Imisu - Skydream
Released: May 3
This latest release from Imisu (a project of the Forest Kids Collective, the brainchild of musician Paul G. Marchesani) is comprised entirely of Paul’s smooth guitar skills and some very clever and well executed studio effects magic. The result is a relaxing and introspective sound that borrows musical influence from folk and jazz in a way that doesn’t sound exactly like either. I definitely recommend this one for serene sunrises and sunsets.
millicow - Spaces Between Spaces
Released: January 8
Released early this year, millicow’s Spaces Between Spaces utilizes the experienice of scrubbing through available radio stations to create a dark and immersive atmosphere. This atmosphere varies a bit in its instrumentation throughout, but it never strays away from the ever-present radio static for long.
Over the course of five tracks, we are treated to a variety of sounds. The opening track ”Cinnamon Twist, Five Dollars” gives us a dark and rumbling sounds that culminate in short stuttered clips of a Taco Bell radio ad to set us for the next track. Surprisingly, despite leaning heavy into the static, the underlying compositions are never buried under and the strangely mangled clips of radio programming complement them quite well. It is a unique experience that turns the use of static and white noise in a novel direction.
Oceanographer - Blazetrailer
Released: April 16
This short EP from Oceanographer is somewhat surprising considering it is an ambient album that seems to have more energy than most. Each track consists of thick pads and driving arpeggiations that play of of each other in strange and intricate ways. There is always a bit of tension between these two parts, however. In some cases this tension is drawn out over a bit of time before eventually resolving. Tracks such as the second, “Blazetrailer,” sets up this tension in a way that gives us something that would be cinematically suitable for a scene of discovery and intrigue. This one is definitely studying music of the highest order
Star Madman & Survey Channel - Paper Disguise
Released: May 7
A trippy time-warp of a track resulting from a collaboration between Survey Channel and Star Madman that brings together some of the best aspects of both artists. Survey Channel contribute his well-established sound filled with playful, yet still borderline ambient. Meanwhile, Star Madman gives us a surreal story through her lyrics, seemingly about those who pretend to be what they aren‘t: successful, powerful, high in status... Though the lyrics leave some room for interpretation (and I may be adding a bit of my own), the message is still clear, compelling, and a treat to get lost in.
Kh3rtis - Fragments I
Released: May 19
Czechia-based musician Kh3rtis has always been well-known for establishing spacey and textural atmospheres in his compositions. However, what is surprising about this EP is that the first two tracks seem to eschew his normal affinity for subtle melodies in favor of delightfully bizarre soundscapes that include clanging bells, sharp synthesizer rises and falls, and a background sound of cosmic static or radiation.
The final track, “Titan,” is probably the most melodic of all three tracks. Even so, any sense of melody comes at the end and is still overridden by he preference for lucid, yet lovely, soundscapes. It definitely makes me hope that Fragments II is coming at some point.