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  • Nathan Yoder

New Sounds 04/08/2022

Thanks for checking out DC's "New Sounds" selections on this beautiful Friday morning. Though it's currently raining, things feel pretty bright here in Southeast Portland because it's an end-of-term grading day in PPS, and teachers are afforded a few hours of precious catch-up time before the final sprint to summer break. For me, this work-from-home day means I can actually get a jump start on my weekend listening while I punch in final marks. What a gift.

Check out some of what I'll be listening to below, and don't forget to scroll down for bonus suggestions as well.

Golden Brown - Luminous (Inner Islands) - I loved Golden Brown's Gems and Minerals, which just came out last fall, and was so excited when I heard that the Colorado-based guitarist was planning to release another album on the ever-excellent Inner Islands. By its description and advance tracks, Luminous seems to come from a different place than Gems and Minerals. The artist opts to use only his own guitar, interwoven with field recordings, and each melody springs from daily improvisations inspired by specific mountain landscapes.

Graintable - The Rain In The Trees (Ransom Note Records) - By simply by reading this album's liner notes, I can tell it's for me. James Cooke (who records as Graintable) is an producer living here in Portland who straddles the sonic boundaries between electronic, ambient, and drone. The Rain In The Trees is a pretty on-the-nose title for a PNW-influenced offering, and I'm expecting to feel plunked right in the Coastal Range while listening.

Michael Scott Dawson - Music For Listening (We Are Busy Bodies) - I was sent this album a couple months back and have enjoyed listening to it a few times through already. MSD has been featured on DC at least twice (maybe three?) times before, so needless to say, I'm a fan of his work. On Music For Listening, the composer layers spare guitar and piano loops atop crackling recordings of birdsong taken from the Canadian prairie. I grew up in the country, myself, and hearing these collages brings me back to the golden Willamette Valley summers of my childhood.

Slow Clinic & Matt Atkins - Earthtides I (Whitelabrecs) - Matt Atkins and James Edward Armstrong (who records as Slow Clinic) are regular collaborators. The two sound artists sent piano loops, processed guitar tones, and field recordings back and forth to each other, collaging tracks to ultimately create beautifully textured ambiance. More on Whitelabrecs' output below, but make sure to spend time with this specific release this weekend.

Sontag Shogun x Lau Nau - Valo Siroutuu (Beacon Sound) - I wrote about this Valo Siroutuu a few weeks ago when DC previewed Leikkikalu, so I'll refrain from heaping even more praise on this incredible work here. Read my thoughts by following this link, and if you choose not to click, it's cool. Just know that this might be the album of the year. At least so far.

Whatever The Weather - S/T (Ghostly International) - And finally, let's bump up the bpm a bit. North London producer, Loraine James, stays busy. Despite working as a teaching assistant by day (s/o to all you educators out there!), she releases music at a pretty prolific clip. Her newest offering is a free-flowing collection of improvised ambient electronic cuts, the arc of the album following temperature fluctuations. I adore the two advance tracks and can't wait to hear the entire piece from start to finish.

Bonus music: If you're looking for some additional listening suggestions, go ahead and dive into Whitelabrecs' discography. The experimental ambient label releases music at an impressively consistent pace, and I really dig most of what they share. Don't know where to start? Yeah, it's a little overwhelming. I'll go ahead and link the albums I've written about over the past couple of years on DC, and then you can adventure on your own.

Oh, and I didn't write about these, but Letna's Starigrad and morimoto naoki's soak just came out last month and were really good too.


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