Sorry for the interruption there, somehow in all of my years I still get knocked on my ass every time I move to a new apartment. I should be ready for all the hits, I've taken them all before. So I didn't find time to get any posts up for the past two weeks. The posts had to die so that my security deposit could live! But now that that's all over, I'm going to be getting back to the regular schedule, and even introduce some new stuff. I noticed that in the time that I've been keeping track of my listening habits, I tend to avoid the span of time between 1982 and 1993. It's like there's some kind of repelling force situated deeply within 1987, radiating outward half a decade in both directions. I have plenty of major favorites in that time span, like some of those wonderful Lena Platonos albums feel like they only could have happened within this time. But it feels like I need a push to dig a bit deeper. So I've begun asking people to give me recommendations within that time period, and I'm going to start sharing my thoughts about it on this page. I've been coming across some pretty cool stuff! I'd never listened to The Camberwell Now, a band that Charles Hayward had after This Heat disbanded. Absolutely something I needed to hear! So yeah, if there's any albums you want me to hear from 1982-1993, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I'll put it on the list. Feel free to give me multiple suggestions, but fair warning, I might just pick one. So if there's one that you absolutely want me to hear, just send me that one.
In more recent music news, there is so much stuff coming out today! I've got *twenty* different releases listed on the anticipation list that are all coming out today, and I'm sure there'll be even more that I'm missing. There's no way I'll have time for everything, but it's so exciting to see all the possibilities. One guarantee for sure, I am going to check out that new Ben Vida on Shelter Press as soon as possible. Always something special with that dude. I'll have thoughts to share in the weeks to come, but for now you can poke around on what's listed and see if anything interests you!
It's too hectic to have extended thoughts on any music in particular, but there is so much going on right now and I want to briefly mention as much as I can. First off, I totally missed that there was a new batch of music coming on one of the finest labels around, elsewhere. There's a Jürg Frey composition for strings and saxophones, a trio who have each had excellent contributions to the label already (Germaine Sijstermans / Koen Nutters / Reinier van Houdt), and a trio that's all making their first appearances here (Giovanni Di Domenico / Silvia Tarozzi / Emmanuel Holterbach). So cool to see Tarozzi joining the roster! I need to save my money right now, but once I get back to buying music, these three are at the top of the list.
There was also a batch that came out on Another Timbre that looks really great. There's something with Apartment House performing some Pauline Oliveros, and something new from Laurence Crane! His album with the classic ladybug smoking a cigarette cover is really great, check that one out if you haven't.
And there's been so much really cool music that I knew was coming but have barely had time to process. There's a wide variety of vivid and lively electronic music, from Nondi_, DJ Girl, hyphyskazerbox, Fausto Mercier, Govlink, and Rezzett. Though if you want some full on electronic pop, you're going to want to check out Katie Gately's new one. And if you like it when the colors come attached to brutality, you have to check out Donna Candy, they are my favorite new rock band. Plenty of great ones that find a calmer beauty too, like Saint Abdullah & Jason Nazary, James Emrick, James Holden, Holsen&Cassiers, Katya Shirshkova / Yura Kuznetsov, Piotr Kurek, Francis Plagne, and Richard Youngs.
And then there's all the stuff I still haven't even begun to listen to (or couldn't think of an easy way to slip into those categorizations)! So much stuff on the anticipation list that I still desire, even if I missed it in the moment. And on top of all that, as you can see from that page, there is so much incredible stuff that's coming out now, or in the near future. We've got a pair from Portraits GRM, a new one from Joshua Abrams' Natural Information Society, a new duo from gabby fluke-mogul with Nava Dunkelman, and all sorts of other cool stuff out today. And then in the immediate future there's that Charles Curtis / Alan Licht / Dean Roberts archival trio recording, a new appearance from Quin Kirchner / Daniel Van Duerm / Matthew Lux as KVL, and the new Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective album just got announced and the preview track sounds incredible, I am so excited for that one.
Also, I have certain advantages from being a website, I've been able to hear some albums in advance. And so I know for a fact that the new albums from Lucy Liyou, Martyna Basta, and Wobbly (both of them in his case) are all sure to be among my favorites of the year and deserve every possible effort to understand, so that I can properly convey why they are so essential to hear. It's a lot to balance! And I know that no matter what, I am going to get to spend my time with incredible music. I just wish I could stop the clock so that I'd have time to properly appreciate all of this music. Wouldn't work though, music is a duration-based medium!
Lots of great new stuff coming out today! You can even find a little bit from me today, I'm on a small compilation with some friends. We're doing a periodic sampling challenge, where everyone produces something using one song and one non-musical YouTube video. I decided to resurrect my old acp alias and load up the (nearly 20 year old!) Reaktor user library instrument 'particlesynth', and just tear these sounds apart with some vintage granular synthesis. I had a lot of fun with it, so if you've ever been curious about what I would do if I made music, you can hear it here. And if you spend any money on it, it'll get donated to the Transgender Law Center. Also, you can also hear music from my friends, they're really great! But I'm biased.
And speaking of me being biased, my brother has a tape out today as well! It's a lovely type of drone, feels like it would really play nice on that format, but I think it works just fine in the digital space. I'll have more to say about it later, but if you don't want to wait for me, you can listen here.
There's so many other intriguing new releases that I want to dive into here. LXV has a new one that is like 26 minutes of gourmet sound manipulation, absolutely exquisite. Fans of IDM should all be rejoicing, since VHS Head is back with his first album in 9 years. Macula Dog remixes from Max Tundra and Cabo Boing and some people I've never heard of (but with company like this they are almost certainly good). And there's so many more that I've got down on the anticipation list. And there's been some really stellar stuff in recent weeks that I haven't covered, like this new one on Party Perfect!!! is such a trip. I really want to go in depth with all those, but I am moving this month! So I'm not going to be spiking up the activity any time soon. The spike will come though! For now, here's some thoughts on the latest album from Fire-Toolz:
April 7th, 2023
Fire-Toolz - I am upset because I see something that is not there. (Hausu Mountain)
Descriptions of Fire-Toolz will often feature a laundry list of styles that collide within a single track, and 2021's massive "Eternal Home" felt like as much of a collection of **Everything** as any one person could ever lay an honest claim towards. I wondered how there could even be anything left unsaid after something like that, but this new one has truly ventured out into a new zone. The style here feels extremely matte, no trace of a shine. There's moments that feel like physically placing a spirtual darkness into the clear light of day and observing it fully. I was not surprised to see Angel Marcloid mention in this Quietus interview that many of the songs are about trauma. Though that might make it sound a bit draining, but I wouldn't say that's the case here. I think the album as a whole is also about what a life after trauma can become, but I'm not sure exactly how to describe the way that it's done. It's not like a linear journey from trauma to healing, going from a to b. But it feels like some kind of peace is made. I'm not super confident in claiming any absolutes in that department, but I think I'm on the right track with this. I probably could benefit from a theologically-informed perspective on the role of 'Paraclete Bhishajyati', because it feels noteworthy that it brings such an extended amount of stability when there's still a fair amount of distance to the end. I'll need my time to figure all this out, but I have no doubt that this album is a significant and powerful entry in the Fire-Toolz discography.
1/4th of the year down already, that's wild. A lot of sites will be taking this opportunity to talk about the best music so far this year, but I'm really not in much of a position to do that this time. Look at this.
Normally, a significant majority of my listening is with contemporary music, stuff released in the current year. But for 2023, the story so far has mostly been music I've already heard, and I'm also spending a lot more time checking out what I still haven't heard from the prior years.
