releases

loner

Lucy Railton - Paradise 94 (Modern Love)

cellomachine

this week's

Electric Indigo - 5 1 1 5 9 3 (Imbalance Computer Music)

crisp, staged, dynamic electronic music

depths and surfaces

Park Jiha - Communion

this is cool. melodies, atmosphere, sounds. music stuff?

I love hearing the expression of instruments with which I'm generally unfamiliar.

Flux Quartet - Michael Hersch: Images from a Closed Ward (New Focus Recordings)

Sustained (a)harmonies, from slowly terrifying to stab-punctuated aggressive/frantic to heartbreaking.

Björk - Arisen My Senses (One Little Indian Records)

Lanark Artefax, Jlin, Kelly Lee Owens. What an awesome suite of refractions of this great song. Would love a 2.5-hour mix of a selection of Bjork remixes.

5+12

Tessela & Lanark Artefax - WHYTBLU01

two great tracks. put these in your set.

The Fear Ratio - Live EP (Skam Records)

cool set of live tracks, love the playful slam of repeating highs on the OOOOOOH that makes little sense out of that frame. ERA sounds like it's from tri repetae, which is great. would enjoy their show.

Dedekind Cut - Tahoe (Kranky)

t'challa on the ancestral plane

Yann Novak - The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past (Touch)

details

Brett Naucke - The Mansion (Spectrum Spools)

dense world

Pierre Henry - Polyphonies (Decca Records)

Excellent retrospective compilation documenting the genius of Pierre Henry. Highly recommended.

quick 5

Jerry Quickley - (american) FOOL (Temporary Whatever)

peel and repeat

Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet - Landfall (Nonesuch)

It's funny how sometimes I'm not inclined to check out what icons are doing because I feel like I've been there... and then I'm reminded. Also interesting to go back to that time and place.

Maelstrom - Alph4 (Central Processing Unit)

goes

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async - Remodels (Commons)

great reworking. had the chance to lie down for the duration. difficult to choose between itunes classic and whitecap.

and... Victory Lap. can't lie

whysomuch

I've been going through a lot (of music). So many new releases at the start of the year.

Took awhile to rule things out and keep things in.

Good to clear stuff out in time for the feb16 explosion.

these are the most-loved

Metaphors (Selected Soundworks from the Cinema of Apichatpoing Weerasethakul) (Sub Rosa Label)


Engrossing concrete environments teeming with insect buzz and occasional wafts of serene guitar, romantic fragments and upfront pop. Cool highlight of the sound work of these films, of which I've only seen a few.

Sylvie Courvoisier Trio - D'Agala (Intakt Records)


Awesome interplay. Typically exploratory, sometimes heavy, sometimes knotty, always interesting. Great group. Would love to see.

Kit Downes - Obsidian (ECM)


Organ recording. Really cool stuff, from the exalted to the eerie. Had a chance to listen in the dark and get into each instrument. Recommended (redundant).

Matthewdavid - Time Flying Beats (Leaving Records)


What happened to "and now people need some healing?" Heavy in car.

Evidence - Weather or Not (Rhymesayers Entertainment)


Hard beats, great flow. Even some content.

Shuttle358 - Field (12k)


best droneycomputersounds great cover good one

Yves De Mey - Bleak Comfort (Latency)


awesome sound design on heavy rhythm

Natalia Lafourcade - Musas Vol. II (Sony Mexico)


In the words of S.R., "You've done it again."

Favorite Albums

These are my favorite albums of 2017.

Tarkovsky Quartet - Nuit blanche (ECM)


soft and contemplative, moving between the composed and the improvised, hauntingly pretty, drifting through ephemera

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (TDE)


Sure I might have had enough of a few of the songs on the radio, but it's another great album with songs to immediately enjoy, rapping to relish, content to think about. Another entry in a catalog of outstanding releases that are also broadly popular.

Justin Walter - Unseen Forces (Kranky)


Directional flotation, serenity without stasis. Atmospheric without limiting itself.

Natalia Lafourcade - Musas (Columbia)


These songs are great. The performance is great. Los Macorinos are great. Her live performance was great. The videos are great:

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - On the Echoing Green (Mexican Summer)


das erhabene

Sote - Sacred Horror in Design (Opal Tapes)


electro-acoustic magic

milo - who told you to think??!!?!?!?! (Ruby Yacht)


milo's works are better each time. banks is not the future milo the future

Sylvain Chauveau - Post-Everything (Brocoli)


very electronic music pop

Post-Everything by Sylvain Chauveau

Lee Gamble - Mnestic Pressure (Hyperdub)


d&b+ae?

Kassel Jaeger - Aster (Editions Mego)


Atmospheres, buzz evolutions, interruptions, darkness. Kind of scary. That release with Jim O'Rourke was also a good one.

