Metawyrd Archives: Stunt Reviews – Doing the “Needle Drop” on Forced Exposure’s Beta Site

As you know, all music bloggers are called to feed The Hungry Heads with new critical views about the latest albums. However, this blogger has to stick to a budget and not a single label has bothered to put him on their review lists yet. So what to do?

A recent New Arrivals email from leading fringe music retailer Forced Exposure gave me a keen idea. Unlike other sites, Forced Exposure posts brief sound clips from all the tracks from most new releases. And as someone who has spent time in college radio, I know that music directors often use the “needle-drop” technique, which involves listening to brief snippets of each track on an album, to screen lots of recordings quickly. So why not go to Forced Exposure’s beta site, locate an album, and review it based on listening to the album’s snippets? This way I can get a low-cost chance to review cutting-edge content! Seemed reasonable to me.

So below are reviews of relatively new releases carried by Forced Exposure, and these comments are based on the sound clips that they carry on their site. If a snippet review interests you, please go and visit FE to hear for yourself. Each review has a link to the appropriate page on the FE beta site.

This was a fun experiment but as you might guess, “stunt reviews” lose their fun after the first go-round. I can’t see why doing it again will boost the fun quotient.

NOTICE: These albums were selected from the front page of FE or the most recent New Releases email from the site. By their very nature, these “snippet reviews” are incomplete by definition because I could not listen to the entire recording. By their very nature, they can not give you all the information you need to make a decision to purchase. I did not request permission to review from Forced Exposure because the site is available to the public and they did not impose any conditions on listening to the site’s audio clips. You have been notified.

Els Masturbadors Mongolics – self-titled (Munster Records) This 1977 Barcelona punk band sounds like a freaky-ass cousin of Pussy Galore and the Standells. Wow! SUPER BUY (LOW STOCK LEVEL)

Panabrite – The Baroque Atrium (Preservation) If there is any recent underground revival that gets my hackles up, it is probably New Cosmic Whooshers like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never. They seem like pale copies of would-be synth masters like late-model Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and Jean-Michel Jarre.

Then I had the honor of hearing the FE snippets from Panabrite, a solo project from one Norm Chambers, and he puts the top Whooshers to total shame. From what I hear, Chambers has that magic touch can turn electronic arpeggios into psychedelic mantras and transmogrify generic “synth pads” into praise for the infinite wonders of the universe. I am mightily impressed. GREAT BUY.

Erkin Koray – Mechul: Singles & Rarities (Sublime Frequencies) – Out of the few Turkish rock/psych reissues I’ve heard, this one has the potential to be the best one in my collection. BUY

Paul Ngozi – The Ghetto (QDK Media) – Yet another entry in the steady drip-drip-drip of ’70s African rock/psych reissues. From the releases that I have in my collection, I think these recordings get a bit over-praised due to their unique origins. Yet “The Ghetto” snippets have plenty of fine-sounding African rock in the sub-Zeppelin/Mountain/garage stylee, and I think it will suit most genre fans. In my mind, it gets a BUY (FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THIS SORT OF THING).

Smack – self-titled (Shadoks) This recording could serve as Exhibit No. 1 in the case against ’60s private press rediscoveries. If the FE snippets are any evidence, Smack sounds like a bunch of somewhat competent rockers who got together to play a bunch of reasonably decent covers from Hendrix and a few other notables. Sadly, these folks are just capable enough to be unexciting and definitely worth not your time. Thank goodness you let us hear these people play, FE, because they are completely and totally lame. SKIP TO THE INFINITE POWER.

Gary War – Jared’s Lot (Spectrum Spools) On this release, it sounds like Gary War wants to be Giorgio Moroder but not badly enough. Or perhaps he wants it WAY too much. SKIP.

Gigymen – self-titled (Guerssen) – This private label recording from an unknown ’60s UK folk-rock act would be a perfect candidate for the FE jukebox. Only a fool would trust a record company blurb for a “’60s discovery” reissue, so listening to the tracks could actually sell me on this one. Unfortunately, FE did not provide any snippets for the Gigymen so I’m calling this one a SKIP.

Zsolr Sores – Ahad’s Master’s Garden III (2007-2009): The Harmonian Blues (Fourth Dimension) In recent years, the blurb writing on FE’s site has turned terribly rancid. Personally, I believe that the site’s all-time legendary blurbers Jimmy Johnson and Byron Coley have retired and, in their place, a new blurb writer has attempted to fill their mighty shoes. Sad to say, the new recruit can’t write his/her way out of a critical paper bag. In a vain attempt to either bluff the FE audience or beat them into submission, this writer drowns readers with tidal waves of adjectives massaged into barely readable “critic-ese.”

The blurb for “Ahab’s Master” features this blurb writer in full horrible bloom. To illustrate:

From cuts that combine tranced-out rhythms the likes of which have rarely been witnessed since the Taj Mahal Travellers with tidal waves of Lee Ranaldo-esque guitar to others where minimal piano melodies are allowed to twist and shimmer like phantoms in the moonlight or where murky moodiness is angled into more threatening shapes, The Harmonian Blues feels like an album whose rich abundance of ideas is both all-encompassing and measured enough to retain some of that all-important mystery.

That is just ONE sentence. Please please, St. Lester, I hope I never ever write like this. EVER.

Anyways, I wanted to see if this recording was as “fucking incredible” as the writer promised but unfortunately this release is not loaded into the player yet. I must call this one a HOLD.

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