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Nobukazu Takemura, "Sign"

Making its way to the shops this week is the CD issue of the nowlegendary 12" single originally released (and reviewed) back inDecember of 2000. "Sign" has got to be one of my favorite 12" singlereleases in the last few years, with a B-side that clocks in over 36minutes.
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3854 Hits

Legendary Pink Dots, "Chemical Playschool 11, 12 & 13"

This is definitely one of the most ambitious releases in months and isquite possibly the most ambitious LPD release to date. This three CDset is composed of nearly all unreleased music, with the exception oftwo tracks from the LP edition of 'Nemesis Online' ("10th Shade," and"Schatten").
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3875 Hits

"Bip-Hop Generation V.3 & V.4"

Possibly the most consistently good series of electronic musiccompilations over the last two years has been the Bip Hop series out ofFrance. Each disc features musical contributions from six electronicartists from all over the world. The accompanying booklet gives a briefbio, selected discography and website/contact information. Thistechnique is arguably far more effective in introducing new acts thanreleasing something to the effect of a triple CD set with one song fromeach contributor and fuckall for background information.
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4397 Hits

louie austen, "only tonight"

I don't want to sound sexist, but there is something sort of endearingabout a short, horny Canadian chick with an afro and hairy armpits inskin-tight clothing prancing around and singing about her sexuality.
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3920 Hits

odishon (audition)

After over two years of making the film circuits in Asia and Europe, Takashi Miike's horror/thriller finally touches down in North America. In a small review I saw somebody say "David Cronenberg eat your heart out." I can understand why. The film is very very slow on the uptake, a widower, Shigeharu Aoyama, has been suggested by his grown son that it's time to find a new woman or wife. Aoyama, who has strong ties to the Japanese film industry, is given the idea to hold auditions for this new unfound woman. After picking out a much younger woman, Asami, the plan seems to go ahead smoothly, but as events unfold, things just get completely fucked. They meet a few times, they have dinner, they go away for a romantic weekend in the mountains. Suddenly, she vanishes without a trace, and Aoyama is left to put together the pieces. Little does he know what terror awaits him. Those familiar with Miike's other works might expect gorey horror, but the cultural elite at the Brattle Theater on Friday night weren't prepared for it. It was amusing to watch swarms of them quickly leaving as the brutality levels were cranked way up. In a demented way, it was cute (while completely frightening) as the petit, cute, sweet Japanese girl was transformed into a domineering sadist. While the last 1/4 of the film was definitely more exciting, I'm wondering if the build-up was really worth it. If you choose to see this, I highly recommend staying until the end no matter how freaked out you get. Just don't see it on a full stomach.

 

8195 Hits

mulholland drive

The mark of an exceptionally visual film director is that every frame could stand alone as a great photograph, poster or post card. With the exception of 'Lost Highway', David Lynch has seemingly held on to this skill. In the style of his most popular films, he sets up this story as a mystery, wrapped inside an enigma. Set in the Hollywood Hills, a woman is the only survivor of a car accident but is left wandering with amnesia. By chance she happens upon a vacant apartment (as the renter is vacating) and hides out until she's discovered by a wholesome passenger who gets sucked into the rollercoaster ride. Lynch has an undeniable mastery of all elements as the score, sound effects, characters and camera shots all play into a twisted story of the hyperphysical underground of a shallow business: filmmaking! Popular Lynch elements also come into play: the use of coffee, unexplained objects, the name Diane, red stage curtains, death and light, invented (as opposed to strategically placed for advertisement purposes) products, off-camera people answering on-camera phones knowing who the other caller is when they pick up, and of course Roy Orbison. (Rebekah Del Rio's a'capella Spanish rendition of "Crying" has got to be one of the most captivating moments of the film.) Betty and Rita are the innocents playing detective, selflessly trying to help each other out and uncover the mystery, yet Diane and Camilla are the alter-egos, guilty as sin and driven by selfish desires. As complex as the plot seems, this film is basically about deceit, but on many levels however. Not only are the characters deceiving each other, they are deceiving themselves while David Lynch is completely deceiving the audience into believing which part of this film is reality and which part is fantasy. At the end it's up to you to decide which is which.

