the brainwashed brain
a weekly digest from the staff and contributors of brainwashed
V08I07 - 02202005
Click here for other issues
OFF-SITE

hunter s. thompson, 1937-2005
Although we prefer not to openly advocate the usage of drugs here at Brainwashed, we are sad at the news of the passing of writer Hunter S. Thompson, and encourage the next person that takes a full eye dropper of adrenochrome to do it in his memory.

SITE

stapleton, rogerson, and potter play non-nww event
Steven Stapleton, Diana Rogerson, and Colin Potter, all of Nurse With Wound, will perform two nights in Vienna, Austria on May 6th and 7th, however this is decidedly -not- a Nurse With Wound performance. The show, arranged by Klanggalerie will also feature Andrew Liles as an opening act. For more information, see klanggalerie.com/presents/nursewithwound.html. In other related news, Klanggalerie will be reissuing both Diana Rogerson/Chrystal Belle Scrodd records this year on CD, complete with restored artwork, new images, and all the tracks which appeared on the original LP releases plus bonus material. Furthermore, expect a 7" single from Nurse With Wound as well as perhaps some CD releases.

tg live in may
According to the Chris Carter website at chriscarter.co.uk, Throbbing Gristle are planning a performance somewhere in Europe for May of this year and a recording session to take place on May 15th. More details will be posted here when made public.

c93 album to feature more stars than the sky
Black Ships Ate the Sky, the forthcoming new full-length album by Current 93 is amassing more guests than a major label hip-hop record it seems. According to Durtro, the full line-up on this album will feature Ben Chasny, Marc Almond, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Will Oldham, Shirley Collins, Antony, Baby Dee, John Contreras, William Breeze, James William Hindle, William Basinski and Charlemagne Palestine along with the core of David Michael, Steven Stapleton, Michael Cashmore, and Andria Degens. In other C93 news, Soft Black Stars is now available through the newly formed Durtro USA and features two bonus tracks previously available only on the vinyl edition. Originally released on Durtro in 1998, Soft Black Stars was recorded live in a small cottage in Ireland with David Tibet on vocals, Maja Elliott on piano, and Petr Vastl (Aranos) on ghost violin; Michael Cashmore and Steven Stapleton were also present as and in the group, and it was mixed in Germany by Christoph Heemann.

keith-hrvatski back on the road
As of Saturday, February 26th, Keith Fullerton Whitman (Hrvatski) will be on tour as the opening act for Warp/Lex recording artists and good friends Subtle. He will begin in Chicago and continue on with the band through Chapel Hill, NC, and possibly Atlanta on the 8th at the Drunken Unicorn). As he is billed as "Keith-Hrvatski", this means that all shows will feature a two-part set starting with abstract KFW-lineage horizontal sonics, dovetailing into more corrosive Hrvatski material. Keith-Hrvatski will be selling all kinds of merchandise at these shows, including brand new Hrvatski logo t-shirts and a the hand-assembled Irrevocably Overdriven Break Freakout Megamix CD (both made especially for the tour by Entschuldigen Ltd.), as well as copies of the forthcoming Yearlong compact disc on Carpark. Following that, Keith-Hrvatski will play a handful of shows in Europe, then return to the USA to play with fellow Kranky labelmates Bird Show and Greg Davis. All confirmed dates will be featured below.

important hafler trio, diane cluck, daniel menche releases
On the horizon for Important Records are A Eg Ad, Halda Afram?, a 20 minute epic construction from the Hafler Trio—the fourth in a series of largely successful limited edition CD EPs from Andrew McKenzie; Merzbudhha CD from Merzbow, featuring three extended mantras and described as "dripping with deep bass riffage and a whole lot of electronic dub vibes and beats,;" Oh Vanille, Ova Nille CD by Diane Cluck, in a limited handmade package by Diane herself—Diane has been described by Devendra Banhart as "my favorite singer-songwriter in all of New York City. I'm so happy to be alive at the same time she is because i get to see her perform. It's her and guitar or her and piano or her and harmonium. Her lyrics are so good, when i play this for people they stop doing everything and are quiet for hours after;" and Sirocco by Daniel Menche—the first recording by him created by utilizing sound sources from several other sound artists including Andrew Lagowski, Asmus Tietchens, Main, John Duncan, Scanner, Akira Rabelais, Illusion Of Safety, Merzbow, ErikM, B. Labelle and AMT.

tino show postponed
Due to circumstances beyond their control, Tino will not be able to appear at the Elbo Room February 25, 2005. Tino Corp. are currently working to try to reschedule this date.

otology update
Test pressings have been received and approved for BRAIN005 (Sybarite, "Dolorous Echo"/"The Mast") and BRAIN007 (Aranos, "No Religion"/"Spitting Revivalist Dreams of Everlasting Pain"), however BRAIN006 (Jessica Bailiff Live at VPRO Radio) has been rejected. This should not delay the release date of all three by April 16th, Brainwashed's 9th birthday. Otology: The Brainwashed 7" Singles Collected comes free ONLY with the pre-order of all three limited 7" singles and presents on CD for the very first time the music from BRAIN001 (Coil remixes by Thread), BRAIN002 ("Share the Day"/"Dream Stealer" by Edward Ka-Spel) and BRAIN003 ("Bloodstream"/"Airstream" by Greater Than One). Sound samples and the awesome cover artwork images (thanks to Ben Palmer once again and Brain contributor Jim Siegel) are available at Brainwashed Recordings. Copies can be reserved with a purchase at the commerce page at brainwashed. Thanks for your support, it helps pay our nasty heating bills.

