Here’s the largest instrumental music preview to be found anywhere, online or in print! With over 150 new releases set for September and October alone, the stage is set for an amazing autumn. If you’re already missing the warmth of summer, let these sounds guide you gently into the next season.
As the new announcements began to arrive in early summer, we began to get an inkling that this would be an especially noteworthy season. Many of the big instrumental names are represented ~ so many, in fact, that we began to publish fall reviews in August, covering upcoming works by artists including Eluvium, Ólafur Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Wrekmeister Harmonies (with members of GY!BE). But then even more music continued to come in: Ef, Mono, Katie Gately; along with newer artists to challenge the veterans. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The total number of instrumental-based releases is many times larger than that found in this article; we simply received these announcements early. So a pat on the back to all of the labels, artists and publicists who were at the top of their game this summer!
As a reminder, our News page contains sound samples of everything we can find, but for short descriptions, stay right here. One note of interest: in the past six months, YouTube has made a play to become the next Soundcloud or Bandcamp, and we’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of previews available only on that channel. Many are found in the links below.
The photo image above was taken by John Jacono in my kitchen of a collage I compiled at home ~ thanks, John! The LP pictured is Red Sky Morning by Ghosts of Sailors at Sea; the cassette is Wood Violet by Rain Drinkers. The single cover shot (black with leaf) is A Retreat More Than A Surrender by Lost Trail, which was released on 19 August.
And now, without further ado, we present our Fall Music Preview!
Ambient and Drone
Rich’s Pick: E and I ~ The Colour of Sound
(Eilean Records, 9 September)
Eilean Records has been one of our favorite labels since its launch, and part of the reason is that they assign a color and season to each release. Their synaesthetic sense is brought to the fore on the double-disc The Color of Sound, which occasionally jumps over the fence of ambience to become something wholly undefined. Also worth waiting for is the related vinyl/art book IIKKI series, pairing musical and visual artists with loving care. The first edition connects the music of Danny Clay with the photography of Kaitrien De Blauwer (shown to the right), and is set for release on 16 September.
Koen Holtkamp is known as half of Mountains, but his solo work is equally as intriguing. Voice Model (Umor Rex, 16 September) is a stunning pair of long-form pieces that integrates flute and trumpet into an electronic frame, ever morphing into new and unpredictable shapes.
We’ve already reviewed Eluvium‘s False Readings On, but wow, what a beautiful record. The artist is far into his career, yet is still producing works of wonder. “Beyond the Moon for Someone in Reverse” is the perfect track for a long, slow ride home, but the entire project is lovely.
Home Normal returns with two peaceful releases this September. Altar Altar‘s Small Hours yields a sense of time’s little moments, with slightly warped guitar and the sound of children at play; Giulio Aldinucci‘s more acute Goccia produces a sense of poignance through field recordings and patient chords (23 and 30 September). Also making use of field recordings is Glauco Salvo, who walked into the woods last summer with a zither, a banjo and a friend and began what would eventually become Haiku 5. The set is due this September on Kohlhaas.
The prolific Porya Hatami follows his recent release with Arovane on Time Released Sound with the Phone to Logos collection on Audiobulb (10 September). This album also contains solo works from across the artist’s career, including two unreleased collaborations with Arovane and a sneak preview of his set with Artificial Memory Trace. Patkus provides These Are But Dreaming Men, Breathe and They Fade with a post-rock title and a more subtle post-rock influence; the set is languid, serene, and – dare we say it? – nostalgic (1 September). Dead Light is the lightly disguised moniker of Anna Rose Carter and Ed Hamilton, and the duo’s self-titled album is anything but dead; in fact, it vibrates with life (Village Green, 14 October, cover pictured to the right). The Color Series continues on Sonic Pieces this fall with the release of Midori Hirano‘s Minor Planet on 30 September. This lovely album imagines drifting in space; listeners will likely dream of constellations. In similar fashion, guitarist Rob Byrd evokes the Northern Lights on Aurora Season (Del Chapel, 6 September). Masayoshi Fujita and Jan Jelinek‘s Schaum (Faitische, 9 September) is warm and calming, with vibraphone balanced by creative percussion. Lead single “Vague, Yet” provides an indication of the album’s inviting nature.
