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Cosey Fanni Tutti, "Tutti"

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cover imageIt would be misleading to say that Cosey Fanni Tutti has been a singularly unprolific solo artist, as her oeuvre has never been constrained to simply music, but it is noteworthy that her last original solo album (Time to Tell) was released almost four decades ago.  That album was stellar, setting quite a high bar for future releases.  Also significant: Cosey's career has undergone a well-deserved renaissance in the last couple years, culminating in the release of her acclaimed memoir Art Sex Music.  As a result, Tutti has the somewhat unenviable curse of being an album preceded by months of anticipation and high expectations.  For better or worse, Cosey has nimbly sidestepped that situation to some degree, as Tutti is more of a soundtrack than a major new artistic statement…musically, anyway.  On a conceptual level, this album is loosely intended as a career-spanning self-portrait built from reworked archival recordings.  Cosey took that "reworking" part quite seriously though, so this album often feels like a warmly hallucinatory collection of instrumental Chris & Cosey remixes despite the submerged ghosts of more abrasive and transgressive days.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2019 07:42

Sleaford Mods, "Eton Alive"

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cover imageThis prolific Nottingham-based duo are back with their fifth formal full-length and the first to be released on their own Extreme Eating imprint.  Unsurprisingly, Eton Alive does not tamper much with the band’s signature backdrop of spare, simple grooves and Jason Williamson has no shortage of fresh topics that displease him.  That consistency is a huge part of Sleaford Mods' charm though (along with Andrew Fearn’s eternally deadpan, head-bobbing presence, of course): sometimes the grooves are quite good and sometimes they are not, but they exist primarily as a platform for Williamson to unleash his vitriolic, heavily accented, and sometimes blackly funny stream-of-consciousness critiques of everything that rankles his sensibilities.  Given the pair's continued hyper-constrained aesthetic and one-note approach to mood and melody, Eton Alive is a characteristically hit-or-miss affair, as everything depends the inspiration or impenetrability Williamson’s wordplay and how it fits with Fearn’s minimal, repetitive beats.  That is to be expected though.  During its strongest moments like "Top It Up," Eton Alive can be quite a bracing and invigorating reminder that Sleaford Mods are a singular bastion of integrity and spirited, free-floating hostility in a world that desperately needs both.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 February 2019 07:37

Bionulor, "A.S."

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cover image Sebastian Banaszczyk's sound recycling project Bionulor's recent works have been part of larger multimedia projects such as theater, but for A. S., he has returned to a purely audio format.  He maintains a thematic unity to the album, however, making it as conceptual as any of his prior works.  For this one, his starting point was the work of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin.  Banaszczyk strikes that perfect balance between creating something new while allowing the source material to be recognizable throughout.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2019 10:14

Evan Caminiti, "Refraction"

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cover imageThis latest EP is a companion piece of sorts to Caminiti's 2017 Toxic City album, albeit one that draws its inspiration from NYC's hidden oases of calm and space rather than its more claustrophobic and dystopian elements.  Much like its predecessor, Refraction continues to explore Caminiti's deep interest in dub techno, yet he has stretched the boundaries of the form in an intriguing, thoughtful, and almost quixotic way: with these four pieces, he attempts to replace the rhythm of the dancefloor with a more languorous and organic pulse ("like a circulatory system made audible").  With casual and relatively inattentive listening, these experiments feel kind of like a classic Basic Channel or Mille Plateaux release that has been deconstructed and stretched into something vaporous and drifting rather than pulsing, but the depth and quiet beauty of Caminiti's unconventional vision comes into vivid focus when Refraction is experienced through headphones.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 February 2019 07:27

Mark Solotroff, "Symmetrical Spaces of Communication", "Social Objectives"

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cover image Mark Solotroff’s contributions to harsh electronic music cannot be overstated.  Beginning with the adult bookstore sleaze of the 1980s power electronics project Intrinsic Action into the present day psychologically disturbing noise of Bloodyminded (which, in a live context, becomes the perfect deconstruction of rock performance) and the doom metal tinged Anatomy of Habit, he has been an influential force for the past 35 years.  This does not even take into account his multitude of solo and side projects, such as these two recent cassettes.  All of his work is joined together by a single, distinct thread:  a love of analog synthesizers that borders on the obsessive.  Here those synths are used to create the perfect soundtrack to city isolation.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2019 13:07

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