Camp of Wolves - Dragoon
Released: July 8
Dragoon marks the second album from David Salisbury under his alias Camp of Wolves released through Waxing Crescent. While his previous work Green Timbers was something of a dark and sinister tale, Dragoon gives us a much different story inspired by the life of his great-grandfather. It is this grounding and the epic synth arrangements that give this album a very "hero's journey" aura and progression to it.
The first half of the album sets the stage with a sense of foreshadowing and contemplation with "The Hundred" and "Lemonsong" playing out arrangments that inspire a sense of forlorn reflection and the next two tracks "For a Swarm of Bees" and "Remittance Man" bring in the foreshadowing of what is to come. Then the next four tracks evoke the pain of what is actually experienced in the journey - loss, grief, disbelief, and tribulation. Finally, we are sent off with something of a return to the beginning in "Autumn Bones," though this time around it is tinged with just a bit more melancholy than in the beginning. It's quite an amazing album that expertly tells the story of a seemingly heroic figure that never quite lets you forget that it is reality and this man was all too human.
godNOISEgod - Noise Wall Stations
Released: July 8
Imagine a world in which noise music is banned and punishable to the greatest degree possible. Crazy, right? Well, this is the concept behind goHOISE god's latest release in cooperation with Communal Deafness Recordings. Comprised of only four tracks, each one is representative of a certain code - a small little hint that would give listeners a clue as to what station the next one could be found on.
The aesthetic behind this is just magnificent as it gives room for a wide variety of interpretations, including the track that I found to be my absolute favorite that mimics that creepy old number stations of the cold war era that were just the stuff of beautiful nightmares, "81423 mHz - Number Lines." Each of the tracks contains a station frequency representing the frequency on which these tracks were allegedly broadcast. Most of the tracks are rather minimal but maintain a subtly aggressive quality with a true pirate radio feel.
She Is Not Alone - Nothing Is
Released: June 26
Representing another surreal side-project from Cornwall-based Heavy Cloud, this short album is a unique collection of fragmentary pieces of sound reconstructed into something new and uncanny. It's truly special in its approach to this as it tends to leave all the hard edges of the process in place for the listener to hear clearly whereas many other projects that attempt something similar try to smooth things out a bit. This can be clearly heard in "Nothing Could" in particular as the short repeating loop that opens the track ends abruptly only to restart just as abruptly in an endlessly repeating pattern, leaving the rawness of the cut perfectly intact.
However, there is another side to this as the digital version also contains the Maybe She Knows EP. While this addendum continues the theme of reconstruction, those jagged edges are tapered and buried under an aural mist that permeates everything. It's an interesting pairing that perfectly balances out the first half of this captivating release.
Thriftwicker Audio Society - Volume V: Psalms of a Curdling Throng
Released: July 1
Thriftwicker Audio Society seems to have a penchant for making lurid and difficult to categorize sonic amalgamations and Psalms of a Curdling Throng doesn't stray away from this at all. If anything, it doubles and triples down on it with sampling that refuses to hold a pitch and warbling synth noises all over the place.
Then there are those handful of tracks here that integrate some downright disquieting percussive rhythms such as "He Who Mumbles" which powers through the madness while there is the ever present sound of twisted vocality in the background. Then the the gurgling sounds that litter their way around the album, especially on "The Pit" which corrupts what would be a bright melody if it weren't for the refusal to hold a pitch along with the gurgling and tormented yelling in the background. It's quite a cerebral, yet uncomfortable experience.
William St. Hugh - Derelict In White
Released: July 1
In his follow up to his April debut album, neo-classical ambient composer William St. Hugh continues in the same vein but takes a decidedly more definitive lean into the world of the cinematic. Compared to his previous album, Derelict in White relies less on texture and much more on movement.
The first couple of tracks are certainly some rather slow burning works but the intensity seems to pick up as the album progress all the way up to "Blackboro" with tense and rapid strings carrying a sense of tension all the way to the end serving as something of a climatic finale as we go into the final track that bears the name of the album. The final track serves as the falling action, the last zoom out on the destruction wrought by the storm. Haunting and beautiful, this deserves to be a score to a tense drama.
Dog Versus Shadows - Smog & An Ambush
Released: July 1
With Smog & An Ambush, Nottingham-based electronic tinkerer Dogs Versus Shadows paints us a picture of a world gone wrong. A world that has transformed into a dystopia that isn't too difficult to picture in which gas masks are required to go outside and the last vestiges of civilization are slowly fading as the energy meant to power it fades away.
What really cements this vision is the odd dingy quality that makes its way into every track. Even what could be considered the cleanest track "Some Smog & An Ambush" is still tainted by the little bit of fuzziness that can only come from something running low of battery, especially on the percussive bass-like sound. It's difficult to tell what these sounds actually are since most of them have faded so far from their original form. Then there's "Climbing Up the Scrawls" which sounds as though it simply struggling to say what it wants to say, spitting out what it can as it musters the energy to do so. It's like looking into the future, though I hope not actually.