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Forced Exposure New Releases for 5/23/16

New music is due from Klara Lewis, Prostitutes, and Connie Acher, while old music is due from Caroline K, Dustin O'Halloran, and Dennis Brown.

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Pita, "Get In"

cover imageIf history is any indication, it seems to be nearly impossible to simultaneously run a thriving record label and remain a vital and evolving artist: one side always has to suffer.  That said, Peter Rehberg has somehow managed to fare better than just about anybody, as Editions Mego remains one of the best experimental music labels on the planet and his current work with Shampoo Boy is excellent.  It has been a long time since Rehberg has released a significant solo album though and I was not all sure what to expect from Get In, as he was once at the absolute vanguard of electronic music and presumably always has the potential to be there again, but it does not seem like he has been swinging for the fences all the much lately.  As it turns out, Get In is indeed in no danger of redefining music or unlocking bold new vistas of artistic expression, but the consolation prize is that it is one of Rehberg's stronger and most consistent albums to date, showing that he is still every bit as capable of brilliance as ever.  Sometimes being good is a lot better than being first.

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Yoshi Wada, "Off the Wall"

cover imageNewly reissued by his own Saltern imprint, 1985's Off the Wall takes its droll title from the rich acoustic properties of the Berlin studio that Wada was using as a practice space at the time.  While not quite crazy enough to warrant the more expected meaning of its title, this is definitely a very strange and ambitious album, as Wada’s small ensemble employed an arsenal of homemade bagpipes and organs to exploit the sonic properties of their surrounding architecture: the room guided the composition.  Unusual instrumentation and process aside, Off the Wall is also a curious anomaly stylistically, transforming the Eastern drone aesthetic of La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath into something resembling medieval Scottish free-jazz.  For better or worse, that is definitely a niche that does not get filled very often.

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Drøne, "Reversing Into the Future"

cover imageThis is the debut album from the restlessly evolving Mark Van Hoen’s latest project, a duo with the Touch label's Mike Harding.  Recorded in LA during a particularly sweltering day, this single longform piece is quite divergent from any of Van Hoen’s previous work that I have heard, beautifully blending organ-like synthesizers with menacing throbs, crackling shortwave radio ambience, and mysterious field recordings.  Drøne are definitely onto something wonderful here, finding a niche that is simultaneously sublimely melodic, gently hallucinatory, and ominously unsettling.

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William Fowler Collins & James Jackson Toth, "Under Stars and Smoke"

cover imageThe rural areas from which William Fowler Collins and James Jackson Toth hail  have an inescapable influence on this new collaborative record.  Across the three pieces that make up Under Stars and Smoke it is impossible to not hear the ambient desolation of Collins’ New Mexico home, while Kentucky’s own Toth provides unsettling Appalachian folk-tinged guitar and vocals.  The two styles meld together perfectly, and with an appropriately challenging approach to production and aesthetic, it is a powerful entry in both artists’ already impressive catalogs.

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Olli Aarni, "Muova"

cover imageAustralia’s excellent Preservation label has quietly resurfaced with a pair of cassette/digital releases, my favorite of which is the latest from this Finnish composer.  Muova draws its inspiration from both old New Age tapes and William Basinski, which certainly provides a rough summary of Aarni’s aesthetic, but does not convey how wonderfully and thoroughly he manages to transcend those influences.  While I do love both Basinski and distressed tapes, I am not at all predisposed to either vintage synthesizers or New Age revivalism, yet Aarni has managed to use those unpromising threads to weave something quite beautiful and unique.

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Novi_sad, "Sirens"

cover imageThanasis Kaproulias’ latest release as Novi_sad expands on the compositional strategies found on his last work (2013’s Neuroplanets) but goes a step further both in concept and presentation.  The single piece that makes up the audio portion of this multimedia work is first made up of sound provided by other well known sound artists, such as Richard Chartier and Carl Michael von Hausswolff.  Not satisfied with that, however, Kaproulias then merges these with decidedly non-musical recordings (bridge vibrations, earthquakes, stethoscopes, etc.), and then further processes them with quantitative data from major financial crises.  Decidedly high concept (and accompanied by a hardcover book featuring visualizations of the sound by Ryoichi Kurokawa), Sirens excels on both a conceptual and purely sonic level.

