Press "Enter" to skip to content

Independent Clauses Posts

May 2021 Singles 2

1. “B-Flat Ontology” – Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. This Tom Waits-ian rambler is a philosophical musing on “flat ontology”, where everyone (and everything, if you get really intense) is equal. Ribot’s response is a weary “isn’t it amazing / I’m just amazed” to everything; the satire is grim but very informed (Zizek makes an appearance!). This probably isn’t for everyone (there are some brutal, distasteful elements satirizing social media around 4:00), but I’m fascinated by the intersections of philosophy, internet, and art. This falls directly at that nexus.

2. “Skinny Legs” – Dana Sipos. An intimate, clear-eyed alt-folk cut that celebrates the life of a grandmother at the edge of death. Sipos’ expert command of her voice and of the atmosphere of a song are in full flower here–especially in the elegant, moving video that is rich with imagery (including flowers, feasts, pomegranate seeds, needlepoint, and more).

3. “Theme from Lonely Cinema” – HILOTRONS. Combines Spaghetti Western, surf punk, and even some classic sci-fi/horror soundtrack influences into a nostalgic, evocative instrumental.

4. “Cold as Weiss” – Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. Hot off releasing one of my favorite records of the year so far, Delvon Lamarr’s trio is back with a leaned-back, in-the-pocket cut that will make fans of Khruangbin excited. This is still feel-good music (as is their modus operandi), but it’s got a lot more chill in the organ-driven funk.

5. “Printer” – Big Liquid. I am most enthused by people who take as many genres as possible and blend them into something new but also recognizable. This track is a mashup of drones, twee notes, subtle staccato beats, cascading funk bass, and other random sounds that come together into something that’s way more frenetic than ambient but not nearly straightforward enough for club music. And it’s gorgeous, on top of that. It’s just way out there, in the best way.

6. “Indentations” – Passepartout Duo. This unclassifiable synths/percussion composition sounds influenced by 8-bit RPG soundtracks, quirky post-rock, and insistent rhythms. This is a unique, clever, intriguing work that seems to be going several different places at once without clashing.

7. “Au Commencement” – Oppenheimer’s Elevators. I’m not the first person to point out that the post-rock which was supposed to rail against the formulaic nature of rock music became itself formulaic very quickly. However, this long, meandering, engaging post-rock piece from Oppenheimer’s Elevators pushes back against that stereotypical pattern; the dreamy, guitar-driven piece stretches out to great length without seeming to have any agenda or following any rules but its own. It’s always exciting to hear a piece that doesn’t do what I expect it to do, and that’s true here.

8. “Well Done” – Typical Sisters. This is song is essentially a very brightly-colored mechanical object full of glowy LEDs that is clearly doing something awesome and looking amazing while doing it. After the lovely intro, this is a bunch of performances going in all different directions, being held together by an acrobatic drum kit workout. I love it. Highly recommended.

9. “Real de 14” – Todd Clouser, Bram Weijters, Sebastien Boisseau, Teun Verbruggen. You want moving, beautiful, mellow jazz? Look no further for an exemplar of the style.

20. “Goa” – Zement. Combines motorik prog with droning new wave synths and glittery arpeggiator for a uniquely zen experience.

