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Independent Clauses Posts

Stephen’s Top 10 of 2021

Since I departed from primarily-folk-pop a few years ago, every year has been an adventure. Last year’s list spanned new age, ambient, jazz, math rock, techno, and Thai funk. This year I range from folk-pop (back to roots!) to piano to Pakistani music to ambient to instrumental hip-hop to funk. Life in the IC listening space is never boring. Here’s to another year of intriguing listening in 2022!

  1. Forever Only Idaho – Harrison Lemke. Easily the most ambitious record I heard this year, Lemke’s deeply felt alt-folk/indie-folk/indie-pop record is a brilliant tribute to the places we’re from. It  investigates and interrogates the invisible forces that push us toward or away from “home.” Standout: “Only Idaho, Forever.” Review.
  2. The Trouble With Wilderness – Ben Cosgrove. A complex yet approachable set of piano compositions with intense presence and voice. Cosgrove’s compositions and performances are by turnings searing, tender, and raucous. Standout: “This Rush of Beauty and This Sense of Order.” Review.
  3. Vulture Prince – Arooj Aftab. Intriguing, beguiling, unclassifiable beauty that draws from Pakistani, neo-classical, folk, meditative, and jazz traditions. There’s nothing quite like this that I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t stop listening to this for weeks after I heard it. Standout: “Mohabbat.”
  4. Crépuscule – Rêves Sonores. The ambient work of Nick Schofield and Stefan Christoff starts off with the thrillingly whirling “Mondial” before settling into a delicate exploration of space, patience, and eerie calm. Standout: “Mondial.” Review.
  5. Ninjutsu – Make Sure. Josh A. Jackson’s outfit has matured from an alt-folk outfit into a full-fledged indie-pop band (with a pit stop as an early ’00s twinkly-guitar emo band in the middle). This album shows off Jackson’s rich compositions (“Is That You Nunjitsu”), evocative lyrical approach (“The Day That I Moved Out”), and powerful control of mood (“Okay Sea”). Wistful, nostalgic, and truly memorable. Standout: “Japanese Bonus Track.”
  6. Shadow Falls – The Paper Sea. The Paper Sea deftly melds the genres of ambient, meditative, solo piano composition, neo-classical work, post-rock, and lo-fi electronica into a transcendently (perhaps transcendentally) beautiful collection. Standout: “Shadow Falls.” Review.
  7. I Told You So – Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. I Told You So was the most fun I had listening to an album this year. This instrumental, organ-led funk was the smile-inducing pop of sunshine I needed this year. Standout: “Hole In One,” but also don’t miss “Careless Whisper.” Review.
  8. Cerulean – Nashville Ambient Ensemble. These lush, rich, full-band tracks bend closer to Andreas Vollenweider-style new age sounds than Brian Eno-style ambient. Regardless of labels, these expansive tracks convey a sense of wonder, reverence, and elegance. Standout: “Breve.” Review.
  9. Departure Tapes – Giancarlo Erra. It was a year for grief, and these ambient pieces feel admirably weighty and grief-laden. They were a companion in hard times. Standout: “A Blues for My Father.” Review.
  10. Water Diary – Good Lee. This lo-fi instrumental hip-hop album snuck up on me; I liked it the first time I heard it, and then I just kept listening to it for months. Its subtlety is its glory. Standout: “Time to Rebuild.” Review.

Amazon Palm Scanning Is Not OK

In my day job, I am an assistant professor of technical communication at Arizona State University. My specialties are social media and digital ethics. In keeping with that research and teaching focus, Independent Clauses has signed on to a letter to Red Rocks Amphitheater that calls for the venue to stop using Amazon’s palm scanning as a method of ticketless entry. That letter is available here, along with a list of other organizations and artists who have signed it.

There are multiple reasons that I have included Independent Clauses on this letter. The overarching concerns are that technologies of this type are potentially ineffective and dangerous.

First, technologies that promise this sort of unique identification are often not able to actually provide it. Pre-existing biometric identification technologies such as facial recognition have very bad success rates.They often make suggestions based on very low expectation of accuracy that are taken as facts by readers. These technologies are also particularly bad at ‘correctly’ identifying people of color, as Simone Browne notes in chapter three of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. This can lead to false positives, false negatives, or non-identifications, all of which can become a serious problem for the person involved. Any biometric identification technology is susceptible to failures of this type and related types. Even proponents of this technology are worried about the abuses it enables.

