To close out January, we've got one more round of new releases to highlight, and together, these albums should get us through the long, cold weekend. Typically, the busy spring release season doesn't ramp up so early, but there are a surprising number of quality albums out today and tomorrow. Here are just a few we're looking forward to hearing:
Alexandra Spence - Submerged tape loops (Canti Magnetici) - Ever since last year's A Necessary Softness, we've been following Spence's work closely. For her new release, the ever-experimental sound artist chose six different locations across Hong Kong, took seven-second field recordings above water and beneath the water's surface, soaked these tape loops for a month, then dried + re-cased + digitized them. WHEW! Canti Magnetici really knocked it out of the park this week, so be sure to read about three more of their releases at the bottom of this article.
Armbruster - Masses (Dear Life Records) - Recorded in an empty church sanctuary on a frigid March morning, Armbruster's opening violin tones match the haunting quality of the space in which he plays. However, the artist's sometimes-improvised sometimes-written pieces eventually turn a corner, the melodies hinting at a brighter season ahead.
Ben McElroy - How I Learnt To Disengage From The Pack (The Slow Music Movement Label) - Here's the only album featured this week that we got to appreciate in advance - on a crisp winter morning walk, actually. Described in the liner notes as "midwinter folk music," you'll hear fiddle, cello, guitar, accordion, organ, whistles, and even some vocals across this album of clean plucks, arresting drones, and everything in between.
Fadi Tabbal - Music For The Lonely Vol.2 (2019-2021) (Ruptured Records) - We're still living through a global pandemic, folks, despite a shift back to "normal" by some individuals and political entities (ahem). We've been Fadi Tabbal fans ever since Beacon Sound introduced us to his work a few years back, and here, the Lebanese musician shares his second collection of isolation songs. Volume One featured primarily guitar pieces, but Volume Two shifts to synth textures and tape loops.
Jason Kolàr - Liquid Rhythm (Dauw) - Organic instrumentation played atop warm electronic swells will surely make this offering of ten minimalist pieces quite the relaxing listen. Dauw is a label we trust, so we're expecting Kolàr's album to to be excellent. And hey: it's pay-what-you-will on Bandcamp for a bit. Just a heads-up.
Lawrence English - 'Oseni (Room40) - In the wake of the devastating Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapaithe volcanic eruption, Lawrence English, the prolific sound artist and Room40 label head, decided to post this mix of Pacific Ocean field recordings to raise some relief funds for those affected. The sounds you'll hear on 'Oseni were captured over a 15-year span from locations around the Pacific Rim.
Maya Shenfeld - In Free Fall (Thrill Jockey) - A classically-trained guitarist, Maya Shenfeld moved to Berlin, found a new community of musicians, and her sonic horizons expanded into new territory. On her debut, the artist embraces physicality, electronic experimentalism, and an unbridled compositional approach.
Bonus Music: Okay, so Alexandra Spence's Submerged tape loops is just one of four incredible Canti Magnetici editions out today. Honestly, it was difficult to write about only one, because we're super exited to hear all four this weekend. But time constraints, ya know? Gotta draw the line somewhere. Anyway, you can find them all on the label's Bandcamp page (they are the top four listed). Also, Roman Angelos just released this silly album called Music For Underwater Supermarkets on UK's Happy Records, and the music is just as the title suggests! Pretty excited to hear this one, too, but felt that it didn't really fit alongside an album raising money for tsunami relief. Anyway, check it out if you'd like.