Julia Gjertsen & Nico Rosenberg, Sachi Kobayashi, SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE, Клочихин и Мажай, Akira Sileas, Anna L.H. Rose & Brad E. Rose, Moondog, Crystal Quartez, Giugno, Kmet and FMS-80
Back with a bang. A number of years ago an Irish mattress salesman released a song with those words as a title. See here. Over Christmas I listened to very little music, although I saw the new Disney film Encanto countless times. If “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” doesn’t win an Oscar… Well, I won’t do anything but I’ll be mildly surprised.
Spare a thought for Leyland Kirby, whose Everywhere at the End of Time was recently uploaded to streaming services without his approval. You can’t even blame the label because *checks notes* he put it out himself? So some rando just decided to do it.
There’s new Burial this week, but you don’t need me to tell you that, do you.
Julia Gjertsen & Nico Rosenberg released something on Moderna in 2020, a name that for me and maybe others now has totally different connotations. That one was called Distant Fields; Paisajes Imaginarios translates as imaginary landscapes, distant fields of another type entirely. This album, on Constellation Tatsu, moves between hazy ambient and mournful piano, with wobbling tape sounds lending deep melancholy. The label also has a lovely new release from Alex Albrecht entitled Resolve.
Another dreamily beautiful album, Weathervane was inspired by the weathervane that survived the fire at Notre-Dame some years back. I’ll be honest and say I found it difficult to generate any feelings at all when this event took place a few years ago. Mainly because as it unfolded I was sitting waiting in a police station in the name of bureaucracy. Nothing exciting. All that said there is something fascinating about how something can survive a fire of that magnitude. The music here is lovely, dreamy and warm, enveloping. If I’d had it when I was waiting on some young guard to sign a form for me I might not have been in such a bad mood.
This is wild! All the elements of dance music but not anything I’d ever imagine hearing in a club setting. Unless it was Lena W or Ben UFO or someone. Maybe CCL. Wiggly. ‘Izar’, the opener, is full of strange sounds that could be weird percussive things or just modulated frequencies, layering and layering until they create a strange phased effect. On reading an interview with the artist, it seems they must be synthetic:
The tracks are the result of orchestrating some samples created by myself. I’m building huge banks of samples. The possibility of discovering something totally unusual exists. I’m looking for less conventional synths and perhaps more based on the intention of noise from where I manage to clarify my vision. Like a tiger trained to roar slowly.
‘Kolchab’ features swirling blobs of sound that in someone else’s hands might lead towards some sort of propulsive beat but here builds and builds but never lands on a specific point, preferring instead to float forever like Flappy Bird or something.
This is a collaborative album, “music about finding yourself again”. Egor Klochikhin aka Foresteppe returned from military conscription desiring a reassembly of sorts. He made the sounds that featured on this album and sent them to Kirill, who manipulated them in Ableton. It’s a rather searing and strange piece of work, one that ebbs and flows and burrows through terrifying hiss and fuzz before allowing melodies and brightness to unfurl, only for things to get relentlessly weird thereafter.
This was my first purchase of 2022. It’s a strange series of sounds, moving from some that are quite unsettling and haunting to some that are much more soothing. There’s a particular kind of ambient that’s imbued with a very distinct hiss, something that can be charming in small doses but tiresome when overused. On this album it appears a few times but only after sounds and styles that are quite different, so it offers a feeling of calm after moments of disquiet.
I’m not sure I have enough superlatives for this. It’s yet another release from Brad Rose/The Jewel Garden, this time in collaboration with (or maybe even led by) daughter Anna. During home-schooling, Brad gave Anna a crash course in synths, but mainly left her to her own devices. They would record her experiments, and Brad returned to these and added the sound of field recordings taken during their walks. “One discovery during our walks was that one of her favorite sounds was the sound of acorns being crushed under foot.” This became a focal point of the journey. you can even see an acorn on the cover! I didn’t know nay of this as I listened for the first time and the quality is regular musician high, let alone child under-10 high. It’s a marvel, just gorgeous to listen to.
I saw a tweet from Martyn this week about self-promotion and how people who apologise for it a) are never really sorry and b) never promote anyone else. I like to think that I definitely don’t fall into the latter category so I make no apology for sharing my recent show on Dublin Digital Radio here. It’s not even got any mixing or particular narrative so in promoting my show it really comes back to promoting the music within. Some of it even features in this mail (Akira Sileas, Kmet etc). There’s new music from salvatore mercatante on his new label. There’s a rather stunning remix by Northworks that feels like a more melancholy version of Orbital’s “Chime”. There’s an Autechre remix of Seefeel that I got from Bleep over Christmas. There’s something from Laila Sakini’s Princess Diana of Wales album. There are tracks from the Scuffed label by Maya Q and Chungo. There’s a lowkey banger from Shy One that I came across late in the year. There are a few tracks from the rather massive The Future Disintegrates compilation on The Jewel Garden (yup, them again). On and on it goes. Great music. No mixing. No chat. Thanks to ddr for having me.
Every now and then you find a random classic on SoundCloud. This week’s comes from Moondog. If you haven’t heard of him, his mythos can be summed up as “blind musician and inventor of instruments who spent many years busking and often even just sitting on Manhattan streets while donned in Viking clothing”. He was known as the Viking of 6th Avenue. This is an incredibly short description, you can read more here. This is an album released in in 1971 and features short, playful pieces of music following his experiments with rounds and madrigals. If you’ve never heard of him, or if you have but you’ve never listened, it’s an interesting place to start.
I’m not sure it’s the weather or my mood or what but you can tell I’ve listened to a lot of “ambient” this week. Here’s more! This release has a lot of ambient characteristics but it’s also a bit dark, taking these elements into a minor key of latent discord.
Similarly discordant, this mix is harrowing and sorrowful and generally maudlin.
While working at an excavation site in Eastern Europe one summer afternoon, I chanced upon a scroll lying in the ruins of a medieval town. It contained a written account of a peasant uprising that took place in the region about seven hundred years ago. At the bottom of the scroll was a primitive musical composition, written in medieval notation.
After playing the music on a piano at the university that evening, I sensed a weird change within myself and the room. I could’ve sworn some kind of an apparition was present there with me, had I believed in the supernatural at the time. I was not yet aware that the disastrous events that were to come would almost ruin my life completely.
I share with you the two audio files that were e-mailed to me on the following morning by someone named Kmet. They’re part of a larger collection of files I received from Kmet throughout the last year. I now know playing them cast a powerful spell, a spell that nearly made me lose my mind…
Released at the very end of the year, this is yet another glorious swirl of electronic instrumentation. It follows Lifestyle 01, which was released in early January 2021. Part of a series, it seems to be inspired by trips taken by the artist between 2018 and 2020 to South East Asia and Australia. It’s in a similar vein to that Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo new age sound you might be familiar with, but in a modern style (especially on tracks like ‘Changgo House’). It’s lovely.