The Helsinki-bred producer has crafted a track with “Surya” that dips in and out of several modes and traditions within electronic music like some kind of multi-storied dance club hosting multiple floors and chill out rooms. Ambient textures and tones are picked up and whisked off by a deconstructed acid house beats and UK funky bass line. It’s these kind of chance encounters and cross pollination that make “Surya” such a beguiling beautiful track.


Recorded as an interpretive arrangement to Wagner’s prelude to Lohengrin, the Olympia-based cellist and electronic artist. Taking on this piece armed with a cello and electronics, Bortnichak’s cello takes on a multitude of musical voices – from harp-like plucking to sharp stabbing loops, to bucolic bowing that overtakes the composition with its commanding voice and timbre, dipping, at times into distortion and heavy amplification. It’s a journey. 


The solo percussionist / improviser’s latest tape out on Chicago’s excellent Lurker Bias is an exercise in restraint and fuck-all sensory overload. Slowly building an impressive arsenal of percussive noises and subtle electronics that move quickly from idea to idea, pausing briefly before another pummeling wave beats upon us, the last 30 seconds are marked by almost inhuman speed and precision impressing even the most skeptical normie who rolls their eyes at “improvised percussion”. 


This shit hits so hard. Female fronted screamo arising from the grimiest Chicago basement and D.I.Y spaces. Taking cues from Raein, Moss Icon, Jerome’s Dream – “Mason Kid” tackles heavy themes with an appropriate amount of despondency and resolve – moving from chaotic, jittery riffs to cathartic slower passages wherein Nina Palumbo’s raspy bark is buoyed by a haunting, distant sung melody only to sell it all in a maelstrom of tremolo twin-guitar climax. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year. 


The anonymous Blood Cultures dip into bouncy, infectious midi territory bringing back bands like Sealings and Salem that seemed poised to take over a post-internet world. “Best For You” blends those chopped melodies with overdriven, in-the-red synths, live drums and processed vocals. A shimmering, warped slice of weirdo pop that comes with its own manifesto. 


God-Damn if this country-tinged slowcore isn’t some of the most transportive and objectively sad music created by humans. Heavy comparisons to Jason Molina notwithstanding, “Left Your Smile’s” most endearing qualities lie in its earnest but unadorned sweetness of its composition and drummer Indigo De Souza’s croon matching the slide guitar mournful whistle. Bask in this ramshackle glory. 


Ema Shah is a Kuwait-based pianist who creates deeply felt, impressionistic solo piano work that communicates a deep sense of longing and romance. While known for her vocal-driven performance, “First Kiss” is taken from her 4th solo piano work that contemplates romance on a broad scale – as a worldview as well as a fleeting moment between two people.

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“Familiarity” is the newest track from Minneapolis based Charles Bartels. As the first few piano notes spill into the audio field they do so with uneasy grace and poise. Running parallel to these tiny fragmented melodies are counter melodies run through glorious decay of a cassette tape giving up the ghost, oceanic bass lines that emerge slowly and swelling tonal shifts that engulf and recede on gilded air.


Between lapping major chords, decaying electric guitars and higher register drones, the distant human voice haunts this track as the composition eventually finds a deep-under-the-floorboards pulse of a 4-4 house beat. This focus on vocal composition as a leavening influence on the entire track as everything slowly drifts apart in a beautiful self-destruction act is a beautiful and necessary counterweight. 


Writing music as a note to self. “I Freeze Up” is a reflection on times when we are paralyzed by our choices. The young producer’s weaving of ambient passages through sparse piano and wordless human voice provides a space that opens to us wherein we can collect ourselves and remember to breathe. Perfectly paced with slowly building intensity, “I Freeze Up” is an auspicious start.


The second single from Trentemøller’s upcoming 2019 album, “In the Garden” is a guitar forward track that pairs Trentemøller’s compressed, warbled guitars with Lina Tullgren’s vocals and the dry-birch snap of electronic drum pad percussion. It’s a move that pays off for the Copenhagen-based musician recalling acts like Lali Puna and The Notwist.


A Balearic soak in a nighttime swimming pool of gentle synth leads, chopped midi melodies, stuttering and distorted beats, Ryan Helsing retuns with another standout single that rides the blurred and faded line of several different electronic sub genres that coalesce and settle only to be blown apart and put back together. 

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