THE EYE


andreas martin
27 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video It is an honor to feature Andreas Martin on this week's issue of The Eye. This multi-talented guitarist first made a name for himself in HNAS back in the 1980s. Along with his brother, Christoph Heemann, Martin has released a small number of recordings on his own and has provided all that fantastic work in the supergroup Mimir (where his guitar work is most commonly mistaken as Jim O'Rourke's work). We caught a rare concert with him and an even more rare interview and encourage people who are unfamiliar with his music to watch and enjoy his amazing playing and fantastic music. By his accounts, we should see a full length album from him later this year. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

27 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video

TECH SPECS
Necessary:

  • A current web browser
  • A modern computer
  • The latest quicktime plugin for streaming media (hint: use the latest Mozilla if other browsers aren't working)

Recommended:

  • A fast connection
  • A willingness to learn

Unnecessary:

  • 'tude

If you see a blank window without anything streaming, don't complain to us. You don't have the latest version of Quicktime for streaming media. Go download it. It's free.

MUSIC IN REVIEW

M.I.A., "ARULAR"
XL Recordings
Maya Arulpragasam is one of those artists whose backstory is so unique and interesting that it threatens to completely eclipse the music she makes. The press release for this, her debut album, spends far more time talking about her childhood in civil war-torn Sri Lanka, than it does talking about her contributions to the modern music scene in the UK. It seems her father was a leader of the Tamil rebellion attempting to win independence from the Sinhalese majority, which made her early life one of violence, poverty and constant flight from government forces. Apparently, this background accounts for the political and revolutionary overtones of many of the tracks on Arular, though I'm not sure I ever would have detected these themes had I not already been aware of Maya's story. The Sri Lankan beauty has some good buzz behind her because of a pair of ace singles released last year—Galang and Sunshowers—that introduced M.I.A.'s signature combination of Timbaland-style beatcraft, Peaches-style electro, dancehall reggae and UK grime/garage-scented hip-hop. Also there was the popular illegal mashup mix Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1 with Diplo, which pitted L.L. Cool J against The Clipse, Missy and Cutty Ranks. Her debut is released on XL Recordings, home of Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx, both of who seemed to have informed elements of M.I.A.'s sound. Most tracks are built from a Roland MC-505 beatbox spitting out pounding, distinctly dancehall-style beats, decorated with a myriad little squiggles and acid squelches. The emphasis on clean, laser-sharp, eyeball-vibrating synths bears more than a passing resemblance to Timbaland's production style, which is no accident, as it seems M.I.A. is trying to position herself as the politically-conscious, across-the-pond answer to Missy Elliott. Although she perhaps comes by it more honestly, M.I.A. also includes a lot of the banghra and worldbeat elements that have become de rigeur for all modern hip-hop post-"Ger Ur Freak On." Except for a few pointless tracks of filler, the majority of Arular is raucous and entertaining while maintaining a certain kind of relentless forcefulness that seems at once scary and sexy. It's the very model of an entirely derivative sound palette, and M.I.A.'s vocal stylings and lyrics are in no danger of being admired by anyone, but the album aspires the rarefied heights of alluringly disposable club culture. I'd suggest that anyone interested in the album immediately go look for label advances in cutout bins or on your favorite RIAA-baiting file-sharing service, because the official release of the album, which was scheduled for this Tuesday, has been indefinitely postponed because of an unauthorized sample issue. Enjoy. - Jonathan Dean

samples:


