Spring Music Preview: The Next 200

This is the biggest music preview in the history of our site, and we challenge you to locate a more extensive preview anywhere!  An unprecedented number of new releases will be vying for our attention this spring ~ the snow is melting, and our cups are already running over.  As we begin to put away the winter blankets and trade our parkas for light jackets, these are the sounds that will accompany the transition.

As expansive as this list may be, it’s only a fraction of the eventual spring slate, and new announcements are made daily.  For updates, visit our News page, which is constantly updated with new samples from Soundcloud and Bandcamp.  If we reviewed one album a day from this list, we’d be busy for half a year ~ and most of these albums are being released in a two-month period.  While we are only able to review a fraction of what we receive, we are able to list every album we hear about in advance.  We love looking forward to new music, and we know you do as well!

As usual, this season’s upcoming releases are listed by genre, with top picks in each category.  We hope that you enjoy what you see, read and hear!


Rich’s Pick:  Last Days, Seafaring (n5MD, 19 May)
Over a decade has passed since the release of Sea, and Graham Richardson has been unable to purge the ocean water from his veins.  Seafaring is the unofficial sequel to that album, but stands on its own without a peg leg.  The music is warm and welcoming, with field recordings and a smattering of sea dialogue factored into the mix.  We’re looking forward to the moment when we cast off the lines.

The Soft and the Lovely
Seventeen years have passed since the last album from GAS, but Wolfgang Voight has finally returned.  We’d love to make NARKOPOP our top pick, but we’ve only heard a minute of it.  The packaging looks exquisite; stay tuned for more (Kompakt, 21 April).  Leandro Fresco and Rafael Anton Irisarri collaborated over a distance, but the warmth of La Equidistancia implies a shared vision.  The album’s slow, lugubrious sounds engulf the listener like molasses (A Strangely Isolated Place, 10 April).  Ken Ikeda + David Toop‘s Skin Tones is another inspired collaboration, this one the physical edition of a live performance, patient and precise (Home Normal, 31 March).  Eno is an obvious inspiration for Billow Observatory‘s II: Plains/Patterns, due 31 March on Azure Vista.  Jonas Kasper Jensen calls his ambient compositions “sculptural landscapes”; Clang is set to release Layers of Bridges on 14 April, followed a week later by Satoshi Takeishi’s Premonition.  Fluid Audio’s latest beautifully-packaged release comes from Hotel Neon; the free-flowing Context will be released sometime in April.  Federico Durand returns this April on 12k with the childhood memories of La Nina Junco, the latest in a remarkable run of releases.  Federico Mosconi‘s spacious Colonne di fumo embraces the sound of birds, and drops 29 March on KrysaliSound.  The ÉTER label has two releases on the docket for March 24: Tobias Hellkvist‘s undulating 24th Impulse and Bruno Duplant & Pedro Chambel‘s All we have learned and then forgotten.  Lost Tribe Sound continues its year-long subscription series A Prelude to Decline with Seabuckthorn‘s Turns (pictured above right; 21 April).  Unlike its predecessor, the new album falls squarely in the ambient column, although the 12-string guitars continue to sing sedately of rock.  Next on the docket will be a new album from The Green Kingdom, expected in late spring/early summer, just when the color is king again.  While summer is still a distant dream, summer sounds are good the whole year round; The Star Pillow‘s Invisible Summer (Midira, 5 May) gives us reason to hope.


History, Religion and Nature
Andrew Wasylyk
represents the new age of new age; his EP Themes for Buildings and Spaces is released 28 April on Tape Club Records.  The quartet Dans les Arbes offers an unusual brand of ambience that seems ready to burst into modern composition at any moment.  Phosphorescence is out 31 March on Hubro.  The self-titled debut of mayforest has been given a genre tag of “forest” to match its name; the songs start light before moving into darker directions, reflecting the title of album and artist (28 April).  Ley lines are an inspiration for Givan LötzYaW, a folkish set on Other Electricities (7 April).  St. Petersberg’s Pantheon label has adopted the subtitle, “Temple of Eternal Music”, and its albums bear a hint of the divine.  Three of these are scheduled for 21 March: Alinko‘s cloud-like single piece A Guide to Lucid Dreaming, Guenter Schlienz’ peaceful, stargazing Sterne Über Der Stadt, and Dvory‘s double-length, self-titled mix of ambience and drone.  Cold and warm tones collide on the beautifully-titled Epilogues for the End of the Day, the latest stretched note opus from bvdub (Glacial Movements, 28 April). Shaded ambience (just shy of dark) can be found on Markland, the second part of a trilogy from Northumbria honoring discovery of Canada by early Norse explorers (Cryo Chamber, 21 March), while Wist Records releases The 1915 Panama Pacific Expo in mid-May, connecting The Tape Loop Orchestra to the music of a prior generation.


