Weekly roundup: what we’ve had on repeat
Image by Kiran Gidda
From psychedelic 8-bit meditation music to improvised post-modern jazz, these are the releases that caught our attention this week. In no particular order:
UNKNOWN ME, Bishintai
That the debut LP from Tokyo group UNKNOWN ME opens with an automated voice instructing “this music is gentle practice for a way to connect to your mind and body” is telling of what soon unfolds as a collection of richly textured ambient electronica preoccupied with psychedelic spirituality and the mantra of “beauty, mind and body”. Across 12 meditative tracks, UNKNOWN ME guides us through an intergalactic kaleidoscope of 8-bit bloops and latticework electronic soundscapes thrumming with the colours of your chakras. It’s playful, tongue-in-cheek and transcendently jubilant. Listen from beginning to end. Bishintai is released via Not Not Fun. Download it here.
James Ginzburg – crystallise, a frozen eye
James Ginzburg is an artist obsessed with exploring the infinite possibilities of sound. His genre-fluid approach has seen him create everything from droning ambient work to pulsing dance music, and on his latest album released through Subtext Recordings, the artist looks to reimagine the sound of traditional folk instruments such as the Appalachian dulcimer, the psaltery, the shruti box and Daf drum. By reprogramming the use of these objects and intertwining them with the sole electronic sound of an analog synthesizer, Ginzburg presents a collection of experimental sonic poetry that is both ancient and alien all at once. If you’re in need of some perspective, the eyes, behind may be as close to the sound of divine intervention as one might come here on Earth. Download it here.
Rising London talent TSHA’s latest single pulses with the sort of dance floor sentimentality as the best of Robyn’s cry while you rave europop tracks. With a soaring chorus from NIMMO, OnlyL is an introspective slice of dance pop that looks to soundtrack that moment at the festival when everyone hugs each other and nothing exists but the present. In a time when that moment seems too far away to be real, OnlyL is a welcome reminder of what lies ahead for us beyond our current time. The track is released via Ninjatune and will feature on TSHA’s upcoming EP of the same name. Pre-order it here.
Moritz von Oswald Trio – Chapter 6 feat. Heinrich Köbberling & Laurel Halo
Chapter 6 is largely a work of contemporary jazz improvisation. The syncopated arrangement of the track sees each instrument in conversation with the other; it’s just the rather disparate nature of the instruments on display here that produce Chapter 6’s stark, ghostly soundscape. von Oswald’s bass and synth improvisations twist and morph over the track’s 6 minutes. These lead the conversation, and the barely-there percussive response from jazz drummer Heinrich Köbberling builds an atmosphere of austere alienation. Listen below.
MAARA- MAARA 2 . 5: X MIXES & REMIXES
Kanas queer collective and label UN/TUCK presents a collection of remixes and re-workings of tracks from their resident MAARA’s first two EPs. Featuring artists such as Octo Octa and Dan Miles, MAARA 2 . 5: X MIXES & REMIXES buffers through genres and URL codes, from experimental ambient to jungle and tech house. Continuing MAARA’s thematic preoccupations with cyberspace identity and the formulation of queerness in the age of social media, MAARA 2 . 5: X MIXES & REMIXES adds to the discourse by allowing others to interpret and reinvent the MAARA persona. What results is a dizzying reflection on loneliness in the age of connectivity and lockdown burnout, crafting a listening experience that takes its inspiration from the sensory overload of scrolling through your Instagram newsfeed. Octo Octa’s remix of 404 taken next to Him Hun’s interpretation of the same track is particularly effective in this regard. Download MAARA 2 . 5: X MIXES & REMIXES here.