The Capsule Garden Vol 2.32: September 6, 2023

In case you missed the news on Foxy Digitalis Daily yesterday, first – go listen – but otherwise, this is the last week of FD Daily. I talk about why and what’s next in yesterday’s episode (and more in-depth on Patreon today – wahey!). All good things, all good things. And speaking of good things, get a lot of this batch of damn fine releases.

Nabalayo Ngombe Mzima (Self-Released)

Nairobi’s Nabalayo is joyous and inventive, with layered rhythms and vocals creating an infectious sound world. East African cadences melt into lithe electronics, all of it building a billowing foundation for sparkling voice. Nabalayo composes in the realms of Changanya, a genre she pioneers fusing traditional folk elements with contemporary tones and timbres. Melodies follow imaginative inspirations, moments tinged with sweetness and wonder weave new forms with each passing verse. Ngombe Mzima is buoyant and fun, it is filled with movement, but the heart of it beats with a resolute boldness. Fusing the past and future into something wholly new makes Ngombe Mzima timeless in its own way. Incredible. Highest recommendation.

Larry Wish Capricorn Sun (Orange Milk)

Oh Larry, what have you done? Capricorn Sun is whimsically grotesque, funneling absurdity into alternate-universe MIDI-orchestral pop mayhem. Timbres are wrapped in cracked plastic neon and sent down the river of digital dreams. Clowning fish choruses dance on arpeggiating synths like bait, pulling us all into the woozy circus. Wish’s music is intricate and carefully composed to accentuate the narrative throughline, giving Capricorn Sun a heightened sense of adventure. Triumph and heartbreak mold an aural facade out of crisp timbres plated in fake gold, shining brightly before melting beneath the sun’s cosmic heat. Wish is relentless, layering every possible melody and familiar feeling into this prismatic, joyous sonic landscape. The sea will carry.

LDSN & Yakkida Can Yr Ysgol (Krim Kram)

Woozy soundscapes bleed into dissonant tonal overflows on Can Yr Ysgol from the duo of LDSN (Lauren de Sá Naylor) and Yakkida (Hilary Knott). Sharp resonances become blinding transitions, obscuring the secret messages spelled out by disembodies voices. All our forgotten haunts come back to greet us through enchanted vocal loops, spoken word, and minimalist sonic oddities. Shattered remnants buzz in the margins, the duo pulling and pushing each other through in-between spaces, searching for points of escape. There’s something so cryptic and enthralling about Can Yr Ysgol, the tactile environments encircling us, wrapping us up before we’re even aware we’re trapped. Stellar.

Toyohiko Satoh La Rh​é​torique des Dieux (Carpe Diem)

I love it when a thing that has been around for ages (in this case, the Carpe Diem label) unexpectedly shows up on your radar, and this entire new world opens up. The label’s latest is an exceptionally gentle and moving solo lute performance of Denis Gaultier’s (1603-1672 La Rhétorique des Dieux. On this intimate recording, Satoh’s presence is a serene, illuminating force. Fingers dance on the strings, his breath quieted and soft, all of it buoying the underlying spirit hidden between notes. This music is straightforward, yet deceptive in its emotional complexity as we search for reflections in the music’s empty spaces. Stunning in its beautiful simplicity.

Camila Nebbia Una ofrenda a la ausencia (Relative Pitch)

Few saxophonists give me goosebumps like Camila Nebbia. Una ofrenda a la ausencia is intimate and dramatic, visceral webs of intricate runs navigate vacant spaces with purpose and desire. Layered drones create an odd combination of eeriness and ethereal movements in places as though Nebbia has unlocked a portal to a new dimension. Quick melodies flit in modal patterns, and jumps from soft, introspective passages to full-force sonic fury are ruthless and invigorating. Between the rampant, sonorous explorations, Nebbia folds in spoken word interludes, expanding the album’s depth and range. There is so much to hear on Una ofrenda a la ausencia, and perhaps even more to feel. Camila Nebbia never disappoints. This is fantastic.

Cloistral Sorrow s/t (Nice Music)

I didn’t see this album of blurred melodic gems coming from Harriet Morgan (Military Position, etc.) and James Rushford (so many things), but the further stuck in I get, the more it begins to make sense. Swaying, emotive synth arrangements and soundscapes nestle within these cozy, padded walls, trapping our enemies in a world of melted bubblegum and cotton candy. Distant figures are blurred by the melodic architecture, swathed in an ethereal fog as it swirls and dances around the buildings, creating a sense of mystery and wonder. Outlines of our memories echo through the eons, moving through gray mist atop the simple rhythms and minimalist sonic palette. Urgency dissipates. Timelines transform. Cloistral Sorrow doesn’t waver, instead embracing the ghostly aural flickers persisting in the pop margins.

Joey Cobb Rain in Spring (Self-Released)

Spacious atmospheres come to life beneath the dome of Rain in Spring. Mist-laden harmonies reverberate through glass rooms, reflecting into new waves to create moments that look inward. Everything is so well put together, with moments connected by expressive synth silhouettes and textured, melodic drifts. In between, wistful memories bloom into future, forgotten lives buoyed by gentle string arrangements and rhythmic patterns. Cobb builds dream worlds through each careful layer, adding obscured voices and sweeping drones into the expanding landscapes so we can remember, so we can feel everything again. Beautiful.

Mike Nigro Argyle Place Park (Oxtail)

Three separate mixes of this lush piece let our minds wander outward and upward on Argyle Place Park. Oxtail head Mike Nigro weaves wistful melodies into the gently flowing sonic fabric of expansive synths and textural field recordings. The original is a warm caress at midnight, a brief flicker of remembrance like a ghost passing. “Argyle Place Park (Skyscraper Mix)” looks toward the heavens and feels more spacious. Endless waves rush across our view, pulling us deeper into the cosmic divide. To close, the ‘Bug Jazz Mix’ turns the emotive arrangements into playfield fields, bouncing gleefully into the dawn.

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