May 2021 Singles 1

  1. “Mondial” – Rêves sonores. Floating saxophone melodies, trebly piano taps, gentle electronic pads, sharp-as-in-pointy and sharp-as-in-on-point strings, and experimental dance come together in an entrancing, engaging piece. What more do you want out of contemporary composition? Highly recommended.
  2. Spiritual Wars” – Ariel Bart. This jazz piece begins as mournful, enigmatic elegy before ramping up into a striking jazz combo jam. The work is even more interesting than that description because Israel-based bandleader Ariel Bart is a harmonica player. She makes the harmonica sing as a lead instrument, just like a saxophone, clarinet, or flute would. The tone of the harmonica here falls between “expressive accordion” and “soulful saxophone.” The title and theme of the composition are all the more pressing due to the current events in Israel and Palestine.
  3. Cat on a Chain” – Jeremy James Meyer. Put honky tonk, Laurel Canyon, and road troubadour folk into a blender, and you’ll get this deeply enjoyable cut.
  4. “Hey Gringo” – KALEO. This track off their highly anticipated, eleven-song sophomore release Surface Sounds shines. Co-producers frontman Jökull Júlíusson and Dave Cobb capture the essence of the Icelandic blues rockers’ debut release. The track mirrors the vibe that oozes through “Miss You” off 1978’s Some Girls from The Rolling Stones. With its gritty songwriting style, song structure, and connection to classic blues narratives, “Hey Gringo” reframes Surface Sounds as more than just another victim of Covid-19 delays.–Lisa Whealy
  5. The Hoopoe” – Ceridwen McCooey. Cellist McCooey delivers a brilliant, singular, seemingly effortless 72-second composition here. McCooey builds the piece off of the solo cello mimicking the sound of a hoopoe call and gets creative from there. A fascinating, fully-realized piece.
  6. Avon-by-the-Sea” – The Maravines. The slinky, cloudy longing of The Antlers’ Burst Apart is a rare mood: sensual and yet grieved, lonely and yet spacious. The title track from the Maravines’ latest has a similar vibe (minus some of the sensuality): the guitars smolder and yearn but don’t explode, while the vocals are earnestly sad without becoming maudlin. The results are unique: not tense, but not calm; not overly energetic, but not sleepy. It’s unique and beautiful.
  7. Early Dark (w/Richard Curran)” – Myles Cochran. A moody piece for strings and acoustic guitar that’s equal parts elegant, swampy, and mysterious. An inviting, interesting composition.
  8. Find Your Ore (feat. Silent Titan)” – Hedge Hop, Takahiro Izumikawa. Feathery yet grounded, this lo-fi hip-hop jam balances levity and seriousness well. It leans toward serious ideas, but never so much that the charm of a quirky treble line is lost.
  9. We Need a Bigger Dumpster” – Cheekface. The calm, bitter satire of contemporary life amid  eclectic, punchy indie-rock makes me think that this is what Cake would produce if they formed today. There’s traces of Guided by Voices and early Strokes in there too; it’s a more-than-the-sum-of-its-influences triumph.
  10. Wasteland” – Tim Kile. Kile was frontman of the short-lived Wild Light, which produced an all-time-favorites-list song for me (“My Father Was a Horse“), so I’m thrilled to catch up with new work from him. This track has all the arch, urgent intertwined neurosis and enthusiasm that I could hope for in an indie-rock track from Kile. There’s some lovely quiet/loud action here in the heartland-rock-meets-indie-ennui.

Premiere: “Backseat Chorus” by Grover Anderson & the Lampoliers

Independent Clauses is proud to premiere Grover Anderson’s “Backseat Chorus” off his upcoming All the Lies That I Have Told out this July.

Anderson’s skill as a narrative songwriter weaves together feelings that are certainties in our post-pandemic world. Circumstances beyond our control–scary as hell–can stretch us, making us better through the struggle. The benefits of our solitary journey this past year have brought many of us home spiritually. Somehow, we have individually forged bonds we never knew existed, as loving and living is now more important because of so much loss. 

Anderson crafts a clearly relatable story here, like an open-air road trip back out into the world after dark times. His authentic vocal delivery resonates with a likability reminiscent of the great Glen Campbell. Grover Anderson & the Lampoliers’ guitar-driven connection to the human condition soars here in its subtle sonic brilliance.

Pre-order All the Lies That I Have Told here.–Lisa Whealy

Dark Wooden Cell: A modern-day town cryer

undying stories of a fallen world from Dark Wooden Cell embodies the modern day town cryer brilliantly. The duo self-identifies their haunting style as dark folk-blues, yet a cursory listen through Dark Wooden Cell’s back catalog brought me to a different conclusion. Frontman Mike Gory’s vocal style brings to mind Disturbed’s David Draiman. Deeply affecting, its ability to generate tension crafts the perfect mood. The blend of vocals with his guitar and Bruno Marmiroli’s saxo-trombone is pure genius.

Opener “the broken tool” shows the elegance of a stark, simple acoustic guitar line offering an invitation into the Undying Stories of a Fallen World. “the useless filthy spade” soars as a weirdly caustic soothsayer with some of the most haunting vocal deliveries of any rock vocals I have heard this year. Juxtaposed against perky musicality, the track is a masterclass in composition. “the flood” plays with engineering, the mix feeling overwhelming, a sonic drowning of sorts. Crisp, clear, and up front in the mix, each instrument stands alone in “the radio.” Sheer perfection, the song sends me back to pushing more towards progressive metal if listeners need to classify what they are listening to.