Art inspires art, as proven by J Mundok‘s triptych Plitvice Botany (2 September). After purchasing the pieces of an art installation by David Bellard, the musician found himself inspired to write three works in response. Replicas of the pieces are included in the limited edition package. The art of Genovena graces Dimitar Dodovski‘s Dérive, as seen to the left; this peaceful offering is due 7 September on the aptly-named Shimmering Moods, who will also be releasing Å Asher-Yates‘ travel-inspired Mothers Garden the same day. Footpaths‘ Riddles Wisely Expounded is another creative offering, a 7″ lathe picture disc (also available on CD in a DVD digipak with extra tracks). Initially lost, these recovered tracks are delighted to see the light of day (Marmara, 8 September). The label is also releasing Dura‘s nocturnal Oceans of Solaris in a similar digipak edition; the two works will look handsome back-to-back on one’s shelf (23 September). The Silentes label is preparing what may be one of the most beautiful works of the season: a 68-page hardback book of Venice photography by Stefano Gentile with a 30-minute score by Gigi Masi. Il silenzio dei tuoi passi will be available on 23 September. And Klanggold is looking to October for the release of Bells Breath on transparent vinyl with transparent sleeves and four digital prints ~ Andreas Usenbenz‘s LP showcases the bells of the Ulm Minster in pure and processed tones. The sleep version is already available for preview and purchase, but the full project is even better.
To this point, 1631 Recordings has been known for its piano artists, but their field is about to expand. 2 September sees the release of the first installment of their Texture Series, including contributions from sixteen different ambient acts, including Loscil, Rhian Sheehan and Sophie Hutchings. Continuing on the compilation theme, Audiobulb is releasing Evidence of Intense Beauty on 12 October, showcasing artists such as Antonymes, Wil Bolton and Taylor Deupree. After impressing with installments by Nils Frahm and ‘Olafur Arnalds, the Late Night Tales series continues with an entry from David Holmes. Not all ambient (or even instrumental), the set has an intriguing theological slant and should provide for some highly unusual late night conversations (30 October).
RVNG’s collaboration series FRKWYS has reached its 13th installment; Sunergy sees Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani dueting on Buchla synthesizers, providing a relaxing ode to water preservation on California’s Pacific Coast. Ian Martin uses a trio of his favorite synthesizers on Clairvoyant, twinkling and waving in equal measure (Diametric, 12 September). Steve Hauschilt‘s Strands (cover pictured to the left) is similarly synthesized in sound and soothing in tone (Kranky, 28 October).
Denovali‘s N is having fun this fall, as evidenced by a triple release of a solo album and two collaborations on 23 September. Anklam and Birka are advertised as a pair, the latter recorded with Simulcra; the third is the louder Männerfreundschaften und Metaphysik. On the same day, Denovali also releases the latest effort from the ever-developing Petrels, whose massive, drone-like structures are well known to our readers by now.
It’s hard to believe that the Dronarivm label is already on its 40th release, because we remember when they launched not too long ago. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength, and show no signs of slowing down. 9 September sees the release of Legiac‘s mysterious The Voynich Manuscript, inspired by an ancient codex. The album sounds slightly industrial, no surprise as the duo’s last album was recorded for Tympanik. This will be followed in late October by The Green Kingdom‘s Harbor. Happy 40th, Dronarivm!
Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere. is set to release three works on 2 September. R.Schwarz provides a score to the island of La Gomera by adding modular synthesizer to Wind; on An Event for Oceans, Sequence adds subtle ambience to field recordings from the Scottish Isle of Eigg. And Alocasia Garden moves slowly from ambience to drone to noise on the aptly titled Divorce.
