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Podcast Episodes 301-303: March 4

And we're back with music from Ryoji Ikeda, Tod Dockstader, Big Blood, Jan St. Werner, A Place To Bury Strangers, Robert Haigh, Damon & Naomi, James Blackshaw, Jasmine Guffond, Andrew Chalk, Lee Gamble, Disappears, Sarah Davachi, Celer, Ida, Sir Richard Bishop, Dennis Young, Lightning Bolt, Benjamin Finger, 23 Skidoo, Eric Holm, and Sean McCann.

The Brainwashed DJ - Brainwashed Radio - The Podcast Edition

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Tod Dockstader, 1932-2015

Not only was Tod Dockstader an important pioneer in the field of electronic music and tape manipulation, but he was also a neighbor and friend, living his last years in the Brainwashed hometown of Arlington, Massachusetts. Dockstader is arguably most famous for his 1960 composition Eight Electronic Pieces, used in the 1969 film Satyricon by Fellini, and most unknowingly famous for the sound effects he created for cartoons such as Tom & Jerry and Mr. Magoo. Other notable compositions included Quatermass from 1964 and Drone from 1962. Dockstader was productive through the early part of this century with the Aerial trilogy surfacing on Sub Rosa between 2004 and 2006.

 

Forced Exposure New Releases for 3/2/2015

New music is due from Trash Kit, John Wiese, and Humans, while old music is due from
David Borden, Plastic Trash, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

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Six Organs of Admittance, "Hexadic"

cover imageI have always been a rather casual Six Organs fan, generally enjoying whatever it is that Ben Chasny is up to at a given time, but not exactly salivating over the prospect of a new album.  Something about Drag City's cryptic description of Hexadic piqued my interest though and rightly so: this is strange and fascinating album.  The most notable aspect, certainly, is that Chasny used a self-created system of playing cards based upon the wisdom of a 14th century monk to compose a "rock" album.  That certainly does not happen every day.  Aside from that, Hexadic boasts an absolutely incendiary psych-guitar tour de force called "Wax Chance" that easily stands with anything by Les Rallizes Denudes or Mainliner.  I definitely did not expect that either.

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Sarah Davachi, "Barons Court"

cover imageSarah Davachi is a young Vancouver-based artist who shares that passion for old analog synthesizers that is so rampant these days.  Stylistically, however, she is an old-style composer that shares much more common ground with minimalist drone royalty like Eliane Radigue and Phill Niblock than she does with the current pack of squiggling, blurting, and entropy-minded synth revivalists.  Also, she seems to have a fine intuitive grasp on the limits of such gear and ingeniously employs strings, flutes, and a harmonium to elevate her pieces into something better and more distinctly her own.  More importantly, this is exactly the sort of drone that I love and Davachi manages to do it better than just about anybody.  This is already a lock for one of my favorite albums of 2015.

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Akatombo, "Sometime, Never"

cover imagePaul Thomsen Kirk’s output as Akatombo has always leaned more into the harsher side of danceable beats and electronics, but on his fourth album, he has pushed that envelope even further.  Huge bass-heavy beats, weird lo-fi sample loops and random sounds abound, and the result is an album that is reminiscent of a more westernized Muslimgauze or the best moments of late-period Techno Animal.

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Steve Flato, "Mara's Daughters"

cover image Steve Flato's inaugural cassette release from Lengua de Lava bears two illuminating dedications: one to Richard Maxfield, the innovative American composer, Fluxus member, and electronic music pioneer, and one to Eliane Radigue, the French-born Buddhist convert, equally innovative, whose experiments with feedback, tape loops, and synthesizers gave birth to some of the subtlest and most hypnotic music of the 20th century. The influence of both can be heard on Mara's Daughters, but for the first 41 minutes—the entirety of side A—Radigue's ultra-precise, slowly-unfolding sound is upended. Flato plots his course over harsher terrain. His sound is confrontational and messy, a constantly churning chaos of grinding noise and digital squeals rendered with impressive clarity. It is the kind of bedlam that would ordinarily repel meditation or introspection, but Flato's stratified attack is so massive it implodes and, by unexpected means, pulls the listener into the reflective stillness at its center.

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Jasmine Guffond, "Yellow Bell"

cover imageJasmine Guffond’s reinvention under her given name appeared a few months ago amidst a surprising amount of buzz and favorable comparisons to artists like Grouper and early Julia Holter, which is somewhat surprising for an artist who is already this deep into her career.  I suppose those Grouper comparisons will certainly grab people's attention and I accept that Liz Harris is a decent reference point in some respects, but Jasmine's not-quite fully formed aesthetic sounds like it is mostly her own to me (or is at least amorphous enough to make her influences largely irrelevant).  At its core, Yellow Bell is very much a warm and lush drone album, but its appeal lies in how tender, human, and unconventional Guffond can be within those confines.  While not quite a start-to-finish triumph, the bulk of Yellow Bell is indeed quite good or even sublimely beautiful.  The buzz was not misplaced.

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James Blackshaw, "Summoning Suns"

cover imageThis is certainly an early candidate for the most unexpected release of the year, as few people presumably anticipated that James Blackshaw would suddenly start singing ten albums deep into his career.  As it turns out, he handles the transition from guitar virtuoso to singer/songwriter quite well.  The nearest reference point is unavoidably something like Jim O’Rourke’s jaunty Eureka, as Blackshaw at his best displays a similarly eccentric sensibility and appreciation for kitsch mingled with impeccable musicianship and colorful arrangements.    Although Suns admittedly suffers as a complete statement due to a few lulls, missteps, and a wandering stylistic focus, it mostly makes up for it with the strength of its breezy, charming "singles" and a handful of great instrumental passages.

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Mike Shiflet & High Aura'd, "Awake"

cover imageMike Shiflet might be most well known for his work as a noise artist, but a significant portion of his work features him utilizing guitar.  Here, in collaboration with High Aura'd (John Kolodij), the two coax a wide variety of sounds out of their respective six stringed instruments, resulting in an album that is as much noise as it is music.

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