A Ticking Heart
Straddling the border of ambient and electronic (and some might say even post-rock), we find Anjou, comprised of former members of Labradford and Pan American. Epithymia is due 24 March on Kranky.  The label continues its stretch of quality releases with Justin Walker‘s Unseen Forces (21 April), and will introduce female vocalist Demen 19 May with Nektyr.  Switching between synth and organ, Andrew Weathers provides an evocative soundtrack to the miniseries Under the Tree, which documents valuable community work in three African nations (Full Spectrum, 3 April).  An aura of sadness permeates Internazionale‘s The Pale and the Colorful, preceded by the single Bells of Addiction (Posh Isolation, 24 March).  Schuttle‘s Home is an ambient album built around a (light) techno track, and will be the first release from Panatype (April).  Selffish returns with He She Them Us, an ambient/electronic blend on the mighty Serein, decorated with field recordings and organic instrumentation (21 April).  Benya Barshai‘s Time Stills is inspired by old photographs and will see the light of day on 2 June.  The Optimo label offers the double-LP compilation Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983-2017), featuring artists as diverse as Jorge Reyes and Rapoon (14 April).



Rich’s Pick:  The Inward Circles ~ And Right Lines Close All Bodies (Corbel Stone Press, April)
The Inward Circles is site favorite Richard Skelton.  He’s been quiet as of late, but is rewarding our patience in a big way, as the first 100 people to pre-order the new album will also receive a second digital album, Scaleby, which traces the lines of Northern England.  Expect vast drones, symphonic spaces and a sense of history drenched in empathy and sorrow.


Christmas may be over, but Dino Spiluttini is still making drones.  Waves of fragmented noise wash over the listener on To Be a Beast, out 31 March on Cut Surface.  The Moving Furniture label has been quite active this year, and continues its hot streak with Martijn Comes‘ Interrogation of the Crystalline Sublime on 21 March: a one-hour track accompanied by eight remixes.  This will be followed on April Fools’ Day by Orphax‘s 2:20 and the super-quiet Stefan Thut: ABC 1-6 from Christian Alvear, Cyril Bondi and D’Incise.  Two 20-minute dark ambient/drone compositions are dedicated to the Sumerian god of fresh water on Valanx‘s Radiant Orbs of Abzu (Cromlech, 10 April); but is the water god listening?  The preview of Loke Rahbek‘s City of Women starts with a drone, and ends in a bang (Editions Mego, 19 May).  Veteran composer Jaap Vink is celebrated on his self-titled double album on Editions Mego’s Recollections GRM; his analog drones now prove to have been ahead of their time (5 May).  epic45-related Charles Vaughan returns with another mysterious outing on 24 March; Pylon Reveries is a love letter to electrical currents and the pylons that carry them (Wayside & Woodland).  Inspired by the story of a boy falling out of the wheel shaft of an airplane, Tegh penned the emotionally resonant Downfall (Midira, 5 May).  Alice Kundalini (She Spread Sorrow) broke our hearts with her last album; she’s about to do so all over again with Mine (24 April); Tenhornedbeast offers little consolation on Death Has No Companion (3 April).  Both can be found on Cold Spring.  Clarinette returns with a series of guitar drones, bracketed by abrasion; The Now of Then is already available digitally, but will see physical release on Feeding Tube on 24 March.  On the same day, Already Dead Tapes provides physical form to the digital album Otherbird; this spectral release comes from the ironically monikered Totally Boring, but the sound of the cassette is anything but.  In similar fashion, S S S S‘s Just Dead Stars for Dead Eyes gets new life thanks to new mastering by Lawrence English.  Surprising timbres are embedded in the clanking drone, including a late appearance by haunted piano.  The reissued tape is out on Hallow Ground 24 March.  Drone is melded to industrial coils on Embelmatic Ruin, the debut set from Verge, preceded by the sprawling single Conduit (Avian, 27 March); but for real coils, turn to Last Unit‘s Lost in Crystal Canyons, in which a coil microphone picks up typically inaudible frequencies (21 March).