 

7409 Hits

mulholland drive

Imagine being lost in some 1950's sitcom, except when the lights and cameras go off and the phony smiles disappear there is a dark lifeless world of crime and murder. The lead character Betty seems almost perfect with her conservative appearance and charming personality, but by night she seems like a different person, often naughty and dangerous. In Lynch's Hollywood, the night is extra dark and the day seems excessively bright. The sounds of the night are often dark and disturbing while the sounds of the day are perky and happy. The other lead, Rita, is introduced on a darkened stretch of Mulholland Drive where a murder is about to take place, her own. A horrific accident causes her to escape but with no recollection of who she is. The mystery begins when Betty and Rita meet up and try to figure out who Rita is. As they come closer and closer to the Rita's identity, they fall in love. Their love seems so perfect, yet it doesn't seem real. Like that 50's sitcom it seems to be all a dream. When will this dream end? It doesn't. Mulholland Drive remains a dream, remains a mystery. As we come closer to discovering the truth, Lynch switches characters around and Rita becomes Camilla Rhodes, an actress in love with a director and Betty becomes Diane Selwyn another actress in love with Camilla. Just when you think you've figured everything out the plot thickens. The dream goes on forever. At this point, however, you simply have to sit back and enjoy the dream. Don't try to figure it out or it will end up haunting you and leave you wandering down Mulholland Drive forever.
7191 Hits

Melt Banana

Last week I was lucky enough to hear one of the most energetic, unique and exciting rock bands on the planet perform what can be inadequately described as experimental hardcore punk at the three best gigs I've been to this year. Melt Banana of Tokyo are on tour in Europe and making an exhilarating manic noise everywhere they go. Their surgically masked guitarist Agata, sends all kinds of unlikely sounds roaring from his six strings via his big rack of effects pedals; breaking glass, machine gun fire and emergency sirens all augment his frantic slide antics. Singer Yako sounds utterly unlike any other singer, yelping like a small puppy or letting loose a helium barrage of unintelligible invectice as she does a surf dance through the thick waves of Banana mosh fodder. Tiny bassist Rika and American drummer Dave, formerly of Discordance Axis and now of internet noisemongers Atomsmasher, keep up the breathtakingly fast rhythm. The band have been playing and touring long enough to perfect their art attack and show everyone else how rock music can still blast ecstatically into the future. They played mostly songs from their recent and best albums 'Charlie' and 'Teeny Shiny', and as usual did one of their legendary cover songs, this time a traditional Italian tune 'Tintarella di Luna'. The Liverpool gig was especially sweaty and chaotic, with Agata grabbing a table a few songs in to keep people from falling on his pedals. In Leeds and Liverpool, support bands John Holmes, Narcosis and Voorhees were of the angry hardcore variety. Dave likened John Holmes to Prong although they seemed slower. Manchester supports were experimental noisemongers Magic City and Triclops and the comedy laptop processed shouting swearing racket of Speedranch^Jansky Noise. Speedranch was gutted not to be able to hire a bouncy Castle for the occasion, so made do with jumping off the PA into the crowd where someone emptied a beer can over his head. If you're in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Italy over the next two months or so, you might be able to catch Melt Banana before they go back to Japan. Check out the tour dates at www.splatterpromotion.com.
7262 Hits

a letter from the editor

The "entertainment industry" often becomes the target for politicians trying to win brownie points for a voting segment or parents who need a scape goat other than themselves. The lifestyles of those who chose to be in this field are often frowned upon — the pay is shit and it's an expensive trade to be in. "Why don't you want to be a doctor or lawyer like your cousin?" There's even that pathetic amount of ridicule that goes on when people tend to disagree on something as personal as preference. Over the last week, amongst many things on my mind is how important entertainment really is.

