I sit down with C.J. Boyd following a show in Cincinnati to talk about being on the road for 10 years, early musical inspirations as a bassist and his latest project "Kinships".

Fans of the podcast can support Tome to the Weather Machine over at our Patreon page and get all kinds of exclusive content. 

Monday, January 21st, 2019 | Add New Comment (0)

Hark Madley – “empathy (single edit)”

Madley layers waves of vocal drone and crystalline synths gently atop a slowly pulsating percussive core on the single edit of “empathy” leaving gossamer tracers or reverb and the human voice in its wake. On “empathy” Madley deftly leaves enough space between each layer of sound and calls attention to each movement, making this minimalist piece stand out when so many others have the tendency to blur the lines too much, creating less dynamic monoliths of sound.

Rik Ronner – “Maya (feat. Raj Mohan)”

This telescoping, tempo-shifting electro-acoustic track is taken from the EP titled Aghori, which itself is the soundtrack to a conceptual dance piece of the same name which narrates the rituals of ascetic Hindu sadhus. “Maya” represents the concept of the creation of a sensible world. It’s difficult to find an anchor in this track, distorted, low-end scraping electronics signal tempo shifts and additions of new passages which range from plucked stringed instruments, heavily arpeggiated electronic percussion and synths, strings and brass. Legendary Geet/Ghazal/Bhajan/Pop singer Raj Mohan lends his vocals to create longform melodic shadings and deep-throated gesticulations. It’s an opening into an EP well worth exploring.

Meg Blumberg – “Wading”

This latest single by Meg Blumberg from her upcoming EP is an expressionistic, yet structurally intact piece, that thoroughly explores Blumberg’s talents as a composer and ability to wring every drop of emotion from the track through tiny flourishes and embellishments. Blumberg’s piano is joined by lilting strings about halfway through the composition, drawing a thin line between melancholy and tepid hopefulness.

Cedric Elisabeth – “Motion”

“Motion” tracks a slow-mo ascent of a track that accrues more and more of a sense of movement as it ascends. Placid drones give way to washes of synths, buried horns, pulsating tones that peel away and return like intermittent solar flares. The Denmark-by-Paris composer has created a track that is easy to sink into. Like being suspended in warm water it becomes difficult to draw clear lines between sensory perceptions.

Clairvoyant Chasm – “Withering”

"Withering" is excellent shoegaze that captures the effusive textural shadings and blurred inputs of the best of genre and includes a solo towards the end of the track that pushes the genre’s other thrilling tendency – exploratory and ambitious guitar playing – into the red. It’s a studied and subdued track that belies the age of the producers.

MüNE – “Canorous”

The Indian producer has created an infectious chopped-vocal track that contains a moving emotional core – recalling work by REIGHNBEAU or Gold Panda – but one that retains a pull to the dancefloor, marshalling it’s 4-4 beat right in time for the track to bloom into a mid-tempo dance track. The chopped vocals, perhaps the most endearing feature of this track hold sway and are incredibly riveting and inviting.

Trio Ramberget - - “D moll/dur – Is”

The Swedish trio – comprised of bass clarinet, double bass and trombone - create eliding, lyrical passages over sustained, breathy drones that register from pure, clairvoyant blasts of unfettered tone, to ragged scrapes and jabs. Their ability to create a lovingly aching noise floor of bottomless sound flattens what in other modes could be jagged compositional peaks and valleys into pastoral rolling hills that are easy to lose a few well-earned gazes into.

Maria Grönlund – “June and Me”

The world of solo piano palatable for cross-over appeal seems to pull from a select group of instrumentalists – Olafur Arnalds, Jon Hopkins, Max Richter, Ryuichi Sakamoto, etc… The Swedish composer and pianist’s latest “June and Me” does not stray too far the path – delicate melodies overlapping each other with crafted tension between sentiment and technical prowess. It’s evocative enough to ignite an inner warmth while staring out of an office window at the doldrums of winter, while astute enough compositionally to never run the risk of fading into background music. I hope to see Grönlund’s name mentioned among that small pool of popular composers.

Akiyoshi Yasuda – “Grace”

Centered around a sparse melody and plenty of open room reverb, this solo piano composition by the Ichonomiya, Japan based musician is processed to create ghostly, doubling effects of itself as it passes through each permeation of its somber phrasing. Paired with very, very subtle percussion that never quite catches up with the track, “Grace” extends into a gentle roar by the end of the track before leaving with a slight coda as it vanishes the way it came in.

Agyzerax – “Clouds of Doom (feat. Mateusz Jachym)”

On the aptly named “Clouds of Doom” The Polish noise artist pushes his spastic soloed guitar lines, harsh electronics, feedback and cauterized electronic beats well past the red into some purplish-noir of noise-as-punishment territory. While it certainly contains multitudes of layers upon layers of caustic tones fed and looped back into self to create a Gollum of seething unease, Agyzerax is able to create warbled dynamics by creating passages of ramping and deescalating intensity.

