Mari Sainio "mountains" 

The Finnish composer Mari Sainio exists between worlds of grand pulls of orchestrated movements for piano and string and electronic compositions that create rich soundscapes that these compositions are bound to as companions. It's not surprising that Sainio has a foot in the composition world for film and television. Her songs seem to inherently track some quiet revelation about one's life - with or without visual accompaniment.

jesse woolston - "what once was" variations vol.1 

Our second track shared by Jesse Woolston is a haunting, tension-filled passage for organ, voice and strings. Grandiose blasts of organ punctuate the cicada buzzing of strings and disembodied vocals that create a nervous noise-floor. Organ lines punch through like a fist through balsa wood - although a much softer analogy probably exists. It's a track to be listened to at full volume - the cathedral thrum of the organ passing straight through your solar plexus. I also love this song because the waveform allows you to track this song without ever listening to a note.

Aquartos - "Sanctum"

Hailing from Ufa, Russia this lite-ambient take on what can be considered muzak - the way that Ulrich Schnauss is often lumped into that category - defies that easy lumping by delivering on some truly unexpected auditory treats that appear in lo-fi hard-panned pluck of an acoustic guitar seemingly dropped in the middle of the mix at the perfect time and multiple strands of concurrent tonal shaping and contouring happening at all times. It's a nice way to spend seven minutes working on a task requiring a fair amount of concentration and need for embellishment.  

Dreissk - "Open Spaces" Threshold (N5md)

Cruising into the open apocalypse with this bruising dark-ambient track by Dreissk. It's hard to imagine a better soundscape to exploring abandoned digital worlds - a job that Dreissk tackles in his other job of soundtracking video games. For this EP for n5md the Seattle based artist rides the edge of swelling, ominous tones, skittering industrial percussion and a sick sense of unease and dread that is difficult to shake.

Pander Sera - "Reset" Bothy

An intensely rhythmic pooling of condensed bursts of brightly colored hypnagogic pop existing in a parallel universe where bands like Aa and Fuck Buttons sold out arenas and pushed the excesses of Kraut-infused psych into the psyches of pre-teens before they tried acid for the first time. The track opens up into a dizzying and expansive birds eye view of Pander Sera's fractured musical selves merging into a single destiny transcending time and space.

Pardans - "burning house bedding"  spit and image (tambourhincerous)

Hoooly shit. These are the Danish No-Wave, Jazz-Punk saviors we've been waiting for. Formed by members of Iceage and Marching Church, this Copenhagen based quintet is all spit and viscera. Blackened eyes and James Chance contortions over a low-end rumble of a baritone sax being played out of a bleeding bass amp. Bad drugs. Bad scene. Everyone's fault. Buy this.

interlingua - "chaleyso" interlingua (villa)

Interlingua is an archaic and process-based project by Italian composer and ritualistic sound researcher Francesco Venturi. With his Interlingua project Francesco goes deep into some liminal space-time through the repetition of occult percussion and pulling sounds out of the electronic ether through analog signal processing. Those low-end rumbles and far-away drones conjure something probably best left sleeping. 

The Death Particle - "In the Empty Lungs of Dying Suns" Tangent Universe EP

Structured like particles around an atom, the players on The Death Particle are woven into and the outward expression of Harold P. Cattie's distinct musical vision. Part post-rock, part jazz ensemble, part eye-of-the-needle-threading neo-classical actualization. Hailing from North Wales, these session players weave a narrative yarn soundtracking the birth and death of a tangent universe burning out in the empty infinite space between star systems. It's a complex and compelling piece highlighting a locked in group and grand sonic architecture. 

Friday, August 17th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Dean Valentine "A Thin Place" Ventricular Beats

Valentine is an in demand composer for films. His work has appeared in major Hollywood films like Dunkirk, Interstellar and The Martian. For "A Thin Place", Valentine zooms in from wide-screen grand gestures to focus on tension-release of this stirring electro-acoustic track. Focused on the piano's natural and augmented reverb, "A Thin Place" builds gradually to several points of natural tension and ebbing release. Recorded while working on the film "Tiger Raid" these moments of constricting and expanding shift our focus from the micro to macro in a seamless flow.