We’re not used to hearing pretty ambience from the Cold Spring label, but Dave Ball and John Savage‘s single-track, botanical themed Photosynthesis (2 September) fits the bill. Now shifting from dark to light ambient, Velleitie is excited to have two albums on the release roster this fall, each featuring electric guitar, cello, piano and bass. Unblurred Variants will be out 20 September, followed by Dark Money Brought Me Here (Vesten Kollekive) on 11 October. And the word medley is not one we associate with dark ambient veteran Lustmord, but that’s what he calls his mix of Dark Matter. The album references NASA and other sources of space exploration, and sounds more sci-fi than horror (Touch, 30 September).
They may be called drones, but the two pieces found on Tasos Stamou‘s Koura sound more ambient in nature; one side features zither, the other one Hohner organ (Moving Furniture, 9 September). The Hohner organ will be heard again this season on Drömloch’s album (see the Electronic section below), but for a purer taste, try Saåad‘s Verdaillon, recorded in the Church of Notre-Dame de la Dalbade on Puget organ. The first eight pieces delve into meditative drone, but the final piece, “Vorde”, pulls out all the stops (In Paradisum, 15 September).
Tlön‘s Chapter Two is ambient, but not too ambient; whenever the waters grow calm, a rogue drone wave appears (Aphelion, 15 September). Deison returns on 13 September with a host of small sounds: samples and drones flicker throughout the sonic field on Any Time Now (Many Feet Under Concrete). The thicker side of the genre is represented by Mark Harris & John 3:16, who add drums to drone on the immersive Victory Over the Sun (Little Red Rabbit, 28 October). Neither field recording nor drone, instrumental or vocal, is Geneva Skeen‘s intriguing Dark Speech. The recording sites are the draw: a Finnish forest, the San Andreas fault, the Galapagos Islands and more (Dragon’s Eye, 23 September). Due the same day: wndfrm‘s digital A Land of Falling Waters. One of this season’s left field surprises is C. Diab‘s No Perfect Wave, which came to our offices with a huge host of RIYLs, but turned out to be well worth our time. The best comparison is to the work of Richard Skelton, but the album stands on its own (Injazero, 7 October). Listen below and decide.
Already featured on The Wire Tapper, Morten Poulsen‘s Aerodynamics (Outroveart, 1 September) reflects the sounds of an airplane, concentrating on the elements of drone that can be heard within the cabin. Yet the album is a pure studio creation, tricking the ear. Play it on a flight and see if you can tell the difference! Full Spectrum has just announced its fall slate, led by the return of Radere and Sun Hammer. The former artist is represented by two works that were recorded during the same sessions: the Sloth Period tape (15 September) and the I Can’t Sleep, I Can’t Wake Up LP (October); the latter sheds drone for techno (but not completely) on MAHAMUDRA (15 September). Also due is founder Andrew Weathers‘ return to the acoustic sounds of his earlier works; look for Mojave Between Ludlow and Needles on the Editions Littlefield offshoot (15 September).
Rich’s Pick: Katie Gately ~ Color (Tri Angle, 14 October)
Katie Gately is one of the rare vocal artists we cover, because she seldom sings in a straightforward fashion. Like Holly Herndon, she twists her vocalizations into strange and unfamiliar shapes, daring her listeners to untangle the knots. After a series of astonishing singles and EPs, she’s finally releasing her debut album, and the beauty of the set is that it doesn’t include any of the singles. Color is the perfect name for this album, as it tumbles through the entire box of crayons.
We would not have expected a member of Smashing Pumpkins to join Peals for a track on their second album, Honey (Friends, 16 September), but that’s exactly what happened. When a duo is this good, people notice. Check out the line drawing single below.
Given the history of Sculpture, it’s no surprise that Dan Hayhurst also has a cool video to promote his upcoming album. We’ve already reviewed Critter Party (LTR, 1 September), and we love the non-linear nature of these tracks. Check out the visuals (and sneak sounds) below!