When I woke on September 11th, one of the World Trade Towers was on fire — nobody could confirm whether it was a bomb or fire. Minutes later, I, along with millions of others witnessed live an airplane crashing into the second tower, shortly thereafter a plane crashed into the Pentagon. What the fuck is going on in our world? What is next? Is this armageddon? It was the most terrifying day I have ever lived through. It didn't help that in these very tense hours, our selected leader was nowhere to be found, flying all over the country, in what seemed like a surreal chess game where the king is the most protected yet comparitively helpless piece.

Panic was taking over where shock was giving way. I tried to phone friends in NY and one in Washington who works for the government but all lines were overloaded, jammed. Soon, the towers crumbled, and the feeling of panic and everything just sunk into an indescribable feeling of void, sadness and emptiness. The pictures had clearly shown loads of rescue workers and volunteers scrambling to save thousands of people, many of them didn't have enough chance to make it out to safety. Towards the end of the day, contacts were made, all friends and family I knew who were in these places were safe. Contacts were made later with close friends and family just to say hi and how much we care for and love each other.
Over the next few days, the news reports were filled with much sadness and despair. The loss is catastrophic and the amount of love and support shown across the world was comforting in a time of great pain. (Heck, I even cried when the Brits played our national anthem.) However, tensions were high everywhere. From my own personal experience, many people on music-related electronic forums I either read or subscribe to engaged in heated arguments, finger pointing and name calling. If anything, these experiences have reinforced my feelings in the necessity for people to listen and try their hardest to exercise a bit of understanding. This goes for -ALL- sides: I'm hurt, sad and angry when I hear about people spouting their mouths off about killing people of various nations as well as when I hear people automatically assume my government is about to take part in the murder of innocent civilians. I have spoken my mind, but have been accused of being a bully, a stupid yank, intolerable, and siding with the opposing side of whoever I'm disagreeing with. All because I probably have not properly communicated that I wish people would try to be more understanding, considerate and less bigoted. Maybe Greater Than One were really profound when they wrote back in 1988, "Ignorance is the Agent of Fear"; "Fear is the Agent of Violence."

There comes a time where you feel that you can't take it any more. The TV shows you images nearly everybody has seen over and over and over again, the arguments get so fierce and personal that you begin to lose ability to focus properly on work, life, personal interactions, etc,... Now, more than ever, I'm finding how important music is in my life. To have the luxury of turning everything off for a bit of introspection, whether it be for the new Lali Puna, a comforting old Cocteau Twins, Beatles, Pixies, Nurse With Wound or Bjorn Again, is truly magical. Some may consider it escape, some may consider it solace, some may consider it spiritual or inspirational, but it is yours for consideration.

With that, I'm proud to have such a minimal part of "this industry" and an important role in a team who is helpful and sharing, caring and listening. We need this. We need to continue on. We need music and we need to continue sharing and listening.
12149 Hits

ADD N TO (X)

I might dog them on their recorded releases, but boy can these guys put on a great show. It's seemingly a simple formula - three folks with analogue synths and an occasional bass plus a live drummer. The feel however is far more punk rock than they have ever expressed on any record. Sure they play all the hits and new songs, but they also end the night with a cover of the Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog." It's furious, sexual and powerful, and don't miss them if they're in your town.
5771 Hits

Jim Ellis, dead at 45

He might not be a household name but the world is sadly one honorable person less this week. Ellis (along with fellow Duke University graduate Tom Truscott) invented the concept of Usenet back in 1979. A year later, the program was written and two computers in remote locations were allowed to share information between each other. By 1993, there were over a thousand Usenet newsgroups, and at the close of the century, nearly 40,000. Their efforts helped create the spread of information which became the foundation of what the web has done graphically, all without ever making a penny. I may have never known the guy, but without him, you wouldn't be reading brainwashed right now - I probably wouldn't have known Chris Miller, Greg Clow or Alan Ezust. On top of that, I probably wouldn't have held on to my beliefs and experiences from the early days that the exchange of this information should be free of charge, advertisements and corporate sponsorship. Thanks Jim, wherever you are, you were a visionary, a pioneer and man of principles.
13147 Hits

justice has not been served

No matter what I say about Timothy McVeigh, I'm going to get hell, but I feel that I want to share my personal opinion, as a US citizen, as somebody who opposed the actions of my government.

