The Capsule Garden Vol 2.29: August 16, 2023

Summer vacation officially ends tomorrow and while part of me is happy to get back on some semblance of a schedule, it’s been such a great couple of months that I’m mostly bummed. I think the kid is a little sick of me (even if she doesn’t admit it), but I’ve been having way too many feelings about all of it. Growing up is no fucken joke. 

Anyway, FD Daily is over on Patreon today (along with a host of other bits), and I am drowning myself in new tunes as a distraction from all of the above. You are welcome.

Marguerite de Roche Sous ma peau, un volcan (Connivence répétitive)

The sun sets in the opaque arpeggiations and fraught synthscapes of Sous ma peau, un volcan. Ethiopia’s Marguerite de Roche’s sound worlds are exploratory, confined spaces where self-reflection becomes a transitory pathway. Crystalline melodies rise through neon haze in search of faded stars. Ruminative vocal expressions whisper and sing on ponderous, atmospheric beds, angular looping patterns, and slow-motion rhythms. It’s like we’re being beckoned into the darkness, pulled along through sonic poems and engrossing ambient textures.  Sous ma peau, un volcan creates its own orbit and finds an entire universe waiting. Incredible.

Norwood Miss the Point (Island House)

For no good reason, I was a little skeptical as I hit play on Miss the Point the first time, but 40 seconds into opener “Mime Has an Existential Crisis,” Brendan Norwood had me hooked. Whimsical, floating sonic islands coalesce into zigzagging pop oddities, buried in the veins of early Jerry Paper if their blood flowed through the backwoods. Melodies thaw like early spring rivers, softly spread across nimble guitar progressions and wistful horn arrangements. The title track is a velvet hammer navigating an endless barrage of self-doubt while tracks like “Closer” and “Dreamtracer” send us flickering into the fading skies. An absolute joy of a listen.

Rosie Turton Wandering Wondering (Self-Released)

As I listen to the three beguiling songs on this EP, I feel like I’m floating through a familiar world, but seeing it in a different light. Rosie Turton’s trombone shapes the spaces surrounding us, softening the edges and making the texture of everyday life sing. Emotive glances spin-off in violin melodies and Wurlitzer phrases. Even if we’re nowhere, it’s where we need to be. “time in space” glosses through emptiness with pressing rhythms, blurred electronics, and the impossible realness of Turton’s trombone stretches. It’s filled with intricate magic. Closing things out, gentle cadences blink into effervescent chaos and drama-tinged string conversations, flowing beneath birdsong and synthetic clouds. There is so much to love on Wandering Wondering. She promises more to come, and when it does, I will certainly be there.

Bernard Xolotl “Angelic Choir” (Self-Released)

Time stops and the world becomes an expanding dream on Bernard Xolotl’s beautiful “Angelic Choir.” Layered voices climb gilded stairs toward the heavens, chasing stars and spreading melodic dust into the cosmos and beyond. Expansive harmonies coalesce into immortal expressions channeling an enduring spirit through luminous matrices, coming out the other side with a profound glow. “Angelic Choir” is gorgeous sonic gold.

claire rousay sigh in my ear (Western Vinyl)

Signals flare in the seams of a warm breath, a seething patience growing into a thousand forgotten memories. claire rousay distills small moments into gravity wells that pull us closer to some thing, some feeling we thought we’d left behind. Chord progressions trace shapes across the skin, buoyed by lilting, emotive strings, and heightened by a restrained urgency in her autotuned vocals and Helena Deland’s soothing whispers. If “sigh in my ear” is the tiny explosion, “your first armadillo” is the shockwave, the coda. Life never quite moves on, but certain moments stick forever in these sentimental piano sequences. Melted drones mix with texture from slight movements and distant chatter, waiting for their time to dry up like the last mirage in an abandoned desert.

Slikback I S O L A T I O N (Self-Released)

Relentlessness defined. Slikback only knows one speed and it rains sonic mayhem from a midnight sky. Nobody’s beat hit this hard, but the way he stitches in countless electronic textures before burying everything in a globular bass blur is mind-bending. Drama rides every single bar, turning explosions into repeating mantras, all scoped with osmotic melodics and searing, rhythmic exploration. There are even layered field recordings and tainted ambient shadows swimming through the corners of closer “Trail.” It’s all an absolute masterclass. Wherever Slikback goes, whatever he’s doing, I’m here for it.

Junior Mint Prince I Saw Freak Joy (Sweet Wreath)

When nobody’s looking and the strings have all been cut, our bodies collapse in a pile and reform into a ramshackle folk spectacle. I Saw Freak Joy is such a delight, finding the duo of Lula Asplund and Naomi Harrison-Clay rewriting backstories and sweet histories with devastating sharpness. Unconcerned serenades become still-life bops before they’re smothered by smeared noise walls and dissonant, cut-up landscapes. Their vocal interplay veers from whimsical and inviting to dystopian freakshow at a moment’s notice, the dizzying ruminations sparking into countless directions. I’m reminded a little of the great (often forgotten) Belly Boat, but Junior Mint Prince has stretched the breaking point into a surrealist marionette graveyard. Wonderful.

Philippe Deschamps Blue Baths (Self-Released)

Drifting aural clouds part ways beneath the ether, spreading light waves into prismatic shards. Philippe Deschamps’ music is emotive but still tinged with an airy sweetness in its slow-moving chord progressions and lilting arrangements. Piercing leads cut into the astral swarms, leaving a liminal glow in their wake. Blue Baths is amorphous and emphemeral, stretching moods into floating sonic rivers filled with expressive patterns. It’s a lovely piece of music saturated with the imagination of a new dawn.

bahía mansa / Yama Yuki Cartas N​á​uticas (Mystery Circles)

Fluid sonic structures emerge from a roiling, dark sea, saturated with a mysterious air, but filled with elegiac tones. Specks of light dot the sinuous horizon as bahía mansa and Yama Yuki create wistful sonic environments and set them free in the ocean’s depths. Synths follow wave patterns, finding textured soundscapes hidden in the darkness; inviting spaces where yearning melodies blossom and trace bright lines in the darkness. Cartas N​á​uticas charts immersive worlds from different perspectives. Muted colors overwhelm the backward-moving patterns, imbuing a resonant gravity in the music’s texture and directionless motion. This one’s special.

Bee Balm Fields Whiskey Walkin’ (Round Bale)

Backlit twang and smoke-filled rooms give way to Bee Balm Fields’ namesake, creating space for Laura Karels’ infectious vocals. Whiskey Walkin’ feels timeless. Languid guitar melodies from Pete Klug are fueled by the understated rhythm section of Ben Scruggs and Eric Bunde. Songs flicker like midnight beacons, drawing our ears closer and rousing our pulse from the haze. With songs inspired by southern Minnesota, Bee Balm Fields still find escapist threads within plaintive Americana. This is music for faded lights and Friday nights. The band’s music is genuine, heartfelt, and well-steeped in a glass of whiskey. Let’s get rowdy.

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