Review: Talking Book – “Talking Book II”

The best film scores are symbiotes, feeding off developments on the screen as much as their notes and flourishes contribute non-diagetic narrative elements such as foreshadowing. A character enters the frame, their leitmotif surfaces and the action unfurls, and so on. Talking Book is a duo-turned-trio – and Faith No More/Gigante Sound side project, it should…

Review: Clara Engel – “Hatching Under the Stars”

“To Keep the Ghost at Bay” opens Clara Engel’s new LP – their 28th release on Bandcamp, out digitally on 5 April – and it gives, no hyperbole, a masterclass in minimalist expansion. The song, like most the pieces on the excellent Hatching Under the Stars, is built around the spacy cycles of a spindly, repeating 4/4…

Review: Sir Richard Bishop – “Oneiric Formulary”

“Oneiric”, as Merriam Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary might note, applies to content whose narratives are dream-like or packed with the stuffing of dreams. And so goes the central premise of Oneiric Formulary, the new LP by Sir Richard Bishop and the ex-Sun City Girls six-string guru’s first solo outing since releasing the masterful Tangier Sessions in 2015. “Oneiric” is…

Review: Gaelynn Lea – “Rebuild”

Man, Gaelynn Lea knows how to wring the sentimentality out of an Electro Harmonix. The Duluth, Minnesota-bred composer/songwriter, who won the NPR Tiny Desk Contest in 2016, enchants listeners with more winding aural wonders filtered from her violin through that Memory Man pedal on the COVID-19-initiated release “Rebuild,” out now on Bandcamp. The single, a…

Review: Helen Money – “Atomic”

The Chicago-based cellist Alison Chesley is accustomed to providing the sonic equivalent of accent marks and highlights on other people’s statements of intent. She has appeared on some 150 LPs, offering the bowed weep and illuminating scope of her instrument to the likes of Anthrax, Russian Circles, Bob Mould, MONO, and many more. But, when…

Review: tetema – “Necroscape”

Melbourne-based electro-acoustic musician Anthony Pateras has a way with words. Take, for example, the colorful context he sets in advance/press materials for “Haunted on the Uptake” from Necroscape, the sophomore LP of the group Pateras fronts alongside carnival barker extraordinaire Mike Patton. “Sounds like the Melvins’ tour van broke down in the Balkans, and instead of going…

Review: Ryan Rumery – “And, Apart”

Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Rumery’s emotive music always has traded in a kind of nuance, with even his most emphatic statements – which often are bookmarked by ethereal sound-sculpture – being underpinned by the sticky uncertainty of second thought. Coronavirus, no matter how society-halting it becomes, simply cannot stop that. So Rumery, now in isolation due to…

Review: Cabane – “Grande Est La Maison”

There are only so many tablespoons of sugar you can put into your tea or coffee before it’s just sugar, with a spot or hint of the caffeine that’s supposed to drive it through your nervous system. That seems to be the main problem with Grande Est La Maison, the newest LP from Brussels-based composer Thomas…

Review: Magnetic Ghost – “Pixels”

There are many spots where one can enter Pixels, the new LP from Magnetic Ghost, the nom de guerre of Minneapolis multi-instrumentalist Andy Larson. I like to begin with the second track, “Joshua Tree at Sunset”. The piece starts amidst a buzzing drone, and the swells wax vaguely synthetic, backed by the whirring of gears and the…

Review: Human Impact – S/T

Imagine an orgy scored by rusty industrial equipment blasting New York City noise-rock, something like Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, or Swans in their wicked primes. It would be a gritty, menacing spectacle — sweaty, filthy, angry sex — and set in some cold-water flat on the Lower East Side or along the Gowanus in a…