This means that there are a lot of 2023 albums that I still need to check out or spend more time with. I can at least confirm that all the stuff I've mentioned on this page before is all incredible and you should absolutely go listen to those. And also, check out these ones, they're very cool as well!
March 7th, 2023
Oblomovka - Oblomovka (ТОПОТ)
It's really a shame that the word 'dank' has been so thoroughly claimed by the stoners and meme-addled children of yesteryear, because it would be helpful to be able to use it here. But I'm not sure if it would give the right idea anymore. Though it may not even be the right word, since this music may not have the kind of dampness that would be expected. But just listen to the first track, there's all sorts of damaged noises swirling around a low-resolution oscillator flicker, with echoes piling up like the collisions in this Simpsons clip mixed with the isolated reverb tail of some ghostly vocals. I think you could understand why I would want to call it dank. It's so cool, I love it.
March 24th, 2023
Andy Loebs - Hyperlink Anamorphosis (JOLT MUSIC)
I've mentioned on this site before that I see the hyperplastic collage-infused color explosion stuff that you can find on labels like Orange Milk as being part of a lineage with computer art like PaintFX.biz, or Paper Rad type of stuff. I have the best time getting headspins with this stuff, but it rarely ever grooves. I can't engage it with my body the way that can only be done with music, it feels more like I'm just looking with my ears. If it tried to go for the body, it runs the risk of sacrificing all the explosive potential that comes from the abrupt left turn. It's some kind of catch-22 trying to make that happen while also giving a sure place in time for your next step. But Loebs is finding a good way to keep a flame alive for both possibilities, with moments that function as art objects to be witnessed, and then moving right into something that's genuinely danceable. In the more abstract moments, there will be these threads that are suggested between sounds of similar timbres, a line will become visible, electrified by the differences you had to allow to be able to see it, and that same process illuminates the dance tracks, keeping that excitement running. Works wonderfully as a complete package!
Oishi - once upon a time there was a mountain (Bezirk Tapes)
You're going to need to come in close for this one, this is some tiny musique concrete, easily obscured by a modest noise floor. Although the sounds lack any typical signifiers of cuteness, there's still something I find to be kind of adorable and sweet about the combination of the small scale with the playful approach to sound manipulation and collaboration. The group is a duo that alternates between digital and analog tools on each track, and this sort of real-time approach with complementary tool kits leads to moments with these collaborative folds, where one person initiates something into the sound world, and then the other presses down with response gesture, the ask and the answer. There's a quality to them that I don't feel like I see much in the solo musique concrete spaces, though I'm not sure exactly how to describe it. But even without the full understanding there, it's easy enough to see that this is some lovely stuff!
OK so I really was gonna be on the ball today and get some good writing up. But all sorts of very busy real life activities have piled up! I'm going to be moving, and sadly that has to take prescedent. There's a ton of great stuff coming out today though, do not miss the Andy Loebs and Oishi albums, they're both fantastic. I've also still been listening to a lot of 90s guitar music lately, have you all ever listened to The Amps? It was a band with Kim Deal and some dudes from Guided By Voices. One of the songs Tipp City was famously sampled by Girl Talk, but I'd never actually listened to the album. It's really good though! So yeah, go listen to The Amps - Pacer. I'll be back next week with some full thoughts on the new music!
Yesterday I saw some automated post thing that was like "it's such-and-such Thursday, for when we do our Thursday thing" and I thought, "wow. They must be so embarassed by this mistake, because it's only Wednesday. I should tell them", but before I did, I checked the date. It was actually Thursday! So yeah, the week got away from me, and I wasn't able to write about everything I wanted to. But I finished what I wanted to say about these two excellent albums:
March 1st, 2023
Max Syedtollan - Disposables (33-33)
March 3rd, 2023
Morgan Garrett - Extreme Fantasy (Orange Milk)
I've been thinking about the concept of transgression lately, like what is its place in the world right now. I recently watched this documentary "FTA", about an anti-Vietnam War show performed for GI's as a sort of counterbalance to Bob Hope's USO tours. They got so much mileage just out of saying swear words! It was striking to see someone so easily take a deliberately transgressive position for themselves. The primary way that transgression is encountered now is more indirect, there'll be an in-norms presenter showcasing the violations of someone who exists in the out group. If you want to make money with content, just find a way to say "isn't it so fucked up what these other people are doing?!", because everyone has some kind of path to saying yes.
I'm still grappling with what that all means for the world, but I'm a bit more confident about the state of music. I think the term "experimental" has been utilized in a way that inhibits the transgressive potential of sound by giving people an easy way out to make something sound correct, to quickly establish with minimal consideration that something exists within established boundaries. It's terrible! I still love engaging with music that easily sits within those boundaries, but I want to see a challenge to the order. And through their approaches to songwriting, Max Syedtollan and Morgan Garrett have each found a way to bring one.
Syedtollan's album begins with a piece that is comfortably experimental, a very good linear tension-builder, with some different layers of varying stabilities all finding their own way to keep getting bigger, until they don't. But then the game becomes clear on "I Don't Want Lorenzo Hearing Me Singing Today", a song that launches right from the start with lyrics and synth work that both reflect the strong desire to hurry up and finish singing, before Lorenzo gets back. The tempo is erratic and the words are delivered as though Syedtollan decided at the last possible second that they would be sung and not spoken. It is a glorious mess of a song, the type where it's hard for me to imagine a social music situation where these musical actions wouldn't feel wrong, but they're all absolutely necessary to convey this very specific nervous feeling. The album continues on this line with other types of wrongpop, sometimes feeling a bit in line with the deeply pressurized pop of Neil Luck's Downturn Fantasies, which is exactly what I want to see in the world. So yeah, I think very highly of this one! Not to be missed.
Garrett's album stands some chance of blending in with extreme music genres like noise or metal, if you're selective with your excerpts. But it mostly lands at something a bit more difficult to pin down. There's vocal melodies and accompanying guitar work, but they've been corrupted. With the Syedtollan album, it's like casually going a toe over the line into musicality. But with what Garrett's doing, there's a sense of a fully deliberate musicality that could easily be rendered as sheet music, and it's being used as a guide for what to avoid. The singing either comes in at the wrong place or glides down into it, and the guitar strings sound like they've been given enough slack to touch the floor, and the playing just carries on like nothing is amiss. Surrounding all of this is so many compelling noises and oscillators, fleshing out the sound. The full package makes for an experience like watching someone walk off the map, exiting the bounds. It would be so different if they simply existed outside of the bounds all along. Actually being able to witness the exit takes it to a whole other level. Another remarkable experience, highly recommended!
So I'll need another week to get back on track with the writing. Sorry! But I can at least tell you to check out the new Lia Kohl album, you can read what I had to say about her first one in the '22 Jumble, her new one is on the same level, it's outstanding! And if you're in Chicago, you can go see her live at the International Museum of Surgical Science, which sounds like such a cool place for a show.
My mood is way up, but I'm still mostly just listening to Guided By Voices. "Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department" is such a good one! But I am still making some moves back toward contemporary listening, and there's plenty of new stuff this week that is sure to draw me in further. New Kate NV album! That alone is such huge news, but there's plenty of other intriguing stuff, I'm really curious to hear what the deal is with this Zoë Mc Pherson album, the preview track sounded pretty wild. And then there's Benoit Pioulard in song mode, Julia Holter taking part in some contemporary composition thing, and stuff from reliably great labels like Orange Milk, Hakuna Kulala, Full Spectrum Records, Doom Trip, Primordial Void, and so many others... it's another great week to be checking out some music. And it's one of those Bandcamp fee-waive days, so there's bound to be a whole bunch of surprise releases. I don't understand why people do the surprise release thing for these days, I'm way more likely to buy something if I actually know about it ahead of time, but I guess it works for the people who do it, otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it. I kinda hate it tho! But yeah, you can find all the stuff I knew about ahead of time on the anticipation list.
