Busy, wild week here with Jon Mueller in town (go see him perform Afterlife Cartoons if you have the opportunity over the coming weeks. It’s absolutely transcendent), but there’s always time to talk about some fantastic new music. Dig in.
Natalia Beylis tinch (Self-Released)
Count me in for anything Natalia Beylis is doing. tinch is a beautiful, spacious piano improvisation inspired by and dedicated to a little white cat of the same name. The lithe tonal progressions in Beylis’s playing are effortless as though she is mimicking the fluid movements of a dancer’s silhouette. There’s fluidity and richness in every note. Beylis lets the song hang in the air when it needs to and follows the changing shadows with purpose, holding out for the last rays of evening light. This is a stunning piece.
SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE “ZAAZ” (High Mage Tapes)
The more of Gili Mocanu’s work I hear, the more my interest in his work grows. The Bucharest-based artist weaves a mountain of drones on ZAAZ, the sonic reverie slowly expanding into a darkening sky. Stretched arrangements offer furtive glances distilled in glass. Time stops. The melody drowns in a vat of golden-hued wind shear that’s only offset by ghost voices swirling like looping aural waves. ZAAZ is massive but never impossible. Mocanu continues to impress.
Katie Lou McCabe Evanescence of Colour (Self-Released)
Winter is fading and the first shoots peek through layers of decaying leaves. Emotive piano chords are searching the ground for signs of life, cowering as the sun spills its guts into the sky. There’s such an emotional weight to “Evanescence of Colour” that, at certain moments, it becomes unbearable. Scattered percussive movements send shivers through the crisp air, but the piano lilts with equal parts wistfulness and whimsy. Distractions claw at the trees as the drums grow louder and more discordant as though the world will split apart. Yet we push on through the mirror into another world.
Benjamin Miller In the Moment (Two Rooms)
There are a whole lot of interesting guitar oddities on In the Moment and I’m loving every second of it. Repetitious sonic globules weaving through tape glop and elephant trumpeting run headfirst into a minimalist brick wall. Voids appear, scratch out a few steel-cut melodies and saunter back into the luminous divide. Miller can play it all. Sprawling explorations dissipate into hazy webs. Whatever gets left behind is consumed by the woozy plucks stuck between two ghosts fighting for the last seat on the boat. Rhythmic spillage bleeds into an echo chamber that’s being eaten alive by howling scratches. In the Moment is one hell of a trip.
Tara Khozein & Carlos Santistevan Iterations (Unsilent Desert Press)
A collection of 16 duets between vocalist Khozein and bassist Santistevan that are an absolute whirlwind. Emotive whispers and alien incantations mesh with rollicking bass motifs. Khozein’s range seems impossible as she’s able to bounce between guttural splurge and operatic spells without trouble all met by Santistevan’s daring sonic silhouettes. Bowed drones sing in the high air when Khozein falls into the slipstream, elegantly flickering through darkened spaces. Santistevan runs through countless techniques and his intuition allows him to push in or show restraint in exactly the right moments. Iterations is a purifying listening experience sprinkled with just enough whimsy to brighten the entire experience. What an incredible ride.
yan jun timekiller (Hard Return)
In the deepest recesses far below vacant, gaping caverns a low hum grows. Frequencies tuned to oblivion cut through solid rock and broken bone. Each step forward leads to further descent. Tones echo and coagulate into neverending loops of circular waves firing across the horizon, fighting to push through the closing gate. Filtered light seeps in and the drones evaporate into atomic space.
Turn On The Sunlight Drives to the Beach (Self-Released)
This Jesse Peterson and Carlos Niño vehicle has become one of my favorite projects around. There are not many artists out there making music this stellar with the calm, sedative overtones that Turn On The Sunlight has. The beach is floating in our memories, but we’re somewhere else adrift in longing and wistful laments. Water reflects sunlight, casting prismatic dances across the ceiling as we dream and we yearn. Voices chant restorative incantations and flickering chimes put our feet in the sand as the soft waves greet us. Saxophone magic and rhythmic heartbeats come alive. We kiss the sun again.
David Lee Myers Lustre (Self-Released)
Prismatic tones etch elongated patterns into clear glass surfaces in this expansive suite. Myers imbues this music with frozen textures and lithe movements, opening spaces where drones swell into life. Expressive chord arrangements blur the underlying synthetic movements where aqueous flickers add to the cooling palette. This music is cold yet inviting and within that dichotomy, a surreal beauty unfolds. Surprise rhythms grow from electrified shadows; shaved acid pulses search out arpeggios like life jackets. Drones are cut with enigmatic splices where water is digitized and the sunrise glitches before crystal drops fall from the sky.
Rowland Taylor With Cold and Fright (Metaphysical Barbecue)
A buoyant spirit radiates in the steel hollows of Rowland Taylor’s magnetic explorations. Two improvised pieces and a Fahey song burst from spark to flame in the blink of an eye. Taylor’s playing on “With Cold and Fright I” is curious, and reflective. Slow shifts point to inward considerations as the resonance glows. Its sister, “With Cold and Fright II” is a purgative explosion. The Fahey tune (“Take A Look At That Baby”) is a quick, whimsical coda to an eye-opening performance. Taylor’s work is new to me but now I want to hear it all.
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