Daniel O'Sullivan - "Retun The Heart" The Physic Garden (EMI)

Daniel O'Sullivan is most notably recognized for his work with uncomporomising experimental acts Guapo, Ulver and his work with Sunn O))). For his latest album, the beloved EMI tapped him to compose "pocket symphonies" - a call back to "library music" used as background music for television and film. For this first single from that project O'Sullivan pairs traditional folk arrangements with a driving arrangement and and a saxophone that wouldn't be out of character in a police procedural. It's a buoyant and compressed slice of elevated muzak.

no-ke - "departures"

A quiet cinematic journey by this Australian mult-instrumentalist. Tension filled strings keep a sustained cicada-hum beneath delicate piano lines that create deep craters in the emotional landscape of this track. This minimalism underscores the later intertwining of the piano and violin through an ascending, resonant passage.

Mōbe - "Première" Think About What You Love

The French ambient artist has created a warm upward draft of a song. A wind-at-the-back trajectory of pulsing bass lines, atmospheric synth-washes that cast the entire track in a soft blue light. Contemplative and early-morning tea soothing. 

byzantine - "husk" lobotomy

Byzantine's compositions always feel like they are going to burst apart at the seams, spilling thousands of good ideas like ribbons across the floor. It is the way the young producer jam-packs these songs with lines that take hairpin turns within a few breaths of the next idea that make Byzantine a name to look out for.

blank for.ms - "leans in technicolor" it's torso smears right as (not art)

Jenny Hval and Autre Ne Veut collaborator, Blank For.ms is another artist harnassing a seeming lifetime of good ideas, packing them within close proximity to each other and then composing a track that has movement and inexplicable flow. Blank For.ms is a shephard first and foremost, allowing beats, disembodied vocals and an idiosyncratic sense of timing explore their own sonic space while in service to the songs greater whole.

Tuvaband - "Wolfpack"

It's hard not to be immediately drawn in by Tuva Hellum Marschhauser's wounded but resilient, vibrato-rich voice. In a sparse track under-girded by guitar and droning strings, she still finds space to weave in and out of the song's atmospheric low-level cloud covering drawing favorable comparisons to Cocteau Twins Elizabeth Frazier. Cozy on up.

Sundaes - "Laundry Day" 

The spiritual progeny of Lambchop, Yo La Tengo and Tindersticks, the Nashville-based band gleans magic and meaning out of perfunctory domestic responsibilities. The track eventually builds from a fragile construction of voice and guitar into a roaring, cathartic chorus that elevates creative loafing into closely held mantras.

 

indigo de souza - "good heart" i love my mom (sub-fi)

Towards the last 3/4 of this song, where the percussion begins its galloping rhythm and De Souza begins enumerating the tiny anxieties that make us feel like major chasms between how we see ourselves and how we believe others see us - I felt that. It's a powerful, cathartic, linear build towards a sweet angst that doesn't subside when you turn 30. RIYL: Earth of Foxes, Corey Flood, Swearin'

 

bound - "weathering" no beyond (diehard skeleton)

Slowly wandering into shoegaze/post-rock solitude, the Washington D.C quartet create an unfurling, slowburn of a track that seems to exist and breathe in a perennial autumn evening walk home with heavy thoughts on the mind. The second half of this song is a crushing, brooding shoegaze anthem that refuses to loosen its grip.

Useless Cities - "A Little Too Obtuse"

Shoegaze/post-punk under the deepest shade of blue. Conjuring Funeral Party Records in the form of Soft Kill or Blessure Grave, the UK quartet creates a quiet storm of brooding bass lines, delicate piano lines and gorgeous male/female vocals. 

Friday, July 13th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

On this week's podcast we move from gorgeous looped vocals of Indira Valey and Ian William Craig, through some gorgeous neo-classical and weightless electronic music, straight into the dungeon of minimal techno, dark-ambient and emerge on the other side with an excerpt from a new Matmos tape. 

indira valey - "back i went back" no me tengas (Antiquated Future)

Indira Valey throws some 1,000 pt. spells for her latest on Antiquated Future. Valey's voice visits some otherworldly planes and returns with enough eloquence to dictate the shape and contours of some place more holy than this. 10/10 would go back. 