I got a bit ambitious and started trying to write something tying together the new albums from Max Syedtollan and Morgan Garrett with some thoughts about where acts of transgression fit within contemporary music, and the world in general right now. But I did not finish in time! So I won't have any writing about specific music this week, but I will make sure to finish this for next week. In the meantime, go listen to both of those albums, they're incredible!
I'm feeling a bit better than I was last week, but I've still not quite gotten back into keeping up with the contemporary music world. I've been listening to a lot of Guided By Voices. I'd never heard them until recently! That dude has a good sense for melodies. But yeah, I think if any week was going to pull me back in, this new one would do it. There's so many names I love, like Wobbly (recording with MaryClare Brzytwa under the name Amen Seat), Kassel Jaeger, Meemo Comma, Valerio Tricoli, Zvrra, a batch on Suite 309, a batch on Dinzu Artefacts, and new ones on other great labels like Astral Spirits, Editions Mego, Unseen Worlds, Important Records, and Moon Glyph. And then not too far in the horizon there's some stuff on Room40, Gin&Platonic, Zabte Sote, and then there's also a Max Syedtollan album on the way... a lot of heavy hitters here! There's even more on the anticipation list, so be sure to check that out to see all the cool new music.
I did wind up listening to a little bit of new music, here's how I'm feeling about it:
February 17th, 2023
Avey Tare - 7s (Domino)
I made a joke to some friends that this album is supposed to be "just OK", and that's why he called it 7s. But honestly? I feel like I could probably stretch that concept out and make it work for this. And it's not a complaint! Sometimes it's cool when music is just really good at being OK. Maybe the kids will come up with some kind of 'midcore' concept as a way of rejecting hustle culture / the unsustainable pursuit of the endless spectacular, and this album could be a part of it, alongside stuff like Squarepusher - Selection Sixteen or Luke Vibert - Ridmik. I remember feeling this same level of moderate satisfaction about the previous Avey solo album, Cows on Hourglass Pond. But when I saw the material performed live, it felt so much more special. I just do not see anything on this album that could be elevated from that treatment, though I guess I'll have to buy a ticket to the show later this year to see if I'm mistaken. But I think it'd be fine if I'm right. If I never end up fixating on it, it'll still be fun to throw on from time to time, in-between the more intense listening experiences. Though I will say that the final track frustrated me in a way that felt compelling and new, I could see that one turning into something more.
February 20th, 2023
eeexxxttteeennndddeeedddppplllaaayyy - waves of clouds (Open Hand Real Flames)
This is a new alias from Bass Clef. Sort of an odd release here, it appears that he's revisiting some of the melodies on recent releases. So if you've kept up, a lot of this is going to be pretty familiar, though still with enough changes to justify a look. If you aren't familiar with any of Bass Clef's music, then the question becomes "is it better to check out the original stuff or just jump right in here". And I'm still not sure where I'd land there... but if you like wonderfully direct and vividly colored tunes, then you absolutely should figure out one to pick. Because this guy does them great!
I haven't really been listening to music much lately, let alone new music. This makes blogging about new music difficult. But when I'm not feeling my best, it feels rude to bring that in to other people's art. I take my solace in silence.
In an attempt to lift my spirits, sharing this post will be the last thing I ever do on Twitter. It's nice to see that so many people are supportive of trans rights, but I also end up seeing the reason why it's so urgent that people express that support, and it really sucks. Posting on there is probably the main way that anyone can ever know that my irregularly updated site actually has something new, so I'm going to make sure there's a new post every Friday morning (USA time). So feel free to get in the habit of checking this page around that time.
I have been able to spend some time listening to new music, I can't just go cold turkey, so here's some thoughts on what I've heard. For some more cool music to check out, you can always take a look at the anticipation list.
January 20th, 2023
Triple Negative - The Pariah Parade (Penultimate Press)
This band barely sounded like you could call them a rock group to start with, but they're really off the deep end here. There's clearly separate things happening in the music, but in my initial listens, it all comes out as one big drone of uncomfortable feeling for me. Like toothpaste that went bad (in a good way). I really dig it, and I'm sure there'll be more that becomes clear to me as I spend more time with it. This label also did a compilation called 'Elvis' recently and I haven't checked it out yet but it's probably a good one.
February 5th, 2023
India Sky - Somewhere Over The Mystic Moon (Ratskin Records)
It's always worth keeping an eye on what Ratskin Records is putting out. This one's a great combo of synths and singing, like the patches are all unabashedly artificial, but a lot of the time when people go down that path it's either done with heavy slickness or in-your-face obnoxiousness, but this finds a way with a touch of grit that pushes the songs toward the grounded majesty that it feels like they're reaching toward.
February 10th, 2023
Kelela - Raven (Warp)
Plenty of people have given this much deserved attention, and I don't know if I have much to add, but I'm glad to have this right now. I love the air of this music.
Jako Maron - The electro Maloya experiments of Jako Maron (Expanded Edition) (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
This is a reissue of something from 2018, I still haven't heard the new tracks, but this is a huge favorite of mine, anyone who hasn't heard it should absolutely take this opportunity to check it out. Feels like I'm chasing the horizon when I watch these rhythms unfurl.
February 16th, 2023
Soft as Snow - Massage (Jollies)
Last year's "Bit Rot" from Soft as Snow was a really cool one, some synth pop where it felt like the light of the songs would sometimes get refracted over into weird and warped spaces, but it still felt like it had two feet firmly in the real world. But this new EP is like they have fully transferred over to the other side. It's not that something has happened to the songs, it sounds more like they've been born and raised in alien conditions. An absolute trip, love it!
February 17th, 2023
William Fields - Fictions (GOTO RECORDS)
The algorithmically-assited live electronic music of William Fields continues to level up. The algorithmically-assited live electronic music of William Fields continues to level up. The fluid melody on Laxa spurts out like it's a violent horror scene that's been converted to MIDI, before it eventually distorts into something like a grid, as though the censors have moved the action behind glass block windows. All sorts of great moves on this one.
I wanted to have a whole bunch of stuff written here about all this cool new music, but this game Pizza Tower came out. It's so good! It's not a huge time sink, but even when I'm not playing it I've been thinking about how good it is, which has eaten into the time that I spend thinking about how good music is. Also, I've been having a lot of fun with older music (specifically '66), like I had never listened to full albums from Bob Dylan, The Byrds or Simon & Garfunkel before. Pretty good stuff! Though I think if I was around at the time I'd probably be more drawn to the latter two acts, Dylan seems more like the kind of thing I want to hear at other people's homes rather than my own. But it's one of those Bandcamp Fridays, so maybe you'd like a reminder of what's come out recently? I wrote a little bit of info on some of these, but mostly you're just gonna get the names, sorry!
January 25th, 2023
Bride - ALLOY CHOIR (enmossed)
Broshuda - Adumbratio (enmossed)
January 27th, 2023
Susan Alcorn, Patrick Holmes, Ryan Sawyer - From Union Pool (Relative Pitch)
Beeferman / Evans / Foster / Hirsch - GLOW (Tripticks Tapes)
Ilia Belorukov & Gabriel Ferrandini - Sculptor (Tripticks Tapes)
Merche Blasco / Derek Baron - Travesía / The Matrix (Full Spectrum Records)
Landon Caldwell - Desire Paths (Obsolete Staircases)
Groupshow - Greatest Hits (Faitiche)
This is Andrew Pekler, Hanno Leichtmann & Jan Jelinek! I still haven't listened, but those guys are all cool.
