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: 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.

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.

ALBUM REVIEW: Big Thief – U.F.O.F

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Big Thief
U.F.O.F.
4AD

What started with a debut album in 2016, that introduced a fragile and poetic songwriter and her band, has blossomed into a fascinating and quickly evolving career for Adrienne Lenker and the rest of Big Thief. They’ve been touring relentlessly, Lenker even having time to record a well received solo record last year. From Masterpiece to Capacity and now U.F.O.F, the quartet have gently worked away at the canvas of folk and knotty guitar music that draws on both conventional song structures and avant garde curiosity.

This album continues the mystery and beauty of their previous releases while adding even more depth and textural minutiae. There are drone-like textures,  found sounds – like the rolling effect at the start of ‘From’, and fascinating percussive elements that rise and fall in the mix. There’s a feeling of perpetual motion in many of the songs due to the looseness of the arrangements and the playing which makes the music sound both improvised and highly arranged. ‘Jenni’ imagines a Cat Power-fronted Tortoise in the way they use organic instrumentation and allow volume and tone to fluctuate as the song slowly unfurls.

The straightest moment comes right at the start of the album with opener ‘Betsy’ and its sparkling acoustic guitar, gently shuffling drums and Lenker singing in a lower-than-normal register. It’s intimate and affecting and pulls the listener right into the album from the get-go. ‘Contact’ is dreamy and meditative until, as if waking in terror, the guitars gain sharp edges and Lenker emits piercing screams.

If they didn’t already, now Big Thief unequivocally have your attention. Lovers of inventive music would be foolish not to join them on their post-folk journey.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: 3ft – Mantra

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Swirling, driving, insistent psychedelia is the order of the day on ‘Mantra’, the new track from Detroit band 3ft. It’s one of those songs that feels like it could spiral on endlessly, much like Wooden Shjips or Stereolab at their most hypnotic moments. 3ft have more of a droning psych-rock edge though, filtered through Krautrock, The Clean and Velvet Underground style jangle and verve.

The song comes from their recently released album 21st Century Drone which has plenty of great tracks like this one.

EP REVIEW: Body Type – EP2

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Body Type
EP2
Inertia Music / Partisan

The Sydney quartet are releasing this, their second EP, on the eve of a UK tour, another sign of the band’s rising star status on the international stage. Of course, they’ve been the local talk of the town for a couple of years, building a solid following via their own shows and some fine support slots. 

If EP was their calling card, their first real statement of intent beyond a couple of earlier singles, then EP2 is another step forward. It solidifies their reputation as incisive songwriters and fine players. They’ve got an ear to the ground but a widescreen songwriting vision.

Opener and first single ”Stingray bursts from the gates with a spray of guitar notes, sparkling and cascading over the nimble rhythm section. It’s a great example of the rush of energy they can invest in their songs, the retention of the rough edges to the music and the economy of their songs. Pop in structure but noisy and damn catchy by nature.

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‘Free To Air’ initially dials things back to a wistful and melancholic slice of dream pop before choppy drums and their swirling jangly guitars take flight. It’s a song apparently inspired by an old neighbour of Annabel Blackman’s and his life as witnessed remotely from her bedroom. Musically the song captures that mood of both intimacy and disassociated observation. ‘Insomnia’ inhabits a similar atmospheric place, the highlight being Blackman’s vocal melody which is heavy-lidded and drowsy yet still irresistibly catchy.

‘Sad Wax’ weaves more of the same snake charmer guitar lines into the song’s DNA but it lacks the same impact and physicality of the other songs on the EP. It’s a pleasant enough track but it sounds under-formed as it repeatedly circles the same musical idea without building or elaborating on it. The final track ‘UMA’ gets things back on track with a different sonic palette. The bass comes to the fore, leading the song into grungier territory akin to Pixies with a dash of Hole. It works wonderfully, all tension and quirks courtesy of shrieks and sneered, gang vocals, capping off an impressive batch of songs from a band that just keep getting better and better.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: John Beltran – Childhood Memories

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It’s the tension and mood of this piece that caught our ear when we came across it online. The way that John Beltran sonically suspends the mood before introducing the tentative snippets of piano that flutter and suggest, like a butterfly unfurling wet wings. The back half emerges with greater weight on the back of swells of synthetic drift that rise and fall with heavy emotion.

This piece comes from Pure Sounds of Michigan an ambient album that invites listeners to take a sunrise-to-sunset tour of Michigan, from coast to coast. The album is set for a May 22nd release on Detroit-based Assemble Sound, and was imagined, created, and released by Michigan’s tourism arm, Travel Michigan as a part of the Pure Michigan campaign, in conjunction with the label.

The music was executive produced and mixed by composer Blair French, mastered by Eddie Logix, and features songs composed by the likes of Michigan-based heavy hitters John Beltran, Waajeed, and Windy & Carl, along with up and coming names such as Greater Alexander, Dave Graw, Todd Modes, and more.

 

NEW MUSIC: Kidsmoke – Passenger

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Welsh quartet Kidsmoke may have taken their name from a Wilco song (maybe?) but other than a lazy affable strum and an affinity for melody, these four from across the Atlantic make music that is much sunnier, breezier and indie-pop centric. There’s a refreshing simplicity and economy to their songwriting as hooky guitar lines ring out across jangly chords and vocals that bind it all together. They eschew anthems for a more studied intimacy and romanticism in their sound. You can hear the influence of The Smiths, Real Estate, Beach Fossils etc.

‘Passenger’ is the second single to come from their forthcoming debut LP.