Andy Lowe - Zhuay Club
Released: April 23
At just five songs long, Andy Lowe’s new EP is an entertain assortment of playful tracks that incorporate a great deal of varied sounds and moods. What is truly interesting about this EP is the variety that is present in each track. Lowe never lets a track get repetitive on this release as song shift entirely in mood and rhythm at various points.
One of my favorite examples of this is on the fourth track, “The Skin Speaks.” A little over halfway through, the rhythm disappears and slowly returns as something quite different than the bouncy drums we hear in the beginning. Instead, the drums that take over are much more forceful and sound as though they are absolutely slamming through the track. It’s a positively wonderful technique that Andy Incorporates throughout.
Lowbelly - II
Released: March 23
This short album threw me off quite a bit when I first heard it. If I Am being honest, I did not want to like it when I first listened. But after multiple listens, I had to admit to myself that I did enjoy it.
This whole album is an eclectic grab bag of musical styles. From song to song, you’ll hear pieces of jazz, hip-hop, soft rock, and even middle-eastern styles all thrown together in a way that seems like it shouldn’t be cohesive, but somehow is. The instrumentation is also quite eclectic as it includes guitars, synth, electronic and acoustic percussion, plus the interesting addition of a flute. This one is definitely worth a second listen if it doesn’t;t catch you on the first play.
Orca, Attack! - C.M.S.O. (Learning by Listening)
Released: April 16
When I received this one in my inbox, it immediately stood out to me as one of the most interesting concepts for an album. The entire EP is something of an essay being read aloud, except the message comes through... wrong.
After listening several times, I still can‘t figure out what is being said. The words come through as garbled, phased, pitch-shifted, and otherwise mangled in ways that make the message indiscernible. This distorted and unclear message is accompanied by odd synthesized pads that sound as though they are aged and warbling along with an airy sounding female vocal that is singing an even more indiscernible message.
I‘m currently four listens in and I‘m quite sure I haven’t learned anything. But I do know that it is also very fun to listen to.
Simon Slater - Event Horizon: Elegies From Singularities
Released: March 26
Comprised of two exceptionally long tracks, both of which bear the name of the EP, Simon‘s most recent release is an odd journey to places where humans only dream of being able to go. Described as “watching a sun be consumed by a black hole,” this story unfolds over the course of just over 40 minutes.
Both tracks seem to capture the feel of classic space science fiction movies, albeit A bit differently. The first feels a bit darker, more foreboding. It feels as though someone got a view of this intense even and what having extreme difficulty processing what they were seeing. The next track lightens up and presents more of a feeling of pure wonder as the synts become a bit lighter and less intense.
Zack Dolin - Dawn of Claymation
Released: April 2
This release is one that filled me instant nostalgia in the first ten seconds of listening. Highly reminiscent of the game soundtracks from the Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo era, the compositions are eclectic and, more often than not, quite energy. These tracks sound as though the would not be out of place in a Sonic the Hegehog game, but they are far more than just a repetitive background loop.
Throughout the album, Zack creates tracks that are constantly evolving and switching things up in a way that is not obvious. Tracks use a wide assortment of very early nineties sounds that are surprisingly all made with a single synth; the Roland SC-88. This self-imposed limitation gives us the fun trip down memory lane that sounds like challenging platforming, tricky jobs, and preposterous boss fights.