Hen Ogledd - Bronze (Drag City)
Kagami Smile - Obscured Face (Decaying Spheres)
Neil S. Kvern - Doctor Dancing Mask: Pianoisms [Reissue] (Freedom To Spend)
Lilocox - Drums (Lata) (Principe)
Vusi Mahlasela, Norman Zulu and Jive Connection - Face To Face (Strut)
Scott L. Miller & Zeitgeist - Coincident (New Focus Recordings)
Adrianne Munden-Dixon - Lung (Gold Bolus Recordings)
Polyorchard - scree/n (Tripticks Tapes)
Rasmussen-Flaherty-Rowden-Corsano - Crying in Space (Relative Pitch)
Sightless Pit - Lockstep Bloodwar (Thrill Jockey)
Ibukun Sunday - Mantra (Phantom Limb)
asher tuil - Automatism (Room40)
Wolf Eyes - Difficult Messages (Disciples)
KING VISION ULTRA - SHOOK WORLD (hosted by Algiers) (PTP)
I've never heard Algiers, I've heard they're good though. But now I'm eager to check them out, because this project's existence shows some excellent judgment on their part. They gave the stems of their currently unreleased album 'Shook' over to King Vision Ultra, who then proceeded to use the sounds as an instrument rather than make something that directly remixed the material. The album features guest appearances from familiar names like E L U C I D & Dreamcrusher, and names you will be glad to become familiar with, like Nakama., maassai, amani, and many more. There's actually a KVU + amani collaboration from a few years back that you should go check out after this one, it's so good. But yeah, I'm still digesting what I've heard, so I still don't know how to describe it with much depth, but I'm confident that this one is an essential listen for the year, so get on it.
January 28th, 2023
Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz - Roundtrip (1977) (Transversales Disques)
Apparently this bootleg has just been sitting around for a long time without any official release. Well, it's news to me! This is a phenomenal document, Schwarz is a GRM dude so you get some wild sounding synthetic sound driven by Cherry's pocket trumpet for some of it. This is a joy to experience, it's too bad I couldn't be in the room while it's happening, but the 2nd luckiest place to be is this current time, with the music widely available.
January 31st, 2023
Grant Chapman - Indentations (Métron Records)
Matthias Puech - Mt. Hadamard National Park (Hallow Ground)
February 1st, 2023
Coultrain - MUNDUS (Positive Elevation)
OPLA - GTI (Pointless Geometry)
February 2nd, 2023
Eric Douglas Porter - Parlor Music (The Student Body Presents)
AKA Afrikan Sciences, though the name change doesn't mean you're getting a dramatic shift from what came before. This one seems to go even deeper into the headspinning rhythms that I love from his prior work, like there's something about this that is adding extra knots to the equation. Really looking forward to spending some time with this one.
Marco Baldini - Vesperi (Another Timbre)
Frank Denyer - Melodies (Another Timbre)
Eden Lonsdale - Clear and Hazy Moons (Another Timbre)
Biliana Voutchkova & Sarah Davachi - Slow poem for Stiebler (Another Timbre)
New batch on Another Timbre looks really promising! Voutchkova & Davachi seems like a great pairing, and Denyer's 'The Fish that became the Sun' is one of my favorite releases on this label, so I'm naturally gonna be psyched for whatever else they've got to show from him. The other two composers are unfamiliar, but one work is performed by the always great Apartment House ensemble. And the previews on the other one sound quite rich. Very exciting!
February 3rd, 2023
Avola - Psykor (SIGE Records)
babyfang - In The Face Of (PTP)
Bardo Pond - No Hashish, No Change Money, No Saki Saki [Reissue] (Three Lobed Recordings)
Richard Beaudoin - Digital Memory and the Archive (New Focus Recordings)
Tony Conrad / Arnold Dreyblatt / Jim O'Rourke - Tonic 19-01-2001 (Black Truffle)
Govlink - Planaria (Norm Corps)
Hastings Of Malawi - Choreological Exchanges (Sub Rosa)
Takumi Ikeda - Improvisations (2022) (Ftarri Live)
Takumi Ikeda - The Wug #3: Live at Ftarri, December 30, 2021 (Ftarri Live)
Valtteri Laurell Nonet - Tigers Are Better Looking (We Jazz Records)
李劍鴻 Li Jianhong & 文智湧 Wen Zhiyong & 鄧博宇 Deng Boyu - 歲寒三友 Les Trois Amis de l'hiver (WV Sorcerer Productions 巫唱片)
Zoë Mc Pherson - Pitch Blender (SFX)
Brett Naucke - Cast A Double Shadow (Ceremony of Seasons)
Dave Phillips - Human Nature Denied (Flag Day Recordings)
Elizabeth Reid - Conjuring: Viola Music of David Jaeger (Redshift Music)
Seljuk Rustum - Cardboard Castles (Hive Mind Records)
galen tipton - scrolls O2 ::: little guy field guide (Self Released)
Toumba - Petals EP (Hessle Audio)
Here's a look at some of the music that has recently come out!
January 6th, 2023
Marcelo Cugliari - Unknown Landscapes (NEUS-318)
Oriental Love a.k.a. Kaya Takada - Fossa Magna (NEUS-318)
I saw a0n0 tweet out about Fossa Magna, the album was not on my radar at all before that. There's so much that I'm unaware of in the fringe digital music experimentation in Japan. I had no idea about this artist or the label, but the latter appears to have been running since the late 90's! I'll have a lot of catching up to do, seems like something I should know more of based on these two latest releases.
January 9th, 2023
Wheatie Mattiasich - Old Glow (Open Mouth Records)
This one is phenomenal! More people need to know, I think a lot of folks would really dig it. My usual expectation with this label is to see some weird stuff featuring Bill Nace (always welcome), but the music here is some relatively straightforward and gorgeously rendered songs comprised of voice, guitar, keys, and dulcimer. I'm addicted to track 5, 'People', it's one of those perfect little tunes comprised solely of a melody that burrows so deep into my mind that it feels like it has existed forever. A major standout, not to be missed.
January 12th, 2023
Lucy Duncombe / Kelley Sheehan - Leave Them All Behind (Tsuku Boshi)
Boomkat's description on this sounded compelling, had no history with the artists here. Some quality granular repurposing of the human voice on this one, though a lots the tones are relatively divorced from the source. Fragments of sound are pitch shifted and basically treated like synth waveforms, but there's still a human source that shines through the darkness, it's quite excellent.
January 13th, 2023
Arbor Labor Union - Yonder (Sophomore Lounge)
This label has put out some cool stuff from acts like Water Damage, Equipment Pointed Ankh, and Guerilla Toss, so I figured I should pay more attention to what else they're putting out. This one is some rock with a southern edge to it, though it's not on the deep swamp rock vibe, or that Road House (1989) shitkicker rowdiness. It's more like being cosmically stoned in the wide open spaces, but not to the point of going fully into the sprawl (all of the track lengths are entirely reasonable) or adding any "whoosh" spaceship sounds or other attempts at smoothing. I'm finding this one more intriguing the more I leave it on my mind, something about the way the guitar and vocals fit over the endless drive of the drums is really working for me. I can imagine my thoughts on this one will develop over time, but for now I'll say it's one to check out!
Barn Sour - Soap and Glue (Penultimate Press)
Halloween may be many months away, but you may want to keep this in mind if you operate any kind of haunted house during that season. It's so hard to find something that gets sufficiently spooky while also being compelling musically, but this one pulls it off!
