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brainwashed

Scratched Glass, "Two"

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cover imageAs a follow-up to 2015's debut EP, the duo of multimedia artists Nicol Eltzroth Rosendorf and Jonathan Lukens expand on the ambiguity and sparseness on Two, while still showing marked development and innovation in their work.  With their sonic palates expanded and a determined focus, the final product is an album that conveys a significant amount within its somewhat minimalistic framework.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 July 2017 09:19 Read more...
 

Kate Carr, "The Story Surrounds Us"

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cover imageA rather fast follow-up to her last tape (It Was a Time of Laboured Metaphors, also on Helen Scarsdale), Australian sound artist Kate Carr's latest work is another entry in a rapidly growing discography that blends elements of both traditional composition and the unpredictable nature of field recordings.  She does this and merges them together seamlessly, coming together as a beautiful set of sounds and moods from across the globe, yet still unified as a part of the human experience.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 July 2017 09:16 Read more...
 

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...
 

Psychic TV, "Pagan Day" and "Allegory and Self"

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cover imageI have always viewed Psychic TV with a mixture of fascination and annoyance, as the project managed to assemble some of the most talented and idiosyncratic artists in underground music, but were far too erratic, scattershot, and over-prolific to ever turn their genuine flashes of brilliance into a great career.  That said, the founding duo of Genesis P-Orridge and Alternative TV's Alex Fergusson definitely started off strong and these two reissues roughly bookend that golden age.  Pagan Day, which first surfaced as an extremely limited release in 1984 (it was released December 24 and deleted on Christmas), is a collection of early 4-track sketches, several of which were later released in different form.  The strange and uneven Allegory and Self from 1998, on the other hand, was perversely the band's pop breakthrough, featuring the half-annoying/half-subversive underground hit "Godstar" and whole lot that could never be chart-worthy.  Admittedly, there are a few moments of magic amidst that stylistic jumble, but the more polished ensemble work unexpectedly feels a bit less substantial than Pagan Day's rough-hewn creative outpouring (for good reason).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 07:44 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...
 


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