Our biggest preview yet, featuring over 150 albums scheduled to be released in the next three months, plus our top picks in every major category! The best art, best tracks, and best upcoming albums can all be found right here.
Summer is in its final throes. Vacations have ended, while classes and jobs have begun. Is there anything to look forward to as we pack away our swimsuits and brush off our ties? Absolutely. The fall music slate is bursting with compositional creativity, offering fresh new sounds to keep us occupied throughout the thinner months. No matter what your taste in instrumental-based music, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to click on the links to be led to release pages and pre-order links, and our News page for public samples of nearly everything. And now, let the party begin!
Our cover image comes from the generous U.K.-based still photographer Erica Ward. Her website, Pretty Phil, is a showcase for exquisite photography and matching personal meditations. Ward’s latest set is a tribute to the sights of Afitos in Northern Greece. A Closer Listen thanks the photographer for permission to use this image; if you like it as much as we do, click the above link to see (and read) more!
Ambient and Drone
Rich’s Pick: Max Richter ~ Sleep (Deutsche Grammophone, 4 September)
We would normally place Max Richter in the modern composition field, but this highly-touted work has been designed to put people to sleep. The full version is an 8-hour download, but the massive work will also be available on a single, easy-to-digest CD. An overnight concert premiere will test the waters: will people actually sleep, or will they be so excited about the somnambulant symphony that they will stay up for the whole thing? (Note to the hosts: serve alcohol early, then cut it off.) To be fair, this isn’t the first time such a thing has been attempted: we give credit to Wixel and the Slaapwel label for hosting many such overnight concerts over the years. (The next is scheduled for 12-13 November in Leuven.) But Richter gets credit for taking the concept to the extreme.
On the other end of the sleep genre we find Simon Scott‘s Insomni (Ash International, 2 October), which finds the Slowdive drummer wandering around the house with his guitar on a sleepless night, listening to the sounds of the refrigerator, the fish tank, the DVD player and other miscellaneous equipment. Fortunately he grows inspired and begins to commit his thoughts to tape.
Amanda Feery and Michael Tanner‘s To Run the Easting Down is already available in digital form, but Awkward Formats will be releasing a vinyl version on 1 November. The album is one of the richest releases in this category, graced with bowed dulcimer, strohviol, kemenche and clarinet. The album is worth buying for the 17-minute “Squarepushers” alone, but as an extra bonus, a non-album digital cut is available with the physical pre-order (album cover pictured above right). On the same label we find Dag Rosenqvist‘s Vowels, a drone excursion that was originally written for a dance performance (digital out now; vinyl in October). The best moments arrive when Rosenqvist revisits his darker persona, offering distorted drenches of feedback and noise. While few and far between, such moments possess great impact when they arrive.
Approaching from the opposite direction is Emmanuele Mieville, whose immersive Ethers attempts to “lower drone from the skies”. Field recordings melt into drone, found sound into electronics, packing the entire set with drama (Baskaru, September). Also on Baskaru’s September docket we will find Yui Onodera‘s Semi-Lattice, a soothing blend of field recordings and soft electronics, along with Simon Whetham‘s What Matters Is That It Matters, described as “slow music to be taken in slowly”. The field recordings are still apparent, but not as obvious as on previous works.
Richard Chartier’s LINE label will be releasing two quiet discs on 25 September. Asmus Tietchens‘ Ornamente (zwischen Null und Eins) displays the artist’s experimental bent, but with measurable tempos, while Richard Garet‘s quadraphonic Meta intentionally “draws attention to background noise”. By making the jump from installation to home and mobile devices, the work opens new windows for listener interaction.
