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Jean C. Roché, "Birds of Venezuela"

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cover imageThis unusual reissue quietly entered the world last December when everyone was frantically obsessing over the year-end lists and features, so it did not get nearly the attention it deserved.  It is certainly an odd release for a couple of reasons, but the most obvious one is that a 35-year-old album of bird songs was resurrected by a record label best known for avant-garde and experimental music.  The other is that Birds of Venezuela was just one of over one hundred albums recorded and released by French ornithologist Jean-Claude Roché.  That naturally begged the questions "What makes this album the special one?" and "Who exactly is this for?".  As it turns out, the liner notes by David Toop answer the former and the album itself decisively answered the latter: this album is for me because it is amazing.  In fact, Toop actually started planning a trip to the Amazon soon after hearing this Birds of Venezuela and I probably would have done the same, as a strong case could be made that the most texturally and melodically compelling music scene of the mid-‘70s was the Venezuelan rain forests.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 05:08

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, "The Recounting of Night Time" and "Archeological Testing..."

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cover imageThis inscrutable cabal of post-industrial scavengers continues to burrow into our murky cultural subconscious with a pair of minor new releases.  Characteristically, both albums are heavily conceptual and mystery-shrouded, but The Recounting of Night Time at least volunteers that it "focuses principally on a certain piece of German gothic cinema made during the late 1970s."  That certainly seems to suggest that a badly worn VHS of Werner Herzog's Nosferatu is at the heart of the sounds, but Fossil Aerosol Mining Project are (as always) far more interested in what time has done to the physical media than than whatever that media's original intended content was.  About the superior Archeological Testing in the Land of Monkeys, even less is revealed ("A fatigued response to reminders of a cyclical past, surprisingly exaggerated in the years of the rooster and the dog").  Both releases offer their flashes of inspiration, but it is the digital-only and conceptually vague Archeological Testing that unexpectedly feels like some of the collective's finest work to date.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 05:17

Richard Skelton, "Border Ballads"

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cover imageEach new Richard Skelton release is a bit of a surprise these days, as his aesthetic is in a permanent state of flux shaped by where he is living and what he is thinking about at any given time.  For the most part, his more divergent and experimental forays tend to surface as digital-only releases, but this physical release explores the least expected direction of all: a return to the more melodic, song-based aesthetic of his classic Type LPs from a decade ago.  Obviously, Skelton is quite a different artist now than he was back then, so Border Ballads not a return so much as it is a very different vision ("telluric, grounded, earthen") rooted in a semi-familiar structure.  Given that Landings and Marking Time were the Skelton albums that I first fell in love with, it is very hard to maintain any semblance of objectivity with this long-delayed sequel (of sorts).  It feels like Border Ballads recaptures the transcendent magic of its predecessors only fitfully though, as its deep melancholy feels more like a somber, earthbound elegy than an ecstatic catharsis.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 05:22

Kink Gong, "Voices"

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cover imageLaurent Jeanneau's work as Kink Gong has been one of the most compellingly quixotic and unique projects in underground music for almost two decades, but I have only recently begun to scratch the surface of his mountain of work.  He is probably best known as a prolific ethnomusicologist, occasionally surfacing on Sublime Frequencies.  He has also self-released over 150 collections of ethnic minority music recorded during his many travels throughout Africa, China, and Southeast Asia.  Naturally, that restless curiosity has made a deep impact on Jeanneau's own sensibility as an artist, resulting in a series fairly uncategorizable collage-based soundscape albums like this landmark 2013 release.  At the root of Voices are a host of recordings of indigenous vocalists made in China, Vietnam, and Laos, but Jeanneau ingeniously transforms them into a haunting, otherworldly, and timeless vision that blurs the boundaries of tradition, experimentation, art, and reality.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 05:26

Brainwashed Sponsorship Now Available

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We're open for more sponsorships and can use the money for various costs of operation that go along with the territory.  Brainwashed is not a for-profit service and nobody gets paid but we are seeking non-profit status and are seeking sponsors.
Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2005 16:23

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