It’s been a busy week to the point I’ve completely lost track of time. I woke up in a panic thinking it was Friday (I’m writing this Thursday afternoon) and that I hadn’t put together the Capsule Garden for this week. Thankfully I was wrong and now here we are. Good times.
Staubitz and Waterhouse Common Metals (Self-Released)
Mary Staubitz and Russ Waterhouse have put out a lot of great music and sound through the years, but Common Metals is something different. Comprised almost entirely of unedited field recordings, the metallic hums, sharp drips, and aerated dumpster rumbles bring a banal focus that breeds a lasting connection. Listening to Common Metals, my mind is first drawn to the familiar footsteps and purring engines, but when attention is drawn to the margins, new sound shapes emerge. Background voices become everpresent ghosts and dripping runoff are like pinpricks on skin. Common Metals is tangible and engaging, leaving me thinking about everyday experiences as an often missed opportunity to connect and the overwrought details that take precedence. Listen with intent and Common Metals will open.
Solar Hex Tired Eyes (Arkeen)
Arkeen continues their stellar run with Kaily M Schenker’s ruminative cello explorations as Solar Hex. Time becomes a dust-filled specter across these four prayerful laments. Emotions are pulled like muscle from bone, hanging on for one last chance while tonal daggers circle overhead. Tired Eyes is music for the wary; an anticipation of the brewing storms coming from all directions while determination fades into a background hum. Schenker’s playing is spellbinding, mournful. Each note is a breaking point and each breaking point is an opportunity to give in to the temptation of saying goodbye. Recommended.
Jean-François Primeau Voyages||Subaqua (Mikroclimat)
Inspired (loosely) by different underwater depths, Jean-François Primeau builds interconnected worlds of intricate harshness and beauty. Echoing digital swells grow and attach to the seafloor as bubbling arpeggios zip back and forth through light streams in the water. Glitching blurs fade into the black depths, sending sonar pings as disparate points of light. Drones stretch to the breaking point before circling a metallic drain, turning into humming crystals in the blink of an eye. Primeau’s digitized expanses are wondrous.
Cyparissus Uncovering I: We Scraped the Ozone Thin to Let the Angels In (Self-Released)
Uncovering I is a delight. It’s frenetic and never stops, but it also feels so small and intimate. Electronics dance like interstellar nanoparticles billowing across a rocky beach at midnight. Wood logs become the basis for organic percussive spillage, hopping, and tapping without slowing down across the entire 10-minute piece. It’s surprisingly catchy for a fraught contemplation of the end of the world, but the nervous energy running throughout shines brightest. This is excellent.
Greta Ruth Milk Tooth/Hull (Self-Released)
I loved Greta Ruth’s The Fawn on American Dreams, but these two short pieces offer a new vision of possibility. Entirely built on Ruth’s beguiling vocal incantations, a free spirit spins aloft in the spaces she creates. “Milk Tooth” is an ancient lullaby woven with silver thread as Ruth creates vocal clouds to channel this ageless energy. It’s the sound of heartbreak from the beginning of time. “Hull” softens the blow with a searching determination to watch the sunrise again as enchanting harmonies come together for a brief moment before fading away once more.
Evan Ziporyn Pop Channel (Self-Released)
This set of cover songs from clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporpyn is an absolute delight. From the bouncing whimsy of Blues Image’s “Ride Captain Ride” to the drifting romanticism of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “That’s The Way Of The World” or the fiery hop of EWF’s “Shining Star,” Pop Channel never stops moving. Ziporyn’s arrangements are illuminating and add new dimensions to these classic tunes all while preserving what makes them classics. I swear I’ve been humming “Strawberry Letter 23” all week. Pop Channel is such a heartfelt, wonderful gift.
Mary Lattimore “Moon Over Deetjen’s” (Self-Released)
There are not many sounds in the world that are better than Mary Lattimore playing the harp. “Moon Over Deetjan’s” is a love letter imbued with wistfulness and gratitude. Billowing arrangements flutter like butterflies migrating toward an endless summer. Omnichord waves cushion the restless, sparkling vibrations as they rise and fall like a million tides across eons. Lattimore’s music is always timeless as if it existed in a dimension beyond our comprehension that only she can see and hear. The beauty here is palpable and it’s a gift to us all.
Aaron Burnett Correspondence (Relative Pitch)
It’s no secret how much I love a good solo saxophone album and Aaron Burnett’s Correspondence is just that. Burnett runs the gauntlet flowing from introspective, expressive moments to dizzying, quickfire runs. Forceful phrasings on “Titan” are effervescent while opener “New Age (Matrix)” builds intricate sonic architecture out of lightspeed repetitions and mesmerizing arpeggios. Flitting from emotive exhales to hellbent skronks at the drop of a hat keeps Correspondence moving forward at all times and it’s one hell of a ride.