Empty yet sublime, the hypnotic beat of “the skeletons” sets the tone for the track’s pulsing simplicity. “the night” creates soundscapes that envelop more than six minutes. It’s pure magic: each hollow guitar strum matched with sax fills creates sonic shadows between Gory’s vocals. There’s been nothing like this in quite some time. “the ghost” takes on a brighter edge towards fate; lyrically complex, this poetry seems to be the scream before an execution in the face of emotional destruction.

The beauty of Dark Wooden Cell seems to be its unwavering willingness to call out the truth. Closer “the End” sees Gory whistling a tune along the trombone melody, which seems a fitting adieu to the journey. Dark Wooden Cell’s undying stories of a fallen world is certainly one of the most strikingly creative works released this year.–Lisa Whealy

Bomethius’s Seasons of Limbo is a brilliantly astute collection

We learned it all in kindergarten, right? Stop, look, and listen might be the keys to a good life. The multi-instrumentalist known as Bomethius‘s Seasons of Limbo dishes up new perspectives in this astute cultural commentary set to song. 

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Hodges and his alter ego work well together. The Dallas-based talent began playing violin at 3 years old. He studied violin at Southern Methodist University, earning a degree in performance. The new record is my first exposure to Bomethius, though this is his fifth record. (For virgins to these musical wonders, his 2020 release inadiquit is also worth exploring.)

Opener “Traffic” suggests Hodges as a lyricist/writer reminiscent of Shel Silverstein. (The record’s cover art fully supports the connection.) Weirdly light sonically, it’s an invitation to look at the proverbial train wreck via buttery vocals set to a familiar country stroll. “As Yourself” shines, letting the violinist soar as the driving performance in this masterpiece. Merging elements of classical Spanish folk with ragtime, horns blend with guitar in a proclamation of cultural dysfunction worthy of Andrew Bird. 

“A Close Call” is a reflection of Covid-19 chaos. Sweet, simple, and introspective, this track feels like a collective exhale the world feels after surviving the past year. Yet Hodges sings nearly breathlessly with an authenticity that connects. Spiritual artists need not be subtle, and “I’m Trying” stands as one of the most profound revelations set to songs I can recall. Restrained, resilient, tired, yet hopeful; diverse emotions all come through simple lyrics. Ben Cato and Charlie Pinkard produced the slide guitar on this track, a symphony of feeling that embodies the existential beauty of God’s love.

Cacophony and chaos drift in and out, as “Nothing Intro” stomps into “Nothing.” “Nothing” trips towards discordant rock, making my list of songs that bring to mind Rivers Cuomo. At first, this trip towards Animal House seems odd, but this record’s lyricist has a plan. Whiplashed back to the beginning, we’re back listening to the train wreck, toes tapping and whistling along. “Tornados in Dallas” recalls the chaos of the events that brought destruction in an unlikely place. Melancholy haunts each note, as sadness and strength rise. 

Saving the best for last, “All I’ll Need” serves as breathtaking mixology: a haunting stream-of-consciousness jazz number. Hodges redefines his vocal style throughout the record, but rests here, wrapped in strings. Pristine ethereal perfection! “Shake My Spirit” goes back to the revival tent, bringing it home with acoustic gospel beauty. 

Calling out society’s failings, what clicks is humanity’s connection despite our differences. Uncluttered, the recording allows each note to breathe unencumbered. As a vocalist, Bomethius’s soul wraps each note around the acoustic guitar in a perfect stairway to heaven. Closer “Where Are My People” is a fitting end to this incredible collection of music. Tobie Milford’s 2015 release Listen to the Trees Grow comes to mind here, an example of like-minded artistry. It’s simply genius. Treat yourself with Bomethius’s Seasons of Limbo.–Lisa Whealy

Mike Dillon x3!

What did you do with your time in lockdown? Extreme hardships redefine who we are. Many musicians seized an opportunity to shed the road-dog life after Covid-19’s lockdowns kicked touring artists off of the road. Mike Dillon’s album trio Shoot The Moon, Suitcase Man and 1918 went even farther and served as a reincarnation experience.

Producer Chad Meise’s album trilogy with Dillon is a weird, glorious musical creation born of the “Punkadelic-Funk-Psych” artist literally trapped off the road he’s toured for three decades. Mentioning Dillon’s work in 900 Foot Jesus, Dead Kenny Gs, and Brave Combo really just touches on the vast body of work available to his musical reimagination.

