As ever, the Daily is over on Patreon since it’s Wednesday (and it’s a pretty fun one today! Join us!), but there’s no dearth of great stuff on the main site today. As Zelda Friday fast approaches, Leaving Records is celebrating properly, and hopefully, I won’t disappear off the face of the Earth. Lastly, there are a couple new Foxy Digitalis t-shirts HERE – those who weren’t feeling the VIBE may want to check them out especially. Onto the goods…
Catherine Sikora “All My Winters” (Self-Released)
Catherine Sikora’s one-solo-per-day release, Winter Solos, from December is such an incredible feat. The endurance alone is mind-boggling, but her inventiveness and constantly high standard of her playing are the real show. “All My Winters” continues parts from each of those 31 tracks, assembled into a staggering 5 ½ minute opus. Sikora’s phrasings are dizzying, and the combinations are meticulous and spellbinding. Although each component was recorded on a different day, they fit together like a miraculous puzzle. Some solos spin away into distant space, held together by pensive drones and quiet reflections, all of it spiraling out from the horizon. “All My Winters” is deft and dense, heightened by its visceral roots, and pushed to the limit by one of my favorite saxophone players around.
Slikback T A P E S T R Y (Self-Released)
A different viewpoint from one of the most important artists on the planet. T A P E S T R Y is hellish yet captivating. Sonic shards break from a dense expanse of perpetual darkness, oscillating and swelling into a full-force pummeling. Shredded ghost voices howl beneath a tornadic curtain and roll into a fractured rhythmic bass squall. These 14 tracks are relentless. Broken neon arpeggios snap under the weight of 10,000 megatons of growling synth bleakness. Heavy textures collapse into themselves, forming aural black holes pulling incantations from midnight realms beyond. We are flying at lightspeed straight into the noise wall. Slikback’s work is always filled with sharp details, and T A P E S T R Y is no different, but they hit a lot harder when charred to a crisp. Incredible. Huge recommendation.
Elisabeth Klinck Picture a Frame (Hallow Ground)
What’s the story behind the cracks in the wall? What’s the meaning of the fold in a photograph? Elisabeth Klinck worked closely with Oscar Claus on Picture a Frame, conceived and created during a week in an abandoned monastery. A coarse vulnerability runs through these eight pieces for violin and electronics. Harsh emotions carry the world’s weight through hypnotizing drones and intimate sonic reflections. The ways Picture a Frame shifts from mood to mood engages listeners at their core, finding buried meanings and extracting them through wistful sonic landscapes. Something about these pieces is tactile, close. It’s music that rides gently across the skin, piercing the surface every so often to remind us we’re still here. A stunning album.
Slyne & The Family Stoned Is Heaven Sweet (To The Ones We Lose) (Self-Released)
Etched glass shards and a basket of wailing guitar flurries flood our senses in every direction on Is Heaven Sweet (To The Ones We Lose). Angular riffage plots a course for trap door excess, riding creeping grooves and silky basslines beyond the cosmic spill. This isn’t so much deep-fried as it is elevated crispiness poured through a scorched sludge filter. Slyne’s vocals recite cryptic formulas, lulling us into the background so the concrete-jawed shredfest encases our psyches. Despite all the dark zones and expired dread flickering through these seven tracks, the core is still a bright star. I don’t know how sweet heaven is, but this trip is sticky and ready to help us levitate into tomorrow and beyond. Killer.
David Alan Broome BA (Self-Released)
Tulsa’s David Alan Broome concocts a series of electronic improvisations that veer from cleaning out our ear canals to sending cryptic messages through radio waves. Harsh oscillations spit out electrons like a blast furnace while cavernous glass sculptures resonate in liquid mercury. At certain points, the rails disappear entirely, and machines malfunction into a tizzy, creating asymmetric patterns from blitzing sparks. Chance and informality intersect to put our expectations through the blender. Broome’s pieces are inquisitive and playful, and the uncertainty built into their framework leaves us open to a whole host of surprises. BA is, weirdly, a lot of fun.