Already this year, Subtext has released fascinating albums from Paul Jebanasam and Eric Holm, so we trust their judgment. This makes Fis‘ From Patterns to Details (16 September; cover pictured to the right) a possible sleeper hit. On the surface, the album is electronic, but below the trees, the ground is littered with drones. Check out the FACT mix in the link for a sneak preview. We’re also enamored with Drömloch‘s unique take on the Hohner church organ, captured as the instrument was dying. Decaying loops, echoes and clicks form the spine of Late Style, out 12 September on Kit Records. Samples and sound collages form the basis of Molnbär av John‘s The End (flau, 23 September), prefaced by the charming first single Willow Sketch. Energetic electronics populate Jung An Tagen‘s synth-happy Das Fest Der Reichen, which bubbles and flows like a spilled soda (Editions Mego, 27 October). Also upcoming on the Editions Mego label: Oren Ambarchi‘s Hubris, which enlists the aid of numerous friends, including Arto Lindsay, Ricardo Villalobos and Keith Fullerton Whitman (10 November).
The subtle electronics of RVO (Reggy Van Oers) are present in Nowness, the first single from debut album Taciturn Manner (Telemorph, 14 October). Dujat‘s Dither EP (The City Is Ours, 2 September) mixes field recordings and light percussion with just a hint of post-rock. The cover reminds us that while summer is ending, the year’s biggest waves are just about to arrive. Percussion fans are directed to the latest art disc from Infinite Greyscale (cover pictured to the right); the single-track format has brought out the best in Mouse on Mars, as Lichter is one of the artist’s catchiest productions to date (2 September). Jemh Circs is Black to Comm, but don’t tell anybody. Oh all right, tell everybody, it’s no secret! Under this guise, the artist produces an unusual blend of electronics and avant-pop, focusing on the human voice as heard in YouTube videos (Cellule 75, 30 September). After making his reputation with the 12-string acoustic guitar, Kim Myhr turns his attention to electronics, and succeeds. Bloom is the sound of an artist confident enough to try something new, and talented enough to pull it off (Hubro, 7 October).
Time Traveler explores time and space on I’m Made of Stars/Journey (Chronicles Diary, 30 September), adding narration to his cosmic beats. A limited edition vinyl set includes art prints, and a remix set follows two weeks later. The beats and bells of “Distorted Perspective” offer a fine entry point into Tangent‘s Collapsing Horizons (n5MD, 16 September), inspired by “the formation and disintegration of matter”. Ruxpin‘s We Become Ravens follows on the same label three weeks later. Fresh from scoring Stranger Things, Survive keeps the energy going with the sci-fi synthesizers of RR7349 (Relapse, 30 September). No Mask Effect continues the cosmic theme on the seemingly bleak Nothing Out There (Psychonavigation, 9 September), also adding dialogue, but slowing the beats to ambient levels. A bit more active is Vitor Joaquim‘s Geography (Crónica, 13 September), which turns the attention from the outer cosmos to the development of humanity over time; the album (which also contains radio samples) is inspired by the book Guns, Germs and Steel. A month later, Crónica will release Tamtam‘s Urban Dialog, combining field recordings and bass and questioning preconceptions of humanity and sound (10 October).
Shifted (once half of Commix) is set to release Appropriation Stories on Hospital Records this fall, reflecting on what a long, strange trip it’s been (18 October). Longer still is the career of Slam, who celebrate a quarter-century of dance music with Machine Cut Noise (Soma, 28 October). Straight up club beats are the order of the day on Firewood Street, the new set from The Idealist (8 September), its visual symbolism rampant in the cover. “Melancholic techno” is the billing for Gyrowyre (Off Land)’s Ryd (Enpeg, 2 September), whose sound hearkens back a generation. In similar throwback fashion, Warning Light channels A Flock of Seagulls on Lumen Tracker, the first single from the upcoming Inland Empires Disregard the Sea (Stickfigure, 30 September). DVA [Hi:Emotions] adds a little bit of IDM to the peculating jams of his self-titled album (Hyperdub, 17 October). And fans of Planet Mu will receive more of what they adore when Kuedo‘s Slow Knife is released on 14 October.