Aranos, "Bering Sea"
Pieros
The rolling waves of crepuscular sounds on this disc are consumptive and nightmare inducing. The single 62 minute track that occupies the whole of Aranos' latest album works on several levels, each of which communicate with each other and inform the shape of the music as a whole. The album rotates about the shamanistic experiences of a Czechoslovakian man named Jiri Nepomuk Prihoda. In 1967 he escaped his home and lived among the Inuit, Samoyed, and Chukchas of Siberia for over 30 years. Apparently Prihoda was witness to or a participant in a ritual that involved submersion into ice-cold waters for weeks at a time. This practice was meant to facilitate an understanding of the subjective nature of the reality all individuals seemingly share. Aranos, whether or not he has captured the hypothermic qualities of this practice, has crafted Bering Sea with an ear to the skeptical view of reality these shamans held. The music is consumptive in two ways: each sound swallows and regurgitates itself or other sounds in a series of digital effects, gongs, low wind blasts, and processed string and metal whirlpools so that the piece sounds as if it is actually turning itself inside out and reinventing itself throughout. Beyond the musical element, Bering Sea is also space consuming and, especially out high volumes, tends to transform the environment it is being played in. Shadows that creep across the room suddenly become far more noticeable and ominous, lights flicker with a greater intensity, and natural light feels far more comfortable and safe than the darkness just over the horizon. One moment the music can be nearly electric in its outbursts, the sizzle of unseen energy bursting and dying immediately in a constant flux of thoughts, and the next moment it can be wholly material. The spirit of this record is both terrestrial and magickal and it moves between the two realms seamlessly. Aranos actually remarks on the back of the rather beautiful packaging that he kept this album at roughly an hour long because of concerns related to disrupting the "space-time continuum;" I highly suggest listening to this on repeat and becoming completely consumed by its rumbling chaos and strange movements. The more these gusts of sounds spill over me and get inside my head, the more my brain shakes and slowly transforms the objects around me. Besides, Aranos does provide a small spot of relief in the last few minutes of the album as reversed singing and guitar begin to fade in and provide a ray of light over the flow of introspection that preceeded it. It's as though Aranos has gathered everyone around a fire to talk about what's just happened and to sing happily of its effects. Bering Sea is available for purchase from Aranos; all the details needed are available at his website. - Lucas Schleicher

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OUT HUD, "ONE LIFE TO LEAVE"
Kranky
Aside from the not infrequent live dates, the strangest dance band on the planet hasn't been heard from since 2002's Street Dad was released to nearly unanimous praise and adulation. One Life to Leave is the long-awaited new single from Out Hud, released as a teaser for their forthcoming full-length Let Us Never Speak of It Again. The most obvious change is the addition of vocals by Phyllis Forbes and Molly Schnick, the two founders and leaders of the band. The dual female vocals bring a level of pop coalescence to Out Hud's music that may have been present on past recordings, but not as immediately obvious. Where before, Out Hud tracks seemed to meander through a series of amorphous transitions, odd instrumental bridges and death defying plunges into the dub chamber, "One Life to Leave: A Requiem for a Requiem" retains a tightness and focus from start to finish that suggests a evolution of the band's sound. That's not to suggest that all the bizarre eclecticism is gone, however, as proven by the mutant hybrid of early house music, Bananarama vocals, funk guitar licks and the barest outline of jagged, PiL-style abrasiveness on "OL2L." The first track on Side A is a longer, alternate mix of the album track, and is entirely informed by the band's usual kitchen-sink maximalism, subjecting the song to layers of complex, hermetic production gimmicks and completely unexpected left turns. There are even a few distorted blasts of speaker-cone destroying industrial percussion that recall the best track on their first LP, the oddly named "Dad, There's a Little Phrase Called Too Much Information." And speaking of weird song titles addressed to the ubiquitous Out Hud patriarch, Side B is entirely taken up by a massive 10-minute track entitled "Put It Away, Put It Away, Put It Away Dad." I suppose dear old dad is trying to embarrass his daughters again, and Out Hud respond with an infectiously wacky long-form psychedelic odyssey through every retrograde musical gesture of which they are capable. The number of competing styles that are forced to groove in one another's presence is truly stunning; the only appropriate comparisons I can think of are Sigue Sigue Sputnik's "Love Missile F1-11" or Steve Miller's "Macho City." Though Out Hud's music has spawned the usual bevy of imitators, they are still very much the masters of their own style, and this generous teaser has me positively salivating for the upcoming long-player. - Jonathan Dean

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Mirror, "Shadows"
Three Poplars
Mirror has expanded: joining Christoph Heemann and Andrew Chalk are Timo Van Luijk of Af Ursin and Noise-Makers Fife's and Vicky Jackman (no relation to David). Van Luijk has described himself as a "musical buddhist," and the connotations this carries practically melts into the spirit of this live recording. Mirror is aware of something hidden behind the world of appearances; walking silently in the wake of their music are all manners of hushed events and murky images culled from the sleeping side of the imagination. Their process of assembling unique sounds into colossal monuments of musical energy has resulted in a tapestry of intrigue on Shadows. It begins quietly, as many Mirror records do, and escalates into a complex thread of throbbing oscillations, warped choirs of natural samples, and synthetic wounds. The music is almost taunting me at times, acting as though it will reveal the source of its whistles and sirens and just as I am about to uncover the spring that feeds one of the sounds, it shifts and slips away. It either speeds up, flowing forward in time and distorting itself in fits of interference or it slows down and goes where I can't: backwards towards its own origins. A figure begins to emerge within the single 45 minute track as it creeps along, forming the impression that every second on Shadows is dedicated to an occurrence that continues to resonate long after it has culminated and ceased to be. I want to speculate that the aftershock of a murder has somehow been stretched through time, but the sweeping dynamics of this recording suggest something far more revelatory and complex. Whale calls, no... radio signals (maybe both) begin to lurk within this sound-picture before it is even half over and the subtle inclusion of static or rainfall paint a portrait of a lonely figure lost at sea and crushed by the weight of hopelessness. Steady machine fuzz, bird calls, faintly rhythmic reverberations, wrecked gongs and bells, and the possible sound of smeared screaming and guitar all register throughout Shadows, but every listen reveals that I had the sound source wrong. Police sirens take the place of wailing, water drops materialize where plucked strings or computer chirps existed before, and the album takes on a whole new shape in a perplexing and exciting way each time it spins. It's impossible to enumerate everything happening on this record as what I think might be there at times escapes and reshapes itself the second I try to pin it down. This is undoubtedly one of the finest Mirror recordings I have ever heard. Its constant metamorphosis is transfixing and meditative and undeniably beautiful. - Lucas Schleicher

samples:


Harris Newman, "Accidents with Nature and Each Other"
Strange Attractors Audio House
This second album from Montreal's Harris Newman has a timeless quality, sounding modern while drawing on the traditions of acoustic guitarists from the past. While he does appear to be a technically accomplished guitarist, Newman often seems unconcerned with being one hundred percent rhythmically accurate, such as on the opener "The Butcher's Block." This track has a pleasantly loose feel, with Newman letting quick, fingerpicked phrases and patterns fly from his acoustic guitar as if by stream of consciousness. Newman sounds as if he makes this music because he needs to, not because of a need to fit into any genre. It feels as if he is communicating these tunes directly from his head to tape, and this immediacy makes his music refreshingly inviting. A few tracks seem more thoroughly composed, such as "Cloud City," during which a slower intro section is a prelude to a main body which sees Newman off to the races with rapid-fire melodies. After three consecutive tracks involving solo acoustic finger-picking, "It's A Trap (Part One)" comes whirling out of nowhere and sets Accidents With Nature and Each Other apart from countless solo guitar affairs. Gorgeous, abstract haunting tones shimmer in and out of focus, sounding like a train traveling along on a foggy night. Although "A Thousand Stolen Blankets To Keep You Warm" utilizes old-timey slide guitar playing, Newman also coaxes long ringing tones out of his instrument during the midsection. Ultimately, small gestures such as this elevate Newman's work above being an exercise in antiquity. Bruce Cawdron's percussion also adds an element that gives Accidents With Nature and Each Other a broad range of textures. His ramshackle playing style is a perfect foil for Newman's free-flowing phrases on "Lords & Ladies." The percussion gradually moves from steady tambourine playing to a solid backbeat, before breaking down into free-form chaos, the result is the sound of War-era Larry Mullen Jr. being thrown from the drum stool by Animal from The Muppets. His shuffling brushwork and melodic glockenspiel playing on closer "Driving All Night With Only My Mind" make this a memorable end to an album that expands the possibilities of the acoustic guitar-based project. While Newman's guitar playing still commands the spotlight, the flourishes added throughout the set are a testament to his individuality. - Jim Siegel

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"RADIO SUMATRA: THE INDONESIAN FM EXPERIENCE"
Sublime Frequencies
This is third volume examining Sumatran popular music to be released on Alan Bishop's non-authoritarian world music label Sublime Frequencies. The first was Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1, which was the label's very first release, a compilation of music from cassettes purchased in the northwesternmost island of the Indonesian archipelago. The breadth and scope of Sumatra's indigenous musical culture was fascinating, as were the bizarre cross-cultural juxtapositions that often resulted in hilariously corny but eminently listenable pop hybrids. The material on this disc is much the same as that earlier disc, except that all of this music was captured from FM radio broadcasts throughout Sumatra, Java and other parts of Indonesia. Anyone who has heard past volumes of radio collage from the SF label knows that Bishop is particularly talented at editing and sequencing these volumes with a listener in mind. He intersperses disparate musical styles with radio station IDs, sections of Sumatran talk radio, karaoke call-in shows, signal jamming noise and other assorted unexplained audio phenomena. Bishop has an ear for the chaotic clash of ethnic styles that is only possible in a place like Indonesia, deliberately segueing from Islamic Folk to Gambus Rock, from saccharine female vocal pop to punk and heavy metal pastiches. Some of the songs are utterly excruciating, others are strangely beautiful, but none last longer than three to four minutes, so there's always relief around the corner if your ears can't take any more. Sumatran culture in particular seems to fascinate Bishop because it plays into his aesthetic predilection for adulterated, post-modern cultural half-breeds, which he clearly sees as superior to ideas of cultural purity or classicism. Through the years, the music that Bishop has made with the Sun City Girls has freely and unceremoniously dipped into various ethnic music forgeries with an admirable lack of political correctness or humility. With Sublime Frequencies releases like these, Bishop's ideas of "world psychedelia" come into clearer focus; the continued cross-germinating and interlacing of popular art forms create a complex and chaotic tangle of ethnic noise that resists deconstruction or analysis, but hints at a vast cultural archive simmering below the surface. The lack of information about the performing artists, recording dates or other contextualizing information provided with these releases tends to support this view. For Sublime Frequencies, it doesn't really matter where or how or why, it just matters that we can tune into something at once exotic and familiar that forces us to consider the rapidly converging world community. - Jonathan Dean