Takashi Kokubo & Andrea Esperti - Music For A Cosmic Garden (WRWTFWW Records)
I think this is going to be one of those ambient jazz kind of things, I like to relax with that kind of stuff. Really haven't investigated this one too much but it seems like it'll be a good time. Takashi Kokubo was used for the first track of Kelela's Aquaphoria, that's enough for me to feel pretty confident about this one.
Lionel Marchetti & ÉCHANGE MAGNÉTIQUE - TAPE EX. RE - 702 / 2022 ~ composition de musique concrète (Self Released)
I'd seen Marchetti's name around in the past but hadn't really dove in until the recent appearances on Erstwhile Records, and everything about his musical practice suggests that I need to be paying more attention! This project has a really cool approach to collaboration. The contributors all started with putting together a minature compilation album, individualized 2 minute tracks coming one after the other, recorded to tape. And then that tape gets passed around quickly to each contributor, manipulating the entirety in whichever way they'd like, with Marchetti coming in at the end with an extended time frame to tie it all together. Gives a very interesting multi-dimensional quality to the presence of the involved parties.
Meadow Argus - This Old Rotten Barge (Self Released)
Loop soup is on the menu! It's not a puree, but there's no way anyone would mistake it for stew. So if you're not ready for an extended visit with some specific tone colors, you may not have the best time here. Personally, I'm a fan of these colors, and the processed field recordings do a very nice job of presenting new shapes within the broth.
Tujiko Noriko - Crépuscule I & II (Editions Mego)
I'm going to need some serious contemplation and consideration for this one, but for now I'll just say that it has a brilliant approach to taking a pop quality of 'appeal' into an abstract musical space. All too often it can end up where the latter is just a coat of paint on the former, or it goes far out but loses the appeal. Feels like this one threads the needle though, amazing album.
Pool - Bok Director (Self Released)
This is a musique concrete/weirdo noise supergroup featuring Container, that guy who famously ate a lot of rotisserie chicken, the artist behind the musical project Kites and also the best cover in the Kramer's Ergot comics anthology series, and the bassist on the final album released on Load Records. I'm giving you all this information because I'm still not sure how to talk about the music, but I feel like all that info should give you a good idea of whether you'd want to hear this. It's good music!
January 14th, 2023
Grace Rogers - Cowpocalypse (Obsolete Staircases)
No idea what to expect from this, haven't heard a second of it, but the label put out that awesome Hairbrushing tape in 2021, and the title is fun, so I'm in.
January 15th, 2023
Taku Sugimoto - some ancient chants (Self Released)
Some more new work from Sugimoto, though in this case we've got lots of shortform work rather than the extended length pieces on 'falls'. I did find that one a bit more immediately striking, but his 'Short Pieces' from 2018 wound up growing on me so I figure this could end up doing the same.
January 17th, 2023
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 12 (Milan)
I really haven't kept up with Sakamoto's solo work outside of YMO, I didn't even go that deep with the Fennesz collaborations. I know that I need to, and I'm going to! It may be a while until I get to this one, but for those if you who have been keeping up, this is your reminder to check out this new one (if you haven't already).
Grim Beazley - Big World (Constellation Tatsu)
Hoshina Anniversary - HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう (Constellation Tatsu)
Strategy - Graffiti In Space (Constellation Tatsu)
Often with these tape label batches, I'll get drawn in by one familiar name and the rest will all be fresh introductions. But in this case, I'm already aware that Strategy and Hoshina Anniversary do great work! Strategy has a wide body of work that can range from 2016's shortwave radio noise bath 'Information Pollution' to the breakbeat house of last year's 'Unexplained Sky Burners'. No matter what mode, he's always got a refined sound for it, and that trend remains unbroken for the dub techno of this new one. Hoshina Anniversary is a tough one to pin down, his 2020 album 'Odoriko' was a fun blast of mixed-fidelity melodic techno, but then he followed it up with 'Jomon' in 2021, bringing some really weird twists that I'm still not sure how to describe. But this one gets back to something closer to the sound of Odoriko, though maybe a bit more on the headspinning side of things. And then there's Grim Beazley, still haven't looked into what their whole deal is, but at the very least they're in great company!
January 18th, 2023
Equipment Pointed Ankh - From Inside the House (bruit direct disques)
A lot of the music that falls somewhere in the ambiguous space between post-rock and jazz can be pretty clean sounding, but this has all sorts of colorful grit going over the grooves. It's great stuff, part of me wants to recommend it to anyone who has been getting into Horse Lords, even though Equipment Pointed Ankh doesn't really embody any of the qualities that make that band distinct, except I guess for some instrumental hockets. Nevertheless, I feel like anyone who's built up their listener muscles with 'Comradely Objects' will find them put to good use with this music. There's a very good chance that this will end up being the album I listen to the most this year, since it came out so early and it has so much of what I want to hear from music most of the time. I'll go more in depth with this one later for sure.
Dancefloor Classics - Dancefloor Classics Vol. 1 (RAJATON)
Vladislav Delay - Hide Behind The Silence Vol. 1 (RAJATON)
Vladislav Delay kicks off *two separate series* of 10" records, with 5 editions planned for each series. The Dancefloor Classics one seems like it'll be going into territory as frenetic as last year's Ripatti Deluxe album (great news!), and then the one under the established name seems like it's more about the slow moving slabs (also good!), very excited to see where these series go.
January 20th, 2023
AGF / Harrga / Lafawndah & Trustfall / Chino Amobi / Savvas Metaxas - Future Chorus (Hypermedium)
Danny Arakaki - Tumble In Shade (Husky Pants Records)
Art Ensemble of Chicago - The Sixth Decade: From Paris To Paris (RogueArt)
Battery Operated Orchestra - We Are Ghosts (GOTO RECORDS)
Brainiac - The Predator Nominate EP (Touch and Go)
Andrew Cyrille - Music Delivery / Percussion (Intakt Records)
Melaine Dalibert - Magic Square (FLAU)
DRY THRUST – The Less You Sleep (Trost Records)
Fred Frith / Susana Santos Silva - Laying Demons to Rest (RogueArt)
gamut inc - sum to infinity (Morphine Records)
Christoph Irniger Pilgrim - Ghost Cat (Intakt Records)
Andrzej Korzyński - Diabeł [Reissue] (Finders Keepers)
loadbang and Ekmeles with guests - The Consent of Sound and Meaning: Music of Eric Richards (New Focus Recordings)
Mike Majkowski - Coast (Fragments Editions)
Kali Malone (featuring Stephen O’Malley & Lucy Railton) - Does Spring Hide Its Joy (Ideologic Organ)
Lionel Marchetti & Decibel - Inland Lake (le lac intérieur) (Room40)
Francisco Mela featuring Cooper-Moore and William Parker - Music Frees Our Souls, Vol. 2 (577 Records)
Post Moves & The Sound Memory Ensemble - Recall the Dream Breath (Lobby Art)
Simon Scott - Long Drove (Room40)
Rian Treanor & Ocen James - Saccades (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
January 21st, 2023
Centrul Isteric / Michiu - Centrul Isteric / Michiu (Split) (Preston Capes)
January 22nd, 2023
Holsen&Cassiers - Walking in circles (Stroom)
And here's everything I'd written down for January 20th-22nd. I'll give this all some individual attention, but wow, look at all this! Long last demos from Brainiac's never-realized major label debut, a new recording celebrating six decades of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a massive new work from Kali Malone, more material from Rian Treanor's collaboration with the Nyege Nyege Tapes crew, a new one on Stroom (they put out the Voice Actor album last year), and so many other big favorites like Post Moves, Mike Majkowski, and Melaine Dalibert... wow! This year is starting off so strong, it's going to be difficult to try to share thoughts on everything noteworthy. But I will be trying...
