Private Elevators - First Feelings
Adrian Knight was one of 2014's most intriguing artists. Pictures of Lindsey was a perfectly self-effacing appropriation of innocuous sitcom interlude/opening credits that was adventurous in its exploration of the facile, churning out funny, touching and ultimately affirming situational pieces in the process. Turns out, Adrian Knight and musical partner Matthew Evans, turn down for beautiful ambient music composed of decaying tones and elegant ascending and descending three-note lines. A lot of ambient music seems to operate on the process of finding the golden middle of tones and stretching them into infinite streams of light with no sense of creation or extinction. "First Feelings" has much of those effused drones sustaining the hour + tape, however, the most emotionally resonant aspects are the peaks and valleys where fingers press down heavily on synthesizers to create simple running lines that cut through the ambrosia-thick drones and then peter out and die with the elegance and somberness of a William Basinski-style tape death.
Forest Management - Sharper Focus
Sharper Focus, along with 2015's Encounter are engrossing, enveloping nighttime/early morning records. Sharper Focus relies on slow, building movements that increase in intensity and tension until reaching the quietest of apexes. With this on in the background or low volume, you probably won't get it, however, close listens reveal the ponderous mechanical motions of heavily pawed piano chords with distinctive cresting and resolution. Much of the record does, however, exist in those disorienting moments when you slowly come out of some deep REM-cycle sleep and the edges of familiar things are blurred and slightly out-of-place that persist well into the first cup of coffee. With this warm, somatic soup serving as a baseline, those distinctive movements stand out in sharp relief.Transcribed onto tape these dream-like passages become a bit more grounded in the physical realm, however, with a majority of the tension being resolved in the subconscious.
Tropical Rock - 3 Lewej
Tropical Rock is a collaboration between Kathleen Baird - whose work with Spires that in the Sunset Rise we've gushed over - and Camilla Padgitt-Coles (Ivy Meadows). The two explore some marshy, magical worlds through improvisation with Baird on the Casio PX800 and Padgitt-Coles on the Tenori-On. The result is an airy, spacious field of clanging, chiming tones and playful melodies that embed themselves deep into your neural pathways. Many solely improvised works are cloistered experiences. Albums to experience all at once - a celebration of spontaneity and connection. 3 Lewej was a tape I found myself coming back to over and over again. It may have been the novelty of the Tenori-On, an instrument I've heard referenced to, but never on full-display. More than anything it is those moments of undeniable genius that find the two musicians in total synchronicity with each other. Strange-yet-familiar tones settling in comfortably next to one another like they've known each other for years. The result is unmistakable and hard to shake.