First off I want to say how sick I am of being flooded with overused terminology and the majority of reasons for both justification or disapproval. People on one side use the term "closure" - which makes no sense to me as friends and family members have been removed permanently from the earth prematurely. On the other side, the argument "two wrongs don't make a right" is often spoken, but that's a pretty empty statement when just tossed around like the tired old proverb it is.

The death penalty is wrong: as we owe an intangible knowledge our families, our children and future generations, to closely examine people who have been produced by our own society. We need to be responsible for our own products, our own actions, our own people, and find out what needs to change in order to raise our children to benefit the world they are a part of. It's a shame sociologists, psychologists, biologists and other scientists will not have McVeigh as a specimen to poke, prod, pick at for years, use for research and learn from. The man was willing to die from the beginning, knowing full well what he was in for. He met the fate he chose six years ago this past Monday. He chose his destiny and they gave him what he wanted. He was not punished, we all were.

12256 Hits

Sonna/Chris Brokaw/Explosions in the Sky/27/Tigersaw

It was a good 45 minut drive to Gloucester on Thursday evening but it was well worth the trip. A relatively out-of the way place called The Fishtown Artspace had a night of some very stylish rock music. Unfortunately I showed up too late to catch Tigersaw, but I do like the members and their CD is pretty sweet. 27 was playing when I walked in, also a local Boston-based group, rocking out with a strange blend of Louisville-influenced rock combined with pre-programmed electronics to accent the mix. Chris Brokaw of Come, Pullman and the New Year got up to do a short set of guitar and voice, but what knocked me off my socks was the performance from Austin-based Explosions in the Sky.

The group of four begun quiet with shimmering three-guitar melodies which cut through the night. This is one of those bands any musician just sits back and watches with their lower jaw on the floor wondering "why can't I come up with melodies like this?" The group continued and with a style not entirely unlike Mogwai or Godspeed, the levels and energy built, higher and higher and higher. Taking steps back between songs, the motion of the night never ceased, with a blaring ending as their drummer loses his sticks, uses his fists and collapses over the entire set.

Baltimore-based Sonna headlined the night and in a similar fashion was a instrumental act with four amazingly skilled musicians who observedly have an uncanny ability to pay perfect attention to everybody else. The writing style of Sonna could very well be much more skilled and original than Explosions but the energy and drive of the Austin boys more than made up for any of those differences. Fans of godspeed, Mogwai or Tarentel shouldn't avoid this show - tour dates are posted at www.temporaryresidence.com.
6038 Hits

