Last updated on May 19, 2021
1. “Rabindra” – E.VAX. Evan Mast (half of Ratatat) offers up some laid-back electronica that meshes ambient synths, squiqqly lead lines, and big (BIG) drums. It’s a very carefully developed piece, even though it doesn’t have a lot of constituent elements; the ideas are fully and patiently fleshed out. Fans of Teen Daze will find much to love here.
2. “Export for Screens” – Xander Naylor. This piece is something between jazz and post-rock, full of percussion-driven groove, guitar mystery, and bold horns.
3. “Arcto 2” – Matt Evans. It’s hard to tell that this peaceful, grounded, ambient meditation is a product of grief (until the conflicted end), but it is: this song is part of a cycle mourning the loss of Evans‘ late partner, Devra Freelander. The video for this piano-led clip is composed of video work by Freelander.
4. “Puerto Suelo” – Cameron Knowler. Intends to evoke the Wild West, and succeeds mightily: this spartan, walking-pace, two-guitar effort gives the feel of the good guy wandering through a sleepy (or perhaps deserted?) old West Town, trying to figure out what’s going on. Elegant, in a distinctive sort of way.
5. “And We Collide Into Nothingness” – Christopher Franzen. A slow-moving crescendo of strings and keys that evokes feelings of loss, grief, and yet (the only way out is through) hope.
6. “What Else I Gotta Show” – Furniture From the Fifties. A delicate, pensive, thoughtful acoustic track with a brilliant, subtle vocal performance.
7. “Part 1” – Winterwood. Picking up where Eno left off, this is ambient that is supposed to be truly ambient: not really listened to, but played in the background, cultivating the vibe.
8. “Awash” – runnner. Makes sadness sound celebratory, makes folk songs sound indie pop, makes one voice sound like bunches, makes me smile.
9. “Blue Sky Bound” – Travis Linville. This lovely little country/folk love song about getting out of a nowhere town is accompanied by a 360 video of Travis and crew in various places around my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had a great time looking for local landmarks in the video.
10. “The Algorithm” – The Irrational Library. Both the song and video are humorous, biting satire over shuffling blues rock about contemporary life as instantiated by the algorithm.