Aria Rostami‘s Sibbe addresses the Persian experience in America. Those who sent field recordings to the artist from Tehran did so at great personal risk, and Rostrami has honored them with a thoughtful recording. The album is released 30 September on Audiobulb. After many years of “doom and grind”, Tucson’s Zachary Reid turned to ambience in order to balance things out. Although his new EP, My Return to the Ground Will Be Lovely, boasts a dark title, it bears a light approach (Precarian Media, 18 September). Gideon Wolf makes the jump from Time Released Sound to Fluid Audio this October, continuing to intrigue with gentle piano and intricate electronic textures. Near Dark is a reflection of its title, dark but not too dark, with shaded undertones and a few vocal tracks. A few vocals are also present on the split The Declining Winter / Isnaj Dui 12″ (Rural Colours, September), but long instrumental passages also abound (cover pictured above right); and shoegaze vocals permeate the sonic fog of Night Sequels‘ The Children of the Night Make Music, which like Near Dark is not as scary as it sounds (Attacknine, 1 October).
Field Hymns has two albums scheduled for release today, each of them textured and sublime: Andreas Brandal‘s Murmurs and Echoes and Three Fourths Tigers‘ Indoor Voice. Abul Mogard uses sedate analogue synths to lull listeners to a state of soft awareness; Circular Forms is out 4 September on Ecstatic. Scene veteran Jens-Uwe Beyer continues to delve into pop ambient on The Emissary, granting himself the tongue-in-cheek title of “St. Pop” (Kompakt, 11 September, pictured to the left). We wish all labels could be as considerate as Ninja Tune, set to release a vocal album by King Midas Sound / Fennesz, but with an instrumental version attached. Edition 1 will be released on 18 September. Will Samson pumps up the electronics and orchestral effects on the soothing Ground Luminosity (Talitres, 30 October), while Nerftoss alternates between ambient, drone and electronics on Mood Index (Patient Sounds, 10 September). Patient Sounds will be staying busy this autumn; on the same day, they are releasing Braeden Jae‘s Memory Chain, followed later in the fall by new tapes from Danny Clay / Joseph Edward Yonker, Nate Henricks, Ian William Craig, Lake Mary & M. Sage. And those with a little time to play may enjoy the interactive video that introduces Ambrosia(@)‘s Neacute Veacute, a long-delayed vinyl set now scheduled to appear at the end of October at the Bomb Shop.
Mind Over Mirrors offers an extremely active yet meditative brand of ambience, marked by Indian pedal harmonium and incantatory vocals. Often bordering on drone, The Voice Calling yields a searching, religious vibe (Immune, 18 September; album cover pictured to the right). Read our review here. Offerings is a half-hour drone from Dan Mohr with Kathleen Baird, Tim Kinsella, & Benjamin Mjolsness, filled with bowls, chimes, and wordless chants (Obsolete Media Objects, 29 September). Moon Zero‘s tape loops and drones produce a hypnotic effect on his self-titled album (Denovali, 25 September). Partially recorded in a church, Moon Zero incorporates the sound of spectral, disembodied choirs and should appeal to fans of raison d’être. Also on the dark ambient tip is Drekka‘s sonically repurposed Unbeknownst to the Participants At Hand, which uses tape manipulation to mangle vintage sounds (Dais, 25 September); Jean D.L. and Sandrine Verstraete‘s self-titled, reverberant LP on Rockerill Records and InstantJazz (September); and Treha Sektori‘s book/CD set The Sense of Dust and Fear (Cyclic Law, 15 September). But don’t expect the same from Rapoon, who trades dark ambience for Pink Floyd-inspired meditations on the surprisingly subdued Downgliding (Carpe Sonum, 28 September).
Editions Littlefield (the sub-label of Full Spectrum Records) has three new releases scheduled for 15 September. Seth Chrisman and Nathan McLaughlin‘s Olivebridge is an ambient/drone work that uses field recordings as context. Beginning with the sound of a bald eagle and ending with snowmelt, the peaceful recording sounds like the cabin in which it was recorded. Rin Larping‘s STRATUM comes with its own review, but it’s a good one, as the press release mentions songs that “move in place like delicate sonic mobiles” and louder works that “dilate Lindsay’s clarinet into a seasick blur.” And while Blaine Todd‘s Dillingham is a work of banjo-inflected folk, we feel its only fair to mention it here, so it won’t be lonely.
