Ladytron, "604"

LADYTRON, "604"
While browsing the website of a local record store, I happened to come across a soundfile clip of Ladytron's song "Discotraxx." This 90 second fragment was so impressive that I didn't hesitate to run out and pick up the Liverpool quartet's debut full-length, '604'. Slick, sexy, and well-produced tracks chock-full of synths and drum machines dominate the album, replete with absurdly contagious hooks. '604' opens with the erotic dissonance of sleazy instrumental "Mu-tron" and subsequently provides club anthems for the ebony-haired, black-clad sombre youths straight out of the Saturday Night Live skit "Sprockets." The vocals lend a dark side to the unadulterated electronic bliss: the icy, detatched lyrics, Ladytron's tongue-in-cheek salute to 80s materialism, are sung by the two female members of the group; one with a sugary-sweet voice which serves as an excellent contrast to the lyrics, and the other with a heavy Bulgarian accent contributing to the album's pervasive mock-Eurotrash aesthetic. '604' runs the gamut from Morodor-esque disco in tracks such as the brilliant "Playgirl" to the stripped-down pop sensibilities of Kraftwerk (Ladytron's "He Took Her To a Movie" bears a suspicious resemblance to "The Model"), yet manages add more unusual elements like bongos and a squeaky violin sporadically on various tracks. Despite all its marvelous melodies and decadent basslines, the one small disappointment of '604' is its anti-climactic finish: the two weakest and least interesting tracks on the album are the ones to close it out. Nevertheless, after it's all said and done, Ladytron does not fail to deliver a quite delicious release that hasn't left my CD player since I bought it.

samples:

7216 Hits

Labradford, "fixed::context"

Similar to the Tortoise and New Year albums, the newest Labradford audio document also heads down the path of re-examining older concepts through current methodology. (And like the New Year, this was also recorded with assistance from Steve Albini in July of 2000 in Chicago.) The trio return to a certain purity of earlier albums with the absence of additional players which colored the last few. 'Fixed::Content' could be the most personal recording a group like Labradford can get while remaining completely instrumental. The album is an exercise in patience, symmetry and impressionistically represents the group as the trio they are.

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7375 Hits

Francisco Lopez, "Untitled #104"

Premiered first at Sonar 2000, this release could very well be an impressionistic aural painting of a thunderstorm which gets closer and closer, unleashes its wrath and then breaks.

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4699 Hits

Lemon Jelly, "Lemon.KY"

LEMON JELLY, "LEMON.KY"
What else would you expect from a group called Lemon Jelly - in a few words: it's mellow, kinda fruity, bright and tasty. The CD on the chopping block is a collection of tunes from three previously released 10" singles from a duo who consists of Fred Deaklin and Nick Franlen (both graphic designers by trade). Fred's got some credit to his name as a unique DJ, as his 'Wheel of Destiny' club nights are set up to decide the musical style every 30 minutes with a spin of the wheel! Nick on the other hand has provided keyboards and drum programming for the Spice Girls and All Saints as well as Primal Scream's recent 'Xtrmntr' and a future slab from overrated Britpop wankers, Pulp. People have tagged Lemon Jelly as bringing renewed interest to "nu-lounge" sound. It's got a fondness of dub and an eye on cheery electronic interplay, not entirely unlike Kruder & Dorfmeister and associated side projects or Arling & Cameron. Yeah, these groups always come in the form of duos! Guitar samples, horn stems, organ-imitating keyboards, and rhythmic percussives are all elemental to each song which could easily provide a backdrop to doing your taxes on a Sunday afternoon.

4611 Hits

Thighpaulsandra, "I, Thighpaulsandra"

The man known as Thighpaulsandra could very well be the definition of a modern musical mad scientist—pure genius with a maniacal manifestation of sound. His debut Eskaton full-length release (don't get all semantic on me, this isn't his first full-length nor first Eskaton release) comes as a double CD of all new material featuring contributions from members of Coil, Spiritualized and Julian Cope's band as well as his mum.

