Special shout-out to Aidan Hanratty and Bandcloud today who hangs it up after over 400 weekly emails covering weird electronic music (and more!). Aidan was one of the most supportive people when Foxy Digitalis came back from the dead, and I will appreciate that forever. An amazing run, though – can’t be understated. Go give him some love and appreciation for the endless hours of work to promote and support good music.
Here? It’s still August and the melting outside marches on.
Norman W. Long Return and Recovery (LINE)
Sonorous ideals haunt the landscapes of Norman W. Long’s exploratory “Return and Recovery.” Exploring the tension between nature and industrial rise and decay, Long finds possibility in insect song and liminal sonics. What happens when industry overruns the environment and eventually leaves after extracting everything it can from the people – usually Black and Brown communities – and land? In this piece, we hear the diverse ecological sounds that begin to retake these spaces, hopefully opening pathways for communal reclamation. Long’s work is thoughtful and challenges us to engage with sounds and their location in new ways. Crucial, highly recommended work.
Camila Nebbia El ruido de todo lo que desaparece (Self-Released)
Camila Nebbia scatters a myriad of entrancing sonic threads inside a haunted memory. Using an array of sounds from Carmen Kleykens Vidal, Violeta García, Damián Bolotín, Joanna Mattrey, Diana Arias, and Barbara Togander, plus her own music, Nebbia constructs an elegiac trip well beyond the witching hour. Synthetic atmospheres drip with aqueous tendrils that give way to pensive string arrangements. Voices cut through the aural fog, keeping urgent electronic waves from taking over. Nebbia mines considerable depth in her arrangement of these disparate elements, constructing an engaging narrative flow that etches into our memories long after the final notes.
Petrol Girls Baby (Hassle)
I’m a sucker for a good bit of anthemic chaos, and Austria’s Petrol Girls deliver that in spades. Jagged guitar riffs slice through angular rhythms and sneaky basslines, leaving the sharp edges arranged in artful patterns. Electronic slipstreams grow into elemental buzzsaws, all of it laying a raging foundation for Ren Aldridge’s vocals to growl incandescent. It’s a full-on, unrelenting sonic onslaught moving whip-fast, peppered with melodic hooks right to the face. I don’t know if there’s a better fist-raiser in 2022 than “Baby, I Had An Abortion,” but Baby is revelatory.
Iceberg Final Thaw (Astral Spirits)
Iceberg is the bodacious trio of Dylan Baldi, Jayson Gerycz, and John Kolodij, and it turns out they’re a hidden dream team. Cataclysmic drones give way to spewing sonic lava, Gerycz pulling the metallic strings that move the ground beneath Kolodij and Baldi. Raucous sax slashes through Kolodij’s emphatic guitar swirls, opening a wormhole into madness. The edges are fried as Kolodij and Baldi descend into the flames, coming back cast in pure glass. Reflective motifs glow white hot, waiting for the moment, flipping things over. The explosion returns. Pure catharsis rains down.
Tomasz Bednarczyk Cats In a Loop (Self-Released)
I’ve been hooked since Neil Lord turned me onto Tomasz Bednarczyk’s incredible Music for Balance and Relaxation releases. Cats In a Loop is a collection of playful arpeggios and synth patterns that immediately make me feel better. Bednarczyk churns out expanding silhouettes of pure joy through bubbling major scales and repetition that allow mountains of harmonic ecstasy to shine out, spreading pastel brilliance into every darkened corner. Layer-upon-layer of bubbling, refreshing synthesizer delight stretching out into oblivion.
Anja Lauvdal & Joakim Heibø All My Clothes (Smalltown Supersound)
Stellar piano and drum duets from two Norwegian heavyweights eschewing full-on dissonance for a mix of engaging patterns and frenetic jazz explorations. Lauvdal’s style is unique. Underpinned by surprising melodic strands, she weaves sonic motifs that veer into uncharted territory without feeling forced. It imbues each progression, each note with a spectral power buoyed by Heibø’s focused, rhythmic clamor. They give each other space to launch their own expressive moments, but All My Clothes hits its peak when they fly together. From skittering, lightspeed shadowplay to pensive emotive glances, there’s a lot to love. Great stuff.
TÖNEN IV (Aural Canyon)
There’s no escaping the lilting aural mists of TÖNEN’s beguiling soundworld on IV. Shrouded behind undulating, shimmering walls are a collection of emotive tone shapes and melodies stretched to the breaking point. Textures combine in surprising ways to create doleful drones left to bake in the solar dissonance. An ancient familiarity runs through this music’s veins, imbuing it with a timeless expression shimmering in the mind’s eye.