Hot Releases, the North Carolina based label run by Ryan Martin just came upon its 9th anniversary of operation. To celebrate they have released a new eclectic batch of albums that speak to the spectrum of sounds curated by Martin throughout the last 9 years. One of these releases, AF Hyperlink comes from the mind of Alex Chesney, whose work in Ashrae Fax and Faster Detail culminates as Gam Spun. Both a revival of Chesney's alias from the early 2000s and a journey into new sonic terrain, Gam Spun is a testament to Chesney's inventiveness and songwriting ability. AF Hyperlink is a collection of 10 vibrantly warped shoegaze instrumentals full of decadent synths, ecstatic guitar tones, and vigorous percussion. Providing a lush perspective within the realms of dream pop and shoegaze, Gam Spun carves a unique headspace to crawl inside. These heart-pounding compositions evoke feelings of both a fantastic futurism and a hazy nostalgia, blending together within their own space-time.
Evan Zierk's new album on Atlantic Rhythms dissects our understanding of time and perception, the tones vibrate a space within. Zierk's skillfully blends together a minimal palette of sonic textures to create a vibrant world that swirls around your skull. Drifting/Bending simulates a loss of gravity, akin to an out of body experience, hovering as an observer. Zierk's gliding arpeggios dance from ear to ear, their pulse moving like a newly formed organism. Evan Zierk is joined by longtime collaborator Nate Mendelsohn playing alto saxophone, whose presence further adds to the feeling of drift, “Bending” causes an awareness of the complexities of perception and sensation. Spatial cognition is left behind, these deeply transfixing and spiritual tones drown out any other input.
On Emily Berregaard's debut EP, Hallowed released on the new Portland, ME-based label Enmossed, slow washes of decadent drones facilitate some unique form of ascension. The Detroit-based artist conjures emotive drifts that encapsulate a comforting weightlessness. On “Yucca” and “Viola Soroia”, Berregaard creates expansive soundscapes using only voice and saxophone, molding, and shifting their sounds into immensely imaginative landscapes. Berregaard's compositions cause time to unfold in syncopation with our innermost psyche as alternate dimensions begin to pour out of our minds, untangling our awareness. On the B-side of Hallowed, Lack, and LXV reconstruct new translations of Berregaard's compositions. Lack's “Solis Lae” is a hypnotic juxtaposition of slow tempo contrasting rhythms, and ethereal looping drones that dissolve in the air, particles spreading outward. “Dreamless Sleep” is LXV's divine aural assemblage of deeply entrancing tones, and celestial communications. Releases on Enmossed are produced with recycled materials, water-based inks, and hand silk-screened covers by Laura Arteaga Charlton. All proceeds from each release go to a charity of the artist's choice.
Tether forms deeply complex compositions, melding disparate collections of sound sources into cerebral song structures. Tether is the cassette tape loop-based project of Lauren Pakradooni who has previously released work on labels such as Refulgent Sepulcher, Stenze Quo, and Price Tapes. Her first vinyl release Mirror Finish, coming out on Hot Releases, is a collection of sputtering rhythms, and drifting tones that radiate amongst haunting vocals. The first side of the album is a patchwork of tape collages, a melted assemblage of noisy keyboard drones, and skewered percussion. “HA! To Push/Out of Here/Stuck in What” accumulates into a disjointed cloud of tones evolving into a densely polyrhythmic soundscape. The wavering oscillations billow beneath Tether's voice, the repetition becomes hypnotic, and cathartic. Tape reels squeal, and sound splinters as fragments permeate into realms of obscurity.
Haunting harmonies drifting through a deep foggy night, the eerie vocals of L.A.'s Dimples begin to tug away at your insides. Their new LP Whimpers on Nicey Music is a collection of cerebral folk music floating atop smoke signals only to be confused for a mirage. Their meticulously designed campfire soundscapes seem to evaporate out of their souls, appearing and vanishing into thin air. “Chains of Shame” bleeds a raw emotion that lingers even after the sounds dissipate. Dimples weave a droning melody that is met with their hypnotically soothing voices. In the video for “Chains of Shame” presented by Giraffe Studios, an old man wearing a cowboy hat wanders down an empty highway. His suit is adorned with rhinestones and decorated to look like a skeleton. He sings along to "Chains of Shame" as he carries himself along this endless highway, hovering like a ghost.
