Deep Water, White Sleep, Ian DPM, Session Victim, i u we records, FRKTL, Rob Winstone, M.O.O.N., Stellar OM Source, Chie Otomi, Psy-Chick, Misty Picture, Andrea Cortez and more
Okay let’s get this one out of the way. It’s December 3. We have a whole month left of 2021. And yet outlets are already sharing their closing lists. I should really be used to it by now (I’m 36!) but this always irks me. Anyway. I will continue to bring you new music for the next two weeks. I will also have some guest lists, focusing on the weird and wonderful that this strange year has had to offer, but more of that in due time. Today’s Bandcamp Friday too, so there’s a lot to get through.
VA - Greenhouse Vol. I (Deep Water)
This is a lovely compilation featuring artists from Western Australia. A track from Roza Terenzi & Hame DJ sounds like a lost gem from a 90s chillout comp (back when “chilled” music included beats). CTP’s ‘untitled’, conversely, sounds like a modern swirling banger only without beats. Other gems come from Phil Stroud and lia t, but it’s just a richly varied selection that warms the soul.
White Sleep - Everything Is Lucid
The latest from Decaying Spheres comes from White Sleep, and it features a range of sounds, from emotive, colourful techno to beautiful scorched ambience. It’s one of those albums that really feels like a journey, and maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Frozen with my son a lot lately but I really see this as the soundtrack to a trip through snowy mountains.
Ian DPM serves up two weird bangers, “exploring the blurred edges between club music genres” to great effect. ‘Groundhog’ features muted breaks, repeated vocals, grime-like claps and soaring arpeggios. ‘Algernon’ features chords that could be anthemic if they were in a major key, but instead feel unnerving and terrifying.
I don’t know how many times I listened to ‘Hide And Seek’, the third track on this release, but it’s a lot. Lilting, understatedly euphoric, bouncy, it’s simply gorgeous. ‘Chunky Dip’ is a straightforward disco-y house number, while ‘MPFree Now’ and ‘House In The Hills’ are both jazzy and almost broken beats. ‘Hide And Seek’ is the star for me, but it’s a solid release.
VA - connected #2 (i u we records)
i u we is a German label “focussing on the beauty of female diversity in electronic music”. This is their second compilation in the connected series, and it features nine artists working across the fields of ambient and experimental sounds. I’m particularly taken by the tracks from Surgeon’s Girl and Emme.
Fani Konstantinidou, Mayke Haringhuizen - Binnentuinklanken
This album is inspired by regions of Amsterdam and features field recordings taken in a municipal shared garden, a communal garden and a public garden at different times of day. On ‘De Kikker’ We have what sound like a cacophony of insects floating above a slowly building bed of ambient sound, while ‘De Tuin krakers’ features conversation and the sound of children playing.
This actually came out in September but I’ve been slack on listening to it until this week. It’s a thrilling rush, exploding with wild textures as almost tangible elements jump into your ears. It’s accompanying visuals can be seen here.
Rob Winstone - Untitled Ghosts 18-21
The label called these “6 electroacoustic vignettes awash with frosty crackle and plaintive timbres”. Crusty and mournful, this is the kind of music I would love to make.
This tracks reminds me of some of the early-10s Kolsch stuff, maybe even hints of Sasha, before either of them went overboard with the schmaltz. Gated vocals, wistful chords, refined beauty that stops short of melodrama yet still evokes emotion.
Recovery Channel podcast 3: Stellar OM Source
This is a lovely hour of music from Stellar OM Source, from whom I haven’t heard much in a while. It’s for a new radio show called Recovery Channel, which is “about all the possible connections between music and mental well-being”. I don’t know if it’s a mix or a live recording but either way it’s a blissful hour from a proven artist.
One of the new releases on Muzan Editions is from Osaka-based Chie Otomi. It is a beautiful release, with shades of Yamaneko at times. It’s a strange circle, where a Japanese artist sounds like an English artist who loves and now lives in Japan. Not that there’s any connection, just my own ears. There are strange moments of sound that wobble like underwater creatures, other passages that simply drift and float.
I know I started out talking about new music, but this mix really jumped out at me for featuring Röyksopp’s ‘Sparks’, from their debut album Melody AM. Twenty years old!!! She also features tracks from The Art of Noise, HTRK, Funky Doodle, Sade, Cocteau Twins and more. Vibes.
On the surface, this is a sleek and shiny ambient release. It’s so much more, however. It’s “an ode to point and click graphical computer adventures from the early 90s” and beyond, and it shimmers and shines with wide-eyed wonder, not unlike the characters or players of these endlessly fun games. There are strange washes of noise that could be the sound of walking through overgrown forest floors, while delicate melodies offer a beautiful soundtrack to whatever it is you’re doing.
Andrea Cortez - Music Of The Spheres
Finally, two longform pieces of beautiful harp music from a board certified music therapist. Not much to say other than that it’s really, really nice.