The Capsule Garden Vol 2.25: July 19, 2023

Last week’s vacation was too short, but it was still exhausting. It was exactly what I needed to relax and recharge, though, even if we didn’t actually rest much. St. Louis, I forgot just how much I love you. We took the kid to City Museum for the first time and it, unsurprisingly, blew her mind. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since and is already devising schemes to get us back there sooner than later. If you haven’t been to City Museum, and you’re going to find yourself in St. Louis sometime, don’t miss it. It’s one of the most mind-bending, incredible places I’ve ever been, and it always finds surprising ways to inspire my own practice by rethinking the possibilities of what I know and do. Something like that, anyway.

Foxy Digitalis Daily is over on Patreon today (as it always is on Wednesday). It would mean the world if you checked it out and signed up (or subscribe to The Jewel Garden – another boat of fun) – and a million thanks to those who have. It is essential to keep the site moving along.

With that, here’s a pile of wonderful music to sink your teeth into.

Lunaria Venus in Transit (Aural Canyon)

Lunaria beams in from another world with Venus in Transit, an expansive exploration of distant worlds and the future cosmos. Floating arpeggios glide across the neon skies and open hidden pathways to luminous vistas and enchanted atmospheres. Synth arrangements move slowly, with purpose, filling the immense skyscapes with expressive patterns. Tonal sequences in all directions. Dreamlike tonal structures emerge from the watery sonics, and invitation to bathe in these shapeshifting, emotive sounds. Playful melodies dance with crystalline keyboard sequences in the pulsating aural sea, blithe, and adrift. Venus in Transit is an incredible trip. I never want it to end.

Katharina Schmidt Another Year (Vertical Music)

The soft glow of late-night shop lights and flickering neon resonate with a restrained beauty in the slow-moving, intimate confines of Another Year. Katarina Schmidt chooses notes carefully and lets them hang in the air long enough to evaporate. Dust sneaks into the quiet spaces of “september. the first sweater of fall,” holding a court of minor chords to drift languidly beneath overcast skies. The edges fade into nothingness, and nothing keeps the loose array from spilling into different realms. Time keeps going; the music continues to rise.

John Krausbauer + Patrick Shiroishi High Life (Carbon)

There’s no wall too high or thick for Krausbauer and Shiroshi to eviscerate with these bright-light sonic shockwaves. On four short pieces, ecstatic furor blasts open our blackened hearts with a fervent catharsis. Violin howl opens a portal through the darkness, followed by spiraling sax solos and a burning desire to escape the unseen forces chasing from behind. Sharp-hued timbres intersect and leave intricate patterns scrawled in dust, lasting messages for end-time jamborees. It’s like Krausbauer and Shiroshi have lit this music on fire so we can run head-first into the sun. Incredible.

Remembrance Quintet Recollections (Self-Released)

An all-time quintet featuring Daniel Carter, Jamal Moore, Chris Williams, Luke Stewart, and Tcheser Holmes digs deep into fertile soil and sparks new life. Tethered by an untameable rhythm section, Carter, Moore, and Williamson take turns drawing sonic maps across the stars. Silky horn passages are laced with fire, burrowing through emotive layers to a secret, sacred hollow. Stewart and Holmes send each other spiraling with gentle nudges that obscure the latent power held in each searching note. The cadence seems cool and sober on the surface, but it’s purposeful and relentless, churning underneath. Each solo glance picks away at the concrete top layer and the emotional reflections spill out beyond the ether. One hell of a first taste of Remembrance Quintet’s upcoming album.

Maddy Briggs Late Night Swim (Stereoscenic)

Reworking piano and organ recordings from previous projects, Maddy Briggs sculpts new sonic forms that crackle and float through aqueous atmospheres. Surface details add texture, even scraping out surprise, minimal rhythms that only exist for brief moments, but bring this music to life. Using constantly-shifting timbres makes this music feel like living environments where nothing ever rests and the endless movement fuels every aural stretch. Dream tones glisten across divides, pulling the emotional threads into focus. Special mention for the fantastic cover art by Alice Brasser.