V/A – Pattern Abuse Compilation 2 – Nordic Ambient

Serving as a pastiche and summary of this compilation’s 11 artists and tracks, Pattern Abuse features ambient artists from all over Scandinavia and its surrounding envrions. Featuring new work by Inuti, Cedric Elisabeth, Jens Paldam, Claus Poulsen, etc…these tracks run the gamut from droney and dreary lo-fi compositions full of pulsing tones, to gorgeous ambient washes of pure tone, to tracks that skirt the blurred edge between ambient music and neo-classical work. Soundtracking the cold nights and short days of a Scandanavian winter, these inward turning tracks offer solace and surrender to the winter bleariness.

Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Energy Flow (20th Anniversary Remastered Version)”

Ryuichi Sakamoto needs little introduction. His evocative piano recordings have graced many important films and has been a staple for many serious listeners of ambient, experimental and classical music. Perhaps best known for his sparse explorations of set and setting, his 1998 album Back to Basics finds the composer leaping from the sublime to frantic piano composition as if chasing some spark of ideas through the flowing eddies of his mind. For this remastered version, “Energy Flow” is paired with a gorgeous music video that captures the muted and wistful thrust of the song, capturing the natural flow and energy of water in monochromatic grey.

Friday, January 18th, 2019 | Add New Comment (0)

On our first podcast of the new year we visit liturgical drone-pop from Russia, avant-garde Japanese G-Funk, modern composition from Czech Republic and Malta, harpist Dolphin Midwives, township rave from Malawi and music concrete from Australia.  

If you enjoy the podcast and want to support it. Consider donating through Patreon. 

ВЕТВЬ - "Пока не наступит ночь" ДИСТАНЦИЯ (SELF-RELEASED)

This Kazan, Russia based artist (which in English may be known as New Open Cult?) was one of my favorite and most blessed (literally) discoveries of 2018. Huge, cathedral sounding sacred vocals set against equally spacious organ with occasional reverb-heavy percussion. Post-religious liturgical drone-pop.

Blear Moon - "Laps" Fallow (Nillwave)

Blear Moon is a Czech based sound artist whose compositions play like testaments to bummer times filtered through a lens that is slightly turning towards the light. Wonderful buried melodies underneath a landslide of reverb-heavy tones and inner-ear roar.

Banabila + Machinefabriek - Entropia (Eilean Rec.)

Mining a fruitful collaborative relationship for a ideas swapped between e-mail, the two artists find strikingly coherent voice in fragments of noise, field recordings, drone and composition for synth and electronics that fall apart gloriously after reaching some kind of knotty apex of shared sound exploration.

Robert Farrugia - Adrift (Archives)

The Malta-based artist has created another album of gorgeous and sublimely understated neo-classical passages on Adrift. Tiny musical movements rise and fall underneath the low-cloud ceiling of glowing, luminescent drone. Much like the elk on the cover, stumbling upon this in the wild is an uncanny and awe-inspiring experience.

Dolphin Midwives - Liminal Gardens (Sounds et al)

Harpist Sage Fisher's compositions find a place of stillness in the middle of several refracting looped passages that are constantly intersecting and through their collision breaking apart into melodies, new sonic pathways that never open the same door twice. While it is tempting to ascribe a ritualistic or healing aspect to these tracks, Fisher is interested in rupture and discomfort as much as tranquility.

Koota Tanimur - "calling that art" Inside Cookin' Out 

Koota Tanimur creates intensely personal and idiosyncratic music. West Coast G-Funk filtered through rolling and tumbling beats that are always just a bit off, creating a disorienting, woozy effect. Heavily accented vocals buried deep in the mix, rapping in a staggering cadence that lands every other blow.

Tonga Boys - "Nakhala Nekha" Vindodo (1000HZ)

Hailing from Muzu, Malawi Tonga Boys' latest finds the group straddling two worlds in one expertly crafted track. On one side the Tonga Boys creating densely rhythmic worlds through voice and self-made instruments (buckets, shovels, homemade electric guitar). This inherently danceable composition is joined with subtle electronics of Czarny Latawiec and Wojciech Kucharczyk that give the beats a bit more woozy compression and head-nodding EQ. It's a pretty flawless track. 

Garibe - "Paste"

Speaking of near flawless tracks, this young French artist has created a straight-forward techno track that swims in near perfect uniformity. An on-the-grid and club-angst ridden composition that kicks hard and and pulls back to reveal expert melodies swirling above this lazer-guided missive from the French Techno underground.

Personal Bandana -  "Hollow soft" [sic]

Synthboyz from Charlottesville have created a slowburner of a komische track on "Hollow Soft". Gently unspooling into several intwining melodies that intersect and drift apart, this buzzy slab of pure analog aural candy lights up all the pleasure centers on your damaged brain and causes you to compulsively think, "I should get into modular synthesizers". RIP.

