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May Singles 2: Peaceful

Last updated on May 9, 2022

1. “Caddo Lake” – Cameron Knowler & Eli Winter. This duo makes two guitars sound like one flowing, rippling, elegant instrument. This piece by Michael Chapman is about as peaceful as I can imagine guitars being. Just lovely. Highly recommended.

2. “Altar of Tammy” – Mary Lattimore and Paul Sukeena. This harp and electric guitar duo create unusual waves of complex tension: a cave exploration teeming with potential but as yet unrealized danger; a mid-flight rumination on a space adventure of unknown time and distance; the first drops of rain from the ominous storm forming off in the distance. Highly recommended.

3. “Richness of Peace” – José Medeles w/ M. Ward. Medeles and Ward come together for slowcore Americana par excellence: guitars warble and wander, a rattling snare accompanies, a sense of distance permeates the landscape. It’s a tribute to Fahey, not by covering his work, but by invoking it. I love it. Highly recommended.

4. “Rain after Sun” – Held by Trees. Here in Phoenix, rainy days are tantamount to holidays. Thus, I’m a little obsessed with the sound of rain. That sound opens this deliciously slow-moving low-key jazz/post-rock/slowcore piece, and the feel of being encapsulated by falling water runs through the whole work.

5. “Mushroom Dance” – Modern Biology. I don’t usually quote the press release, but the genesis of this piece is so fascinating that I thought I’d let them tell you: “To create his new Earth Day single, the Vancouver-based musician and biologist brought his modular synth rig into the forest near his house and collaborated with a mushroom – using the bioelectricity of the organism to trigger note changes in the synth.” Well! The results are beautiful and surprisingly not that different from more traditionally programmed modular synth work. Nature! It knows what’s up!

6. “Temporary Shelter from the Storm” – Arthur Jeffes. The heartbeat at the center of this piano-and-strings piece grounds the work: giving it solidity while also holding the rushing piano in place. The carefully processed melodic percussion surrounding the core of the work gives it a unique, warm vibe.

7. “Moving Slowly” – Wilson Trouvé. A beautiful chamber-orchestra piece with more motion than the title would suggest. The strings, piano, and gentle percussion push this elegant work forward in a lovely way.

8. “Acceptance” – Ben Crosland. A gentle, unhurried piano rumination that reaches an almost iconically romantic mood with ease.

9. “Mm III” – Stephen Emmer. High-drama work here from pianist/composer Emmer, building out a whole scene around a roving piano approach.