Secondly, identification technologies of this type often enact and enable databases of biometric information long after the information has been used. This is prima facie unethical; unless a person consents to longterm storage, information should be deleted when it is no longer needed for the purpose it was collected for. When information is not deleted, it can be requisitioned by the government for purposes that the person did not expect. It should not be possible for a person going to a concert to find their biometric data (originally gathered for concert entry purposes but transferred to other companies or the government) used against them in governmental, civil, or judicial proceedings.

Thirdly, palm scanning, retinal scanning, and other biometric markers are distinctive and unique identifiers. Data breaches are becoming an inevitable part of life; that which is collected will be breached at some point. This has already begun to occur: 28 million records of biometric data were breached in 2019. Breaches of distinctive identifiers (such as a palm print) would result in personal information being compromised to an extreme and perhaps unfixable degree.

In short, this particularly ineffective type of technology is often employed in ways that harm people who are subject to this technology, with communities of color and marginalized communities being particularly at risk. If you would like to hear me talk more about this issue via Simone Browne’s work, I did so in two podcast episodes in 2020, here and here.

You can read more about this call to reject palm scanning here. If you feel compelled to act online in relation to this issue, here are some ways.

If you want to post on Twitter, some suggestions include:

  • Quote Evan Greer’s tweet or one of the tweets on Fight for the Future’s page, like this one. You can also link to
  • Tag @RedRocksCo, @AEGWorldwide, @AEGpresents and @AXS to ensure you’re delivering our message to the decision makers loud and clear

If you are inclined to post on Instagram, you can:   

Independent Clauses is not a policy organization; in eighteen years, we have taken stances on fewer than five issues. However, this issue is directly related to being able to enjoy concerts at one of the most iconic venues in the United States (Red Rocks) and other venues. Palm scanning is not a good idea, and it should be scrapped for the good of concert-goers’ civil rights.

Quick Hit: David Ramirez

David Ramirez‘s voice is a phone-book voice for me: he could sing the phone book, and I would still listen in rapt attention. In Backsliderhe turns his attention to classic hymns (with one song of his own). This absolutely hits me in the center of a Venn Diagram between “appreciators of good voices” and “appreciators of old hymns”. He sings all the oldies and goodies (“Come Thou Fount”! “Be Thou My Vision”! “It Is Well”!), lending his gravitas to all of them. The arrangements are appropriately spartan, letting the lyrics ring out clear. The ambient found sound of “I Surrender All” makes that particular cut a standout. It’s David Ramirez! And hymns! Who doesn’t want that? It’s amazing. Please listen to it.

December 2021 Singles 1

1. “Triptrap” – Big Space. This guitar/electric bass/drums trio fuses funk, post-rock, and jazz in a vibrant, exploratory piece. It’s the best type of improv, where the lead guitarist just seems to be playing whatever comes into his mind, and the back-line knows where it will likely go anyway. An excellent performance. Highly recommended.

2. “Afterlife” – Frances Luke Accord. There’s nothing that FLA does that I don’t love. This delicate, sun-dappled folk-pop piece on a nylon-string guitar is the epitome of warm sounds. The vocals only contribute to the feel. And there’s whistling! Highly recommended.

3. “Rock, Flag, & Eagle” – Consider the Source. A wild fusion of disparate ideas into a unique and distinctive whole: there’s flamenco, prog, folk, indie rock, and other bits throughout. Highly adventurous music.

4. “Kizanka (feat. Kazuki Arai)” – Takahiro Izumikawa. Izumikawa’s lo-fi hip-hop takes a very spacey, proggy turn. Unexpected and interesting!

5. “The Road” – David M. Stowell. Spacey prog with an undercurrent of hope that draws me in. So much prog reads as unemotional noodling to me, but this has heart.

6. “Parenthesis” – cecilia::eyes. Shoegaze is usually too abrasive for me, but this cloudy haze of guitar and vocals feels more like dream-pop than shoegaze proper. Wherever you want to put it, it’s a lush, laidback cushion of sound.

7. “Island Hopping” – Monster Rally. Tropical-inflected lo-fi hip-hop that will appeal to fans of Space Age Bachelor Pad and Clams Casino.

8. “Chapel” – Andy Aquarius. The image is evocative: garbed in chainmail headgear (a la Beowulf) and equipped with harp, Aquarius seems like a time traveler from the Middle Ages. The elegant, floating piece here combines fluttering harp patterns with female melismatics and Aquarius’ relaxed voice. It’s a compelling piece.

9. “Live @ Ääniä Festival Äänekoski Finland 2021 44​:​22 – Instrumental Trip​-​Hop Journey” – Juhani Saksikäsi. A headbob-inducing longform set of grimy, punchy trip-hop. Certain moments verge of industrial (metal clanks, water drips, and motorik beats abound), but the overall vibe is one of adventure instead of grim industry.

