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Forced Exposure New Releases for 3/20/2017

New music is due from Growing, Katharina Grosse and Stefan Schneider, and Joakim, while old music is due from Midori Takada, Luc Ferrari, and Dungen.


VVV, "Why El Paso Sky"

cover imageIranian born, Austin raised artist Shawhin Izaddoost’s new release as VVV may, at least superficially, follow the hip-hop derived model of the mix tape as a collection of ideas and unfinished work, but that is not entirely accurate.  Why El Paso Sky feels mostly like a fully polished and realized release.  A combination of rich, complex ambient moments, vintage synth sequences, and strong beats are exceptionally well done on here, with a mix that captures both cerebral production and avant garde sounds with straight ahead physical rhythms and melodies.


Growing, "Disorder"

cover imageAfter a lengthy six-year hiatus, this long-running bi-coastal duo have unexpectedly resurfaced with a new LP of buzzing, bass-heavy drones.  I am not sure if Disorder necessarily counts as a radical departure given Growing's history of constant re-invention, but it is certainly a remarkably far cry from their last full-length (2010's dance-damaged and sampler-centric PUMPS!).   It also bears little resemblance to the more shimmering and gently psychedelic fare for which Growing is best known.  Instead, the dominant aesthetic seems to be that of Kevin Doria’s recent pure drone work as Total Life, though that vision sounds artfully blurred together with Joe DeNardo's own (noisier) Ornament project, adding some welcome layers of depth and harmonic complexity.  While it does not necessarily recapture the magic of the duo's prime, it makes up for it by opening a promising and surprisingly visceral new chapter.


Keiji Haino/Jozef Dumoulin/Teun Verbruggen, "The Miracles Of Only One Thing"

cover imageOn paper, this is quite an improbable and unexpected collaboration: an iconic and mercurial Japanese noise-guitar god teams up with a pair of serious Belgian jazz musicians.  For one, Keiji Haino generally tends to work with artists that are nearly as outré as himself (My Cat is an Alien, Merzbow, Peter Brötzmann, etc.).  Also, playing with an elemental force as unpredictable and unhinged as Haino seems like it would be roughly as harrowing as riding a bucking bronco for anyone new to his orbit.  To their credit, however, both Verbruggen and Demoulin prove to be inspiring foils and manage to ably follow Haino's muse to whichever strange places it wanders.  Needless to say, this is very much Haino's show, veering wildly between free-form chaos, roiling electronic maelstroms, feral howling, and a few passages of sublime accessibility.  Given that, Miracles is a bit of an overwhelming mixed bag as a whole, but one with some genuine flashes of brilliance inside.


Allegory Chapel Ltd., "Without Tears: Noise in Theory & Practice"

cover imageElden M's recent resurgence as Allegory Chapel Ltd. has nary taken a pause since reappearing three years ago following an 18 year silence.  What might be the most surprising fact, however, is that Without Tears:  Noise in Theory & Practice is actually his first full length vinyl release since the project's inception in 1986, amidst a varied array of tapes and CDs.  This fact obviously has not been lost on him though, because this album is a comprehensive and cohesive work that covers the full gamut of the ACL sound, from the past to the present, presenting a singular and unique artist and his diverse, complex output.


Kassel Jaeger & Jim O'Rourke, "Wakes on Cerulean"

cover imageI was not sure quite what to expect with this collaboration, as Jim O'Rourke is quite an adept shape-shifter and Kassel Jaeger (Francoise Bonnet) is a bit of an unknown quantity as well.  Also, many seemingly enticing pairings tend to feel like the polished and edited distillation of a single improv session.   Wakes on Cerulean does not entirely elude that free-form and off-the-cuff territory, but it is a consistently rich and vibrant release nonetheless.  More importantly, it sometimes shares a lot of stylistic common ground with O'Rourke’s classic I'm Happy And I'm Singing album, albeit one frequently embellished by an inventive host of field recordings.  Cerulean probably errs a bit too much into genial burbling and restlessly shifting through motifs to quite attain canonical greatness itself, but it boasts enough striking passages to compensate for the lesser moments.   With a bit more work, Cerulean probably could have surpassed I'm Happy and I'm Singing.


Relay for Death, "Natural Incapacity", "Anxiety of the Eye"

cover imageRelay for Death, the noise(ish) project of twins Rachal and Roxann Spikula, has a brief but exceptionally bizarre history already.  For their debut release Birth of an Older, Much More Ugly Christ, they used only the materials recorded in their hospital room during a three-month medical study, resulting in an empty, depressing, yet gripping work.  Then, after a five-year hiatus, they released both of these late last year.  The two releases are distinctly different from each other, but both uniquely brilliant and fascinating in their discomfort.


Oto Hiax

cover imageAfter first quietly surfacing with a self-released EP back in 2015, this duo of Seefeel's Mark Clifford and Loops Haunt's Scott Gordon make their formal debut with a full-length on Editions Mego.  While hints of both artists' main gigs are evident, this drone-centric and abstract project is very much its own thing.  For the most part, this album is a likeable suite of incidental vignettes built from warm, sustained synth tones, but a handful of pieces transcend that modest aesthetic and delve into admirably novel territory.  If I were being glib, I would describe the highlights as "hauntological drone," but that has misleading dark ambient connotations and does not do Oto Hiax any justice at all.  Instead, I will just say that Clifford and Gordon have found an evocative and subtly haunting way of blurring together dream-like and gently hallucinatory soundscapes with the sharp edges of reality.


Podcast Episode 345: March 5, 2017

Christian SavillChristian Savill of Monster Movie, Slowdive, and Eternal is this week's special guest. Monster Movie's 5th full-length album, Keep the Voices Distant, is due out March 31st and Slowdive's forthcoming album and tour follows shortly thereafter. Other music comes to us from Esplendor Geométrico, Envenomist, Current 93, and My Cat is an Alien.

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Jon Mueller, "dHrAaNwDn"

cover imageIf there has been a running theme throughout Jon Mueller’s career, it would be his exploration of the intersection between sound and spirituality.  He has tackled both largely in abstract interpretations:  he is a multi-instrumentalist, and has delved into themes and imagery from a multitude of religions and spiritual practices throughout his career as an artist.  dHrAaNwDn (Hand Drawn) is perhaps among the most fully realized examples of his passions, however.  A stunning double record set, the audio is culled from six hours of improvised percussion performances recorded live in the Shaker Meeting House of Albany, New York, exemplifying not only Mueller’s adeptness at performing, but his ear for recording and capturing environments as well.


The Eye: Video of the Day

Ted Leo

YouTube Video

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Review of the Day

Burning Star Core, "Challenger"
Since the early '90s, C. Spencer Yeh has followed the typical path of the contemporary noise-maker, releasing dozens of solo and collaborative works through numerous labels on every format imaginable.  Whether it is released under the Burning Star Core moniker or under his proper name, the varying quality and availability of Yeh’s work makes understanding it, let alone assessing it, a difficult task. It shouldn’t be that way. Challenger provides all the proof needed to establish him as versatile and provocative musician.
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