Michael It’z AMO RE (Shimmering Moods)
A piano twinkles in the distance like a lustrous star in the darkest point of the sky. Beneath, the city comes alive with glitching electronics and romance-infused saxophone expositions bleeding into the sweet aroma of petrichor. Whimsical drones dance through molasses, a slow-motion escapade through diamond-crusted streets. Morning beckons with shimmering reflections cast as twirling reflections against opaque, glowing curtains. AMO RE is a love story in 11 parts; an attempt to reassemble the pieces left behind after the fall.
No Translation rust & remain (A Red Thread)
Emma Palm is at it again, building landscapes from sweeping aural passages. With rust & remain, synths are carried skyward by the desert wind, looking down from the clouds as patches of life blossom in pink and green. Leads send sonic tendrils in all directions, longing for the cool breeze as the sun sets in shades of orange and purple. Night rolls in with grinding turbulence. Frequencies dig further into the sand until the lower layers become a cooling blanket for scorched memories. Repeating sequences bounce between constellations, radio waves from a distant planet searching for the remains of a stoic civilization once thriving in the parched hills. No Translation never disappoints.
Mike Cooper Buy Batteries And Shelter Pets (Room40)
Recorded in late February as Russia began their invasion of Ukraine, these two longform minute pieces show the inimitable Mike Cooper at his most snarly. Two live lap steel excursions where anxiousness is buoyed by anger and futility. Clouds obscure any hope of the sun shining a blaring light on the vermin in the cracks. Buckets of noise are thrown on the fire, fizzing and cracking but with no chance of extinguishing the flames. Grit suffocates the cavernous echoes as Cooper scrapes high-pitched squalls across a pathway of broken glass. Buy Batteries and Shelter Pets is unexpected but screams with needed catharsis.
andPlay & Victoria Cheah A Butterfly On Your Shoulder Into Years And Years To Come (Dinzu Artifacts)
Clarity and intensity walk hand-in-hand on A Butterfly On Your Shoulder Into Years And Years To Come (such a good title). Dissonant strings scratch and swirl like a flock of diseased birds singing a death chorus for their final days. Moments of disquiet fall from blackened tree limbs left behind at dusk, but they heighten the tension with a tactile grace. Long stretches of pensive expulsion slip by in the blink of an eye, weighing us done with high-pitched wails and scoured drones. There are so many different pathways to follow on A Butterfly… that getting lost becomes the entire point. Absolutely stellar.
Carlos Ferreira Before Memories Fade (Aural Canyon)
Fragments of an experience can become a lasting memory if the conditions are right and stars align. Carlos Ferreira distills these pieces into a smooth, glassine expanse where tonal drift sweeps us into new horizons while keeping one eye on the rearview. Emotive guitar arrangements pull us closer and become an invitation to look inward as the glow within grows. A series of beautiful laments cascade against the shore, like waves of another time sent from beyond to meet us in the place we’ve landed. Before Memories Fade is everlasting and free. Ferreira’s music is weightless.
lina tullgren & Alec Toku Whiting Unfamiliar Ceilings (Astral Spirits)
Duets for koto and violin (plus synthesizer on “every finger, an eye”) that sounds like soundscapes from an alien planet. This is tactile music. Rattling hollows are weighed down with stinging howls, digging through layers of roots and bones in search of a sunken treasure. The air is thick, holding tension as tullgren turns their violin into an amplified prism. The dynamic between tullgren and Toku is almost like a ritual where the sounds being conjured are extracted from the soil itself. Glass turns to dust as the forest shakes violently, ready to puncture the heavens with sharpened needles.
Buck Curran Delights and Dangers of Ambiguity (Improvisations 2017 – 2021) (Obsolete)
A collection of oddities from Arborea’s Buck Curran traverses vast landscapes with longing and resolve. “Gemini Sun, Gemini Rising” rises from the smoking ruins with searching guitar lines and golden-hued magic from cellist Helena Espvall. The steel winds itself in intricate shapes, moving in slow motion as the light pierces the gray veil. Curran grinds through stone with stirring leads and howling drones on “Prelude in D Minor” as if he’s awaiting the executioner’s call. “Slow Air” is a lament for our mistakes, thinking of the forked paths we took along the way. This is all quite good.
Seth Andrew Davis Highways Jammed With Broken Heroes (Personal Archives)
Cutting through the radio fog, a prismatic force blasts in through the stagnant ether. Taking inspiration from The Boss’s “Born to Run” (hell yes), Seth Andrew Davis uses a mix of prepared guitar and electronics to create futuristic bubbling soundscapes that teem with sonic life. Stray notes become focal points, like a meteor singing happily as it plummets to the ground. Aqueous pathways rise from a placid lake where waves are metallic and the lights are made from biokinetic material. Echoes are shards of glass reflecting aural pleas for another chance. The dreams cascade away like sand falling through our fingers as we try with all our might to get back to the crystal highway.