The Capsule Garden Vol 2.31: August 30, 2023

It’s Bandcamp Friday week so if you’re looking for some weird gems for your haul, look no further (actually, scratch that – look a lot further. There’s great stuff hidden everywhere if you just take a little time). As ever, The Jewel Garden has something new – this time the latest from my Charlatan project, an album called Memory Archive with a lot of tape loops and synths and general wooziness. Everything other than that album will also be pay-what-you-want this time, so dip a toe in (or do a whole fucken swan dive) if you’ve been curious.

Otherwise, Foxy Digitalis Daily is over on Patreon today, and be on the lookout for a bonus Seltzer Salon on Friday. The hits keep coming.

Rosali “Stuck Inside A Cloud” (Merge)

“Stuck Inside A Cloud” is a sneaky all-timer yet Rosali spreads its timeless spirit into a new, muted dimension. Her voice is a halo surrounding us, buoyed by featherweight keyboard spirals and singed guitar leads, all of it channeling an underlying sweetness at the song’s core. It’s a song that hangs heavy in the world, yet the lightness in Rosali’s arrangement and assured elegance in her vocal delivery decouples it from a ghostly specter while pulling the flame closer. Everything here is soft except the sharpness of Rosali’s tender gaze as she sings in her luxurious lower register, making each of George Harrison’s words ambush our hearts. What a way to announce her signing with Merge Records.

zakè & City of Dawn Ash (Azure Vista)

Lush, gently swaying soundscapes soften the blow of the emotional hammer that strikes throughout Ash. This collaborative follow-up to 2022’s fantastic Agape is swimming in vivid, expansive imagery. It’s scenic music, but the undercurrents and intertwined aural fabric holding it together are emotive threads. Open spaces breathe through washed-out melodies stretched beyond a distant horizon. A gentle fog surrounds the connective timbres, spreading visionary dreams through a prismatic sonic lens that casts these sounds as a beautiful still life, a memory of what used to be.

Cuerpo Docente Esferas (Dream Chimney)

Santiago, Chile’s Cuerpo Docente makes me want to get up and move. Featuring Lorena Álvarez, Vicente Atria, Felipe Castro, and Simón Cáceres, the quartet weaves hints of tropical psychedelia into funk-infused rhythms and experimental landscapes. The grooves drive the entire sonic bus here, but there are so many special, utterly hypnotic keyboard arrangements and pounding basslines that it causes the whole picture to shine brighter. Sinewy melodic trails spill into every direction, creating layer-upon-layer of kaleidoscopic movement. Castro’s vocal incantations only up the ante when “Fulgor” kicks in, pushing the whole thing beyond the astral divide and straight toward the sun. Absolutely fantastic.

Ibukun Sunday Divine (Self-Released)

Devotional atmospheres spread through the bubbling synths and wistful acoustic arrangements of Divine. Gentle arpeggios flow like summer rain sneaking through nighttime corridors, searching for something new. There’s a glassine reflection in the resonant patterns, but Sunday shows restraint throughout Divine. Horns sing over a distant dawn chorus of violins, leaving the darkness in the rearview and walking toward deserted, sunkissed vistas. Divine ends with a lovely combination of folk-adjacent loops and rich, vibrant drones that open space for Sunday’s cleansing violin expressions. 

Jessica Ackerley/Kevin Cheli/Gahlord DeWald Submerging Silently (Cacophonous Revival)

When first-time meetings end up like Sumberging Silently, there’s some kind of otherworldly magic in the ether. Jessica Ackerley, Kevin Cheli, and Gahlord DeWald are all top-tier, but together new languages emerge, and expansive corridors for sonic expression open. Fueled by varying modes of movement, intricate give-and-take develops. Ackerley’s guitar explorations flit from quick, searching runs to quiet emotive swells while DeWald moves in opposition before moments coalesce around a frenetic pace pushed by Cheli. There’s no spotlight, everyone is in front. Dancing basslines encircle Cheli’s feverish percussive acrobatics, the atmosphere swells and Ackerley breaks the seal with a series of crunching guitar punches, and all three wield sonic exclamation marks. Submerging Silently is raucous and reflective, inquisitive and plain fun. Huge recommendation.

Eric Mingus “Lessons From My Father” (Self-Released)

I am so happy Eric Mingus has a Bandcamp page setup and is sharing new solo pieces. “Lessons From My Father” is a seven-minute bass experiment that’s visceral and textural. Investigative techniques splice dissonance into something that ultimately ends up rapturous and memorable. The technical ability of Mingus is a marvel, but even more the way he winds those methods into melodic compositions underscored by emotional unrest and agitation is incredible. “Lessons From My Father” opens in chaos, rollicking toward an emotive melody with forward bounce. Sonic patterns feel like coded messages written in a forgotten language so this piece feels ancient and significant. I get lost in the winding paths Mingus follows, but as long as we keep moving, the destination will find us. Tremendous.

Manoir Molle int​é​ressant (Cudighi Records)

This one is wild. MIDI-fied synth oddities dance in whimsical patterns through 16-bit landscapes. int​é​ressant is so playful and well-written that each small passage becomes an infectious hymn. Sonic silhouettes flit between neon spectacles and shadowy melodramas, fusing layered melodic romps with a sense of humor and wonder. If we follow the crystalized tones, we begin to decipher purposeful patterns in this fanciful work. Romantic visions disintegrate into handmade aural dioramas, all the while Molle is crafting a joyous, sometimes silly, sometimes somber world for us to explore. I love this.

Francis Morning Brief Glimpses (Self-Released)

Hazy memories leave us with scrawled reminders and scratched-out views. Francis Morning fuses muted recollections into gentle, textured sonic environments. Whisps of tape hiss and looping melodies meet in darkness and dream about a world of shadows. Morning’s music is fleeting but leaves its mark. Distant patterns fade away before coming back into focus with added detail. Each aural vignette is glancing, making miniature movements out of sand, leaving a mark before fading back into nothingness. Brief Glimpses is emotive and memorable in all the right ways.

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