Liis Ring Homing (Canigou Recorsd/Breton Cassette)
Homing is a winding, sonic narrative in search of a place to rest. Distant music intertwines with birdsong and sounds from the street, baking in the crisp summer breeze. It’s a still life of a memory. Liis Ring’s voice drifts across pointillist synth patterns and intuitive acoustic guitar strums. Each piece crystallizes small moments into eternal imagery. Homing is visceral, intimate to the point of breaking us into tiny fragments, but its engaging warmth and melodic reveries become timeless, familiar vignettes. Ring is gentle with her arrangements, letting the aural combinations unfold at their own speed, in their own time. Whether she paints with broad strokes at a distance or focuses on intricate details up close, Homing leads us into magic.
Alessandra Rombolà Out of the Playground (Sofa Music)
This is one of the most inventive flute albums I’ve heard in a while (right up there with Laura Cocks’ incredible field anatomies). On a technical and compositional level, Out of the Playground is a wonder. Both “Repitition” pieces (by Jan Martin Smørdal) use a special device called an addcoder (I don’t have enough space to explain it here – read the album’s description), but the effect is a dizzying exposition of dexterity that is simultaneously whimsical and refined. Warm, electronic drones open the soundworld and push it to new heights, giving Rombolà space to dig out deep, eloquent phrases. She spins notes into new worlds, using a series of expressive trills and extended tones to keep listeners on edge. Closer “Our Forbidden Land” (composed by Lasse Marhaug) explores vast sonic spaces and wide-ranging ideas; searching through changing aural landscapes, Rombolà’s techniques are captivating, endless. Fluttering melodies twist across bleak resonance, colliding and intertwining artfully so we can’t turn away. Out of the Playground is a staggering achievement.
Nick Turner Under Dark Pines (Full Spectrum)
Sebadoh may have called their fourth album Bubble and Scrape, but Nick Turner perfectly creates the sound of bubbling and scraping. “Under Dark Pines” is viscous and effervescent, somehow weighed down by an emotional gravity while still percolating skyward on a steel-stringed aural bed. I feel suspended in a capsule full of clear aspic. “A Place to Hide,” however, has a surprising playfulness in its synth sequences and meandering guitar plucks. Everything feels on edge, though, like a prolonged inhalation waiting for the tension to build. Even if these two ideas carry a simplicity in their veins, there is real depth in the intricate movements along with a sentimental undercurrent.
Noel Brass Jr. “If I Ever Get The Chance Again” (Self-Released)
Another slice of magic from Noel Brass Jr. Expressive in its intent and quietly reflective in its tone, “If I Ever Get the Chance Again” ruminates in the soft glow of wistful memories. Lucid dreams shimmer in the tender, metallic resonance before angular piano motifs take our hand and pull us down a luminous rabbit hole. Midnight moods simmer in the faint arpeggios and sharp echoes, and even though we soak in the dark blue atmospheres, a quixotic sunrise is waiting to break and let light cascade through the lilting sonic corridors.
Two Way Mirrors Relic (Frosti)
Vestiges of a world left behind flow through the lilting landscapes of Two Way Mirrors’ Relic. Emotive harmonics break into smaller pieces, casting shadows above memorials left behind by ancient spirits. Relic relishes in distant memories and near-forgotten expanses where textured fields spell out secret messages from a life forsaken. Minor scales glom onto clouded synth patterns, bereft and listless, hanging onto nebulous melodies stretching through tactile arrangements. An alluring tension swims through Relic, pulsing in the echoes and saturating each spectral corridor.
Bahia Mansa & Emho Negatives (Sonic Dialogue)
Grayscale sonorities breathe life into drifting land masses in the back-and-forth between Bahia Mansa and Emho. Repeating tonal silhouettes loop around morphological nodes, altering our perceptions as sound reshapes a serene landscape. Everything here is quieted beneath a fuzz-laden blanket. Edges are muted. Textures are worn down. Distance obscured the precise melodic grains flowing through each of these pieces, though. Tendrils stacked with emotive expressions combine and create new, transitional spaces to reflect on this sonic conversation.