Various Artists

Brain in the Wire

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The site, founded by Jon Whitney in 1996 to host some information about his favorite bands, quickly became one of the best resources for experimental rock and techno on the web, hosting record labels like Kranky, World Serpent, and TigerBeat 6, as well as a wide number of bands. Brain in the Wire celebrates this fine site via a three-disc compilation from the many acts associated with Brainwashed. The name comes from the origin of the first two discs, which were originally given away as bonus collections with separate issues of noted English music magazine The Wire; participants there included Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem, the always gripping Diamanda Galas (with a fine live take of "Birds of Death"), and Windy & Carl. As both extra temptation for those with said issues and further incitement for newcomers, the third disc consists of wholly new material, which, like the earlier discs, readily shows the range of Whitney's interests. A number of contributors to the final disc aim for long compositions that hold the attention throughout their lengths, starting with Coil's fierce techno creation "Mayhem Accelerator, Pt. 1" and Keith Fullerton Whitman aka Hrvatski's electro-acoustic goes glitch "Untitled." Nurse With Wound offers up the slow-burn ambient crawl of "The Purple Ache," while !!!'s lengthily named effort (it starts with "We Were Stoned When We Thought Up the Title") almost feels like an early Meat Beat Manifesto song done by a live band. Elsewhere, VVm keeps it simple with the four-second long "My Uncle Is Michael Aspel," while Kid 606 tops things off with his wickedly ridiculous "Pregnant Cheerleader Theme Song," which is at once sassy and more than a little creepy. Credit as well to the tin-box packaging of the collection, which comes wrapped in, indeed, a piece of wire.