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Happy Birthday Gordon Mumma! Wishes for Gordon Mumma, who turns 80 on March 30th! Mumma, originally a French Horn player, was an early electronic music pioneer, founding the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music with Robert Ashley in 1958. Mumma was recently featured by The Guardian in their ongoing series, The 101 Strangest Records on Spotify.  Read more info on Gordon at his brainwashed site or his own blog (which hasn't been updated recently, but is still chock-full of info).


Forced Exposure New Releases for 3/30/2015

New music is due from James Blackshaw, Biosphere Deathprod, Florian Hecker and & Mark Leckey, Ellis Island Sound, and Benoit Pioulard, while old music is due from Busta Rhymes, The Fuzz, and Charlemagne Palestine.


Charlemagne Palestine + Rhys Chatham, "Youuu + Mee = Weeee"

cover imageA collaboration between these two avant-garde elder statesmen could have gone any number of ways, given Chatham’s late-career embrace of the trumpet and Palestine’s unrelenting eccentricity.  For the most part, however, the sprawling, nearly three-hour Youuu + Mee is a huge success, taking minimalist drone into some very twisted, unexpected, and dark places (though Palestine's occasional eruptions of yowling vocals remain very much an acquired taste/potential deal-breaker).


Lightning Bolt, "Fantasy Empire"

cover imageFew bands consisting of only a drummer/vocalist and bassist would be able to carry that arrangement for almost 16 years, but few bands are Lightning Bolt.  Sticking true to their roots since 1999, Fantasy Empire is their first record in five years, and also their first recorded in a professional studio.  This has not at all dulled their sound:  it is still as blown out and distorted as ever, and as before memorable riffs and melodies lie beneath the primordial low-end sludge.


Loren Chasse, "Characters at the Water Margin"

cover image The photographs that comprise the artwork for Characters at the Water Margin, of the Hoh River and of Washington State’s Pacific coast, teem with secluded life, the same life that Loren Chasse presents in his music. It’s an unusual sort of life, easy to miss despite its ubiquity. Gnarled tree trunks, stones worn into smooth ovals, driftwood piled into broken lattices; by definition these are dormant and inanimate things, but Chasse listens and composes with a heuristic ear. Along and above the Olympic Peninsula’s jagged shoreline, small commotions lie in wait, accompanied by the constant pulse of the ocean. Tucked away at the foot of a national forest, in the wreckage of a glacial waterway, they are all but invisible. The circumstances of their appearance depend on close listening, on the slowing down of time, and on a willingness to hear the depth of music that subsists in the tiniest places.


Bourbonese Qualk, "Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1987"

cover imageOn paper, this compilation seems like exactly what the world needs: a new compilation celebrating the legacy of a criminally underappreciated and mostly forgotten band whose entire catalog is largely out-of-print.  In reality, however, Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1987 is kind of a perplexing mixed success, as Mannequin decided to focus exclusively on Qualk's rather primitive early years, bypassing almost all of their more distinctive and original work.  There is still a lot to like here, as the band originally sounded kind of like an anarcho-punk band that could not afford guitars or a full drum kit, but this era definitely would not have been my first choice if I were commencing my own reissue campaign.


Marreck, "Cetology"

cover imageCetology is one of those albums that sits somewhat close to an established style (in this case techno) on the genre spectrum, but just far enough out to sound like something else entirely.  The elements are all here:  synth leads, catchy basslines, programmed drums, but it all ends up put together in a way that might seem wrong, but because of that becomes a different and captivatingly unique beast entirely.


Boduf Songs, "Stench of Exist"

cover imageAs much as I like Boduf Songs, I have to admit that the albums began to all blur together for me at some point, as Mat Sweet’s hushed, morbid, and deliciously Lovecraftian aesthetic is an extremely specific one that he has mined for quite a long time (though 2013's Burnt Up On Re-Entry gamely tried to shake-up that formula).  I certainly do not blame him, as it is a very appealing and distinctive niche, but there is quite a lot of similar-sounding material out there as a result.  And now there is still more…sort of: Stench of Exist is a return to the "classic" Boduf sound, but with some healthy vestiges remaining from Sweet's more adventurous recent work.  The end result is probably one of Mat's finest albums to date and one that definitely features a couple of Boduf's strongest songs ever.


23 Skidoo, "Beyond Time"

cover image23 Skidoo has had a significant portion of their previous work reissued over the past few years, but Beyond Time is their first album of new material in 15 years.  A soundtrack to the documentary of the same name, exploring the life and art of 23 Skidoo core members Johnny and Alex Turnbull's father, William Turnbull, it stands strongly on its own as an atmospheric work that stays faithful to the band’s roots in funk, hip-hop, and unique post-industrial noise.


Steinbrüchel, "Parallel Landscapes"

cover imageRalph Steinbrüchel’s formal training is that of a graphic designer, and his approach to Parallel Landscapes is one of a visual artist more than a sonic one.  Packaged with a thick booklet of photography and design, this album is as much of an audio as it is a visual composition.  With less of a focus on rhythms or melody, and more on vast expanses of terrain and landscape, simultaneously beautiful and foreboding, the album has a consistent, yet complex sensibility to it.

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