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  • Nathan Yoder

New Sounds 02/25/2022

Coming in a day late due to this writer's last-second decision to watch Kishi Bashi perform with the Oregon Symphony on Thursday night instead of churning out a post, here are DC's five "New Sounds" picks for your weekend of listening. Plus a little homework beneath the highlighted albums.


Thanks for your patience, and for reading.


Adela Mede - Szabadság - I only just became aware of Adela Mede's debut album a couple days ago (thanks IG friends!) and its release unfortunately coincides with escalating conflict in Eastern Europe. Recorded in Bratislava, Szabadság is a weaving together of vocals, electronics, and field recordings. Across a mixture of full-formed songs and shorter interludes, Mede connects past memories with the present, on a personal scale to societal. Also know that this week, 100% of funds generated from the digital sales of this album will be donated to an agency working to help Ukrainian refugees.


Arbee - Précédents (Florina Cassettes) - Can't remember if I've highlighted Florina Cassettes yet - a new ambient label out of Quebec. Arbee's release is their third so far, and the album's liner notes piqued my interest. Some acoustic instrumentation blended with modular synth and "drowned in noisy hiss" seems pretty on-brand for DC.


Julian Zyklus - Waterpiano (Hush Hush Records) - The first of two EPs I'm excited to hear this weekend is an enchanting four-song suite by Julian Zyklus. Magical in a storybook sort-of way, each piano piece swells with tidal movement, some sounds even emulating bubbles rising to the water's surface.


Lynn Avery & Cole Pulice - To Live & Die In Space & Time (Moon Glyph) - It's about time that I show some love to this awesome Portland-based label! Moon Glyph has been sending me promos for a while now, and I really dig their aesthetic. Honestly, it doesn't get much better than All Your Gifts Are Weightless by Charlatan. But this paragraph is to bring attention to Lynn Avery and Cole Pulice's lovely new EP of synth + piano + electronics + tenor sax. The four songs on To Live & Die In Space & Time flow freely in an improvised manner - the artists responding to each other so naturally. It's a beaut.


Pneumatic Tubes - A Letter from TreeTops (Ghost Box) - psychedelic and playful, Jesse Chandler's set of kaleidoscopic tunes feels like a retro throwback, but one with unique twists. Joined by a diverse cast of collaborators, Chandler offers music which emanates a subtle warm glow - a very welcome feeling these days.


Bonus music: Somehow, over the past couple of years I've connected with a number of Eastern European labels, and am increasingly interested in their various releases. Maybe Adam Badí Donoval's superb PR work got me hooked? Who knows, but however it happened, I'm now really into Slovakia-based labels Warm Winters Ltd. and Mappa, and the Polish label Mondoj. If you click on those Bandcamp links, you may recognize some titles from my prior posts.


Slovakia and Poland both share borders with Ukraine, and are feeling the reverberations of the geopolitical conflict currently unfolding in the wider Eastern European region. I've been thinking a lot about these folks with whom I've recently become acquainted, and suppose that my "homework" suggestion for you all is to sit with a few Warm Winters, Mappa, and Mondoj albums over the next week. Bonus points if your choices are by artists local to their label's region.


I've also been thinking about this album on North Eurasia Found Tapes - one that I wrote about a few weeks back. It's a beautiful sound collage of a town in far eastern Russia. After posting that mini-review, I actually connected with one of the artists involved, and we messaged back-and-forth, sharing information about our respective home cities. I learned a lot about Yakutsk, and she about Portland. Turns out that Google Street View can be a ton of fun!


Anyway, I don't know how to wrap this up in an eloquent way or on any sort of profound note. It's just nice to link up with real people in these countries which are so often only represented in the U.S. media by their political leaders or defined by international crises.


Art is a much better entry point.