A thing that has grated on my nerves the past few weeks, but this week especially is artists using fake locations in their Bandcamp profiles/tags. Something I do every week-ish is surf Bandcamp tags, particularly by location, to learn about interesting sounds being made in places outside of the usual coverage zones. It’s one of my favorite aspects of running this site, and something I encourage anyone writing about music to do on occasion (never only rely on what gets sent to you!). Anyway, a thing that happens too frequently is artists that are obviously from the US or Western Europe playing like they’re in Africa or Southeast Asia or something. You’re clearly a white dude in Belgium. Please take Tanzania out of your profile. It’s fucken gross and takes up space that should be occupied by actual rad stuff from Tanzania like this.
Anyway, there’s a new Asomatous album out today on The Jewel Garden. It’s pretty gnarly, just like the swamp-thick hellbroth currently occupying the air in Tulsa right now. So check that out and read about some more cool music below.
Johanna Orellana Las Camelias, Tres Equinas (Smalltown Supersound)
On the debut of Norwegian-Chilean flutist Johanna Orellana, she whisks us a way to an ancient world where spirits live forever. Across five pieces, our concentration is pulled inward through faded aural explorations. Small pieces are hidden corridors leading between the two expansive bookends, light feeding into darkness. These whispered melodic moments are elegantly tinged with field recordings so they become a bridge between the known and unknown. At either end, windswept exercises stoke metered fires with a buried urgency, Orellana hiding messages inside dynamic drones. Carving ephemeral paths with breathy arpeggiations, graceful overtones, and spectral patterns, this elegy for her father sings. Highest recommendation.
Future Museums Dorsal Fin (SFI)
Life blooms in crystalized aural terrariums and glowing arpeggios. Future Museums (aka Neil Lord) once again taps into a staring of cosmic reverie that fills our bloodstream and bathes our minds in white light. Soothing cadences seep from every pore, through winding synthetic rivers and circular melodies in search of a place of rest. Lord stitches in pointillist guitar highlights as a timbral contrast against expansive, shimmering pads, building out deeper pools for immersion. Dorsal Fin is a joy to listen to and get lost within as we find space to radiate in peace. A stunner.
BLAKMOTH Bourdon: Tome Un (Self-Released)
Time is stretched thin on Bourdon: Tome Un, a collection of live and unmastered pieces from BLAKMOTH. Inside glacial pacing, vast expanses emerge like shrouded figures from the ether. Mystery permeates each of these tracks. They’re beckoning and hypnotic as melodic vistas waver in the distance like sentient sonic landscapes. Bourdon takes on a different shade from other BLAKMOTH releases, and not just because of the live, visceral modus. Organic timbres filter through cracks in the liminal resonances, scraps of the world scattering through a wind tunnel and into the sparking atmosphere. Excellent.
Chloë Sobek Apotropaic (Nice Music)
Apotropaic never stops moving. Built around her custom-built violone (a six-string baroque instrument, a variation on double bass), these seven pieces are a mix of strange and familiar timbres mixed together for maximum visceral impact. Percussive sonnets tear out fragmented tones, spreading them through parched static and globular rhythms like wild seed. The violone’s sound is front and center, drawing extended techniques into hollowed-out landscapes. Sobek’s music is rife with texture scattered across the shifting spatial plane. Moments of respite are frozen to their breaking point as she concocts melodic riddles through bowed strings and blackened electronics.
Surya Botofasina “Everyone’s Moment (Within)” (Spiritmuse)
Surya Botofasina’s music gives me life. Based on his incredible piece, “Surya Meditation (Reprise),” this new journey leads us through jagged mysteries, and out from the walls we’re stuck behind into a new light. This guided meditation isn’t just soothing, it’s transcendent. Across a bed of crystalline tones and flickering patterns, Botofasina’s voice is a balm. His words sting in the best way, and it’s impossible not to be gently swept away in this music’s wash. Wonderful.
Charbel Haber and Fadi Tabbal Enfin La Nuit (NAHAL)
Saturating eternal whispers are the voices of tragedy, all of it woven into the aural fabric of Charbel Haber and Fadi Tabbal’s incredible Enfin La Nuit. Created in the wake of the Beirut port explosion of August 2020, Haber and Tabbal craft a cathartic requiem for a city brought to its knees. Expansive guitarscapes bloom from the wreckage, shattered drones sparking new life in forlorn arrangements. These siren songs wordlessly speak in the language of tragedy, communicating sonic vigils to spread through the city’s broken bones and broken hearts. Aided by entrancing vocal loops from Julia Sabra, Enfin La Nuit is eternal. Essential listening.
