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Forced Exposure New Releases for 4/20/2015

New music is due from Jonny Nash, Christian Wallumrød, and Django Django, while old music is due from Bruce Gilbert & Graham Lewis, Beatriz Ferreyra, and Daphne Oram.

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Wire

cover imageContinuing a strong and consistent period of activity that began in earnest with the third installment of the Read & Burn series, the legendary band's 14th album is yet another high water mark in their expansive (and extremely impressive) discography.  Primary songwriting duo Colin Newman and Graham Lewis provide 11 all new songs that blend their artistic obtuseness with catchy songwriting and melodies, the type of sound that made Chairs Missing and The Ideal Copy so brilliant.  With Robert Grey's steady drumming and an expanded role for guitarist Matt Simms, Wire is full of moments that are weird, sometimes challenging, but always fascinating and memorable.

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Anjou

cover image All art, whether by design or by accident, contends with time. But music’s relationship to it, like cinema’s, is pronounced, as is evident in the case of Anjou. On their Kranky debut, ex-Labradford members Mark Nelson and Robert Donne join Haptic’s (and Innode’s and Pan•American’s) Steven Hess for eight melancholy preludes focused on form, color, light, and time. Their songs are short, no longer than nine minutes, and expressionistic, dotted with half-heard rhythms and implied melodies orbiting a tonal center. They issue into the room in suspended animation and hang there mysteriously, heavy like a storm cloud. In them, the passage of time ceases to mark minutes and seconds and instead denotes the availability of different perspectives. Sounds are typically thought of as moving through spaces, but in this case spaces move through sounds, guided in their course by a trio of directors with an impossible view from above.

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Everyday Loneliness, "False Validations"

cover imageJon Borges, who also records as half of Pedestrian Depot, has chosen a project name that is only partially fitting for the sound he creates.  While the Loneliness part is most fitting, given its isolated and depressing sound, the Everyday part maybe not so much.  False Validations is a standout within a field of frigid waves and minimalist drone, the sound of beautiful depression.

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Colleen, "Captain of None"

cover imageBack in 2013, Cécile Schott unexpectedly ended a very long hiatus in appropriately unexpected style by reinventing herself as an eccentric, viola da gamba-wielding singer/songwriter.  Captain of None is both a continuation and refinement of that vein, but with an additional twist: Schott has found a way to subtly integrate her love of Jamaican dub techniques into the Colleen sound.  That turned out to be a great idea, as I have already seen Captain compared to Arthur Russell's World of Echo more than once.  While it does not all that sound much like Russell stylistically, Schott's hushed and poetic pop experiments are similarly idiosyncratic and starkly intimate.  Also of note: Captain of None is yet another absolutely stellar Colleen album.

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Felicia Atkinson, "A Readymade Ceremony"

cover imageI have historically not followed Felicia Atkinson’s prolific career too closely, aside from enjoying the excellent Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier album on Aguirre, but this latest experiment in surrealism/dada/collage/detournement piqued my interest.  For one, it is billed as a "concrète/post-digital oratorio in five parts" and was made in willfully constrained/minimalist fashion using only a laptop with limited software (Atkinson has previously sounded like a one-woman psych-rock band).  Also, it was partially inspired by being frightened as a child by Pierre Henry's "Apocalypse de Jean" and is built upon texts ranging from George Bataille's erotic prose to Felicia's own writings to snippets from random Italian art magazines.  To me, that either sounds like a recipe for a pretentious towering fiasco or a goddamn masterpiece, but the end result is mostly neither, though one piece ("L'Oeil") does manage to veer quite close to the latter.

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Letha Rodman Melchior, "Shimmering Ghost"

cover imageThis posthumous release is a thoroughly bittersweet affair, as Shimmering Ghost is both Rodman Melchior's final album and her finest hour (probably, anyways).  A series of fractured and flickering collages, these pieces are "experimental" in the best sense of the word, using an unpredictable and simple mixture of instrumentation, found sounds, and field recordings to weave together a very complex, intimate, and evocative narrative.  At its best, Ghost makes me feel like I am drifting through an immersive, mysterious, and disorienting stream of someone else's dreams and memories.  No one else makes albums like this.

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Happy Birthday Gordon Mumma!

http://www.unm.edu/~rmt/news/images/GordonMumma1.jpgBirthday 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).

 

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).

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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.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Dälek

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

Schneider TM, "6 Peace"

As an introduction to the music of Dirk Dresselhaus, this EP doesn't work so well. The music is whimsical and entertaining, but out of the six songs that make up 6 Peace, three are remixes and one is the original version of "Reality Check" from the Zoomer album. The two videos that are included on this CD ("Frogtoise" and "Reality Check") can be found online at Schneider TM's website along with two free songs. If it's an introduction that is needed, Schneider TM's website is the place to go.
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