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Thom Martin, 1975-2015

We are devastated at the unexpected loss of Thom Martin this week. Thom was a dear friend and multimedia artist, whose works included the eponymous Dresden Dolls album and visuals for both Brainwaves festivals. He is a longtime friend and our love goes out to his family and friends.


Forced Exposure New Releases for 8/24/2015

New music is due from Roedelius & Muraglia, The Telescopes, Olimpia Splendid, and while old music is due from The Pharcyde, Mars, and The Kitchen Cinq.


Greg Stuart & Ryoko Akama, "Kotoba Koukan"

cover image Although she composes scores meant for others to perform, there are times when Ryoko Akama seems intent on preventing performances of her work. Like when she asks, on Kotoba Koukan’s “,” for two or more collaborators to play three “soundless” sounds at fixed intervals without the help of a clock or a stopwatch, or when she inserts an observation about silent letters into “e.a.c.d.” that suggests silence will be as essential to its realization as positive sound. Even with a talented interpreter like Greg Stuart around to meet such challenges, questions are bound to arise in the audience, who might wonder how a sound could ever be soundless or how a piece of music apparently devoted to silence could end up being so concrete and loud. Attentive listening may resolve some of these quandaries, but is as likely to generate new ones. Ambiguity and irresolution appear to be at the heart of the matter, at least in part, and besides, focusing on the conundrums in Akama’s work overlooks its power and impact. Ryoko and Greg’s music works on the body and mind in equal proportion, tempting interpretations and provoking reactions with confrontational sounds and understated twists.


Majutsu No Niwa, "The Night Before"

cover imageMajutsu No Niwa is not a band that strives to be understated.  The last release that I heard was the two part Volume V, capturing the classic rock excess in both presentation and sound, but in the most tasteful of ways.  Their newest album is not only a disc of new material, but accompanied by a full length DVD collection of performances captured in 2014.  Both capture the band’s peerless approach to space and psychedelic rock, with more than a bit of abstract improvisation to keep things unexpected.


Lycia, "A Line That Connects"

cover imageLycia's reappearance after an eight year hiatus with 2013's Quiet Moments was a surprise for me, having heard very little about the legendary Projekt band for quite some time.  That album was more than a mere blip, however, as it has been followed up with A Line That Connects, and the return of former band member David Galas.  The result is a record that has a richer, more fully fleshed out sound than its predecessor.


Celer, "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life"

cover imageWill Thomas Long has made some changes to the Celer sound in recent releases, such as the subtle rhythmic structure of Voyeur, or the unending meditative repetition of JimaHow Could…, in that context, feels like a call back to the traditional sound he pioneered, laden with light wisps of sound, and pieces that evolve slowly but beautifully, never forcefully commanding attention yet never drifting off into the background.


Francisco López, "1980-82"

cover imageFrancisco López came onto my radar beginning during his most prolific period, largely the mid-1990s to the present day.  Even though his career began earlier, his 1980s period is often forgotten due to these earliest works published in extremely small numbers that have faded into obscurity.  This new compilation, however, presents previously unreleased material from his earliest cassette recordings.  Within the context of his expansive body of work, what is most striking is how established his aesthetic and style was, even at such a young age.


Helm, "Olympic Mess"

cover imageI tend to enjoy just about everything Luke Younger releases, but he has always been a bit of a tough guy to pin down stylistically, as he has recently seemed equally at home with abstract sound art, heavy noise, and his own unique strain of corroded, post-industrial exotica.  With Olympic Mess, he remains as compelling and eclectic as ever, but seems to have gotten significantly better at crafting a listenable and varied album that flows rather than overwhelms.  Also, he has a few welcome new tricks up his sleeve.  A few longtime fans might be disappointed that Mess leans more heavily upon shades of techno, drone, and ambient than dense, multilayered brutality, but I find Younger's quieter, more nuanced side to be quite an appealing one.


The Vomit Arsonist, "Only Red"

cover imageOn his first full length album since 2013's An Occasion For Death, Andy Grant (The Vomit Arsonist) has crafted a record that clearly shows his influences, but bears his own distinct mark and sound.  An extremely aggressive album, it is also an exercise in  restraint, resulting in a set of songs that lurch more than assault, but is jam packed with evil and violence that festers dangerously close to the surface.


Liberez, "All Tense Now Lax"

cover imageJohn Hannon is truly a man after my own heart, as his Liberez project recaptures an urgency, adventurousness, mystery, and revolutionary spirit that has been largely missing from underground music for a very long time.  In some respects, All Tense Now Lax picks up right where 2013's stellar Sane Men Surround left off, bringing back both vocalist Nina Bosnic and an unholy mélange of bludgeoning junkyard percussion and Greek/Eastern European violins.  In other ways, however, All Tense is quite different, largely abandoning any quietier moments of ethnographic forgery in favor of a heavier, pricklier, more anarchic, and more collage-damaged assault.

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