Rich’s Pick: Dan Friel ~ Life (Thrill Jockey, 16 October)
Those who enjoyed Total Folklore, one of our top albums of 2013, will be similarly enamored with Life, whose swirling physical colors serve as a metaphor for the aural colors within. A celebration of sound, from the humblest of origins (a toy keyboard) to the most abrasive of textures (rhythmic yet distorted punk-funk-noise), Life sounds just as good blasting from crappy outdoor speakers as it does on the best indoor sound system.
Planet Mu celebrates its 20th anniversary with a 3-disc, 50-track box set, µ20, concentrating mostly on the past decade. A 100-page book accompanies the release. It’s a great way to respect one’s elders while looking to the new guard for continued inspiration. Pre-orders are available here (regular edition 4 September, deluxe edition 2 October). Also on the label: sampledelic hip-hop, electro and even jungle collide on Luke Vibert‘s throwback album Bizarster, due 16 October. Meanwhile, the younger Fachwerk marks its own anniversary on the same day with 8 Years Fachwerk; it’s a good reason to order a cake!
Umor Rex has a fine quartet of synth-related releases set for 1 September, with a unified cover aesthetic. Roberto Carlos Lange offers light electronic constructions on Plural People, concentrating on the delicate sounds of the keyboard. Rémy Charrier combines Moog and percussion on the retro-sounding Cowries. James Place revisits past works on Interpretations of Superstition, the most dance oriented of the four works, while Gultskra Artikler takes a digital hammer to prior works on Destroy Music, coming up with something lovely and dangerous in the process.
Psychonavigation Records launches its new name with a slew of fall releases. The label has always been the best at making timely announcements, and this season is no different. Bandcamp previews are already up for Music on a Shoestring [Psychonavigation 2000-2015], a label retrospective that draws the first chapter to a close (20 September); Povab‘s percussive, industrial-laced Zarja (20 September); Lorenzo Montanà‘s Trilogy, collecting the composer’s three recent albums (25 September); Lingua Lustra‘s world music/chillout set Uhadi (9 October); H-CI‘s crispy, crunchy and mysterious Arconeon (9 October); Dimitri Mazurov‘s stark and intimidating Rudiments (1 November); and in time for Christmas, Ecovillage‘s ambient suite, Jesus of Nazareth, based on the Gospel of Mark (13 November).
Synth duo Hallowed Bells presents a strong dose of mood along with its beats; or is it the other way around? Their second EP, Violet Hands, offers soft percussion and textures galore (Edible Onion, 1 September). In a similar vein, we find Mint exploring his ambient and electronic sides on the airy and accessible Fable and Fantasy (Boltfish, 30 October). Jonas Reinhardt takes his lead from architecture, designing retro electronic structures and holding them together with ambient rivets. Palace Savant is released 18 September on Further. Also on Further is the latest production from Donato Dozzy, who continues to confound listener expectations. This time he concentrates on mouth harp, yet lines his path with electronics. The Loud Silence is released on 9 October. Shape Worship shares an inspirational base with Reinhardt, but his compositions are based as much on modern composition (piano, dulcimer, clarinet) as on electronics. The artist’s A City Remembrancer is a love letter to London and its storied history (Front & Follow, 16 October). 38 seconds is not much to go on, but we love the teaser video for Georgia Gigli‘s debut album The Right Place Where Not to Be, a concept work about a human-free future (Electric Deluxe, 23 October).
Analogue synths, viola and woodwinds enhance John Lemke‘s lively beats on Nomad Frequencies, but Lemke’s piano remains at the base of his compositions (Denovali, 25 September). Pole tackles and tames the concept album with Wald (Pole, 11 September), a three-part electronic work that honors the complexities of forests. AFRik and the Smiling Orchestra continue their creative vibrations on La Tremenada, adding numerous African and South American sub-rhythms (Clang, 18 September).