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6851 Hits

Repeat, "Select Dialect"

REPEAT, "SELECT DIALECT"
With a name as innocuous as Repeat and a cover as stunningly ugly as the one for "Select Dialect", it's no wonder that I discovered this recording in the "To Be Listened To Sometime Later, Maybe, If At All, Or Perhaps I'll Just Use These as Beer Coasters" pile of CDs at the home of this e-zine's esteemed editor. The cover looks awful. It looks like it was designed with random scraps of construction paper. It's difficult to tell what the band name is and what the album's title is, because of the awkward placement of words on square, green splotches unevenly distributed across a baby-blue (ugh!) scrap of cardboard. If I didn't happen to be turning over and examining every single CD on said editor's table one evening, this fine recording would have gone entirely unnoticed by either of us.
Repeat is the duo of Swiss percussionist Jason Kahn and Toshimaru Nakamura, who plays an empty mixing board feeding back into itself and wired out to a sampler. He tweaks the high-pitched feedback, and samples it in real-time. You may remember Nakamura from last year's fantastic "Four Focuses" CD, in which he performed duos with Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, and the great Martin Tetreault. Both Nakamura and Kahn have been active in the international improvised music community for at least a decade, and Repeat may be their attempt to expand their audience beyond the already initiated.
What is most unexpected is how close this duo resembles the post-techno sound being set forth by labels such as Raster-Music and Karaoke Kalk. Nakamura's mixing desk shimmers with pleasant tones (yes, actual tones!), as well as the expected high-pitched squiggles. Kahn's metallic scraping and occasional synthesizer repeat simple melodic phrases, and his more traditional percussion even keeps a steady beat. In the album's closing track, Kahn's lightly stuck bowls ring and combine with a flute-like sound (the origin of which I will not attempt to locate), for an effect not dissimilar to polite New Age. From two musicians who have existed for years at the outside of the improvised music community, it is certainly novel to hear these song-like forms emerge. There are edgy moments, but not many, so if this is some listener's way into the potentially alienating world of electro-acoustic improvised music, then that's just fine with me. As it is, it's pleasant enough, and if I didn't know who these folks were, I wouldn't think twice about how oddly normal it was.

samples:

4695 Hits

Shizuo, "More Morphine"

SHIZUO, "MORE MORPHINE"
Former Atari Teenage Riot sound engineer and current DHR artist David Hammer (a.k.a. Shizuo) presents his first release on his own label. All 4 songs have much more color than DHR stuff usually does, (with the exception of Lolita Storm, who I still love). "More Morphine" was written with DJ Scud (Londoner who runs Ambush Records and in collaborotation with NYC's I-Sound, Full Watts). It is filled with vocals and is like a male Lolita Storm. "Nuerology" is like DMZ, The Twinkeyz, or Lou Reed filtered through The Cramps and then some. "16 Licks" goes extreme at the end of each bar. It starts with the guitar lick from "Keep Me Hanging On". It goes on to sample vocals from Crass and David Bowie. "Dealing Drugs" has spoken samples that provide the feel for the song. It is sparse in spots and has the noise wash in others. It ends with a looped vocal that has to be manually lifted from the turntable (locked groove). This single is actually pretty good if you like life hard.

5255 Hits

"Paris Vu Par"

"PARIS VU PAR"
A compilation from Cherry Orchard's record label in France. Like Bambini's 'Mystery Date Game' and 'Voyage Romanesque' and Invicta Hi-Fi's 'Special Skool' comps this record attempts to create the cool atmosphere that Siesta and El Records have done on their international pop compilations, with just a dash of the electronic pop that J-pop specializes in so well. Every band wrote a song about Paris just for this compilation. For me the 2 standout tracks are the Baxendale cut "The New Parisienne Pop And Soul" and The Cherry Orchard's "We Could Fall In Love". These 2 tracks are classics of each of the bands that are exclusive to this disc. Baxendale remain one of my very fave bands of 2000. Le Hammond Inferno sound very J-pop on the instrumental "Stylostumpt". The track sounds very familiar though I can't place from where. It is very energetic and catchy. Merrick's (from Munich) do a pretty good song "Fur Paris gilt das Nicht" that is nice even though it's not one of my faves. It almost sounds like a mellower Francoise Cactus (of Stereo Total) singing. She even says "Crazy Horse" (the title of a Stereo Total song from 'Juke-Box Alarm') in the lyric of the track.

4308 Hits

The Walker Brothers, "The Singles +"

From a small label in Holland comes this amazingly priced double CD set, a singles compilation from Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds, who are most commonly known as Scott, John and Gary Walker. The collection grabs 45 A-sides and popular hits from the trio both together and in solo form, stretching from 1965 through 1981.