Shoot the Moon’s ten songs include Robbie Seahag Mangano, Jean Paul Gaster, Nicholas Payton, Matt Chamberlain, Nick Bockrath, and many more. “Camus Sound Asleep” could be a touring musician’s nightmare or a collective delusion set to dark musical narration, perfectly accented with a xylophone. The off-center “Apocalyptic Daydreams” has an inability to land in jazz, electronica, or symphonic work that seems perfectly disrupted; from this unusual beginning, it shifts compositionally into rock and roll genius. “Qool Aid Man” hits perfection in its assessment of America’s bizarre political climate, calling out right-wing homegrown white supremacist Nazis in a headbanger’s punk rock slam. Richly textured, each of the ten songs form a cohesive whole, yet stand alone with its own genius.

Suitcase Man’s expansive soundscape certainly seems an outpouring of Dillon’s disrupted normalcy. The nine-song introspection, recorded on the two-inch analog tape, is an extraordinary–even timeless–example of narrative songwriting. The title track “Suitcase Man” takes a lighthearted attack at the pandemic-caused chaos: disruption, dis-ease, and death have plagued us all. Meise’s production choices (including minimalist mixing) give the work great heart, showing a new side of an artist we thought we knew.

This album reveals a Mike Dillon that even Dillon did not know. The dark, haunting “Empty Bones” vibrates with each recollection of internal battles. Lyrically this song’s genius rests in each identifiable connection we can all make to its story. Angelic backing vocals devilishly wrap around each descent into the clutches of heroin. In contrast, “Show Me Your Hands” soars as one of the best of this record, calling out our social chaos in layered beauty. Connecting to society’s real disconnections, songwriters have an opportunity to redefine shared experiences through new narratives. To me, “Tiny Pink Asses” flawlessly takes the listener through the loss of innocence according to the Suitcase Man, leading us to 1918.

Dillon’s final album title in the trio references the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, since its 2020 counterpart catalyzed this creation. Opener “Pinocchio” announces, with its quick hit of ominous discordance, that the universe has changed. This record’s Mad Hatter party vibe rips through recent residents of the White House, racial conflict, conspiracy theories, and the democratic process. Simply brilliant! If a song could represent a primal scream response to this past year, “A Word to the Virus” is it. Rageful fear and dismay erupt from Dillon’s vocals. Who hasn’t felt this way since this stuff began? Undoubtedly, “Super Spreader” leans into thirty years of music festivals, unleashing and honoring our psilocybin brain in nuanced sonic colors and textures. “1918” marks its territory on this definitive album as a revolutionary track whose sounds merge funk rock and jazz into a new animal. The result of Dillon’s shift from New Orleans to Kansas City compressed into lockdown, it’s my personal favorite leading into the closing time travel that is “Grandfather Clock.” 

Mike Dillon’s hit the trifecta with Shoot The Moon, Suitcase Man and 1918, produced by Chad Meise and released through his longtime record label Royal Potato Family. Pure, its birth in lockdown graced us with an inside view of a musical genius’s soul.–Lisa Whealy

Rum Velvet: Brass Band World Jam

Rum Velvet is a brass band world fusion outfit from Chicago. Their album Cocktail Fever Dreams is a joy that I have been enjoying for the last few months but not had the time or space to write about. This is a sadness, because you (dear listener) have missed out on Rum Velvet due to my busyness. Let’s correct the error!

While Rum Velvet draws on tons of world styles, the basic chassis of most tunes here is gypsy brass. You might be familiar with gypsy brass via the manic stylings of indie lifers Gogol Bordello even if you don’t know the name of the style. Rum Velvet takes a big sousaphone low end, undergirds with headbobbing rhythm, mixes in big horn lines, and sprinkles fun melodic solos on top. It is, first and foremost, fun party music.

They accent their main forms with melodic ideas from all over. Opener “Kinky Afternoon” sounds like a madcap whirl through a weirdo Big Easy Second line jam. “Fin Du Monde” offers up a big blast of klezmer-inflected enthusiasm. “Bangalore Data Transfer” does indeed call up visions of certain types of Indian music in its rat-a-tat rhythmic and melodic choices. “Baladi” is straight-up gypsy jazz, offering up a smoother, quieter (-er, always -er, here) take on the big brass band. “Fela Musala” is a fun piece that seems to invoke Fela Kuti in the title and has tinges of afrobeat in it–but it sounds more gypsy jazz than afrobeat. No matter what type of vibe they’re going for, Rum Velvet’s Cocktail Fever Dreams is a blast of fun that I have been enjoying for a while. You may enjoy them for a while too!