Rich’s Pick:  The Radiophonic Workshop ~ Burials in Several Earths (Room 13)
It’s been 32 years since the last album from The Radiophonic Workshop ~ many of us weren’t yet born, and the rest of us thought the band was dead.  But as Burials in Several Earths proves, the musicians behind Dr. Who were simply in another universe.  Mixing ambience, drone and loads of synth, the group makes a triumphant return, calling on members of The Human League and New Order for welcome support.  Concert appearances will follow!

Put on your red shoes.
A sheet of ink blots is included in Astralasia‘s Oceana (Fruits de Mer, 17 April); after Trainspotting 2, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone mistook it for an acid tab.  Daniel Boon‘s Boon & Bane is a straight-up dance album, every track club-ready as is (Neuhain, 10 April).  New label Trestle Records is putting the finishing touches on Karras‘ Municipal Dances, which melds instrumental electronics to a pop sensibility (June).  Dark Skies‘ Orthona is preceded by the catchy double-A single Kilter/Acacia, already a hit on iTunes (Monkeytown, 7 April).  At first, one might be tempted to overlook a duo with the name Teengirl Fantasy, but their sound is much more mature than their name suggests.  8AM is out 24 March on Ninja Tune.  Lo Tide‘s head-nodding, hip-hop-influenced Just will see a two-tiered release: 31 March on Spotify and 14 April on other platforms (Diventa Music).  Project Mooncircle’s anniversary compilation was just the beginning; Nuage‘s WILD is a warm and wooly follow-up (5 May), while Kafuka‘s Laws of Nature is generous with the samples and beats (19 May).

More, More, More
This isn’t a typo: Above the Starrs is an instrumental Gang Starr tribute, featuring members of Gwar (Gang Gwar?) and Akron/Family (Electric Cowbell, 31 March).  Disco, synth and filtered vocals all feature in David DouglasSpectators of the Universe (Atomnation, 24 March), which may boast a celestial inspiration, but is better suited to dancing beneath the stars.  For even purer disco, check out Zon Zon Zon by Shelter on International Feel Recordings (24 March).  The eight-member synth and rhythm Cologne Tape returns on 31 March with Welt, an upbeat set on Magazine.  Happy synths and club sensibilities decorate the jagged grooves of Miwon‘s Jigsawtooth, available in red or white vinyl (n5MD, 14 April).  Audio-visual duo Curved Light returns with the Channelview tape on 19 May, their second release of the calendar year, both released on Holodeck.  Marco Shuttle‘s Systhema is spacious and futuristic, and will leave the landing pad on 9 May (Spazio Disponible).  Once it exits our galaxy, it may encounter the techno rhythms of Jonas Kopp in the Photon Belt (Tresor, 5 May) and AB2088 in the constellation Sagittarius (Computer Club, 7 April).  Marc Houle‘s Sinister Mind is the first of a trilogy, the other parts to follow in the near future (Items & Things, 24 March).  Kelly Lee Owens has caught the attention of NPR, thanks to a lead single with Jenny Hval; but we’re more interested in the dance beats that permeate her self-titled debut album (Smalltown Supersound, 24 March).  We know that it contains some vocals, but we’re listing WaqWaq Kingdom‘s Shinsekai due to its pedigree.  The trio of Andrea Belfi, Kiki Hitomi and Shigeru Ishihara makes a lovely international racket described as “post-tribal”, and the cover art is simply amazing (Jahtari, 24 March).  The trio’s name is roughly translated as “flutter or fly.”  This season, Belfi also launches the Float label with Ore, a set of exciting experiments in rhythm and electronics (26 May).  Best of luck to Float on this new excursion!


Light bulbs
Tom Hall
‘s Fervor EP (Elli, 21 March) comes with an app that plays a set of morphing visuals.  It’s the latest experiment in 21st century technology, a sign that the industry continues to develop in exciting ways.  440PPM has chosen an original way to announce his upcoming album Fit for Purpose, due 15 May on Avian: with a selection of locked grooves, free to download.   Sordid Sound System‘s Fear Eats the Soul EP is described as “a concept EP made by four imaginary bands from Detroit, New York, Paris and Munich”, but it’s all the work of one creative artist (Invisible Inc., 20 March).  Max Cooper enters the next phase of the multi-media Emergence project with a remix EP, featuring re-imaginings of songs from the latest album (31 March).  Lightning Bolt bassist Brian Gibson released his video game score Thumper last year, but it took another year to make it to physical release.  Thrill Jockey will press the album for general consumption 22 April.  Nine years after its live debut, Carl Craig‘s Versus will finally be available in physical formats; the set translates his dance tracks into a full-length symphonic concert (InFine, 5 May).  Craig is also featured on Fabriclive 91 along with Shapednoise and others, as mixed by Special Request (Fabric, 24 March).


