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New experimentalism comes with twist

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The recent memorials following the death of Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis P-Orridge might lead one to think that all experimental music occupies a harsh landscape. Recent releases by hackedepicciotto and Six Organs of Admittance, however, show that experimentalism can be thoughtful, reserved, and even melodic.

Berlin artist Danielle de Picciotto has, in the past, worked with Alexander Hacke, founder of ’80s German proto-noise band Einstürzende Neubauten, but hackedepicciotto’s new The Current (Indigo) offers 11 tracks that might almost be called mellow. Oddness rules the day, and if it drifts into melodrama, let’s be honest and admit that many masterpieces of progressive rock have had their melodramatic moments.

Multi-instrumentalist Ben Chasny is known for his rock projects Rangda and Comets on Fire, but he saves his speculative work for Six Organs of Admittance, a band that ranges from Indian ragas to dissonant guitar. The new Companion Rises (Drag City) is a work of soothing balms served with slight tweaks in sound, as though a guitarist like Leo Kottke or Ralph Towner was experimenting with psychedelics. Don’t be deterred by any claims that Chasny is selling out — these nine tracks are a delight.

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