And so we find ourselves at another Bandcamp Day (as our inboxes overflow and the river spills out of its banks). Of course (of course!), I am adding to the deluge. The Jewel Garden has a few new offerings for those curious – Boneset’s The Nightshade (the debut of a new horror-ish project) and Peak Eloquence’s Phantom Dreams (the first new one from this project in a year, this time solo tenor banjo stretched across time). A subscriber-only release from The North Sea is also available for 24 hrs. Thanks for checking them out. Onto the other good stuff…
I AM Beyond (Division 81)
Isaiah Collier and Michael Shekwoaga Ode crack the world wide open. The woodwinds and percussion duo dig through eons of decayed matter to unleash the torrent festering at the sonic core. With guest Jimmy Chan on gongs, singing bowls, and vocals, Beyond opens with an expanding ferry ride across the river into unknown regions. Percussive blasts run rampant in concentric patterns, spiraling higher and higher with Collier’s full-force tonal bursts. This is ecstatic music fit for contemplation and catharsis. Furious wails hit the stratosphere and keep pushing further. The cataclysmic space opened wide by Ode’s frenetic drive. This album spills exploratory gospels like blood, soaking the stars with the bitter truth. Highest recommendation.
Loula Yorke Florescence (Tigerforce)
I love when something like this turns up in my inbox. Until now, I wasn’t familiar with Loula Yorke’s work, but Florescence is an expansive exploration of synthetic shapes and changing landforms. Pulled together from a series of improvisations done in the first half of 2022, Yorke stitches together looping arpeggios and synth sequences into emotive reflections of a changing world. Crystalline tonescapes bounce around at shifting tempos and use pointed timbres to escape into the tiniest slivers. Yorke pairs vocal incantations with twisting, rhythmic glorp to create ethereal alien soundscapes, melting them straight into saturated cosmic specters. The sequencing on Florescence is fantastic, adding a chronological narrative feel throughout, as though we’re seeing this new world for the first time. Lovely stuff.
FOQL Wehikuł (MAL)
Every angle gets intersected by synths and hollow glass vases. Does that make sense? I’m not sure anything about the incredible Wehikuł makes sense besides it being a gleaming swamp of cybernetic electronics. Techno veins flex in the underwater neon glow, snuffed out by seething bass growls and an intricate veil of crystalline sound design. Malfunctioning highways shave years off looping oscillators stuck to the side of a glowing void. The clattering rhythms are the dying heartbeat of a world fried from the inside out. It’s a dark, fucked-up place, but something in the harmonic circuitry and living batteries is too bewitching to avoid. If this is the future, I’m ready to drown myself in it.
Cole Pulice Scry (Moon Glyph)
The opening track, “HP / MP,” is only 1:11 long, but that minute means everything. Cole Pulice digs through a sheen of mirth and candor to swim in the lost undercurrents where dimensional boundaries are blurred, and dreams are tangible. Each note on “HP / MP” lands like a wistful hammer. Whimsy floats in the form of saxophone spirals atop nostalgic piano arrangements, painted with a brush of familiarity but effervescent to the point of disappearing. Pulice amasses unique, beautiful soundscapes by threading their sax through a matrix of evolving electronics Scry really is a stunning album.
Voice Actor Sent From My Phone (Stroom)
Jeff Arnal, Curt Cloninger Drum Major Instinct (Mahakala Music)
A bright, evolving resonance worms through the excellent Drum Major Instinct. Modular synth and drum duos aren’t new, but Arnal and Cloninger bring a fresh take on the approach. Arnal’s rhythms are as exploratory as Cloninger’s synth arrangements. There’s this feeling that each is pulling at the other’s sleeve, trying to shift the trajectory one way or another. This isn’t to say this isn’t cohesive and dialed in because a solid focus in the middle allows this investigative nature to unfold. Cloninger churns out enticing texture after enticing texture and is always met by surprising runs from Arnal’s kit. Drum Major Instinct is playful in one moment, dark and furious in the next, but the connective tissue in between is where the most interesting magic lies.
Martynas Bialobžeskis Sunny, Bit Windy (miclithuania)
Another gem from Lithuania. Sunny, Bit Windy has a cinematic quality even though Martynas Bialobžeskis sneaks in numerous genres on the album. Grinding synthesis mixes with emotive strings in ways that bring out both instruments’ spiraling highs and lonesome depths. Sonic textures resonate through liminal jetstreams, exploding into smaller fragments that each have their own story. Vague rhythms fall from the clouds. Every time a hint of melody sneaks through the pulsing corridors, a new shard of darkness emerges to snuff it out. Static and hiss intersect, creating new expanses covered in sharp aural pieces. This music is complex, but Bialobžeskis assembles these sounds into unique, innately listenable arrangements. There’s a lot to Sunny, Bit Windy, but deep dives into its core are rewarding.
Odd Person Myths of the Crystal Plateau (Nonlocal Research)
I love this album more each time I listen to it (the companion EP is also fantastic). This is music at the intersection of aural fantasy and sonic archaeology. Unearthed cadences propel the mystic melodies skyward, connecting forgotten worlds with the soil below. There’s a clarity to this music that pulls in our focus, putting us in an almost trance-like state. Interdimensional soundscapes saturate every arrangement, fusing an ageless spectrality with tactile rhythms. Field recordings add another layer of texture across the bounce, but the entirety of Myths is supernatural.
Henri Lindsdtrom Kymmenen (Self-Released)
Stilted rhythms are the resolute but crumbling foundations of Henri Lindstrom’s latest run of alternate-future odd pop gems. Anthemic synth melodies spill over the edge of sharp-angled vistas, adding a neon hue to the sinuous aural river below. Lilting vocals turn into liminal ghosts, their melodies haunting our every move. There are looping narratives and whimsical reveries throughout Kymmenen, but Lindstrom covers everything with a wistful sheen. Short, dotted synth interludes lead into timeless, tape-saturated bops simmering with the best intentions and undone by a world that moved on too fast. Lindstrom’s last album was great, but Kymmenen takes another giant leap.