A Closer Listen tends to be positive in its reviews, so sometimes it’s difficult to tell which releases we like more than others.  This page lets you know what we’re listening to and enjoying the most.

Ólafur Arnalds ~ Island Songs (Mercury Classics)
Not out in physical release until 28 October, but available in digital form and streaming, Island Songs is Arnalds’ seven-week summer project.  “What did you do on your summer vacation?” one might ask.  The answer: “Travelled around Iceland and collaborated with friends and family members, composing a track a week and catching the magic on video.”  The result is an audio-visual treat.

Izabela Dłużyk ~ Soundscapes of Summer 
When it comes to field recording, blindness is not necessarily a liability; it may be a boon.  This album, recorded in Polish forests, provides the soundtrack to an entire day spent in nature, and reflects an entire season.  It’s a beautiful way to say goodbye to summer with hopes of hearing it again.


Dakota Suite & Vampillia ~ The Sea Is Never Full (Karaoke Kalk)
This stunning collaboration is a response to the nuclear disaster and tsunami in Japan.  The range of emotions is incredible, from peace to anger to despair, and the entire album is made with love.  Borrowing from traditions from modern composition to rock, these artists provide a fitting elegy for a tragedy whose effects are still ongoing.

Wang Wen ~ Sweet Home, Go! (Pelagic Records)
Want the biggest riffs this side of Mono, along with tender breakdowns and a modern composition sheen?  Look no further than Wang Wen’s 9th album, a post-rock masterpiece that incorporates strings and brass to great effect.  Save for the final choral piece, it’s all instrumental, with no rough edges to break the mood.

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