Ian William Craig -  "A Slight Grip, a gentle hold pt. ii" A Turn of Breath (Recital)

Following up one of the best albums of 2016, A Turn of Breath is a massive, 2xLP that centers around Ian William Craig's ability to push and loop his voice through the din of ancient voice recorders until they accrue layers of meaning at each turn. On "A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold pt. II" this practice breaks wide open to reveal gorgeous, buzzing drones and strings set to cicada thrum. One of the year's brightest.

David Newlyn - "Ashes" Collected Fictions (Sound in Silence)

A relatively subdued and forlorn solo piano piece on a wildly eclectic (for this genre) album. The rest of the album moves from Odd Nosdam-style low key beats to proper ambient music, settling a bit in the middle with this field-recording sounding piece plunked out on some forgotten piano collecting dust in some pre-war home.

ben rath - "innate value" anything is possible (sound in silence)

The second record to be featured in Sound in Silence's wonderful batch of UK ambient artists. The multi-instrumentalist pulls in some beautifully sepia-tinged elongated lines that fade out a bit at the corners. All the saturation pooling in the middle of a gorgeous note bent across a noise floor of golden tones. 

Lori Scacco - "Strange Cities" Desire Loop (Mysteries of the Deep) 

A floating, almost effortless ease overlays these tracks by the NYC artist. They are at once, dense molecules of multi-layered sounds, gurgling arpeggios and fractal beats as well weightless vehicles - jet-streams that take you through the track, your day, with minimal friction and total pleasure-center hitting casino slot machine. 

Topdown Dialectic - "A4" Topdown Dialectic (Peak Oil)

Obscure, obtuse and non-existent outside of the self-contained universe of this record doesn't even begin to describe the mystery shrouded in this collection of grainy, groundwire minimal techno. For what it is, as an artifact outside of culture or scene, is a truly lovely and strange collection of uneasy beats and an uncanny ability to manufacture earworms that have no right existing in such an outre record.

DunJIN - "The Tragedy, "Man"" The Conquerer Worm (Self-Released)

Brooding and melodic dark-ambient by this Stockton on Tees, UK based artist. The atmosphere on here breathes heavy with tomb-dust and dank, dripping water. Above all this doom and gloom, however, is are sustaining melodies that appear as fleeting apparition in the bible-black gloom.

1/2H 1/2W - "The Night Quarry" Black Pelvic Fluids (Bezirk Tapes)

Holy moly this album gets super heavy. The Latvian group moves from subdued but menacing tracks like "The Night Quarry" to blistering noise-jazz to black metal rampages that make up the group's debut on Tristan Bath's label Bezirk tapes. A lovely mid-year find of a band pushing some extreme sonic boundaries but still remaining tuneful and subdued enough to land on this podcast. Can't recommend this album enough. 

Matmos - On the Radio at Southend-On-Sea (excerpt) (Timesuck)

"In 2015 we were invited to make music in an old manor house in a park in Southend-on-Sea in the English district of Essex. During our time in Chalkwell Hall a local radioteur came visiting and asked us to perform on his show, “Ship Full of Bombs” named after a local seamark. This recording is the result Some of the peacocks were recorded live, some were pre-recorded. They lived outside our studio window." Debut tape from our friends over at Timesuck. New Matmos material. Peacocks. It's a winning trifecta.

Monday, July 9th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Sonia Calico - "Desert Trance" 

Last year I was exposed to so much forward thinking music coming out of Asia via Lafidiki's tastemaking Chinabot album. The Taipei, Taiwan based Sonia Calico is on a similar trajectory of exposing the broader world to regional electronic scenes with curatorial distinction. Calico creates a fierce mash up of old-school trance, grime and trap that sounds incredibly future-oriented while studied in deep 90's electronica.

