I had an experience I never wanted to have this week when a bunch of friends and acquaintances started texting and emailing to see if we were alright. A mass shooting in Tulsa was inevitable and I’m frankly surprised it doesn’t happen here more often. It’s all so fucked. We’re fine, though, obviously – I mean as much as anyone is fine these days.
Anyway, before getting to the music, Foxy Digitalis is going to be pretty sporadic over the next two weeks as I’ll be traveling in the Pacific Northwest. I’m hoping I can crank out at least one Capsule Garden while I’m there, but we’ll see. There will at least be some interviews and mixes, so keep an eye out (and new episodes of the 11th Hour that we’ve already recorded). With that, here’s some sweet tunes.
Horseface Sanakirjan Takana (Sing a Song Fighter)
Intricate rhythmic patterns are fodder for faded oblivion dreams and strange, beguiling melodic hooks. Disjointed harmonies get stuck in, riding along futurist forest rhythms and cosmic basslines until these songs become part of a starlit sky. Emotive electrics stream upward toward a distant tropicalia, twisting voices and synths into delicate shapes. Neon highways glimmer with whisps of contemporary reveries built on bubbling, chaotic sonic architecture. Everything moves and sways with a pulsing glow while dancing through the green light. Sanakirjan Takana is full of weightless joy.
ragenap Thriving Culture (American Dreams)
Following up his killer Thankrupcy tape, ragenap aka Joel Berk builds a whole new resonating monument to the sun only to cut it to shreds and set the remnants on fire. Searching through a flowing river of distorted guitar sorcery, Berk sends wound-steel missiles flickering upward in search of cathartic drifts. Woven into the metallic fabric are layers of surprise melodies. While Berk sends missives soaring, he also digs into the dried mud, steeping these sonic explorations in the molten resonance of the Earth’s core. This music is dense and all-encompassing, dosing the world with a mountain of guitar savagery. Huge recommendation obviously.
Laura Cannell Unlocking Rituals (Brawl)
Exchanging her recorder for a pipe organ, the always great Laura Cannell conjures luminous hollow ghosts. Imbued by ancient energies and forgotten spirits, these four pieces are like paeans and reveries that have existed in the ether for eternity waiting for someone like Cannell to pull them back into the sentient world. Statuesque tones built from tenebrous fibers spill out of the walls, flooding our synapses with elegiac harmonies. It is music searching for something or someone lost to the deepest throes of entrenched desire; a resurrected altar to life in the shadows. Unlocking Rituals is another exquisite entry in Cannell’s incredible discography.
Savvas Metaxas Magnetic Loops II (LINE)
Savvas Metaxes has an innate skill in creating tactile, hypnotic pieces of music. Magnetic Loops II falls directly in this chasm where these sounds are suspended between two points breaking apart at the seams. Tape loops and electronic interference saturate the surrounding environment with dust, bringing a lucid focus to each repeating sonic element as it stretches and begins to fold in on itself. Starlight is buried underground, the glow trying to scratch through sedimentary layers. As each sculpted wave rises from unknown depths, pushing against gravity to find its place in the sky, the world cracks open.
Helpful People Broken Blossom Plants (Burundi Cloud)
Carly Putnam (aka The Oilies) and Glenn Donaldson (needs no introduction) join forces for a quickset slab of pop crunch and focused ocean dreamscapes. Timeless melodies zigzag like a super ball bouncing down a crowded boardwalk on opener “You Don’t Have to Know Where to Go.” Guitar leads ride the setting sun across breaking crests, feeling lithe and worldly even while darkness looms. Putnam’s delivery is hypnotic and winsome, bringing all the fairytales to the yard on “Backwards Mirror.” Sinuous chord progressions radiate at open angles, weaving hooks into every crack and crevice, layer upon layer until Broken Blossom Plants is a brick house of memory and melody. Summer beckons.
lilien rosarian every flower in my garden (self-released)
In the distant future, long after civilization decays back into the dirt and the trees own the world again, disparate fragments of those past lives will still jetset through the stars. lilien rosarian’s every flower in my garden is a disjointed, endearing menagerie of jilted tape collage, woozy sonic reveries, and severed memories. Beauty unfolds in sampled strings and luminous celesta only to be cut out abruptly with rusted loops dangling on wire. every flower in my garden is filled with so many snippets of ideas that it’s overwhelming, and yet it becomes intoxicating in its playfulness and all-out splendor. I’m all in on the maximalist approach lilien rosarian takes here.
Rocio Zavala Invisible Miracles (Monastral)
Invisible Miracles is one of the most intriguing debuts I’ve heard in a while. Rocio Zavala’s music is considered and introspective, mining an intersectional zone where deep space drones collide with subliminal recollections. Using instruments she built herself, these songs have a physicality to them. Severed rhythms vibrate into bone. Her voice flickers momentarily in the recesses of memory. Guitar shards combine with electric synthesis to create surprise harmonic silhouettes as notes oscillate wildly into the night.
bran(…)pos Tape#2 (Self-Released)
I’m a sucker for when an artist unearths and shares early recordings. Tape#2 is just that – the second bran(…)pos recording from 1997. While most of the music on Tape#2 has a proto feel to it, there are obvious threads that bleed into the cacophonous fuckere that comes to mind when I think of bran(…)pos in 2022. Dissonance carries the flag, spurred on by ramshackle junkyard rhythms and noise walls, acoustic concrète, and tape gloop collage. It’s chaotic and weirdly delightful. Beyond its significance as a historical marker, there are a lot of damn good ideas here that keep me returning to this wild, blitzed-out world.
Cyrus Pireh Still Here, Still Ripping (Astral Editions)
It takes something special to make such a unique solo guitar record in 2022, but Cyrus Pireh keeps things close and quiet on Still Here, Still Ripping and does just that (with an assist from Will Hicks). Across four songs, Pireh is on a journey to explore the possibilities of electric guitar and make connections, real and imagined, along the path. The 12-minute “Message of Universal Solidarity” simmers for days, Pireh’s fingerpicking popping bubbles that come back stronger each time. Hicks lights the torch in the last three minutes, his synth and drums giving a platform to lift off. Elsewhere, Pireh looks inward through disrupted resonance and finds beauty in the smallest moments, appreciations after nearly dying that sing a little louder and glow a little brighter, inviting all the moths around to bathe in this cosmic light.
Quiet Clapping Arletty (Rusted Tone)
Swirling expanses evolve into full-fledged sonic universes on Jonathan Deasy’s latest missive as Quiet Clapping, Arletty. Countless layers of guitar drones coalesce into a breathing sonic wall creating a space where resonance and timbre mutate, suspended in air. Dreams shift beneath greyscale skies, moving with considered, minimalist rhythms, trying to bridge the gap between hope and melancholy. Drifting between various degrees of consciousness, Arletty is contemplative, offering a bellowing respite through simple progressions between the outside world’s crushing weight.
Okkoto Climb the Antlers & Reach the Stars (Self-Released)
There’s a cinematic quality to the latest suite from Michael Lutomski’s Okkoto project. Perhaps that’s hinted at by the evocative title, but musically Lutomski treads into new ground, unearthing a lush palette and emotive arrangements. At the center of these five pieces is Lutmoski’s stellar guitar playing. There’s a restraint laced throughout Climb the Antlers & Reach the Stars, as though he’s using these sounds to look inward to find certain chaos trying to break free. That restraint, though, makes the spectral flames burn even brighter when he lets go, like in the scorch of “Wind at the Gated Grove” or in the waning moments of closer “Where the Meadows Dream Beside the Sea” (so many great titles!). This music is ageless, thoughtful, and ruminative. Recommended.