Kate Carr Fever Dreams (Mana)
Density bleeds into claustrophobic sonic corridors run rampant with intricate patterns and transitional narratives. Kate Carr’s music swims in interesting textures and timbral combinations, as though she’s navigating buried layers of lost worlds. Cavernous echoes encase a collection of sharper tones, rubbing off the edges and softening their impact. Spaces open into underwater hymnals with cryptic voices singing ghostly melodies in the distance. Feelings of isolation seep into ringing bells and dragging metal, held aloft by resonant bursts. Carr is a magician in the way she orchestrates so many divergent layers into beguiling aural forms. Repeated listens offer new views to keep the ideas in Fever Dream growing into new forms. For an artist who never disappoints, this is some of her most memorable work.
Africa Open Improvising “Mitumba Invasive Species” (Self-Released)
I recently stumbled upon this South African project but was fascinated and pulled in by the opening cello ruminations and electronic scree. AOI is a group that meets regularly at Pieter Okkers House to explore sonic worlds and intersecting energies. “Mitumba Invasive Species” opens quietly before scattering into divergent directions. Electronics scramble to life, sharpening frequencies through disintegrating oscillations while strings and percussive layers swim underneath. Various flutes and piccolos spark whimsical patterns tinged with urgency as a foil to the sputtering noise. There are so many interesting combinations here, it’s dizzying (and that’s true of all the pieces on the ensemble’s Bandcamp page).
Quetzal Tirado & haeccia Contemplations on Sound (Self-Released)
There’s a freedom running through this surprising collaboration between Hungarian reedist-extraordinaire Quetzel Tirado and multi-instrumentalist haeccia. Ambiance glows for moments before being shattered, transected by quickfire horn blasts and ricocheted percussion. Dissonance bleeds into the margins. Plucked strings add texture that slices through the growing resonant folds, each piece building toward emotional release. Contemplations on Sound is not just reflective, it is also searching. Midnight seeps into the melancholic solos like an effervescent fog. Tirado and haeccia flit between inward silhouettes and frenetic catharsis, and that combination brings Contemplations on Sound to life.
™USERNAMES dying in a pretty place (Global Pattern)
Fourth-world atmospheres bloom blue-world sonics across every surface of dying in a pretty place. Blurred patterns build out an architectural cadence only to further obscure the distant view with aqueous textures and a measure of whimsy. Buried in the solar array is a sense of wonder with shifting melodies, going from bright, hopeful motifs into wistful spectrums. Everything feels important; each sound is another crystal guiding us forward. Resonant waves lurk in the depths, a faint aural mist coating every surface with gossamer slime. This is a strange and magnetic sound world.
Twenty Fingers Duo x Dominykas Digimas Two Sides: East / West (Self-Released)
The brother-sister duo of Lora Kmieliauskaitė and Arnas Kmieliauskas offer another emotive slice of string-laden drama with the captivating Two Sides. “East” and “West” are two connected compositions by Lithuanian composer Dominykas Digimas. Capturing a feeling of urgency through spiraling legatos and pointed arrangements, Two Sides builds so much tension it’s tactile. The score is based on their ‘soundwalk’ practice exploring their home city of Vilnius, and this spirit is captured in the constant movement and excitement permeating the music. “East” rises skyward with rapid progressions before lulling back into some place quiet. “West” follows a similar trajectory though the cadence has shifted and the sonic patterns are brighter. Together, these two songs are an incredible listening experience.
Seventh Shadow of the Sun Lithochromatic (Estavelle)
Baked in the sun before being repurposed into a communal exercise in liminal reverie, Lithochromatic floats directionless through the ether. Synths bubble into transient sculptures, rising beyond sight and moving subtly in time with the underlying disjointed rhythms. Hidden inside the electronic sparkle, horns blast moonlight through exposed channels and find a place on the surface to dance. There are grooves here to unearth, at times uneven, but always moving forward toward an imaginary horizon. Dawn breaks glassine leads into pieces. Seventh Shadow of the Sun is dialed in.