tortoise

It makes me want to run screaming in primitive joy, detonating nuclear bombs, tearing down the city of Manchester and makes the perfect soundtrack to watching the sun go down as I walk the fifty minute trek through park, wastelands and dingy back streets, across the concrete divide to Planet K. It's a tape of early Killing Joke demos and live things and the wired conviction of that tribal drumming, barbarically electrifying distorted synth and lyrical visions of armageddon are still very potent, and show up much of the 'rock music' that has come along since as the vapid piffle it is.
Amazingly in Planet K things were even more perfectly apocalyptic. The stage is bare, as if swept clean of life, but there's a massive headcleaning electric crackle resonating across the space as blue white rectangles flicker where performers are missing. The hum seems a logical stripping of Killing Joke to its essential wired core - Coleman's overloading synth. Occasional deep bass pulses shake the foundations at too slow a pace to register timing. Kevin Drumm is perched behind a laptop at the sound desk and is responsible for this overpowering purging noise.
This being Manchester, home of Buzzcocks, it could've been time to crack a bad Boredom pun about the Drumm hum but Mike Ladd wasn't allowing us any downtime. The band ambled on and launched as the Drumm fizzled out.
Was this the new dawn after the nuclear storm?
After Drumm's precise tones the sound was relatively muddy for the full on four piece with drums, raps, guitar/computer and turntables. Mike Ladd has a T-shirt emblazoned with the legend Afro Punk and gives us some spiel about his inspirations Bad Brains, Black Flag and Fishbone. Why do Americans in Europe eat at Pizza Hut? There are bigger questions but this between song joke exemplified the imperialist cloak of the 'free' market before Ladd scratched and funked his mark as an infesticon (opposed to majesticon).
It was a shame that Drumm didn't get another set before Tortoise did their thing. They did a professional set with much instrument swapping and it didn't really take off until the second half. I think they launched into what seemed like a freeform jam in the middle of TNT (or was it another track its hard to tell with all this lack of words) and Herndon was really giving it some at the drums. It was neat the way they almost seemed to lose control there...
The last trio of songs nailed it. A silence still at their instruments then BLAM! Senceca unleashed that dual guitar duel and the fire and fury was in their eyes and hearts. If only they could make a whole album like that first two minutes of free falling two turning pluck'n'strum'n'drum! Then the much requested Djed was an eye opener that faded like the setting sun as McEntire and Herndon decelerated their vibraphone runs.
Where Drumm had sparked off a cleansing fire and Ladd had the diatribes and plans and notions to free nations, Tortoise were embracing visions of post-apocalyptic utopianism - a new dawn after the flood that will wash away the masters and leave the servants what is left of the world. Ladd was back with a vision to take into the night as the final bars of the Tortoise European leg faded into the smoke.
The meek shall inherit the mirth.
Don't burn the flag, lets burn the Bush.
6226 Hits

Gary Numan

Sadly enough, many people have arrived at brainwashed or are now Warp Records fans because Coil, Meat Beat Manifesto and Aphex Twin have crept into their collection through NIN remixes. What most average NIN listener doesn't realize yet is that Reznor's entire act is derivative from Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242, Kiss, 'With Sympathy'-era Ministry and above all, Gary Numan. Watching this man step on stage to a large club packed with about 600 die hard fans is a rather messianic experience. The man has a career half way through its third decade, a fresh and energetic young band and he looks incredible for his age. Numan has always toyed with the part man/part machine persona, so it comes as no surprise his backing group is a talented array of cyber rivetheads, and while his music over the years has straddled genres, it has never lost its anthemic fervor. The crowd went nuts for every song, singing along with every word, reminding me once again that I need to hear more of his post-1984 material. Of course, when suggested, most people will turn away, lumping Numan into a category with one-hit wonders and nostalgic retrospective collections including Culture Club and Kajagoogoo. So he might play "Cars" live, so what? Listen to me: it's good for you (things really only started making sense to me after seeing his live incarnate, I'll never miss a show of his now). There's nothing cheesy, aging or dated about the killer show and those who doubt are only displaying their ignorance. Live dates are posted at www.numan.co.uk.

 

5375 Hits

MOGWAI

By now the group has returned to their quiet Scottish countryside homes, no doubt suffering some hearing loss after this most recent US tour. Tuesday night's stop was their second to last on this brief tour, the band played at the classical-style balcony-equipped Somerville Theatre in Boston to a nearly sold-out crowd. The performance began as most of their music does: calm, quiet, melodic and pretty. Selections included music off their recent EP and LP and their forthcoming "Rock: Action" album, due for imminent release. But be warned, since their last visit the group has gained weight, lost hair and collected distortion pedals along the way. Yes, they're fucking angry this time with a wall of sound lounder than anything I've heard in years. Exercising their volume muscles half way through the show every song began to end on a very loud note, with humming feedback dragging on while the members stood in front of amplifiers just to get -that- much more umph. But wait, just when you thought it was loud enough, the keyboardist emerges towards the front of the stage, guitar in hand, he clicks it on slams a floor pedal and BOOM! The noise suddenly becomes even more multi-dimensional. Much like many of these songs, the show itself ended with a long barrage of distortion stretching at least twenty minutes. Now, while many fans in attendance there were entirely blown away by the experience, I found it rather excessive. People were leaving the show with only one thing on their mind "that was loud!" Indeed it was, but it sort of masked the musical portion of the show. Nobody at this point could remember the keyboardist's flute-playing bits or delicate piano playing, unfamiliar melodies of a forthcoming album or a beautiful cellist that sat on stage right adding a charming color nearly half the night. It was indeed Rock Action - a bunch of teenagers nodding and agreeing with their buddies about how much that show "kicked ass." Are Mogwai to become the Motley Crue of this decade?
5874 Hits

