Category Reviews

portion of album cover from 2 Seconds...

Review: Michael Pisaro / Taku Sugimoto, “2 Seconds / B Minor / Wave”

Time of the metronomic kind gives shape to music. It defines the tempo of a song, fixes when sounds should and shouldn’t be played, and determines mood as surely as major and minor keys do. On 2 Seconds/B minor/Wave, Michael Pisaro and Taku Sugimoto reverse that relationship and employ sound to illuminate the physical shapes […]

Review: R/S, “USA”

Peter Rehberg and Marcus Schmickler make a perplexing and contradictory duo. Take their computers away from them and their differences, both in theory and in practice, become clear. Perhaps because of these differences, Peter and Marcus have produced just two records together: 2007’s One (Snow Mud Rain), released by Erstwhile, and USA, a live recording released by […]

detail from cover of Smegma and van Wissem album

Review: Smegma & Jozef van Wissem, “Suite the Hen’s Teeth”

This year, when playing with United Bible Studies or Che Chen and Robbie Lee, Jozef van Wissem’s name has taken the spotlight, even though his collaborators have made essential contributions to his music. That’s reasonable enough, especially in light of Jozef’s aspirations for the lute and the excellent solo records he’s released throughout 2011. It’s […]

detail from the cover of James Hoff's EP on PAN Records

Review: James Hoff, “How Wheeling Feels When the Ground Walks Away”

In light of the on-going Occupy Wall Street protests and England’s summer riots, James Hoff’s single-sided picture disc on PAN feels a little heavier than it otherwise might. Stitched together from various “historic riots,” none of which are named, How Wheeling Feels When the Ground Walks Away presents lo-fi crowd roar, chants, guitar solos, breaking glass, and […]

detail from the cover of A Prayer for Light

Review: Heresy of the Free Spirit, “A Prayer for Light”

2011 is turning into the year of van Wissem. In addition to The Joy that Never Ends on Important Records, Jozef has released three collaborative records on his own Incunabulum imprint this year, including one unlikely pairing with Smegma. A Prayer for Light, recorded on Easter in 2010, features Robbie Lee, who has performed with Howling Hex and […]

detail of cover art for Love's Secret Domain

Review: Coil, “Love’s Secret Domain”

The following review was one eleven articles published at last week, celebrating the 20th birthday of one of Coil’s best known and most loved records. Reviews, interviews, and personal reflections were published, including a great exchange with Stephen Thrower, which you can read here.  One thing I neglected to mention, and that I wish I […]

detail of original cover art for Presences of Absences

Review: Asva, “Presences of Absences”

With his latest album as Asva, G. Stuart Dahlquist (Sunn O))), Burning Witch, Goatsnake) leaves metal behind and sets out on his own distinct path. Recent interviews tell me that he has spent the last three years investigating Josef Albers’ color theory, losing musical weight on the Arvo Pärt diet, and studying the way sounds […]

detail from the cover of Ways of Meaning

Review: Kyle Bobby Dunn, “Ways of Meaning”

In a recent interview, Kyle Bobby Dunn told Fracture Compound that he heard “the truth” in his favorite music, a truth that he associates with the “brutal honest beauty” of certain classical compositions. Kyle doesn’t spell out what he thinks the truth is, but I suspect that Ways of Meaning provides a clue. Kyle Bobby Dunn’s music is beautiful […]

detail from the cover of Texas Blues Working

Review: Christina Carter, “Texas Blues Working”

This album somehow earned a reputation for being one of Christina Carter’s best despite being limited to a cassette-only edition of just 200 copies. Released during a fertile 2008 that also saw the release of Original Darkness on Kranky, and initially mistitled Texas Working Blues, this Blackest Rainbow re-release shines the spotlight on one of Christina’s most direct, […]

detail from the cover of The Rings of Saturn

Review: Christoph Heemann, “The Rings of Saturn”

Floating silently through space approximately 1.4 billion km from Earth are the rings of Saturn. Composed primarily of ice particles, they appear as simple concentric circles similar to the grooves in a record. Thanks to the intricate play of moons, magnetic fields, and gravity, their structure is actually far more complex, fraught with braids and […]

detail from the cover of The Gathering

Review: Arbouretum, “The Gathering”