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"Radio Phnom Penh"
Sublime Frequencies
Of the many countries visited by Alan Bishop and his crew of guerilla musicologists, Cambodia has perhaps the musical heritage with the greatest history of popular Western listenership. This is ironic in that the number of Cambodian recordings in American distribution is still extremely small, and those that exist, at least those that pre-date the Khmer Rouge takeover, lack what most would consider the bare minimum in historical notation. Part of the appeal of releases like the Cambodian Rocks compilations, or Sublime Frequencies' own Cambodian Cassette Archives, comes from the covertness of their sources: dilapidated, poorly-recorded, unpreserved cassette tapes, hocked (as the story goes) by anonymous cabbies in Phnom Penh, or approaching obscurity in forgotten drawers of the Oakland Public Library. As fun as it may be to imagine a country whose pop culture exists as a kind of romantic ruin, an attic assemblage of label-less artifacts, the story of Cambodian pop comes colored with the darker presence of the Khmer Rouge, whose rise to power in the late 70's resulted in the death of many of the country's most talented and popular musicians. Today, in an ironic effort to preserve the youth's interest in Cambodia's musical traditions, the older, classic songs are essentially "re-mixed" for broadcast, fitted with the punchy rhythm tracks and the synthetic melodies of a new age. In this radio collage from capital Phnom Penh, Bishop does little to untangle the cultural mish-mash of this people's sound. Instead, he is content to let old and new songs (broadcast on AM an FM respectively) commingle among the country's already diverse palette of pop and rock influences to create an image of Cambodia today just as veiled and illusory as any promoted by Cambodian Rocks. It is impossible to deny that in the 60's and 70's Cambodia produced some truly vital, though largely unheard pop and rock music. Theirs contains all of the manic, hyper-colorful qualities of Burmese and other Southeast Asian popular styles but receives a more generous dose of the Western rock sound, no doubt the result of the country's status as a French colony during the 50's, and neighbor to the American presence in Vietnam soon after. There could surely be a new Nuggets box compiling Cambodian assimilations of the garage rock sound, their bright vocal, bell, and horn melodies turning the most generic fuzzy grooves to ecstatic, timeless reveries. Straight Beatles covers meet alongside raga jams from the Indian coast in a fusion that might've made George Harrison cringe at his own feeble attempts. There are clipped, funky breaks Dr. Dre could've sampled, slinky opium-den ballads, nostalgic wedding songs, and raucous love songs where call-and-response vocals dip and soar to vicious, theatric extremes. Unlike past Radio releases on his label, here Bishop leaves the songs themselves as the primary focus, limiting the commercial snippits, DJ-speak, and noisy dial-spinning that created such exciting, "real-time" atmospheres on previous discs. As a result, Radio Phnom Penh feels more like a subconscious document of Cambodia's musical history, where the myriad of influences, old and new, foreign and domestic, creates a crowded snapshot of today, offering little more in terms of historical notation than its predecessors, but remaining an irresistible and invaluable witness. - Andrew Culler

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"INDIAN SOUNDSCAPES"
Soleilmoon
Indian Soundscapes is a double-album collecting various field recordings made during four trips to India from 2001 to 2004. The recordings were made by Iyou, otherwise known as Charles Powne, owner and proprietor of Soleilmoon Recordings since its inception in 1987. This album is released into a market that is currently saturated with ethnic field recordings of the kind proffered by Sublime Frequencies, Touch and other labels, and amidst the current vogue for treated and laptop-edited field recordings that lose all sense of context. Indian Soundscapes distinguishes itself in being almost entirely dissimilar from all of this other material; by simply presenting crisp, clean, unprocessed recordings that don't aspire to any lofty academic goals. These recordings were simply undertaken as a method for a traveler to encapsulate and memorialize the rich audio landscape encountered in an exotic land. As such, it can be experienced as you would experience a lengthy trawl through a friend's collection of slides or home videos from a recent trip. Depending on your patience and level of engagement, this could either be a recommendation or a warning. Listening to these discs, I was treated to two hours of audio snapshots from around India, many taken on street corners and public spaces, where a cacophony of human noises combine with site-specific open-air sounds, random snippets of radio music, the tinkling of bicycle bells, the PA system at a train station, the thick buzz of nighttime insects, birds chirping and monkeys howling. For the most part, these soundscapes are not edited within an inch of their lives, and many of the tracks are allowed to play until one can fully immerse oneself in this particular location. For listeners like me, with extreme synaesthesiac associations between sound and sight and smell and touch and taste, records like these are a special treat. I was able to fill in the sensory blanks provided by these richly rendered audio documents, smelling the rich smell of spices, engine exhaust, rotting garbage, sulphurous water, musky jungle odors and complex combinations of these. I was reminded of the liberating sense of confusion often experienced in a foreign place whose language and customs are largely a mystery. There are also some incredibly haunting moments, such as the "Echoing Children" on the second disc, or the spirited communal singing and musical performance in the third extract recorded at the Tirupati Temple. The packaging for this collection is lovely: a wooden box imprinted with a colorful primitivist collage houses the double-CD (the album is also released on vinyl), and the booklet inside contains many wonderful color photographs of India, also taken by Powne. This collection certainly provoked many moments of self-reflection, where I questioned the complicated layers of artifice that Western society requires, that seem especially alienating when juxtaposed with the purely human simplicity of poverty and a daily struggle for transcendence that characterizes the life of an Indian villager. - Jonathan Dean

