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brainwashed

The Tear Garden, "The Brown Acid Caveat"

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cover imageI had absolutely no idea what to expect from a new Tear Garden album, as it has been nearly a decade since the last one and The Brown Acid Caveat slowly came together while cEvin Key was dealing with cancer and Edward Ka-Spel was deeply immersed in I Can Spin A Rainbow.  Despite that, the impending release bizarrely took on a near-mythic significance for me, as this project has inspired several of Ka-Spel most enduring moments of genius ("Romulus and Venus," "Hyperform," etc.) and he has been riding quite a (fitful) hot streak over the last few years.  Also, the time simply felt right for The Tear Garden to return.  Happily, Caveat largely lives up to my unreasonably high expectations even while it subverts them, as the duo largely eschew deep psychedelia in favor of propulsive, tightly structured electronic pop (albeit with some inspired detours along the way).  Naturally, the album’s hookiness is mingled with Ka-Spel and Key's deeply skewed and oft-hallucinatory aesthetic, but I was still completely unprepared for the throbbing disco groove of the opening "Strange Land."

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 July 2017 23:46 Read more...
 

Edward Ka-Spel, "High On Station Yellow Moon"

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Edward Ka-Spel is certainly having quite an amazing year, already releasing two great albums in the form of I Can Spin A Rainbow and The Brown Acid Caveat.  This deeply strange and proggy solo effort is kind of a bizarre bridge between those two peaks, featuring occasional contributions from Amanda Palmer and seemingly expanding upon the thematic premise of The Tear Garden's "Lola’s Rock."  High On Station Yellow Moon also feels like a repository for all of Ka-Spel's recent ideas that were too abstract and unstructured for his "proper" albums–like a pressure-release valve for an overactive mind.  In that sense, there is a definite resemblance to the collaged, free-form aesthetic of The Legendary Pink Dots' Chemical Playschool series, albeit with a fairly consistent and intriguing thematic thread weaving through it all.  Another similarity to the Chemical Playschool series is that Yellow Moon can be a meandering and frustrating listen at times, but patient listeners will be rewarded by an occasional sustained passage that captures Ka-Spel at the absolute peak of his powers.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 July 2017 18:00 Read more...
 

Tor Lundvall, "Nature Laughs as Time Slips By"

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cover imageFor his third boxed set on the label since 2011, prolific ambient artist Tor Lundvall collects another four previously released (but limited) albums and a rarities compilation into a diverse sounding, yet thematically unified collection.  Essentially the soundtrack for virtual environments, such as rainy days or visiting a park, Nature Laughs as Time Slips By is another suite of beautiful, if often melancholy instrumental music that covers the vast spectrum of Lundvall’s beautiful work.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 June 2017 10:26 Read more...
 

Fovea Hex, "The Salt Garden II"

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cover imageClodagh Simonds and her impressive coterie of collaborators have returned for the much-anticipated second installment of the planned Salt Garden trilogy.  In a broad sense, this latest EP is a clear continuation of its predecessor, consisting of three timeless and drone-informed pieces of sublime and Siren-esque choral beauty and an instrumental coda.  However, this release also marks an intriguing evolution upon the aesthetic of the first Salt Garden, opting for a more understated and unadorned approach.  As such, there is not much here that offers quite the intensity and immediacy of "The Golden Sun" or "The Undone Mother," but the compensation is that Simonds has further distilled her vision into something more naked and pure, eschewing ornamentation and orchestration to shift more of the heavy lifting to her voice and her words.  They can certainly handle it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 06:41 Read more...
 

Can, "The Singles"

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cover imageI must admit to still being a bit perplexed by this release.  Can, for all their greatness, were never really a singles band.  Most of those that were issued were edits of album material, so there is little exclusive material to be had here, barring said edits, which usually just remove material rather than presenting it in an appreciably different way, and a handful of non-album material.  However, when viewed as a career overview or sampler (something essentially replacing those Cannibalism compilations), it is a different matter, and the set provides a good opportunity to revisit the latter, often maligned recordings.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 June 2017 10:24 Read more...
 


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