless of the rhetoric. I sincerely believe that this goes beyond any political debate. Further, in this case, I actually feel that something *can* be done, if action is taken now. Please ignore, if you do not agree with my posting this here, and accept my apologies."
boston area residents invited to rare performance
Boston area residents are invited to a rare visual and audio exhibition by Stars of the Lid's Adam Wiltzie, as The Dead Texan. The performance is scheduled for Thursday evening at 9:00pm (doors are at 8:30) at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge and will feature a guest performance by Jon Whitney as R.
voting round is on
Let's Vote in the 2004 Brainwashed Readers' Poll. This time around the ballots are a little different, so bear with us. But we think it may provide for an interesting year. Take your time, make sure you make the right choices and don't vote for things you've not even heard yet! Oh well, we tried.
lpd to perform at radio session
The Legendary Pink Dots trudge on with their current European tour with a performance scheduled in Amsterdam for Desmet Live (Human Radio) in Amsterdam on 22 February, 2005.
Admission for approximately 40 people will be possible. More details will be posted to website when they become available.
celebrate 2004 with brainwashed radio
For the rest of the year, Brainwashed Radio will be playing only music released in 2004 from the bands and labels hosted here at Brainwashed. Go on, refamiliarize yourself with this year before it's gone.
tg atp statement by mute
Mute has placed Throbbing Gristle material on sale on their website for those who didn't feel like showing up to ATP but might want to get a souvenir plate or CD-R from the event. It's too bad the UK Pound is so strong now, however.
Cul de Sac/Damo Suzuki, "Abhayamudra"
Strange Attractors Audio House
Story goes that a friend or fan passed ex-Can vocalist Damo Suzuki a Cul de Sac record on the lucky hunch that he'd find a kindred spirit in the Boston hard psych outfit's instrumental, eastern-leaning, and percussion-heavy sound. Suzuki was apparently so impressed that he proposed a massive series of all-improvised live dates with the band, spanning two years and several continents, and beginning without the help of a single rehearsal. Abhayamudra's two discs collect the best moments from over 40 shows, and despite the recent flood of classic Can reissues/remasters, it's hard not to be impressed by the fruits of this complimentary union. Cul de Sac's talents for improvisation have been well established by a string of ambitious, often conceptual full-length releases, but their ability to accommodate Suzuki's iconoclastic style of nonsense trance rambling is continually surprising and entirely capable of spanning Abhayamudra's 2+ hours without a drift into the pained repetition common among kraut-imitators. What the band lacks of Can's funk (nearly all of it) they make up for in an intensely layered and propulsive performance, due in large part to Glenn Jones' guitar, bridging delicate raga motifs and wall-of-feedback charges with the control of and responsive technique of a virtuoso. Jon Proudman's drumming steers from Can's exultant rhythms toward darker, flooding beats that fill every gap, and every percussion junkie's expectation, without ever sounding like too much. Suzuki's vocal, no doubt in response to the decreased buoyancy of the music and the stresses of constant improv, takes a more accompanying approach here than ever with Can, becoming a steady stream of multi-syllabic, often predictably deconstructed language. A few sections find the vocalist reaching for more guttural sounds and engaging the extremes of his unique instrument, but Suzuki's performance, at least here on disc, leaves me wanting more variation. The band is able to cover the slack with dips into its elegant drone-based recent work and the burstings of a rougher-hewn, crasser sound than I ever thought they were capable. Suzuki's improvised inclusion, it seems, has succeeded in breaking down a bit of Cul de Sac's studied underpinnings, but at the cost of some of the singer's expressiveness, though I would argue that Suzuki's talent suffers mainly as a result of his self-imposed doctrine of improvisation. While no doubt conceived in an improvised setting, Suzuki's most impressive work with his former band feels too often linked to the dramatic and constructed song elements that are necessarily absent here. These criticisms are of course relative, and fans of either party will surely find more than a few sections within these discs to embrace unreservedly. Most impressive, though, will be the amount of unrehearsed magic that these short hours represent, a significant achievement regardless of past prejudice. A studio session might even have produced too conflicted or divisive a meeting of such authoritative forces.