The darker side of electronics is represented by Oake, whose entry in Stroboscopic Artefacts‘ Monad series continues to beguile (9 September). Le Spectre continues the vibe with the Analog Monolog EP (Leonizer, 23 September), adding dialogue samples along the way. It’s been a long time since Part II, but Milton Bradley returns as The End of All Existence for the moody EP Part III (26 September). IXVLF goes industrial on the Involuntary Movement 12″ (Unknown Precept, 16 September), drawing reference to Nitzer Ebb. The same holds true for Electrorites, whose pounding beats need only chants to cement the association (Structures, Nightmare Factory, 19 September). Killekill Records has a new acid rave offshoot called the Vanta Series, which will include 12″s with interlocking fine art covers; check the image to the left for a taste. The first installment by Dez Williams is out now, and Kamikaze Space Programme is next in the queue. Another label offshoot, Boidae, launches with Umwelt‘s Days of Descent (17 October).
Rich’s Pick: Machinefabriek, Crumble (1 September)
Machinefabriek’s latest album is so good that we bought and reviewed it before it was even submitted! A wild and winding experimental journey, the single 34-minute track sees Rutger Zuydervelt joining forces with violinist Anne Bakker and vocalist Edita Karkoschka. The piece veers from field recording to drone to modern composition in a matter of minutes. The entire composition is streaming below!
Constellation Records returns with three albums on 30 September, referencing its well-received Musique Fragile project from a few years back. These new projects vary widely in timbre, the pick of the litter being Jason Sharp‘s A Boat Upon Its Blood, the intricate sound design a reminder that the artist was a key part of last year’s Matana Roberts disc. Off Land may not sound familiar, but the name Polmo Polpo should ring a few bells; if not, try Sandro Perri, the leader of the septet. The spacial explorations of 1 establish an otherworldly patina. And more electronically rhythmic than its counterparts, Automatisme‘s Momentform Accumulations allows listeners to dance if they want to, or simply listen to the powerful patterns. Check out the sneak preview of all three releases below!
Felix Kubin has never been predictable, so we’re not quite sure what to expect from his second collection of Music for Film and Theatre, released in conjunction with Das Mineralorchester (Dekorder, 30 September). One thing for sure: it will be entertaining! Bertoni / Boccadi /Mongardi may appear on Boring Machines, but they are far from dull. Their electro-acoustic blend is best heard live, but the recorded version is the next best thing (23 September). Percussive maestro Ingar Zach looks to surprise with le stanze (Sofa, 7 October); these beats are not for dancing. Percussion with electronics is on the menu for Clang Records, set to release Lars Graugaard and Moritz Baumgärtner‘s improvisational set What Actually Happened on 4 November. Those looking for a more obvious rhythmic stance are directed to Soohin Anjou / Askat Jetigen / Robert Lippok‘s surprisingly accessible Gletschermusik (Folk Wisdom, 21 October), as the trio performs duets with the sound of melting glaciers. Also incorporating field recordings with percussion is new artist Icorgan, who will be using a weekly track release schedule for new EP Memory Triggers. The first piece will see the light of day on 20 September; for now, track his progress on Facebook. In a similar fashion, the debut album from Jana Irmert collects six installations and compositions that merge field recordings with electroacoustics; End of Absence is out 14 October on Fabrique. And Camila De Laborde makes her debut on a triple-label collaboration; her homemade instruments and vocal experiments recall the work of A.G.F. Look for Opuntia on The Lumen Lake / Schamoni Music / SVS early this autumn.
Type Records is issuing a re-edited version of Jonathan Uliel Saldanda‘s percussive score to Tunnel Vision, recorded in cavernous tunnels, allowing for natural reverberations and an overall sense of menace (30 September). It’s hard to define the work of αίών (and no samples are public yet), as the upcoming Correspondances veers from straight-up dance pieces to crunchy electro-acoustic works to soothing ambience. Stay tuned to Quanta for preview updates (October).