 

Lionel Marchetti + Cat Hope (Performed by Decibel) - "The Last Days of Reality" The Last Days of Reality (Room40)

Beguiling and utterly transportive music concrete from two first-time collaborative partners. Highly manipulated electro-acoustic arrangements are met with deeply resonant woodwinds. Taken as a whole the album tracks several live performances that these compositions were written for, taken on their own, they are excellent explorations of extended technique and soundcrafting that moves from the sublime to disturbing. 

Sunday, January 13th, 2019 | Add New Comment (0)

Maskakatsu Takagi – “Marginalia #22”

“Marginalia #22” is taken from an album comprised of similar sketches. Windows flung open to the Japanese countryside, sounds of insects and birds filtering in and first-thought, best-thought improvisation on the piano without any overdubbing or pre-conceived notion before fingers touched the keys. It is quite the beautiful experience to hear the timbre of the insect drone intersect with Takagi’s fleeting and leaping passages – melodic phrasings are replete through this, as are stirring counter melodies and slight dips into atonality. It’s as intimate a recording as they come.

Jesse Woolston – “Wave Remnants”

Following a stint scoring music for the Carl Sagan Institute, “Wave Remnants” is as huge and orchestral as we’ve heard the New Zealand-based artist. Sweeping strings stretch across dynamic rises and falls of melody and gaping drones. It isn’t until the last ¾ of the track that we begin to hear Woolston’s prepared piano lines sounding like hollow vessels bobbing in and out of a sea of cosmic refraction.

Across the Snow - "Octavius"

“Octavius” is full of quivering guitar lines that expand and swell until they shudder under their own weight. Never quite given to collapse, Provo, UT musician Jackson Harden shepherds these slight drones and volume swells by overlaying them with downcast and mournful guitar lines that cast a horizon about two-gazes long. Linear guide posts about vast and empty as the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Ifyyellow – “Nicer Than You”

On “Nicer Than You” Ifunanya Onyima creates a composition that is all addition by addition. What starts as downcast, outer-limit R&B retelling of a relationship on the outs, gathers, on each pass, another propulsive synth line, another slightly off beat, another looping vocal melody until the entire track blooms into upward ascending composition comprised of a thousand fragments suggesting a resolution found through creation. It’s journey reflecting how fragmentary experiences (even negative ones) contribute a broader tapestry that often ends miles away from where it started.

Anni Hogan – “Blue Contempt (Feat. Lydia Lunch)”

Composed around Anni Hogan’s searching piano line, deeply resonant synths, distant harmonica, a Twin Peaks-ian bass and Lydia Lunch’s scorched and exhausted vocals reciting a mantra against the cyclic nature of abusive/toxic co-dependency. Hogan is joined by David Ball (Soft Cell), Riccardo Mulhall and the No Wave icon to create a depressing and ultimately mysterious composition that pushes back against the death impulse with tiring hands. Her new album with an impressive list of collaborators will be out this March on the legendary Cold Spring label.

Machinefabriek – “IV (feat. Marianne Oldenburg)”

For the second outing from Machinefabriek’s upcoming With Voices album, Marianne Oldenburg’s sustained vocals are stretched into elongated drones that are smeared across the track’s arching ceiling, pitched up to create percussive stabs, and folded one atop the other in melodic fragments and phrasing’s that make good use of Oldenburg’s trilling upper register. Featuring guests such as Peter Broderick, Terrence Hannum and Richard Youngs – Machinefabriek’s upcoming album on Western Vinyl finds his vocalists in their natural habitat – singing, reciting poetry, guttural gestating – while the Dutch composer recontextualizes and warps them into his ever-curious palate.

Uah – “After Words”

It’s easy to fall into a lulling sense of resigned melancholy while listening to the first half of Uah’s “After Words”. It’s full of deliberately paced, mournful minor notes. But right around the 2:15 minute mark “After Words” introduces an upswell of electronic arpeggios that suggest an ultimately hopeful destination as the track folds itself into a crescendo of distorted electronics aiming for the rafters. It’s a dynamic move that doesn’t erase the tracks earlier sense of melancholy but rather channels it into a quietly triumphant conclusion.

Team Picture – “Clone You”

There is an imperceptible attraction to “Clone You” by Leeds, UK group Team Picture. The way the bass line hangs unfinished in the air on the embedded hook, trading male-female vocal lines, huge upswells of reverb-laden guitars, delve deep into the track’s midnight color palate. It’s path hewn by bands like xx or Rolling Blackouts that is given a bit more of a pastoral setting than the clubs that the lonely and anxious look for love.

Bad Sun Corp. – “どこでもどこでも”

Tokyo, Japan based Bad Sun Corp. filter a very laid-back trip-hop percussion line through the busted eardrum effect of dragging bass, drums and a surging, swelling synth line underwater. It’s a delicately paced track that features tectonic shifts in tone as the track moves underfoot. Positively disorienting.