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5013 Hits

Muslimgauze, "Fedayeen"

Bryn Jones passed away 2 years ago last week and his music lives on.Originally released free of charge as mp3s, "Fedayeen" returns as aproper limited edition on compact disc via Russian label TantraHarmonies. It comes in 2 flavors, collectable and uber-collectable: 850in color gatefold sleeve and 150, numbered, in lion logo green slipsleeve. Being around $20 and $25, respectively, and the fact that themp3s are tucked away on many a hard drive and cd-r, this disc isessentially for the must have everything folks. Jones was at anunprecedented level of prolificness in 1998-9 with 35 or so releases.The 8 tracks here (most in the 10 to 12 minute range, 61 total) sharethe same repetitious characteristics: hand percussion and crunchyelectronic loops, sample cut and paste (dialogue, bird calls, water),strings, etc. in a variety of styles: 'traditional', drum 'n bass,techno and overdriven glitch-hop. The length of these tracks makes themboth hypnotic and tedious at times but, nonetheless, qualityMuslimgauze. Of special note are "Mustafas Cassette Market Marrakesh",a blurred d 'n b blend, "Abu Salim, Tripoli", a slower techno journey,"Bharboo Of Pakistan Railways", an electro-bleep loop and "Old ArabRecord Not On Compact Disc" which regurgitates bits from old slabs ofscratchy arabic vinyl. And yes, this does sound better in cd ratherthan mp3 quality. "Melt", the sister mp3 release from 1998, will alsobe re-released as a 12" EP via BSI Records next month .

5454 Hits

Ammo, "The Age of Terminal Irony"

This Belgian duo consists of John Sellekaers and C-Drik, whose production and performance has appeared on releases from Torsion, Ambre and Snog. The debut release has taken three forms, but the one in my hands is the German CD edition. It starts off being a rather powerful foray into aggressive modern dark drum and bass.

 

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4889 Hits

2000 Readers Poll - The Results

They say history never repeats but almost unsurprisingly much of the 2000 Brainwashed Readers Poll looks closely identical to the first time we took the poll, 10 years ago. Thanks to everyone who participated in both rounds this year. Now it's time to go to your collections and dig out the music from 1999 for the nomination round (coming shortly)!

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3754 Hits

2000 Readers Poll - The Results

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Album of the Year

   1. godspeed you black emperor!, "Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven"
   2. Coil, "Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 2"
   3. Radiohead, "Kid A"
   4. Sigur Rós, "Ágætis Byrjun" [despite the release being in 1999, the international distribution through Fat-Cat will qualify this release for 2000]
   5. Yo La Tengo, "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out"
   6. Current 93, "Sleep Has His House"
   7. two way tie:
      Broadcast, "The Noise Made By People"
      Legendary Pink Dots, "A Perfect Mystery"
   8. Antony & the Johnsons, "Antony & the Johnsons"
   9. two way tie:
      Amon Tobin, "Supermodified"
      Trans Am, "Red Line
  10. two way tie:
      Kid 606, "Down with the Scene"
      Primal Scam, "Xtrmntr"


BAND
OF THE
YEAR
    

   1. godspeed you black emperor!
   2. Coil
   3. Radiohead
   4. Sigur Rós
   5. Legendary Pink Dots
   6. Current 93
   7. Kid 606
   8. Low
   9. Yo La Tengo
  10. Antony & the Johnsons


SONG
OF THE
YEAR
    

   1. Coil, "Batwings (A Limnal Hymn)"
   2. Boards of Canada, "In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country"
   3. Radiohead, "Idioteque"
   4. Antony & the Johnsons, "Cripple and the Starfish"
   5. Current 93, "I Have a Special Plan for This World"


MUSIC
VIDEO
OF THE
YEAR
    

   1. Outkast, "B.O.B."
   2. MDMFK, "Missing Time"
   3. Add N to (X), "Plug Me In"
   4. Eminem, "Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up"
   5. Radiohead - all those little short video clips


NEW
BAND
OF THE
YEAR
    

   1. Antony & the Johnsons
   2. Goldfrapp
   3. A Silver Mt. Zion
   4. The Damage Manual
   5. Cex

      [note: Sigur Rós actually got the most votes but since their first album was released in 1988, they were disqualified. Their current album is their third album.]


CONCERT
EVENT
    

   1. Legendary Pink Dots/Dead Voices on Air
   2. godspeed you black emperor!
   3. Nine Inch Nails
   4. Coil at the Royal Festival Hall (2nd time)
   5. Wire


BEST
LABEL
    

   1. Kranky
   2. three-way tie:
      Constellation
      Thrill Jockey
      Warp
   3. World Serpent
   4. Soleilmoon
   5. two-way tie:
      Mille-Plateaux
      Ant-Zen


BEST
PRODUCER
    

   1. John McEntire & Jim O'Rourke
   2. Steve Albini
   3. Steven Stapleton
   4. Christoph Heemann
   5. Frank Verschuuren


