The Capsule Garden Vol 2.33: September 20, 2023

The Capsule Garden returns after a week’s hiatus. There is so much happening in the Foxy Digitalis universe right now that it’s hard for me to keep track. With Foxy Digitalis Daily going into the dirt, it’s opened space that I have, of course, filled. The next iteration of the me-rambling-about-music-and-all-sorts-of-things launched in Patreon last week, and should move into the real world next month. It’s going to be a little bit of everything – basically just whatever I’m feeling that week. I’m excited. Oh, and you can leave me a voicemail for the show now by clicking HERE.

Even more exciting, though, is that next Tuesday (September 26th), Songs of Our Lives will officially debut (again, it’s already available on Patreon, where you get extra questions in each episode, so another reason to sign up!). I made a trailer for it – you can listen to that HERE or just search for Songs of Our Lives wherever you listen to podcasts. I am over the moon about this show, I’m not going to lie. The episodes I’ve recorded so far have been an absolute blast, and the guests I have lined up are all simply fantastic. I hope you’ll check it out.

In the meantime, here are some lovely tunes to tide you over.

Liis Ring Vaikelu (Õunaviks)

Liis Ring draws simple shapes in three dimensions on a whimsical sonic map. Latticework facades fade into ephemeral aural webs, a mix of synths and guitars colliding in interesting directions so Ring’s voice can envelop us like a halo. Vaikelu follows wistful, meandering paths, intimating there’s a delicate intricacy folded into this music’s core. Yet, Ring’s world has such immense gravity that it becomes impossible to avoid the songs’ pull. Lilting melodies dance across quickly plucked strings while a quiet resonance hangs in the background. It’s sharp and pointed. Rolling through subterranean spaces, disparate layers stitch themselves together with bounding rhythms and smoky atmospheric landscapes to create something immersive. Vaikelu is spellbinding and further evidence that there’s no limit for Liis Ring. Recommended.

Luke Stewart “For Mdou” (Self-Released)

Stretches of time are carved into the darkening ether of “For Mdou,” those etched images resonating through Stewart’s thrumming bass drones and Trae Crudup’s darting rhythms. From the duo that brings us Blacks’ Myths, this whole piece is electric, burning with buried tension. Stewart and Crudup have an unspoken understanding as they push each other through narrowing sonic mazes. Guttural bass howl transforms, moving up the neck to spit out a web of spectral tones, reflecting in angular patterns against a fast-moving background. “For Mdou” may show restraint at the surface, but underneath it never stops pushing.

Elisapie Inuktitut (Bonsound)

I’m always fascinated by the random ways things come into our lives. Elisapie smothered my radar through her 2019 collaboration with another Inuk artist, Riit. We were watching this Canadian murder mystery show, and this incredible song was used in an episode. I was hooked, and went down the rabbit hole (as I tend to do), which eventually led me to this stunning album. Inuktitut finds Elisapie covering well-known songs, but sung in her native language on top of sometimes lush, sometimes fragile arrangements that make this music her own. A glacial atmosphere spreads from her voice’s warm core on “Sinnatuumait (Dreams),” bringing a different vulnerability to the Fleetwood Mac classic. Other highlights are “Qaisimalaurittuq (Wish You Were Here)” where The Westerlies’ emotive horn atmospheres pull this song inward, and “Qimmijuat (Wild Horses)” which hangs like an eternal specter above us all. Inuktitut is incredible at making us forget what’s familiar and pulling us into a different beautiful world. Highest recommendation.

Hedra Rowan This Beautiful Moment Sours (Benska)

Blink just once and This Beautiful Moment Sours has veered off into a glitched-out neon pasture, leaving us sitting idly behind inside a minimalist architectural painting. Hedra Rowan’s music is frenetic and unpredictable, an absolute joy to experience even in its sharpest timbral grips. Fleeting drones bleed into quiet reflections before an aural kaleidoscope cracks open, sending our memories tumbling down a psychedelic, digital blipfest. Glassified tones skitter at strange angles, but at the end of one rainbow are a series of oddly comforting waveforms, molded into oscillating repetitions that guide us back toward the far future. This Beautiful Moment Sours is disorienting and wonderful. 