Evgthug1 – “dunul sutra”

Created entirely on a nanoloop for android, this Russian outsider electronic artist has created a sturdy weirdo, lo-fi track that, based on its restrictions, shouldn’t sound as full or forward-thinking as it does. Getting these glimpses into the intersection creative process and consumer electronics from around the world is highly rewarding. Especially when the results bang as hard as this.

Peter Kardas – “I Saw You”

This is an incredibly exciting discovery for me. One of my favorite musical movements from the last decade was the abundance of 80’s private label synth/new-age compositions finding a new audience through thoughtfully curated reissues. This track by Peter Kardas is no exception. Gentle washes of synth and Kardas’s delay-drenched vocals  bring to mind  Panda Bear’s Young Prayer, Stag Hare and VALES. It’s an incredibly prescient track forshadowing drone-based minimalism that would find purchase 20 years later.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 | Add New Comment (0)

1. Dedekind Cut - Tahoe (Kranky)

On the cover of Tahoe, the Sacramento-based producer provides a list of locations with approximate mile markers for optimum listening environment. Taken in total, this guide through Northern California's back country and national parks mark the set and setting to take in something as big and serene as Dedekind Cut's first full commitment to an ambient album. Channeling Basinski and Grouper (both of which had great albums this year) the former beat maker has hurled himself headlong into unspeakable timing and genre perfection. 

2. Ann Annie - Cordillera (Distant Bloom)

Balancing both the chance constructions and penchant for beautiful melodies inherent in modular synthesizers, Ann Annie seems to hit a nerve with both, serving one of the most preciously balanced and straight-up pleasurable releases of this year. Out on the newly-minted Distant Bloom label, it has been sold out for a minute, but even to let this wash over you via a bandcamp download feels like stumbling upon something very important. 

3. Low - Double Negative (Sub Pop)

Somehow 25 years into their career as a band, Low made the best album Tim Hecker never made. Unlike literally anything else they've ever put out, against any stylistic pivot, Double Negative is a bleak, towering all-consuming hi-fi album that hyper-focuses on textural decay, blown-out low end, snippets and trails of voice and percussion that lead into a beating heart devoid of much hope but full of love. An album you will need stare down at least once in your life.

4.  Hour - Tiny Houses (Sleeper Records) / Anemone Red (Lily Tapes and Discs)

Hands down my favorite band to form in 2018. Hour is a collective of Philadelphia musicians who create subdued, one might even say "laid back", folk music and neo-classical music that has so many reference points that aren't even close to describing what makes this music so engaging and downright pleasurable. Entrance points like Peter Broderick, One-Mile North, Halifax Pier and American Football get there but don't quite nail it down.

5.  Zazz - Soft Harbinger (inner islands)

Zazz is a collaboration between braeyden jae and Ang Wilson of Electric Sound Bath. Crafted around looping flute and synthesizer passages each side of the LP reach the quietest roar considered possible for such a an endeavor. Each pass from these gentle lapping movements accrue more meaning and create a bit more space in your heart to fill. 

6. Dustin Wong + Takako Minekawa + Good Willsmith - Exit Future Heart (Umor Rex)

Dustin Wong is often known as a very tasteful, but very proficient, shredmaster. Paired with musical partner Takako Minekawa and Chicago's Good Willsmith, Exit Future Heart is the result of a night of jamming. From that night we get an album that feels fully fleshed-out. Delving into komische locked-grooves that allow synths and guitars to explore celestial zones and expanding out to aleatoric and totally out soundscape explorations that allow synths, vocals, guitars and electronics to wander and return, bearing something new bit of knowledge to the track's meandering course.

7. Them are Us Too - Amends (Dais)

Them Are Us Too's second album will always be linked to the untimely death of Cash Askew in the Ghost Ship Fire. The reverberations of that event and its knotty intersections with DIY culture, gentrification and querness will be unspooling for decades to come, but at the heart of this tragedy, a reminder that these spaces foster some of the most original and triumphantly talented voices in modern music. Case-in-point: Amends. R.I.P.

8. Dino Spiluttini - Forever (No Rent)

I've been obsessing over the Austrian musician's releases for the past few years. Spiluttini has the uncanny ability to run simple guitar and piano melodies through enough distortion, tape decay and unwavering human emotion to make him one of the most inspirational artists of the last few years. For his debut on No Rent, Spiluttini pares his compositions down to the brass-tacks. 18 tracks of ranging from one to six minutes that don't stray from this formula but somehow pack an emotional wallop every time.

9. Obnox - Templo Del Sonido (Astral Spirits)

Obnox made a free jazz record...and it sounds exactly like Obnox making a free jazz record. Political, audacious, furious, wisened and totally wonderstruck. Culling from both free jazz greats like Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp and Bim Thomas's own contributions to the most outer-flung contingents of punk rock and noise, Templo Del Sonido flattens everything in its path but still opens itself up enough to pour a thousand different voices into itself to be incredibly dynamic and stylistically diverse. 