Everything is broken.
Taking broken compact discs as his inspiration, Nate Connelly adds broken ideas and vocals to form a new whole on Fragments, due 31 March on Blurred.  The same holds true for Hatti Vatti, who makes the most of many pieces on SZUM (MOST, 24 March).  Julia Bloop‘s downtempo Roland Throop is an engaging exercise in sample and mood (Crash Symbols, 24 March).  Body Four uses voices to pummel listeners on its self-titled release (BED, 20 March), while Jlin uses aggressive snippets to punctuate Black Origami (Planet Mu, 19 May).  The latter also features appearances by Holly Herndon and William Basinski, and should solidify the reputation established on her debut.  Strange motorized rhythms and vocal fragments appear on Pamela_and her sons‘ full-length debut, Hurt Plaza (Blurred, 31 March), while Golden Diskó Ship weaves snippets of song into unconventional structures on Invisible Boys, due 24 March on Karlrecords.

Rookies and Veterans
After a series of successful singles, techno artist Rebekah is looking to break through with her debut album Fear Paralysis (Soma, 28 April).  From the sound of lead track 1997 Reprise, she should have no trouble doing so.  The same holds true for Sapphire Slows, who offers catchy rhythms along with a hint of bells on her EP The Role of Purity (Mundus, 31 March).  Veteran artist Clark has been around for decades, but is still going strong; Death Peak is due 7 April on Warp.  L. Pierre has said that 1948 will be his last album … under this moniker.  The new set is comprised of samples from the first 33 1/3 record, “Nathan Milstein’s version of a Mendelssohn concerto”, and for some reason will be lacking a sleeve (Melodic, 28 April).  And just announced in time for this article: a trio of albums on Important RecordsCaterina Barbieri‘s Patterns of Consciousness (April), Alessando Cortini & Merzbow (April) and Charlemagne Palestine & Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra (May).


Let’s wear black.
On the last day of March, Deison and Mingle will complete the trilogy they launched with Everything Collapse [d] and Weak Life.  Innersurface (Silentes) is the strongest of the three, sparking thoughts of a boxed set.  The mood is just as dark, and with no vocal tracks this time around, the mind is free to wander down shadowed corridors along with the music.  Spatial’s A Music of Sound Systems is dense and mathematic, and deserves to be played at maximum volume (Infrasonics, 23 March).  Canada’s Archipel Musique label offers a pair of foggy albums this spring, beginning with Alexandre Navarro‘s percussive Anti​-​Matière (20 March) and continuing with Pheek‘s experimental, intriguing Intra (25 April).  Similarly grey in color is another collaboration of inspired minds, as The Bug vs. Earth conjures memory of the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials.  “You’ve got doom in my electronics!”  “You’ve got electronics in my doom!”  One listen to Snakes vs. Rats, and listeners will be convinced.  Concrete Desert is out 24 March on Ninja Tune.  Acharné’s smoky Innocence and Suburbia uses buried vocals as texture.  As this is an album about relationships frayed and whole, the words seem abraded (Seppüku Records, 7 April).


Industrial Strength
One of the season’s most intriguing releases comes from Ena, who divides Body and Mind in half on two 12″s and unites them on CD.  These pieces may be billed as improvisation, but they sound anything but (Horo, 24 March). Dreissk returns on 31 March with To Nowhere, a strong set that blends elements of soundtrack, industrial and drone (n5MD).  Similarly cinematic, with whispers and Orb-like touches, is Ensemble Economique‘s In Silhouette, the first of four early spring releases on Denovali.  The same day, the label will release Paco Sala‘s The Silent Season, followed in April by Orson Hentshel‘s Electric Stutter and the self-titled debut of Notilus.  Sometimes a preview track is so extensive that we know exactly what we’re getting; the 19-minute title track of Cleared‘s Serpens resonates like an abandoned factory, all dust and drum (Utech, 7 April).  Dot Product‘s 2080 fills its empty spaces with beats and the echoes of beats; expect it on Osiris Music 31 March.  The video may be drone, but the industrial beats eventually break out on P.E.A.R.L.‘s debut album Temptation Through Impatience (Falling Ethics, 14 April).  In contrast, Post Scriptum gets right to it on the Year Zero EP; but then again, they’ve only got four tracks to work with, and no time to waste (Post Scriptum, 17 April).  Following the same template is Headless Horseman with the four-track 47009 on Tommy Four Seven (31 March).  And pushing into industrial noise, we find Mensimonis, whose Clone Fever is due 5 May on Opa Loka.