Tatsuro Murakami An Imaginary Autumn (Whitelabrecs)

As I write this on an overcast morning, An Imaginary Autumn is transitory, imaginative. Guitar swells ripple with texture, pushed further into warm colorscapes by dancing synth passages. A wistful calm washes through each emotive passage, stray notes searching for answers that don’t come. Murakami traces delicate lines in the air with purpose, but an emptiness lurks in the margins and blankets of hiss. This is reflective music waiting for someone to listen and get lost looking inward. Quiet exists the ghostly echoes An Imaginary Autumn leaves behind. 

mararara i’m just one person (.jpeg Artefacts)

There are times on i’m just one person that it feels like I’ve uncovered some kind of hidden treasure. mararara’s world on i’m just one person is immersive and emotional. Simple synth chords accent the power woven into small moments captured up close and from a distance. We move through a rich sonic landscape, finding pockets of propulsive, neon beats and serrated drones, all of it heightened by processed voice samples and field recordings. Even in the pensive, beautiful moments like “you keep cutting out,” sharp edges find their way in. This music creates space for those who don’t often find it. Throughout i’m just one person, confessions hold the gravity of an entire galaxy, and each word, each sound echoes into forever. Incredible.

Baldruin Relikte aus der Zukunft (Buh)

Relikte aus der Zukunft (or, Relics From the Future translated into English) couldn’t be a more apt title for Baldruin’s latest. This music feels like remnants left behind after the rot and decay of an unknown civilization finally win out. Scrap heap electronic textures scatter across barren sonic wastelands built on broken strings, darkened facades, and a surprising dash of whimsical reverence. The album searches through a gauntlet of emotional wreckage, with dancing joy melting straight into moments of charred, frenetic chaos. Each song is like its own oddity – a piece recovered from another dimension that manages to simultaneously amaze and repel. Dissonance bleeds into angular melodies and meandering arrangements, tone patterns twisting around us like a constrictor. Baldruin uses a monster array of instrumentation and vocal approaches to flesh out this imagined world while breaking it into fragmented memories. It’s one hell of a trip I keep taking.

cinchel/Akosuen/Neil Jendon one day (Self-Released)

I’ve been an admirer of cinchel’s work for a while, but this collaborative effort with violinist Akosuen and bassist Neil Jendon is something else. It’s also remarkable that all of these pieces were recorded on the same day as there’s such depth and consideration within each one that they feel like ideas fleshed out and built over time. Guitar drones sparkle like magical shapes in a pitch-black night, sculpted by Akosuen’s searching violin motifs while Jendon plants the foundation firmly into bedrock. The trio veers between spacious, glazed-over explorations and self-reflective contemplations. one day never hangs too heavy with melancholy, but an understated somberness flows through the low-speed movements to build a surprising amount of velocity in the end. Really fantastic stuff.

Devin Sarno & Ibukun Sunday “Sound Study Sixteen” (Self-Released)

Devin Sarno’s Sound Study series is always good for interesting sonic explorations, and this piece with Nigerian producer Ibukun Sunday is no exception. Sunday’s liminal resonances have a more cutting sheen here, feeling more distant and alien than many of his other works. That builds an underlying starkness that Sarno molds into growing vibrations. Texture from field recordings expands the palette and helps offset the arid sonorities building in the margins. Really nice.

Academy Of Light Open Air (Self-Released)

In this 40-minute sprawl, worlds are born, fade into the cosmos, and are born again. By my count, 17 musicians play on Open Air and it shows. This music is intricate and delicate, but so spacious and inviting that it feels like there are a million different corridors to get lost inside. Breathing synth tones swell at the foundation, giving the other sounds an undulating base to drift away from. Piano chords are broken into pieces to float on lilting guitar passages while ephemeral sonorities buoyed by flute and bells glow with an engaging timbre. Open Air billows, aloft on featherlight sonics as though this music is a living organism swimming through the ether, content to push away any superfluous distractions. Lovely.

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