NEW MUSIC: Orion’s Belte – Cherchez La Ghost

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It’s hard to ignore the killer groove and minimal exotic funk of this track from Norwegian trio Orion’s Belte. They released their debut album Mint last year and have already followed it up with the EP Slim in 2019.

‘Cherchez La Ghost’ is their brilliant take on the Ghostface Killah track, mixing a great breakbeat with effect-laden pedal steel and an nervous twitch of a magical low-slung bass-line.

NEW MUSIC: Rhian Sheehan – Last Time We Spoke

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New Zealand musician and ambient/electronic composer Rhian Sheehan has built a name for himself with nearly a dozen releases plus a wealth of soundtrack work and appearances on numerous compilations.

Fans of Nils Frahm will appreciate the nuance and blending of organic and synthetic elements in this piece. The way it pushes and pulls with it’s drifting piano melodies and mechanically-inclined rhythmic pulse.

‘Last Time We Spoke’ comes from Sheehan’s most recent album A Quiet Divide. He’s also composed the original score for the just-released Capcom Go!: The Apollo Story, an immersive 3D Planetarium Dome show documentary that showcases the historical achievements of the Apollo program and what it took to put the first human on the Moon.

ALBUM REVIEW: Lambchop – This (is what I wanted to tell you)

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Lambchop
This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You)
Merge Records

The band Lambchop is a very different beast these days, compared to a decade ago when they numbered up to 12 members with more of a conventional country soul sound. Now Lambchop is essentially Kurt Wagner with a small coterie of collaborators – a much more intimate proposition yet still possessing the gorgeous and hypnotic Lambchop qualities that have always been at the heart of their deeply soulful, emotive and intellectual music.

With compadres Matt Swanson (bass), Tony Crow (bass) and Matthew McCaughan (of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger) who co-wrote and produced the album, the band further refine the sound that first took shape on Mr. M (2016) and then blossomed into new eclectic pastures on the synth and auto-tune affected FLOTUS in 2016. Those new explorations are still embedded in the music on this record but there’s a leanness and a barer framework to these songs. You can hear the trademark melancholy via Wagner’s voice and the generally downbeat tone of the music but the songs are filtered through jazz, hip hop, future soul and the kind of avant-pop sounds that people like Scritti Politti, David Sylvian and Mark Hollis of Talk Talk developed.

Wagner’s way with words still shines through these lush textures, his devastating way of making seemingly simple phrases carry additional weight. It’s in his somnambulant delivery, the heavy use of effects on his voice but most importantly it’s the words themselves that carry the greatest weight and air of curiosity. “I’m in a Mexican restaurant bar, watching surfing and it’s amazing” he sings on ‘The Air Is Heavy And I Should Be listening To You’ and on ‘The You Isn’t So New Anymore’ he simply states “Michael Jackson just informed me that Santa Claus is coming to town”.

Wagner is firmly in his post-country phase, maybe he’s really always been there. Regardless, he’s a relentlessly inventive songwriter who is as devoted to sound, texture and atmosphere as he is to the lyrical possibilities of his poetry.

Chris Familton

 

NEW MUSIC: PCM – Ma

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Some hypnotic ambient composition to round out the week on Doubtful Sounds. PCM is an Italian ambient trio comprised of musicians Francesco Perra (P), Matteo Cantaluppi (C), Matteo Milea (M). They’ve come together to record this non-album single ‘Ma’, ahead of a full-length release. It shimmers and drifts, it’s aqueous and cloud-like in the way it moves and transitions gently across nearly eight hypnotic minutes.

Matteo Cantaluppi probably most known for his independent pop production duties has released, as a musician, a symphonic-ambient album with Baffo Banfi (“Biglietto per l’Inferno” founding member and Klaus Schulze’s collaborator) called “Frontera.” Francesco Perra is an ambient musician who often utilizes the guitar for his rich soundscapes. He’s published 3 albums, Music to Disappear (Idealmusik), The Neptune Sessions (Clubland Records), and Soundscape Box 1 (Tranquillo Records) under the name of Perry Frank. Matteo Milea is a sound engineer and sound designer who is also responsible for the trio’s art direction, giving visual representation to PCM’s liquid sounds.

 

NEW MUSIC: Obstacle – Unknown Number

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Obstacle are a USA trio comprised of Annie Murnighan (Found Object), Elias Jarzombek, and Amos Damroth (AJE). They’ve only been around for a year and a half but they already have three digital releases under their belt, including this latest one ‘Unknown Number’. It’s a track that runs its sounds through murky ominous filters with heavily treated and unrecognisable vocals and really interesting rhythms and hyperactive percussive programming. It’s electronic music for the headphones and the feet, conveying a sense of playfulness while still lurking in the shadows of the dance floor.

 

 

NEW MUSIC: Christopher Willits – Sunset

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Christopher Willits is an acclaimed ambient composer and musician who has opened for the late Jóhann Jóhannsson and released two albums with Ryuichi Sakamoto and productions with Tycho as part of his impressive back catalogue.

The five compositions on his new album Sunset move from warm to cool designed as a soundtrack to embrace the day’s end. ‘Coast’ rises and falls like the ocean currents, a tidal blend of synth and field recording that conjures up a sense of immense space and the calming zen-like hypnotic nature of the sea.

Written by Christopher Willits 
Recorded at SnowGhost in Whitefish, Montana
Produced by Christopher Willits
Mixed at The Dojo in San Francisco, California and Overlap Studio in Oakland, California

 

 

NEW MUSIC: Windy & Carl – Forest Trails

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A while ago we posted about a track from Joey Beltran called Childhood Memories which was our first taste of this new compilation Pure Sounds of Michigan, an ambient album that invites listeners to take a sunrise-to-sunset tour of Michigan from coast to coast as interpreted by some of the state’s most talented musicians. The album came out a few weeks ago on Detroit-based Assemble Sound, and was imagined, created, and released by Michigan’s tourism arm, Travel Michigan.

This track is by ambient stalwarts Windy & Carl, and it’s a beautiful piece, soaked in environmental sounds and melancholic wanderings through a real and digital landscape. There’s a sense of wonder and curiosity that permeates the sounds coming out of the speakers.

“I am a musician. I am in love with sound, and parks offer me so much of what i am in love with. […] To this day, Carl and I would rather be outside than in. We would rather see the wind cause the trees to sway and dance, listen to all the voices of the forest animals, and hear the chorus of insects, than be stuck inside […] I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have been invited to be involved in a project to celebrate the anniversary of State Parks in Michigan– To have been given a way to say THANK YOU to everyone along the way who said that this space needed to be preserved and protected; to every one who understood how a human body and mind needs to sit in the trees and see the sky and listen to the sounds of a park; listen to the sounds our body knows and understands. What a wonderful gift we have all been given in the creation of our state and local parks. It’s a gift we can all share in, everyday, all year long. We are all so lucky.”

– Windy Weber of Windy & Carl

NEW MUSIC: Silvermannen – Gryning

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Playfulness in electronic music can be a hard thing to capture, without sounding like pop music and lacking depth and nuance. Silvermannen (Sweden) have got the balance just right. ‘Gryning’ is light on it’s feet but still has a weight of gentle melancholy to it. It’s definitely more autumnal than summery in its vibe. There’s more than a whiff of nostalgia in the synth sounds – harking back to early Depeche Mode and elements of Kraftwerk. Lovely stuff.

‘Gryning’ comes from the new album Mitt i Bilden which is released today, June 7th.