Eli Rainsberry ~ Wilmot’s Warehouse
Wilmot’s Warehouse begins with a simple, chill electronic sequence that in the span of one minute transforms into a rapid, complex melody. It’s expertly layered, and is indicative of the sheer procedural creativity that informs the entire album. Tracks mostly start with something uncomplicated, but they develop (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly) into an intricate arrangement of parts that give the whole set an unexpectedly soothing tone. What I’m describing of course, is minimalism, and Rainsberry puts repetition and polyphony at the service of quiet ear-puzzles in which the procedure is the star. Just like Steve Reich, Rainsberry is flexible with the internal logic of the music, and in tracks like “Customer Service” they introduce elements that, while feeling new, do not feel external, and add emotional twists and intensity to the experience of listening to the rule bend and reconstitute step by step. Thus the name with which they alternatively refer to this OST: Wilmot Variations. You can always count on the base, on the stability of certain rhythms and combinations (like the little marimba-like sequences that feature ever since the first track), and once you come to intimately know them, they start developing into new forms with new features. It is, in short, a delight.
Lena Raine ~ Chicory EP
Chicory is a future project about a dog that wields a magic paintbrush on a quest to restore color to the world. How can it not be adorable? Raine’s demo EP in support of the project gives the premise a joyfully epic tone, in the style of Zelda soundtracks. While the mix is still quite raw, the tracks themselves are already fully fleshed-out, and it’s impressive how, like Kondo before her, Raine builds entire atmospheres with a simple melody. The most distinct track in the EP, “Supper Woods”, is a good distillation of Raine’s approach to the cute-but-epic character of the game, creating a wide emotional variety around banjo riffs that hint sometimes at happiness, sometimes at something more tragic, sometimes at something fearful; it is dense with sentiment, and promises the same type of kind complexity as a game that will let you paint your way to world harmony.
Clark Aboud ~ Kind Words
A game about being nice to strangers – now there’s something that the internet needs. Aboud’s music is meant as accompaniment to your letter-writing, but it is also quite cozy itself, lying somewhere between an acid jazz album and downtempo electronica. It might be too chill for some, in the sense that it borders that weird limit between sounding unique and sounding generic, but I believe it is, in this particular case, a strength. It is music to dip in and out of, without the philosophical or experimental baggage of ambient, nor the cheesy formalist regurgitations of “Bossa Nova and X” albums. It’s just nice, like writing a meaningful letter to someone you do not know, in which a tense mix between earnestness and formality is kept; you can’t just bare your deepest feelings, but you can’t just write “best wishes” either. Perhaps this is why Aboud’s use of the guitar sounds shoe-gazey – it is meaningful expression made in public, and so a measure of shyness permeates every emotional connection. “We’re all in this together”, says the description, and it feels just right. (David Murrieta Flores)