10.  Wizard Apprentice - I am Invisible (Ratskin Records)

I found myself hanging onto every word on Wizard Apprentice's I Am Invisible. In many ways I Am Invisible sounds like what happens when you reach the "other side" of some huge and life-altering event: squaring with one's insignificance, self-love, the transient nature of sensuality, and among other things an actual treatise on forgiveness. All of this is displayed through accessible, user-friendly digital music-making. Is this the new folk singer?

11.  Rosali - Trouble Anyway (Scissor Tail records)

12. Anenon - Tongue (Friends of Friends)

13. Indira Valey - No Me Tengas Miedo (Antiquated future)

14. JPEGMAFIA - Veteran (Death Bomb Arc)

15. Phew - Voice Hardcore (Mesh-key)

16. Cheekbone - "つかの間 [Tsuka no Ma]"

17. Curt Oren - For Sam Forever Ago (Already Dead)

18. The Ophelias - Almost (Joyful Noise)

19. Tashi Dorji - But a Night That Ends, As All Nights End, When the Sun Rises (Moone Records)

20. Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want (Ipecac)

21. Rob Collier - 13 STAGES (AURALGAMI)

22. PALM - Rock Island (Carpark)

23. Loma - Loma (Sub Pop)

24. Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp)

25. U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited (4AD)

26. HDMIRROR - ANTHEMS (Genot Centre)

27. Lee Noble - Ashenden (Muzan Editions)

28. Drowse - Cold Air (The Flenser)

29. Lana Del Rabies - Shadow World (Death Bomb Arc)

30. 070Shake - Glitter (G.O.O.D Music)

31. Seth Graham - Gasp (Orange Milk)

32. Forest Management - Biqui (No Rent)

33. Hawthonn - Red Goddess (of this shall men no nothing) (Ba Da Bing!)

34. BLUE NUDE - BLUE NUDE (Puff Boys)

35. Grouper - Grid of Points (Kranky)

36. Nadia Struiwigh - WHRRu (Denovali)

37. QUJAKU - QUJAKU (So I Buried)

38. Mary Lattimore - Hundreds of Days (Ghostly International)

39. Steve Hauschildt - Dissolvi (Ghostly International)

40. Roy Montgomery - Suffuse (Ba Da Bing!)

41. Nothing - Dance on the Blacktop (Relapse)

42. Jesus Piece - Only Self (Southern Lord)

43. Bruno Sanfilippo - Unity (Dronarivm)

44. Cult Leader - A Patient Man (Deathwish)

45. Oliver Coates - Shelly's on Zenn-La (RVNG. INTL)

46. Artaud - Cabala (Necio)

47. AMULETS & Bus Gas - Immortal Yeller / Mountains Past (Spring Break Tapes!)

48. Lawrence English + William Basinski - Selva Oscura (Temporary Residence Ltd.)

49. Strie - Perpetual Journey (Serein)

50. Midwife - Prayer Hands (Antiquated Future)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Wait!!! There is so much more good music out there! Before we go full-tilt into end of year lists let's celebrate some music that has come out in the last few months that needs to be heard. New batches from Sound in Silence, Constellation Tatsu, Lily Tapes and Discs, plus work by Alex Cobb's new project Etelin and Catherine Debard (Ylang Ylang) new improvised collaborative project.

Styrofoam - "The Crook of your elbow" We Can Never Go Home (Sound in Silence)

I've always considered Styrofoam a high watermark in early 00's morr music indietronica. Arne Van Petegem seems to be able to hit every pleasure center that makes the genre something I return to frequently. Sugary synth leads, melancholy bass lines, skittering high-hat percussion and sense of pace and timing that creates an emotional narrative arc. I've lost a bit of the work he's done since 2003/2004, but this new work for the excellent Greek label Sound in Silence seems not to miss a beat.

BLUE MINUTE -  "AUTHOR OF DEMISE" ISLE OF MAN (BLUE INDUSTRY)

Blue Minute is the solo-recording project of CLIPD BEAKS bassist Scott Ecklein. While CLIPD BEAKS marshaled the spastic to the service of hypnotic and droning, Isle of Man feels totally wide-open. Led by synthesizers and an ear for spacious, hi-fi production, Isle of Man holds melancholy, retro-futurist pop in healthy tension with moments of cautious wonder. Highly recommended.

 

Sine rider - "No One can hear you" Four Years Away (Sound in Silence)

Lap after lap of sustained drone and additive, melodic lines pull Devin Powers' ambient project into vaunted spheres of projects like Stars of the Lid and Helios. These deep pulls are keenly felt before the morning's first cup of coffee where reality is being handled through oven mitts. It's one of those clarity-snapping albums that eases you into being like a lens gradually coming into focus. 

