Meduna - Desmantelo
Released: May 5
Somewhere between an EP and a single, Brazilian electronic artist Meduna takes us on a brief journey through a crafty blend of synthpop and house with some distinct elements of acid in the basslines and beats. Both tracks take a laid-back approach to these genre blends, giving us steady tempos that just barely break that line into danceable. "Nafiltida" gives us some crisply distorted 808s and eclectic synth arrangements while "Henxakake" gives us much of the same but effectively doubles down on that acid bassline aesthetic. After both tracks, "Nafiltida" gets a remix treatment from 6 Plus Ten Records regular Quizzik that captures much of the same energy as the original but crushes those drums a considerable bit more while thoroughly glitching out the synth lines to boot. A nice little two-tracker overall that wouldn't feel out of place on a racing game soundtrack.
Strand Unit - An Aspect of Perspective
Released: May 6
Released in early May on Moonside Tapes, ambient electronic act Strand Unit takes the opportunity to meld aspects of various genres into ten delightful compositions that play with a variety of motifs. Much of the album is highly atmospheric and textural, but there are some interesting spots where Strand Unit lets a few pop influences creep in to liven things up. The album opens up with the abstract ambiance of "Branched Deployment" with strange and pingy synth lines that bounce around in front of a backdrop of a deeply muted kick, which serves as the perfect bridge into the next track. "Cast in Gauze" gives us the first little bit of that aforementioned pop influence with a proper beat and playful synths.
Through the rest of the album, we hear the same kind of dynamic although this will be the last time the beats are so fully fleshed out, opting instead to give us the full glitchiness in heavily processed rhythms. "Eight Steps to Psychic Perception" is where the glitch gets going for me. Odd and seemingly meandering synth blips are backed up by a constantly shifting and difficult to grasp rhythm, one that was presumably acoustic in nature but that nature has been rendered nearly unrecognizable. For the finale, we are treated to the lush field recordings of a beautiful and sunny day, juxtaposed with the blips and synth alchemy that has permeated the album thus far. A serene end to a rather unique album.
Odious Wretch - Nadir
Released: May 12
The debut release from Chicago-based Odius Wretch is a hypnotic, harsh, unforgiving, and also intricately layered thirty-four minutes of noise that seems to incorporate many different elements. Not content to simply pile on the distortion, Odious Wretch spans a whole range of dynamics and textures while maintaining the twisted aura it seeks to exude. There are moments where it becomes almost unbearable only for it to slowly shift into a quieter digitized scathing, similar to hearing a digital antenna television suddenly fritz out in a loud mosh of noise. I swear I can hear it speaking to me too. It is a refreshing bit of aural gnashing that is just this side of softer than a brillo pad.
Eden Rayz - Corpus Vice
Released: May 16
While the majority of the orchestration includes classical instruments - violins, cellos, clarinets, timpani, etc. - Corpus Vice is a metal album at its core. This classical and metal hybrid is furthered by the coarse and guttural vocals provided by writer and composer Eden Rayz and supported by the large group of guest musicians providing their talents. The opening track "Saint Anthony's Fire' opens up with brutal rapid drums and almost misdirects the path of the rest of the album as the full drum set arrangement seems to disappear (though they still appear at times) and give way to a set of slower but still just as vocally intense tracks.
"Threnody No.1" is almost entirely comprised of amplified cello of Rayz searing vocals. I think this is what makes the music stand out as the cello is coated in a layer of distortion throughout, giving it a harrowing quality. Further on it the album, a variety of woodwind come in and solidify the neoclassical elements at play. But the arrangements are just so lurid and uncomfortable at times. "Corpus Vice, III. Resist" is the essence of this dynamic as the woodwinds switch from supporting each other to openly fighting one another to create a strange cacophony. But this is how Rayz wants to get the message of this album across. This album is all about chaos and strife in a human versus nature kind of way and it shines through beautifully in each tortured composition.
SELVEDGE - DAYBREAKER
Released: May 20
While both of the tracks on this new EP from Kansas-based ambient artist Selvedge were made during the creation of his previous album, it differs greatly from The Real River in a couple of ways. Firstly, these two tracks are a bit more aggressive and certainly louder. Rather than play in the ambient drone side of things, he cleverly interplays some more of his noise influences here while still maintaining a drone aesthetic. "Meridian," the first track, casts a bright light over everything within its reach with long searing pads that rise and fall slowly but unpredictably. Conversely, "Daybreaker" is considerably darker with deep swells of airy noise and a dark synth pad that hangs in the background. It is almost like some type of night and day dynamic that fits in astonishingly well with the theme of the EP.
Matt Atkins - Imperfections
Released: May 13
It has been some time since I've heard an album as appropriately named as Imperfections is. Over the course of nine tracks, the listener is taken through a veritable swath of manipulated field recordings containing metallic clatters, wooden knocks, glassy rattles, and so many other almost unidentifiable sounds. The tracks are named numerically with the "First' through the "Ninth." But, true to the theme of imperfection, they appear ever so slightly out of order. It's something that I quite appreciate aesthetically as it is just out of order enough to activate my slight OCD in a good way.
It is difficult sometimes to pin down the sources of Atkins' sounds throughout the album. I would often wonder if I had dropped something or if someone was knocking on my door as I listened through. One of the tracks that particularly caught my attention was "Fifth" due to this strange ebbing drone that was present for most of the track. As the drone rings out, the accompanying clattering varied in intensity with it sometimes sounding like something small had dropped to the sound of someone dumping out their entire junk drawer. "Sixth" has a bit of a similar dynamic except the sounds are far more fluid, as in the sound watery while still also rattling around in the stereo space. But overall, this album makes for a fun, if not a bit disorienting trip in a darkened room.