After a decade of singles, Sebastian Russell is finally ready to unveil his debut album. Preceded by the summery Free Fall EP, Force contains many of the same tracks and is ready to drop 18 September on Fenou/Mo’s Ferry. Warning Light‘s analogue-driven Oftenchance is a throwback to a simpler time, dubbed “sonic fun” by Stickfigure Recordings. “Learn to Curve” is the spirit-lifting lead track (23 October). Bells and electronics dance across newly-watered lawns on Holographic Fields‘ Window Gazer. The album also incorporates orchestral touches and a light hint of Sigur Rós (Hellbig Music, 18 September). Thool‘s self-titled debut 12″ offers a lighthearted take on dance music, with happy synths and upbeat rhythms (DEEK, 11 September). Kayaka remains in a good mood throughout Sonic Kitchen (Adaadat, September), whose cover is one of two to feature hot dogs this month (can you find the other?). With a name like I Am Robot and Proud, one already knows that the band’s music will be friendly; Light and Waves (Darla/7E.P., 15 September) is preceded by the breezy and bleepy title track. After three vocal albums, Cars & Trains is finally going instrumental, and we love the shift; the toy instruments and piano of this Oregon artist are now joined by the orchestral contributions of William Ryan Fritch, and the first single sounds like Christmas (16 October). Co La‘s No No (Mexican Summer, 9 October) offers some of the sunniest sounds of the season, although the subject matter is the news cycle and the lead track is called “Suffering (Tuesday)”. That track is a perfect demonstration of the kitchen sink approach, with samples of horns, a dog and cut-up vocals.
MODEL 86‘s press release for the Self-Help Dance EP describes the artist as “enigmatic”, but the hip-hop vibe of “Friend” provides us with all the information we need (18 September). The teaser video should come with a parental advisory, but it’s all in good fun. Plastic People producer Floating Points steps out on his own with the highly-anticipated Elaenia; the trippy first video, “Silhouettes”, can be viewed directly below (Pluto, 6 November). The preview tracks for Nomine‘s Inside Nomine include one instrumental hip-hop track, one club banger and one dark ambient piece; we’re quite interested to hear where the set as a whole is headed (Tempa, 11 September). Neither fully electronic nor fully instrumental is Bearsuit’s eclectic compilation Tomato Sauce Lasers, Sausage Lassos, including tracks from Whizz Kid and 0point1. The album highlight is Harold Nono’s “Tahiik”, which comes across as a twisted blend of Murcof and The Caretaker (28 September; album cover pictured above right).
Scene stalwart Jeff Mills will be releasing the long-anticipated Exhibitionist 2 on 25 September, a 2CD/DVD set accompanied by three staggered 12″s. A decade after their last outing as Flanger, Atom™ and Burnt Friedman return with Lollopy Dripper (Nonplace, 16 October, pictured to the left). The popular Moufang / Czamanski treat fans to a full-night performance on Live in Seattle, hitting home stereos on 30 October (Further). Patrick Carrera delivers straight-up techno, tailor-made for the clubs, on A Cycle of Curiosity I & II (Paranoid Dancer, 14 September), while Chevel continues the vibe with Blurse (Stroboscopic Artefacts, 25 September). Mauro Picotto looks to have a hit on his hands with The Whistle, the first single from the upcoming From Heart to Techno (Alchemy, 16 October). Robert Logan‘s Flesh is funky and club worthy, preceded by the single Phrack (Slowfoot, 21 September). The title of DJ Richard‘s Grind (Dial, 4 September) is a bit misleading; the dancers may be grinding, but this set is packed with rough-edged movers. Hard beats form the core of Dax J.‘s Shades of Black (Monnom Black, 30 October); don’t watch the teaser video if you suffer from a seizure disorder. The same outer toughness can be found on Regis‘ Manbait (Blackest Ever Black, 18 September). In contrast, fellow techno artist Clay Wilson is more interested in the background than the foreground. On the Skandha EP, he decorates his beats with drones and field recordings, inviting listeners to delve into tunnels of sound (The Bunker New York, 1 September).