My last update missed a lot of great music, and there's been some that has come out since then, so here's an overview of all of that before we dive in to the new releases tomorrow!
January 1st, 2023
河边走 - 河边走 即兴录音 (Self Released)
河边走 - Trio (Self Released)
Marc Masters tweeted about this recently, he said "Just stumbled on a Chinese band called 河边走 ("Walk By The River") whose only 2 releases came out on New Year's Day, both slabs of weirdo avant-rock/free-jazz not far from NNCK, SCG, Trumans Water, HCI, etc.", I wasn't even sure what the last two references were but I checked out Trio and it's great stuff!
January 4th, 2023
Jim O'Rourke - gametophyte 4 ix (Steamroom)
A free download from Jim O'Rourke, his piece for a Xenakis celebration festival. I still haven't listened, but Xenakis rules, and O'Rourke rules, so this should probably be interesting. The festival website said O'Rourke learned more math to get a better appreciation of Xenakis, that's dedication!
Fumerolles - Nuit jaune [Reissue] (Hotham Sound)
Hudson Glover - Solar Surfing: Music From The Film 'Crystal Oscillators' (Hotham Sound)
MIDI Janitor - Bulk Order (Hotham Sound)
mineral stunting - stones and mud (Self Released)
There was a new batch on this day from Hotham Sound, each release with their own type of bucolic synthwork with the Ghost Box / Boards of Canada type of vibes. Some really exquisite lines in here, I'm particularly a fan of the cosmic scale of the Fumerolles EP. It opens really big, fully in the "synth as controls to a spaceship" type of mode, but then gets down to exploring weird foggy planetary surfaces with the other tracks.
There's also this new alias from Lighght called 'mineral stunting' that is not to be missed, has a really psychedelic approach to drifting, like it feels like there's multiple currents to ride on and the tune will flit between them, and sometimes choose neither. And the weight of it is really interesting, the way that the pitch shifts on both extremes will sit against each other is a total trip. Love it!
January 5th, 2023
Fievel is Glauque - Fievel Is Glauque on Audiotree Live (Audiotree)
Telekomm - Input Void (humanhood recordings)
The Fievel is Glauque stuff is already recorded live, so this Audiotree set may not offer a lot of fresh insight. But pleasures? Yes, it will have plenty of that to offer. Such a great band.
This day also saw the release of this Telekomm project from Brian Grainger, an hour+ drone constructed out of dial tone sounds. I feel like ambient/drone has a pretty good success rate with this kind of conceptual gimmick stuff, because there really is something specific to this source material that can get drawn out by the specific musical approach. In this case, it's all the little skips and flutters that travel across the stereo space. No idea how well this would work on speakers, but it's a great headphone experience.
January 6th, 2023
Asleep Country - Fake Opulent (New Motion)
I'm new to the world of Octavia Möbius Sheffner's music, but I really enjoyed their recent appearance on Blorpus Editions. The music I've heard has been a type of musique concrete sound collage that hangs onto a sound long enough for me to lose an idea of its origins, with collisions that can start off like two massive boats scraping away each others hulls but eventually earn their place where they fit. This album is a massive one, nearly 3 hours in length, and so I still haven't had a chance to fully take it all in. But I think the sustained exposure has the potential to really get into a transformation in perception, I'm excited to get my time with it.
Cakedog - War Room 4 (Leaving Records)
This is the alias that the artist also known as Ahnnu uses for footwork material, and he has a great take on the genre, as you may expect from all his other highly considered sound work. Some of the vocal repetitions in the genre can give me that "yanny/laurel" effect where I oscillate between different readings, and it feels like he pushes hard on that psychological effect with this one. There's also a lot of wonderfully smooth synth work on here as well, this is a blast!
Kieran Daly - Something something "Lyapunov exponent" solos (Madacy Jazz)
Every time I've listened to Daly's music, I have been absolutely puzzled. I still don't know how to feel or think about it, but it's compelling enough to keep me checking again.
Roland Kayn - Otron (RRR)
I have not kept up at all with the Kayn archival releases, but I do love massive sheets of synthetic sound, so I should really explore all this stuff soon.
Maggie Nicols / Mark Wastell - And John (Confront Recordings)
This is one that I think I need to do a bit more homework on, I'm not too familiar with the artists or the context, only really caught it because I've been enjoying what I've heard from this label. Nicols was a part of the Spotaneous Music Ensemble, and this release appears to draw on her time there and the influence of John Stevens. I do like this British free improvisation world, so this is all stuff that I want to explore anyways, but this specific album may still need to be visited at a later date.
Seaclones - Northern Biotic (Self Released)
This is a duo of Five Star Hotel and Machine Listener, they debuted last year and had a cool approach to the balance of pre-composition and live execution in electronic music, like there's something about the way it lives within its moments that strikes me differently than the fully programmed stuff. Haven't checked this new one but I imagine they've got a lot more to say with this direction!
Heather Stebbins - At the end of the sky (SUPERPANG)
A new name for me here, but I dig the music, some high quality electroacoustic timbre extensions on classic string instruments. Don't have much to say with it all being so new to me, but it's got me interested in hearing more.
Technical Reserve - Personal Watercraft (Party Perfect!!!)
This new label for extreme computer music just launched last month with an album compilation, four separate releases all tied together in one large package. December was a pretty wild month for me so I haven't been able to digest the full thing yet, but I've had some time with this new one, and it is stellar. You've got Dominic Coles and Hunter Brown on computers, and TJ Borden on cello and electronics warping the instrument into a shape that fits in perfectly with the fully synthetic sounds, with a dry negative space surrounding all the instruments. I absolutely love this sound, but then on top of that, there's a momentum in the full album experience that comes from most of the pieces clocking in under two minutes, individual moments can show some patience with their sounds but overall there is a constant forward movement that makes this a fantastic experience. Do not miss this one!
January 7th, 2023
DJ Chap - Aguas de Mara (Self Released)
Here's one from a Teklife member doing a mixture of footwork and samples from corridos tumbados music. I'm pretty unfamiliar with that style of music so I don't have much substantial to say here, but I can at least tell you that this one is good listening.
Taku Sugimoto - falls (Self Released)
Not sure when the whole shift towards just intonation melody came into Sugimoto's work, but it has been so nice, like it's not often enough that I feel like I can describe music as adventurously pretty. But that's how I feel about this stuff. There's some really compelling use of voice on this one, alongside the familiar guitar, wonderful to hear.
January 9th, 2023
Beau Wanzer - A Dead Person's Monologue (iDEAL Recordings)
Freaky album cover on this one! Good stuff though, grimey analog gear horror that would fit nicely with some older Ekoplekz, this'll be one to remember if you need a Halloween party soundtrack.
January 10th, 2023
Isabella Koen - TIP (Self Released)
This came on my radar because I follow this person Chooch on Bandcamp, so their activity is included in the digest e-mail I get from Bandcamp of all the purchases from my followed accounts. They always seem to be picking up something cool. I guess I heard something from Isabella Koen on the first Physically Sick compilation, but I'm otherwise unfamiliar, and so likely would have missed this if not for the e-mail. Glad I caught it, there's some great techno here. The cover is really fitting, there's compelling color in this music but it's not "colorful". Not sure exactly how to explain it, dig the tunes though for sure.
