Record Curator + Marketing at at LUNA Music. 10+ yrs experience as Design Strategist + Project Manager for web, brand, strategic planning. Play music, eat toast, ride bikes, walk fast.

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Oct. 2021 Bandcamp Spins

Tricks and treats: plentiful tape loops, a throwback organ trio, and a full-on Sun Ra covers concept.

Almost forgot about Devotion, 2018’s debut late-nite electronic slowburner LP from London’s Tirzah. Three years on, “Sink In” pushes Colourgrade into even spacier territory, a backlit, post-3-am mellow void where everything is vaguely alien except for those lush vocals. 

Ohio’s Colemine continue digging up nuggets – Seattle’s Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio play 3-piece soul jazz so solid it’ll nearly make you forget the classics. Immaculately recorded electric organ/electric gtr/drums get down for 40 minutes and then get on out – I Told You So is stacked front-to-back with burners.

I was on a classic Tortoise LP binge last yr., sometime while quarantining – but failed to revisit their latest LP (2016’s The Catastrophist) until this fall, where I promptly became obsessed with its broad purview of jazz/electronic/jammy ephemera. “Gopher Island” is a nearly 8-bit mini-score that fuses a cheesy melody over an airily, driven beat. *summons new Tortoise record for 2022*

Hiroshima’s Meitei came across my radar with one of my favorite 2019 records, Komachi. “Happyaku-yachō / 八百八町”, from the forthcoming Kofū II / 古風 II preserves the sample-heavy sense of mystery while pushing it toward the dancefloor. Out in December on Singapore’s KITCHEN. LABEL

I was a late adopter to the glitchy, late-nite soundworld of Jan Jelinek before getting lost deep inside classic LP Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records during quarantine. Gramm is his 2am club alter-ego; and Jelinek’s own imprint Faitiche has reissued the timeless groove of 1999’s Personal Rock, which opens with “legends/nugroove ™”.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Huerco S. alter-ego Pendant has a new double LP full of maximal electronic fog – To All Sides They Will Stretch Out Their Hands (via West Mineral Ltd.) is a full-frequency ambient aural blanket. “Dream Song Of The Woman”  hints at a garbled melody and spends its duration wandering through waves. Is that a buried vocal or just a shimmering static-form?

Composer Christina Vantzou issued one of my favorite records of 2020 – Multi-Natural (via Belgium’s Edições CN) mixed field recording, electronics, and some classical instrumentation to astounding effect. “Life Of A Mushroom”, from fungi-themed tape Releasing Spores for new Paris imprint Slow Moves is atmospheric, avant-garde minimalist ambient that continues to offer fractured, miniature worlds to inhabit.

Chicago synth/drone maestros Bitchin Bajas continue their space-y ascendance with a concept record that makes so much sense, one wonders why it didn’t exist yesterday. Their 2017 double LP Bajas Fresh was highlighted by an interpretation of Sun Ra’s “Angels And Demons At Play”. New full-length Switched On Ra via Drag City follows that fruitful intuition across 40-odd minutes of sublimity. Bonus points for the name!

Another follow-up from my 2020 list – Sofie Birch is a Copenhagen-based ambient artist who also had an excellent piano-driven piece for Longform Editions at the close of the year. “Repair Techniques” (from the LP of the same name) is a collaborative effort with Johan Carøe via Belgium’s excellent Stroom. These are spatial, organic compositions, some rhythmic, some sculptural, with a different emotional core than her solo work. A twist, but one that makes for an intriguing listen.

In the mid-70’s, Cluster/Harmonia’s Hans-Joachim Roedelius found himself holed up in a room with a Farfisa organ, reel-to-reel, and nothing else. The tape ran and he recorded a wealth of iconically melodic, minimalist sketches, though Selbstportrait I wouldn’t be released till 1979. “Girlande” is nearly a platonic ideal, its glistening melody unspooling like a stream running its predetermined course. Hamburg’s Bureau B has reissued and repressed this out-of-time classic – dip in and check out.

Mining a similar vein, Estonian-based Nikolaienko manipulates tape loops to dreamy effect – stepping through Roedelius’s looking glass. Melodies wobble and warp, and occasionally wash out or transfigure completely...sometimes, without realizing anything has changed. It’s a rabbit-and-hat moment; except both rabbit and hat are soothing tape hiss. “Ambianta I” is off this year’s Rings, another Faitiche release.