IDM and Other Borderlands
Covering coast, moor, desert, dune and more, Soft Armour‘s Multi Terrain explores impressions of a wide variety of settings, backing each with beats and ever-morphing patterns.  Look for the set 30 March on Infinite Waves.  Go Hiyama mixes field recordings, piano and vibraphone into intricate architecture on I Am Goodbye (Parachute, 7 April).  The third edition of Bureau B’s Con-Struct series comes from Conrad Schnitzler & Pole, who revisit the archives to find old sources for new material (31 March).  I-LP-O IN DUB (Pan Sonic’s Ilpo Väisänen) offers tempo-driven abstractions on (Editions Mego, 5 May).  Mego offshoot Spectrum Spools gets into the action with Second Woman‘s S/W, a beat-splaying set that concentrates on the club aspects.  Found sound, whisper, sung voice, spoken word, phone message and rap are integrated into rhythmic structures on Joni Void‘s variety-packed Selfless (Constellation, 5 May); the artist was formerly known as Johnny Ripper.  Occasionally vocal but always funky is Reliq‘s Life Prismic, preceded by the sparkling singles “Rain No More” and “Morocco Drive” (Noble, 15 April).



Rich’s Pick:  Colin Stetson ~ All This I Do for Glory (52Hz, 28 April)
Following Sorrow is no easy task, but bass saxophonist Colin Stetson is up for the challenge.  All This I Do for Glory is yet another left turn for the unpredictable artist, who now welds the layered sound of his instrument to avid percussion in a manner that some are saying recalls Autechre.  We’re excited to hear this in full bloom.


Lea Bertucci‘s residency at Brooklyn’s Issue Project room is now reflected in the two-track tape all that is solid melts into air (pictured to the left).  The first side investigates the properties of stringed instruments and magnetic tape, while the second side is a friendly duel between double bassists, who move around the room as they perform (NNA Tapes, 24 March).  Time is a key element of Miguel Angel Tolosa‘s Ephimeral (SOFA, 7 April), which contrasts a temporally anchored rainstorm against undulating, clock-free tones.  On the same day, the label also releases Philippe Lauzier‘s A Pond in My Living Room, which creates a relaxed atmosphere through layers of bass clarinet, then offsets the same atmosphere with light sprays of dissonance.  After half a century of playing flute, Jim Denley offers his first solo flute album; Cut Air is out 21 April on Sofa.


Toog is as playful as his name, using prepared piano, field recordings and children’s toys to produce pixie dust.  The Prepared Public is already streaming, and will have its physical release on 31 March (Karaoke Kalk).  Strange exotica, repeated samples and a sense of quiet adventure are found on Keith Seatman‘s all hold hands and off we go (K.S. Audio, 10 April).  The engaging preview is all over the map.  Lichen Gumbo‘s Boilin’ is similarly schizophrenic, veering madly between rock, electronics and fuzz; half of the duo is also known as Ous Mal (Aguirre, 24 March).  Plunderphonics are the order of the day on Abridged Too Far, Discrepant’s 25th-anniversary re-issue of the classic album from People Like Us.  The songs are impossible to predict, so expect the unexpected (31 March).  On the same day, the label releases Yannick Dauby‘s 咾咕厝 LÓ-KÓ͘-CHHÙ : Penghu Experimental Sound Studio Vol. 2, which continues to explore the sounds of the Taiwanese island.  Field recordings also appear throughout Luca Forcucci‘s The Waste Land, which began as the soundtrack to a short film and expanded to a vast electronic meditation.  The enhancement of bird flocks is the highlight of a dense set (Cronica, 4 April).  Field recordings and improvisations meet on the self-titled album from Walker Harris English on Obsolete Future; the artist name reflects three composers, the last of which is named Lawrence (14 April).  A trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is reflected on Suddenly Woken by the Sound of Stillness, the aural reflection of a physical journey, from sound artist David Evans (Flaming Pines, 23 March).