Open Mike Eagle - Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Mello Music Group)


I appreciate the layers and ambiguities, listening to it again and making more of it, reading interviews and making more of it. Some great quietly-spoken, close-mic moments.

Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams (ECM)


quiet fire, need live, Y2B

Claire M Singer - Fairge (Touch Records)


where was this in the blade runner movie

Bjork - Utopia (One Little Indian)


blissing me

electronic

Claro Intelecto - Exhilarator (Delsin)


melodic drop on Through the Cosmos says it best, but in any case this is cool and dubby somewhere in between a lot of things

Obsequies - Organn (Knives)


super computer music
so knives has been been pretty awesome so far

home stretch

although there are sure to be a few more posts between now and then, I've started reviewing the year's favorites

in any case, a few recent releases I'm really liking:

Carlos Niño & Friends - Going Home (Leaving Records)


soft ritual, shimmering sunrise, lazy ascension, cloudmorph

Thomas Demenga - J.S. Bach: Suiten für Violoncello (ECM Records)


sublime woody bach recordings

Schumann Quartett - Landscapes (Berlin Classics)


great program of material

Rabit - Les Fleurs Du Mal (Halcyon Veil)


We start out with some sharp, saturated bowed strings and eventually crumble into beatless murk, from the discomforting samples of Dogsblood Redemption to the guided nightmare of Elevation.
what's with that cover

Les Graciés - Low Doses (Firecracker Recordings)


crazy samples, good balance of motion and stasis, crazy staging (how many times did I take off my headphones because I thought something was happening around me?), this album is great

Armanda Hammer - Rome (Backwoodz Studioz)


rhythms, rhymes, all good

some stuff

Claire M Singer - Fairge (Touch Records)

a kind of magical dawn, like a contemporary version of das rheingold's overture

Rødhåd - Anxious (Dystopian)

moods

Invisible Church & Marie Davidson - Whatever Makes You Feel Safe (Yerevan Tapes)

heavy and voice and beyond what came before

caught up

I'm glad we can finally agree on something.

Ben Frost - The Centre Cannot Hold (Mute Records)

And now we get the whole thing, inaugurated with a terrifying breath. Surely the second coming is at hand.

Booms and twinkles.

While I'm glad this is an album rather than another soundtrack of sorts, it does make me think we have a missed Blade Runner soundtrack opportunity here (among others, including the one that was dropped).


 

Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams (ECM)

Look at the team. Mastered, beautiful cross-cultural ECM music. This group needs to come here. It will be awesome live.

Open Mike Eagle - Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Mello Music Group)

keep pushing, style and content

Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference (Young Turks)

Emotional suite of memorable melodies and a unique sound informed from many directions.

STILL - I (PAN)

weirdo rhythms from everynowhere going hard just look a that coverman

AnD - Social Decay (EDLX)

coarse

Kelela - Take Me Apart (Warp)

90s r&b from the future makes a lot of sense warp records

six for a thursday

Kassel Jaeger - Aster (Editions Mego)

A thin fog approaches, slowly obscuring horizons, allowing hints, memories, flashes and threats of drama. A range of environments develop, from a near-static floating transparency punctuated by crumbling snowflakes to an organ elegy buried 100 feet down. Padded enough for decompression, active enough for attention, detailed stereo for the headphone bonus.

 

Sylvain Chauveau - Post-Everything (Brocoli)

I'm liking everything he puts out. In the vein of Fennesz, Sakamoto, and of course Sylvian (kind of weird given the name nearness). Emotive use of drones, saturated noise, melody and vocals for what are finally songs.


 

The National - Sleep Well Beast (4AD)

It's a mostly-mellow rock album. Not usually my thing, but I keep coming back to it. They're good, resonant songs.


 

astrïd & Rachel Grimes - Through the Sparkle (Gizeh Records)

careful magic

 

Antwood - Sponsored Content (Planet Mu)

Of the moment. Builds from last year's Virtuous.scr, this time with an excess of machine-gunned bass instead of constant breaking glass (IIRC). Also significant this time around is the heavier thematic conceit woven throughout, from the titles to the painful (for me anyway) samples, to the final “human” robotic ballad juxtaposing saccharine piano-chord-over-pad progression against frenetic happycore arpeggios. On the Planet Mu press info the artist describes it as "honest, flawed, with a little humour, and slightly up its own ass." I love I.T.

 

Lee Gamble - Mnestic Pressure (Hyperdub)

in a few days early, idmish junglish shamer really good. I think this will make it to the end.

why excluded

Lanark Artefax - Whities 011

I thought this made it here the first time around.

Well I ended up listening to it again recently and its absence is undeserved.

