ESBIE FONTE - "VEINS"
“Veins” from Esbie Fonte is one of those songs that would sound equally at home bursting through a stadium PA or being pushed through shitty laptop speakers. There is this undeniable roar and thrust when this song reaches its peak: after the mask has been ripped off and self-acceptance is greeted with giddy high. That dark-tinged sugar rush and collapsing fidelity land a pretty crushing blow on this LA-based artist’s new single.
MINT FIELD - "JARDIN DE LA PAZ"
Mint Field is a shoegaze/psych band from Tijuana, Mexico. On “Jardin de la Paz” the trio delicately lace reverb-heavy guitar and bass lines around a sturdy, full-kit kraut beat before delving full-bore into heavy “Stoner Witch” style guitar riffage. By the end of the track serenity has ruled out the day and we are left to bask in the bathwater warm shoegaze arpeggios lapping on top of each other.
PATIENT HANDS - "SOMETHING VANISHING"
How does one surrender completely to something bigger than themselves? The closest I’ve come without chemicals is the open-palmed yielding to the open maw of loud drones. On “Something Vanishing” the Montreal-based musician contemplates this act and then gives themselves completely over to it by creating a huge washes of distortion-laden drone cresting and overtaking all sensory inputs.
DRUM & LACE - "AE"
Italian-based Sofia Hultquist has created an impressive body of work with her evocative film scores, for her Drum & Lace project she pulls together broken techno beats, dense textural patterns, disembodied voice and a synthesizer melody that stops the track dead in its tracks. These bits of electronic music flotsam congeal and then break apart in this stunning track.
TIMI AFILAKA - "DAYLIGHT"
I love stumbling upon a soundcloud page with only one track. The feeling that this is an auspicious start for this young South African artist extends beyond his limited output. “Daylight” is a bright pop song that mines the sound of bands like Real Estate and Beach Fossils but also builds upon jangle pop like The Go-Betweens and Let’s Active. I’m excited to see more work from this artist.
BIG BEND - "CAN'T GET AROUND"
Coming out of an improvised recording session with Laaraji, Susan Alcorn and Clarice Jensen, OH native Nathan Phillips delivers these vocal lines that sound extemporaneous yet sung in such an idiosyncratic meter they feel deeply felt and lived in. Phillips uses his voice as the emotional vehicle for these songs, shading in these compositions with electronic and acoustic explorations.
THE LONE BUREAUCRAT - "(A) BEING RETURNING HOME: PT II"
“(a) being returning home: pt. ii” recorded by the Grange-Over-Sands UK artists has the feeling of being recorded in gradually larger rooms with reverb swelling and reaching the ever lengthening rafters. The track takes a left turn as it slowly diminishes. The lapping piano melodies eventually are fed back into each other to create ghostly, doubled shells of their living counterparts.
CEDRIC ELISABETH - "ZONE"
the Paris-based Cedric Elisabeth has really captured my attention the last few months. On his latest single “Zone”, Elisabeth marries droning overtones with the slightest wisps of submerged beats reverberating through the floorboards and heavily arpeggiated bass line struggling to untether itself from the track’s inertia. Elisabeth introduces entire fields of sound design upon repeated listens.
MARCUS ELKJER - "SCENES"
On “Scenes” the composer from Denmark takes on the trope found so often in instrumental/neo-classical music of creating scores for movies that have never been made outside of the stimulating impetus in the creator’s mind. It is interesting to think what kind of movie “Scenes” would be. There is an inherent romanticism to Elkjer’s percussive piano, stirring strings and soft, deft use of electronic percussion and melody.
ANTARCTIC WASTELANDS & REALIZER - "OCEAN WHISPERS"
The artist Antarctic Wastelands creates “frozen ambient soundscapes”. This composition, joined by guitarist “Realizer, sounds anything but frozen. Delicate piano lines and soaring guitar-based drones illuminate the track from within. A faint, canopy glow that imbues the whole track with the last few seconds of sunlight before dusk.
TINDERSTICKS FEAT. ROBERT PATTINSON - "WILLOW"
Tindersticks created the unfolding and evocative score for the Claire Denis film “High Life” starring R. Pat. No stranger to the soundtrack, “Willow” upholds the Tindersticks formula of stately restraint, taught composition and close attention to every detail of sound design. A hero of 90’s UK orchestral indie rock, Stuart A. Staples project has found a brilliant second act breathing life into stunning films.
AROS E - V - "HOMAGE TO 0"
Comprised of minimal inputs – field recordings, tape and digital loops and a couple of synth drones – Aros E-V creates sound worlds wherein these minimal inputs are mined for all the depth and complexity they can offer. The result is a busy, bathwater warm soak in digital fragments circling one another like magnets, analog warmness and ghostly echos of human voice found somewhere in the slipstream of time.
HENRIK VON EULER - "F-DUR"
Henrik von Euler, beyond running the fantastic Swedish electronic label Flora and Fauna, creates highly tactile, space-filling neo-classical music under his own name. Straddling the line somewhere between Satie and the Album Leaf, this track blooms from a minimal piano line to a fully fleshed track full of light-imbued drones and melancholic melodic lines that rise and dissipate with the track’s ocean liner trajectory.
LAUREN LAKIS - "RIGHT NOW"
“Take care of yourself while you are still here/ the future and past are always near”. On the LA based artists’s searing shoegaze anthem, Lauren Lakis explores the tenuous grasp we have on the present. The “Right Now” of the huge, swelling chorus is less a demand to be present than a reminder that this is all we have. Lakis layers a commanding lead and lump-in-the-throat vocals under lo-fi atmospherics and pulverizing shoegaze guitar line.