- Andrew Culler
Battles, "B EP"
These four musicians completely overcome the wedge so often forced between musical excellence and immediate accessibility. Too many buckets of wank and showmanship have been filled in the pursuit of making a technically demanding record that simultaneously sounds and feels exciting. "SZ2" laughs in the face of that problem with bravado. A low hum of potential chaos buzzes down the opening strings of the B EP from Battles like a wind of revenge descending the storm-drowned mountains to the west. When the jolt of the percussion strikes like the bitch-slap that it is, the flurry of an electronic menace comes with it, the sound of apocalyptic and deformed trumpets screaming over everything. The energy in "SZ2" is a bit mind-bending. These four musicians sound as though they're attempting to weave in and out of each other's performance like running between raindrops in a torrential downpour. The music sounds busy but Battles defy the edge and shake addictive songs out of their frenzied craftsmanship. "Tras3" and "Ipt2" are brief, but feel weighty. "Ipt2" is an especially fun mesh of snapping drums and whistling keyboards. They sound as though they're a part of "SZ2" more than anything else and they wind the toil of that track down so that "Bttls" can begin its slow burn. Radio interference and the rumble of a determined machine ooze underneath an accompaniment of bouncing wood blocks and a spider-like toy crawling through a dream. Demented and subtle vocals howl distantly into the fabric of the song and then a gash of reversed percussion and Kodo-worthy pounding leaves any possible survivors of this apocalypse too weak to care anymore. The whole track is just a bit unsettling and, like the rest of the EP, doesn't bother with unnecessary extension or superfluous appendages. "Dance" ends everything in a hail of spitting rhythms and wailing melodies. Where "SZ2" attacked like a cold, exact incision, "Dance" rockets by in a flurry of drunken fists and irregular stabs. There's a lot of diversity on this EP and Battles manage to keep everything together while making sure that this doesn't end up being just another "impressive" record that sits on the shelf because it isn't catchy enough or because it's only worth listening to for the impressive technicality that saturates it. - Lucas Schleicher
Jon Mueller & Kaveh Soofi, "Endings"
Continuing the label's tradition of beautifully packaged, limited edition releases, Endings is the second text + music project from Crouton founder Jon Mueller. An established and diverse drummer, playing with indie instrumentalists Pele, Collections of Colonies of Bees, and a myriad of improv ensembles, Mueller's written works offer unique glimpses into the strange reality of a clearly eccentric artist whose role is never merely complimentary. Endings combines eleven very short stories (in a boxed, spineless book) with a 30-min. CD-R of reading music, and several black-and-white illustrations by Kaveh Soofi, the Bay Area graphic artist who designed the cover for Pele's last album. Mueller's stories are by far the most exciting piece of the puzzle. The author uses the concept of "endings" to create postcard length vignettes launching the reader into a darkly absurd and chaotic world where narrative seems to strive immediately toward a prophetic conclusion. The extreme shortness of the texts provides that no character or scenario is developed outside of a series of scrupulous, often ridiculous details serving only the anticipation of some unifying finale. Mueller always delivers the goods, in the sense that he hurls each clipped plotline into an unmistakable, impassable "end;" however his endings are never the epiphanies his stories require. Instead they offer only the further mystification of an already lost cast of characters, managing to transform a clever variety of hum-drum pursuits and circumstances into windows to another hellish dimension. A man, inexplicably followed while on the way to the grocery store, eventually confronts his enraged pursuer, severs his own finger, and proceeds to reverse the chase, threatening the other man with the bloody appendage. Another character puts on a play for his dinner guests starring a picture of his dead son, whom he directs: "Sing, boy! Sing!" A business executive returns from an emergency call to find his interrupted interviewee sipping from the potential employer's coffee cup, his eyes rising in blank defiance. Most impressive is Mueller's ability to streamline each story with a detail-driven first-person narrative that assumes normalcy and connectedness, only to completely break down by the end. More than simple plot twists, the author's endings might be called 'anti-epiphanies' in the way they are positioned, through a striking economy of language, to effectively dismantle the story's prior logic. Mueller's musical accompaniment is unlike anything I've heard from him yet and clearly serves the box's theme. A faded symphonic loop plays over and over to simulate a continuous, regenerating "ending," essentially a false ending that, in its 19-sec. length, reminds me of the obscured, darkened tones of a Badalamenti score played out like one of William Basinski's Disintegration Loops, only without disintegrating. The atmosphere is soothing for a small second, but ultimately turns to a sinister, anxious tension, both apt and almost nauseating when coupled with Mueller's words. Soofi's illustrations are less fitting, but interesting nonetheless. From the look of it they are digital images arranged comic-strip-style but without any explicit narrative. The images are almost all stylized, grey toned portraits, progressively clouded, shadowed, fragmented, cropped, and later barraged by clusters of nail-covered blocks. I can see comparisons to Francis Bacon's portraiture, with the sectioned murkiness and sketchy inaccuracies reminding me of animations by South African artist William Kentridge, though Soofi's work has an unsettling geometric base that feels very unique. Endings is well worth it to anyone keen on interesting packaging and multimedia formats; I am still involved in picking apart and connecting the contents of this beautiful release, no end in sight. - Andrew Culler
collections of colonies of bees, "customer"