10. “Tina’s Song (Don’t Believe)” – Matthew Solberg. A fleet indie-folk tune about regrets, spoken from a person who’s clearly still working through things in their life. The lyrics are interesting and poignant.

Quick Hit: Jacob Faurholt

Where have we been the last few days that have bled into weeks and years? Danish rock songwriter Jacob Faurholt’s Chaotic Piano embraces the role of the observer in these six tracks released through Raw Onion Records.

Faurholt joined forces with Trine Omø, Marc Kellaway, Jesper Merlit, Johannes Gammelby, and Kasper Marius Nørmark to create an aura that defies specific categorization. Recorded and mixed by Faurholt, Gammelby and Kellaway, the sonic textures feel like a sea chanty swirled with an isolationist’s tale of survival. Carl Saff’s mastering provides a cohesive sonic experience, capturing the essence of Faurholt’s songwriting. 

Commentary on our human experience cuts through the political noise like the title track’s discordant fade-out. Faurholt’s plaintive vocal style is a raw, authentic ache. It’s sheer perfection on “Finest of Mammals,” an uncluttered acoustic masterpiece. “As the Ship Came In” creates an ethereal experience via lyrical metaphor, dark and hopeful.

“Two Months, Or Forever” brings us on a global flight that folds influential 60’s global rock vibes into the embrace of quick acoustic hits. Fuzzed-out closer “Cross That Line” brings to mind Brooklyn’s Matt C. White. Embracing sonic chaos as contrast to stark lyricism, this track definitely will hit my top ten this year.

“We Got Lucky In Berlin” seems like the perfect finale here: rich instrumentation brilliantly mixed creates space and separation to consider nuanced, terror-filled questioning. Angst-filled, yet in some way hopeful, Jacob Faurholt’s Chaotic Piano hits home as the world moves on. –Lisa Whealy

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Quick Hits: Safir Nou / Matt Baumann

LiminalSafir Nou. Lisa and I have really enjoyed music from Italy this year, and Safir Nou provides another entry in that book. This quintet, led by composer Antonio Firinu, plays elegant and complex instrumental music that draws on post-rock, movie scores, Mediterranean sounds, and more. The results are engaging and adventurous: opener “Port X” begins as a strings-led elegy in with a Middle Eastern flair until a sudden, groove-heavy drum/bass/static breakdown interrupts the space. (“Escape” pulls the same trick, just as effectively.)

“Sahel” merges traditional jazz sounds with Middle Eastern drama. Standout “Arenas” evokes Devotchka with the subtle, rousing marriage of indie-pop melodies and aesthetics (chipper hand-claps!) with more traditional arrangements. Each of the 12 pieces here has different vibes and different charms. Those with a penchant for interesting instrumental work should definitely check out Liminal. Highly recommended.

The Ivory in the Narrows paints Matt Baumann‘s (aka Wolfcryer) troubadour folk over a big canvas of 12 songs. Baumann’s rough-edged tenor is the guiding light through these songs, as his skillful use of tone  and deft line delivery sell the lyrics admirably. “Little Badlands” is shows off both these skills, as he pulls the listener in with well-placed accents in and at the end of phrases. Follow-up “St. Anthony” has a powerful chorus that makes the most of Baumann’s voice, as the emotion just drips out of the words. I particularly love how he slings out the phrase “Sa-int ANNNNN-thon-eeeee.”

Topically and sonically, the album is a road-warrior logbook. Baumann’s lyrics ponder, take place on, and evoke the life of the road, from opener “Heading Out” to closer “The Last Stop.” (“Oncoming Train” is technically life on the rails, but still.) Baumann is at his best when he’s positioned on the road sonically as well: the iconic mostly-clean lead electric guitar tone and harmonica fit like a glove with his voice and lyrics. (Things get crunchy on “The Last Stop” to great effect, but Jeremy Smart’s work is mostly free of heavy distortion.) “Lonesome Ladders” is a tribute in Baumann’s style to the grandaddy of all troubadours: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. If you’re looking for a solid folk record, inquire within.

Quick Hits: BPMoore / Yasmin Williams / Bryan Rahija

If I Don’t See You Again – BPMoore. BPMoore’s compositions fuse chamber orchestral work with indie rock aesthetics. The delicate strings and piano of opener “Hold Your Own” are infused with a blitz of energy via a busy-groove live drum kit. “First Light,” “Another World,” “Call Ended,” and more reiterate this pattern, bringing energy to beauty in moving ways. The far end of this effort is either “Those Fields When We Were Young” (which is almost a dance-rock song) or “A Lifetime Rolls By” (which culminates in cymbal mashing rock drums).

