The Fall of Google Reader and the Rise of Braen's Machine

On July 1st of this year, Google had decided to suspend it's Google Reader service after 8 years due to a ongoing decline in usage, and most likely because they wanted to focus their energy on new services like Google Plus.  Even though I knew that Google Reader was slowly coming to its demise, I still neglected to let my readers know to transfer to another service before this happened. While I didn't notice a drop in subscribers until two weeks after the official shut-down date, it was fairly clear that most of my subscribers used Google Reader as the number of subscribers had dropped from 890 to 180. The reason I bring this up is that the future of Feedburner is clearly hanging in the balance, and it is difficult to ascertain how long it will remain active.  For those of you who would like to know when the blog has been updated, I suggest that you do one of the following things:

1) Follow my blog by clicking on the "Join this Site" button at the top left corner of the site
2) Click on "Follow this blog" under the Networked Blogs section to receive updates via Facebook
3) Send me an e-mail at letting me know what your e-mail address is so I can add you to the list of people who receive an e-mail every time the blog is updated.

If you don't want to be alerted via e-mail or Facebook, please keep visiting the site on a regular basis so you don't miss out on any great music.

Now that the business end of things has been taken care of, let's move on to the good stuff. I have been trying to remember when I last featured a full-length album download on here, but my memory is failing me in this respect. It probably started back when the Megaupload and Mediafire sites were taking down files left and right. Many blogs were being shut down due to illegal file sharing, and a lot of others including my own decided to forge new pathways, predominantly featuring podcast mixes, single tracks and live shows. I am happy to say that I plan on going back to featuring rare and out-of-print records on the blog from time to time.

I used to share full albums on here on a series called Plain Brown Wrappers. For those of you who weren't around when this was a regular series, it was essentially a way to share out-of print records in a fashion that didn't raise a red flag with the RIAA. I would erase all of the information in the ID3 tags, and name every track as "Unknown" so there was no way to trace what the artist, album and track were. The idea was that we place way too much emphasis on who an artist is before we even give their music a chance. Without knowing who sings a particular song, you can base your opinion on what you hear rather than what your preconceived ideas about a specific band or genre tell you what to think. It was fun while it lasted, but the participation level declined as the series went on, and it was no longer worth my time and effort to continue doing it.

Braen's Machine- Underground
[1971, Liuto Records]

This is an example of a record that could have been featured on the Plain Brown Wrappers series back in the day, but sadly it wasn't in the cards. I can't for the life of me remember where I first came across this record, but I imagine that it was one of those evenings where I slipped down the rabbit hole exploring every crevice of the musical universe that the internet had to offer. Judging from the cover, you would think that listening to this would be akin to being bludgeoned over the head with lightning fast speed metal riffs, or maybe it could be the soundtrack to your next Halloween. I assure you that while there are eerie elements to the record, and certain songs have blistering frenetic tempos, it is neither speed metal nor a creepy spook-fest.

Underground is a purely instrumental record featuring an incredibly diverse batch of songs. It starts off with the uptempo race-to-the-finish vibe of the opener, aptly titled "Flying". With a breakneck tempo, funky bassline and swirling organs, it sounds like the soundtrack to a crazy 60's movie where the lead protagonist has taken too much acid, and the whole room starts spinning with an orgiastic kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. From here, we lead into the opening breakbeat on "Imphormal" that seems to have been tailor made for a hip-hop producer from the 80's who was searching for an innovative break outside of the tried and true lexicon of James Brown and George Clinton.  The driving force behind this song is the fantastic interplay between the bass and the drums, as the fuzzed-out psych guitars are literally showering over the rhythm section through the duration of the track. Next, they try their hand at evoking the music from a film noir movie to great success with the appropriately titled track"Murder".  Throughout this track", a slow walking bassline evokes the sound of footsteps from a stranger walking towards their inevitable demise while subtle stylistic flourishes from the drums, piano and guitar add to the menacing, claustrophobic vibe of the song.

Even though this entire record is only thirty-eight minutes in length, it makes up for its lack of duration with a perfect mix of  groove-based psychedelia. With the breadth of songs on here featuring wobbly phased-out guitars, heavy doses of reverb and spacey production, this album is undoubtedly a stone-cold psychedelic classic that is not to be missed.

I would love to hear what you think of this record so please drop me a line in the comments.


Holly said…
I like it .. in small doses ;-) Thank you for sharing!

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