Great stuff.

beethoven

It's wild what he was able to do as a deaf composer (as Kissin's performance of Sonata 32 closes out the new DG release in my headphones).

why so many

looking as though I discern among nothing

Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman - Triple Fat Lice (Stones Throw)

rap and rap and rap; this is my favorite of the lice releases

on point all the time

 

Rafael Anton Irisarri - The Shameless Years (Umor Rex)

quiet becomes ocean becomes power

 

Nadia Sirota & Liam Byrne - Donnacha Dennehy: Tessellatum (Bedroom Community)

Spiraling strings. Also comes with a cool video.

 

Andrea Belfi - Ore (FLOAT)

At first this sounds like it's going to be an OK release with some moody drum beats, but then things break down with reversals and intricacies and it gets really good.

 

Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over (ECM)

great band, great music, big group

 

Angelo de Augustine - Swim Inside the Moon (Asthmatic Kitty)

There's a big of magic in this mood. Saw him open for the Planetarium show at the cemetery and took note to look out for this one. Glad that I did.

 

Pessimist - Pessimist (Blackest Ever Black)

A friend asked me what genre this was so that he could find more music like it, and I was like "well this track is kind of a hip-hop beat, I guess this might be a trip-hop track, but that last track was more of a techno track and now this one starting up is basically jungle. So I think the label is the more informative thing here." BLACKEST EVER BLACK

Which leads us to...

 

Second Storey - Lucid Locations (Houndstooth)

Another release melting many "rave" genres into one aesthetic/approach. This one's wonkier/funkier/brighter than the Pessimist release. Both are great. Different moods.

pure moods III

 

that's a lot

more's on the way

milo - who told you to think??!!?!?!?! (Ruby Yacht)


While I slowly work through a larger-than-usual list of music, I've found myself cheating my system to come back and relisten to this album before its turn. The opening Baldwin quotation sets up a context of both poetic telling and knowing and critical engagement. The music proceeds to live up to its introduction, springing from traditions of rap, hip-hop, jazz, poetry proper and poetics more broadly to think through and connect the personal and social. And it sounds great. And there's fun. get

in it or zoned

X.Y.R. - Labyrinth (Not Not Fun Records)


d r i f t z o n e z o n e d r i f t z o n e c o s m i c z o n e d r i f t z o n e z o n e d r i f t l i f t

Tyshawn Sorey - Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings)


hmm...

electronic

Sote - Sacred Horror in Design (Opal Tapes)


Santour, setar, electronic revelations. This is so good.
I actually saw Sote live a long time ago, the first time I heard of him...
at this: https://www.kuci.org/show_feature.cgi?id=181
TBH a little overshadowed by some of the Warp all-stars that night... in any case this album is awesome. Would love to see the live version.

Ben Frost - Threshold of Faith (Mute))


Noisy landscapes with plenty of bell/metal/clay-type sounds.

Elusive - Moments (DOMEOFDOOM)


Elusive has been on a roll with strong releases, and this one stands out. Will stay in rotation awhile, particularly in the car. Harmonic elements near the Flying Lotus / Brainfeeder sphere... I can still do with less key jangling / coin jingling, but it's a great set of beats/music.

this thing


I don't really know why it's online already, but it is. It's interesting and not what I expected. Will say more about it later.
I feel everything at the same time.

get it over with

rarely does something make it through the gauntlet of appreciation, doubt and criticism so quickly, but I'm enjoying these two

Untold - HEK029 (Hemlock)


two tracks of that haunted futuresound

Serenus Zeitblom Oktett - Erster Teil - Zweiter Teil - Dritter Teil (Hyperdelia)


three pieces of thoughtful, processor-engaged ensemble performance
not sure what else to say

that ra courtesy mix is great
seeking stingray kern

Finally 7

I was finally able to settle on a few favorites.

Ambrose Akinmusire - A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)

great music through a variety of moods, tempos, expression

Roscoe Mitchell - Bells for the South Side (ECM)

Another 2-hour recording, again covering a wide range of tones on a much freer spectrum. From zoning drones to zoning freakouts to zoning interplay. Zoning.

Cornelius - Mellow Waves (Warner Music Japan)

Let me put on some sunglasses and fill my ears with stereo tremolo (or panning on an LFO, whatever).

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - On the Echoing Green (Mexican Summer)

Take master droney noise and make it pop-shoegazey, not the other way around. He should perform on episode 19.

Mike Dehnert - Providing Home (Fachwerk Records)

Even with vocals, Mike Dehnert gets to that place. Some are down low. Some pump. It all works. Fachwerk.

Fred Frith & Hans Koch - You Are Here (Intakt Records)

improvised alchemy

2 more in may

Loke Rahbek - City of Women (Editions Mego)


It's hard to say what makes this better than the next noisy droney thing that's interesting to listen to it, but it's something.

Christopher Willits - Horizon (Ghostly International)


raft.
I'm just now learning that this album is part of this whole multichannel thing...