Just like their previous album, Face.(a, this year's release from Collections of Colonies of Bees manages to squeak in very quietly just underneath the radar, without a lot of hype or fanfare, to surprisingly become one of my top albums of the year. The formula holds close to the last album: taking an instrumental rock "band" setup and mutating it through inhuman editing. It's a setup which has gained popularity in the last couple years with groups like Radian, Nudge, Trapist, and Supersilent, but Collections of Colonies of Bees have become masters at the art. Pele have decided to call it quits, however, the Collections lineup is now almost identical to Pele, with Jon Mueller and Chris Rosenau bringing other Pele alumni Jon Minor on board this time along with Jim Schoenecker. (Perhaps they were getting tired of being in TOO many bandssee above review!) Bright and springy guitar melodies live harmoniously with manipulated twitters, beats and whirrs, while miscellaneous unidentifiable objects provide rhythm colorization in spots. Fans of both the upbeat Pele and Muller/Rosenau's improvisational experimental outings find a medium here, as the line is delicately walked between pop melodies and nerdy improvisation. Some songs, (nine out of ten are named "fun") are most decidedly organically driven, while some are clearly more electronic. The story of the recordings is that the band took a number of different approaches to each composition, and the Japanese version of Customer, on Some of Us, uses the more electronic versions of the more organic songs here and more organic versions of the more electronic songs contained here. If that's not confusing enough, a vinyl edition of the record contains only the "electronic" songs from both. While a disc like this might be good for an afternoon read at home, I highly recommend playing at loud volumes to fully enjoy some of the fantastic low frequency bass sounds and alien ticks which dance around the ears. Like a fantastic sushi dinner, at the end I'm eager for more, and unfortunately that means getting a hold of Customer's Japanese counterpart. - Jon Whitney
cranes, "particles & waves"
While the days of guitar maximalism are long in Cranes' past, Particles & Waves showcases a band who is doing a very good job when they attempt to recapture the stunningly haunting sound that drew so many fans a decade ago. On songs like "K56," and "Here Comes the Snow," Alison Shaw's piercingly high pitched voice is fragile and lonely, almost naked against the patient and pretty melodies. However, there are certain points where I simply cannot connect to the music. When Jim Shaw sings on "Every Town," every bit of attraction that was drawing me in begins to push me away. It's almost like this on "Avenue A," where mediocre lyrics don't make up for a mediocre tune. Fans of their French songs might find joy in the title track, and I'm completely sucked in by the swirling, repetitious melody of "Astronauts." I'm on the fence with the songs "Streams," and the closer, "Light Song," as they aren't as clear cut as the rest. It's as if they're in a struggle, trying to find a balance between guitar, piano, and electronic interplay with Alison's vocals. The dissonances almost work but I'm just not completely sold. Sound effects don't quite make up for what seems like an instrument is missing. This is somewhat representative of the album as a whole. Being on a major label, then a relatively large minor label, then dropped can have a wide range of effects on the music of an act who decides to continue: either the band can go back to the drawing board and reinvent themselves, return to the sound that drew attention in the past, or continue down the path of making things even less accessible and marketable than before. Some of these paths work for some while others work for others. In the case of Cranes, it seems as if they are trying to find which path they're going to take. There's a lot that works on this album, but an undeniable amount which doesn't. The stuff that does work is good enough to prove that Cranes can't be written off yet, and there's plenty more still to anticipate from the group. - Jon Whitney
Everest, "Heimlich Maneuver"
Having one or two good song sandwiched between pointless exercises in melodic looping is quite frustrating. Even worse is when a minute to two minutes of a song are utterly captivating while the rest of it simply seems like an effort to move up a very steep hill. Located somewhere in the middle of this messy album is a vacuum of bad production that consumes all of the stumbling rhythms and accentuates the rather flat and circular melodies. I'm never quite sure which I'm supposed to be listening to more and a complete lack of dynamics in the song-writing only makes the banality of Heimlich Maneuver all the more blinding. For example, near the end of the album "Faulhorn" begins to resonate above and beyond the routine that has been the entirety of the album; but as the song progresses, it becomes obvious that what I'm dealing with is actually a sonic cock-tease. As a bass line and regiment of percussive sounds march into the piece, everything begins to blend together into a murky soup. Repeat and recycle and a large portion of the album is enumerated and elucidated as much as is possible within the realms of boredom. "Ro3" and "Dex" both flaunt a predisposition towards excellence and, to some extent, "Dex" actually succeeds. Maybe the track's short running time has a little bit to do with its success or maybe it's because Everest don't bother with adding layers of unnecessary instrumentation and ornamentation. Everest work best on a simple and direct basis: any exuberance or decoration kills the mood they can develop with so little. "Falke," when it begins, rolls like a gorgeous thunder and continues to do so without being stuffed full of spiffy effects or abrupt changes in thematic direction. Even if the band could escape their inability to keep everything within a creatively controllable space, they'd have to deal with the monotonous tone of the album as a whole. Many of their warm and welcoming synth tones feel rehashed by the time "Channel Sky" cuts out. There's something lovable about this record, but it's ultimately just another example of how to loop beats and melodies ad nauseam. To be fair, there are a few tracks that could've made up the contents of a beautiful little EP, but within the confines of the rest of the album they suffer considerably.- Lucas Schleicher
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