I'll be back to writing about 2022 soon, but I'm going to be doing some Friday posts over the course of this year to share some quick thoughts on music released through the week. You might have thought that it would take a minute for things to heat up, but we've already got a lot of stunning music available!
January 1st, 2023
Kaho Matsui - NO MORE LOSSES (Self Released)
If you're not aware of what Kaho Matsui is up to, you really need to take notice. She's got numerous top-notch releases exploring territory ranging from euphoric summer party guitar & breaks combos, to emotional sonic devastation. And many of them came out in the past 12 months! This new one is a fine place to tune in, you get a good sample of the total range, and there's a lot of great features to send you down even further rabbit holes.
January 3rd, 2023
Kevin Drumm - PCM 5 (Self Released)
Zvrra - Instance (PPRZ)
I really have not been keeping up with Kevin Drumm's output, I don't think I've heard anything in this PCM series. But he does great stuff, so maybe I'll check it out soon. Seems like this might be on the more gentle side? On the other hand, I have already checked out this Zvrra one, and I can confirm that it is great. If you haven't seen me already praising her work on my jumble page, you can read some more in depth thoughts on there, but the main thing you need to know is that she makes excellent techno. So if you already know that's something you want, just go ahead and give this one a listen.
January 4th, 2023
Whettman Chelmets - Ode to Roy (Self Released)
Marco Ferrazza - Margine (Dasa Tapes)
Masayuki Imanishi - Walk (Dasa Tapes)
Tim Olive & Philip Sulidae - Batons (Dasa Tapes)
Riggings - The Arnold EP (Horse Complex Records)
There's some great quick ones here, like this Whettman Chelmets one is just a single 8 minute piece, produced in the wake of his father-in-law's passing. It's sort of in a Fennesz style of ambient processed guitar turbulence, with a strong emotional core that communicates grief quite clearly.
And the new Riggings EP keeps it brief as well, coming in under 17 minutes long. But she really makes them count. You may be familiar with the previous work as Al Riggs. This new alias still carries the excellent songwriting found under that name, though this is much less electronic than last year's Themselves album. It's still great stuff here, the structure of the whole thing alternates between stillness and forward momentum in a way that emphasizes the distinctions between each track, making for a very satisfying total package.
There's also this new batch on Dasa Tapes. The label consistently demonstrates such a tremendous care for sound that even when the names are wholly unfamiliar to me, I know they'll be worth checking out. And in this case I only have a vague awareness of Philip Sulidae via a recent release on Grisaille, otherwise this is all new for me. If you like the musique concrete/field recording/sound as music type of stuff, this will be a batch to investigate.
January 5th, 2023
Eiko Ishibashi - Cryonic (Self Released)
There was a lot of deserved attention last year on Eiko Ishibashi's For McCoy, but before Black Truffle reissued it, the original format was as a digital-exclusive self release. And that's not the only one, she's got other great stuff that has maintained digital-exclusive status, like Impulse of the Ribbon. And now we're starting the year off with another new one. I've only just begun to listen, and the music is pretty subtle, so I don't have any insights to share, but I'm having a great time getting to know it, and I bet you will too.
January 6th, 2023
James M. Creed - Six Studies (Sawyer Editions)
Max Johnson - When the Streets Were Quiet (New Focus Recordings)
Christopher Poovey - Vessels: Spellbook in the House of Hearts (Sawyer Editions)
Ángeles Rojas - breathe into the forest, into the bird, into the song (Sawyer Editions)
James Romig / Tony Oliver - Spaces (Sawyer Editions)
Lottie Sadd - a practice in taking up space (Sawyer Editions)
Naoto Yamagishi - 電話太鼓 - Telephone drum (Yabuki Records)
January 7th, 2023
death's dynamic shroud & Holly Waxwing - Together, Our Thing (NUWRLD Mixtape Club)
And now that brings us to the weekend! There's this large batch of stuff on Sawyer Editions, a label from Kory Reeder that does great work in highlighting new composers (you may remember Reeder from his excellent recent album on Another Timbre). It has been a wildly busy time for me and so I haven't been able to slow down and fully take these in, even though I got an early preview. I can say for sure that this Ángeles Rojas one is a very compelling dose of chamber drone, though if constancy is not your favorite thing, you can find some distinct sound objects on some of the others.
For additional new composition work, there's this one from Max Johnson on New Focus Recordings, though this is more on the active side of things, a more rapid succession of events. I don't believe I've ever heard his music, I guess he's more oriented in the jazz world, though the sample I heard of this new one did not sound particularly jazzy.
I also saw this Naoto Yamagishi on Rate Your Music and it looked cool. No idea who he is or what he's using to make sound but it kind of reminded me of that video of Voice Crack beating the shit out of a long wire, which is always a cool thing to be like.
And for the near future, there's going to be a team up between death's dynamic shroud and Holly Waxwing! I still haven't subscribed to the mixtape club but this might get me to pull the trigger.
So I have a few more additions to the jumble list (2022 music blurbs presented in a randomized order every time the page loads). I've also created a grab bag that will give you a random selection of 10 albums I haven't written about just yet, since the pace of my writing is too slow but I still want to tell people about so many albums. It would be overwhelming to list the names all at once, I had a whole year to build a positive relationship with all this, nobody would have the time to repeat all of it on top of living their own life! So I think going 10 at a time is reasonable, there's a better chance for something to fit into a new life.
I think these randomizations are good innovations for the list format, but they're not enough. So I've developed a navigation tag system, using some idiosyncratic categories that I've assigned to the albums I've written about. I will probably define them at some point, but right now they are open to your own interpretations. If you click on one, it will take you to the next album with that tag. So if you only want the popular music that everybody likes, you'll just scroll around until you find a big one and then click on the "Widely Appreciated Music" tag, and then it'll take you to the next popular thing that I also like. I haven't written about any of the stuff that gets that tag yet, but there's categories like "Heady Dynamite", "Chug The Horn Of Plenty", and "The Austere Collection", among others. There's only 15 albums on the list so far, so it isn't really too significant to have this navigation feature, it's easy enough to read the whole thing straight thru. But eventually, there are going to be more words in this list than any one person would actually want to read. And so this will allow for a choose-your-own-adventure type of experience, where people can be actively engaged with forming the narrative, and play the list like it's a roguelike. I'm hopeful that this can lead to a greater capacity to get what you actually want from it.
This tag system also has the advantage of illustrating the connections that strengthen each album in my mind. I've been trying to come up with a term for an idea (temp title is "stacked listening" but I don't know if that is any good) about how I'm not *only* listening to the thing I'm listening to, I'm also listening to it through the previous experiences of other things that I've listened to. And these connections mean that listening to one of them can end up making the other one better. So this is a way of drawing out these stacks that I've formed in my head. Some of them might have no hope of ever making sense to someone else, but I still think there'll be value in showing them.
I'm curious to hear what people think about these approaches, it'll probably take me until at least July of next year to write about everything. So I'll be making little tweaks here and there, and maybe I'll even come up with some new twists. There's room for input! Also, since I'm going to be going slow with this, if anyone else wants to borrow from these ideas *at all*, please do! I'd love to see more intra-list connections and random orderings out there. If it's any help, you can even check the google sheets CMS I built for all of this, there's a lot of stuff in the formuals that is specific to my site, and also it's kind of a mess in general. It doesn't even put out all of the html. But I'd be happy to help make any adjustments if anyone actually wanted to use it themselves.
So here's the other new things I've added to the jumble, but for the full experience you should go to that link to check them out with the navigation tags!