Late April Singles #3

1. “Fountain #3” – JJJJJerome Ellis. 8 minutes of beautiful ambient tones from a Ellis, who “explores blackness, music, and disabled speech as forces of refusal and healing.” The song is intended to be “infinite music,” that you can play over and over again, and lo, it is an appealing effort on that front. Ellis’s saxophone flutters move this into a register above most ambient music, providing some concrete grounding and embodiment to the otherwise floating work. Highly recommended.

2. “Keep Your Mind Free” – Damon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble. Adventurous, creative music that mixes elements of jazz, found sound, electronic music, and analog dance music for a heady, satisfying blend. Highly recommended.

3. “This Rush of Beauty and This Sense of Order” – Ben Cosgrove. This piano composition has the pop and verve of an indie-rock song melded with mellow and post-minimalist composition chops. The final coda is absolutely a rush, punctuated by so much performerly enthusiasm that the ghost of Glenn Gould must have taken notice.

4. “Drunken Dreams” feat. Racoon Racoon – Camel Power Club. A smooth, sleepy, even casual indie-pop tune that achieves a rarefied sense of cool.

5. “Inferno” – The Felice Brothers. Life’s transitory nature lays the roadmap for “Inferno” from The Felice Brothers, their first release since 2019’s album Undress. The Felice Brothers used visuals from the oldest known surviving silent film Dante’s Inferno from directors Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Pedovan, and Gueseppe Luiguoro. Choosing such iconic cinematic imagery as contrast to the banality of the song’s themes meshes perfectly with the subdued, introspective feel of performances. –Lisa Whealy.

6. “My Lullaby (Waxlife Rave Mix)” – Be a Bear. A gentle, soothing acoustic guitar opening is shot into the stratosphere with a booming, rattling, spacious techno development. The tension between the easygoing melodies and the pounding backline is attention-grabbing.

7. “Great Lakes State Line” – DL Rossi. Rossi’s smooth-as-silk voice tumbles effortlessly over a timeless arrangement that marries the shuffle of western swing with the easy confidence of indie-pop. Just an impressive track. Highly recommended.

8. “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key” – Cole Quest and the City Pickers. I’ve never covered much bluegrass on IC, but this is one of my favorite Woody Guthrie jams (and I have feelings about Woody Guthrie), so I couldn’t pass this up. The arrangement and vocal delivery have all the joy and sorrow of the lyrics, which is all I can ask for.

9. “World War Tour” – Outronaut. I haven’t covered a whole lot of surf-punk either, but lo: this particular cut is a fun, totally-on-point blast of instrumental rock suitable for surf (or superheroes, per the video).

10. “This Place” – Candysound. Been covering Candysound for awhile, and this might be the most infectious downcast guitar-pop tune they’ve yet penned. It’s upbeat and melancholy at the same time, which is a real hard trick to pull off. Death Cab for Cutie fans: rejoice.

Oliver Wood’s debut calls on a huge community and creates revival

Life’s better lived as a collaborative thing, connecting with others who share your vision. This thread weaves through Oliver Wood’s solo debut Always Smilin (via Honey Jar/Thirty Tigers), with its aura of revivalist folk gospel jam session. 

As an artist whose roots run deep into the foundation of American folk music, Wood’s career has intertwined with diverse musicians spanning an array of genres: blues, roots, jazz, and Americana. Wood refined his brand of soul music with Chris Long in King Johnson and his stint as frontman of The Wood Brothers (with Jano Rix). Now, Wood’s album weaves a musical tapestry whose brilliance is born from the fellow masters he’s worked with throughout his life.

Recognizing his community, Wood’s goal of creating a creative environment blossomed in Always Smilin. Alongside the aforementioned Chris Long and Jano Rix, Wood taps Susan Tedeschi, Phil Cook (Hiss Golden Messenger), John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood) and Tyler Greenwell (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Phil Madeira, singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton, and his wife Rebecca Wood to create a festival groove vibe into these ten tracks. 

