What a week. It’s not great out there. Bombs and greed are in endless supply. Compassion and empathy, not so much. I don’t even know. Take care of each other. Take care of yourselves. If you need a little distraction and want to laugh, listen to the latest Songs of Our Lives with one of my favorite gingers on the planet, the lovely James Ginzburg (and if you need to turn your brain further into goo, listen to his and Paul Purgas’s new emptyset EP).
(For now, we’ll continue including Bandcamp links/embeds until that’s not really feasible. Continue supporting artists, however, whenever, and wherever you can. Fucking bummed)
Yara Asmar synth waltzes and accordion laments (Hive Mind)
Melancholic drifts sound through the overcast skies of synth waltzes and accordion laments, infusing ageless melodies with a sense of falling backward through time. History is stitched through gilded aural silhouettes and elegiac drones. Asmar’s music is visceral. Each note, each elongated tonescape feels like a collection of ancestral memories, the eternal echoes of dust. Searching keyboard leads line the hollows soaked in reverb and cast against a wall of mournful accordion requiems made of ghosts. While electronics beckon beyond the sunrise stretched through a metallic shimmer, synth waltzes and accordion laments sticks with us while we remain lost in the hazy doldrums, always crawling forward tethered to our past lives. Highest recommendation.
Pat Thomas WAZIFAH volume 2 (Scatter Archive)
Thrilled to see another volume of Pat Thomas’s electronic experimentations. Using the Preparato sample library, Thomas builds a world of muted resonances and spindly sonic architecture. Allure builds in the sharp-angled passages, pulling us further into this maze. Prepared piano arrangements disintegrate into jolts of processed electricity and string trills. Woodwinds flicker in the margins, weaving whimsical melodies from decaying notes, filling a growing void with intricate aural messages and glassine reflections. Thomas’s skill in combining disparate timbres and tone patterns that, on their surface, seem at odds, into absorbing yet dizzying soundscapes.
Azu Tiwaline The Fifth Dream (I.O.T.)
Endless dub-infused inflections step carefully inside meticulously built worlds of darkened synth tones and isometric patterns. Hollow ricochets bounce from charred wall to charred wall, picking up sonic debris with every hit that only adds to the considerable depth of The Fifth Dream. Intricate sound design that wraps itself around the rhythms, constricting the glow in ways that create new, more captivating soundscapes. Tension grinds out chambers through repetitive forward motion, the pressure growing into tactile expressions through churning, globular bass tones, and sharpened metallic vibrations. Azu Tiwaline pulls every string until they break, and is then ready to build a new sprawling universe from the blackened scraps. Incredible.
Glacial Anatomy & 37735i6 Field Designs (Self-Released)
Amorphous shapes are obscured by an ephemeral wall of aeriform aural shadows. Field Designs is filled with captivating movement, pulling listeners into an immersive landscape of extended tones and expansive sonic environments. Synths are layered into deep space buoyed by a blurred guitar sheen and harmonic whispers. 37735i6’s voice finesses the finer details and buried emotion of each gradated passage. There’s a subtlety woven into this music, sinking itself into our unconscious thoughts as we drift across a neverending cosmos. Field Designs isn’t quite comforting and isn’t quite dispiriting, but splits the difference to celebrate the beauty in between. A wonderful collaboration.
Zoltan Fesco Other Air (Oxtail Recordings)
Texture lives and breathes on Other Air. Zoltan Fesco’s latest is a whimsical journey through imaginary lands, the combination of synthetic sounds and processed field recordings utterly intoxicating. Bass rumbles, rocking the foundation in all directions as lithe tones climb invisible ladders to turn light into prismatic reflections. Melodies flicker and disappear into aqueous shimmers. This music is permeated with an aerated lightness, but Fesco ties it into emotional knots with wistful chord progressions and a slowed cadence. Other Air is delightful, each repeated listen revealing new secrets hidden in the quieted folds.
