NEW MUSIC: Alaskan Tapes – Views From Sixteen Stories

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Last month, Canadian composer Alaskan Tapes (Brady Kendall) released his new album Views From Sixteen Stories. Check out the title track below, a warm, dream-like, swelling piece of music that rises and falls with a certain weightlessness. There’s sonic depth to it too. Turn up the volume and the richness of the bass tones resonate wonderfully through the track.

Hit the Bandcamp link to stream and buy the album on vinyl/CD/digital or stream on the other usual platforms.

Michael A. Muller – Lower River

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Michael A. Muller is a co-founder of Balmorhea who have released six albums over the last 13 years. ‘Lower River’ is the title track of his solo album and it’s a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic piece of ambient, droning music that hangs in the air, draped in resonating, melancholic chords.

The press releases describes the track as being inspired by his own remote travels throughout the US and Europe and the personal exploration of a meditative practice, it’s a sonic exploration of what it means to hear versus to listen, to immerse oneself in navigating the subconscious plane of pure energy and deep, immersive creativity.

Lower River is out October 25th on Beacon Sound (vinyl) + 1631 Recordings (digital).

NEW MUSIC: Christopher Tignor – The Resonance Canons

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Christopher Tignor is a New York composer with an impressive CV. In his early days he mixed sound at CBGBs, was an assistant to La Monte Young. He gained a Masters in computer science from NYU, proceeded through Princeton’s PhD program in music composition, and was later recruited for a software engineering position at Google. He’s released nine albums and collaborated with a range of other artists including Keith Kenniff (Helios), Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, John Congleton, and This Will Destroy You.

Tignor’s latest album A Light Below features this track ‘The Resonance Canons’, an 11 minute instrumental journey that is based around the sound of tuning forks. It sparkles and glistens, clangs and pulses with bell-like qualities and both melancholic and slightly ominous undertones. Lovely stuff!

“Since the last LP, my technique for tuning forks also earned some attention (and an honest-to-God tuning fork sponsorship). Again, I wanted to push the musical possibilities here, dialing those gestures in to create locked, luminous polyrhythms alternating with left hand pizzicato. I combined these methods with cascades of triggered synths in “The Resonance Canons”, an 11 minute trip ending in complete vulnerability—as the tuning fork loses its resonance, I continue knocking it against my bridge, a final ostinato built from processed noise and resonant wood.”

 

NEW MUSIC: Under The Reefs Orchestra – Tucuman

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Under The Reefs Orchestra are a Belgian trio who certainly know their way around a dark and hypnotic groove. Drums, guitar and bass saxophone combine in a haunting rhythmic mix of post rock and a dash of jazz. It works wonderfully too, conjuring squalls of guitar across a doom-laden desert backdrop.

This is a live in-studio version of the song, their brand new single, of which the recorded studio version is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

MEW MUSIC: Intenso – Meek

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Short-circuiting digital post rock and scattered fragments of jazz inhabit this track from Intenso, a trio from Perth, Western Australia. ‘Meek’ starts glitchy – insistent yet tentative – before swelling and morphing into a heaving polymorphic mass of synthetic scree and noise manipulation. Fascinating, disturbing and hypnotic sounds that will pummel you into sonic oblivion over seven intense(o) minutes.

NEW MUSIC: Waldo’s Gift – Kaleidoscope

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Here’s some wild and freakish playing and composition from UK trio Waldo’s Gift. Jazz, post rock, avant prog and more combine on this fluttering, frenetic, precise yet freeing instrumental track that features an equally compelling video clip by Waveform Media. This beast grows and mutates, centred around that incessant metronomically pummelling rhythm. Hypnotic and thrilling stuff!

Their debut album ‘Improvisations’, released May 10th consists entirely of music composed on the fly, performed live at The Gallimaufry in Bristol on December 19th 2018. The album art was also created in the moment by artist Holysseus Fly. Speaking on the release the band share “We love playing improvised music together. It really is so cathartic to just play. To express your emotions in that moment. This album honestly captures that process, the three of us expressing. No overdubs or edits. We simply chose our favourite compositions from the performance as a whole. Having Holysseus Fly creating the artwork at the same time ties it all together.”

ALBUM REVIEW: Aldous Harding – Designer

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Aldous Harding
Designer
4Ad / Remote Control

Aldous Harding’s artistic trajectory continues to billow skyward on her third album, the second produced by John Parish for the 4AD label. Long gone is the stark and fragile folk of her debut, though it still lurks under the surface of what is now lush and detailed avant chanteuse pop music.

The quirkiness of Harding’s vocal delivery has always been debated but it is a crucial component of what makes her music so compelling. She’s dialled it back on this album, ironing out some of the quirks and as a result the overall impact of this record feels slightly diluted. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of highlights. Early on, the title track is a light tripping affair with a brief chorus that dismantles the flow and gentle funk feel (reminiscent of Devendra Banhart) before it resumes for a summery run to the end of a song that seems to question the retention and spark of creativity. 

Baroque psych folk sounds enhance much of the record and come courtesy of woodwind instruments on songs such as ‘Zoo Eyes’ while ‘Treasure’ draws Harding’s vocals to the foreground. It’s good to see that the focus remains on Harding and her voice and that any temptation to make thing bigger and busier have, for the most part, been resisted.

First single ‘The Barrel’ is prime Harding with its almost hip hop backbeat over a brass sounding instrument and piano, which features widely across Designer. The song deals in issues of conformity, settling down and having parameters placed on one’s situation. Much of the album seems to one of questioning and doubt, looking for a strong moral compass to guide one through the vagaries and vulnerabilities of life. “I don’t know how to behave” Harding sings on the exquisite closer ‘Pilot’. Riding on a Tears For Fears melody and a bare piano she intones her concerns and fears. It may be decorated in almost theatrical avant-folk details but it’s a remarkably bold statement to end another strong and intriguing album from the New Zealand songwriter.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Bensnburner – Meanwhile

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Deep rhythms, warm tones and hypnotic glitches collide with hypnotic synth mantras and smears of post-rock guitar on this track from German composer Bensnburner. It comes from his new album (late September release) which was recorded in an empty 400 square metre hangar with a 30 metre high ceiling that created a seven second reverb.