At times, Nickolas Mohanna‘s Chroma sounds like a broken CD; at other times, it sounds like an angry, tuning orchestra.  The electro-acoustic album seeks balance through counterpoint (Karlrecords, 14 April).  Treated voices are glued to stringed experiments by the drøne duo, whose short wave sampling A Perfect Blind is due 17 April on Pomperipossa Strotter Inst. is a turntablist, but not in the traditional sense.  His needle and tape experiments continue on the double-LP Miszellan (Hallow Ground, 24 March), as he focuses on deconstructing the sounds of early industrial artists, including Foetus and Nurse With Wound.  Zeitkratzer‘s zeitkratzer performs songs from “Kraftwerk” and “Kraftwerk II” is another Janus-like release; the ensemble recreates out-of-print classics with a new and distinctive spin (Karlrecords, 24 March).  Also on the retro tip: the massive 200-artist, multiple genre, 16-album compilation Welcome to Twin Peaks, a celebration that ranges from ambient to hip-hop to post-rock, and includes Lawrence English, Olan Mill and Petrels (Indie Rock Mag, 21 May).  In the mood for something completely different?  Try Mix One, the new set from The Nomadic Female DJ Troupe, a supergroup formed by Francine Perry, Lisa Busby and Ruthie Woodward; this is a picnic we’d love to go on, despite the fact that they’ve forgotten the food (The Lumen Lake, 20 March).


Modern Composition

Rich’s Pick:  John Matthias & Jay Auborn ~ Race to Zero (Village Green)
The Village Green label has been on a tear lately, releasing quality album after quality album.  Hot on the heels of Thomas William Hill’s Asylum for Eve comes this gem from scoring artists John Matthias & Jay Auborn.  Race to Zero contains all the excitement of a film score, contained in circles of plastic and glass.  Recorded in Reykjavik, the album resonates with the intimacy of a chapel, but its sound is so big that even the stained glass windows beg to be opened.  Look for the album on 19 May.  But wait, there’s more!  The label will also be releasing pianist Ilya Beshevli‘s EP Primary Source on 21 April, a follow-up to the 2016 album Wanderer.  The participation of the Babelsberg Orchestra fills out the already rich sound of Beshevli’s instrument.

What If, inspired by hometown techno and house rhythms, Hauschka decided to move further in the direction of dance music?  The new album, due 31 March on Temporary Residence, is the answer.  The prepared piano (as well as player piano) remains un-intact, but is now the core of an extremely rhythmic set.  Penguin Cafe may be new to Erased Tapes, but the ensemble has been around for quite some time.  The Imperfect Sea (5 May) flirts with electronics via repetition, but remains grounded in modern composition.  Album highlight Cantorum is streaming now.  Multiple guests appear on the upcoming Visionary Hours album, Beyond the White, including Isnaj Dui, The Sly and Unseen, Bruno Sanfilippo, Western Skies Motel and more; expect it to appear in April or May.


Piano Day (29 March) brings a bevy of piano releases to 1631 Recordings, all of which (and more!) can be previewed on their Soundcloud page. The Piano Day releases include Garreth Broke‘s March EP, Michael Price‘s DiarySophie Hutchings‘ Yonder and Piano Cloud Series Volume Three, and we can be sure that more are on their way ~ a steady stream for 88 lovers.  Price’s album is of particular interest, as it reflects his composition-a-day project; Broke’s EP is the latest in a seasonal set.  On the same day, Dominique Charpentier will release L’Attente, an EP of solo piano works; a few days earlier, Freya Lily will also release a short set of piano pieces, titled The Dream (23 March).  Joep Beving is one of the first pianists to break big by virtue of streams; he’s now caught the attention of Deutsche Grammophon, who will be releasing his sophomore album Prehension on 7 April.  DJ duo Tale of Us appear on the same label with Endless, a blend of piano and electronics that expands our idea of the label (31 March).  Steve Gibbs moves from digital to vinyl with Adrift, a newly remastered collection due 28 April on Injazero.  And continuing the direction of last year’s album, Ian William Craig brings piano and lyrics to the fore on the Slow Vessels EP (Fatcat/130701, 5 May).  We love the return of color on the cover as well!