Whimpers is out now on Nicey Music. Dimples is on tour starting at the end of April, check the dates below.
The warm sensations of Wanderings, Alix Hyde's debut album from Elestial Sound seem to crawl to the far reaches of the mind, creating a diverse dialog between sound, and silence. The artist crafts a particularly heart-churning composition on “Myriad Tears"—enveloping your soul, pulling you into a soothing realm. Hyde's sparse, sparkling piano melody drifts as though it were floating through space, colliding within the rhythms of a meteor shower. The video for “Myriad Tears”, made in collaboration with Tristan Whitehill of Euglossine, accentuates a mirroring of inner and outer space in the body, and mind. The phenomena of mental and physical dualities become a counterpart to the vast complexities of the human brain, and the universe. Bubbling pulsations are carried in a cosmic echo, visual, and sound begin to intertwine. The calming spaciousness of Hyde's music melds together the vividly palpable sensation surrounding the human form, and its relation to the atoms that are shifting around it weaving throughout space and time. Finding its home in a space where the difference between the two is uncertain.
Andrew Pekler returns with his newest album, Tristes Tropiques, on Jan Jelinek's Faitiche imprint. Pekler's captivating oeuvre of otherworldly soundscapes has seen releases on labels such as Senufo Editions, Dekorder, and Kranky. Andrew Pekler's palate possesses an ability to transport the listener into obscure realms. Tristes Tropiques is a fully conceived sonic environment, elaborate drones hum in the background as a spectral presence emerges from beneath the textured layers. In the video for “Bororo,” Pekler harmoniously melds visual with aural. Close-up imagery of plants, a layered patchwork of vascular fibers weaving in and out of each other. Distorted and colorized in a way that makes them seem almost alien. This thread of shifting perception is a continual theme in Pekler's work, evolving instinctively while still maintaining a cognitive imbalance.
Peering deeply into the depths of the music of Listening Woman, you will find a balance of harmoniously uplifting ballads and ferociously chaotic breakdowns. Dismantling any preconceived notion of songwriting, Listening Woman builds ingeniously maniacal compositions only to slip further into their own deconstruction. Getting Mystic, their new release on OSR Tapes, is a fascinating journey into another world, and as the album title suggests a truly mystical experience. Listening Woman stretch beyond the roles of musicians and transform into conjurers of transcendental experience. The playfully demented music video for “Room Divider” directed by Ariana Ratner perfectly mirrors the bizarre nature of their music. Filled with strange decorations, warped visuals, and odd interactions with objects, “Room Divider” is a fantastical trip into the melted minds of Listening Woman.
IXVLF returns to Unknown Precept with Involuntary Movement, the follow up to their stellar debut Language Of. Overflowing with gurgling synthesizers and erratic percussion, Involuntary Movement is a contorted melding of cacophonies. Connor Clasen shapes a uniquely rich palette of dance music, ripe with diverse tonal elements while its fierce repetitions bludgeon your nervous system. IXVLF creates a tangled web of rhythmic pulses on "Arcopora". Waves of synthesizer flow beneath hardened drum machine beats as haunting vocals faintly whisper almost subliminally. Involuntary Movement is a savage odyssey into a profoundly kaleidoscopic realm where diffused tones melt together causing bodily convulsions.
Housecraft label head Jeffry Astin has been releasing music for over a decade under various monikers including his Xiphiidae and Digital Natives projects which have releases on esteemed labels such as NNA Tapes and Beer on the Rug. Jeffry Astin's Bhsaaveagi, the latest release off of the Gainesville, Florida art collective and label Elestial Sound, is a resurrection of music thought to be lost forever. Thought to be lost in a hard drive crash, Astin was able to miraculously recover the album. Bhsaaveaegi is an aural voyage that transcends into many listening realms, floating effortlessly in the clouds, or being dragged deep under the dirt. These soundscapes peel away at your sense of space and time, as you peer deeper into them. “Hair Spun Gold," the first track on side B of Bhsaaveaegi is a collaboration between Astin and Jonathan Coward. Eerie, drones slowly weave into a visceral cacophony. Rich melancholy textures unfold slowly beneath the shrill staccato of bowed stringed instruments. Similar to the rise and fall of ocean tides, the billowing harmonies from the drones move in complex variation with an almost fierce uncertainty.