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  • Nathan Yoder

New Sounds 03/25/2022

Good morning from beautiful Boise, Idaho! I wasn't totally sure if I would be able to crank out a New Sounds post this week due to my being a few hundred miles from home, but I found some extra time mid-week to listen and write before taking off for three days of Treefort.

Lots and lots of music out today and across this next week, as we're in the height of spring release season and Piano Day is coming up on the 29th. Check out six of the many albums I'm exited to hear on my long drive home, and find a few bonus releases at the bottom of this piece.

Francesco Covarino - Nido (tsss tapes) - Last Friday was World Sleep Day, and here we have a cassette of lullabies. Francesco Covarino, a guitarist and sound artist based in southern Spain, recorded these melodies for his then two-year-old daughter to help her wind down. On side A, notes patter as soft as raindrops on rooftops, and listening to side B feels like that blurry moment right before you fade into sleep.

Isik Kural - in february (RVNG Intl) - To many, February is a dreary month - cold and gray, no fun at all. But Isik Kural's new album presents a totally different take. The advance tracks from in february shine bright in a playful sort of way - dizzying and kaleidoscopic, much like Animal Collective's earliest experiments. It's warm and welcome music.

Lorenz Weber - ray of hope (piano and coffee records) - And here come the piano albums. Valencia's piano and coffee records gets at it every spring, and they've got a full slate of releases coming up again this year. Lorenz Weber's solo piano contribution is split into two complimentary sides: summer and the rain and winter and the sun. Weber leaves plenty of room between each note, allowing the music to shift slowly between seasons, and nature-based field recordings add to the thematic arc of the piece.

nunu - Things I wasn't able to tell you (Schole Records) - Like listening to h hunt's playing piano for dad, hearing nunu's Things I wasn't able to tell you feels like you're eavesdropping, catching a few moments personal to the artist. The German pianist treats this album as her diary, as she self-recorded it entirely in her room. There are moments of lightness and joy, but song titles like Only You Can Make Me Cry So Bad hint at how deeply emotional it gets.

Tom Rogerson - Retreat to Bliss (Western Vinyl) - And piano album 3/3 is by an artist who first caught my attention back in 2017 with his excellent Eno collaboration, Finding Shore. Since that release, Rogerson had a child, lost a parent, and was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. These experiences drew him back to the landscape of his youth, and he recorded Retreat to Bliss in a church next to his parents' home. Hopefully making this solo album was cathartic in a way, and brought the artist some sense of peace.

V/A - Hallow Ground presents: EPIPHANIES (Hallow Ground) - Have you ever wondered what an epiphany sounds like? Well you can thank the Swiss label, Hallow Ground, because they asked sixteen different artists to share their interpretation. Sonic approaches are all over the place across this experimental compilation, but as you might expect, there is a little organ here and there - notably FUJI||||||||||TA's homemade instrument. Can't wait to see that thing live in Portland.

Bonus music: Balmorhea quietly dropped a three-song EP titled Solanales last Friday, and it feels like a continuation of last year's The Wind (which I loved so so so much). Released on World Sleep Day and dedicated to the late Harold Budd, the instrumental duo's minimalist pieces slowly float along, dreamlike and serene.

And if you're looking for more ways to support those currently experiencing the effects of war in Ukraine, two stellar benefit compilations came out last week - For Ukraine (Volume 1) by Headphone Commute and ...for my Ukraine by giraffe tapes. Both collections feature a number of ambient artists which you might recognize from past DC posts, and there are even a few who appear on both releases. Headphone Commute's selections feel a little cleaner and crisper, while giraffe tapes' songs are fuzzy and blurred, but both are so perfectly beautiful. Check em out if you haven't yet, and a big thanks to both labels.


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