The Bodies Obtained - "Such and Such" Breakneck and Jubilee

While the oblique Joy Division reference of their band name may lead you to suspect a more brash post-punk affair, "Such and Such" from their new album Breakneck and Jubilee is downtempo shuffle through arpeggiated synth lines and shrapnel laden guitar riffs falling after each other in a syncopated, hypnotic rhythm. The Detroit duo have created a beautiful and mysterious palate of dark blues and purples.

picnics at his adamah! "lots of happiness will come to you" 

Picnics at his Adamah! is the project of a father and musician living in Hiroshima, Japan. The output is a lovingly crafted post-rock/emo-revival that fits somewhere between Bluebeard, The One AM Radio and Ides of Space. It's a surprisingly warm and beautiful slice of idiosyncratic lovelorness. 

El ten eleven - "you are enough" banker's hill (topshelf)

It's hard to mention the evolution of post-rock or math rock within the last 10 + years and not find yourself winding your way back to the LA duo. Comprised of drums, electronics and double necked guitar wizardry, El Ten Eleven have been playing hypnotic looped music that brings the genre up to the brink of explosive exuberance and then throttles back to reveal gorgeous textures and ambient passages replete throughout - all within the same song. "You Are Enough" certainly inhabits these peaks and valleys of late-era El Ten Eleven impressively. 

 

Polar Institute - "Vakna í Myrkri" Polar Institute 

Polar Institute stems from composer Rob Thorpe's response to traveling around South America and Antarctica by sea observing the ways in which humans destroy our world by trying to possess it. Inherently cinematic, these moving neo-classical songs were composed for a live soundtrack video series. "Vakna í Myrkri" is inspired by Icelandic composers which, after this album, seem very much his contemporaries.

Lou Rogai - "Implications in D Major, An Andagio for Chamber Strings"

If there was a piece that makes all the pleasure centers in my brain that light up it would be this stirring piece of music by Lou Rogai (Lewis & Clarke, Bats for Lashes collaborator). There are moments of sustained, weighted beauty when this quartet bows out mournful, yet wholly illuminated lines both in unison and interwoven around each players timbre rich perforance.  By far one of the most beautiful pieces I've heard this year. 

Sunday, July 1st, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

On this epside we explore the modular synth world of Ann Annie and Matthew Ryals, gorgeous neo-classical, heartbreaking new work by Midwife and Anders Broby, blistering free jazz and Kraut-influenced post-rock from Us, Today.

ann annie - "ocean breeze" cordillera (Self-Released)

It’s amazing that I am just finding out about this now. Modular synths tuned to a cloudless summer day watching sun refract off of incoming waves. Strong contender for album of the year from this Portland, OR “curator of landscapes”. Effortless beauty. AOTY?

matthew ryals - "smog song" machine memory (oxtail recordings)

It’s always great to hear new music from the Cleveland-based Matthew Ryals. Marrying Matthew’s pointillist beatscapes with an emotional center of wanting to be home when caught up in doing something supposedly fun, “The Smog Song” pushes through wearied vocals to ramp up into a 4x4 house banger by the end of the track.

silent vigils - "zwartewall" fieldem (home normal)

Silent Vigils is a collaboration between UK based James Murray and Belgium based Stijn Huwells on the fantastic Japanese label / distro Home Normal. Communications across the channel turn into meditations on mass violence that seemed to bookend the creation of this record. Perhaps shaped by events surrounding this recording, the album is a subdued, inward turning album that offers no answers but creates space to heal and reflect.

midwife - "rtd pt. iii" (self-released)

RTD (Ready to Die/Dance) was emblazoned on the wall at Denver’s D.I.Y venue/artist space Rhinoceropolis where Midwife’s Madeline Johnston lived before it was closed in a rash of politically motivated D.I.Y. space closings. “RTD” was a mantra on Midwife’s last record as she contemplated the full portent of that statement and a fitting reminder to embrace the transient now. Completing the trilogy is this stand-alone composition of aching and swelling drone that encapsulates the emotional core of facing down that choice.

stray theories - "all our tears" all that was lost (n5md)

A gorgeous, cinematic neo-classical tearjerker from the New Zealand based composer is startlingly assured in its build and release. Tensions ease with each gently plucked piano note. Small fires slowly dim and go out.

