Missed last week due to being under the weather, but back in action with a stack of new music to end this super ugly week.
Felidae Katla (Full Spectrum)
It can be difficult to capture the potency of a specific moment in time where planets align just right and that tenuous sliver of magic reveals itself, but Felidae (the duo of Sharmi Basu and Fanciulla Gentile) capture it in these two sonic explorations. “Kettle” is a journey skyward; fractured and tenuous, hands grappling for one another to keep the momentum. Whirring echoes surround our dreams. Synthetic tilts coalesce around processed vocals on “Slaughter,” situating themselves between arpeggiated reflections drift like dandelion fuzz. The stars never feel out of reach.
Chris Williams & Leo Chang Unnameable Element (Dinzu Artefacts)
An incredible set of duets. Anything Chris Williams does has become must-hear and Leo Chang’s grabbed my intention. Trumpet inflections rise through heavy squalls of vocalnori (amplified gongs via voice) and piri (a double-reed instrument from Korea) in the heavier moments while quiet, focused inquisitions drip through cracked metal in other spaces. I’m constantly amazed at the range of sounds Williams draws from his trumpet, though every run, every note is imbued with an emotive presence. Chang’s vocalnori is revelatory, though. Hollow, percussive investigations lead down trenchant paths opening new zones and new ideas. There’s a hard edge to this music that alludes to some kind of primordial energy winding through the visceral sound structures, but Williams and Chang are so intertwined and out on a limb that it’s impossible to pin down. Unnameable Element is absolutely stellar.
Green-House Solar Editions (Leaving)
Arpeggios shimmer in paradise shadows where the lush flora refracts each molecular epiphany, filling the air with verdant energy. Electronics purr across cloudscapes suspended in purple and yellow skies. Notes cluster in bunches and rise upward toward golden rays, warming the atmosphere with sonic incandescence. Eventually, the intricate scapes glisten and disintegrate, leaving a mesmerizing trace in the ether. Again, we fly.
El Hardwick feat. Mabe Fratti “Body Memory” (Desire Lines)
Dreams crystalize into sentient realities spread across interconnected glass webs where a brittle surface is buoyed by a solid core. Interdisciplinary artist El Hardwick and cellist Mabe Fratti join together in this spiraling exploration of conflicted feelings drawn toward a burgeoning light in the distance. Horizon lines dance in Fratti’s emotive cello playing while synths glean forward paths from the depths of darkness. “Body Memory” is simultaneously cathartic and invigorating while layered with grief and conjecture, all fused into a memorable aural salve. Stunning.
Gahlord Dewald Ashuelot (Self-Released)
I love everything about this. Gahlord Dewald shares three pieces he put together for a New York Modular Society livestream. If Ashuelot was just that music, it’d be excellent. Dewald splices together emotive upright bass explorations with fractured, rhythmic electronics. Each track builds on ideas from the previous, pressing ahead into foraged sounds and expansive spaces. The details here matter as textures intertwine in new ways, pushing ideas out past the buoys and into the deep end. Even more than that, though, are the essays Dewald commissioned on electroacoustic performance by Elizabeth A. Baker, Ibukun Sunday, and Ravish Momin. Each of those pieces is insightful and inspiring and adds another crucial layer to this excellent piece of work. Huge recommendation.
Cory O’Brien Two Boats with Acoustic and Digital Resonators (Resonant Press)
Lines are erased when Cory O’Brien melds electronic debris from a Serge modular and submerged cacophony recorded at a public boat dock in California. Intense movements grind in all directions. Aqueous resonance melds with metallic ratchets as though these sounds are glowing white-hot in an underwater surround. The arrangement tightens. Sound becomes claustrophobic. As counterpoints, “The Swimmer” (both I and II) is spacious and still. Voices add life at arm’s length while echoes bounce off the swimming pool’s enclosure. Strange, wonderful stuff.
Robbie Wing April (Self-Released)
It’s been raining all week here and feels like it’s never going to stop. The first song on Robbie Wing’s April, “All the Rain,” lives in the flooded plains the neverending downpours grow out of nothing. Banjo visions reverberate in the ripples, Wing’s voice repeating, “I don’t really know the rain until it falls down on you” as squelching electronics creep beneath the surface. His lamentations become soothing exorcisms in the serenading arpeggios, birdsong, and creeping dissonance on “B” while “C” finds a quiet place in the deep woods to set fire to a cache of concealed memories and drift away in the midnight smoke.
en creux Phantasm (czaszka)
Phantasm caught me off-guard. These small, improvised pieces comprised of analog static seem straightforward on the surface, but there’s an underlying horror and alien emotion woven through these cryptic missives. Fuzz comes alive, moving at odd angles like the sinuous threads are being chased by a series of subatomic bleeps and flashes. Tension rises as the tempo picks up, fueling the disjointed rhythmic quality within each sterile, self-contained unit. I keep imagining being stranded on a broken-down craft in deep space and hearing the sounds of Phantasm as my sanity slowly breaks apart. It’s enthralling if not disturbing. Each of these four tracks emits a distinct hellscape from a minimal, captivating palette and I can’t stop listening.
Adam Badí Donoval Sometimes Life Is Hard And So We Should Help Each Other (The Trilogy Tapes)
These songs from Adam Badi Donoval have a presence. Weary resonance hangs still in the frame casting an exhausted appearance over the flickering pianos, meandering guitar arrangements, and fragile voices. Woozy visions rock back and forth in the distance, slightly out of focus and lost within melancholic fantasies. Snaking drones cut new paths through fresh growth, trying to stay hidden from the banality of the world outside. Beautiful. And with the week that just happened, Donoval’s album title rings louder and louder.
Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble Hand Signals (Krim Kram)
A new label out of Ireland, Krim Kram, is off to an enticing start with this bananas collagescape from the inimitable Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble. Hand Signals opens with a track called “Westminster Dog Show On Acid” and in some ways, that says it all. Twisted drones sputter around like half-melted machines with fried electronics and sliced/diced voice samples clattering around an empty room. Cryptic signals send out scratchy cries for help, intimating that these sonic malfunctions are rotting the fabric holding everything together. Radio waves disintegrate into blenderized carcasses, chased across the burning ground by barking dogs with toy glockenspiels in their mouths. It’s all a bit mental and entirely fucking great.
Victoria Macarte Evergreen (Golden Ratio Frequencies)
Golden Ratio Frequencies never misses these days and this single from Victoria Macarte is no exception. Whimsical sonic worlds emerge from a silver cloud, filled to the edge with lilting electronics and ethereal resonance. Macarte’s voice winds around itself in the background, adding spectral shapes and texture, while she sings in the fore about the rejuvenating nature of spring. Time becomes a circle surrounded by love and euphoria inside “Evergreen” as the rhythmic skeleton opens up portals to eternity. And as delightful as the song is, the video is even better.
Selvedge Daybreaker (Self-Released)
I’m always happy to hear a new chapter in the growing Selvedge discography. Daybreaker draws peaks and valleys across every surface imaginable. Bleached drones rise through endless layers of stilted debris, searching for any way to view the destruction from above. Once that point is found, the dive back into the morass gains traction as these actions repeat until all the fuel is burned out. Daybreaker is entrancing, walking the line between cathartic fantasy and forlorn daydream with precision and determination. An excellent racket as always.