On their fourth full-length record, Arbouretum turn their churning rhythms and buzzing guitars inward to explore the uncanny spaces of the collective unconscious. Inspired in part by Carl Jung, Dave Heumann’s lyrics are featured more prominently on The Gathering, which might explain why the band sounds looser and less aggressive this time around. The change accentuates […]

detail from cover of SMM: Context album

Review: V/A, “SMM: Context”

Ghostly International presents SMM: Context as a vaguely philosophical release centered around the qualities that film soundtracks, classical music, and ambient music share, but I think its lack of pretense is part of what makes it great. On one level, SMM: Context is just a collection of eleven songs from eleven electronic artists, including Leyland James Kirby, Jacaszek, Aidan […]

detail from the back cover of Aethenor's "En Form for Bla"

Review: Æthenor, “En Form For Blå”

With mainstay Vincent De Roguin absent and Stephen O’Malley exercising smart restraint, Æthenor have released their best album and maybe one of the best live recordings I have ever heard. Assembled from three shows recorded in Oslo, Norway during 2010, En Form For Blå captures Æthenor improvising a loose electric sound bound expertly together by the […]

excerpt from the cover of Capri

Review: Celer, “Capri”

Will and Dani’s 32nd full-length album suffers from many of the same flaws found on their second. Broken up into 29 distinct songs, Capri sees Celer attempting to alleviate the monotony of their mostly monochromatic music by introducing intermittent asides. Unfortunately, many of the songs represent only a nominal change, and the record frequently sinks under […]

detail from the cover of Palomino

Review: Trampled by Turtles, “Palomino”

If you go search through the old Brainwashed archives, you’re likely to find a whole lot of embarrassing, half-formed opinions that I hastily dumped onto the Internet as an arrogant young man. I’ve been writing for for close to ten years, now, and for most of that time I’ve been learning how to listen to […]

detail from the cover of Ariill

Review: Celer, “Ariill”

Celer is not the amazing ambient and drone unit that every blog, webzine, and message board in the universe claims it is. At least, Ariill doesn’t prove it. Released as a pair of free MP3s in 2007 by Archaic Horizon and presumably related to a self-released CD-R of the same name from 2005, these two half-hour […]

Keith Fullerton Whitman with his synths

Review: Keith Fullerton Whitman, “Disingenuity / Disingenuousness”

Just as good, if not better than, his Kranky output, Keith Fullerton Whitman’s latest full-length is a prismatic burst of field recordings, tape manipulation, and synth wrangling via Pierre Henry and Kraftwerk. Disappearing behind elaborate electronic processes, Keith gives in to chance and lets his machines churn out two side-long pieces of frequency manipulation, helicopter […]

detail from the cover of Third Stunt

Review: Giuseppe Ielasi, “(third) Stunt”

Giuseppe presents an extraordinarily sucessful and ecumenical set of turntable jams on the third and final EP in his Stunt trilogy. With fragmented samples bent into dance cadences and abrupt vocalizations serving as melodic leads, (third) Stunt smacks of both Oval’s glitch-worship and Autechre’s cold symmetries circa Tri Repetae. More soulful than either, Ielasi stays ahead of his […]

detail from the cover of Notes and Crossings

Review: Robert Haigh, “Notes and Crossings”

Simple, haunting, and frequently plaintive piano music is Robert Haigh’s bread and butter. He’s a master at making the most out of very little. His career is marked by memorable collaborations with Nurse with Wound, tape shenanigans as Truth Club, pseudo-new age adventures with Silent Storm, and numerous other projects, but his best music is […]

photo of James Blackshaw

Review: James Blackshaw, “All is Falling”

Tepid and, at times, hesitant, James Blackshaw’s latest record for Young God is a disappointment. For much of All is Falling he and his band work diligently, trying to weave Blackshaw’s erudition into something captivating. Unfortunately, their success is all too infrequent and what results is an unsatisfying collection of stoic songs. More than halfway through […]