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: Tender Mercy – “War Within”

Under the moniker Tender Mercy, musician Mark Kramer creates eerie and unnerving skeletons of songs out of little more than a few carefully plucked notes on guitar, some semi-whispered vocals and valleys upon tender valleys of reverb. He has a new record, title: War Within, out this month on Louisville label Obsolete Staircases and it…

Review: David Grubbs & Taku Unami – “Failed Celestial Creatures”

From the early notes of “Failed Celestial Creatures” – the meditative, 20-minute-long title track to the unanticipated debut collaboration between guitar-composer David Grubbs and Japanese musician Taku Unami, out Friday via Empty Editions – you get the sense you’re listening to something special. While Unami paints with fuzzy clouds of electronic sound, Grubbs repeats wonderfully…