Neil Athale "This is Home" Oscillate EP

A moving composition that hangs on the delicate interplay between guitar and piano melodies that are braided together over swelling strings and electronic harmonics. Athale has created a momentary respite from encroaching life demands. These little acts of grace add up over time. 

Alessandro Paganelli "Cosmos" Nebula

A stirring neo-classical track from German composer Alessandro Paganelli's upcoming album Nebula out on 08.24. The track moves from grace to grace, weaving strings and piano around each other like a spinning loom. It's easy to get swept up in the grandeur, tension and resolution of this stately composition. 

Mending "Alan at Emma's Cradle" We Gathered at Wake Robin Hollow

Think of the EP We Gathered at Wake Robin Hollow: Chapter 1 as the introduction to the drone-folk equivalent of In Search of Lost Time. Mending will release a 40-hour, 40-song cycle released between the months of August 2018-December 2019. Think of Mending as a cross between Riceboy Sleeps, Hem and Marcel Proust. Gorgeous piano melodies and aching drones underscore a sweeping family drama that starts here. In Odena. We will check back in frequently.

Un.a "Aggregate" 

UN.a is a dizzyingly complex and precise Japanese duo that create tailspinning, twisting and turning neo-classical compositions that race through beautiful fragments only to stop on a dime and launch us head first into a dexterous run that leaves us out of breath and anticipating the next tempo change or complete stylistic front-flip.

Horthy Kristof "Disorder"

Heavily pawed synths and pitch-shifting drones punctuate this gorgeous track by the Hungarian experimental artist. There is a constant sense of motion that pulls this track through the needles eye of warbled, augmented ether-reality. It's a sun-warped VHS tape played backwards through a staticy TV in a stuffy house. 

 

summhow "carne" Crash_Reports (n5md)

A highly engaging mix of cracked, crashed electronics falling over each other like a drum machine pushed down the stairs with surging ambient tones filling in the middle-frequencies until they gather like the inky green clouds before a tornado and over take the entire track. The swirling arpeggios picking up whatever is not bolted down. Tie your belt to the radiator. It's the big one. 

Submotile "Tailspin"

I love this classic shoegaze track from the Irish band Submotile. A wonderful throwback to Ride and early Place to Bury Strangers. It's a fist-in-the-air, both feet crushing pedals type of anthem that buries itself under the weight of its own input. This isn't a sleight. The best shoegaze has strong enough melodies that are only just barely able to peek through the sheer miasma of sound being pushed from every conceivable inch of space.

 

Esbie Fonte "Pico & Westwood" 

Lost love lives without memories of narrative arc. It is less well-worn VHS copy of a romantic comedy burned into our brains from watching it 12 times in a row, but rather a disjointed flash of non-sequiturs that signified high endorphin rushes our body gets from experiencing novelty. Cooking dinner in tiny apartment kitchens. Dancing in alley ways. Falling asleep passenger side on long car drives. Esbie Fonte captures the way recall these fragmented scenes perfectly in her new shoegazey pop-song.

Caesar Nixon "Spaceman" Bliss (self-released)

I remember picking up Bright Eyes Collection of Songs and on the CD is this negative review of the album where the writer wondered how many of these bedroom recordings existed in the world, where when feeling sad, hopeful or distressed were dashed off after listening to Violent Femmes or Elliott Smith. We are in a completely new era where "bedroom" recordings can mean professional sounding EDM. Caesar Nixon's song "Spaceman" retains the true spirit of the bedroom recording. Hushed as if trying not to disturb housemates, audible hiss from a 4-track and still a song composed while feeling sad, hopeful and distressed. This time with a whole decade of Midwestern emo washout and revival influencing the recordings. Beautiful stuff. 

foxhole "noble scales" well kept thing  (Burnt Toast VInyl)

Louisville 90's post-hardcore was identifiable as it was hard to pin down. Somewhere between sheer brawny muscle of bands like Evergreen and Crane and the brainy and frustrated Rodan and Squirrel Bait came a distinctive sound that became a spiritual cousin to Chicago's bleaker and more eggheaded misanthropic post-punk and post-rock. The memory Jason Noble, who this track is named after, has his mitts all over this track by the Bowling Green revivalists, Foxhole. It's a heady, mathy and ultimately fist-in-the-air triumphant ode to a spirit that defined a time and place. 