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Luciernaga, "Sic Transit Gloria"

cover imageThere is a distinct sense of nostalgia running through this newest Luciernaga release.  Fitting, since the entire work was inspired by Joao Da Silva's hometown of Santiago, Chile, and is even released by a hometown as a limited edition cassette.  His work has always had a sense of personal intimacy amidst the sonic abstraction, and this is no different.  Sic Transit Gloria is an emotionally rich, and extremely diverse piece of complex ambient music.

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Troller, "Graphic"

cover imageFollowing their 2012 self-titled debut release, this Austin trio largely return to the sound that made that album so strong:  namely dissonant synthesizer work, slow and stiff drum programming, and unsettling, yet gripping vocal work.  That is not to say that Graphic is more of the same, but rather a development and refinement of the sound they did so well previously, culminating in an infectious, yet dour and dark piece of music.

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Aranos, "Omen of Good Times"

cover imageThis latest release from Aranos is an especially unusual one (even within the context of his already singular discography), as it is a varied suite of songs exploring the twin themes of mortality and joie de vivre.  It has always been clear that Aranos knows a thing or two about living an interesting and vibrant life, but it is worth noting that he has also technically died once (and been resuscitated) as well, so he has some perspective on that side to offer as well.  While it is the subject matter than ostensibly brings all of these songs together, the most immediate and striking feature of Omen of Good Times is its prevailing mood of eccentric, cockeyed fun: there are few shades at all of Aranos's more experimental leanings here, just a one-of-a-kind raconteur/performer channeling everything from Eastern European folk music to religious spirituals to swinging Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli-style string jazz.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Brokeback

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

"DEATH'S LAST LIFE'S BREATH"
Beta-Lactam Ring
For the mere pittance of $4.00, Beta-Lactam Ring Records is offering the latest in its Beta-Beat Sampler series. Where previous volumes were quick-and-dirty, minimally packaged releases compiling and excerpting new and upcoming music on the label, Death's Last Life's Breath comes in a printed sleeve, and includes a brand new Nurse With Wound track exclusive to this compilation. And it's no mere fragmentary outtake meant to entice the unwary consumer, but an epic 15-minute fantasia of unhinged Stapletonian whimsy. "A Wasted Life of Phagocyte Foot Fetishism" plays like an extended, free-associating riff on the Space Age Bachelor Pad music for which Stapleton has always professed his affection. The track goes everywhere, of course, from a concert hall full of toy xylophones to sudden explosions of tabla rhythms, eventually floating up to a dense cloud bank of gently shimmering keyboards. If this were the only worthwhile track on Death's Last Life's Breath, it would still be more than worth the price of admission. Luckily, the rest of the nearly 80-minute disc is chock full of the kind of ear-opening sonic exploration I've come to expect from the Beta-Lactam label, from the lysergic folk of Japan's Green Milk From the Planet Orange to the eclectic, post-Prog collages of art-rock legends La STPO. Whitelodge's "Masters Within Spaces," excerpted from their soon-to-be-released debut, adds a level of post-rock sophistication to the melancholic, apocalyptic themes explored by esoteric mainstays Current 93 and Death in June. Judging by the distortion-blasted electro groove of "Comedown," Edward Ka-Spel's new Pieces of 8 promises to be his best in years. Matt Waldron's irr.app.(ext.) project continues to find new non-corporeal identities in the labyrinthine inner workings of memory and synchronicity, on full display in a truly unsettling excerpt from the forthcoming Perekluchenie album. Beequeen's "I'm Searching For Field Character" is a perfectly mysterious concoction of drones, dialogue samples and all manner of indescribable textures. It came down to two choices this week: feed and clothe my Somalian sponsor kid for another month, or use my loose pocket change to buy Death's Last Life's Breath. Sorry about the lack of clean drinking water, N'Dugu, but I'll be happy to burn you a copy of this CD.

samples:


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