Posts Tagged ‘Synth’

The Belbury Poly – The Gone Away

Its been a couple of years yet since The Belbury Poly released a standalone album and news that a new one is one the way for 2020 is well received around these parts. Jim Jupp, who runs Ghost Box alongside Julian House has been busy in the interim, with collaborative LPs finding their way out with The Advisory Circle’s Jon Brooks, Sharon Kraus, and Justin Hopper. Even with these sating a bit of the break, its exciting to hear Jupp’s hallucinogenic sci-fi storybook soundtracks taking root once again in the synthscape wonderland that he’s created for Belbury. This teaser isn’t a video proper for one of the songs, presumably mixing up a few, but the warped tone and unsettling delivery from director Sean Reynard and star Quentin Smirhes play well with the haunted nostalgia that Belbury lays down underneath. Pushing this one way up the anticipated list for 2020. New LP The Gone Away is out August 28th, and again its coupled with Julian House’s impeccable artwork that makes every piece in the label a collector’s dream.

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Tarotplane

A split last year with Prana Crafter brought Baltimore’s Tarotplane further into the light, at least around here, but PJ Doresey’s been issuing deep-tissue cosmic platters for a couple of years on labels like Aguirre and Lullabies for Insomniacs. He debuts on hometown outpost VG+ with an LP split into two side-long excursions into the outer reaches of crystalline headspace. The Feedback Sutras was conceived mid-winter freeze and the isolation and cold feed into the windswept desolation that scars the album’s surface. There’s something both macrocosmic and microcosmic at work here. Dorsey’s voluminous riffs and synth burble tug at the tundra like an ice core drill down through a glacier. The album leeches out the gasses and grit of eons packed in cold compress, refracting light off the crystal structure to create an earthbound cosmos in compact.

The first side is tenuous and trembling, with a slight tinge of danger lurking beneath the surface. While the coldness is at its core, something in Dorsey’s delivery sidles his work up next to the underwater explorations of Sven Liabek or the watery prog of Dominique Guiot. Like those soundtracks to the deep, there’s something of a descent into the abyss to Tarotplane’s latest. There’s a weightlessness, but also a force pulling the suspended listener further into the depths of shadow and light that flicker through the liquid lines of his playing. The second side sets aside some of the wonder to let the feelings of danger grip tighter. Its hard to fight the pull downward to the frigid waters that grow ever darker, even as the lights of the first track dance in glances back to the surface above. Last year’s split positioned Dorsey to take a hight place on the list of cosmic players filling up the ranks, and with The Feedback Sutras he leaps ever higher. Isolation just got a new soundtrack. Not a minute too late, either.



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Tengger

The new album from pan-asian duo (or trio if you count their child accompanist / dance enthusiast) is a glittering example of Terra Firma synth explorations. While many of their contemporaries explore the cosmos, looking to dip their synth strains in an otherworldly light, Tengger are doused in earthbound explorations of natural beauty given sonic flight. The band has long embarked on pilgrimages to inspire their work and it’s clear that the high, green-draped peaks of mountain trails and the verdant expanses of highborn waterfalls and streams give life to their new age psychedelic soak in ways that seem more dazzling than the outer realms could ever hope to achieve.

On the fittingly named Nomad, the couple move more towards an embrace of rhythm than on past Tengger records. The stratospheric float remains in place, but underneath there is a burbling, wondrous sense of movement that picks from the German Progressive template and adds a hypnotic flow to the album. With the DNA of Neu and Klaus Schulze in their veins, the band push the motorik impulses into a new generation, eschewing the modern tendency to mash these influences into a fine paste. They embrace the dichotomy of ambience and propulsion with a clear vision that ripples nicely in all directions. The album finds them balanced, clean and focused on a terrestrial peace that’s enviable, yet attainable, at least for the 37 minutes that they radiate from the speakers.



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Ezra Feinberg – “Acquainted With The Night”

Just in time to cool off the angst of the year, the new album from Ezra Feinberg (Citay) comes to quench the thirst for something serene. Built on a circular guitar line, and bathed in the cool blue waters of synths that ripple like a requiem for an unworried life, opener “Acquainted With the Night” sinks below the soul’s horizon on the last amber hues of sunset. After the final folding of Citay, Feinberg has spent time traversing the ethereal with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Arp. His close collaboration with Jonas Reinhardt from Arp is paid back on Recumbent Speech with synth contributions and he taps quite a few longtime compatriots with input from John McEntire (Tortoise), Chuck Johnson, Diego Gonzalez (Citay, The Dry Spells), April Hayley (The Dry Spells) making its way onto the album. I’ve long been a fan of Feinberg’s work with Citay and this feels like both a continuation of tone and exploration of new directions from the artist. Some days we all need a balm, and this is just what the mid-year stretch called for. The album is out June 26th. Mark your calendars.




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Tengger – “Achime”

The last LP from Tengger was a beacon of hope, a calm respite in troubled times, and as the band eases into the release of their follow-up, Nomad, they don’t falter as the deep breath on a cool morning we’d all like about now. Still rooted in shimmering tones, “Achime” also lets in a soft burble of rhythm to the mix, percolating with a cosmic ripple that drives the celestial tones and the vernal glow of life that’s woven into the vocals. The band accompanies the track with an equally gorgeous video, tying their sound to natural wonders as they have in the past. Nature and the splendor of Tengger always seem to be on parallel tracks and here they wet down our souls in the font of rebirth yet again. The LP lands June 7th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.