Friday, August 10th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

In this podcast we move from pastoral folk and drone, to music concrete, to experimental dives into metal, industrial and end on some beautiful Czech hip-hop. It's a trip.

 

 

Clara Engel – “My Whole Life Too” Eleven Passages (Polar Seas Recordings)

Clara Engel returns to Polar Seas Recordings with eleven works for solo guitar. These songs follow Loren Connor’s legacy of pulling in resonance from a relatively limited resources, seemingly gathering lush overtones and swirling drones from the heavy moisture of morning humidity. In fact, like Loren Connors this is a perfect morning record – lucid-dreamstate lingering, pre-coffee ritual for tired adults.

Curt Oren – “Of Course / I Will Protect You” For Sam, Forever Ago (Already Dead Records)

I don’t think I was quite prepared for the emotional impact this record would have on me. This record, and more explicitly, “I Will Protect You” was written for Curt’s companion Sam, his family’s dog that passed away two years ago. It’s within this premise, a totemizing of the pure and good companionship of a dog, that Oren is able to make sense of and process the violence of common existence and the uncommon ramping up of attacks on the unfulfilled promises of protected civil liberties. So, hug your pups if you have them.

Casino vs. Japan "Marching into the Blinding Sun" Suicide by Sun (Self-Released)

Erik Kowalski has been producing music under the name Casino vs. Japan for 20 years. In those 20 years CvsJ's output has mutated and shifted by release, but for his fans (this one included) his power lies in creating narcotic drifts of reverbed-out guitar tones ducking in and out of waves of soft drones like a gull hunting fish. These short songs aren't fragments, rather they are moments when ideas are struck, rec. goes red and these structures spill out of Kowalski's guitar and pedal arrangement.

Kenji Kihara – “Nagi” Scenes of Scapes (Inner Islands)

Based out of Horiuchi, Japan, Kenji Kihara’s compositions are built upon the relationship he has with the mountains and wooded landscapes surrounding Horiuchi. Moving from deep listening to the sounds that create this ambient noise floor to a conversation between them and Kihari’s affecting synthesizer work, “Nagi” is embedded with the sounds of a give-and-take, between human and non-human sounds. A perfect summer evening listen.

North Atlantic Drift – “Formations” Departures Vol 2 (Sound in Silence)

The second volume of the Toronto-based duo composed of Brad Deschamps and Mike Abercrombie critically acclaimed “Departure” series finds the revisiting familiar ground – weaving rhythmic drones through gradually shifting tonal structures to create sonic architecture that bends and sways with every current. A towering obelisk of song swaying against a greyed coast.

Sound Awakener "In the Garden" Monochrome (Elm Records)

Inspired by a series of black and white photographs, Sound Awakener aka Nhung Nguyen from Hanoi, Vietnam, transcribed each photos visual presence into 4 highly expressionistic pieces built from highly augmented and manipulated field recordings. Her droning sounds hang in the air like thick humidity right after a rainstorm. Omnipresent yet so full of life.  

Kee Avil "thinkstill" Kee Avil EP (Black Bough Records)

Kee Avil's experimentation with extended technique, elastic voice,  flurry of pedals and improvised guitar passages are put to the service of creating an incredibly exciting and challenging form of experimental pop that corral all of these ideas into a three song EP that covers a large amount of ground. It's pop if you squint your ears just enough. It's thoroughly experimental and one of the most original voices I've heard in quite some time. 

Charles Barabe "Mouvement IV" De la fragilite (Astral Spirits Records)

Representing a new leaf in Barabe's towering discography of cassette releases. These new "mouvements" are exciting compositions that flit and occupy, stand still and hit warp all within the same breath. Music Concrete, modern composition and electro-acoustic call-and-response are all at play here in what will be seen as an important move in Barabe's contributions to modern experimental music. 