Blood Room‘s Chroma & Coda was reviewed by James here. In his review, James describes the album as “a concrete slab of techno (whose) lair is gloriously dark.” It’s a treat for those who like some character with their beats (early September). Hivern Discs’ INIT add vocals for texture on Two Pole Resonance, but manage to preserve a sense of dread (11 September). Dead Fader‘s Sun Copter EP, a teaser for the forthcoming Glass Underworld, takes the first steps into the inferno, promising more later in the fall (Robot Elephant, 3 September). Carter Tutti Void continue the Throbbing Gristle / Factory Floor collaboration on f (x) (Industrial Records, bringing back memories of the good old days (11 September). Also industrial by design is Frank Riggio‘s Psychexcess II: Futurism, the sequel to a critically acclaimed set from 2012 (Hymen/Omelette, 4 September). Dropping some of the beats for more menacing atmospheres, Lumisokea throws a blanket over the burning dance floor on Mnemosyne (Alter, 4 September). For all-out drone aggression, the go-to album this autumn is a split release from Asfast and Peter Kutin, jam-packed with textured electronics, crunchy beats and hollowed hiss (Ventil, 11 November). Even darker is senking’s closing ice, whose trailer (seen below) provides an indication of its claustrophobic, subterranean sound. The album offers a near-industrial blend of slow beats and sinister synths, coming across as a score to an unreleased Alien film (Raster-Noton, 25 September).
IDM forms the base of ADMX-71‘s robotic set, Coherent Abstractions (L.I.E.S., 17 October). The always forward-thinking PAN releases Visionist‘s angular Safe on 9 October, sounding like the polar opposite of its title. The noise gets downright raw on “Vessel”, the first single from Oneirogen‘s Plentitude EP, the prelude to an upcoming LP (Denovali, 25 September). And by far the fastest release of the season is Strobosonic, a group effort from Marcanta, Synthamesk, BLÆRG and Daed, heavy on drill & bass and breakcore (Mozyk, 1 September).
Rich’s Pick: möström ~ we speak whale (Unrecords, 1 September)
We received a very early preview copy of this record, and were blown away by what we heard. This female trio’s debut set is simultaneously experimental and accessible, a left field treat for the ears. For those who missed the creepy (yet playful) preview video, here it is again. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! For more, check out our recent review.
One of the season’s most unusual releases comes from Krojc & Fischerle, who plunder and rearrange old library tapes to create a conceptual play. Electronic textures form the binding of the sonic tome. Look for John, Betty, and Stella this September on Monotype. (Cover image to the right.) Peter Prautzsch‘s Memory Drawings may lack the conceptual base of prior sets, but it retains the composer’s experimental bent, veering between genres and daring listeners to pin it down. The opening track is the strongest, but there’s plenty here to sink one’s teeth into (Palacmusic, 24 September). The ongoing freq_out installation series finally has an accompanying score, featuring works from artists including Jana Winderen, BJ Nilsen, Jakob Kirkegaard and JG Thirwell. freq_out 1.2 ∞ SKANDION is out 25 September on Ash International. Coppice returns with a beautiful package in mid-September on Category of Manifestation, including metal mesh, transparencies and colored thread. Matches is percolation and drone, meshing shruti box, prepared pump organ and tape.
If you’ve never heard an experimental Taoist album before, check out Xu(e)‘s Brown Jenkin (Thirsty Leaves, 7 September). The duo of Nicola Fornasari and Andrea Poli combines digital samples with distortion and bass to create a surprisingly non-meditative mood. And don’t be fooled by the inclusion of the Modern Electronics EP on Mirt‘s Vanishing Land (Monotype, 10 October); although it’s the strongest part of the album, the set also incorporates disparate influences with an anti-authoritarian stance. More straightforward in concept is Dave Phillips‘ RISE LP, billed as “ritual protest music” and sounding somewhat like a rhythmic march, with samples of smashing glass, screams and heavy breath (Ideal Recordings).
