Sonixcursions:014 Podcast – My Favorite Songs of 2020

sonixcursions podcast 14

Welcome to the end of 2020 – a year that will change the course of our history into the foreseeable future. For various reasons, including being here at home full-time, I had a lot of time to spend listening to new music and following some bands I had lost touch with. For this episode, I’m going through my favorite albums, almost month-by-month, and playing my top song picks. You’ll see over the course of the year, things started off pretty strong with the guitargazing of Purple Heart Parade and Ringo Deathstarr, but gradually tended towards an ambient direction later in the year.

As always thank you for listening, it’s been quite an interesting year to say the very least. I look forward to 2021 at least not being 2020.

Track Listing

Purple Heart Parade “Petrichor” (0:00) – From the EP Desolation Angel on Club AC30.

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Drawn To Memory Drawings, Part 1

Do you remember when you would take some time to truly absorb and enjoy an album over multiple listenings, hearing and discovering more each time? Transnational post-rock/neo-classical collective Memory Drawings creates an exotic dreamscape of organic instrumentation that pulls you in, evoking either a Gaelic coastline or a Middle-Eastern desert, on their latest album A Few Scattered Hours. Woven throughout the album’s 11 songs is a comforting (for me) 4AD vibe, following the Dead Can Dance lineage; though the solid bass and drums anchor it squarely in the rock universe – a sound foreign and familiar at the same time.

I recently had the chance to speak with Joel Hanson, one of the core masterminds behind the outfit, and get some insight into how this hivemind of remote musicians can put together something that sounds so put together.

Memory Drawings A Few Scattered Hours

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Sonixcursions:013 Podcast

sonixcursions podcast 13As we wind down this insane year and look to 2021, I’m catching up with some releases from 2020 that I missed along the way, along with a few new bands I’ve discovered over the past few weeks.

Track Listing

Causa Sui “Gabor’s Path” (0:00) – entrancing instrumental post/psych-rock from Denmark, from their latest Szabodelico on El Paraiso Records.

The Green Kingdom “Mayloops” (4:15) – acoustic loops and themes inspired by beauty that is often overlooked.

Memory Drawings “A Few Scattered Hours (The Green Kingdom remix)” (6:50) – The Green Kingdom’s Michael Cottone applies his creative hand to the lush textures of Memory Drawings, one this week’s featured bands (stay tuned for an interview with member Joel Hanson).

SANKT OTTEN “Dann doch lieber weisse Wände” (12:00) – The mood turns a little more electronic here with the sounds of German audio engineering.

Giants of Discovery – “Dream Of the Colossus” (17:05) – Inspired by gigantic brutalist edifices and colossal structures, this hauntological project seeks to explore the mysteries of sunken underwater statues.

All India Radio + Josh Roydhouse “At Sea” (20:30) – Soft piano floats above the waves of an ambient ocean. The first of two collaborations this year by Australia’s All India Radio.

Llarks “Allure” (24:20) – The second featured band of the episode, Llarks is the latest identity of Accelera Deck’s Chris Jeely, taking the best of his smeared tonal guitar playing and stretching it to the horizon.

RxGibbs – “Charon” (29:40) – Another late discovery is the ambient guitar work of Ron Gibbs, who records under the guise RxGibbs – a veteran of the Michigan space rock scene as a member of the band Auburn Lull (included on the recent Southeast Of Saturn compilation).

As always thanks for listening, and sign up for the email newsletter to get updates on these and other bands featured in the podcasts.

Stay safe & sane out there…

Chris Jeely: Of Accelera Deck & Llarks

chris jeely accelera deck crystalline prickle

Accelera Deck can get you into a hypnotic loop, pulling you into its orbit and slowly adding new flourishes to the mix. Bass and drums are stuck in a repetitive groove while gamma rays of noise melt over the structure, oozing into every audible crack. Other than the rhythm, nothing else is identifiable.

Sometime in 1997 I received a demo tape from an artist called “Audio Wishe”, and passed it along to Carla Pino for her demo reviews in the first Masstransfer issue. Little did I know that this would be my first contact with a musician who would go on to prolifically produce works under a number of aliases over the next decade or so.