Marcia Custer "Brad's Ghost" Stacey's Spacey (Unifactor Tapes)

"Presented as a flowing narrative that encompasses everything from bursts of throbbing industrial grit to a cheery, chipmunk-toned conversation with a personified keyboard named Barb La Croix, Stacey’s Spacey shines with Marcia Custer’s unquestionable magnetism as a vocalist, her sublime timing as a comedian, and her wild tonal sensibilities as a noise head."

obnox "Gotta keep fighting" templo del sonido (astral spirits)

What possessed Astral Spirits to approach Bim Thomas to do a "free-jazz" record must have been some courageous trickster spirit with a keen sense for subversion. Obnox's free-jazz contribution to Astral Spirts shining oeuvre is something to behold. References to Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp and Sightings are all appropriate touchstones here. It's a beautiful, confounding, accusatory but ultimately hopeful piece of work.

Mukqs "Ramel Cycle" Slug Net (Unifactor Tapes)

Maxwell Allison of Good Willsmith's "Ramel Cycle" is a work out of rock and metal instrumentation ran through a self-aware blender. The track, which belies any sense of rhythmic track, still moves through power-chords, riffs, fills with a movement guided by an internal GPS that may look like its twitching alone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but instead is showing us a new portal to Atlantis. That's Mukqs.

Hate Colours "Know Nothing" Know Nothing (armellodie)

The Berlin-based industrial/noise group known as Hate Colours create a disquieting, stuttering blend of Throbbing Gristle, NIN and Aaron Dilloway. It's a completely disorienting trip through disturbing wrong turns into killing fields and possessed towns. If you are or were a fan of any of those groups this group should scratch an itch you didn't realize you had. 

Lashes "want/need" sub (Self-Released)

Comprised of Cincinnati artists Marisa Sermet (Lipstick Fiction) and Patrick Apfelbeck (Hissing Tiles, Butt) Lashes is an uncompromisingly heavy sludge-fest of super downtuned bass, rattling low-end, mic'd snare hits and uncontested rage. Lashes picks up on the promise of bands like Drose, The Melvins and Battle of Mice to create a menacing palate of true-gloom. Death to all false gloom. 

Lisaj "Roudno" Mezina (Genot Centre)

We end with some incredibly lush, lo-fi hip-hop from the Czech Republic. Lisaj's new tape on Prague's Genot Centre cements the label as one of the most well-curated and forward thinking labels in the game. Starting with aviary field samples, the slight groove becomes more deeply etched as it accumulates more and more sound. Ambient passages assemble on top of each other until Lisaj's understated flow cuts through. Perfectly crafted mood music. 

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

ocoeur - "Embers" inner (n5md)

The French composer's latest for the always-trusted label N5MD is a cerebral journey through a tonally shifting landscape that moves from surging drones and placid ambient tones to low-end shaking sub-bass that accumulates sound so gradually that it is hard to remember that this leaden heaviness wasn't always part of the songs superstructure. Highly recommended if you FW dark ambient, SURVIVE, Denovali records.

blair ellair "attn.:" dist. (self-released)

Gentle ripples of synths that have just enough warble and vibrato to sound as if they were coming from a Church organ from some Minneapolis inner-ring forgotten Methodist church. The pastor's kid finding god in Eno and Budd sits down and lets those sustained notes rattle off the formica countertops, waxed wooden pews and right past the Lord's impassive ears.

simon pianta "pinky pops" gradations (rejan records)

The last song on Pianta's exploratory solo alto saxophone record is an irresistible arrangement of looped passages and languid, soothing improvisations through a variety of guitar pedals. The Melbourne-based artist has crafted something of great beauty and an easy entry point to some of the greats to explore modulation, phrasing and layered lines.

unhappybirthday - "sou" schaum (tapate records)

It's been sometime since being smitten by the German trio's 2015 album that came out on Night People. Time has sanded the edges a bit, boosted the fidelity and filled out the band's nervous, jangly sensibilities to a much more polished and sophisticated exploration of urbane post-punk of the 80's - referencing touchstones such as The Blue Nile, Japan and Berlin. "Sou" comes replete with a narcotic hooks that create an atomosphere of wonder and unease.

Listen here.

dismal thinkings - "modesto" blanketfort (self-released)

Perennially bummed and overly caffeinated, this young Seattle trio has crafted a downcast minor-chord banger drawing cues from the linear focus and ear for melody of Duster - a band that I would love to see more invoked - and the maudlin atmospherics of another favorite Seattle band Red Star Theory. It's a promising start from some art school kids from Rat City. 