Glass House - "Collective Traumas" External Forces (Oxtail Recordings)

“Collective Traumas” is an ever building slow tidal wave of a track, origami-folding back on itself over the 7 minutes. The NYC/Philly duo push waves of distortion and compressed data through tiny earbud holes, this composition grows to until it breaches the seawall and takes everything with it.

Anders Brørby - "I Won't Be Around When You Really Need Me" Traumas (Forwind)

The Oslo Norway based composer has crafted a slowburn of a drone track that features windswept/tapefucked wordless vocals underneath a strong undercurrent of softened feedback that caresses as much as destroys. A perfect post-noise show comedown record perfect for driving through abandoned city streets.

space-saver "shoots and splatters" save yrslf (self-released)

A beautiful free-jazz, drum and sax duo palate-cleansing, reason-reducing blast-off into some impressive kinetic mind-meld. The Charlottesville, VA duo hold nothing back in this relatively short, but pummeling record that hits so hard in such short bursts.

us, today - "spellcaster (dr. spirit) computant (it.me)

The Cincinnati trio comprised of Kristen Agee (vibraphones, keys, electronics), Jeff Mellott (drums) and Joel Griggs (guitar) end the podcast with their dense, knotty cluster of kraut-sensibilities, brawny post-rock and avant-electronic shadings. The distortion on Agee’s vibes as the “Spellcaster” open are a portentous sign that classic rock arrangements are about to be turned on their head. A stellar release by a band on the brink of something big.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Chaz Prymek, who records under the name Lake Mary, has a new record coming out 06.29 called River Ceremony on Keeled Scales. For River Ceremony, Chaz was joined by The Ranch Family Band. In this very personal interview, Chaz talks about where he is at currently in a life full of flux, his soulmate named Favorite, music's inherent political nature and what makes this album a family affair. You can pre-order the album here

Tome: Chaz, I came to the realization that I’ve been listening to these songs, in various deconstructions and versions for almost 10 years. You would send me snippets and unfinished versions of what would eventually become “River Ceremony” as part of a failed attempt (on my end) to create a visual album as a collaboration between us. Can you tell me a bit about where you were 10 years ago and what was going on in your life when some of bedrock of these songs were being formed?

Chaz: It's true, we never finished that record, maybe one day. I started this piece a long time ago, maybe more than a decade ago. If I remember correctly, I was living in an Anarcho Collective (editors note: R.I.P Boing! Collective), spending a lot of time hitchhiking to and from Salt Lake to San Diego. Skating. Trying to fit in with everyone from the music scene at that time. The music scene in SLC was golden then.

Looking back, I can see me doing a lot of searching for meaning, for experience, trying to form myself, but lacking much guidance. This song started as most my songs still do, trying to process things, some relatively heavy shit had gone down in my young life and so I spent a lot of time playing music, trying to make sense of it. I could feel the world was both full of joy and grief coexisting, but I didn't really understand why, or what that meant.

Tome: As long as I’ve known you, you’ve lived a nomadic existence. Falling deeply in love with places and people. So deeply, where it seems like the only way to extricate yourself is to physically move to another place where you repeat the same pattern. With all of that traveling, deep loves and losses. What have been constants for you?

Chaz: In reflection, I have lived a fairly nomadic life. I don't feel like a nomad, just seems to be the way it's going. I moved around a lot as a kid, we didn't have much - if any - money so we were always moving, or being watched by a different aunt or uncle for a few weeks here and there, mostly living with my grandparents when there wasn't anywhere else for us to be. My grandparents are incredible people. I think about them everyday. That lifestyle of staying in motion seems to have stuck, but has shared with me some incredible experiences. But what stays with me most are the connections I've made. I've met my best friends this way, met my sweetheart this way, go to know myself this way.

Tome: Heraclitus famously said, “you can’t step in the same river twice”. Has the concept of the river’s “flow” – to paraphrase Heraclitus again, “everything flows, nothing abides” - been meaningful to you both in the context of your life pattern and the way in which River Ceremony picks up bits and pieces of musical phrases that have been circling in your mind?

