SHINJI WAKASA - "RERA"
Evoking the naturally snowy habitat of Nikko-Shi Japan through Wakasa’s contemplative ambient fragments and heavily processed shakuhachi woodwind instrument, “Rera” stretches itself to take on shifting and expansive shapes. Synthesizer melodies lap over one another atop a droney noise floor that crackles like vinyl that could as well be rain or fire. This kind of blending of the natural and electronic is a microcosm for this gorgeous song.
ZACH BALTICH - "TIRED BLOOD"
The Minneapolis-based neo-classical artist explores a vibrant side of minimalism on “Tired Blood”. Vibraphone, deep brass and percussion help move these repeating, iterative lines into contemplative, textural valleys and ecstatic, tripping-over-itself revelry when all of percussive nature of each instrument locks into place creating a hypnotic, surrealist listening experience that thrives on kinetic energy and deeply studied new music modes.
MWAHAHA - "SUNDOWN"
Birthed out of an intense tragedy following founding member Cyrus Tilton’s passing from cancer, the Oakland-based now trio embrace the concept of dancing in the dark by creating highly rhythmic, noir-tinged dance-punk in the vein of !!!, OUTHUD and A Certain Ratio. By pushing Ross Peacock’s baritone vocals to the front of the mix, the three create sprawling, synth and bass defiant led call and response to death’s unwelcome hour.
WRECK AND REFERENCE - "STURDY DAWN"
Wreck and Reference may be one of the most strikingly unique bands to have ever cross paths with us. Nothing quite prepares you for the onslaught of 1,000 musical voices converging on the focal point of feeling very alone in this universe. Post-industrial beats, self-cannibalizing synths, trap gesticulations, throat-seering shrieks and barks and sick drones weaving themselves through a sunset slowly decapitating itself.
GUNARSSON - "HOPE"
Hope often feels like a concept totally out of reach for us. A late stage planet slowly boiling. But when framed as a personal undergirding to put one foot in front of the other, it seems less futile. The German composer’s track opens up space between reverb-heavy piano chords, airy synths, crisp beats and stately strings to create fleeting moments where all doesn’t seem lost. It’s these tiny graces that music gives us that bolsters our desire to continue living.
NAMI SATO - "ARAHAMA"
Nami Sato weaves together gentle keys, spacious arrangements, swelling guitar with field recordings from towns affected by the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Her work records festivals and people gathered together in public spaces that some, 8 years later, cease to exist. Fleeting moments of community and human interaction that would be forever lost if not for Sato’s gracious documentation and memorial.
ZANFAN KORAI - "INDIAN OCEAN"
Playing a form of music called “Sega-Fusion”, Zanfan Korai is a beautiful and insanely talented collaboration between a disasporic gathering of musicians from Mauritius, West Africa living in Montreal. “Indian Ocean” celebrates the life-giving body of water through deftly picked guitars, field recordings, ascending bass line, engaging interplay between percussion and vocals and delicate synth line that is mixed low enough in the mix that it imbues everything it touches.
PASO VIEJO - "KITSUNE"
Paso Viejo create a dark and heavily melodic post-rock / shoegaze that filters abnds like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky through Argentinian folklore. “Kitsune” moves from climax to another crafting huge swells bass heavy breakdowns. The track is shaped by a topography of emotional turmoil. Melodies dip into deep valleys and then shoot up int ascendant heights as if mapping an internal landscape in real time.
ANDREW OSBORNE - "DX7.STRINGS. PROCESSEDTRACKS"
Compiling discarded loops dating back from 2012, Andrew Osborne’s new project is an exercise in revisiting abandoned ideas and repurposing them to create new structures and interpretations of past events. By taking up these scraps, Osborne successfully creates a song that does not feel like a pastiche. Vocal loops and woozy synths slip in and out of one another rather than collide. Channeling Basinski in the way they degrade in each pass, Osborne has created a new artifact from discarded, potential-filled scraps.
CANADIAN RIFLES - "IT'S STILL STORMING FOR ME"
Swelling and cresting waves of analog drone from this excellent Portugese ambient project. “It’s Still Storming for Me” contains the warm analog hiss of magnetic tape unspooling and untuning itself – sputtering out it’s life’s work and purpose while being cradled in the arms of soothing and life-affirming drones. RIYL: AMULETS, Fennesz.
JOEY BASE - "NACMA INTRO"
Serving as a statement of purpose for BASE’s upcoming NACMA EP (Nutten Ain’t Caught My Attention) this intro by the South London rapper sets the stage for a half-reflection / half-tell-all detailing a hard life in Deptford, chronicling loss, tough decisions and a squaring with the fact that through all of the sorrow and pain, one can rise above materially but still be haunted by its demons.
CATALDO CAPPIELLO - "ESCAPE"
Eliding drones dip into in-the-red harsh noise which immediately burst into major chord triumphant bursts of ecstatic burning. These outbursts are subdued a bit by collapsing and building IDM beats, organ riffs, minimalist piano and even more peaks into the red. Its’a thousand musical voices patched together but still able to retain their shape and form.