The Capsule Garden returns after a week off – a week that gave me a lot. My exhibition, The Sound Leaves, opens today at Philbrook Museum after we held the opening performance last Saturday. It’s been a massive undertaking for me, but the end results are somehow exactly as I imagined and better than I could have hoped. I am anxious and excited for people to hear the installation on site as I think it’s one of the best pieces of music I’ve composed. If you are in Tulsa over the next month, go check it out.
This week’s Songs of Our Loves is with Patrick Shiroishi and is an absolute treat (the Patreon section of that one is especially good, too!). It continues to be an absolute delight to record these episodes. I hope you’ll check them out.
Alright, let’s get on with the show.
Hyperdawn Steady (Them There)
Steady is an interconnected web of fleeting sonic memories synthesized through a broken electronic matrix. Basslines growl, holding the unstable foundations together as synth clouds flicker and effervesce. Processed voices rise and fall across fading, dysfunctional layers, intoxicating, lucid beacons we wear like sonic blankets, making our dreams feel dreary in comparison. Each dizzying silhouette is another hook encased in an electric sheen ready to sink in its claws. Guitar tones dilate into vaporous pads, enhancing the ephemeral washes surrounding Steady, and crystalizing the stories buried within the affecting melodies. This is pop music from a busted, distant future and it feels so damn good.
SLUGish Ensemble In Solitude (Slow & Steady)
Slow, contemplative sonic movements unfold in a steady, almost geometric stream on In Solitude. Led by multi-reedist Steven Lugerner through a series of original compositions, the sextet glides across lithe rhythms spinning new threads in every direction. Lugerner’s melodies are playful yet wistful, looking inward before spiraling skyward. His playing throughout In Solitude is magnetic. Buoyed by the airy gloss from Javier Santiago’s piano and Rhodes expressions and driven home through the fiery guitar streams laid down by Justin Rock, everything on In Solitude is rock solid. Angular, melodic runs zigzag through prismatic spaces, shaping diverging timbres into new forms of brightness tinged with joyful catharsis.
Güaard The Risen King, Restoration of a troübled heart (Cult Love)
Filing this under dungeon synth does it a disservice because it is so much more. Tulsa’s Güaard fuses countless frayed strands to arrive at this intersection. Old-world formalities fade into synth washes and broken neon dreams, shredding expectations in one blackened scream. Emo ambient visions float into the foreground on melancholic, autotuned whispers. Fading gloss and familiar sheens rise through grayscale effervescence, leaving small traces of past lives in the melodic fervor brewing beneath the floorboards. These songs go deep, soaking up the Earth’s echoes before being reborn through the electric night. Recommended.
halo_ error_ “what it feels like to forget..............” (Self-Released)
Glitches in the aural periphery find their way into focus on “what it feels like to forget,” stretching time into a square knot. Pulses ricochet against aqueous, metallic tones to aid the vocal tremolo and fading whispers before a synthetic dawn chorus calls from beyond. Blurring the edges of a haunted space and a beautiful moment of forward movement, halo_ error_ bends these sonic exorcisms underwater where remembrances let go with one last breath. Highest recommendation.
Honestly Same Hot Plate Only (Moon Glyph)
The latest from Honestly Same (aka the ensemble of Zachary Good, Lia Kohl, Mabel Kwan, Zach Moore, and Sam Scranton) is a delightful, whimsical trip. Bubbling sound worlds coalesce around fractured remnants of percussive beacons, like whispers from past lives tip-toeing into the frame. Synths rise skyward in slow progressions, dispersed like light through a crystal prism into ethereal dreams. Interplay between the diverging timbres of acoustic and electronic sound are simultaneously organic and futuristic. Hot Plate Only has a bustling cadence that paints an artful expression of life’s ordinary cacophony. These engaging intersections build whimsy in layers. Negative space holds its own as these pieces move outward and into the light, ready for levitation, ready to scale the astral plane. Absolutely wonderful.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe Original Music Form The Series ‘Telemarketers’ (Invada)
Of the many things I love about Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s soundtrack and scoring work, the fact it always comes out sounding like another great Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe album is at the top of the list. Telemarketers is the motherlode. Across 46 pieces ranging from under a minute to over seven, Lowe explores vast landscapes and miniature electric dreams. Tension swims against a glassine current, with loose sequences bouncing between concrete corridors. Life blossoms in the intricate movements of Lowe’s electronic dioramas, each moment holding its purpose at arm’s length as minor chord progressions fade away and hints of neon creep in from beneath. This music has moments where it’s oddly comforting and bright, divorced from its context in the HBO series, it blends together emergent atmospheres with ageless foundations, finding that the destination is closer than we thought. Essential listening.
Kate de Rosset For the Small Bird (Self-Released)
For the Small Bird has stayed with me for weeks. Mostly built around piano and de Rosset’s captivating vocals, these songs hold their glow close, but the light can’t help but sneak through. Layered melodies drift and lilt like sparkling constellations, a secret guide through the darkness. Gentle harp plucks, inviting woodwinds, and quiet electronic washes buoy the performance, setting the stage for a cascading lift on “I Wander.” Stretches of time collapse into singular moments, focusing de Rosset’s heartfelt meditations into a beckoning point. The crescendos come and go, whispered in de Rosset’s enchanting murmurs, each time leaving us fulfilled and determined to keep pushing forward.
Kimina Yatta EP (Self-Released)
The understated beginnings of “Yatta” pull us into a quiet sphere, but once the synthetic aural shapes emerge from the ether, we are transported. Nairobi’s Kimina creates his own, fully immersive world with wistful soundscapes and emotive field recordings. Ambient drifts coalesce through ancient ruins and guttural, droning expressions. Simple, expressive string and horn arrangements feel like they’re pulled from another time, sometimes even another dimension. They’re aged and ageless, adrift in a sea of lilting sonic atmospheres and sharp textures, evoking unspoken truths within a minor scale progression. Excellent.
Andrew Tasselmyer & Blurstem Midnight Letters (Past Inside the Present)
Folded guitar lines wrap around gentle, clicking acoustic shapes so as not to be lost in the dark navy fog lurking in the distance. Tape hiss and effervescent warbles tinge the streaking melodies with an unspoken wistfulness. Tasselmayer and Blurstem mark each other’s moves with a mix of precision and restraint, finding focus in the margins while building a central aural glow. Strings resonate above bubbling guitar loops, a languid shadow cast beyond the scope of remembrances and whimsical sonic dalliances. Midnight Letters paints in broad strokes while still finding harmony in washed-out details and quiet corners where chord progressions dissipate into flickering secrets. This music keeps pulling us closer to our fading dreams.