Monday, July 30th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

 

On our latest dive into experimental music from around the world we move from the warbled and droney, to retro-futurist vamps of Ross Khmil and Forma, to Japanese psych-metal and scuzzed-out noise-rock from Baltimore. We end with a trio of cathartic pop songs and a final sweet send off into the night.

bitter fictions - "Morning bow Memorial" disagreements (shaking box music)

Devin Friesen's early morning devotional music eases us in with a simple and sturdy guitar riff that eventually bows to droning overtones and golden shafts of bent sound filtering in like morning sun through heavy curtains. 

Andreas Brandal - "Vanishing and Beginning Again" Andreas Brandal/Mike Nigro (Tandem Tapes)

On this split between the Norwegian sound artist Andreas Brandal and NYC artist and Oxtail Recordings owner and proprietor Mike Nigro, both immerse themselves in worlds where the organic and the synthesized are blended together until reality is a floating point carried away on the next sine wave.

tender crust - "ghost river 20th century (excerpt)" the earth's axis and hare (oxtail recordings)

Made up of Gretchen Korsmo, Carl Ritger and Andrew Weathers, Tender Crust is the supergroup we didn't know we needed. Close approximations and total hive-mind meltdowns are happening in spades here. Electronics, synthesizers, guitars and voice all are held in positive tension with one another, suspended in air like heavy water particles on humid days. 

Evan Miller - "290 (excerpt)" Two Places (Personal Archives)

Evan Miller, who is 1/2 of the Dayton percussion duo Neutrals, has created a lovely tape full of drawn-out and droning overtones, field recordings and non-traditional percussion that moves like a super-tanker through icey water. A conceptually rich and expertly crafted piece of music.

Ross Khmil - "Ultra Recall 1993" Suburban Lights (Hellscape)

Ross Khmil, the Kiev-based sound artist, is a retro-futurist electronic producer recreating sounds of a past he never lived through. Tron-cylces across a neon grid that is oozing and breaking down from within through a vicious malware infection. Detroit's Hellscape has captured the young musician in his element, pushing a vision of decay and pure light in a forever augmented world.

Forma - "Three-Two" Semblence (Kranky)

"It just feels...good" I'm going to side with my buddy TENTHisle here and recommend that you vibe with this. Their second for Kranky, the Brooklyn trio have created a tense, terse and laser-focused album full of pointilist beats, playful, light-dancing melodies that bob and weave through each track and sustained, droning overtones. Kranky has had an unbelievable year, this continues that winning streak. 

Qujaku - "ZyouK (exceprt)" Qujaku (So I Buried)

Take a deep breath in before appraoching this. Some of the heaviest Japanese psych/stoner metal/noise-rock I've heard in a really, really long time. Hands down one of the heaviest of the year. Take this in if you've ever fucked with Monster Magnet, Shellac, Burning Brides or Boris

Blood on the Mercy Seat - "I Love Jesus Like A Good Catholic Girl Does (excerpt)"  S/T (Sara Laughs)

Baltimore's Blood on the Mercy Seat is everything you love in a good noise band, ear splitting high end provided by some viciously out of tune strings, start and stop percussion that eventually run so many red lights that they become a whirr of metal and shards of glass a completely unhinged front person screaming empty threats into broken payphones outside of Walgreens at 3AM. Fucked and free. 

Denver May Williams - "Lost Out Here" Lost Out Here (Self-Released)

It's always great to hear new pop from premium droner braeyden jae. Everything is perfectly askew. A late-70's Nashville-burnout country strummer underneath the influence of some gorgeous tonal rock-slides, edge-riding distortion and pitter-patter electronic percussion. It's a quick, damaged masterpiece. 

Binary Marketing Show - "Daydream (I Cannot)" Short-Term Fix for a Long Term Death (Already Dead)

A crowning jewel in Already Dead's lo-fi bummer pop is Portland's Binary Marketing Show. That chorus, "I Cannot Begin to Understand" leaves me with an inexplicable lump in my throat every time. Looped vocals and electronic percussion make up the sturdy bones of this short but powerful statement of being overwhelmed, overanxious but ready to take on life with the determination of a powerlifter pulling a semi-truck by their teeth.  

