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Forced Exposure New Releases for 2/18/2019

New music is due from Thighpaulsandra, Chicago Odense Ensemble, and Lali Puna, while old music is due from Jaye P. Morgan, The Legendary Pink Dots, and Nurse With Wound.


Evan Caminiti, "Refraction"

cover imageThis latest EP is a companion piece of sorts to Caminiti's 2017 Toxic City album, albeit one that draws its inspiration from NYC's hidden oases of calm and space rather than its more claustrophobic and dystopian elements.  Much like its predecessor, Refraction continues to explore Caminiti's deep interest in dub techno, yet he has stretched the boundaries of the form in an intriguing, thoughtful, and almost quixotic way: with these four pieces, he attempts to replace the rhythm of the dancefloor with a more languorous and organic pulse ("like a circulatory system made audible").  With casual and relatively inattentive listening, these experiments feel kind of like a classic Basic Channel or Mille Plateaux release that has been deconstructed and stretched into something vaporous and drifting rather than pulsing, but the depth and quiet beauty of Caminiti's unconventional vision comes into vivid focus when Refraction is experienced through headphones.


Sleaford Mods, "Eton Alive"

cover imageThis prolific Nottingham-based duo are back with their fifth formal full-length and the first to be released on their own Extreme Eating imprint.  Unsurprisingly, Eton Alive does not tamper much with the band’s signature backdrop of spare, simple grooves and Jason Williamson has no shortage of fresh topics that displease him.  That consistency is a huge part of Sleaford Mods' charm though (along with Andrew Fearn’s eternally deadpan, head-bobbing presence, of course): sometimes the grooves are quite good and sometimes they are not, but they exist primarily as a platform for Williamson to unleash his vitriolic, heavily accented, and sometimes blackly funny stream-of-consciousness critiques of everything that rankles his sensibilities.  Given the pair's continued hyper-constrained aesthetic and one-note approach to mood and melody, Eton Alive is a characteristically hit-or-miss affair, as everything depends the inspiration or impenetrability Williamson’s wordplay and how it fits with Fearn’s minimal, repetitive beats.  That is to be expected though.  During its strongest moments like "Top It Up," Eton Alive can be quite a bracing and invigorating reminder that Sleaford Mods are a singular bastion of integrity and spirited, free-floating hostility in a world that desperately needs both.


JH1.FS3, "Trials and Tribulations"

cover imageWhile Frederikke Hoffmeier is justifiably best-known for her solo Puce Mary project, she has had a hand in quite a few collaborative projects over the years as well (a common trait within the Post Isolation milieu).  Most have been one-off events, but this duo with Jesse Sanes (Liebestod/Hoax) has held together long enough to make a second album (or arguably a third, if their earlier Fejhed project counts).  I am delighted that it did, as JH1.FS3 have evolved from a solid noise act into something considerably more distinctive and wonderful.  In fact, Trials and Tribulations shares a hell of a lot of common ground with last year's brilliant The Drought, though the focus is shifted away from Hoffmeier's confessional-sounding spoken word and more towards an inventive and vibrant onslaught of mangled and haunting textures.  It sounds like two dueling noise artists at top of their games, except they are trading imaginative, sharply realized textures rather than escalating ferocity.  And it also feels like Hoffmeier has brought the same incredible level of compositional and editing rigor to this album that she brought to her most recent solo work.  The Drought was one of my favorite albums of 2018 and Trials and Tribulations will likely be one of my favorite albums of 2019: it is a bit more seething and understated, but it is every bit as masterfully crafted.


Phil Western, 1971-2019

Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Phil Western. Western was a member of Download (along with Cevin Key, Mark Spybey, and Dwayne Goettel), Frozen Rabbit, and recorded solo as Philth and under his own name. His family has issued the following statement:

"It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we, Phil's family, want to make this official announcement of his death this past week. The family are awaiting the Coroner's investigation into an official time and cause of death but we believe it was an accidental overdose. We will update when we receive further information. Phil was loved by so many of us. He was funny, intelligent, deep, creative and so many other wonderful things. We will miss him more than we could ever accurately convey. Much love to all those who are grieving with us. Phil's family xo"


Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee, "The Air Around Her"

cover imageAs Ellen Fullman can likely attest, one of the downsides to inventing your own instrument with 100-foot-long strings is that it definitely limits the number of possible venues for your performances.  Another is that Fullman's Long String Instrument takes roughly five days to install and tune, adding yet another level of amusing inconvenience to the endeavor.  Fortunately, an optimal situation surfaced in 2016, as John Chantler's First Edition Festival was given access to Stockholm’s Performing Arts Museum while it was being renovated.  Given the limited "pure drone" nature of her instrument, the success of Fullman’s work can be heavily dependent on finding an appropriately sympathetic foil who can add vivid splashes of color and new layers of emotional depth to that rich harmonic backdrop.  In that regard, Fullman could not possibly have hoped for a more talented and amenable collaborator than avant garde cello virtuoso Okkyung Lee.


Mark Solotroff, "Symmetrical Spaces of Communication", "Social Objectives"

cover image Mark Solotroff’s contributions to harsh electronic music cannot be overstated.  Beginning with the adult bookstore sleaze of the 1980s power electronics project Intrinsic Action into the present day psychologically disturbing noise of Bloodyminded (which, in a live context, becomes the perfect deconstruction of rock performance) and the doom metal tinged Anatomy of Habit, he has been an influential force for the past 35 years.  This does not even take into account his multitude of solo and side projects, such as these two recent cassettes.  All of his work is joined together by a single, distinct thread:  a love of analog synthesizers that borders on the obsessive.  Here those synths are used to create the perfect soundtrack to city isolation.


INRA, "The Content Consuming Its Form"

cover imageThis unusual and fitfully fascinating album was quietly released near the end of 2018 on the small New Orleans-based Pinkbox Teleport label.  INRA are themselves based in Berlin, yet The Content Consuming Its Form sounds very much like it was partially birthed in a bleak and blighted late-'70s industrial area, favorably recalling the UK’s finest art-damaged dystopian experimentalists of the period.  While I probably would (guiltily) enjoy an album that was essentially straight-up Throbbing Gristle worship, INRA merely recapture the intelligence, low-budget futurism, and deep sense of post-modern alienation that defined the milieu of the era.  Stylistically, they reanimate the formula with fresh blood in the form of kinetic drumming and nods to the heavier side of the dance music underground.  While not every song gets the balance of murky mood and skittering, propulsive rhythms exactly right, the ones that do are a deliciously inventive feast of post-industrial collage done beautifully.


Bionulor, "A.S."

cover image Sebastian Banaszczyk's sound recycling project Bionulor's recent works have been part of larger multimedia projects such as theater, but for A. S., he has returned to a purely audio format.  He maintains a thematic unity to the album, however, making it as conceptual as any of his prior works.  For this one, his starting point was the work of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin.  Banaszczyk strikes that perfect balance between creating something new while allowing the source material to be recognizable throughout.


Podcast Episode 405: February 3, 2019

Episode #405 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is now live.Tim - Akimos, Australia

All new episode featuring all new music by Thighpaulsandra, Amp, TX Connect, Croatian Amor, Richard Skelton, Ivan "Mamao" Conti, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, and Machinefabriek with Marissa Nadler).

Photo courtesy of Tim, taken in Akimos, Australia.

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Review of the Day

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