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ARCHER PREWITT, "WILDERNESS"
Thrill Jockey
It's been close to three years since graphic illustrator and Sea and Cake guitarist, Archer Prewitt, released his wonderfully poppy disc, Three. In the meantime he's had a busy few years: performing with his live band; the death of his father; recording and subsequent touring with Sea and Cake. With Wilderness, his fifth recording as a solo artist, he's again picked up with his ongoing love with '70s pop/rock sensibilities, which are apparent in his compositions. However, this time out the classic songwriting hooks and riffs which grabbed my attention on previous recordings aren't as plentiful. Prewitt's songwriting and arrangements have become fragmented with a fair bit of dynamic shifts to create drama ranging from joyous to sullen, sometimes within the same song. While good and strong progressions and melodies abound, on tracks such as "Leaders" and "O, KY," it sounds as though Prewitt hadn't been too concerned with smooth transitions between sections. Instead, he uses a fair bit of stops/starts and forced tempo changes that come across as stream-of-consciousness songwriting. Although an interesting approach for a concept album, Prewitt's taking liberties created a fair bit of distraction and had me checking my player's tracking to see if I was still listening to the same song. Drop-tuned acoustic guitar matched with piano, strings and bowed vibes enhance the great sense of loss on "No More" with wavering vocals singing lines such as "There's no more running from it now / I have often wondered what's our move / There's no more wondering about it now / Now our time is here." Prewitt quickly became one of my favorite guitarists after I saw him perform years ago as part of fellow Sea and Cake member Sam Prekop's band, thanks in part to a combination of his chord voicings, which added a slight jazz complexity, and his overall tone. I spent the better part of a year listening to Prekop's solo record, not just for its overall musical greatness, but also for Prewitt's augmentation which I could clearly pick out from having witnessed it live. That same style of slightly angular performance welcomingly turns up on the smokey "Think Again" and pushes on with the heavier-handed, strings and horns-dotted "Cheap Rhyme" for an overall uplifting number. The moods of Wilderness gradually become more cheerful with each passing track thanks to lush vocal layers and other orchestral augmentation. I considered the possibility of this being a "concept" album, only to give it up and take it for what it is: a quirky yet sincere pop record. - Gord Fynes

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IRON & WINE, "WOMAN KING"
Sub Pop
With 2002's The Creek Drank the Cradle, singer-songwriter Sam Beam established himself as a substantial talent, with a knack for performing uncomplicated, acoustically arranged songs with incredible, unforgettable hooks that stuck in my mind after a single listen. The album was a strictly low-fidelity affair, a bedroom recording which placed no distance between artist and listener, Beam's soothing voice unmediated by ostentatious production. His gentle, literate and introspective songs recalled the best work of Nick Drake and Neil Young, without imitating either. Apparently the low-fi sound of the first record was less of an aesthetic choice than one of financial necessity, as every Iron & Wine release since that first album has added greater and greater technical sophistication to the production. With the release of the Woman King EP, Beam takes a clear and deliberate step into indie mainstream, as it were, producing a six-song suite with a big band sound, lots of composition and layers of vocal harmony. The gentle banjo and guitar are still there, but are now joined by piano, violin, electric guitar and percussion. First off, without sounding like too much of a humbug, I'll go ahead and proffer the opinion that this bigger production style just doesn't work for Beam's intimate folk songs. Second, two albums and two EPs into his career, Sam Beam's songs are starting to feel a little too familiar for comfort. Playing this album directly after listening to 2004's Our Endless Numbered Days, there is definitely a formula behind Beam's songs. He's got a repertoire of about four or five tempos and chord progressions that he keeps recycling, varying the instrumentation and key between each track. A certain feeling of deja vu sets in after listening to Iron & Wine for a while, and while some might call this a "signature style," I am tempted to dismiss it as repetition and self-plagiarism. Lyrically, this EP is all about the female of the species, with songs about woman kings, "Jezebel" ("She was born to be the woman we could blame"), "My Lady's House" and Lilith ("We were born to fuck each other/One way or another"). The thematic conceit is interesting, but can't distract from the uniform quality of these songs. The moments of pseudo-Appalachain twanging heard throughout the album are too predictable for anyone who has listened to Iron & Wine's past albums. As a brief spacer in anticipation of a new full-length album, the EP works well enough, but the new emphasis placed on the cluttered, mainstream blues-folk composition is an altogether unconvincing move for Iron & Wine. I won't be surprised if Beam and company continue to rack up the critical accolades, and perhaps they are deserved, but I'm going to have to tune out from this point forward. - Jonathan Dean

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We know that our music picks may be somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.