It’s not all drums (although that’s a big theme). “Art is Her Reflection” is a speedy tune that could have had percussion but works perfectly fine without it. “Paid Respects” turns lovely piano and strings orchestration into an Album Leaf-esque post-rock tune with subtle electronic pulse. Ultimately, this record is a sensational mix of lush composition and high-drama percussion theatrics. I love it. Highly recommended.

Urban Driftwood – Yasmin Williams. Williams’ intricate, complex guitar compositions are impressive in their speed and motion. Yet for all the immense technical skill (“Swift Breeze,” for instance, is mind bending), these compositions are persistently melodic, cinematic, and evocative. Opener “Sunshowers” does feel like the sun breaking through while the rain is still going: there’s an overall sense of brightness while one of the picking patterns sounds like rain hitting pavement. The herky-jerky melody of “Dragonfly” indeed calls to mind the zigzag flying patterns of the titular insect.

Even when Williams isn’t painting sonic pictures from the title of songs, the wide-screen nature of these works is prominent. “Juvenescence” is an elegant, rolling rumination; “Jarabi” features an instrument that sounds like a kalimba to intertwine with Williams’ playing. Other collaborations are fruitful as well. “Adrift (feat. Taryn Wood)” melds Williams’ cascading guitar with powerful cello for a satisfying experience. The title track features Amadou Kouyate on percussion; Kouyate allows Williams to focus on delivering the mesmerizing guitar notes instead of providing both the percussion and notes (as is common). It’s a highlight and an excellent choice as the title of the collection.

It’s a rare feat to deliver a work of technical brilliance that is also heartwarming, but Williams has achieved it here. Highly recommended.

Timber – Bryan Rahija. Rahija is something like the fourth member of North Carolina indie-pop/indie-folk band Bombadil, so it’s not surprising that their quirky indie-pop melodies find their way into Timber. The debut collection of acoustic guitar pieces from Rahija literally includes instrumental versions of several tracks off the Bombadil record Fences: “Everywhere But Up” is a charming version of “Binoculars,” “Nothing’s Fifty-Fifty” is a gorgeous setting of “Math and Love,” and the brilliant “Peacocks in Fur” is a key-changed version of “Not Those Kind of People.” Fans of Bombadil will find those tracks particularly interesting–I find “Nothing’s Fifty-Fifty” to be more compelling than the originally released version (and I like the original very much).

Beyond those tracks, Rahija shows off a fusion of indie-pop charm and folk guitar speediness. “Silent Advance” leans in on the indie-pop side, while “Three-Legged Buddha” shows off his chops for the more folky side. Standout “Eight of Wands” is the best of both worlds, amping up the mostly-solo pieces into multiply-tracked guitar lines with beautifully droning accompaniment and subtle percussion for the most fully realized piece here. I’d love to see more arrangements on his next album, as the tracks sparkle and shine most when the guitar is surrounding by complementary pieces.

November 2021 Singles 3

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.

November 2021 Singles 2

1. “Liminal Dream: Phase 1 Instrumental” – Jeffrey Alexander. This song is part of Songs from the Bardo, Vol. III on Psychedelic Sangha. The label offers “spiritual-arts programming with a focus on integrating and exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness” and the release is intended to promote “deep exploration of inner moons, uncharted synaptic crevices and multilayered psychic realms.” I can say that it sounds like a psychedelic version of ambient country, and it is very meditative. 

2. “ANCIENT CALENDARS” – Brad Barr. I didn’t expect that I would get heavily into acoustic instrumental Americana guitar music, but here we are. This one is from Barr’s (The Barr Brothers) The Winter Mission, and the song sounds appropriately wintry without feeling flinty. The wilds of winter, but perhaps from behind a window near a cozy fire.

3. “Pearly Gates” – Gentleman Speaker. The same sort of Death Cab meets late ’90s emo meets acoustic guitar vibes that Make Sure brings are here in Gentlemen Speaker’s work: lots of high-pitched but relaxed male vocals, lots of pastoral rolling, lots of emotions, and the ability to ramp up the energy.

4. “Desecrator” – LLNN. I love guitar playthroughs of metal songs, because it captures all the fury of a metal song that instrumental post-metal sometimes loses in the sludge. This is an enormously ferocious metal cut. Just everything about it is enormous, ferocious, and metal.

5. “A Disappearing Act” – Seafarers. Is this “Brick” for a new era? Some things never change. The delicate folk-pop is airy, clear, and compelling–like Turin Brakes or Parachutes-era Coldplay.

6. “Three” – Joshua Crumbly. A meandering, compelling bass rumination.