What does one get when translating the notes of a grand piano into binary code? Repetition and dissonance. Thomas Brinkmann‘s experiment may be hard to take in as a whole, but the concept is fascinating; A 1000 Keys is out 29 September on Editions Mego. Franck Vigroux‘s music travels from consonance to dissonance on Rapport sur le Désordre (DAC, 19 September), a partial reflection of the audio-visual performance Centaure. Simon Gore‘s ÉN TI is a multi-media release that includes a photo book and a simply but spooky teaser video; the album is a dual release from loop and Circuit Sweet, fittingly scheduled for this October. Remember that quiet album on Cold Spring above? The antithesis is found on Merzbow/Sun Ra‘s Strange City, easily the loudest album of the season. In fact, we’re pretty sure that one could play any other album from this preview at the same time and not even hear it, which makes it ideal for those pesky door-to-door salesmen (September 29).
Rich’s Pick: Ólafur Arnalds ~ Island Songs (Mercury Classics, 28 October)
One of our summer pleasures was the weekly arrival of a new track and video from Ólafur Arnalds, as he traveled around Iceland collaborating with friends and family members. The intimate recordings will be collected on disc in October, and we’re super-excited about a special edition that will include the video component from cinematographer Baldvin Z. The composer continues to grow in both creativity and stature, and this is only the latest testament to his talent.
We couldn’t help but review Jóhann Jóhannsson’s enchanting Orphée early. The artist has always been one of our favorites, and we’ve been eager to hear a new studio (non-soundtrack) work from him for years. Now that we’ve gotten our wish, we’re happy to report that the album is filled with all of the tenderness and sadness one might expect from the Orpheus myth. The final choral piece ties it all together, but the entire project is solid (Deutsche Grammophon, 16 September).
Multiple genres come into play on three of fall’s most diverse releases. Melbourne’s Tilman Robinson channels Ben Frost on Deer Heart (Hobbledehoy, 14 October), no surprise considering the album was partially recorded in Iceland and mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson. Robinson is one of a select group of composers able to integrate electronics, drone and ambience without losing the beauty – or the plot. Murcof and Vanessa Wagner team up for the electronic/modern composition hybrid album Statea, covering songs by a diverse array of composers, from Satie to Cage to Aphex Twin (InFiné, 23 September). And Dakota Suite and Vampillia join forces on the astonishing The Sea Is Never Full (Karaoke Kalk, 23 September), which begins in modern composition but ends in sorrow and screams. The reason is simple: the album is based on the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which affected the artists personally and deeply.
A number of classic composers are represented by new releases and retrospectives this fall. James Horner‘s Collage: The Last Work (Mercury Classics, 23 September) is exactly that; recorded only weeks before his death in 2015, the album offers a last chance to hear new music from the composer of Titanic, Avatar and Braveheart. Vangelis marks the 50th year of his signing with Decca on the orchestral, space-influenced Rosetta (23 September), while Ennio Morricone tops him by a decade with Morricone 60, his first for Decca and a greatest hits of sorts, covering the first sixty years of his career. Compared to these gentlemen, Craig Armstrong is a relative newcomer, but he’s accumulated a great body of work over the past few decades, and his score to Snowden promises to continue in this vein (Deutsche Grammophon, 16 September). Also of note: Aaron Dessner & Bryce Dessner‘s guitar-based score to Transpecos (Milan, 9 September), Adrian Corker‘s The Have Nots (SN Variations, 5 November) and pretty much anything you can think of based on the box office release schedule. In short, if you see the movie and like the music, look up the score!
We love hearing new artists, and we trust the judgment of Fatcat’s 130701 imprint. They’ve come through again with the debut of Polish cellist Resina (pictured to the right), who adds electronics to her strings for a lush and evocative sound. Her self-titled album is released on 30 September. Fiddle player Laura Cannell returns 21 October with Simultaneous Flight Movement (Brawl Records), her most expressive work to date. The tracks were recorded in England’s Southwold Lighthouse, and bear the history of the location in their untamed notes. But perhaps the most intriguing release of the season is Carolina Eyck‘s Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet (Butterscotch, 14 October), recorded with the 12″ format in mind and available on green vinyl (among other formats).
