It’s been quite a week.
Violeta Garcia Fobia (Relative Pitch)
Ungodly textures wrap are a suffocating force in the visceral confines of Violeta Garcia’s second solo album, Fobia. Using a wide array of techniques and approaches, the Argentinian cellist scratches out images of sonic mountains before blowing them to bits. Hollow wooden taps lead into walls of circular movements and tension-busting pressure. It’s like someone went to war with a cello and decided not to stop until every last ounce of resonant blood was drained from its strings. Fascinating and totally fantastic.
Mohammad Mostafa Heydarian Songs of Horaman (Ramble/Centripetal Force/Cardinal Fuzz)
Mohammed Mostafa Heydarian is a Kurdish tanbur player, and this collection of songs burns bright. Dusty melodies zigzag through intricate arrangements and propulsive, clattering rhythms. Heydarian and percussionist Behzad Varasteh collide with force, pushing each other toward the margins of traditional songs where new forms exist. This music is electric, simmering beneath a weighted veil and clawing its way into the sun. Ecstasy rings through each lightspeed run and contemplative echo. Heydarian’s playing is almost lyrical as he tells detailed stories with his tanbur. It’s moving and utterly incredible.
ATŌMI Little Floating Oracles (Lady Blunt)
Little Floating Oracles is rich in detail and heavy in its impact. Fused edges collide with grinding electronic drones, burrowing out a bass channel wider than our peripheral vision. ATŌMI’s music feels enormous and all-encompassing. Futurist-leaning vistas spike in the distance with melodic highways wielding high-frequency scalpels pointing every ounce of energy straight toward the horizon. This is the birth of all things, laden with a synthetic edge and a well of blackened hope. Strings twist in the metallic wind, covered in glass shards and barely recognizable save for the resonant timbres singing underneath. So much happens on Little Floating Oracles that it’s easy to get lost, but each heartbeat leads us further toward the light and out into the wild. Spellbinding.
Ibukun Sunday Orion (Self-Released)
These five focused tracks of expressive synth exploration have me drifting off into deep zones. Points of light create subtle movements against a darkening backdrop, as though the stars are sending secret messages through these spectral tones. Sunday uses a restrained approach to cast these minimalist soundscapes into the astral plane, never pushing the scope further that it needs to go to connect. Orion is a powerful yet quiet invitation to slow down and reflect. Harmonic tension slides away, letting each reverberating swell lead us along the emotive drones into a place where we can linger in our thoughts. This music is beautiful with a surprising gravity.
Lauren Helene Green Outer Highway Realms (Royal Oakie)
This is the sound of the magic hour. Soporific moods bloom at nightfall into midnight sonic explorations on one of my favorite guitar albums from this year. Languid melodies trail off toward a fading horizon while we sit quietly in the crisp breeze, wondering what damage dawn will bring. Outer Highway Realms melts into the desert landscape with a swayed focus, the world chattering quietly in the margins while Green drifts into the summer wind. Dichotomies swim through sweet timbres and light waves like part of the world’s unbending current. This is music for all times.
Eugene Carchesio I Should Have Known (Room 40)
A change of piece from Carchesio’s recent bonzo, rhythmic electronic bend. Aerated drones evaporate through delicate patterns and give shape to the ether. Formless explorations look for binding corridors to contain each expanding thread. Carchesio lets the light tones stretch into near-nothingness, each note a smoke signal for the ones that follow. This endless stream of sonic dust creates a living haze populated by imagined memories and fading ancestors, a place of discomfort and decay that awaits us all. Carchesio is genuinely one of Australia’s greats.
Luis David Aguilar Ayahuasca: Música para cine de Luis David Aguilar (1978-1983) (Buh Records)
An incredible collection from Peru’s Luis David Aguilar, a prolific film composer whose twisted aural narratives have their own cinematic feel. Pointillist motifs dance with brass echoes and percussive blasts as though they uncover an ancient, exotic mural. Throughout Ayahuasca, a sense of adventure builds as it’s impossible to guess where these sonic explorations will take us. Sacred choirs rain golden fire into dark glissandos. Synths sparkle through arpeggiated hypnosis into a liminal space filled with celestial serenades. Aguilar has incredible range, coalescing avant spectacles into late-night grooves before reinventing the idea of an orchestral mass. It’s one hell of a psychedelic trip.
mormioto naoki kotoba (Seil)
“Each sound tells a story, each word has a sound.” The liner notes for kotoba are short and sweet but hit hard. Naoki delivers on that promise with 11 sonic tales teetering on the edge of an emotional abyss. Softly plucked guitars spill extra notes into a quiet stream, sending our harshest memories to a watery grave. The sun warms our cheeks, strings singing a static song at daybreak where chord changes have more gravity. An earthen hum removes all doubt, the glue that holds each disparate note aloft and, in turn, keeps our heartache at a distance. We tell ourselves stories to get through the day, and Naoki captures this spirit through each fractured loop. Beautiful.