7. “Mit Hjerte” – Bremer / McCoy. Elegant, peaceful, mood-setting music that feels right. The two players connect on an incredibly deep level to create such an immersive experience with just two people.

8. “Magnetismo” – Raymundo Sodré. A joyful, acoustic celebration of Brazilian / Caribbean vibes.

9. “Mexican Road Trip” – Captain Rico and the Ghost Band. Instrumental surf rock that feels vital and immediate. It draws on tropes without feeling derivative.

10. “Cauterizing Asphalt” – Ghosts of Searchlight. Another surf-rock band with Ghosts in the title, but this one meshes surf-rock with post-rock admirably.

11. “Holding Pattern” – Sleep Diet. Take slacker rock and run it through a heavy Songs:Ohia filter and you’ll get this slow-motion, nearly-deconstructed indie-rock track. It’s a moving, earnest 8:43.

12. “Ornamentalities” – Drone San. Vaporwave, skittering beats, post-rock and more collide in a fascinating mix.

13. “Smile (from You)” – Lex (de Kalhex). Headbobbing, engrossing instrumental hip-hop.

November 2021 Singles 1

1. “Rosid” – The Cotton Modules. The opening track of the album-length collaboration between composer Jesse Solomon Clark, digital uncovererer/author/game designer/now-lyricist Robin Sloan, and an AI program which produced the surprisingly-lovely voices pairs angelic (but slightly-roughed-up) soprano vocals with murky, grumbling electronic textures. The productive contrast between soaring-in-the-cathedral and mucking-about-in-the-digital-fount creates a surprisingly beautiful piece that resists easy classification. You’ve heard AI music before, but this is not a schtick: it’s real art, with an AI as part of it. (You can read about the album’s creation here.) Aside: If you aren’t reading Robin Sloan’s e-mail missives, you need to be doing that. They are the most fun and interesting thing I read on the internet. (I read a lot of internet.) Highly recommended.

2. “Black Rhythm Happening” – Makaya McCraven. A rework of a 1969 cut from Sun Ra trumpeter Eddie Gale, this funky, drum-driven version puts a premium on groove and mood. It feels very much like I imagine block parties in the ’70s to sound like, complete with flute and joyous community vibes. Highly recommended.

3. “TV Bra™” – VOKA GENTLE. There’s only one Cake, but if there were two Cakes, Voka Gentle would be the Other Cake. This wacky, wild, outsider-pop jam combines marimba, gnarly guitar, percussion, puppets, the titular object, a hypeman, and more in a vicious takedown of wearable technology, sex in advertising, and email marketing. It’s like “Comfort Eagle” but for junk products instead of televangelists. Highly recommended.

4. “Hold Your Own” – BPMoore. Beautiful contemporary composition that includes feathery strings, reverb-heavy piano, deep-pocket drums, and a sense of awe. Rare for something to be both elegant and punchy, but that’s what we’ve got here.

5. “Gallup, NM” – SUSS. I just really love ambient country, and this piece by SUSS is everything I love about it: meticulous soundscapes created with a minimum of instrumentation, peaceful vibes that yet maintain motion, a Western sense of space, and an overall reverence (for the natural world? for New Mexico? For the West?) that is rare to find.

6. “Diabolo” – Ross Goldstein. Goldstein plays to the beautiful, peaceful, mellifluous strengths of the mellotron here, letting the solo notes of the melodic percussion ring out and hang in the air. It’s a tranquil, meditative piece, creating a mood without dominating the space.

7. “The Edge of High Trace (with Heather Sommerlad)” – Dan Munkus. Effectively fuses Godspeed-style post-rock textures with an improvisational feel. Instead of long, repetitive structures building to a point, the elements of the piece morph and change unexpectedly. The results are an enigmatic, surprising song.

8. “Light Memoir” – Charbonneau / Amato. Somehow turns a motorik melodic pattern and a gently skittering electronic beat into a piece with the heart of an Album Leaf piece. An impressive transformation.

9. “Endearment” – Mixtaped Monk. The frighteningly prolific Arka Sengupta delivers prog and its sub-genres most of the time, but this opener to Kaleidoscopic Desires is a pensive piece of delicate post-rock with vibes from the Indian subcontinent. It’s tender and complex.

10. “A Tu Lado” – Dos Santos. My obsession with Bomba Estereo has gotten me very interested in alt-Latinx work. This is a compelling piece of work in that genre, fusing rhythms, tempos, and tones in an evocative and engaging way.

11. “Orb Weaver” – Natalie Jane Hill. Elegant, free flowing, and yet speedy, this folk track balances tensions deftly. Hill’s lovely vocal performance caps off the experience.