The above chart is based on number of separate tracks played during December, recorded via last.fm. Most releases are in my Bandcamp collection, which is also where you’ll find releases with only a couple of tracks that inevitably fail to show up here even if I love them to bits.
Dijon – Absolutely (R&R Digital / Warner)
I wrote a lot about this in the previous month’s round-up and obviously kept thrashing it in December.
Brin – Water Sign (Sound As Language)
December Brin binge 1 of 3. This has the most in your face moments of the three albums I picked up at the start of the month, but is still broadly ambient I guess. Brin’s thing sounds to me like live processing of samples and sources through a big chain of possible effects. Who knows? I’ve no idea how I’d hear this if I didn’t know the techniques, but there’s a lot of shuffling things about at different pitches and speed, lots of loops of sound being snatched and grabbed and made to suddenly stutter or lurch. The explicitly digital, CD-skipping quality might be jarring if you’re not someone who happens to have obsessed over all things “glitch”, when that was briefly talked about as a genre 20-25 years ago.
Anyway, in contrast to the explicitly digital stuff, the source materials often sound warm and soft, with nature sounds showing up here and there: birds, water, and so on. And the unpredictable flow of the music often feels somehow “natural” – I guess why I’m imagining Brin performs it rather than painstakingly editing it all together.
Dimitar Dodovski – Until The End Of The World (self-released)
The whole of this EP is a very enjoyable listen, but it’s worth pointing you to the patient pulse of “Belgrade Memories”, I reckon. “Love on a Real Train” but with an insistent drum as the backbone, and beautiful distinct harmony on top. It works perfectly.
Brin & Josiah Steinbrick – Bliss Place (self-released)
December Brin binge 2 of 3. This is probably my fave on first listens. I don’t know Steinbrick’s solo stuff but the description on Bandcamp says this album consists mostly of “spontaneously recorded sketches” that he made, then processed by Brin. It doesn’t sound all that far from the solo Brin album, but has some bigger standouts IMO. Some more stable looping rhythms also give it a weird downbeat / dub feel from time to time.
Scattered Light – Beacons (Shimmering Moods)
Very pretty, melodic ambient stuff. Gentle chiming tones, drifty chords, soft beds of noise. Sometimes things go a bit tape-left-in-the-sun, which makes me think of a beatless Boards of Canada.
Brin, Dntel, More Eaze – Futurangelics (Cached Media)
December Brin binge 3 of 3. Despite being into all three producers involved in this collaboration, it didn’t click with me for a good six months. But given those involved, I periodically gave it another go and now I’m so glad I did it. I really can’t tell whose contributions start and end where. Amongst the washed out electronics there’s some nice twangy guitar, some autotune vocals (More Eaze?) and digital stutters (Brin?).
Music For Dogs – Spoor (Cached Media) and Christoph El’ Truento – Foraging (Cosmic Compositions)
I cranked both of these back in September, so they may be two of my top listens of Q2 of the 21/22 financial year. 😅 Solid investments. Nothing new to say about either, really.
Tim Koch – Scordatura_MD (self-released)
About 18 months on from Scordatura, Tim’s put out these alternate takes on that material. It’s definitely the same ingredients as the previous album, prominently featuring a combo of stammering, swirling guitar deconstructions over similarly tweaked and reworked acoustic drums. Tim shows how those ingredients can result in multiple flavours of sometimes thoroughly baked goods.
The radio-single-length “The Huntsman” is actually one of the stand outs for me, though I don’t think the languid pacing (read: length) of other tracks detrac(k)ts. The super-long “Grief Cyclist” is great, with its clear and bright ringing guitar notes, and the almost 8-minute closing track “Vows II” hangs around much more in the sense of being afloat than of loitering.