We’ve been following the work of Bruno Bavota for years, and felt a proprietary pride when we heard that he’d been signed to Sono Luminus. Out of the Blue is tender and romantic, with an undercurrent of joy (30 September). After so many albums, it’s a light surprise to learn that EUSA will be Yann Tiersen‘s first solo piano release (30 September). But it’s not just a piano album; it’s also a love letter to the artist’s home island of Ushant, and contains field recordings made on location. Fábio Caramuru takes a similar approach, combining solo piano with the sounds of local Brazilian birds; EcoMúsica is out 7 September on flau. As The Arrivist, Jim McGee is releasing a self-titled album of solo piano pieces, which were born and recorded in a single day (14 September). The perfect welcome to the new season is found on Garreth Broke‘s September EP, with the title track and “Murmuration” (1631 Recordings, 1 September). Mathew Roth combines piano and cello on the smoothly flowing The Vulture & the Sparrow (Fluttery, 8 September). After a short break earlier in the year, Montreal’s Moderna Records is back on track. The label’s latest piano-centric release comes from Ed Carlsen; The Journey Tapes comes across as a long, slow passenger ride, during which one can enjoy the scenery along the way (13 September). Dublin composer Benedict Schlepper-Connolly adds symphonic instrumentation to The weathered stone (Ergodos, 30 September), a possible surprise that may give the more established artists a run for their money. And Marahiko Hara & Polar M team up for Dance, which is better suited for modern dance than for clubs, despite its electronic elements; we suggest remixes of “Asia” and the title track to get those bodies moving (Mü-Nest, 25 September)!
Much of the buzz around Christopher Tignor‘s Along a Vanishing Plane (Western Vinyl, 16 September) has centered around the artist’s creation of new software, designed to allow him to play solo while sounding like a band, yet eschewing the use of loops. One can witness the process in the video for first single Shapeshifting. But it still looks like hard work! Seven composers are represented on Dance Music, their works performed by The Living Earth Show (cover pictured above left). The New Amsterdam duo presents new chamber music for modern dance, and their public performance should be the highlight of the release rollout (28 October). On the same label we find Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, whose jazzy set Real Enemies acts as a score to the horrors of the daily news (30 September).
Finally, while we don’t normally cover reissues, we can’t ignore Decca / Deutsche Grammophon’s massive 200-disc box set W.A. Mozart: The New Complete Edition: an over-the-top and definitive retrospective, packed with bonus features. Audiophiles may have preferred LPs, but that package would have weighed 84 pounds! If you love Mozart, you may as well ignore everything else in this article and pre-order this doorstop now.
Rock, Post-Rock, Folk and Jazz
Rich’s Pick: The Pelagic Records Roster
If you’re looking for the best in post-rock, Pelagic Records is the place to visit. This fall’s incredible release schedule should bring a smile to the entire ArcTangent crowd. Even better, fans won’t have long to wait, as three huge releases are set for consecutive weeks. First up is pg. lost‘s massive-sounding Versus, which pushes the quartet to its extremes, all to the benefit of listeners (16 September). Next is the Ef/Tiny Fingers split Vayu (23 September), which features an increased use of vocals from Ef, but the same amount of dramatic tension and release. Fast forward a week, and you’ll reach Wang Wen, who only just released the quadruple-vinyl/DVD/art book set In Course of the Miraculous; but the Chinese band is not spent, and managed to leave enough in the tank for its ninth studio album Sweet Home, Go! (30 September). Continuing to offer brilliant packaging, this release comes in a very cool slipcase with fabric paper. And then it will be time for MONO, whose huge fan base is well-deserved. After placating new and old fans alike with the double album The Last Dawn/Rays of Darkness (one classic and one modern), the band decided to keep the strings, a decision with which we absolutely agree. The Dante-inspired Requiem for Hell (14 October) needs such orchestration to bear the weight of its dramatic story, as the strings contribute the emotion of salvation and damnation conveyed by The Divine Comedy.