Chaz: I don't know who Hercalitus is, but the sentiment is true, we are forever changed by every circumstance. As far as that pertains to music, I haven't thought of anyone's philosophy on it. But the flow and rivers are huge sources of inspiration for me. When I sit down to play live, rarely does a song come out the way I intended it to, it is guided by the vibes in the room, or where I am at emotionally that moment. Rarely, at least in solo sets, have I played a song the same way twice There have been times while playing shows, that I am not in the room anymore. I've gone back to the rivers edge that I know well and run that river alongside the music.

Tome: Zeroing in on one phase in your life, this record was written and recorded with the Ranch Family Band. Who is the Ranch Family Band and how did they contribute to this record?

Chaz: The Ranch Family Band is made up of some of my closest friends, and by chance, some of the best musicians and minds I've ever met. I will never be able to speak well enough about the love I have for them. They are the most special batch of folks.

Jordan Knecht is first and foremost, one of thee most incredible person in all of the cosmos, an great cook, and real good at finding swimming holes. An interdisciplinary conceptual artist in the US, one of the most amazing songwriters, He is a huge inspiration to me to strive to be the best version of myself I can be. I look up to him a lot. His art and music mean so much to me. Check out his band Muscle Brain.

Paul DeHaven is another one of the most special people I hope you all get to meet. Comfortable in his own skin, grounded and wild, also another great swimmer. Makes beautiful art, and is one of the most incredible musicians I've ever met. He plays in bands Paul DeHaven, Eye & The Arrow, Saskatoon, Heavy Diamond Ring, as well as sits in or sessions with so many more.

Jess DeHaven is one the most sincere, big hearted, and creative people I know, she is a well of plant knowledge and ideas on bringing artists together, and creating more interactive and adventurous worlds. Always seeking creative ways to exist and to be fully alive, a wonderful mom and friend. Her observations of the world are unique and thoughtful. She is also a killer swimmer. She plays in the band Saskatoon. 

Taylor Ross is one of the best minds of our time. She runs her own path, and we are all bettered by that. I admire Taylor a lot, in her skillsets, her ideology, her musicality, most of her being. She is also ridiculous and so much fun. She is only made whole by her dog friend Bean Dog. She also is an incredible artist, a spinner, a story teller, a maker (but in the sense of someone who makes, not for capitol) and putting out some of my favorite albums under the moniker GEODES.

Nathan Wheeler is above all things, an incredible friend. What a special dude. Creative genius musically, artistically, in his body and in his mind. An inspiration to always be challenging our comfort levels. His resume is wild, infact we have a game called NateFacts, much like two lies and a truth, but about Nate, they are mostly wild truths. He composes gorgeous works for dance and computer among many many many other things he does. He may just be a lemurian.

Paul – electric guitars Jordan – pump organ / acoustic guitarists Jess – cello Nate – Harmonium Taylor – Banjo

Tome: What were the political contexts in which River Ceremony was written?

Chaz: Grief and hope. 

Tome: In what way is creating art is inherently political, even when it doesn’t wear its agenda on its sleeve?

Chaz: Art is political, what you say and don't say, how you approach making art, where you play or hang or screen your art. All of it is a statement of how you approach life, and in turn politics.

Tome: You are now living in Columbia, MO. Can you tell me a bit about your life there? What brought you there? What is your present occupation and living arrangement?

Chaz: I do live in Columbia, MO for now, I live out here with my pup and partner, working on a goat farm, a produce farm, a restorative land project and at a cafe in town. I like it here. The time to change things up had come. I was at a Jennifer Simone & Laraaji show in town and was pummeled by whatever spirits were conjured up that night that I needed to be in this place for now, it was so intense I couldn't not question everything. And they lead me to where I am now.

Tome: Tell me a bit about Columbia’s musical/creative community. Why should people stop and play there on their way out West/East?