WORST
BAND
    

   1. Limp Bizkit
   2. Creed
   3. Moby
   4. Radiohead
   5. U2


WORST
ALBUM
YOU
BOUGHT
    

   1. Radiohead, "Kid A"
   2. Download, "Effector"
   3. Coil, "Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil"
   4. Chicks on Speed, "Will Save Us All"
   5. Badly Drawn Boy, "The Hour of Bewilderbeast"


BEST
COMP
    

   1. Wild Planet
   2. OHM - The Early Gurus of Electronic Music
   3. Attitude
   4. Xen Cuts
   5. Chicago 2018


BEST
MOVIE
    

   1. Requiem for a Dream
   2. Dancer in the Dark
   3. Gladiator [??? don't our readers have any taste?]
   4. High Fidelity
   5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


BEST
TV SHOW
    

   1. The Simpsons
   2. South Park
   3. Futurama
   4. The Daily Show
   5. The Sopranos


BEST
BOOK
    

   1. Neal Stephenson, "Cryptonomicon"
   2. "Apocalypse Culture 2"
   3. Dave Eggers, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius"
   4. Naomi Klein, "No Logo"
   5. Bill Drummond, "45"


BEST
ACTOR
    

   1. Russel Crowe
   2. John Cusak
   3. Philip Seymour Hoffman
   4. Ed Norton
   5. Kevin Spacey


BEST
ACTRESS
    

   1. Bjück
   2. Ellen Burntsyn
   3. Christina Ricci
   4. Kate Hudson
   5. Angelina Jolie


BIGGEST
DISAP-
POINTMENT
    

   1. US Presidential Election
   2. Y2K and no armageddon
   3. lame year for films
   4. miserable lives of the readers who think their lives suck
   5. Dancer in the Dark


EVENT
    

   1. Endless US Presidential Election
   2. New Year's Day 2000
   3. Coil live


WEBSITE
    

   1. brainwashed
      yuck!
   2. theonion.com
   3. nosepilot.com
   4. amihotornot.com
   5. heavy.com


HERO
    

   1. Ralph Nader
   2. assholes who voted for themselves
   3. George W. Bush
   4. Jon Whitney
   5. Dan Rather


VILLAIN
    

   1. George W. Bush
   2. assholes who voted themselves
   3. RIAA
   4. Al Gore
   5. Jon Whitney


MOST
ANNOYING
TREND
    

   1. Scooters
   2. Rap Rock
   3. "Whassssup" greeting (shouting or text messaging)
   4. cell phones
   5. Who let the dogs out

3459 Hits

HEFTY'S "IMMEDIATE ACTION SERIES"

Barrelling forward with releases, John Hughes' Hefty Records has boldly issued a series of stellar limited edition 12" singles.

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4622 Hits

"PUTTING THE MORR BACK IN MORRISSEY"

From Morr Music inGermany comes a wonderful offering of many of their fine artists. Don'tlet the title fool you, there's nothing to do with the former Smithslead singer on here. In the last few years, the electronic instrumentalrock hybrid scene in Germany has grown exponentially from what once wasonly a handful of acts who used to share loads of members. Collectedhere are some of the more prominent groups like The Notwist, Arovane,Lali Puna, Flowchart and the Tied & Tickled Trio. Disc one featuresfourteen new and exclusive cuts while disc two features fourteenincestuous remixes of many of the first disc's artists trading mixeswith others. Solvent remixes Kevin & Paul, Schneider TM remixesMicha Archer & Ms John Soda, while Kandis and the Tied &Tickled Trio remix each other. This provides a great introduction toMorr, which appears to be sort of taking off where Kitty-Yo decided toleave off when they pursued trashy cash cow kitch like Peaches andGonzales. Kudos to Morr for keeping the artwork alive.
5248 Hits

"WIR"

In an almostanti-post-kraut movement, Ladomat (who gave us the compilation 'L'ageD'or' earlier this year) has unleashed a two-disc compilation of theirown, showcasing their artists like Sand 11, Egoexpress and CommercialBreakup. Flying in the face of the instrumental movements (like theMorr comp exposed), these groups are clearly pop-minded. The groupssing (frequently in English) and bring a jovial bounce and step totheir brand of futurism without going completely off the deep end intosomething that would wear thin after the novelty is gone. Germans canrock as they proved earlier this year, now they're telling the worldthat Germans can smile and make fun artistic music without beingstereotypically overly serious stiffs or churning out disposablecartoon techno.
4876 Hits

RED SNAPPER, "OUR AIM IS TO SATISFY"