ESG, "South Bronx Story"

ESG, "SOUTH BRONX STORY"
Between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the 'No Wave' movement surfaced, combining art-funk, punk and dance music into a mix which was not a commercial breakthrough, but was revered by many in the music community to be of great influence. One of the acts, ESG was comprised of four sisters from South Bronx, NY, and through many shows including gigs with The Clash, Public Image and Grandmaster Flash the group gained some attention across the water. Soon the group had a single produced by Martin Hannett, released on Factory Records, a gig at the opening night for legendary Manchester club, The Hacienda and more gigs with groups like A Certain Ratio and Gang of Four. Songs like "Moody" went on to become popular favorites in various night clubs while the b-side, a very 'Unknown Pleasures' Joy Division-sounding "UFO" went on to be sampled by rap acts including Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J and Doug E. Fresh. After a few singles and years of playing out a full-length album was released in 1983, but the interest waned, hip-hop was in and nobody was paying for the samples. The group still plays around occasionally and even released a track in 1993, "Sample Credits Don't Pay Our Bills." This collection, from a division of Soul Jazz Records (UK) reintroduces to the public songs from their album and singles along with some other early tracks. Listening to the music, their influence on early Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson and early Salt -N- Pepa can clearly be heard. While it's arguably primitive in parts, the soul and energy is present throughout the entire disc, songs like "Erase You" are feverishly catchy while the Spaced-Out album version of "Moody" are hypnotizing.

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3505 Hits

2nd Gen, "Irony Is"

The irony is that Panacea has already done releases as Disorder 2nd Gen!

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4025 Hits

Labradford / Pan•American / Hrvatski / Marumari

Metro Boston residents were fortunate to be treated to two area performances including the first from Pan American and the latest incarnation of Hrvatski. On Thursday night at Brandeis University's Rose Gallery Museum, Keith Fullerton Whitman (known to the world as Hrvatski) began the three-act show, sitting behind his laptop, guitar in hand, creating a film score-like experience.
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5260 Hits

Tortoise, "Standards"

TORTOISE, "STANDARDS"
Nearly everybody reading this weekly electronic magazine has heard Tortoise by now and has already made up their mind one way or another on Tortoise's music. It's almost pointless to review the disc here as fans will most likely buy it and non-fans will most likely pass. If there was one rule to always believe in when it came to Tortoise's music is that the rules change every time. This time around the group pulled almost a complete 180° from 1998's TNT. While TNT took several months to record and loads of post-production perfectioning time, Standards was perfected live on the road (while the band opened for The Eternals as 'Woodcult') and recorded within a couple weeks. TNT was a cold-calculated exercise in recording technology while Standards is the result of a true rock band in action, bringing many influences and backgrounds to the easel and almost spitting them up on to the canvas without lengthy hesitation. The album explodes at the start with much louder than expected teeth-gnashing rock riffs, beefy drums, chunky bass and a nasty organ. Thus the concept is established - a simple rock concept of ten songs, five to each side of the record, almost the anti-concept of 'Millions' and even 'TNT' to some extent. The rest of the songs bounce around from slow to mid-tempo numbers balancing a somewhat familiar mix, as the group hasn't really changed. It's still the same people - the same paintbrushes are being used but the painting is of a rather new style. Familiar sounds include the counterpoint between low guitar and vibes, grumbling basslines, colorful percussion and a perfect amount of electronic manipulation. Perhaps this is the album which will unite fans of the old debut with the fans of TNT. Look out for the proverbial overpriced Japanese edition. This one's got 2 bonus tracks which total about 11 minutes.

 

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3687 Hits
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