The Capsule Garden Vol 2.5: February 15, 2023

The Capsule Garden now moves to Wednesdays (I swear this is the last change). It’s been quite a week with the launch of Foxy Digitalis Daily (I hope you’ll check it out!) and with Wednesday’s episodes of the podcast being exclusive to the Foxy Digitalis Patreon (it’s a great day to sign up to hear the show and support Foxy D!), it seemed like the perfect day to publish new installments of The Capsule Garden. Convoluted? Sure. But it should stick for the rest of the year.

Last quick note – to celebrate the launch of the daily podcast and the redesigned site, I’ve made everything at our in-house label, The Jewel Garden, pay-what-you-want. Give it a look.

Now, some tunes…

Sandy Chamoun Fata17 (Self-Released)

Euphoric darkness saturates every passage of Sandy Chamoun’s stellar Fata17. Inspired by the 17 October Revolution in Lebanon, Sandy Chamoun crafts an unforgettable three-piece movement. Joy and ecstasy crumble into pain and heartache, with thundering rhythms and dense, noise-blackened synths grinding through the remnants of tear-gas fog. Frenetic electricity runs through every moment, raising the tension and temperature of the music. Chamoun’s voice is an unstoppable force finding unimaginable heights and raining down agonized hellfire, a reflection of the album’s emotional core. Thundering rhythms become chains holding the simmering music to the ground, pulsing and grating, always searching for new grains of hope. Fata17 is an incredible emotional exorcism.

Fortresses “Near” (Dragon’s Eye Recording)

Sam Ashton’s Fortresses project gets lost in the mist-filled forests on “Near.” Elliptical synth patterns constantly ring, rising and falling with the breath of an unseen force. Rain patters gently to imbue “Near” with organic textures and depth, underpinning the distant birdsong. Emotive chord progressions are layered with subtle gestures, moving and shifting slowly in the way overcast skies feel impermeable but gossamer just behind the surface. Everything here is muted but emotionally dense, adding weight to each note. Entering this space with intention allows us to immerse ourselves in the rich, pensive soundscapes to let our thoughts flutter away on rising electronic vistas. “Near” changes unhurriedly, knowing the moments before the destination will last the longest. Beautiful.

Sakina Abdou Goodbye Ground (Relative Pitch)

Inviting solo saxophone excursions that leave it all on the table. Abdou dances lightly to start, as though she’s feeling out the soft spots beneath her and finding vulnerable points to break through. Once the game is set, she blasts forward. Sustained notes burst through from a glottal source, spreading outward with a rough, expressive sheen. Waxing through lyrical passages where emotion builds in the corners, Abdou lets quick blasts rise and fall, exorcised from somewhere hidden. Her performance on Goodbye Ground shows such vulnerability, a stunning look at such an exciting saxophonist. Night fades into day and back again as she spins us dizzy with the scorching runs and glowing resonance.

Joa Joys Reposo (Pakapi)

Another winner from Argentina’s Pakapi Records, Joa Joys, spread whimsy inside of a prism. Pristine sonic sequences bounce off glass walls, extending colors in every direction with FM synthesis and simple rhythmic cadence. Reposo was “composed, recorded and mixed with one hand on a cell phone while recovering from a fracture and on bus trips,” which is incredible considering this music’s depth and enchanting nature. Entire worlds blossom in straightforward, catchy leads and dancing, sampled instrumentation. It’s bright and swimming in joy, even in the more dramatic moments like “Sobre ruedas.” Something in the fabric of Reposo is made of pure delight, making this an album begging to be played on a loop.

37735i6 “cryonics” (Self-Released)

A whisper flickering in the distance, moving in hypnotic patterns toward us carried by the wind. 37735i6 crafts a delicate world with hollow guitar arrangements and layered vocals. It’s as though we’ve sent out an invocation into the ether, and now the ether is calling back. Shrouded melodies flicker intermittently, winding around to open new exploration spaces. Sonically, “cryonics” is light and open, but beneath is a pensive, almost claustrophobic spirit holding back, building up the courage to let go. New aural veils emerge where guitars with a sharper, ringing tone overtake the piece. The voice never lets go and always wraps us in a binding warmth while casting shadows into the past, unable to break free. 

sine f A214 (Self-Released)

Piercing frequencies climb a decrepit ladder into our brain waves, eating up microscopic prattle during the ascent. These tones verge on the edge of pain, pushing us further out into the cybernetic sea than we’re comfortable. It’s a test, but if we pass, we’re greeted with irregular LFO sluice and hypnotic phasing. A lost memory sits in the crux of it all. Each distorted pulse takes us closer to the edge of realization. Thick, Eleh-esque oscillating sound masses pour from the speakers like an enveloping sonic massage. This is the cocoon we were promised. This is where it all comes to an end.

Reverse Death Stretching to Infinity (Half Shell)

Where do we go when the morning doesn’t come? Stretching to Infinity tries to find out, winding aural narratives into floral wormholes. These six songs cast different shadows but build a world from the remaining dust after time ends and begins again. Guitar melodies sing on an ancient ship, carrying mythical orbs through bewitched flute corridors and rain-soaked visions. A few dice rolls later, the map turns on its head, pianos intersecting with droning strings and liminal harmonics becoming the breath of dawn. Brightness beckons with major chord progressions and glittery chimes buoying ancient voices circling overhead. There is magic in these sonic waters, fueled by an exploratory spirit. Psychedelia infuses itself in the atmospheric shadowlands, harrying the whimsical journey toward the next enchanted landscape.

Pacific Walker s/t (Bluesanct)

Desolate nights call for our resentment and determination in the rain-soaked passages of Pacific Walker’s debut. The band formerly known as Odawas (sort of – Pacific Walker is Odawas plus Raphi Gottesman) go down the same bummer road, but once there’s a fork to be found, it’s an opportunity for time travel. Guitar serenades to distant stars are spackled with faltering tunings and an expansive memory. Outdoor motifs find their way into the crevices between chord progressions, all built on a moving bed of emotive synthscapes. Like the dawn Pacific Walker is searching for, this music blooms in the cascading melodies stretched toward an unknown point on the horizon. Sit back, eyes closed, and drift away.

NRV “Blue to Grey” (feat. Yuji Monma) (Nord Pendu)

Tones from nowhere greet the new day. We barely notice the shift in light as one season rolls onto the next. Yuji Monma welcomes the dawn with timeless flute passages that sing an ode to the sun. NRV’s drones are the backbone of “Blue to Grey,” a haunting specter of dense sonics tethering this music to the ground. It’s rich and static. Monma moves on to saxophone, opening the skies above with a deeper resonance spreading outward through twisting arpeggiations and emotive phrasings. Darkness pours in. The duo recalibrates, inhales, and pushes back toward the light, Monma transitioning back to flute and NRV letting the synthetic squall dissipate. A fantastic piece of music.

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