I don't think you need to understand the ins and outs of just intonation to feel what this music has to offer. Which is a little self-serving, because I am not be able to explain how all this works on the technical side. But I find it so compelling. I've got a long history with Greg Davis' music, his Clouds as Edges 7" was an early favorite from back when I started to become more adventurously patient with my listening. The instruments on that recording were all Brita-filtered to their essence, which I found really helpful in priming me to hear a new kind of music, and to clarify Davis' intent within it. So I was psyched to see that this album would be working with sine waves, since that's about as unadorned as it gets. The activity is all happening within one larger whole rather than a more straightforwardly narrative sequence of distinct sound objects, but if you can get into that timescale, you can find so much on the inside. The increasing collisions between sines sometimes appear to slow everything down and highlights a moment's role in the sequence, like a projector error that shows the end and the beginning of the adjacent frames. The drift from clean harmonies to a rattling clash will happen so smoothly that the linear connection will be undeniable, but it still feels like it slipped in from an unperceivable dimension. There is a phenomenal physical world within these waves.
This is like Michael Bay without the sentimental parts, converted to sound. An incredible, unrelenting spectacle. Moments will pass that you may wish had been given more time to be developed, but the speed is more important than any of their potential futures. I have no idea how this kind of practice could be sustained, but in this moment, it is perfect.
You won't get much longer than two and a half minutes with the beats on this album, but they all make a great impression with the time they're given. Right off the bat you have 'placeholder' opening with a fake-out blast of sound before crashing the pitch down into the underwater zone, There's a really fun moment when that opening gets brought back for a second flash, but the slower motion moments have this dizzying quality from the way it develops, like there's the primary slow loop, but the right channel has these flashes of faster drums coming in at the end within the gaps, and the left channel mirrors this but in a blurrier and less defined manner. So it's all off-kilter, but then a higher frequency drone witth a uneven granular flutter to shuffle everything further. Those types of heady experiences are all over this album, but there's also the more straightforward moments like 'shOUT', which is by no means lacking in sonic character, but mostly seems focused on painting a nice melody over the rhythm. Just as noble a goal, rendered with the same level of care. It's all a great time!
Technically, this album came out in 2021 on Takuroku. But it's been expanded in this new edition, so I'll use that as an excuse to say that this phenomenal album is one of my favorites of 2022. On my first few listens, the form would only become clear for me well after it had already begun holding its shape. It was like I was staring at a landscape and only realized a dust devil had formed after it had torn up the place. When I experience that brand of hypnotism, combined with the sonic palette featuring odd strings, detritus, and field recordings across the fidelity spectrum, I'm reminded a little of all those bands in the early 00's playing in basements with at least one member hunched down on the floor over some odd assemblage of gear. I want to mentally file this album somewhere near the early Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice stuff, but with it's back turned to the parts where they break into discernable song. Rosso Polare stay committed to keeping it in nature, but their fingerprints are all over the wind. I think the track 'quattro_pioggia' is a great one to sample if you only have time for one piece. The way it introduces a dull bass throb and literally washes it away with recordings of rain that begin distorted and end up clear, gliding the momentum into the other sounds taking the lead, it's like an optical illusion where you're just as likely to see an image nature bending to the will of a human as you are the inverse.
I will never stop being impressed by the way that Carl Stone can strip away all semantic and causal sense from his source material in his plunderphonic mélange, until all that's left is the pure pleasure. If that was all he ever wanted to do, I'd be satisfied. But on this one, there's some substantial development. He's incorporating some tiny grain lengths, generating some noisy textures and warped resonance, flipping the samples like they're kitchen sponges and he's activating the abrasive side. The start of the album finds a familiar exuberance and weirds it into some amazing new heights with this technique, but then the second half zooms all the way in on an exploration of funhouse proportions. This is one of my favorite kinds of album structures, where it gives you the pop upfront, and then uses what's been introduced to take you into freakier zones. And I could not be happier to see Stone absolutely knock it out of the park with that format!
This is electronic music that's a step outside from "loosely tied together gestures", the kind of thing that eventually fashions a grid out of the best available twigs for the job. Everything within the music feels interconnected, but it's by a kite's string going from slack to taut. It's very flexible in the way it holds together, and this allows for the depiction of a solidification process. There's an excellent demonstration in the opener 'Vie', there's an introduction of a smattering of tones establishing a vocabulary of clanks and shimmers, some with amplitude flutters dropping or shooting upwards in speed, some playing with patterns contrasting stable frequencies against the equivalent of tv static. The shapes intially present themselves together, but everything is separating off from the shared root, the connections hold little bearing on the future of where the strands land. But then the music lands on a unifying drone, and all the booms, clicks and crackles start to snap into place, affirming all the expectations they set for each other. But I think my favorite is 'À lier', which pushes solidifcation from a much sturdier starting point, landing somewhere with hits like sheets of pavement. Quite satisfying, on so many levels!
I was a introduced to the late 80's Apple computers as a child, so the old black and white interfaces trigger a certain nostalgic quiet glee. You can be certain that I was delighted when I saw the screenshots of the software used for this album. But there are no attempts in this music to recapture some lost feelings of youth, this seems more like it's about the underexplored capabilities of the software that are long since buried under the rapid pace of technological advancement. There is still some infatuation with the sonic character of the time in these tunes, but it never strikes me as gratuitous. I've always been the type to love these types of synth sounds for everything that they are, rather than substitutes for the physical instruments they often wind up reflecting, so this is good news to me. But even if you don't share that affinity, there's still so much to get from material like the propulsive minimalist accumulation of Diablo III. It's majestic, and credit goes as much to the peak as it does to the road. I think this old software was necessary to carve out this path, and Roos deserves major accolades for seeing that it was possible.
These songs straddle the corporeal and immaterial worlds. The vocals are often reverberated to feel as though they perpetually come from the next room over, always just out of sight, no matter how much area the music runs through. The rest of the instruments suggest you could reach out and grab them, but then there'll be some kind of shift to disprove the notion. Like with the second track, it warms up with a long wash of tones before landing on earth with a cascade of delayed and overdubbed guitar, which becomes a singularly unfiied instrument once the first verse begins. The atmosphere evaporates in a sizzle, leading to a passage in which clashing delay patterns pull each individual element in different directions, it's all been smoke in the shape of something solid. Tremendous experiences like this are all over this album, some truly transportive music awaits you!
There was an album from Saskia back in 2019 on QTV Selo that was firmly planted in leftfield, I'd missed it at the time, but maybe you didn't? If you did, the more explicitly pop nature of this EP might be a shock. Fortunately, I had no such expectations, and was able to just get right into the excellent songwriting with no hesitation. There's certainly some oddly engaging choices, particularly with the tuba and rapid drum breakdown on 'Quarta Obra'. But I find the greatest delights with the more straightforward aspects, like the way the tiers of vocals develop upward in concert with the guitar on 'Quarta Rainha', it makes for such a beautiful ascent. I can't get enough, it's one of the songs I've come back to the most over the year. The rest of the EP has some really clever twists that I love, but this is the tune that hits me direct, every time.
Full disclosure, Jetski is a friend and I think he is hilarious on Twitter. So I might be a little biased here. But also, I've evangelized to many, many people on the brilliance of Wobbly - Wild Why and the twisted logic that emerges out of the onslaught of samples on that album. So this was always going to connect for me regardless of existing relationships, because Jetski is operating in a similar sphere. There's variety in the source material between each track, but it's never a jolt to jump between midwest emo, jazz, and metal. Because even when there are adjustments in the approach to best suit the material, there is a unifying sensation that I am witnessing a machine prove through its continued operation that it is not broken, in spite of how the output may come across. It simply has a new purpose. This is not a glitch, it's supposed to be happening, and it will all make sense if you let it.