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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – “Unificado (Pye Corner Audio Remix)”

Earlier in the year Guadalajara’s Lorelle Meets The Obsolete released one of their most potent records to date. It pulled them out of the murk a bit and into a crisper vision of shoegaze, dreampop, and scarred psychedelia. Perhaps as a reminder of that album’s prowess as we near the end of the year, the band has released a remix of the album’s darkly simmering “Unificado” by UK synth slinger Pye Corner Audio. The Ghost Box alum has been haunting the edges of horror soundtrack-style rev-ups of late, but here he’s all in for atmospherics. Taking the track’s airy creep and white-hot guitar and giving them a slinking makeover that utilizes Lorena Qintanilla’s vocals as not a harbinger of psychedelic fry, but as a conduit for tense cinematic sweat, this is a completely new side of LMTO. Still time to get into their latest if it has eluded you for the past year, and quite recommended that you do.



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Jonas Munk & Niklas Sørensen

Another sparkling gem out of the El Paraiso pocket here, this time from label co-head Jonas Munk along with Niklas Sørensen (Papir). Always Already Here locks into a Kosmiche wave and threads synth ripples through the swell. The pair head into the project with minimalism on the brain and they come out of it nicely unencumbered, building hypnotic patterns that play in the analog fizz. With a palette of synth and syncopated guitars, the duo submerge the listener into the light, dripping sounds from the surface and rendering any surrounding noise canceled with their startling calm.

There’s a deep dedication to the Göttsching school here, and the album brings to mind Inventions For Electric Guitar‘s lagurous beauty on more than one occasion, among some later nods towards Ashra’s more synth heavy trips. The album is a sonic cavern, a protective layer that spreads like gel around the brain as it unfolds. More than just hanging the listener into suspended animation, though, the pair strip away the weight of worry with each round of repetition and each opalescent splash of guitar. The record is a sonic scrub for the soul, allowing a disconnect from reality to recalibrate the brain and take a breath. If the world’s been getting to be too much and you’re in need of an aural vacation, then Munk and Sørensen have just the deep dive you’ve been looking for.




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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “Joy”

Another haunting track from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma tips off his third release with Mexican Summer. After contributing interstitial magic to their upcoming surf compilation, the artist goes deep into aching drones after his brush with shoegaze on On Echoing Green. The fuzz is wiped away, replaced by a crispness that can’t be shaken. Several of “Joy’s” tones tiptoe in the background, with the main melody sighing heavy with an unseen tragic turn. Cant-Ledesma has long been a frontrunner for ambient ache, but this is him at his least obfuscated, his most present vision of rippling melancholy that’s hard to shake. The track prefaces his upcoming LP Tracing Back The Radience, out July 12th.



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Skyminds

Skyminds slipped a small eponymous tape run (100 copies) out on Auasca earlier this year and its sorely deserving of more attention. The set, from members of Channelers, Ashan, and Selaroda, is ladled with the same syrupy serenity that their other outfits offer, slotting definitively into the mind melt zones one would expect. However, they also expand amiably on the synth duo dynamic with forays into desert dub, radiant high plains guitar shimmer, and meditative acoustic strum. Henning and Conrad melt their psychedelic float into a record that ripples like mountains out the window, calming as a sine wave but also rather breathtaking as the full horizon unfolds.

With a drone underpinning most tracks, the pair place delicate stacks of flutes, strings, plucks and even the occasional beat into the mix but they always return to the ether to unwind with pillowy synths as the bedrock of their sound. The album’s first half mix n’ picks some of their strengths, but the band stretches out completely as they ease into the latter tracks, “Morning Way” and “Illuminated and Warming.” The sounds become a bucolic haze washing over the listener. Each listen on the album picks out new combinations of sound that give the album shading and shape. Recommended picking this one up before the run sells through as its a nice little gem.

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Jacco Gardner – Fading Cosmos 12″

Jacco Gardner’s last album, while still quite steeped in the seeds of psychedelia, was a departure of sorts. It served as a complete instrumental journey that echoes the type of synth-heavy psych and prog that inhabited the Harvest label, the more cosmic side of the ‘70s German underground, and pastoral Swedish psychedelia. Along with those sessions Gardner recorded two songs that didn’t seem to quite fit with the overarching journey and now they being released as a 12” called Fading Cosmos. The title track still follows the album’s thrust of burbling synths and lilting guitar melancholia, but there’s not as much buzzing of the MS20 that drove his direction on Somnium.

Rooted in the idea that artificial light is slowly eroding our ability to observe cosmic occurrences, the song wafts into a quivering dream state that’s almost unsettling in the ease of its embrace. Hazy, and rocking on a lullaby beat, the song slowly hypnotizes the listener into a meditative bliss while the organ sketches soft penlight patterns on the eyelids. Along with the flip, “Autumn in Lisbon,” the release makes a nice compliment to Somnium‘s synthedelic themes. The new EP out June 14th from Full Time Hobby.



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