Valgeir Sigurdsson offers three longform pieces on Dissonance, the first of which is a taffy pull of sonic sources, worthy of its title.  The subsequent pieces are lush, orchestral and inviting, an olive branch to those more attuned to consonance (Bedroom Community, 21 April).  On the same day and label, we hope to hear Crash Ensemble‘s Ghosts, featuring music by Sigurdsson and originally slated for release last year.  Two seasons of the crime drama Fortitude are combined on the new album by Ben Frost; Mute has picked it up for release on 24 March.  Daniel Bjarnason leads the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra on Recurrence; the album features compositions by Bjarnason and Anna Thorvaldsdottir among others (Sono Luminus, 7 April).

In the chamber music department, we recommend Alla Elena Cohen‘s Red Lilies of Bells, Golden Lilies of Bells, White Lilies of bells, composed for various combinations of string trio, quartet, and ensemble (Ravello, 21 April), Jeffrey Jacob‘s orchestral Reawakening, inspired by subjects as diverse as Alpine lakes, Shakespearean sonnets and Haitian disasters (Navona, 14 April), and sharing the same day and label, Zhen Chan’s Ergo, which pairs piano with the Chinese pipa and erhu.  Also on the docket from Deutsche Grammophon, we find a trio of more traditional releases: Daniel Barenboim‘s Hommage à Boulez (24 March), Helene Grimauld‘s career-spanning Perspectives (7 April) and the massive 44-disc retrospective Vienna Philharmonic 175 (31 March).

Thee Silver Mt. Zion violinist Jessica Moss has recorded a pair of side-long tracks for her solo debut.  Pools of Light sparkles like its title and stretches gossamer-thin by the time it ends (Constellation, 5 May).  Ryuichi Sakamoto has been busy making soundtracks in recent years, but his first studio album in nearly a decade is about to drop.  Expect async to appear 28 April on Milan.  Henning Schmiedt‘s piano meets Christoph Berg‘s violin on Bei, a gorgeous pairing on Japanese label flau (14 April).  Similarly alluring is Total Fiction, from Shinya Sugimoto & Jeremy Young with Julia Kent (piano, tape, guitar and cello); the album is paired with a lovely film collage of the same name, and precedes a new Sontag Shogun album expected later this year (The Phinery, 10 April).  A couple tracks have been streaming for a few months, but now thanks to Tapu, Maarten Vos & Michel Banabila‘s gorgeous Home will finally be available for purchase on 30 April; the combination of cello, electronics and traditional Ukrainian music began as the score to a dance performance, and sounds amazing at home.  Stefan Wesolowski‘s Rite of the End is the latest installment of Ici d’Ailleurs‘ Mind Travels series: lots of strings, with a little bit of textural drone (28 April).  As we say goodbye to winter, Minco Eggersman‘s KAVKASIA seems an appropriate score, especially given the visuals of Hidden in Clouds.  The album is out this April on Volkoren.  And we’re still waiting for a release date on Luca D’Alberto‘s Endless (7K!, Spring), but the video continues to make us swoon.


Rock, Post-Rock, Folk & Jazz

Rich’s Pick:  Do Make Say Think ~ Stubborn Persistent Illusions (Constellation)
At first, the album seems like a U-turn, as the drums fall all over themselves like concertgoers when the door is first opened.  But soon the sound is ironed out, and we can again recognize the work of one of our favorite bands.  The center of the album (including “Bound” and “Boundless”) includes some of Do Make Say Think’s best work, so be patient ~ and remember that the band’s earliest albums were vastly different from those in their mid-period.  In this third phase, the band demonstrates that it respects its fans, but is not afraid to experiment.  We’ve waited a long time (the last album was released before this site was born), and have been rewarded with a thoughtful and rich excursion.