Maggie Tra Very Vui (SYS Sister Sounds)
Minimalist sparks blend into bright rhythmic escapades on Maggie Tra’s second album, Very Vui. The Vietnamese producer combines familiar percussive textures with snaking melodies and effervescent basslines to create a looping neon world. Grooves are submerged in viscous synths and organic soundscapes, blending airy atmospheres with deep, grounded explorations. Her productions are elaborately layered, pairing traditional scales and instrumentations with future-leaning sonics, creating an engaging space where something fun and unexpected lurks. Great stuff.
Maria Elena Silva Dulce (Astral Spirits/Big Ego)
Once the smoke clears, the glow can finally fade into a perfectly landscaped backdrop. Maria Elena Silva’s latest swims in chartreuse tones, stilled in glass and held aloft for all times. Her voice is magic, golden strings resonating on a microcosmic level where each word holds an entire world at bay. Songs grow from twisted metal sculptures, angular and resonant to memorialize whispered, dark lullabies in oil paintings and intricate feather patterns. Silva’s words are sharp but uncontained, they spill beyond their borders, dancing on acoustic patterns and rising, triumphant leads. We lean in and let the warmth wash over us, struck by the hidden sweetness as we long for the night’s forgiving embrace. What a beautiful record.
Andrew Weathers A Cardinal With a Sign of Blood (Full Spectrum)
Family stories are our own personal myths, legends that trail behind us like golden, tangled threads of private history. The shapeshifting narrative of A Cardinal With a Sign of Blood is built on those bones as Weathers uses recordings obtained from family members as the roots of this sprawling, exploratory work. Blurred passages loop in ghostly patterns around plucked arrhythmic guitars and deconstructed, gauzy electronics. Tension breaks down into vulnerable reflections, secret shadows uncovered through soft lapsteel swells rising through cracking drones. Weathers uses sound to unravel the emotional knots of these fragmented narratives. Unconscious connections find their way into our blood, but with eyes closed, wishful chord progressions beckon the sun and the warm glow of past lives settles into our bones, ready to carry us forward.
Claire Deak Sotto Voce (Lost Tribe Sound)
It’s remarkable this is Claire Deak’s debut solo album as Sotto Voice is rich and assured while still building spectral, immersive environments through restrained aural shapes. Her music builds worlds and through emotive cello passages, liminal vocal explorations, and gentle, moving soundscapes, spellbinding narratives blossom. Plucked notes dance in the air above hazy rivers of sound, glowing with a tangible yearning, hanging forever in the balance. With each moment, in each thoughtful compositional element and spectral timbre, Deak reveals something secret, something new. Sotto Voce comes alive in the drama, but the vulnerability at its core lingers and never lets us go. A stunning debut.
Powders Concede to Circumstance (Them There)
Stuck in a moment of interrupted reflection, a choreographed dance of tension and release unfolds in the elegant soundscapes of Concede to Circumstance. Wistful cello arrangements flow beneath an unending wash of textured electronics and harsh environments. There is barely a moment of rest as the duo of Joshua Horsley and Carl Brown build moving sonic mazes before burying them beneath a mountain of sonic decay. Fog surrounds sinuous melodic stretches, breaking each disparate pattern into cracked notes and forgotten memories. Powders has created a certain, ephemeral magic with Concede to Circumstance.
Princess Ketamine “Promises to God” (Avant Lard)
I just learned about Seth Graham’s new label and its M.O. is exactly the kind of thing I love: “I ask artists to make the weirdest track they can then I post it here.” Princess Ketamine stirs sweet missives into lilting electronic fervors and jubilant piano arrangements before exploding into a million rainbow sparks. Over a slow-building cascade, “Promises to God” explores growing emotions as they bubble up through the intricate patterns. Eventually, the care and appreciation woven into the track’s fiber optic threads can’t be contained and it explodes into a cathartic expression of whimsical joy. Amazing.