brainwashed

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Xela, "Tangled Wool"

This is a great pop record that doesn't want to be a pop record.

City Centre Offices
Xela has crafted what is for me, the year's first magnificent pop album. "Softness of Senses" opens the record with an absolutely sublime strumming guitar riff that leads into some simple guitar melodies, whisps of synth and deep bass notes. It's a perfect start to an album that has quickly become one of my favorites in recent memory. Well, it's almost perfect. By the time I was halfway through the beautifully melancholy "You Are In The Stars" I started to wonder what was missing. It's an absolutely intoxicating record of superb melodies, textbook pop song structures, and just the right amount of tweaked back-end to throw the whole mix into another world, but by the time I got to track five, "Through Crimson Clouds," the experience was feeling incomplete. It was like one of the channels of the stereo mix was just missing: a huge gaping whole in the middle of one of the best pop records I've heard in a long, long time. And then it hit me. In John Xela's quest to make the perfect pop record (dedicated to Monika), he forgot to get anyone to sing on it! To be fair, there's a repeating phrase drenched in reverb on "Drawing Pictures of Girls," but that's not enough to do the rest of these arrangements justice. These songs are so tight, I can hear the words that should be there in my head every time I give it a spin, but try as I might, I can't find the vocals because there aren't any. I'm not one who's stuck on vocal-driven music; most of what I listen to is instrumental in fact. But with a record of this depth—the kind of record 4AD used to put out when anyone gave a damn, the kind of record that gets jaded ex-pop music fans to put down the laptop glitch and listen to something that belongs on a mixtape of love songs—there's just got to be someone singing on it. These songs demand a voice, and not just the tonally-challenged voice I add when I'm listening in the car. John Xela, if you are reading this, go find yourself a singer. Toni Haliday isn't doing much these days, is she? Surely there's some way to reconcile this because a finer pop record isn't bound to come around this year, but this one isn't finished.

samples:

 

The Eye: Video of the Day

Bardo Pond

YouTube Video


read more >>>

Review of the Day

Max Neuhaus, "Fontana Mix - Feed (six realizations of John Cage)"
Alga Marghen
Live electronic music performance was a novelty in 1964 as was the use of electronic percussion instruments. Perhaps even more progressive was that Max Neuhaus' version of Cage's Fontana Mix is used nothing but feedback. Neuhaus placed contact microphones on top of kettle drums and put the drums in front of loud speakers. The microphones were free to move around on the drums. The performer controlled the intensity of each microphone with a mixer and Neuhaus did this following a performance score that he prepared from John Cage's Fontana Mix. This indeterminate composition from 1958 comprises a grid and a set of curved lines, some with dots, on transparencies. The interpreter arranges these in superposition to create a unique new graphic image from which, following the instructions, a performance score from is derived. Using this procedure Neuhaus created the set of curves that he used to control the intensity of each microphone in the mix and used this score in each performance. However, the feedback system itself is a very sensitive and unpredictable instrument, so much so that even following the same score the resulting music is essentially indeterminate. Hence the six different versions on this CD, four live and two studio recordings, spanning 1965-68 are very different from each other. Neuhaus, a brilliant and highly respected percussionist, would put Feed on the program of high-brow contemporary percussion concerts in places like the Carnegie Recital Hall and he would play it very loud. It's amusing to imagine the responses in the highly cultivated audiences. The remarkable thing is that even in today's context with decades of noise art behind us, Neuhaus' trail-blazing performances from the mid 60s are brilliant. The music is relentless feedback noise but has a structural complexity that, if you can tolerate its basic assault, is fascinating and hypnotic. It is piercing and very abrasive but once immersed in it, and if you are willing to play it loud enough, its vitality and detail are consuming. Neuhaus' musical genius blazes through this brutal material in manner that puts many a modern noise artist in their place.

samples:


read more >>>

Login Form



http://soundcloud.combrainwashedcom


Donate towards our web hosting bill!
Shop
		at the iTunes store