HIDDEN LAND - "TRINITY"
Trinity” the lead single from Hidden Land’s Perspectives, mirrors a deep conversation between two creative partners communicating across vast distances. The interplay between strings and piano contain eliding passages, doubling back on melodies, exploratory punctuation and confident moves forward into new terrain. The duo is split between U.S.’s west coast and Sweden, but somehow the terrain they settle on is reminiscent of Iceland’s barren, windswept coast or anywhere austere and otherworldly.
MENDING - "THE BACK ALLEY"
In Year 32-33, Marsha leaves New York and returns to Odena to provide caregiving for her aging parents. While trying to find her footing back home, she revisits old haunts and rekindles old friendships.”
The above passage is where we are in the 40 song narrative multi-album that follows intersecting stories of families and friends over 40 year arcing histories told through tiny, song-sized vignettes. “The Back Alley” finds Mending exploring dissonant washes of feedback and distortion beneath Kate Adams’ distinctive tuneful but expository vocals and lyrics depicting Marsha settling back into a past version of herself in a familIar, but fundamentally changed, landscape.
NASRULLO ZUNUNI - "DEAR GOD"
Following a simple ascending piano melody the multi-instrumentalist from Tajikistan introduces a soaring, yearning falsetto set to an unfolding track full of harps, strings and synthesizers that break wide open into a heartfelt crescendo when the galloping percussion kicks in. The track is full of searching and straining petitions to an empty sky, Zununi’s vocals enveloped in overlapping, towering melodies.
SCOTT THOROUGH - "LOWLIFE"
Scott Thorough has mulitple approaches to creating music. Whether its producing beats for Homeboy Sandman, Serengeti, Kool A.D. to name a few, or creating stirring and ambient work, there is a through line of inner space exploration and outward expansiveness. On “Lowlife” from his recently released tape, Mr. Thorough takes these two modes head on by creating simple melodies through piano, thumb piano and electronics and strings that seem to contract into high-gain ambient passages being led by repeating piano phrases and the expand out to big screen emotionally rich passages replete with strings and synths. I’m excited to dig into past works.
SLIMYUNGMAN - "4 U 4EVER"
“4 U 4EVER” is a slinky, minimal techno mid-tempo banger from this Maryland based producer. Caught in a linear timetrap of woozy synths, muted 4-on-the-floor beats and a horn sample that just won’t quit, Slim YungMan hits a sweet spot of ambient pacing and underwater dance music.
D I D - "BLACK ICE"
D I D is electronic music from India that ventures a bit into dubstep terriotry we normally don’t cover, but I’ll be damned if that intro isn’t one of the sweetest things you’ve heard. Guitar arpeggios and the light lift of ambient swells before it al comes crashing down in some kind of bit-crushed/sugar-rush drop. These two modes serve as audio whiplash between most of the song causing all sound to be sucked out of the room for a brief second.
TUDO PASSA - "SUN"
“Sun”, from Brazilan shoegaze/electronic musician Tudo Passa features huge, blown-out choruses with humid reverb and pitch-shifted vocals punctuating this sonic masala of melody and cacophony. The track strikes a strange balance betweenToro y Moi’s first album and Belong’s “October Language”. Two relics from the fast-cycling blogging age that are forever burned into my mind.
ABSOLUTELY NOT - "BOTTOM OF THE PIT"
Chicago’s Absolutely Not update the spazzed, sugary rush of early 00’s dance-punk (think The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and An Albatross) into a bleak dystopian now with a decade of seething angst from LGBTQ, womxn and People of Color within creative communities in tow. Crashing through with a clarity of purpose and recording fidelity (unavailable to unnecessary to their dance-punk predecessors) these heavy noise bursts and squealing synth leads deliver their message of the dangers of false allies and homogeneity diluting a vital scene with clarity, piss and vinegar.
COMPRADOR - "BIKE RACK ON"
Cincinnati based Comprador project – masterminded by multi-instrumentalist Charles D’Ardenne – mines the dark purple and inky blackness of recent motorik revivalists Kavinsky and The Chromatics to take us on a nightdrive through the city’s “ripped backside”. Surging synths, linear and ascending percussive patterns and heavily pitch-shifted vocals set narrate this unmanned flight into the heart of darkness.
GRAHAM COSTELLO' STRATA - "FLY"
The first single from Obelisk out on bpqd records, “Fly” gently grows from a percussive piano melody with light percussion and occasional horn swoops to a track that gathers with unending intensity when percussion and bass are folded in. A trombone and tenor saxophone hold sweeping melodic lines. Never reaching a plateau of any kind, this collective instrumentalism pools together at the track’s shuddering climax. A sort of raucous, joy filled, ecstasy with all players at their creative and energetic peak. The Scottish band leader has crated an ever-ascending ode to unrestrained musicianship.
DANNY KLASS - "AN OLD TANGENT"
I am a total sucker for this kind of tuneful but mournful, technical but not masturbatory acoustic guitar work. I’ve been following the careers of Lake Mary, Dylan Golden Aycock, Daniel Bachman, etc.. for some time now and this solo acoustic guitar track by Des Moines, Iowa musician really does it for me. Like watching endless cornfields fly by from the passenger seat of car, wondering what life continues at the end of each dirt driveway.