Chaz: The scene is really cool here, everyone supports each other. You'll see the droners and punks out at hip hop shows, and vice versa, most the artists out here, that I know at least, take care to lift each other up and make room for each other to be heard, and hold each other accountable. Also, we have an amazing music festival in town now called The Columbia Experimental Music Festival, formerly the Dismal Niche Fest. It has brought so many life changing artists to town, Laraaji, Mary Lattimore, Jennifer Simone, Bob Bucko Jr.

Tome: Can I assume that you are somewhat settled in Columbia, MO? How does this concept of “flow” that I’ve always come to associate with you, manifest itself in a non-nomadic / partially domesticated life?

Chaz: Good question, I think I am as settled here as I have been anywhere. The ideas of homesteading and the ideas of living on the road are both always at the front of my mind. Is that duality? My rising Gemini? My upbringing? Values? I am not sure yet, maybe it's all of those things. But I think of it lately, as pooling myself to swim around in me and in these places for a time being until the ground begins to give and a new river starts to flow.

Tome: Your releases as of late have veered into more ambient/drone landscapes, where “River Ceremony” distinctly situates some of your musical modes that include things like harmonics and nimble fingerwork on the acoustic guitar. What influenced the decision to tap into some of your earlier musical touchstones – Basho, Tompkins Square artists – for the creation of this record?

Chaz: In my world, my more ambient records and my more folk leaning records are all of the same waters. Some stories we have are held in vibes, and others in melody. Some we can only share in words, weavings, painting, but they are of the same waters. My last record on Eilean Rec was all acoustic as well, still a drone record in my eyes, but just on acoustic guitar. For this record, this was a song I needed to complete, and it only felt complete with the band altogether in this way. The second piece "Deluge", is a reflection of this time, the nostalgia and gratitude for where I've been and where I am now.

Tome: Tell me about your dog Favorite – who has graced so many of your record covers. Has Favorite been a constant in your changing life?

Chaz: Favorite is my shepherd. She came into my life over a decade ago now, and has been my best friend through everything. I can't imagine life without her. She carries my heart in her. Our story is a long and winding river, she is the love of my life, and the best friend to share a taco with. “what a long strange trip it's been...”

Monday, June 25th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Yuki Ame - Bristol, UK based IDM / experimental electronic artist has created a blistering, tripping composition of linear madness. Transposed against some imposing topography, the song and the video image-map themselves on the contour of the brain. Finding tiny crevasses and canyons to burrow into causing synapses to fire in time with the BPM causing involuntary twitching that some people may call dancing. Mainlined into the brain it is difficult to extricate oneself from the internal world created. 

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Devon Welsh - "Vampires"

Former Majical Cloudz frontperson and Montreal resident Devon Welsh has crafted a beautiful ode to fading into a faded love. Plaintive and stark narratives of afternoons that seemed to last forever while stoned and in love. Delicate guitar, organ and even more gossamer production punctuate this gorgeous afterthought. 

Lychnis - "I Love Ashes" 

"I love Ashes" from the album Heaven's Night, is a sedated, slowcrawl through dream pop nocturnal, drugworn that place a languid bass line and voice as the tour guides through the back alleys of some surreal town seized upon by forces beyond our control. 

Fires Were Shot - "A Quiet and a Roaring"

The sound of roaring guitar lines crackling, dying and then decaying into embers of loose-input feedback. Sounds are memories of calloused index fingers scraping across nickel-wound strings. Fires Were Shot are a guitar duo from Austin, TX and their entwining guitar lines exist somewhere between desert prairie expanse and humid post-rain fog.

Mending - "the new house"

Channeling both Eluvium, Hem and Rainer Maria, the Chicago duo create a stirring piece for synth, piano and vocals that meditate on the nostalgia and hope in moving houses as a child. Drifting drones emerge from below the composition and settle into the rafters floating above Kate Adams' golden vocals. 

 

Nick Garcia - "Division Sequence"

"Divsion Sequence" is a gracious dip into a infinitely refracting world of arpeggiated synths and lunar-ascending, granular lines that cast an aural glow similar to the soft-warm light of a cock ready for takeoff. the D.C. producer has crafted something with restraint and real feeling. 

