ALICE HUBBLE - "RUBY FALLS"
Inspired by Ruby Falls in Chatanooga, Tennessee, the UK based synth-artist displays an impressive sense of grandeur and composition on her latest single. Hubble’s work is indebted to early synth pioneers with her locked in groove of Kraftwerk, ever-ascending melodies of Silver Apples and otherworldly tones reminiscent of Pauline Oliveros, Hubble isn’t a revivalist, however. Her compositions stand in a line of sound obsessed synth explorers.
THE WARP / THE WEFT - "DEAD RECKONING"
The Poughkeepsie psych-folk quartet come roaring out of the gates like a step-child of Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex and Florida’s Holopaw with their lead single from “Dead Reckoning”. Shane Murphy’s vibrato rich vocals lead the group’s smoke-ascending guitar lines and sparse bass through stark poetic / political lyrics that reflect back, without much remorse, on our culture left in the dust.
GUST RECORDER - "THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT"
Gust Recorder is the solo ambient/post-rock/post-metal project of the Moscow based Ilya Sizov. “the Winter of Our Discontent” unfolds like a slow motion panic attack. There is anticipation, foreboding but the object of all that anxiety is never quite made clear. Through the track’s 11 minute run time it deconstructs the traditional crescendos of post-rock by dragging them through darkly ambient and slower tempo sludge.
LISTENER DEPLETED - "TROUT MASK DUPLICATE"
Philadelphia ambient artist Listener Depleted is one of those tactile ambient artists who does not try to mask or obscure their creative process. On the brilliantly named “Trout Mask Duplicate” you get a heavy sense of the movement in each pass of the magnetic tape looping, slowly modulating and decaying. The sense that the source is unspooling away from its creator. Finding new paths of resonance etched in echo.
TWYN - "RAVANA"
Listening to the first 30 seconds of “Ravana” does not prepare you for what this song actually is. Beginning with some astute synth arpeggios that would sound effortless in any post-IDM / flirting with EDM producer, that easy introduction is quickly ripped to shreds with the introduction of Aaron Glueckauf’s live jazz drumming. From there the track veers solidly into outer space resembling a Soft Machine track more than an EDM producer. The closest comparison is Makaya McCraven’s explorations into the intersections between dance and jazz
PÉTRA (ANENON + CHANTAL CHADWICK) - "AUNIS"
This collaboration between Anenon and Chantal Chadwick was performed, written and recorded on the volcanic island Nisyros off the coast of Greece. “Aunis” is built around a heavily modulated synth melody that incorporates distorted washes of noise and ethereal melodies to create a track that lives in the intersection of various extremities. It’s a delicate balancing act that pays off mightily.
INDIRA VALEY - "STRAIGHT ARROWS"
Indira Valey’s “No Me Tengas Miedo” was one of my favorite albums of 2018. It’s compositions grew from tiny vocal loops into grand, sweeping gestures that felt fully formed and spiritually lived in. On Valey’s 2019 offering they incorporate those same lush vocal loops but with an eye to a more narrative form expression. Fans of Julianna Barwick, Circuit des Yeux and Ian William Craig should take note. “Straight Arrows” goes straight for the heart.
ECHODRONE - "WINTER"
If you are going to title your track after a whole-ass season it certainly helps when your song is a 16 minute post-rock opus that dwells in cold caves and driving snow bursts of feedback and distortion. “Winter” climbs many peaks and valleys: from grand vistas of keyboard led melodies to pummeling post-metal dirges of lament and seasonal affective disorder. “Winter” always seems to be in pursuit of that next massive, sell-all crescendo.
Электрические сады репталов - "Мохообразные"
According to the press releases this track is dedicated to the “biological characteristics of arctic cryptogamic organisms from Svalbard archipelago. Specifically, this composition is dedicated to bryophytes.” This is house plant ambient taken to its most extreme. The Russian composer utilizes vintage synths and drum machines to create playful melodies and stirring beat patterns. I am sure the bryophytes approve.