NEW RELEASES


WEEK OF FEBRUARY 20 - FEBRUARY 26
Aesop Rock - Fast Cars, Danger, Fire, & Knives CD/LP (Definitive Jux, US)
Airborn Audio - Good Fortune CD/LP (Ninja Tune, Canada/US)
Alter Ego/Reinhard Voigt - Speicher 26 12" (Kompakt, Germany)
Bizzy B - Science EP Vol IV 2x10" (Planet , UK)
Bizzy B - Science CD (Planet , UK)
Black Lung - Karmageddon 12" (Ant-Zen, Germany)
Boom Bip - Blue Eyed In The Red Room CD/2xLP [initial CDs to include a bonus CDEP] (Lex, UK)
* David Bowie - David Live 2xCD [remastered reissue with bonus tracks] (EMI, UK)
* David Bowie - Stage 2xCD [remastered reissue with bonus tracks] (EMI, UK)
* Cocteau Twins - Garlands CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
* Cocteau Twins - Head Over Heels CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
* Cocteau Twins - Treasure CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
* Cocteau Twins - Victorialand CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
* Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
* Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas CD [remastered reissue in mini-LP sleeve] (Imperial, Japan)
Colony 5 - Plastic World CDEP (Memento Materia, Sweden)
Dead Cowboys - Twin Evil Stars CD (LTM, UK)
Dead Meadow - Feathers CD/LP (Matador, US)
* Devo - Duty Now For The Future CD [remastered reissue] (Collectables, US)
* Devo - New Traditionalists CD [remastered reissue] (Collectables, US)
DJ Haul & Mason - Half-Baked Goods CD+DVD (MyUtopia, US)
DJ Spooky & Dave Lombardo - B-Side Wins Again CDEP (Thirsty Ear, US)
Dub Syndicate - Pure Thrill Seekers CD (Shanachie, US)
Dublee - Echo Euphoria CD/2xLP (Mule Electronic, Japan)
Jeremy Ellis - Lotus Blooms CD/2xLP (Ubiquity, US)
Flunk - Play America CD (Beatservice, Norway)
Freiband - {flying} CD3" (Scarcelight, US)
Laurent Garnier - The Cloud Making Machine CD/LP (Mute, US)
Gavouna - Stings & Drum Machines CD/LP (Arable, UK)
Goldmund - Corduroy Road CD (Type, UK)
Haruomi Hasono - Mix Form CD (Progressive Form, Japan)
Hieroglyphic Being - Liquid Sex 12" (Spectral/Ghostly, US)
The Howling Hex - All-Night Fox CD/LP (Drag City, US)
Hrvatski - Irrevocably Overdriven Break Freakout Megamix CD (Entschuldigen, US)
Ida - Heart Like a River CD/LP (Polyvinyl, US)
Implant - You Can Watch/My Gun CDEP (Alfa-Matrix, Belgium)
Iron & Wine - Woman King 12"/CDEP (Sub Pop, US)
The Kills - No Wow CD/LP (Domino, UK)
Lions & Tigers - Pure & Applied 12" (Trial & Error, UK)
Low - California 7"/CDEP (Rough Trade, UK)
Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure 7"/CDEP (Warp, UK)
Megadebt - Misadventures In Global Desecration CD/LP (Rise & Defeat/Beta Bodega, US)
M.I.A. - Arular CD/LP (XL Recordings, UK)
Mogwai - Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003 CD/LP (Matador, US)
Mu - Out Of Breach (Manchester's Revenge) CD/LP (Output, UK)
Phoenix - Live! 30 Days Ago CD (Astralwerks, US)
Prefuse 73 - HideYaFace 12"/CDEP (Warp, UK)
Radio 4 - Nation 10" (City Slang, UK)
The Residents - Animal Lover CD (Mute, US)
Skalpel - Break Out 12" (Ninja Tune, UK)
Sole - Live From Rome CD/2xLP (Anticon, US)
* Stereolab - Switched On CD [reissue] (Too Pure/Beggars, US)
Swayzak - Snowblind 12" (!K7, Germany)
Terminal 11 - Illegal Nervous Habits CD (Cock Rock Disco, Germany)
Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game CD (ESL Music, US)
Emiliana Torrini - Sunny Road 7"/CDEP (Rough Trade, UK)
Various - Looking For A Thrill: An Anthology Of Inspiration DVD (Thrill Jockey, US)
M. Ward - Transistor Radio CD/LP (Matador Europe, UK)
Claude Young - Electronic Dissident 12" (Dust Science, UK)

This is simply this week's highlights from the NEW RELEASES provided by Greg and Feedback Monitor. For a more detailed schedule stretching into the future, please check out the page, since release dates can and will often change.

POLL

Results from last poll:

LINK OF THE WEEK

Muppets over time
Have you ever wondered what if the Brothers Quay made the Muppets? This tribute of sorts might provide a little peek at what that world might be like!
http://www.joeytomatoes.com/muppetsovertimeoriginal05.htm

FEEDBACK

late late late

Subject: !!!

