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Podcast Episode 341: February 5, 2017

Graham LewisOur special guest this episode is Graham Lewis, and we hear some music from him alone and in Wire, Hox, and Cupol. Wire's newest album, Silver / Lead, is available for pre-order now. Other music on this episode includes Martial Canterel, Cate Le Bon, Second Woman, and High Plains.


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Forced Exposure New Releases for 2/6/2017

New music is due from Hand Habits, Ulrich Schnauss & Jonas Munk, Trevor Shelley de Brauw, and No UFO's, while old music is due from Massacre, Terry Riley, Isis, and Deux.

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Emptyset, "Borders"

cover imageEmptyset has always been a project that I felt weirdly guilty about not appreciating more, as they seemed like a more cerebral and mercilessly deconstructed twist on the UK's industrial-damaged post-dance milieu of Raime, Haxan Cloak, and Demdike Stare.  Also, I love James Ginzburg's Subtext label.  Unfortunately, all their songs sounded vaguely the same to me and I found all the praise for their architectural inspirations a bit mystifying.  Yet still I kept optimistically buying each new album hoping for a masterpiece that never arrived.  Thankfully, this debut release for Thrill Jockey finally makes everything click for me.  The same general template as always is still in place (improbably dense, ribcage-rattling bass and a slow-motion kick drum pulse), but Ginzburg and Paul Purgas have now distilled it into a thing of truly bludgeoning elemental force: Borders absolutely explodes from my speakers.  Also, the duo now wield a bass-heavy homemade "zither" to wonderfully visceral and snarling effect, which I did not see coming at all.  I am officially now a convert.

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Eli Keszler, "Last Signs of Speed"

cover imageEli Keszler's Cold Pin was easily one of most remarkable and inventive albums of 2011, but he has largely been working under my radar ever since, steadily releasing a flow of live recordings and small-edition vinyl-only collaborations.  Consequently, I was delighted to discover that he was finally ready to unleash another solo opus.  Last Signs of Speed, the inaugural release from Berlin's Empty Editions, is inherently a bit less radical than Cold Pin, as it is sadly not built from a motorized string installation.  It may as well have been built from a motorized percussion installation though, as Keszler's hyper-kinetic free-jazz-inspired drumming is compellingly inhuman and unpredictable.  There is also some music: the album description intriguingly references both Scientist and Iannis Xenakis as key influences, but that dub influence is a damn subtle one.  Instead, Last Signs generally sounds more like Xenakis mixed with a truckload of drumsticks being fitfully poured down a long and winding flight of stairs (in the best way possible).

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HEXA, "Factory Photographs"

cover imageXiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and Lawrence English are not two artists that I would have ever thought to pair together, but a shared appreciation for David Lynch is probably as solid a foundation for a collaboration as any.  Also, HEXA makes perfect sense given the circumstances:  Xiu Xiu recorded an incredible Twin Peaks homage,  Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art assembled a major retrospective of Lynch’s work, and Lawrence English is one of Australia’s most prominent and distinctive sound artists.  Notably, however, this commissioned accompaniment to Lynch's photographs of abandoned factories sounds almost nothing like either English or Xiu Xiu.  Instead, it sounds a hell of a lot like an artfully restrained and simmering noise album.  More specifically, Factory Photographs is industrial music in the most literal sense of the word, resembling nothing less than the troubled dreams of a ruined and long-deserted factory.

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Ghédalia Tazartès/Andrzej Załęsku/Paweł Romańczuk, "Carp's Head"

cover imageI am not fond of tossing the term "weird" out to describe music.  Not only is it a vague and somewhat stigmatizing label, I do not consider a lot of what I hear to fit that term.  I mean, I have albums of car crashes (GX Jupitter-Larsen), noise made by a ballerina’s performance (The Rita), and on stage improvised masturbation (The Gerogerigegege).  However, Carp’s Head is hard to describe in any other way.  With painfully guttural vocals by  Ghédalia Tazartès, percussion by Andrzej Załęsku, and everything else by Paweł Romańczuk, it is like an Eastern European folk album vomited on an electro-acoustic work and the two were just mashed together with purely malicious intent.

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Nakama, "Most Intimate"

cover imageGrand Line, Nakama’s last release and the project’s second overall, was a sometimes-chaotic mass of free jazz improvisations held together by a structured sense of composition that seemed to be at odds with the music itself.  Most Intimate has a similarly focused conceptual foundation, but rather than the grand gestures of the last album, here they are much more personal, with the quartet members each writing parts for one another to play.  The concept is admittedly complex and convoluted, but in execution it works in more ways than just being a novelty.

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Esplendor Geométrico, "Fluida Mekaniko"

cover imageI can think of few bands that are as cheerfully single-minded in their aesthetic vision as Esplendor Geométrico.  In fact, I suspect I could have written a remarkably accurate (if vague) review of Fluida Mekaniko without ever having heard it: lots of visceral and hypnotic percussion loops, no melodic hooks at all, plenty of low-level radio wave and static chaos, and some occasional tuneless and rambling vocals from Saverio Evangelista.  Done.  Predictably, Fluida Mekaniko DOES provide all of that, but I keep buying Esplendor Geométrico albums because they also tend to feature at least one or two absolutely mesmerizing pieces where everything comes together perfectly and Arturo Lanz seems like a goddamn genius. Fluida Mekaniko continues that tradition beautifully and even finds room to let in a bit more light and nuance than usual.  As a result, it is probably one of EG's strongest and most listenable albums yet.

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Expo Seventy, "America Here & Now Sessions"

cover imageIt occurred to me the other day that there was an incredible wave of great, experimentally minded solo guitarists several years back (Area C, Black Eagle Child, Talvihorros) that has either gone completely silent or moved into very different territory and that no one has quite risen up to replace them.  Thankfully, however, the wildly prolific Justin Wright has not gone anywhere and continues to be a tireless torchbearer, both through his Sonic Meditations label and his own Expo Seventy project.  Given the sheer volume of Expo Seventy releases, I tend to only check in on the major ones and this one fits the bill: recorded as part of a three-week art event in Kansas City (America: Here and Now), Wright was able to assemble a like-minded quartet featuring two drummers to back his slow-burning psych-rock pyrotechnics.  At its best, the results are surprisingly accessible and anthemic, like a time-stretched and deconstructed Black Sabbath jam experienced through a heady fog of drugs.

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RLW, "Flurry of Delusion"

cover imageI never know what to expect when putting on a new Ralf Wehowsky album.  He has never let me down, but what form of strange electronics and unconventional compositional techniques he employs is always a mystery.  Flurry of Delusion is then, fittingly, another extremely abstract and unpredictable work from the legendary member of P16.D4 that is as much random improvisation as it is rigidly structured composition.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  The confusion is intentional, by the way.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Charlene

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

The Juan MacLean, "Less Than Human"
Although this is the debut full-length release from The Juan MacLean, John MacLean is no newbie to recording, performing, or the music business and all the drugs, partying, and fun that go along with the territory.  It's easy to see how the Juan MacLean has made an excellent party record.

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