My list of April findings is smaller than my last few months. However, there are some big hits (and some long pieces) amid the small number of works. Here’s where you can hear the whole playlist! I’ll be back sometime in May to go over the rest of the April list.
The Appearance of Colour – John Metcalfe. Can you be minimalist and maximalist at the same time? Metcalfe’s compositions here are packed full of instruments, genres, textures, acoustic sounds, electronic sounds, and effects while simultaneously being full of space, not afraid to go (very) long, and very patient in the composition techniques. The incredible opener “Sun” is 20 minutes long and worth every second. This sort of composition takes the mindset of classical composition and then draws on all the modern music available to Metcalfe to result in some of the most fantastically interesting contemporary instrumental work I’ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended. Hat tip to Chris Krycho for the recommendation.
From Tomorrow, With Love & UPC – EP – Beta to the Max. I’ve had a thing for chiptune for a long time (having played lots of NES and SNES games), but I really fell in love with it when I ran into Anamanaguchi. This chiptune outfit isn’t quite as adrenalized as Anamanaguchi but uses that more relaxed pace to its advantage.
Virðulegu Forsetar – Jóhann Jóhannsson. Essentially one incredibly long piece of music broken up into many small pieces, this minimalist composition develops one majestic theme in bunches of different ways. The overall idea is delivered most often by a rich horn ensemble; as you may recall, I professed my love for brass ensembles last month and unsurprisingly have not been swayed in my affection since then. But where Hyde Park Brass was blasting off into the pop realm at times, Jóhannsson is experimenting with the bounds of form and structure, pursuing a richly melodic form of minimalism that rejects atonalism and repetition for its own sake. (It must be noted that I like minimalist repetition for its own sake such as “Canto Ostinato” but am unconvinced by atonalism.) Extra hat tip to Chris Krycho for the referral, once again.
Spindash 3 – GameChops, et al. GameChops was listed as a collaborator on Mikel’s Zelda and Chill that I loved so much last month, so I looked into some more of what GameChops is doing. This is the third collection of electro/techno/chiptune created out of Sonic the Hedgehog music. If you’ve ever listened to a Sonic the Hedgehog song, you know that it was stereotypically manic and sonically blown-out chiptune glory. This takes that base and spins out new works. So much fun.