It’s Wednesday, which means Foxy Digitalis Daily is getting weird over on Patreon (sign up!), and I’ve got a smattering of musical alchemy for everyone to dig through.
Amber Meulenijzer Saab Fanfare (Edições CN)
A unique combination of joyous reverie and lilting wistfulness throughout Saab Fanfare has stuck with me. Composed in collaboration with local fanfare ensembles in a small Belgian town, Meulenijzer recorded the piece performed live, in a procession, and played back through 12 speakers mounted on top of her old Saab. Both recordings are presented here. The timbre of the brass instruments is warming, as though they’re channeling the spirit from the dawn after a nightmare. Slow-motion tonal drifts are baked with a certain sadness but steeled with resolute determination to keep moving forward. It’s a celebration of taking one more step. On the processional recording, birds and leaves scratch at reality, lending an organic sheen to the moving parts. The “isolated fundamentals” played through the Saab speaker array are more solemn, those emotions spreading through the rich resonance. There’s something magical about Saab Fanfare that keeps me returning for more.
Marla Hlady & Christof Migone Swan Song (Crónica)
The concept behind Swan Song initially drew me in, but the sonic entanglements, beyond any concept, are the real show. Click through and read the full description for the full story, but the ‘swan neck’ portions of two old whisky stills were turned into sound sculptures, and that’s the general basis for Swan Song. Musically, an incredible range veers from hauntological by nature but is also infused with a transient, searching spirit. Shaded resonance blooms into full-blown sonic ecstasy, where voices are stretched into gilded forms and vibrant shapes. Electronic pulses skitter across the surface, creating oddly hypnotic patterns. There are so many different elements to Swan Song. It’s overwhelming, and Hlady and Migone show no concern for boundaries. Liminal whispers feel pointed in one direction, sweeping across long distances while sprouting glacial, discordant tendrils spinning in a thousand directions. This is massive and highly recommended.
Stefan Christoff Air (Shimmering Moods)
Stefan Christoff’s music has been in my headphones a lot over the past year, and still, Air has kept my attention the longest. It’s special. A series of organ vignettes that veer between contemplations and reveries can’t help but have listeners neck deep into the fold. Chord progressions become investigatory tools, searching for the secret code that will unlock our inner world. Specific passages are filled with an emotive sweetness, heightening the vulnerable streak at the album’s core. Christoff spins lovely melodies into Rileyesque zones filled with feeling and wonder, sparking our imaginations beyond the infinite refractions of our limited perception. There’s a deep spirit on Air.
Autumna My Heart Is A Chainsaw (Preston Capes)
As the fantastically named My Heart Is A Chainsaw begins, water is a harsh welcome that tricks my mind into thinking it’s the sound of applause, a hearty congratulations on finding my way into this riveting soundworld. Inspired by summer travels and falling in love, this dense sonic expanse runs through grating darkness before plunging head-first into a looping cloud of melodicism. Field recordings colorize shadows lurking in the spaces between the multitudes of drones spreading outward, bringing texture and life to distant songforms. Whispers are unintelligible but pull us inward to try and make out just one or two words while bringing this music closer. My Heart Is A Chainsaw is full of amorphous structures that barely hold together, channeling the vulnerability swimming through these sounds into every direction. Excellent.
Joel Shanahan What You Have Room For (Pearsoll Peak)
Cracks in the ceiling have a crystal chandelier hanging above us by one last golden thread. The world itself is shattered, but we’ve hidden away in a secret cocoon beyond perceptive reality. These moments, just after the calm is peeled back, filled with electronic recursions and angular silhouettes, teem with apprehension. A voice calls, but nobody is listening. Vaporous synth patterns beckon like a light pulsing in the distance, aloft on lilting tones and fractured, repeating melodies. A bridge emerges through high-frequency remnants and flickering inquisitions, a connection through the darkness toward something better. Joel Shanahan never disappoints, but even by his lofty standards, this is special.
Masami Makino Youlu Mystique (Fort Evil Fruit)
For a debut, Youlu Mystique is adrift on timeless signals. Desolation wears countless masks across these acoustic compositions, with Makino’s voice transmitting echoes from an alternate cosmic plane. Intricate melodies flicker out of reach, rising with lithe movements that produce real magic moments. These songs travel a considerable distance in a short space. Shrouded beneath a silver veil, Makino peers outward while weaving sonic tales that pull us in. Plucked arrangements are considered and restrained but still wield a sharp, incisive edge as our reflections manifest back at us in surprising ways. In the end, we succumb to the unrelenting call from the horizon, floating away on melodic waves.
Islandman feat Okay Temiz and Muhlis Berberoğlu Direct-to-Disc Sessions (Night Dreamer)
This is a circuitous journey. Direct-to-Disc Sessions moves through every emotion, sometimes dropping hints, other times shifting speed in the blink of an eye. Foot-tapping rhythms propel us ahead on basslines that wind through neon skies like a ribbon into an enchanted sonic forest filled with singing guitar, Bağlama trances, and synth leads. No matter where we dive in, this river never stops flowing. Traditional Turkish sonic elements get turned into forward-thinking ruminations moving at lightspeed. Arpeggios spill out like glass beads from an overturned vase, the anticipation and excitement howling throughout every sensational passage. This album is effervescent, an incredible trip with everyone bouncing until sunrise.
Joachim Spieth Reshape (Affin)
Eight remixes and reworks to celebrate Affin’s 15th anniversary see Joachim Spieth’s aural silhouettes turned into shapeshifting reflections and expressive new worlds. alvo noto blurs the lines of “Sparsha” into sonorous electricity, connecting dots between clouds. Expanding starlight is a cinematic beacon at the core of bvdub’s ‘collapsing in the circadian’ reshape of “Ultradian,” where warm tones and cold atmospheres intertwine. The spirit of Spieth’s original pieces always shines through, but each artist leaves a mark. Emotive swells gloss the tips of consciousness in the planes zakè takes “Jiwa,” while Głós brings an organic resonance into the hypnotic fields of “P 680.” Other contributors include ASC, Markus Guentner, Simone Giudice, and Warmth. Each of these tracks is a gem.
Youga Feed to the Ground (Self-Released)
Indonesian sound artist Youga unearths a series of sonic experiments exploring seasonal changes and their impact on the agricultural system. Across nine tracks, we’re immersed in textural environments filled with expressive pulses and synthetic sound washes. A deep sense of urgency is buried within the core of these sounds. Emotional parasites spread their tendrils further and further as aural glossolalia becomes an impenetrable wall blocking off the fading rays of hope. Darkness is tangible, beyond the shadows and in the forefront, permeated within the pensive drones. This music feels so much but never lets go of the last sweet breaths from dying embers.