Please let me now when these guys are playing around Sacramento. I finally listened to em 5 years late.

Yeah, let's get in our time machine right now, you and the next person.

Subject: no subject

Dear Sirs,

Doing many researches for a project, I have been informed by your site that this LP exists:

"Necropolis, Amphibians & Reptiles - The Music Of Adolf Wlfli" - Various Artists
Label: Musique Brut
Country: FR
Catalogue: BRU 002
Format: LP
Date:1986

It is written "unavailable", but would you have any idea for me to get and buy this LP ? That subject interests me so much, that I would be very grateful to you to help me finding it.

I thank you in advance for your kindness !

best regards

Out of print. Search eBay or Gemm.

Subject: the brain

I've lost my will to use a browser. How about an RSS feed?

Keep it up, you save my Mondays.

Come on over here and write it, Chucky. Sorry, there's too many great ideas and not enough volunteers.

Subject: BRAINWASHED BANANA BREAD

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup ripe bananas (2-3 medium size), smashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves
Tunes: Brainwashed Radio
Optional: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts

- Crank stereo.
- Preheat over to 325 F.
- Grease loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in.) and dust with flour.
- Beat eggs and sugar with mixer until thick and light (about 5 minutes).
- Add bananas, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
- Sift in dry ingredients. Season to taste. Mix until just blended.
- Add optional ingredients, if desired.
- Dance dance dance.
- Bake until golden brown (about 1 hour). When toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven.

Made the best batch yet thanks to the groovy Brainwashed vibes! Keep 'em comin'!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! We've asked for "recipes" for nearly nine years and this has got to be the first one I can remember.

Subject: PodLove

Hey -

I've been digging listening to yer podcast. Where would I look for a track listing for the Valentine's show. Or could you email me one?

Oy. Sorry. Too lazy. The songs are announced though you know, just listen to what the DJ says!

Subject: ValenPodCast Massacre

i absolutely love the "love day" podcast that you did for this week, jon. way to go. especially liked that french station ID with the voice mail accessing thing. neat.

plus you played DIJ's "come before christ and murder love" which is my number one favorite terrible, embarassing DIJ synth-pop song. makes me week just thinking about that horn fanfare at the end.

one tiny suggestion, however. maybe instead of putting "various" in as the artist info, you could instead put "brainwashed radio podcast" or something similar, so that way all of the podcasts group together on the iPod, and it makes it easy to find what you're looking for. i've had to manually change all of them up to this point.

just a random suggestion. take it or leave it.

Point taken.

Subject: dead texan eye

the eye kicks so much ass i wish more people do what you do. i use the latest versions of safari and everythign and i was wondering why the dead texan eye movie doesnt seem to work when i click on it in the brainwashed news link... it just takes me to a table of contents type page for brainwashed and i cant seem to find it anywhere.. when i copy link of the eye video to the clipboard and then paste it into the browser it still just goes right to the brainwashed contents page.... is there something im missing or is there something wrong? your site rules thanks again.

You did click on it from http://www.brainwashed.com/brain/brainv08i01.html? It -should- work.
Oh and yeah, it would be nice if more people did it. The technology is here: take advantage of it!

Subject: andreas martin...wow

wow.

when i first started watching andreas martin perform his solo acoustic guitar thing, i thought it was a bit tame and uninteresting, and i was disappointed. by the end of the episode, i was totally won over by his crazy techniques on the guitar and his very complex sense of melody and rhythm.

that song that he does right at the end is totally hypnotic. i love it.

also, the interview material is really good. his english is great and he is really forthcoming and talkative,

which is cool.

this is an awesome "eye." way to go.

Thanks for watching. I think this is a continuation of the previous letter as the technology is here, and thankfully some people are paying attention. Thanks for the quick letter!

GET INVOLVED

sponsor, donate, or buy from brainwashed
Click here to find out how you can help keep The Brain going. Every penny helps.

become a contributor
We're always looking for more writers and are welcoming applicants who meet the criteria. Have a look at our new section, Write for The Brain and don't be shy.

sign up for the announcement list
Do you want to be the first on your block to hear about special limited pressings and happenings of Brainwashed? An announcement list has been set up at www.hollyfeld.org/mailman/listinfo/brainwashed. It's not a forum and subscribers will be the first to hear about new releases on Brainwashed Recordings, a new Brainwashed Handmade imprint, the hopefully soon to launch Brainwashed Archives label, and any music fest(s) to coincide with Brainwashed's 10th Anniversary (which is only a year away). Thanks again for the support, it keeps us going.

let us know what you think
Communicate with us, tell us what's in your player, tell us what you want more/less of, send recipes.

WHAT'S IN YOUR PLAYER?

the fruits of our labors
tape: milleu
beequeen: the body shop
aranos: tango mango
brain in the wire disc b
fs bloom and friends: sesamsamen

Steven, Pittsburgh PA, USA.

feedback and submissions:
Brainwashed Gonzo Journalists
P.O. Box 7 / Arlington MA 02476 / USA
electronic mail



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