Two Meters - "Left Behind" S/T EP (Very Jazzed/Frenchkiss)

Boca Raton musician Tyler Costolo in an ode to being left in the wake of a loved ones passing and trying to gather all of the unspooled effects of someone who was here and left everything but their body. It explodes in the middle of the track into a swelling burst that recontextualizes the central refrain's tiny melody into a mantra for remaining alive.

Soft Felt -"Easy" Still (Self-Released)

And we end on a nocturnal solo-piano piece by Soft Felt. It's a soft and fitting coda for this hour of music. Bye.

Friday, July 20th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

wolfelt - "loree lane" settling/unsettled

Creating fractured beatscapes out of samples recorded while moving houses/transitioning lives, Settling/Unsettled is a warm, organically pieced-together EP that lives and breathes in the dusty corners of empty rooms that contain the shadow of furniture that was never supposed to be moved, out of tune pianos in living rooms and creaking floorboards shifting under unsteady weight. The Baltimore native has created instrumental pastiches that recall Baths warm sound palate and is reminiscent of early 2000's .anticon/morr music.

anton kochergin - "home"

A gorgeous slice of minimalist piano work from this young Russian composer. An inherently nostalgic, reverbed-out piano line becomes more sparse and more profound as it hits and recedes as soon as the electronic percussion pushes the momentum of the track forward. A nice little dynamic shift that opens the entire track up making it a uniquely blissful listen. 

Tasmansea - "Lidded" 

Decaying synthesizers are transmitted from some underground bunker in a rapidly thawing tundra. the result, coming from this Canadian composer, is an elliptical, highly mutable track that runs through mountainous builds and deep crevasses of sound - never quite settling in one place for long.

Sreym Hctim - "Lint Roller"

Mitch Myers - formerly of Peace Arrow and Tome favorites Hear Hums - has embarked on a kaleidoscopic, noisy, highly lyrical and slightly terrifying solo project that turns erstwhile Brooklyn hypnagogic pop into a mutated, two-headed infant - gagging and lolling to a mathy time signature while coughing up glitter to the clinking, clanking auxiliary percussion. It's a trip you want to take. Sans airbags and rear view mirrors.

former lakes - "dream swamp" It's Fine

"Approximation rock" is what Former Lakes call their lo-fi, downcast songs. I would say that is a pretty accurate tag for 99% of all of the indie rock I am drawn to. Looking through my bandcamp collection, it strikes me that for first time we have a fossil record of all the mutations that almost gave us that evolutionary edge to adapt to our new surroundings. Those subtle changes that just about made the cut. These approximations, this cozying up to, but never fully embracing the forms of a genre are responsible for some of the most beautiful, sad and beautifully sad moments I've come across. "Dream Swamp's" lo-fi rattle, omnipresent distortion and buzz hold the feeling, but never the exact shape.

parrot dream - "light goes (in mines)"

Parrot Dream creates lush Dream Pop that hovers just below the red in everything but Christina Appel's full-throated delivery. Athletic synth and guitar lines lap each other in an ever-ascending builds towards bliss. Parrot Dream is very much in the canon of mid-2000's Dream Pop such as Beach House and Wild Nothing, and like those groups feel confident shading the gravitational pull to the ethereal with dark hues of crimson red.

talent show - "dead in the ground"

To rattle through your deepest existential fears and nameless angst armed with power chords and an ear for channeling all of that through the wailing power-pop whose sound references everything from the Small Faces to the Buzzcocks to...The Murder City Devils is a coping skill we should all aspire to. Hartlepool UK's James Leonard Hewiston takes us through a litany of fears and doubts with whiplash speed and whipcrack smarts. 

interpol - "the rover" marauder (matador)

16 years into a career requires some ritual cleansing. In this video directed by Gerardo Naranjo, Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays a burgeoning cult-leader who, newly imbued with cryptic powers, storms a press conference being live-streamed in Mexico City and has an encounter with Paul Banks that caught reporters unawares. Whatever happened there worked. A band that functions on equal parts exhaustion and wonder enters 2018 sounding re-energized and full of clarity of purpose. 

Friday, July 20th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

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)