Tristan Welch is a Washington, D.C. based guitarist and experimental musician who has been on my radar for some time. On His latest anti-work, anti-capitalist manifesto, Welch combs through ever-ascending guitar lines asking us to consider the usefulness of spending most of our lives dedicated to something we try desperately to escape from. While taking a workman’s approach of tonal construction, there is no drudgery in this collection. 


Andarctica represents another stunning ambient longplayer for the Toronto-based Polar Seas Recordings. Featuring washes of droning strings tuned to some kind of celestial governance, these heavily processed tonal passageways gently lap over one another for the entirety of the track’s 14 + minute running time. Recorded throughout are subtle shifts in timbre and cadence charting a course to whole new musical worlds once the track’s path is nudged a bit. 


In this EP-length track, the Polish experimental artist harnesses the human voice, frantically bowed string, feedback and harsh noise to create a teetering and ever-shifting tower of noise. Situated somewhere between Pedestrian Deposit, Jenny Hval and Goslings, this stirring and unsettling composition is a slow build into intensity, and from intensity to fuck-all abandonment and sheer expressive ego. Lovely work. 


On “Joy for Me” the enigmatic Swedish artist swims in the decaying tones of deep and sweet synth lines that match the rich timbre of her Cocteau Twins inspired voice. Lost in the late-night haze of – lit by vickers in the church of loneliness – these ever-ascending lines find their way up through the rafters and float out across a lonely cityscape. 


The Los Angeles duo wrap dark melodies sung between a baritone and distant lilt and swampy low-end electronic synths around a warbled acoustic guitar, creating a slowburn simmer of a song detailing a love on a delayed path. Towards the songs finale these elements mirror each other, both tracing an ascending line out of the fire and into the low-heavens.


Deer MX is a Mexican post-industrial band based out of Hong Kong. This cultural and musical diaspora is evident in the displacement and rage seething out of this heavily distorted industrial kick and intensity of the vocals sung in rallying cadence towards, marshallin gthe track to its thunderous locked-groove that explodes into a fiery clarion call to the post-apocalyptic dance floor.


Named after an island off the coast of Greenland the duo comprised of Sergio Calzoni and Andrea Bellucci is anchored by the slow and unfolding rhythm of colliding icebergs and punctuated with icy winds of droning synth passages and deeply felt bass undertow. Released on John Hopkins’ The Ambient Zone, this duo’s dedication to craft, powerful sound-sculpting and careful attention to pacing has prompted several repeat listens. 


Given the tracks name and its proximity in time to the mass-shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, the already elegiac “Pulse” is presented with a bit more gravitas. Long sustained tones with a seeming infinite resonance set the pacing and the tonal backbone for weeping strings and electronic fragments swirling below the perceptive surface of the track. Beautiful and timely.


Setting its controls for the heart of the sun, this motorik track by the Greek musician Touboura features an ever-progressing rhythmic template that gathers in intensity until it takes a hard stop and sharp pivot into airy synthscapes before picking the beat up again. This single is off the album “I Died So Many Time I became Immortal” on Pikap records. 


Crafting skittering, halting beats under a thick pall of droning synthesizers, the duo of Duglo and Albemarle expose a surging fluctuating world of sound beneath of disembodied and de-contextualized human voices without doing much to disturb the tranquil upper layer of droning overtones and deep pulls of strings and synthesizers . 


On her latest solo piano output the Swedish composer has crafted a sturdy and somewhat somber piece of notes clustered together that, while light and ethereal, are substantial enough to hang heavy in the air like visible condensation. “Mist” is another beautiful track from this rising star in the realm modern composition / neo-classical music. 


“Triptych I+II” is a slowly unraveling track that begins with Lotte Pen’s unadorned saxophone alone in the wilderness. The track begins to accumulate more and more distinctive movement as instrumentation such as harps and a various smattering of electronic percussion and effects are folded into the mix creating a dazzlingly complex crescendo of modes and melodies gripped tight around each other in an ever constricting return to the center.


Looking at this photo it is easy to imagine this being some kind of Blade Runner near-dystopia  style set. A closer look roots it very much in our time and place. Likewise, the music of Digital Moss paints a dystopian otherness across a steadily intensity-increasing composition that ratchets up the dis-ease and tension from drone to pulse-pounding synth work to sheets of digital white noise. RIYL: Lawrence English, Tim Hecker.

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