 

Etelin - "Hour here hour there" Hui Terra (Soda Gong)

Hui Terra is both the newest work of Students of Decay owner and musician Alex Cobb as well as the first release on Cobb's new imprint Soda Gong records. The new moniker and label represent an exciting step in Cobb's output and curatorial prowess. "Hour Here Hour There" is probably the prettiest track on the record and most akin to Cobb's past work. Created after the birth of his son and under the influence of a lack of sleep and the combination of wonder and joy that comes with watching a new life find purchase in a yet undiscovered world, Hui Terra was created on digital synthesizers, samplers and explorations of crowdsourced synth patches archived on the internet. Percussive elements, snippets of conversations, Cobb's son's communicative babbling fold and lean into each other in pleasing, sometimes surprising, ease. 

Rhucle - "warm winds" More Beautiful than Silence (Constellation Tatsu)

I always try and take note when Rhucle releases a new album. The Tokyo based ambient/new age artist is so adept in creating lived-in worlds that move field recordings, building drone and arcing synthesizers into close and intimate communication with one another. 

Stephan Haluska -  "jeldon" Empty Room (Constellation Tatsu)

Cleveland-based harpist Stephan Haluska acknowledges that the harp embodies a very specific type of imagery in Western culture: Cherubs, heaven, weddings. Haluska's work, instead of outright rejection or full-sale disrobing of the harp's sound profile away from those things, acknowledges them while inviting listeners to hear the harp in new ways, creating textural sheets, sustained notes being held together by a golden drone before leaping to a new passage. These are done while exploring the sonorous aspects of the harp's dynamic range while not straying too far from the source. 

LUNG CYCLES - "HOTTEST DAY OF THEY YEAR SO FAR (4PM VERSION)" LUNG CYCLES (LILY TAPES AND DISCS)

Lung Cycles is Ben Lovell - proprieter of Lily Tapes and Discs and Rochester, NY DIY stalwart. On his latest and ostensibly most beautiful tape, Lovell crafts delicate melodies around guitar and drone. Lightly looped passages are stand-ins for Lovell's hushed and restrained vocals, that when present, narrate a landscape permeated by heavy reflections and ever-barren tree limbs. 

 

Hour - "at the bar where you literally saved me from fatal heartbreak" Anemone Red (Lily Tapes and Discs)

Hour has become one of my favorite new bands of 2018. They inhabit a niche that has yet to be codified with some kind of genre modifier - existing in the same wake of delicate folk, midwestern mathy emo turned down to a dull flicker and something that just exists in late grey fall afternoons. Fans of Halifax Pier, Appendix Out, Ghosts & Vodka, American Football, Unwed Sailor and One-Mile North take note!

 

Isness - "Canadian Shirley Temple" Isness (Crash Symbols)

Isness is a new project featuring Catherine Debard (Ylang Ylang), Matt Robidoux and violinist Jennifer Gelineau (Sunburned Hand of Man) and is the result of recording sessions occurring as brief intersections while on tour or when life could make a way. The two sides are spiritual cousins to one another but demand different listening spaces. Side A is comprised of the trio crafting melodies out of spacious drones, field recordings and voice. Side B is a collaboration between Debard and Robidoux, situating themselves in field recordings and more challenging application of their voice, found sounds and manipulated textural objects. 

Saturday, December 1st, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Purshohn - "Headfirst"

Pursohn’s “Headrest” takes up a caffeine-jittery beat and pairs it with rafter-swelling guitars and synths creating 3 minutes of pure audio candy. Pushing all the pleasure points of artists like M83 or Remy Parsons into the red with handclaps, tone-shifted swoops and dives. Pursohn’s debut single is a genre-skirting track that is impossibly catchy.

JONATAN NASTESJO - "THERE IS"

Acting as a phrase in a much larger conversation, "There Is" (first composition on the album There is an End in Everything That Comes into Being) is a ever-increasing composition that hold surging drones of pure white noise in tension with roiling percussion buried deep in the mix. The track reaches its climax with an all-encompassing roar wherein sheets of noise overtake all available bandwidth and listening space before receding into the ether. It's an auspicious start.

 

Nicolas Sávva feat. Monsoonsiren - "white hotel"

"White Hotel" is an insanely impressive collaboration between Berlin-via-Australia Nicolas Saava and the India-based Monsoonsiren. Saava's composition - built from the ground up around the unique tonal phrasings of the harp, cello and flute - are shaded with layers of found sound, manipulated everyday snippets of familiar noises that fold into the track's bottomless sea of sound. Monsoonsiren's aching falsetto - recalling Active Child and Antony Hagerty - weave in and out of the track like vines around an imposing, ancient building. 

NADOYEL - "ANI MAAMIN"

On "Ani Maamin" the Los Angeles based experimental musician swims in deep water shared by Tome favorites Lau Nau, Brown Bread, Emily Reo, etc...Left-field composition turns are sustained by Nadoyel's distant, doubled vocals lilting in and out of melodies, bright bells, harpsichord and a small bedroom full of instruments that fill in the song's nooks, crannies and deep eddies where adventurous sound exploration takes us.