By the turn of the millennium, Chris Jeely had already racked up a solid discography – and the train was still moving. In the fourth issue of the Masstransfer zine in 2000, Pearson Greer penned quite an extensive overview covering most of his work until that time. A key line at the tail end of the article goes: “you know, I bet in 20 years, we’ll look back and see just how far this genius has come”. Hard to believe it’s been that long already.

I caught back up with Chris in 2020, after being notified of a new Accelera Deck release on Bandcamp. In return he sent me digital copies of recent works as well as his new banner Llarks – taking the best of his smeared tonal guitar playing to new heights. From his standpoint, this is his primary vehicle moving forward.

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Sonixcursions:012 Podcast

Sonixcursions 012 Podcast

There are a few threads running through this batch of tracks: a focus on women vocalists; some throwback songs from the 2000s; and international representation from Sweden, Australia and Argentina, including a few that were submitted through the website.

Also, with this episode I’m better aligning the podcast and email newsletter, so I’ll be sending one out every time a new episode is released. Make sure to subscribe to get notified and stay up to date on the latest new music from the Sonixcursions universe!

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Masstransfer << Rewind: KILN

This article was originally published in the fourth issue of Masstransfer, 2000.

“We’re very much lovers of the energy of sound. The illusion that a musical environment can ‘float’ or ‘fly’, or portray ‘velocity’ and ‘depth’ is very much another aspect of continual fascination for us”, states Clark Rehberg of Michigan’s KILN.

Evolved over several year of experimentation, both musical and spiritual, KILN’s music is a nourishing mix of tones and rhythms, most accurately captured on their latest recording, Ampday. The ensemble is comprised of Rehberg, Kirk Marrison, and Kevin Hayes performing in various incarnations for over 5 year under the auspices of the Earthtone Colectiv.

kiln ampday

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A Few Words With… Steve Swartz

In hindsight, this year started off like a fairly normal one for Detroit musician Steve Swartz, former guitarist of the dream/gaze band Au Revoir Borealis who’s been creating ambient soundscapes as Swartz Et for the past decade. I had the good fortune of chatting with him recently, and discussed many of the projects he’s been working on as well as the general state of 2020 and beyond.

steve swartz

His latest release from this past June, Light Leaks, seeks to bring awareness to the pain of seeing loved ones with mental illness by using found sounds and human utterances along with electronics to build wave upon wave of audio emotion.

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Random Orbitings – November 6, 2020

Today is another Bandcamp Friday – and here’s a rundown of the music I’m tracking and looking to pick up today. Check them out if you can! (This is not an exhaustive list, just what I was able to put together this morning)

Fly Pan Am

Montreal post-rock legends return for an extending single, “Mirror Cracks Seeking Interiority“, on their home label Constellation. As part of “Corona Borealis“, Constellation’s first-ever digital series, the label will be releasing “16 artists with new longplaying singles and accompanying experimental film/video, commissioned as part of our pandemic/post-capitalist response for label-affiliated musicians under current conditions.”

FPA saw their 2020 UK/EU tour (their first in 15 years) cancelled, and have been trading music files and ideas during the lockdown. This is the 6th single in the series.

Fly Pan Am | “Mirror Cracks Seeking Interiority” from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

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Sonixcursions:011 Podcast

sonixcursions 11 podcast

Without realizing it, this mix is devoid of vocals. Just instrumentals. It’s most likely a reaction to my anxiety around the upcoming election here in the states and the general state of the corona virus, but really I just want to zone out for a bit.

Pulselovers

Pulled from the latest offering from A Year In The Country – a compilation entitled The LayeringPulselovers invites us into the world of “Brodsworth” (0:00), an English coal mining town that has returned formerly derelict industrial land into beautiful natural landscapes contoured by the wastelands that lie beneath.

The compilation “is a reflection on how these, and other varied strata, are layered on top of one another, and/or sit side-by-side, with some being recorded, while others are forgotten or unknown, becoming part of a hidden or semi-hidden history.”

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Sonixcursions:010 Podcast

sonixcursions podcast 10

As the world continues to get stranger by the day, let me offer some refuge with a slate of psych, ambient, dream pop and electronic music.

Starting us off is “Penrose At The Edge Of A Hill” (0:00), from an electronic and ambient collaboration between Buffalo’s Survey Channel, and Edmondton’s Cpektir. They traded tracks and ideas over the summer, and produced Myriagon Atlas – “a mental map of the imaginative thought process”.

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