Sixteenth Week: December 20th – 26th, 2015

1. Thoughts Detecting Machine – Work the Circuits [2015]

Thoughts Detecting Machine is Rick Valentine who was in Poster Children, who I don’t really know very much about. He plays everything himself (guitars, bass, programmed drums) and performs it all by himself too – just him playing guitar and singing, and a computer as a backing band. The first time I saw him live was pretty incredible and I bought his EP immediately. I’ve since seen him two more times and it didn’t have the same effect on me. One time I thought I was just watching someone look at his computer and play guitar, and the third time fell somewhere between the other two performances. Anyway, I bought this LP.

It’s alright. It’s a similar production and songwriting like what’s on the EP I have, but the songs aren’t as good. I think one song was at the level of the EP, but (of course) I only listened to it once, so maybe some things haven’t just sunk in yet.

2. Anthony Braxton – Creative Orchestra Music 1976 [1976]

This is an interesting record. It’s a mix of bebop and carnival music with some free improvisation. Some songs (like the first one) even have bebop solos. I like this mix of straight ahead and free stuff. It makes me appreciate both more.

3. Stereolab – Dots and Loops [1997]

Another band I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. I think it’s happened more than once that I’d hear this cool song and ask what it is and be told it’s Stereolab, so here I am listening to what I think is their most successful album.

It’s kind of lounge-y, a little like Jamiroquai but not as coked up (the first couple J records were great!). It’s also a long record, and those are always difficult the first time you listen to them. I think I need to listen to it where it’s more in the background than almost the sole thing I’m focused on, get used to the songs and see how I feel about it.

4. Can – Soon Over Babaluma [1974]

Did these guys jump the shark? Possibly! In terms of sonics they’re maybe being more innovative than the previous records, but the songs are kind of meh.

5. Cluster & Eno [1976]

You know who’s playing on this record.

Only listened to it once and I’m not feeling it. It’s more ambient than the stuff Cluster was doing, and sounds closer to “modern” electronic music than 70s electronic music. I feel like it’s more about sounds than actual songs, but at the same time it’s different than the Kluster record from last week. As always, I’ll give it a few more listens, but I don’t have any hopes that they’ll reveal much.

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