Wish Lash - "Elegant Air"

"Elegant Air" is the sound of the human voice being led into the darker corners of the human heart. Looped vocals, lapping drones and an auerthmiac heartbeat percussion cautiously tread into those places near the edge of light. Recalling MJ Guider, Valet and High Wolf, Calgary's Wish Lash makes an indellible statement on "Elegant Air" -  a track that sounds conceived in the moment with each decision tracing back to its source.

Voga - "Wavery (feat. Alaskan Tapes)"

Having been introduced to Alaskan Tapes on our last Single's Cruise, this collaboration between Alaskan Tapes and the Canadian musician Voga is a beautiful layering of felted piano, viola, cello run through and circled back on each other through deft sampling to create aural fields of deeply resonant ambience.

Ackerman - "For Everyone You'll Ever Know"

"For Everyone You'll ever Know" is a whisper-to-a-roar composition that takes its time building up layers and layers of drone, disembodied voices from dead relatives and friends, until a sturdy bass line cuts through all ambience and marshals all of those emotions into time with a sturdy back beat. The track explodes open around this time, unspooling all of those tightly-wound heartstrings all over the floor through soaring synthesizers, vocals, horns and strings. It's one of the finer build-and-release tracks I've heard in some time recalling Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think in all their ramshackle glory.

Evergreen - "Excitable Andre"

"Excitable Andre" is a gorgeous exploration of the ability to make a saxophone and drum kit sound like multitudes of universes exploding into being. That might be a bit heavy handed for a saxophone run through a series of effects and looped back on itself, but itn the way that Alice Coletrane's music was "cosmic" in the sense of ordering and adjusting constellations of sound, Evergreen's foray into creating otherworldly music out of jazz chestnuts is a world-creating endeavor in itself. Intersections of ragas, cosmic jazz and the omnipresent life of the Pacific Northwest falling and collapsing into themselves.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

AKB & Slim Vic – “Frusen Karlek pa Hagastroms IP”

The Swedish duo of AKB and Slim Vic match frozen drones with melancholic and minimal piano lines that rise from the from the beautifuly placid noisefloor like small flocks of birds caught in an updraft. It’s an unexpectedly poignant composition set against the sportsgrounds of Hagastroms IP outside of Gavle, Sweden – a place with signifigant meaning to the musicians as a place where childhood dreams were raised and then left behind.

Khyaam Haque – “Hinterland”

The Chicago-via-Mexico based composer weds solo piano lightness with a driving beat that sets its controls to the heart of the sun. As it accrues arpeggios that seem to fall over themselves as they are folded into the composition, “Hinterland” turns in on itself, mapping distant hinterlands locations across the valleys and mountains of the brain. Turning the external into a personal reaction to the concept of space and distance.

Alaskan Tapes – “Untitled #1”

A composer for films, Alaskan Tapes takes on droning passages, crackling, organic-sounding samples that make up a sleight percussive base and a sense of floating, untethered trajectory of this composition. Reverb-heavy piano lines are held to the earth with the slightest bits of twine. There are gossamer threads of melody and motif throughout, held together tightly by a cinematic eye on setting and mood’s importance in creating a narrative.

HARMS – “Aquarium”

Jake Harms (of What Moon Things) creates swelling testaments to dislocated adult angst that filter downcast goth motifs through swing-for-the-fences massive choruses and movement. There are moments in the heavily compressed bass lines, high register synths and in Harms’ plaintive moan that sound like a reason for living trying to rip itself out of a cocoon of heavy blankets piled on by seasonal depression. Fans of The Cure, Blessure Grave, Cloakroom and Porches should take notice of HARMS.

Mouse Dog Bird – “If Anything I Did You a Favor”

“If Anything I Did You a Favor” is the sound of ascendance. A full jet throttle into bandwith cleansing pure tonal sensory overload of drone and in the red synths still maintaining a harmonic center.The track eventually, as everything does, gives into entropy. But this giving up is a sweet surrender into the emotional heartbeat of the song: simple, overlapping keyboard melodies gently pawing and repeating themselves like a tape loop abandoned in a house on the outskirts of town.

Friday, November 23rd, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Oakland noise-rock band Clipd Beaks contain mulititudes. They were at once both an iconoclastic unit creating heady, cloistered jams that sounded like they were birthed from hours and hours of being holed up in a room riding a bassline until everything else melted around them - a world caught in stasis - and, at the same time, party of a scrappy, wildly talented wave of Oaklanders creating what now can be considered legacy early to mid 00's CD-R noise rock. The criminally underrated band who released two masterpieces for Lovepump United - Hoarse Lords and To Realize - capture a time and a place that is so indellible for myself and those who were around for that time. A time when dubby, slightly stoned rhythm sections got caught beneath the spinning blade of a lawmower, scattering shrapnel-laden guitar rave-ups and underwater vocals through every availble inch of bandwith from your computer speakers or car stereo. Hoarse Lords and To Realize are singular and stand alone classics, but there is so much more. So. much. more.

