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.
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”.
As I continue to work on the Masstransfer book, it’s amazing to see how many bands and musicians featured in the zine are still active and producing new works. These bands are achieving high points of their careers, and I’m excited to follow-up with them to add new material to the book and this website. Here’s a few of the highlights.
Very happy to report that Chris Jeely, aka Accelera Deck (among other monikers) has re-emerged under that guise to release a new EP entitled Crystalline Prickle. His return to the more electronic and “beaty” sounds of AD comes after focusing the last few years on an equally amazing project called Llarks, which explores more of the textured guitar that usually overlays older Accelera Deck works, and stretches it out beyond the horizon. Check his album from earlier this year called Come & Close Your Eyes:
Hello there fellow humans, we’re deep into this pandemic now and things have really slowed down. This has given some artists and musicians more time to compose and record, even if the topic is just the quarantine itself. I’m starting to see quite a few tantalizing releases on the horizon, including a big release for any fans of the old Detroit Space Rock scene (more on that to come). For now, check out these new treats, take care of yourself, and help out those you can.
Fans of Kosmiche-era eletronics will rejoice in the release of Diaphanous Structures, the latest from Listening Center. On this outing, the arpeggios are a little darker and more skeletal – “Hovering Haze” is the sound of a factory devoid of humans, continuing to do their jobs day in and day out. This feeling continues on songs like “A Torn Hedge” and “Sapling One”, which continuously morphs into new sequences of synth sounds. A few tracks, “Concentric Circles” and “Glass Phantoms”, elicit a comparison to the glassy tones of mid-70’s Cluster, while the around-one-minute interstitial material is reminiscent of fellow retrofuturists Broadcast. This is impressive company to be in.
In a similar electronic vein, yet decidedly more fun and funky, is the new album Puzzlewood from Plone – their first in like 20 years, this one on Ghost Box. If you’re prone to the sheer pleasure of dancing by yourself to retro futuristic beats a la the lighter side of Stereolab or the High Llamas, then by all means throw this on and have a time. From the label: “This is unironically joyful and melodic electronica; informed by library music, music for children’s TV and a deep passion for the history of music technology.”
Between the coronavirus, political tensions and climate anxiety, there’s no shortage of crazy stuff going on in the world at the moment. So if you’re looking for a sonic diversion you’ve come to the right place – new music from Canada, England, Estonia, Australia, and the US to enlighten your day.
The Asteroid #4 conjured up their 60s influences to deliver “Under My Umbrella”, the chorus of which could easily have been pulled from the Magical Mystery Tour. At the request of the record label’s owner, Stu Pope, “the A4 jumped back into the heyday of Psychedelic music’s first wave”. The flip-side, “The Seventh Moon”, starts out with a motorik feel, but changes halfway through into a more mystical vibe with a flute that glides over the song.
Flyying Colours are possibly one of my favorite bands of the last decade, though we haven’t heard much from them since 2016’s Mindfullness (Club AC30 recently did a pink vinyl re-press). Well they are back with a new track, “Big Mess” (video below), spiking the intro with synth arpeggios leading into a heart-racing guitar-driven experience that challenges you to sit still.
Take a road trip down memory lane as I throw in a virtual mixtape of sun baked tracks pulled from the archives.
This episode is inspired by those late summer jaunts we would take around Labor Day weekend, grabbing at the last straws of summer, trying to enjoy a little bit of warm freedom before fall and winter hit in Michigan. Usually we would drive east towards New York, New Jersey, Boston, just to get away and there would always be lots and lots of music because there was lots and lots of time. We would dub some mixtapes before we would go so we’d have things to listen to in the car.
Welcome to the inaugural episode of Sonixcursions – for our first trip, I’ve selected a number of bands who have been consistently producing stellar outersounds for over 20 years. Many of the bands on this episode can be traced back to the very early issues of the Masstransfer zine – starting with the opener Adrien75 (who Is Still Alive) and the lunar/tropical vibe of “Hawaiian Ring Drum Rum”; plus a throwback track from the band Seely; the dreamy electronics of Lazy Salon (Sean Byrne of Lenola/Twin Atlas); and the California-via-Philly psycountry rockers The Asteroid #4.