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My Cat is an Alien, "The Sky With Broken Arms"

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cover imageThis latest opus from the Opalio brothers continues their restlessly experimental hot streak, taking inspiration from a characteristically bizarre event: two years ago, Roberto discovered that a bunch of his records were corroded by an "inexplicable oxidation process."  After some time, he decided to listen to one of them anyway and found himself fascinated by the way the listening experience was transformed by the surface noise.  Naturally, the instantaneous composition that resulted from that revelation is considerably more bizarre and idiosyncratic than a mere celebration of crackle and hiss, but the added layer of noise beautifully adds an evocative textural layer to The Sky With Broken Arms' sublime and eerily otherworldly reverie.

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 March 2018 20:25

Muslimgauze, "Mullah Said"

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cover imageEarlier this year, Staalplaat took a break from their plunge into Bryn Jones' seemingly endless archive of unreleased/hyper-limited material to put out a double-LP vinyl reissue of this beloved landmark album from 1998.  While the vinyl format is an odd choice for this particular release (I have the digital version), I am delighted by this new reissue campaign: the sprawling Muslimgauze discography is a hopelessly intimidating and overwhelming labyrinth for all but the most die-hard fans, so the world definitely needs a knowledgeable curator to call attention to the most timeless and essential releases in the Muslimgauze canon.  This is one of those.  Normally, my own favorite Muslimgauze albums tend to be the more ethno-percussion-driven ones, but Mullah Said's heady drone/dub-inspired collage aesthetic is a striking exception, as it stands as one of Jones' most immersive, evocative, and fully formed works.

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 March 2018 20:18

Rafael Anton Irisarri, "Midnight Colours"

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cover imageI was a bit surprised to belatedly discover that Irisarri’s latest release was conceived as an imaginary soundtrack to the Doomsday Clock, as Midnight Colours is often an atypically warm and beautiful release, shedding much of the pervasive melancholy that runs throughout his previous work.  Perhaps, however, it would be more accurate to say that Irisarri has merely become a bit better at effectively wielding that melancholy, as the shadows that shroud the lush heaven of Midnight Colours tend to add depth and gravitas without crossing the line into brooding reverie.  That may sound like a subtle evolution, yet it is quite an important one from my standpoint, as Irisarri's eternal somberness was always a bit of an obstacle for me.  I am not normally one to praise accessibility, but I am delighted by it in this instance, as his grainy, hissing, and gorgeously enveloping drones have rarely been more listenable than they are here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 March 2018 07:17

Cindy Lee, "Act of Tenderness"

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cover imageA month ago, I had absolutely no idea who Patrick Flegel was, but the buzz surrounding Superior Viaduct's Cindy Lee reissue series piqued my interest and Flegel quickly became one of my new favorite people.  In a past life, Flegel was the frontman of Canadian indie-rock band Women, who famously imploded in a Halloween-costumed, guitar-smashing onstage meltdown in 2010.  Soon afterwards, Flegel began dressing in drag and his "diva alter-ego" Cindy Lee was born.  Sometimes a full band, sometimes a solo act, Cindy Lee has a strikingly guileless, idiosyncratic, and oft-disturbing aesthetic that almost feels like outsider art.  On Act of Tenderness, Flegel's vision focuses primarily on intimately and eerily channeling '60s girl-group pop through a hissing and hallucinatory fog of melancholy.  Some songs certainly work better than others, but when Cindy hits the mark, it feels like a memory-haunted chanteuse has stepped directly out of David Lynch's imagination and become actual flesh and blood.

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 March 2018 10:17

Contrastate/various, "Your Reality is Broken"

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cover imageEver since their inception in the late 1980s, this UK project has simultaneously dabbled both in the worlds of musique concret and harsh electronics; two styles that are undeniably similar but have very few in the way of crossover artists, all with a distinct sense of irreverence.  Active again after a lengthy hiatus in the early part of the 21st century, Your Reality is Broken is another piece of work that successfully blurs unnecessary lines; in this case if it is a tribute album to them, a remix collection, or a compilation of collaborations.  In truth, it is all of these things at once, and it is excellent.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2018 08:12

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