1. “Rollercoaster Pts. 1 & 2” – Chassol. Starts off as a fidgety, Pogo-esque ambient track and then morphs into a hectic instrumental ELO track that just gets more and more enthusiastic as it goes. I am very here for both things. Highly recommended.
2. “Activate” – Theon Cross. If I had to write my music memoir right now, it would be called Free Jazz is Just Hardcore Music for Saxophone Players, or, How I Went from The Number 12 Looks Like You to Tuba Soloists. This isn’t actually free jazz in the truest sense; it’s more like a tuba-led version of the jazz/dance stuff that Moon Hooch or Too Many Zooz make. Cross is a boss tuba player, and he really gets after it in this piece. His drummer is also legit. This is just rad all around.
3. “Eluvium – Dusk Tempi” – Field Works. First, take bat echolocations. Then take low-key Devotchka instrumental work. Add in glitchy bits. Top with orchestra. Enjoy in a large open field looking out at the night sky and imagining the infinite.
4. “Amelia” – Message to Bears & Will Samson. Acoustic guitars, harmonium, chill arpeggiator, and low-key beats result in beautiful work somewhere between ambient, slow-core, and chillwave. Fans of The Album Leaf will be absolutely thrilled.
5. “The Return” – Deep Energy Orchestra. DEO throws jazz, funk, Indian music, and more into a blender; the results are satisfying. If you’re into bass guitar, it’s especially satisfying.
6. “Dee Dee” – Leah Kardos. This is electronic composition that is elegant, confident, and bold. It moves with grace and power. The melodies are unfolded carefully, while the beats that accompany them are punchy and present. It’s smooth yet strong. A very cool piece for driving.
7. “PB” – Mark Karmil. Driving and punchy techno that doesn’t sacrifice mood or go for the big synth. Instead, there’s some dense layering, patience, and vibes on vibes on vibes.
8. “Melodies” – Cubicolor. An upbeat, perky, bouncy electro track with a steady beat, lovely weird arpeggiator stuff, and just enough movement/variation to keep the head bobbing and the ears interested. A very good track.
9. “What’s Eating You” – Eerie Gaits. John Ross has been prolific over the last few years as the synth-pop outfit Challenger, the punk-indie band Wild Pink, and the ambient project Eerie Gaits. This latest EG track splits the difference between indie-rock and ambient and falls a little near Challenger, creating a loping sort of pseudo-pop that doesn’t ever produce vocals but does produce lots of good feelings. It’s ambient for people who can’t stand drone.
10. “Sadr” – Tom Hades. As I discovered last year, I love deep-cuts, tough-as-nails techno. Give me the punchiest bass synths. Give me long run times. Give me big beats. Give me minor variations. I want it all. Tom Hades, folks, delivers it all.