Shawn E. Hansen, Mike Pride & Clayton Thomas Dreamband (Self-Released)

When everything dries up, it becomes possible to stitch together new magic from the remnants. Recorded during lockdowns and isolation, Dreamband brings together three artists from three parts of the world. Stoic drones build ephemeral structures across metallic scaffolding, At times, grooves emerge from ghost sections, dancing through rhythmic speculations and bass grottos until some kind of dawn welcomes the other side. We criss-cross spectral stretches and pointillist sonic fields where each note pulls its weight, and the gravitational pull of winding musical zones collapse on themselves. There’s something free and wild about Dreamband like the shackles are gone, but we’re still fifty feet underground. This music claws its way to the surface, an artifact of a specific time ready for a moment in the sun.

Dusklight Enchantment & Serenity (Windkey Tapes)

The world of dreams is a magic thread bathed in hiss and muted light. Repeating patterns open the pathway beyond the cosmic veil, with gilded synth patterns spelling out crystallized shapes in stars. Mystery unfolds in the glassine melodies. We’re transported to silver clouds, drifting through calming spaces where the horizon is endless and time stands still. Chords swell into resonant forms. Ephemeral aural landscapes fade in and out of view like passing memories of past lives, bringing comfort along a timeless spirit. Enchantment & Serenity is tinged with whimsy and sweetness, but that doesn’t detract from the quixotic journey on which Dusklight takes us. There are worlds hidden in plain sight, illusions and incantations for the everyday.

Forbes Graham Live At Mayday 12​.​8​.​2022 (Self-Released)

It’s always a good day when Forbes Graham releases something new. This live performance is captivating with Graham morphing computer spew and trumpet into a turgid, expressive landscape. Harsh edges mix with melodic hints and stretches, holding a dizzying spell of electronic pathways at arm’s length. Rhythms emerge like synapses before being swallowed by elastic drones, and doom beckons in the background. Graham spins emotive trumpet charms, dancing above the churning fray before looping back to the origin. A forward-moving purpose crawls from beneath the static fizzing and mutating backdrop, pulling everyone along until there’s no place left to go.

Too Hands Easy Patterns (Tone Burst)

Since stumbling on Too Hands’magnificent Music for 18 Plug-ins, I’ve been eagerly following his work. Following that framework, the quilting-themed Easy Patterns is a wild, joyous ride. Arrangements move at lightspeed with a machine-like precision that’s hypnotizing and emphatic. The music is deceptive, with recognizable components and a subconscious familiarity, and the intricacy of layered, lyrical loops is a dizzying spectacle. Too Hands crafts this music for maximum enchantment, the countless melodies woven into delicate sonic entanglements. Pretty damn incredible.

Frode Gjerstad with Matthew Shipp We Speak (Relative Pitch)

Angular arrangements jut off the central harmonic core of We Speak, open to the elements and focused on finding the next step. Shipp’s piano playing is as masterful as ever. Quick runs and movements cascade upward, joined by Gjerstad’s plaintive scowls and inquisitive blasts. Accentuated by a dose of patience and forward progression, the duo slips into melodic corridors before bisecting the way ahead with caustic bursts and sharpened chord progressions. Loud bellows ring from Shipp’s piano and overwhelm the horn screeds in certain moments before being pushed back with visceral solos. Shipp and Gjerstad develop a new language between them, shifting back and forth through time and harnessing moments together in a raw, intricate sonic dance.

cubalibre.exe digital dead garden (Self-Released)

digital dead garden feels like a secret world only a few people know about. Surfaces are pristine and flora of every imaginable type is encased in glass. Lost radio transmissions reappear lilting across wistful melodies, heightening the synthetic feeling dripping from every note. These are artifacts from a future civilization. End-of-days sonic reveries depicting the last breaths before everything and everyone disappeared into oblivion. Voices sing in the ether, living forever and spreading gold dust across heady tropical skies. The world is a hologram and we’re never going to fade.

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