The disc starts off verypromising. The rhythms are sexy and the music is rich in texture.Driving beats set the disc in motion from the start, but all of the funsoon begins to fade. What spoils the disc for me is when a guestvocalist either raps or sings. The rap is never interesting enough tohold my attention and the lyrics are rather embarassing to listen to.It's almost as if Red Snapper use vocals as a crutch for songs theyfeel need a better lead instrument, but when they keep them out, theintensity of the music grows to epic proportions. Going forward on thedisc, Red Snapper do however make some choices to keep other tracksinstrumental. A very nice option for tracks like the album closer,"They're Hanging Me Tonight," a wonderful play of overprocessed drums,guitars crying backwards and drone-like string samples.
5517 Hits

HRVATSKI, "RÄUME"

From Tonschacht inCologne, Germany comes this heavy slate, cleverly disguised as a 7"single. I honestly don't think I own a 7" record pressed this thick.Anyhow the three tracks which compose this single bring together bothHrvatski's technical expertise of precision electro-meddling and afondness for outside sources laying down constant voices to be carriedthrough with each composition. Keith Fullerton-Whitman makes songs andsomething like this is a tease to his fans out there waiting foranother full-lengther from the boy. Look for a remix project due outsometime in January. The single's limited to 500 numbered copies buthas seemingly had an easy time making the distribution outside ofGermany.
5954 Hits

JESSICA BAILIFF/THE.DITHERING.EFFECT 10"

With every new song thatcomes from this team of people named Jess out in Ohio, my interestgrows. Jessica Bailiff and Jesse Edwards have been collaborating ontracks following last year's full-length from Bailiff on Kranky, 'Hourof the Trace.' The result has been quite expansive for only a handfulof tunes - Bailiff has almost come out of hiding behind the guitardistortion for singles and compilation appearances, but on this single,more electronic space is being explored. Both sides of this limited 10"single average around ten minutes, each being two songs which flow intoeach other without distinct traditional breaks. Looking at the titles,the impression I get is that this release might actually be tributal innature, "Maybe Tomorrow" on the first side is a spacious interplay ofechoed voice, guitar wash and drum machine, "Amethyst Depression" isn'ta Coil tribute but is instrumental, beat-less, pretty and sweet. Sidetwo opens with a looping guitar riff which could have easily beenlifted off of the first godspeed record. "Rene?" is the first time Ithink I've heard Jesse sing himself and the song is rounded out with adrum machine sounding loop which eerily doesn't sound like it's loopingcorrectly. Rounding out the end of the side is "Your Sounds MakePatterns in My Eyes (for SOTL)," which is undoubtedly a nod to Stars ofthe Lid. Unfortunately it's all too short and the gorgeous soundscapeof that gem lasts around two minutes. If we saw the two expand on this,make it a full 20 minutes long and include it on the next JessicaBailiff full-lengther, that release is bound to become a classic.
4587 Hits

MARUMARI, "THE WOLVES' HOLLOW"

According to a coupleparagraphs' worth fcof nonsense in the liner notes, "The Wolves'Hollow" is some kind of concept album involving wolves from outerspace. I honestly couldn't see the connection with the wolves, exceptfor samples of wolves howling, snarling, or squealing every now andthen.
It's a strange listen. All the beats are mutated beyond descriptioninto clicks, snicks, slurps, and a very familiar boing that I suspectwas plucked from the old Nintendo game Metroid (another featuredelement in the liner notes). Beautiful melodies weave in out of nowhereand leave just as suddenly -- just as Marumari gets a groove going, itfades out, comes back, reverses itself, speeds up, disappears entirelyinto the layers of background noise. Towards the end of the album therough-and-tumble, loping beats fade into hums and drones, strangemumbles and burbles. I don't mean for it to sound like I'm describingMouse on Mars, though the same feeling is there at times; there aremore straight-ahead rock-on moments and less goofy-fun analogtwiddling, on the whole.
Sometimes electronic music is so unintelligible or inhuman that evenspeculating about its motivation is pointless. Despite this album'stendency to wander in strange directions and sometimes get flat-outweird, I never lost the feeling that someone was behind it all, happily(if inexpertly) pushing buttons and twirling knobs. Confusing, maybe,but Marumari brings a brand of playfulness to his music I've yet tocome across anywhere else. He's not cheeky or smart-assed like ?-Ziq orAphex Twin, or gleefully juvenile and iconoclastic like Kid606 or V/VM.Instead, it's the wide-eyed, naive, incomprehensible joy of (I suppose)alien cyborg puppies.
4659 Hits