Mold Omen - Milk Can’t Die
Released: April 2
Another solidly bizarre release from the UK-based Steep Gloss label, Mold Omen crafts some of the most unsettling soundscapes heard on tape. Opening up with “Gloom Operator,” a track that starts with an odd chirping squeal and evolves into harsh noise with an accompanying thumping sound, the schizophrenic mood of the EP is established.
Moving into the next track, “Dyatlov Hall Pass,” the harsh noise continues until the end when “Helium” picks up. With this and the next three tracks, the noise remains although it takes a quieter, yet somehow more sinister tone throughout. The final track, “Egg in 1505,” ramps this tension up with scraping strings and a thumping that almost resembles a heartbeat going into severe arrhythmia. Milk Can’t Die is a stellar example of the material that Steep Gloss specializes in.
Stefan Schmidt - 3333
Released: March 26
An impressive release, especially considering the methods by which it was produced. Consisting of only one track 33 minutes and 33 seconds long, 3333 is an exquisite free-improvisation that ebbs and flows in a strange manner.
3333 was created through primarily acoustic means using a sound table made by Schmidt himself, kalimba, unique noise boxes, music boxes, and a variety of odd objects. At times, the sound is extremely subtle, almost imperceptible. However, this almost silence is inevitably broken every time by a loud strike or otherworldly sound, keeping a sense of tension and anticipation throughout. All in all, an engaging listen that stands out among improvisational works of its kind.
thenever - sophen digitalis
Released: April 9
A fantastic EP that is gentle, haunting, soothing, and abrasive almost all at the same time. sophen digitalis marks the first official release from Geldrop, Netherlands- based artist thenever (also known as Danny Hale) through Silent Method Records. Throughout four tracks, thenever takes the listener through a curious space that makes use of all manner of textures including spooky pads, airy field recordings, and even complete silence.
The opening track, "teelyora," introduces the atmospheric themes of the album with the use of field recordings that sound akin to someone walking very briskly, a guitar gently strumming odd chords arythmically, and the eventual introduction of crackling static that seems to overpower and disappear. These themes are continued in the next track, "submorgia," minus the odd guitar strumming. For the entire runtime, Hale brings us into the textures and allows only a short period of calm until introducing dissonance and clipping static. A dissonance that jolts you out of comfort and makes you aware that you are not supposed to relax. This technique is amplified on "plumbdulumb" when we are subject to one and a half minutes of silence before the opening synths of "and_om" ring out.
The Amazing Dr. Tentacles - Bullet Ballet
Released: March 15
An eclectic single from The Amazing Dr. Tentacles, Bullet Ballet pushes the limits of genre combinations. Incorporating pieces of drum and bass, chiptune, and even hints of dubstep; the track is quite all over the place and gives a very hectic feeling as it switches tempos and rhythms on a whim. The synth work is rather impressive given how dramatically the track changes at multiple points, giving the track some excellent SNES boss battle vibes.