Tome to the Weather Machine Podcast 046

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 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 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. 

December 1st, 2018