My top listens in November 🎶

Dijon – Absolutely (R&R Digital / Warner)

I listened to the album multiple times off the back of this track, “Many Times”. I love it, and love the video, even if I feel a bit queasy.

Dijon is referred to as an R&B singer, but knowing nothing about him before this video and listening to the rest of the album I thought, as much as that makes some sense on some tracks (especially “The Dress”), he also sounds like he’s into Americana and rock and a lot of stuff. There’s beatless guitar ballads and all sorts.

Breakbeat-led “Talk Down” kicks off with the lines “Listening to Gillian Welch / Ooh, I can’t help myself”, FFS. (On the album anyway, not sure what he’s singing in this video…)

I wasn’t into the whole album in equal amounts, but I still wish I could buy it. There’s heaps of ideas, heaps of cool bits, and it sounds like Dijon likes other singers and musicians I like. The rough feel reminds me a bit of Cody Chestnutt, in a good way. The R&B-and-not vibe reminds me of Blood Orange, also favourably. But not all the songs hit for me. “Many Times” and “Talk Down” are a couple of faves, but some of the soft numbers like “God In Wilson” are pretty great too.

Ulla – Limitless Frame (Motion Ward)

So at the end of July I said this wasn’t my fave release by Ulla, despite having listened to it a lot for a couple of months. Well, it really clicked with me this month. Still probably not my fave, but I have been a bit obsessed, so…

Given how I’ve been overspending since Bandcamp Friday became a thing, it’s a pretty good sign that I’m still listening to an album regularly six months on from when I bought it.

I also found it to be a good bedtime listen, which always clocks up a lot of plays. Chuck something on at night and pass out at some point.

Etelin – Frisson (Lillerne Tapes)

I still listen to Etelin’s 2018 release Hui Terra, and I rate it really highly. On Bandcamp I wrote the following about that one:

Delicate and curious explorations that I can listen to again and again. I don’t have kids but the backstory about this being made as a new parent somehow makes sense to me.

Backstory aside, I could say the same about Frisson. Only 4 tracks, but I must’ve listened many times for it to be near my most listened. I guess it’s an ambient release, and in particular the last track is a synth drone kind of thing, but even that is engaging and interesting in the context of what’s come before. IME, anyway.

William Tyler & Luke Schneider – Understand (Leaving Records)

Another release with only 4 tracks, so, yeah, I thrashed this one. Country vibes, with guitar and banjo, in an instrumental and I guess ambient context. But certainly quite different to long-time country + ambient adventurer Andrew Tuttle, say.

The plodding home organ drum machine and repeating guitar lines on “The Witness Tree” remind me of JJ Cale, but in a sort of Paris, Texas mode. Good times.

I’ve realised I’m a bit judgey about Leaving Records being overly new age, but I’ve also had some good times with several of their albums in recent months!

Grouper – Shade (Kranky)

I’d never gone so far as to buy a Grouper album. I regret buying this, to be honest. Not sure I get what Liz Harris is all about. Maybe it’ll click later.

Kris Keogh & Endurance – In Autumn (Self-released)

At time of writing it looks like I’m one of two people who’s paid for this album, which is a real shame as it’s some deeply beautiful ambient music. I’ve been following Keogh since his first excellent processed harp album 10 years ago, and a set of all-synth duets might sound like they’d hold less textural good times than someone going ham on a harp… but no, it’s excellent stuff. (Yet another 4-track release that I thrashed sufficiently to have it show up here.)

Luke Schneider – Altar of Harmony (Third Man Records)

Excellent Nashville-based ambient music maker Belly Full Of Stars hipped me to the two Luke Schneider albums I listened to, in response to some online chat about the crossover between ambient and country music. (Thanks, Kim! 🖤) If I’m reading rightly, this is entirely the sounds of pedal steel, but worked into huge power ambient numbers that are often completely divorced from their source sonically IMO. I was impressed, but not in love with it. We’ll see how we go.

More Eaze – Yearn (Lillerne Tapes)

When I picked up the new Etelin release I started noseying back through Lillerne’s back catalogue. I’d recently heard More Eaze’s collaboration with Dntel and Brin and was pretty into that. Turns out her solo work is pretty great too. Another 4-tracker, and worth it for the last track alone. But that’s not too dismiss the others!

G.E.K. – Faculty of Perception (Otomatik Muzik)

A Danish duo of sax and trombone, apparently, but definitely synths in the mix. Seems like the label is quite experimental and difficult, but this release is relatively accessible, if, say, you find Colin Stetson a good time. Chugging, propulsive (but drum-free) instrumentals.