Byungkyu Lee - "Zero Gravity Tiger"

Stereo-panning, electro-acoustic sound-art piece corners and pins you against the floor. The South Korean sound-sculptor has created a highly tactile and Hi-def experiment in re-contextualizing natural sounds by highly abstracted and augmented precision sound creation. 

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Matte Sexwave - "Say No More" the sext4pe

The Cinci-based hyper-prolific songsmith creates swirling sex-positive smooth jams that culminate in a disorienting haze of auto-tune and synthesizers. Shades of pastels and purples create a gauzy filter over 21st century baby-making music. It's hard not to be impressed by Matte Sexwave's singular dedication to a vision and the ultimate distillation of an idea. 

Atlas//Anon - "Xtro" - Demos to Make Sad Love Too Alone

The UK producer’s title of their latest EP is “Demos to Make Sad Love Too Alone”. Parsing out the syntax of that title gets pretty wild, but the sentiment remains the same. Slinky, skittering nocturnal beats made up of drum machines and the augmented human voice create the track’s percussive center, but the emotional undertow assures that this is a nocturnal affair. A sense of unmitigated longing and powerlessness creeping in from the periphery. The reverse imaging of Matte Sexwave’s virility.

Hellas – "Dances" 

Mnemonic minimalism from Danish artists Peter Sabroe and Jeppe Hoi Justesen move from structured, kaleidoscopic composition to an unhinged takeoff towards the last ¾ of the song where percussion takes the lead and propels the track through the last few remaining layers of the atmosphere. It moves from Philip Glass to Popol Vuh in the blink of an eye.

Hanging Valleys – "The Weight" Forteleza

“The Weight”, off the UK duo’s EP Forteleza, is an arresting combination of shimmering guitars and falsetto harmonies. Fighting the tendency to drift off into shoegaze outer space / pure bliss, guitars here retain some dirt-under-the-nails distortion and resonance with their twinned, reverb-drenched melodies undergirding the track.

falsetto boy - "the old road"

Jim Fitzpatrick, who records stirring ambient music under the name Cup Collector, creates sturdy, plaintive folk music as Falsetto Boy. His songs walk well-trod paths to the emotional core of sensitive acoustic-led music in this vein. "The Old Road" does a better job than most in taking our hand and guiding us there. This sweet melancholia is a place we should all visit on a consistent basis. A chance to crack the door open on our sepia-toned memories just make sure they are still there and doing ok. Plus, the ambient guitar sounds were produced and recorded by Madeline Johnston (Midwife).

The Ophelias – “General Electric” Almost (Joyful Noise)

The Cincinnati-based quartet have created an incredibly strong opening salvo from their debut on Joyful Noise in July. Bright piano, staccato vocal lines and Grace Weir’s taught bass line hold back the tension of lyrics that sound like they should be spat through clenched teeth. Spencer Peppet’s cool-headed narration of a relationship defined by the whims of a socially dysfunctional partner seem to signify the position that many women find themselves in as holding the bulk of the emotional labor while still appearing bright, chipper and being what “you fantasize”.  "General Electric" being a source of seemingly endless power. “Almost” is out in July and is poised to be one the year’s strongest indie rock releases.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

On this latest episode of the Tome we dip into ambient music that is both beautiful and tension-filled, free/freak jazz btw of Thollem/Clouser/Chase trio, sedated bedroom experimentalism and then straight into the noise-blasts of Lana Del Rabies before closing out the episode back where we started from. 

David newlyn - "church fires (excerpt)" church fires (polar seas)

When churches catch fire do the plumes of smoke rise like incense? Or can we assume that god let his guard down in protecting private property from communal damage? Either way, David Newlyn's work for his second on Polar Seas is all alight and ascension. Breaking through rafters and snapping wooden beams in its attempt to find release. Subtle shifts in sound like holy ghosts shivering in the fire.  