A four-hour concert from Mural (wind instruments, guitar, percussion) is presented on the 3-disc box set Tempo (Sofa, 4 September). Fans of free jazz improvisation will be overjoyed at the sound and the presentation. Even longer is Sofa’s 4-disc box set, enough still not to know, from Keith Rowe and John Tilbury, stretched out and often silent, but quietly allusive (2 October). Free jazz reigns on the double album Flying Basket, from Akira Sakata & Jim O’Rourke with Chikamorachi & Merzbow (Family Vineyard, 18 September, pictured left). Modulated trumpet is one of the main stars of the often-sprawling Positions, from Martijn Tellinga (Cronica Digital, 1 September), while turntables, tuba and sax form a satisfying trio on Dunningwebsterunderwood‘s Bleed (Adaadat, September). Dirk Serries will be releasing a trio of avant-garde records this season, kicking things off with Dikeman / Noble / Serries’ Obscure Fluctuations (Trost, early October) and continuing with Fantoom‘s Sluimer and Serries / Verhoeven / Webster‘s Cinepalace (both on Tonefloat’s A Next Wave of Jazz, 30 October).
More abrasive and dissonant than the above recordings is the self-titled set from Werktag / Chessex /Buess, which thrills and frightens in equal measure, a good thing as it’s being released two days before Halloween (A Tree in a Field). Those looking for more intentional haunted house music are advised to check out Coil/Psychic TV veteran Drew McDowall‘s debut album, Collapse (Dais;, 25 September) the industrial influence can still be felt.
Field Recording and Soundscape
Rich’s Pick: Tommy Perman, Simon Kirby and Rob St. John ~ Concrete Antenna (Random Spectacular, 14 September)
Concrete Antenna may have field recordings at its base, but the full project is an ambitious experimental work: a 28-metre-high installation that changes volume and timbre according to the time, the tide, and the position of the listener. The experience translates well to the physical edition, in large part because of the attention given to detail. A series of essays and original prints accompanies the LP. Watch the stunning video for “Church Bells” below to get a taste; and read our review here.
Rich’s Pick #1: Julia Kent ~ Asperities (Leaf, 30 October)
One of the latest releases on our schedule, Asperities is a showcase for Kent’s cello and electronics. Her story is one of the most satisfying in instrumental music, as she’s stepped out from the shadow of other bands to establish herself as a superlative solo artist. Building on the strength of 2013’s Character, Asperities seeks to bring the artist to new heights, and we’re confident that it will succeed.
Rich’s Pick #2: ~ Iskra String Quartet ~ ISKRA (1631 Recordings, 26 October)
Talk about timing; this announcement came in only hours before this article was set to be published. Over the years, Iskra String Quartet has performed with numerous luminaries in the modern composition field. Many of them contribute pieces here, including Peter Gregson, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ólafur Arnalds. The result is a solid set of proven tracks and new classics: nine works, every one a winner.
Erased Tapes recently surprised fans of the label with an unannounced 7″ from Nils Frahm and ‘Olafur Arnalds. Their next LP comes from vibraphonist Masoyoshi Fujita, whose calming Apologues will be released on 11 September. Frahm resurfaces in an amusing fashion with LateNightTales on Ninja Tune (11 September); he begins with a solo piano cover version of “4’33′”, then incorporates tracks by Miles Davis and Nina Simone. New Amsterdam counters with the digital prepared piano of Dan Trueman (performed by Adam Silwinski); Nostalgic Synchronic: Etudes for Prepared Digital Piano is out on 25 September. Lars Graugaard‘s incredibly complex Venus has been delayed for months, but has now been re-scheduled for October on Dacapo Records, and we think it’s worth the wait, as it’s one of the year’s most intelligent sets.