Post-Rock: Not Dead Yet!
Oiseaux-Tempête continues to make music in the GY!BE vein, suffused with political overtones and a sense of everyman drama.  The deep, dark A L – ‘ A N ! الآن  (And your night is your shadow — a fairy-tale piece of land to make our dreams) is bound to ruffle some feathers that need ruffling.  Due 31 March on Sub Rosa, it’s an album perfectly timed to reflect the current cluster of modern anxieties.  Loosely related by marriage is A-Sun Amissa, whose newest album, The Gatherer, is due 28 April on Gizeh, boasting an even darker, more electronic sound.  Thee Silver Mt. Zion’s Rebecca Foon returns as Saltland this spring ~ we can only hope for a tour with Jessica Moss (see Modern Composition above).  The cellist is deeply disturbed by the recent trend of ignoring truth, especially in environmental fields.  Her anger doesn’t get in the way of the album’s beauty, although it does provide some grit.  A Common Truth is out 31 March on Constellation.  Australia’s sleepmakeswaves has bulked up its sound since its last album, and now concentrates on muscle.  Made of Breath Only is already selling like hotcakes, with multiple purchase options available, including one with hoodie (24 March).  Also blending post-rock with electronics is Swiss quartet Hubris, readying their sophomore effort, Apocryphal Gravity (Cold Smoke, 7 April).  Solo post-rocker Deer Park Ranger makes his debut on Fluttery Records with Everything All the Time, an exercise in traditional peaks and valleys (22 March).  Playful post-rocker Glaswegians returns on 7 April with the upbeat Severance, playing all 30 instruments himself.  And while we first met Levi Patel as a pianist, Affinity runs down the halls of post-rock like newly-minted royalty (7 April).


Vibrant and Lush
On Chromola, 1982 (Nils Økland, Sigbjørn Apeland and Øyvind Skarbø) blends violin, harmonium and drums, producing a languid, unhurried feel (Hubro, 24 March).  Glenn Jones‘ banjo is befriended by Matthew Azevedo’s electronics on the live album Waterworks (Thrill Jockey, 22 April).  Toby Hay‘s 12-string guitar anchors the warm sound of The Gathering, a follow-up to last year’s Birds EP.  Light accompaniment from double bass and string quartet makes it glow (Cambrian, 29 March).  When is a cymbal album not a cymbal album?  When the artist decides he likes other instruments too much to let the cymbals have all the fun.  Eternal Something is a bit unusual for Erased Tapes, as Daniel Brandt‘s sound is far from the traditional modern composition for which the label is known.  Instead, the album operates as a series of jams, rock-based, but with an electronic tone (24 March).  75 Dollar Bill concentrates on the sound of the shaker, backed by other instruments including electric guitar; the inversion gives the modest instrument its long-overdue time in the sun. Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock is due 7 April on Glitterbeat.  On the same day, the label releases a new set from Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society; two drummers, guimbri and a touch of jazz make Simultonality as colorful as its cover.  Jazz meets the Middle East on Anthony Pasquarosa with John Moloney‘s My Pharaoh, My King (Feeding Tube, 24 March); “enjoy it with a meatball,” they say.  And Man Forever returns on 19 May with a plethora of friends, including Laurie Anderson and Mary Lattimore; on Play What They Want, the percussion-based act sounds fuller than ever (Thrill Jockey).


Louder Genres
Golden Oriole
‘s self-titled album is a blast of live funk, created by members of Staer and Tralten Eller Utpult (Drid Machine, 21 March).  Kreidler‘s European Song is pure Krautrock, perfect for dancing the night away (Bureau B, 7 April).  In contrast, Croatia’s Black Metal Earth‘s Emphasis is dark and dense, as one might expect from the post-metal band; but the female vocals on the opening track also make it approachable (28 April).  The sludgy Age of Sewage is grimy and mean, but that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Robedoor (Hands in the Dark, 21 April).  Hot on the heels of last week’s Dead Neanderthals album, Consouling Sounds has queued up an eager trio of spring releases: Empusae‘s Lueur (featuring guest vocals from CHVE) on 7 April, MNHM‘s Of Empires Past on 5 May and a split 10″ record from Amenra & Raketkanon & Michaël Borremans on 12 May.  Hard rocking Telepathy returns on 31 March with Tempest, an album whose bombast reflects its title: loud, thick and packed with riffs (Golden Antenna).  Swedish “super noise group” Orchestra of Constant Distress seeks to break speakers with its self-titled debut on 8mm (20 March).  Free jazz meets doom on the self-titled debut from GRID, a trio that unites members of three separate bands (NNA Tapes, 24 March).  The season also brings the long-awaited return of Zu, now inspired by Tibetan funeral practices.  The Jhator promo teaser starts brightly but soon grows dark, promising an elemental excursion (House of Mythology, 7 April).

Richard Allen

One comment

  1. Pingback: 50 Albums in 8 Days! | a closer listen

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