Last updated on November 15, 2021
1. “Last Trance for Future Worlds” – JOYFULTALK. JOYFULTALK’s distinctive staccato electronic forms are back. The almost pointillist work is full of differently textured notes that beep, bop, boop, boom, and bounce around like brightly colored superballs in a small chamber. This particular piece is 16 minutes long, a nearly Mid-century Minimalist length for the main idea to be repeated and developed. It’s not for everyone, but fans of adventurous electronic music will find a treasure trove here. Highly recommended.
2. “The Long Bright Dark” – Patrick Shiroishi. This exuberant collection of many (many) aggressively fluttering saxophones and shouted vocals is a wild experience that should be heard to be understood. Words can’t really do much more for this than what I’ve said, except to say that fans of Colin Stetson will love this. Highly recommended.
3. “Umkhumbi kaMa” – Malcolm Jiyane Tree-O. Compelling South African jazz that features a true fusion of visions from each of the players. Each of the parts seem to be going in different directions, but in the service of the song and the mood. It’s an assured, strong offering.
4. “Ariæ – live” – Enzo Carniel & Filippo Vignato. Carniel’s piano/keys/synthesizers and Vignato’s trombone come together in a piece that fuses mourning and adventure. An unusual combo, but these two players pull it off with panache.
5. “Χρόνος” – Gemma. This slow-building post-rock uses an arpeggiator to push the song forward, while subterranean (sub-aqueous?) bass and arching strings build a cathedral of sound.
6. “Dno Boha (Depths of God)” – ARANANAR. Anar Badalov (New Dog) and Aran Epochal (Gnu) are ARANANAR. Together they’ve made this mysterious, enigmatic electro-indie piece, part of their “collection of odes and laments to the borderlands of the Czech Republic.” There are some strong ’80s electro vibes here, but the whispered vocals give it an intensity that cuts through any potential kitsch.
7. “Sailboat (w/ Ben Rector)” – Cody Fry’s Symphony Sessions. Top-shelf acoustic-pop with immaculately-done orchestration. Ben Rector can really sing the blues if he wants to. Fry fills Rector’s tune with tons of instrumental pathos. Wow.
8. “Cloudburst” – Ben Crosland. The tiniest, most delicate of cloudbursts, really a collection of teeny raindrops in the form of piano keys.
9. “Seemingly Unaware” – among leaves. Improvised piano paired with ambient, distant electric guitar for a meditative, exploratory experience.
10. “Celestial Walk” – Chris Bartels, Blurstem. Keys and pad synths come together in an elegant, pleasant, sun-dappled piece.
11. “Kazeyoubi 風曜日” – Machinone. Infuses depth of emotion into a walking-pace acoustic guitar idea. The crystal-clear recording makes the evocative melodies even more present.
12. “Meditation | 003 Foreign Morning” – Fog Chaser. Starts off small (piano with misty reverb), then grows into a subtly circus-like waltz.
13. “Petrichor” – Mathieu Karsenti. A foreboding depiction of a brooding storm in piano form, complete with rain sounds.