Opener “Kindness” sets the bar high, a lyrical analysis of what may be humanity’s solution to societal division. It has a Joel Weeks music video that must not be missed! “Roots” drops into a piano-driven groove with the space for Wood’s gritty vocal delivery to merge with gang vocals  and organ in a revialist sonic palette. This one hits home: we are all burdened with stuff that trips us up, and we are alone unless we choose not to be. 

“Get The Blues” is a rip-it-up, bluesy, jazz-horn-laden beauty. Certainly, this musical outcry is a shout out to the heavens, to the deity of your choice. The spiritual “Came From Nothin” celebrates our stumbling humanity, Oliver Wood-style. This song’s brilliance is that we all have some inner perfection, and collaboration puts each piece in the perfect place. “Molasses” aches and shines, a guitar-wailing balladeer’s homage to what I hear as the death of music in a post-pandemic world. It’s both celebratory and grieving: how many members of the music community were lost during the pandemic, both in lives and music venues?

Wood turned his songwriter’s microscope on society at large on the record. The song of the record is “The Battle Is Over (But The War Goes On),” which serves up political folk rock at its finest. Heavy, gritty, sparse musicality leaves space for each note to resonate around the haunting lyrics. “Face of Reason” dishes up a strut-worthy anthem to stick it to the man, do what brings you joy, and all of those keys to a peaceful life. This is a revival, after all. Heading towards the album’s conclusion, “Soul Of This Town,” with its melancholy tempo and plaintive lyrical delivery, reminds us that communities are the true soul of small town America, vanishing threads weaving our cultural landscape. 

“Unbearable Heart” might drift its way into the psyche of Brown Bird fans. “Climbing High Mountains Tryin’ To Get Home” defies explanation. A songwriter’s masterclass in metaphor, this sonic celebration seems perfect. Bonus track “Needed Time” is that little bit of extra, just for fans. The song closes out Oliver Wood’s revival Always Smilin as a gift from his community to yours.–Lisa Whealy

April 2021 Singles: 2

1. “Trails” – Speak, Memory. Emo, meet jam. This heady, loose, exploratory composition feels like if American Football (or Football, Etc.) got fused with Garcia Peoples: lots of ideas, lots of vibes, lots of room to feel. Twinkly guitars for everyone! Highly recommended.

2. “Wild Bill” – Opus Kink. I’ve never heard anything quite like this: folk-pop chassis, dance-rock rhythm and bass section, Spaghetti Western horns and keys, howling theatrical vocals, and group chant create a truly wild experience. This would be an absolute blast to see live. Highly recommended.

3. “Holiday” – Samplehound. There’s something about Kraftwerk-inspired songs that get me. This synths-and-drums landscape takes motorik rhythms as a backdrop for something more emotional and evocative. There are hints of Daft Punk throughout. It’s a compelling jam.

4. “Great Beyond” – DJ Spandex. House rhythmic components meet EDM melodies in post-dub landscapes for a big techno cut that bangs but tastefully never goes over the top.

5. “Shade” – Mountain Head. Rock, techno, and swampy vibes meld seamlessly for a fascinating tune that defies genre expectations.

6. “Masked Souls” – Alberto Rigoni feat. Nathan East & Michael Manring. Put three bassists on a track and let ’em go for it. This is a uniquely interesting collaboration that spans post-rock, jazz, and rock effortlessly.

7. “From Thin Air” ft. Lisel – Tristan Kasten-Krause. Fans of Julianna Barwick and Alex Dowling will find this piece compelling: a series of drones created out of vocals, punctuated by swooning vocals and occasional bass. It’s embodied but also ethereal; grounded, but aspiring to float.

8. “Unfold Yourself” – Slowburner. A pulsing, pressing piano piece that borrows from electronic music for ideas, to great effect.

9. “Fog Rolls Out Rabun Gap” – Ben Seretan. Some “found sounds” work revels in the tranquil, quiet environments that the recording captures. Seretan’s encourage all sorts of sonics into the mix: running water, birds, cicadas, breeze, insects, and other sounds of nature. The improvised piano notes over the top are a perfect compliment to the enfolding sounds of nature, gentle treble cascades that evoke peace and joy. Truly lovely.

10. “Millo Kru” – Rizomagic. I’m always enthralled when I don’t know what to call a piece of music. This piece pairs melodic percussion with squiggly casio-esque notes before dropping into a funky, scruffy, charmingly upbeat dance rhythm of some sort. Rizomagic calls this music tropical futurism, and I am inclined to believe it; this is as earthily tropical as it is zoomingly electro.