The Thrill Jockey label is also on a tear this season. We’ve already covered two of the season’s biggest releases: cellist Helen Money‘s Becoming Zero, which is mournful and angry in alternate measures, and was written after the death of Alison Chesley’s parents; and Wrekmeister Harmonies‘ Light Falls, which dissects the trauma of a ruptured relationship between father and son. Members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor contribute to the latter recording, but the album’s strength is in its stripped-down finale. Both albums are due 16 September. But wait, there’s more! On 14 October, the label releases the latest effort from People of the North (Kid Millions and Oneida’s Bobby Matador), which tackles nothing less than the nature of reality. And on 11 November, it’s the return of Radian, whose On Dark Silent Off is easily one of the season’s standouts, a percussive monster boasting incredible dynamic contrast.
Also upcoming in post-rock: Lost in Kiev offers Nuit Noir, incorporating multiple dialogue samples into their thick, guitar-based tracks (dunk!records, 2 September). And NYOS is a duo that doesn’t sound like a duo; Nature is highlighted by the head-nodding title track (30 September).
How to spend a day? Guitarist Leo Abrahams and drummer Chris Vatalaro chose to improvise and record eighteen rhythmic pieces. The results can be heard on the self-titled Amoral Avatar (Trestle, 7 October), accompanied by a host of mesmerizing videos, the first of which can be seen below.
Bass is the name of the game on An Eclipse of Images, the sprawling new set from Massimo Discepoli and Daniel Barbiero. The two bassists are extremely patient: Discepoli holds back on the percussion until punctuation is needed, and the electronics are used as subtle adornment (Acustronica, 15 September). The hybrid sounds of Tomaga are present in lead single A Perspective With No End, taken from the upcoming album The Shape of the Dance (Hands in the Dark, 19 September; this particular dance has no defined shape, but is constantly morphing in texture and form. Math rock/jazz trio Chaman Chômeur follow their self-tited late winter EP with a fall album, 18759, on Atypeek (September), while math rockers Totorro return in October with Come to Mexico, preceded by the poppy and catchy Saveur cheveux. Will Mason (of Will Mason Ensemble, naturally) has a brand new band, Happy Place, that sounds just like one would expect; Northfield is due 28 October on Exit Stencil, but for now the lead single Spoon! is streaming for our enjoyment below. Similarly happy (by the looks of the home video) is Alien Ensemble‘s 2 (Alien Transistor, 23 September); the band is related to both The Notwist and Le Millipede though its tuba-playing leader Micha Acher.
Ever wonder what happened to that drummer from Yodok III (Tomas Järmyr)? He resurfaces with Aidan Baker on Werl (Consouling Sounds, September), and the duo honor prior separate works with long-form jams. Baker is also represented as a third of Caudal, whose perky Let’s All Take the Yellow Pills (Calostro) will be released the same month. The happy faces in the video provide an indication of the album’s mood. Psych rock will be represented this season by ten-year veterans Darsombra, whose two-track Polyvision provides all the freak-out goodness one might require (Translation Loss, 9 September). Those who enjoy dancing monkeys and dung beetles are directed to the rumpus video for Payphone, the first single from FiloQ‘s fun and self-explanatory Jazz Crash (100000BPM, 7 October). Self-proclaimed “prog nerd jazz band” Reconnaissance Fly launches its EP Off By One on 20 September, prefaced by the single Spiders and Snakes. Jim Stafford, anyone? Also in the prog department we find Forma, whose album Physicalist is out 23 September on Kranky; one look at the cover, and we remember Roger Dean. Funky guitar and grooves mark the fifth effort for Joe Olnick, as Defiant Grooves is released on 14 October. Swiss post-noise-hardcore trio Lilium Sova smashes us into the new season on Lost Between Mounts and Dales/Set Adrift in the Flood of People (Cold Smoke/Urgence Disk, 1 October). And finally, for a brief blast of punk, check out the rare 7″ on Already Dead Tapes and Records; Anybody But the Cops‘ The Shape of Punk To-Go, which will be leaning against a wall with a cigarette in its mouth on 9 September.
Happy listening, everyone!