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Month: April 2021

Hemispheres’ diverse influences come together into a unique whole

Hemispheresself-titled three-song work blends Australian indigenous sounds and soulful jazz to create a beautiful, unique, genre-less instrumental suite.

Didgeridoo (from Paul “Groovy Lips” Boon), sticks, and ghostly flute from Susie Hodder-Williams (or, perhaps, flute-like synth from Sam Hodder) open the work, providing an expansive, pastoral opening. “Dawn” then mixes soulful jazz into the indigenous earthiness, giving Chris Caldwell’s smooth saxophones room to explore the terrain. The choral ahs give even more heft to the piece. Yet despite the serious approach, the vibe is never somber: the underpinning rhythms combine with the melodies to suggest gentle awe and subtle wonder.

“Adrenaline” bumps up the tempo for another take on indigenous earthiness, jazzy instrumentals, and evocative vocals. There’s lots of fun flute runs, baritone sax bleats, and punchy synths to go around. Clifton Bieundurry’s vocals are particularly memorable here, meshing perfectly with the backdrop and fitting into the unique space the group has invented.

“Dusk” is a much quieter work that feels and sounds like the tide going out. The didgeridoo once against sets the ground, while Caldwell gives a beautiful solo on soprano sax. Background sounds fill in the oceanic vibe. The piece slowly fades into its closing.

Ultimately, Hemispheres is a concise, elegant 12-minute experience that melds disparate sonic ideas into a unique creative experience. Due to the strong presence of the didgeridoo, this feels like an Australian companion to The River, a collaborative work between Taos Pueblo composer Robert Mirabal and string quartet Ethel. The well of creativity never runs dry, as long as people continue to seek out adventurous collaborations and push their own instrumental efforts farther and further. I hope this isn’t a one-off project, as it is expertly composed and wonderfully performed. Highly recommended. —Stephen Carradini

Independent Clauses, Vol. 1, on Spotify

Here at Independent Clauses, we pride ourselves on the eclectic space our digital music magazine holds. Stephen Carradini and I decided the time had come to create curated playlists highlighting the diverse artistry published in Independent Clauses. 

The first of IC’s 2021 curated Spotify playlists journeys through the sonic soundscape of indie songwriters, jazz artists, and alt rock musicians from around the world. We invite you to tune in and share your thoughts.

Photographer Herry Sucahya (via Unsplash) provided the artwork. We will feature Unsplash photography each quarterly playlist.

Artists included in this playlist represent global talent from Milan’s PINHDAR, Melody Duncan, Charles Ellsworth, and Neal Casal, to name a few. Rich, varied musicality makes up this eighteen song trip.

Check out the playlist here.–Lisa Whealy

Premiere: “Thought Slipping Away” by Good Morning Wave

Thought Slipping Away” is the debut single from Good Morning Wave’s debut album. Sharing a visual and sonic style with Chaperone Picks (who recommended GMV to us), this 102-second track uses CP’s four-track lo-fi style as a point of departure.

This one is at max a two-track jam, just chunky acoustic guitar and baritone vocals. There’s still some lo-fi tape hiss in the background, but the focus is more on the songwriting here than the lo-fi aesthetics. The guitar frames the vocals instead of sharing the stage, allowing the melodies and lyrics to come to the fore. The vocal performance is pointed and careful, with GMV giving nuance to the edges of words and whole lines. The titular refrain stuck in my head for hours after listening to it: it’s an earworm that doesn’t need to be long or detailed to do its work.

The lyrics are by turns concrete (“so sure I’d remember / but just like yesterday / thought slipping away”)  and conceptual (“big money / means elegant style / I’m on my own for a little while”). The blending of the big picture and the little picture makes for a compelling vision of a narrator struggling through social and personal information overload. If it weren’t so relatable, it’d be surrealistic. Ultimately, GMV impressively packs a lot into a little suitcase with “Thought Slipping Away.”

“Thought Slipping Away” is the opener of album Everyday, which comes out today, April 2. There’s more where that came from: GMV has new music coming out monthly on Bandcamp Fridays throughout 2021. I’m excited to hear what GMV will be up to this year