more eaze, Henry Birdsey/Max Eilbacher, Hallow Ground, Colloboh, Hynta, Machine Woman, Everyday Dust, Maral, Cruel Diagonals & Jon Carr, Northworks and Borrowed cs
I spent a lot of this week listening to Vashti Bunyan’s autobiography, Wayward: Just Another Life to Live. It’s fascinating but also quite disheartening. I saw her play in Dublin in 2009 and I was struck by how disillusioned she seemed. Her account in the book of the recording of Just Another Diamond Day, not to mention her various adventures on the roads with her then partner and their various animals, filled me with a kind of forlorn sadness. That’s not to say I pity her, more that I appreciate that life is never what you expect and sometimes the choices we make will not always lead us to what we had hoped for or anticipated. On that note, here are some releases I like.
I always pride myself on saying that the stuff you see here probably won’t feature on Pitchfork, but this I noticed a review of this on that site this week. That said, OOH-sounds is a particularly interesting label and deserves every bit of attention. more eaze has featured on BC before, through her collaboration with claire rousay (who features here), and this solo release is as otherworldly as the cover art suggests, with its autotuned and processed vocals, yet manages to retain a deeply terrestrial vibe, as if the sounds and ideas grew from the very earth itself. People use the word intimate a lot when discussing both more eaze and rousay, and that’s because when you listen to the music you really feel as if you’re alone in a room with them. It’s a precious feeling.
The sound of bells, taken from their raw material and sculpted and processed into something entirely unrecognisable. Fascinating.
This compilation from the excellent Hallow Ground label features Amosphère, Lawrence English, Siavash Amini, Akira Sileas, Norman Westberg and Miki Yui to name a few, but the track from Maria W Horn is heart-stoppingly beautiful. I’ve not yet had time to get through it all but I adore what I’ve heard so far and that list of artists should be enough to entice anyone.
I’m featuring a lot of single tracks this week. This one comes from Baltimore, Maryland-based Colloboh. It’s a strikingly beautiful piece of modular synth, taking a Debussy piece and rendering it in an atmospheric sheen.
This track from Manchester’s Hynta originally appeared on a release in late 2020 from the Seed Studios based in Trafford. As the studio was closed during lockdown, they invited people who would attend their wellbeing workshops to record and share sounds and these sounds were then given to Hayley Suviste, Hynta and Luke Dobbin, each of whom fashioned a track from these raw materials. Here Hynta shares it on her own Bandcamp. It’s lovely.
A strange crackle of sound and disconcerting clanks appear beneath what sounds like it could be a dream related by the narrator. Is it a dream or is it a story, a fable or a warning? The voice appears at different pitches, adding to the uncertainty of it all. Brilliant, brilliantly unsettling.
Everyday Dust’s micro-label is called Dustopian Frequencies. I love it. Someone on Twitter described this as “aether-bursting dread-ambience”. This dread-ambience is made from “analogue synth tones” blended “with transformed woodwinds, mosstronics, sampled voice and tape effects”. If anyone can tell me what mosstronics are then I would be delighted to know.
A short but satisfying jam from the consistently excellent Maral. Gated vocals and detuned sounds, stomping beats and dubwise electronics, it’s ace.
From a short track to a long one. Megan Mitchell aka Cruel Diagonals lost her long-time canine companion Quinn last year and this piece, a collaboration with Jon Carr, is a kind of response to that loss. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard from Mitchell before, building on the familiar atmospherics and stellar vocals with intriguing manipulations. I can’t even describe it faithfully so just give yourself over to it.
Drifting ambient techno, sounds that evoke ideas of levitation. Beautiful. He’s also got a new mix you can check out here.
A bunch of great tracks here, and a remix from Byron the Aquarius, I really feel that ‘Ghuznee Dub (Take 3)’ is the winner. Somehow both light and plodding, it floats like a mystical frog, landing with a squelch and then soaring through the air at an unnatural height.