Pianist Medard Fischer follows Four Songs for Peter Fechter with the tender EP Four Songs for the City of New York, released on Hidden Shoal just in time for the September 11 remembrance (3 September). Richard Antony Jay returns with the piano and string-based Written in the Ground EP, whose highlight is the swelling orchestral opener, “Prelude” (Burning Petals, 4 September). Oskar Schuster retains his playful approach on Tristesse Télescopique, highlighted by the fanciful lead track “Damascus”. Read our review here. Hot off the release of Live at the Wellington Opera House, New Zealand composer unveils his score to the Andy Serkis-narrated planetarium show We Are Stars (National Space Centre, 7 November; digital version out now). String quartet (plucked and drawn) forms the basis of Jim Perkins‘ lovely Constance, preceded by the alluring single “Transfiguration” (bigo & twigetti, 6 October). Long-time site favorite Jóhann Jóhannsson follows his successful film work on Prisoners and The Theory of Everything with his propulsive, often bombastic score for the upcoming thriller Sicario (Varèse Sarabande, 18 September). Ali Helnwein finds his way to vinyl with Strange Creations, which combines the previously released EP of the same name (from Spring Break Tapes) with an all-new B-side; it’s even better the second time around (9 October). Our review can be found here.
Rock, Post-Rock, Folk and Jazz
Rich’s Pick: Esmerine ~ Lost Voices (Constellation, 16 October)
Constellation calls Lost Voices Esmerine‘s “the most dynamic and incendiary album of the group’s career.” That’s saying a lot, but the addition of contrabassist Jeremi Roy and guest violinist Sophie Trudeau virtually guarantees a sonic upgrade. For years, we’ve enjoyed the band’s mastery of small spaces; on Lost Voices, they expand their sound to stadium levels. Lead track “The Neighborhoods Rise” is so good that even if the rest of the album were bad (and it’s not), this would still be one of our top picks for fall.
Preceding Esmerine by a month is the confident and confrontational If He Dies, If If If If If If, from Montreal duo Jerusalem in My Heart. Arabic textures abound, as well as a powerful political bent. The buzuk is the main character, but the mouth drone on “Qala Li Kafa Kafa Kafa Kafa Kafa Kafa” steals the show (Constellation, 4 September). Read our review here.
We congratulate Mogwai on its 20th year anniversary, which the band will celebrate with the release of Central Belters, a 6LP, 3CD retrospective box set (Rock Action, 9 October) culled from all stages of the band’s career. We hope that Mogwai can get together with the folks at Planet Mu, who share the same anniversary!
You know a band is big when the deluxe bundles sell out in pre-order. Caspian is one of these bands, and fans can’t wait to get their hands on Dust and Disquiet, whose lead single “Sad Heart of Mine” has been busting up the post-rock airwaves all summer (Hobbledehoy / Big Scary Monsters / Triple Crown, 25 September). Ironically, another post-rock band, Vancouver’s glaswegians, has released a melodic, horn-happy promo track also called “Caspian”, from cape Iazo, released just five days before.
Also on the post-rock tip are a pair of Stockholm bands that sound nothing like each other. Tvärvägen calls upon modern composition to create rich timbres on This River So Red (Hare Tracks, 18 September), while Valley releases their spacious debut, Sunburst, on Version Studio (9 September). Further east we encounter the sophomore effort of Indonesian duo Summer Effect; Nothing But Hope is released 4 September on Fluttery. Belgian and Irish post-rockers All We Expected and Raum Kingdom met on tour, and got along so well that they recorded a split album together. It’s one of the season’s harder post-rock releases, guaranteed to get hearts racing and fists pumping (All We Expected, 14 September). Unconditional Arms returns with a 7″ today on In the Clouds, but is only pressing 35 copies, so act fast by ordering here. And we’re super-psyched about the upcoming Waking Aida album Full Heal (Robot Needs Home, 25 September), as last year’s Eschaton was not only one of our favorite post-rock albums of the year, but also made our Happiest Music of the Year chart. Preview track “Blue Shelled” is below.
The darkjazz genre is represented by two albums that fall on either side of the spectrum. Radare‘s Im Argen (Sorry State) finds the quartet in a pensive mode, channeling Bohren & der Club of Gore with tremolo guitar and brushed drums (Golden Antenna, 25 September). The music seems perfect for smoke-filled rooms and never-ending nights. Get the Blessing‘s Astronautilis is often languid (“Conch”), but at times gets downright funky (“Monkfish”). The band calls the album “dark with a joyous soul”; we can’t disagree. Look for it on CD 11 September and vinyl 30 October on Naim.
