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1998 Re-count: Voting Round is Closed

Thanks to everyone who voted in the re-count.

Results will be posted soon!




Forced Exposure New Releases for the week of 11/19/2018

New music is due from Saloli, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh, Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke, and Aperture, while old music is due from Akira Rabelais, Motohiko Hamase, and Casa Sui.


Sean McCann, "Saccharine Scores"

cover imageSean McCann celebrates the 50th release of his endlessly evolving Recital Program imprint with a major new work of his own, combining his dual love of literature and music into a unique album/book pairing.  Of the two halves of the work, the book takes more of a supporting role, providing personal insights about the birth of each piece as well as the accompanying texts that appear throughout the album in often unrecognizably abstract or altered form.  The album itself is kind of a compilation of sorts, bringing together four thematically similar pieces that are a mixture of live and studio performances and new and previously released work.  The two new longform pieces that elegantly blend together speech and orchestral composition are the true heart of the album, however, and they are what make Saccharine Scores a landmark release in McCann’s discography.  Glibly put, this is the album that places McCann quite firmly into "Robert Ashley" territory rather than "Andrew Chalk" territory, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his voice as a writer is every bit as distinctive as his talents as a composer.


Jon Porras, "Voice of the Air"

cover imageBarn Owl was always an intriguingly fluid and evolving project and that creative restlessness has certainly continuing on into the solo work of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras.  For this latest release, Porras takes his conceptual inspiration from Indian musician Gita Sarabhai, who once mentioned in a conversation with John Cage that art exists to "sober and quiet the mind, thus rendering it susceptible to divine influences."  As such, the tone of Voice of the Air is largely a meditative and drone-based one, but Porras also had some new revelations about composition along the way, diving into John Chowning's frequency modulation (FM) synthesis ideas and exploring how to use them as a structural basis for his own work.  The results of that experimentation are often quite wonderful, as Voice of the Air is an album filled with strong, simple themes that vibrantly squirm, shiver, and oscillate with shifting textures.


Podcast Episode 397: November 11, 2018

Nathalie, Street Lights, Lausanne, Switzerland We proudly present episode #397 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition for your listening pleasure.

It's a focus on music of 1998 that should be considered while we're taking the time to vote in the Brainwashed Readers Poll 1998 Re-count. Music in this episode includes Cosey Fanni Tutti, Jessica Bailiff, Little Annie, Monade, Françoiz Breut, Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke, Malka Spigel, Neotropic, Lisa Germano, Solex, Kristin Hersh, Ms. John Soda, Sally Doherty and the Sumacs, and Diamanda Galás

This episode's picture of street lights in Lausanne, Switzerland comes to us from Nathalie.

iTunes Google Play


Beast, "Ens"

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Beast is the latest guise of Mountains' Koen Holtkamp, initially created as a solo project that was performance-based and centered around his experiments with 3D laser projections.   For Beast's Thrill Jockey debut, however, Holtkamp was very much NOT in performance mode, as Ens was recorded around the birth of his first child and is far more shaped by that event and the resultant lack of sleep than it is by his fascination with light.  Unsurprisingly, the resulting album is a strange and fragmented one, shifting from tender, pastoral reveries to eruptions of euphoria to dazzling and sublime displays of compositional prowess on a song-by-song basis. While a few pieces are a bit too straightforwardly pretty for my curmudgeonly ears, Holtkamp has long been one of the most intriguing synth composers in the game and that has not changed.  His revelatory flashes of inspiration may be intermittent here, but there are definitely impressive when they happen.  The opening "Paprika Shorts" is easily one of the best pieces Holtcamp has recorded to date.


Ian William Craig, "Thresholder"

cover imageThis latest slice of heaven from Ian William Craig has quite a curious provenance, as it was assembled from orphaned pieces dating all the way back to 2014's landmark A Turn of Breath.  As such, it is not exactly the proper follow-up to Centres, yet it is every bit as great as I would expect such an album to be.  Notably, Thresholder is far from a collection of disconnected outtakes and middling material, as the pieces are all roughly tied to a commission work relating to quantum physics and space.  As befits such an inspiration, Thresholder very much focuses on Craig's more experimental and abstract side, unfolding as a hallucinatory and dreamlike collage of woozily swooning angelic vocals in a crackling sea of distressed tape loops and hiss.  If Centres is the album where Craig's gift for songcraft came into full bloom, this is the companion piece that illustrates the full depth of his textural and production brilliance.


Dead Can Dance, "Dionysus"

cover imageThis second release from the recently reawakened Dead Can Dance is quite a delightful surprise, radically departing from its uneven predecessor and displaying a striking degree of creative reinvigoration.  Rather than another stab at recreating classic DCD fare like Aion, Dionysus is a conceptually rich and structurally inventive plunge deep into the folklore and spirit of Dionysian rituals and festivals.  An intriguing concept does not necessarily lead to an intriguing album, of course, but Dionysus finds Dead Can Dance at the peak of their instrumental powers, unfolding as feast of wonderfully vibrant rhythms, esoteric instrumentation, and inspired arrangements.  It is quite a remarkable and improbable achievement, as it sounds very little like prime Dead Can Dance, yet absolutely feels like prime Dead Can Dance.  If Dionysus had come out in the band’s golden age of the late '80s and early '90s, there would most certainly be a small but devoted contingent of fans that viewed it as dark horse contender for the duo's finest album.


Francisco López, "Untitled #360"

cover imageThe three movements of Untitled #360 stand out distinctly in Francisco López’s recent body of work, largely due to their sheer sense of force and chaos.  With scant information as far as source material goes, my best guess is that he plundered sound effects libraries, especially those aimed at action and horror film productions, to construct this lengthy composition.  Rather than radically processing these sources, he instead focuses on layering and arranging them (with tasteful amounts of treatment) to create a tense, audio-only pseudo-narrative that is among the most aggressive and harsh that I have heard from him.


Hardy Fox (1945-2018)

We are saddened by the loss of Hardy Fox of The Residents.

Our hearts go out to all of Hardy's friends and family and thank him for his years of the weird and absurd.

From The Residents Web site:

It is with with great sorrow and regret that The Cryptic Corporation announces the passing of longtime associate, Hardy Fox. As president of the corporation from 1982-2016, the company benefited from Hardy's instinct for leadership and direction, but his true value came from his longtime association with The Residents. As the group's producer, engineer, as well as collaborator on much of their material, Fox's influence on The Residents was indelible; despite any formal training, his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific. Blessed with a vital sense of aesthetics, a keen ear, and an exquisite love of the absurd, Hardy's smiling face was a constant source of joy to those around him. He will be missed.

After a series of recent health problems, Hardy succumbed to a brief illness. He is survived by his husband, Steven Kloman.

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