"lots of cool ones"

Kara-Lis Coverdale - Grafts (Boomkat Editions)


[Goem's "Stud Stim" plays from the living room.]
"I don't think this is very good night time music."
"OK, I have something perfect."

Natalia Lafourcade - Musas (Columbia)


what a joy this is
the following starts the great video album:

Jessica Moss - Pools of Light (Constellation Records)


Fantastic electroacoustic violin work in 2 main parts. You can hear the processes churning. At time sounds like a daf could show up.

Felicia Atkinson - Hand in Hand (Shelter Press)


badass weirdo neck-tickling soundbath. don't miss

Son Lux - Remedy (Meru)


Maximalist but razor-sharp production on interesting songs and sounds. Favorite is Stolen.

Perc - Bitter Music (Perc Trax)


The noisy, ambient, "experimental" tracks are great, and the pumping tracks are immense.
Here are two of those... don't cheat yourself:

April

Justin Walter - Unseen Forces (Kranky)

Wind controllers are awesome, like this music.

Roger Robinson - Dog Heart City (Jahtari)

Oh, that Jahtari sound, dubby delays and video game bleeps. Here it's met with a strong concept, observing and analyzing a dystopian world that's really not so different from our own.

Valgeir Sigurðsson - Dissonance (Bedroom Community)

Big droney string music. Think of 50 strings bowing at different speeds on the same lowish pitch. Then give it narrative drama. Then make it much better than I've just described. I'm not very good at this, so here's YouTube:

Second Woman - S/W (Spectrum Spools)

Eustis and Dietrich roll pads out in percussive glitches. Reminds me of some Mark Fell releases as well, which means this probably pummels live. A dense score of one of these tracks could make a great visual.

That Colin Stetson album was really good, but I could do without the moaning.

kk

"You've done it again."
Yes, it's another one.
It doesn't carry the in-the-moment political intensity of the previous, but it makes up for that with the personal.
where to go from here

it's been awhile

There has just been so much stuff to go through, so it's taken awhile to circle around and decide on nominations, but here are some recent favorites:

arkiv 4 (Raster-Noton)


“What are some of your favorite labels? What does their music sound like?” This is how one of my favorite labels sounds in 2016. I’m usually not crazy about compilations, but this one has been a pleasure. Raster-Noton delivers as usual with murky atmospheres, razor rhythms, machine funk, and floating ambiance, and the best packaging ever (really this CD is just an include on the new “source book 1.”) Looks like it has a weird little promo I can include.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async (Milan)


New Ryuichi Sakamoto albums are always welcome. There’s probably some surrounding material I am yet to read, but the album stands firmly on its own. Sakamoto has a diverse toolbox. A simple melody on a piano transforms into a cathedral-organ overture. Electronic tones sit alongside traditional instruments. Dream-pop arpeggios follow crunching footsteps. Is that an owl, a howl, or just an electronic drone? The warm and cool circulate. This album could easily be called Neo Geo or Esperanto, but he's already used those titles.

High Plains - Cinderland (Kranky)


There are a lot of droney electroacoustic could-be-soundtracks. Not all carry this much saturate-your-ear softbass. Not all combine sweet vignettes into an arching whole. Not all have this cello.

deepchord presents echospace - live in detroit [ghost in the sound] (echospace [detroit])


How different is one echochord release from the last? And shouldn’t we just call this subgenre Basic Channel? Different enough, and sure why not. There’s some music that gets me daydreaming about my ideal lineup for a summer desert weekend. It gets me thinking about the few vendors, the budget, the sound, and how I’m going to open the conversation with my friends to get things in motion. Echochord has the 9pm-11pm slot.

Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet - December Avenue (ECM)


Stanko manages to be deeply emotive without threatening cringes. He's not mixed lightyears above the ensemble. The melodies are beautiful. The breakdowns are intriguing. The interplay sum is greater than its constituents. It's good.

ode to February

Visible Cloaks - Reassemblage (Rvng Intl.)

Publications have lost it for this thing. I share their infatuation. Reassemblage is a lullaby delivered through 98-degree goo, a haze of indistinct and comforting memories, accomplished with sonic precision rather than grainy reverb.

Tarkovsky Quartet - Nuit Blanche (ECM)

Couturier's group with Lechner amazes me again with a beautiful, contemplative exploration of melody and strained emotion. I would love to hear this group live.

Kassel Jaeger & Jim O'Rourke - Wakes on Cerulean (Editions Mego)

Another one of these Emego sleepers, Wakes on Cerulean quietly unfolds and drifts from a lazy river out into the ocean.

Kangding Ray - Hyper Opal Mantis (Stroboscopic Artefacts)

Kangding Ray goes off the rave deep end. Epsilon has the psytrance bass. Somebody get this man to the desert.

Sigha - Metabolism (Token)

Kangding Ray + Sigha = no more of this crunchy underproduced house for 2017. Ceramics is the bomb.

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