Today, Clipd Beaks throw open the vaults and lay it all out there. I could say every one-off CD-R, every cassette, every practice session that settled into a brilliant groove that was good enough to record is included in this massive release of archived material, but that is likely not accurate. For every world created and captured on these releases, more exist. Clipd Beaks show an ever-questing band that never quite settled into a mode but retained a stylistic through-line in a time and place that was supposed to be post-genre. You can hear it in the dubby breaks, the jittery guitars, the moment a groove catches  on that bleeding edge between This Heat, Can and Skin Graft Records

I'll have an interview I'm doing with the Beak Boiz here shortly, but for now, get sucked up in this vortex. Byyyeeeeeee.

Follow this Rabbit Hole here.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Hussy - "Slayer"

On “Slayer” London-based Sophie Nicole Ellison creates a tension-filled guitar-scape that pans between Sonic Youth at their most melodic – weeping lines dipping in and out of each other, taking up space in the jagged corners of angular indie rock – and the heavy, buzzy shoegaze choruses of Lush or Drop Nineteens. A weird headspace isn’t a pre-requisite for enjoying these two elastic modes, but it certainly helps order them in a workable blueprint for how to get through your day.

 

Cote - "Restoration"

There is a way Taryn Randall’s voice tarries, or slightly wavers on “Restoration”, the multi-syllabic centre-piece of this song, that seems to belie the fact that any sort of restoring to be had is a done deal. It’s an unadorned acoustic guitar melody paired with sparse but expressive twinned guitar licks floating somewhere in the ionosphere and somehow just below COTE’s breathy, dynamic voice. Whether lilting over a few extra vowels, or flattening into a sturdy, flinty expression of weariness and wonder.

 

sen wisher - "holding pattern"

The Eugene, OR by the way of Provo, UT multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Ben Swisher’s project recalls the best tendencies of those years in the late 00’s when indie-rock bands swung for the rafters creating knotty and carefully composed pop songs – crafting melodies outside that wormed their way in and out of arrangements that embraced drawn out and multi-part compositions. Sen Wisher channels some of the best of that stuff: DM Stith, LAKE, Paper Airplanes – while wrapping his inherent tunefulness and upper-register vocals around tightly composed parts for guitar, woodwind, strings, brass. This is nice, but do I want to see every band tour with eight members and a god-damn timpani drum again? Fuck, no.

ELLEMETUE - "RENAISSANCE"

“Renaissance” is a track that easily recalls Stereolab, Broadcast and Serge Gainsbourg in the same breath. Blending midi choirs (my favorite kind of choir) vintage analog synths with organs, upright bass and prepared piano, this strange soundtrack to never-filmed movie is pulled through the needle’s eye with a idiosyncratic propulsion and mystique all its own.

Machinefabriek - "III (with Peter Broderick)"

I don’t have to be talked into immediately listening to a new Machinefabriek piece. With Voices, promises to be a bit of a different animal. Machinefabriek’s compositions of channeling frequencies, tones and disembodied ghosts from dead machines will be the undergirding of his collaborative work with vocalists Peter Broderick (featured on this song), Marissa Nadler, Richard Youngs and Terence Hannum (Locrain). This is a truly stunning cast of characters whose unique vocal inflections work to both obscure and humanize Rutger Zuydervelt’s stately and austere drones and sound generation.

Poor Colour Palette - "Manufactured 1935"

Sinking into this composition is an easy act of submission. The Scottish artist utilizes the mechanical sound of the piano and Hammond organ to create ghostly doubles of the beautiful and emotionally resonant piano compositions they make. Deadened action from an ancient organ undergird the pitter-patter of upper register piano lines that flutter above and outside the periphery. It’s a pitch-perfect soundtrack to falling snow and inclement weather.

 

surrogate sibling - "vert"

Riding a fine line between neo-classical chamber music and understated and melancholic pop, the German composer pairs mournful strings and slightly propulsive piano compositions atop the gentle pattern of electronic percussion. The faraway crackle of distortion on a clean bass hit resounds somewhere in the distance while a ruddy, elegiac violin swoops into the middle distance. It’s a stately and contemplative track that seems to exist in between a lot of things: modern composition and modern pop, sleep and wake, dusk and night.

Cuts  - "Time is not your friend"

Creating widescreen compositions from a deep interplay between field recordings (ice cracking under foot, ice shelves shedding and receding into a warming sea) and heavily processed synths and percussion, UK-based Anthony Tombling, JR. has created something that feels prescient and as pressing as a rapidly warming planet should feel upon us. Those huge percussion hits overtop cracking ice pack an emotional and political wallop in their sound architecture. Channeling Ben Frost in those finely attenuated lines between the digital and natural world, CUTS has created a dread filled soundscape to match our own dread-filled world.

 

Friday, November 16th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)