New Sounds 04/29/2022
We've reached the end of April, and though there is still a month or so left of the high-volume spring release season, this is going to be DC's last "New Sounds" post for a while. Over the next six weeks, I (Nathan) am closing out the school year while simultaneously transitioning to a new teaching position, and though I really enjoy curating these weekly recommendation pieces, I've gotta divert my energy elsewhere for a bit. Had a good run though, right? Seventeen NS posts across four months!
Now, know that I will absolutely still be listening in - updating and moving through my release calendar, and when I am able to write again (sometime in June, most likely), I'll share a few of my May favorites. I've also been kicking around the idea of publishing a sort of "DC DIY" guide to show readers how I keep on top of new music, in case anyone wants to hunt down new sounds independently during these stretches when I'm tied up with work. Stay tuned for that this summer. I've also got some interviews and festival coverage coming up, as well as a physical project in the works, so really, just keep checking back periodically.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself! There is a bunch of stellar music out today, and below are six albums I am looking forward to sitting with this weekend. And don't forget to scroll to the bottom for some bonus music.
Thanks for following along, y'all!
Cyrus Pireh - Still Here, Still Ripping (Astral Editions) - The only bit of this release I've heard so far is the single minute-and-a-half advance track on Bandcamp, but the album notes make it sound like quite the sonic adventure. Cyrus Pireh explores what is possible with an electric guitar, eschewing traditional form by adding and subtracting strings, generally fucking with electrical currents, and adopting a finger(nail) picking-style. Can't wait to hear the whole thing, considering how much I enjoyed Astral Editions' last release.
Erica Eso - 192 (Hausu Mountain Records) - FINALLY, a Hausu Mountain highlight on DC! More about this wonderful label below, but I simply love this angular art pop album - an outlier in Hausu Mountain's catalog of wonky electronic maximalism. The songs on 192 feature danceable grooves, but there are enough surprising changes in pace to keep things interesting. A gem of an album, really.
KMRU & Aho Ssan - Limen (Subtext Recordings) - I saw KMRU live for the first time last month, and was absolutely blown away by his performance. Over the course of an hour, the Kenyan sound artist mixed a wash of high frequency field recordings with a building boil of bass. And perhaps I'm mistaken, but I think I hear some of the same sounds in the preview excerpt of his collaborative release with French digital artist, Aho Ssan. By the album's description, this one looks to be noisy, so prepare your eardrums.
Lydian Dunbar - Blue Sleep (Room40) - Have you ever had a day is so perfect that you felt the need to immediately write and record an album about it? No? Well Lydian Dunbar has! After an afternoon spent bayside with a friend, napping by the water and blinking awake to gaze at the blue sky, the two headed into the studio with harmonicas, a modular synth, and a few field recordings to document that sublime moment. Maybe close your eyes while listening to Blue Sleep, and imagine yourself transported to a favorite peaceful place.
perila - house of care (Lillerne Tapes) - According to the liner notes, this album was recorded during an isolation retreat, and it absolutely sounds like it. A collage of nature sounds, soft voice, and spare piano, perila's house of care plays close like a whisper. It's beautiful, yes, but also eerie in a walking-through-a-haunted-woods sort of way.
William Basinski & Janek Schaefer - “ . . . on reflection " (Temporary Residence Ltd.) - Here's one I've been looking forward to hearing for a good while. These two iconic sound artists collaborated remotely over the course of eight years, manipulating a delicate piano melody in various ways to finally produce “ . . . on reflection " - a work exploring themes of time, distance, and memory. Dedicated to Harold Budd, it's sure to be a gorgeous offering.
Bonus Music: Before I spotlight a few of my favorite Hausu Mountain releases, I gotta give major props to the Chicago label for their detailed mailers and overall communication style. It may seem strange to mention this, but as an ultra-organized individual who values both clarity and timeliness, what Hausu Mountain provides is next-level. So if you fine folks happen to be reading this, thanks for all you do!
And, of course, their music is great too. Seriously, check out HM's entire catalog, but a couple of my recent(ish) favorites are Nonlocal Forecast's Holographic Universe(s?)! and Body Meπa's The Work Is Slow - both very different from each other, but so so so rad.