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Music

Claire Rousay: Everything Perfect Is Already Here (digital, Shelter Press, April 2022)

I really liked Rousay’s aptly-named A Softer Focus. She put out a slightly baffling selection of limited-edition cassettes and collaborations in the twelve months after that release, but this seems to be her first major solo work — and it’s a cracker. The basic formula is similar: classical instrumentation, electronic ambience, rather domestic-sounding field recordings, […]

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KMRU & Aho Ssan: Limen (digital, Subtext, April 2022)

Two new producers for me: KMRU is Joseph Kamaru, a Kenyan sound artist who has previously mostly ambient and drone based around field recordings, now living in Berlin; Aho Ssan is Niamké Désiré, a French electronic musician and soundtrack composer of Ivorian and Ghanaian descent. Together, they have made three long tracks of pulsing, throbbing, […]

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William Basinski & Janek Schaefer: …On Reflection (digital, Temporary Residence, April 2022)

William Basinski needs no introduction here. Janek Schaefer is new to me, but he’s in the Guinness Book Of Records for inventing “the most versatile record player. Called the tri-phonic turntable, it can play three records at once through a built in mixer, play them forwards or backwards, and possesses a vari-speed which can play […]

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Jonny Nash & Ana Stamp: There Up, Behind The Moon (digital, Melody As Truth, December 2021)

This opens with a delicate melody played by Jonny Nash on piano and a plucky-sounding thing which turns out to be Dani Luca on cimbalom, and is soon joined by Ana Stamp singing a Romanian folk-song in a simple, intimate tone. And that, basically, is the album. Isn’t that enough for you, you monsters? Well, […]

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Music

Wild Terrier Orchestra: Even The Chimera (digital, Haunter Records, March 2022)

Well, this is something delightfully strange. I’ve encountered Dimitris Papadatos as Jay Glass Dubs, and I found his work pleasant enough but it never quite grabbed me. This new alias is, to me, a much more distinctive and interesting proposition. The first of the two long tracks opens with a crash of percussion, a tinkling […]

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Music

Natalia Beylis: Invaded By Fireflies (digital, Cafe Oto, December 2021)

I stumbled across Natalia Beylis recently because her 2020 record Love-In-A-Mist, Edible has just had a vinyl re-release or re-pressing or what-have-you. But when I went poking around her Bandcamp page, it was this 35-minute piece from last December which I was captivated by. The focus here is a collection of recordings of the composer’s […]

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Music

Lex Amor: Government Tropicana (digital, self-released, September 2020)

An unusual one for me: (a) I am listening to hip-hop made in the last 15 years, (b) I bought an album two years after it came out (normally, I get stubborn, and figure that if I missed stuff at the time then I should move on), and (c) I actually sought this out after […]

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Music

Maria Moles: For Leolanda (digital, Room 40, January 2022)

This record kind of straddles the boundary between ambient and new age. But in a good way! I mean, a Laraaji-without-the-chanting way. I read that Moles’s main influence here is Indonesian Kulintang music. At any rate, it combines various chiming gong sounds with electronic pads and washes, and it’s all rather beautiful. The most urgent […]

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Music

Matchess: Sonescent (digital, Drag City, February 2022)

Now this is something rather novel and entirely delightful. Whitney Johnson gives us two long tracks (eighteen minutes apiece). Although mostly strings, these take in drone, folk-ish fiddling (with the occasional digression into folk rock — a guitar and a flute sneak in at the end), and sawing classical minimalism, and are supplemented by other […]

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Music

My albums of 2021

I seem to have been particularly indecisive about whittling down my albums of the year to my self-imposed limit of five. On the plus side, this means that I have had lots of excuses to revisit some great music repeatedly while I made up my mind… I really enjoyed records from Claire Rousay, DJ Black […]