Hotel Neon - "Unseen Landscapes" Means of Knowing (Archives)

The ambient trio consisting of the Brothers’ Tasselmyer (other coverage includes Gray Acres and Andrew Tasselmyer’s solo output) have released a near perfect ambient record – placid and glacial enough to garner all sorts of SOTL or Kyle Bobby Dunn comparisons while additional instrumental accoutrements  press in from the edges. Distortion-bending tones, human voices, gently plunked piano keys make fleeting, but distinct, appearances until they are pulled back into the creeping fog of drone.

Tapes and Topographies - "Shivers" Opiates (Simulacra)

On the Dallas, TX ambient artist's latest CD aptly titled "Opiates", acoustic instrumentation is pushed well below a thick aural haze only to resurface in strange half-lights of themselves. The very edge of audible contours of the source is heard. Pianos become mechanical clunks, or scrapes of fabric against a contact mic. It's a medicated fuzz that feels like interacting with everything using oven mitts. 

Thollem / Clouser / Chase - "It's a Drab" Dub Narcotic Session II (Personal Archives)

For this followup to their session at Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic studio, the trio are back to covering an insane amount of ground within a relatively short period of time. The trio consists of Thollem - permatour pianist and frequent collaborator of well-known out artists - Todd Clouser - lauded guitarist and total gut-check of technique and tonal mastery - and Brian Chase - drummer, collaborator and member of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. The trio move from spacious, careful treading to pure hive-and-swarm attacks on melody and resonance. I'm so happy that something like this exists. 

Sparkling Wide Pressure - "Staying Awake" In the Stream (Quiet Bedrooms)

Frank Baugh's Sparkling Wide Pressure has been releasing understated bedroom experimentation between hushed, shuffling folk and wildly, self-actualized abstract compositions for the past 10 years. On his latest for the Toronto-based Quiet Bedrooms - Baugh holds both of these aspects of his music in hard tension. Creating soft melodies and allowing his lo-fi experiments of tone, noise and controlled chaos make their incisions into the fabric of the song leading a path towards clear-minded synthesis.

ikjoyce - "pavor nocturnus" selene (naviar records)

The UK based sound-artist and drone-wrangler has created something inherently born and living in the deepest shadows of a moonless night. Not that this crosses any line into "dark ambient" but certainly "Pavor Nocturnus" rides that edge of ambient tones fading into the black instead of an upward celestial pull. It's tension-holding music for sure, a place right between your shoulder blades is where you hold it. 

lana del rabies - "devour" shadow world (deathbomb arc)

There is a viscousness to Lana Del Rabies noise-pop songs. Not so much a vindictiveness but a righteous anc clear-eyed anger that burns through the hole-searing distortion that announces "Devour". North of Cincinnati there is a mall that is 98 % abandoned save a dollar movie theater and arcade and holdout Chinese food restaurant. I was there one night when, unexpectedly, a group of men began to play the shofar in unison. This is the second most dread-inducing introduction I've heard. Lana Del Rabies may be one of the most vital artists working right now. 

Robert Farrugia & Roman Willi - "Chimes" Melting Snow (Mensch)

And to end on a forgiving note we turn to the Malta based ambient artist Robert Farrugia and Switzerland-based Roman Willi. The collaborative album hits right in that sweet spot golden-ratio drone that settles into the air like moisture collects on your skin after a heavy summer rain. We've made it out of abandoned malls and are just starting to head north where the houses are further apart and the trees become thicker.

Monday, June 11th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Berlin-based performance/dance/electronic duo HYENAZ have created a jarring and visceral collaboration between performance and recording with their video for "Proximity". The naked body's contorted movements cut off and segmented from the illusion of fluidity that visual recording gives us. Each movement is captured and displayed independent of one another, our eyes missing crucial information between each glitchy jump cut. Our brain make up for that lost information in what we assume to be a linear fashion until something else disrupts that narrative and we are flung back to a state of pre-processing - where sound and image swim before our senses devoid of context. All that flesh circling but never quite touching each other. Coming into close proximity before being dashed apart by even more flesh, mirrors the way our brains come close to constructing a through-line narrative while unaware of the movement taking place beyond our immediate gaze. An analogy for existing with other people? There's a lot to take in during this glitch banger.

NSFW..Shaking asses.

Friday, June 8th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)