Jazz and psychedelics collide on the rocking freeform Escondito Sessions, from the Brian Ellis Group, which includes members of three different bands and gives more than a passing nod to Miles Davis (El Paraiso, 4 September). On the same day, the same label will be releasing At Dusk, a raga guitar work from Ellis and Brian Grainger. It’s virtually impossible to pigeonhole this performer, which is why we’re so impressed by this pair of works. More good-time jazz can be found on Animation‘s Machine Language, but don’t be misled by the title; there’s no mistaking this for the work of a machine. The occasional spoken word tips its hat to the concept.
Harvest guitarist Michael Chapman is celebrating his 75th year by releasing a new album, Fish, on Tompkins Square (25 September). From the sound of lead single “Jack,” it sounds like he may have a couple more decades left in him. Dúo del Sol is now KOZM, and we can expect a new instrumental album from them this fall. They’ve recently scored an AMC commercial and their first official video, “Tightrope”, can be seen here. M. Mucci boasts an expanded roster on Don’t Be Afraid, including piano, pedal steel, bass and drums. The opening track, “Basta Cornuto!”, is the highlight of a strong set that borders at times on a Do Make Say Think brilliance. It’s a fine step for the performer, and only increases our admiration. Read our review here (1 September).
There’s not a lot of krautrock around this fall, but Mueller Rodelius‘ Imagori will attempt to fill the gap (Grönland, 3 September). Also in krautrock: a yellow vinyl edition of Metzengerstein‘ Alchemy to Our Days, anchored by lead track “Burāq”, which features Giovani Lami’s field recordings taken at the Jerusalem Temple. Formerly released on Yerevan Tapes, the new edition comes courtesy of Kohlhaas (September 1). And mingling krautrock and classic rock, we find scene stalwarts Maserati, whose Rehumanizer is introduced by the propulsive first single “Rehumanizer II”, which manages to channel A Flock of Seagulls as well (Temporary Residence, 30 October). On the same day, the label will release My Disco‘s searing comeback record Severe, preceded by the uncompromising “King Sound”.
Psychedelic rockers are directed to Dead Sea Apes‘ Spectral Domain (Sunrise Ocean Bender, 26 September), a sonic mindtrip whose sounds are presaged by its trippy collaged cover. While listening, one loses all sense of time. Also on the psychedelic tip is Beyond the Mirror, a collection of flanging guitar rarities and unreleased tracks from The Oscillation (All Time Low, 11 September). Yonatan Gat teams up with drummer Gal Lazer for the rocking (and ironically titled) Physical Copy, out 18 September on Joyful Noise. And Lebanon’s amusingly named Johnny Kafta Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra kicks out the jams and makes a pleasing cacophony on its self-titled debut LP (Discrepant, 11 September). We can assume that Morrissey is not a fan.
Percussion fans will have to wait a couple months, but TIGUE‘s Peaks will make it worth their while. The trio makes a mighty racket with tom-toms, snares, maracas, frying pans, coins, mixing bowls, bongos, gongs and more (New Amsterdam, 13 November; album cover shown to the right). Battles are receiving some flack from fans for releasing a (mostly) instrumental album, but we love the shift. La Di Da Di is named for a Slick Rick song, but it’s not hip-hop; instead, it’s a playful mash-up of genres from psychedelic to math rock (Warp, 18 September). Trumpet and percussion duo Spaceheads tap and blow out a raucous jam on the energetic A Short Ride on the Arrow of Time (Electric Brass, 21 October). And Le Pélican Noir‘s multi-genre experiment Sous tes paupières les plages désertes luminescentes is highlighted by the New Order bass of the set’s obvious single “Gr_overDrive” (15 September).
This is only a fraction of what will be released this fall, so be sure to check our News page for updates as they are announced!