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Robert Piotrowicz, "Walser"

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cover imageHis last major release, Samoobrona (with Lukáš Jiřička) may have had Piotrowicz trying something rather different by scoring a radio play, but Walser is a step back into the conventional album format, even if it was originally intended as a score for the film of the same title.  However, that motivation to try new things as far as instrumentation and composition goes (something that has been a distinct facet of his recent works) is not lost here.  Electric and acoustic instruments blend together, making for perhaps his most diverse and complex work to date.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 March 2017 22:37


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cover imagePart of the impetus of this three cassette compilation (by Wren Turco, who also contributes one of the tapes) was to showcase experimental electronic work by female artists that, not only often marginalized because of their gender, are also relatively new on the scene.  With her, Gambletron, and NaEE RobERts, a wide spectrum of electronic art is presented, from Gambletron's more discordant abstraction, to Turco’s stripped down deconstructed techno, into NaEE RoBErts' more conventional song structures.  All three tapes stand strongly on their own, but also compliment each other exceptionally well, making for a very strong compilation.


Noveller, "A Pink Sunset For No One"

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cover imageI have an unfortunate tendency to take Sarah Lipstate's work for granted, as if it is somehow not enough that she is one of the most distinctive and inventive solo guitarists currently active.  Part of that is her own fault, as she periodically produces work so beautiful and sublime that she transcends her role as guitarist and instead seems like one of the most compelling artists around.  Those are the moments that I am always chasing and I have not experienced one since the title piece on 2013's No Dreams.  Happily, Pink Sunset manages to floor me once more with "Deep Shelter."  There are a few other memorable moments on this solid and likeable album as well, but not quite enough to disabuse me of my belief that Lipstate is gradually accumulating the material for an absolutely stunning greatest hits album at a rate of one fresh masterpiece every few years.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 April 2017 08:20

Norman Westberg, "Jasper Sits Out"

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cover imageRoom40's excavation campaign of Norman Westberg’s wonderfully hypnotic and self-released solo guitar work continues with this 2014 tribute to the Westberg family dog.   Notably, this release was already reissued once before (as an extremely limited vinyl edition by Hallow Ground), but this new incarnation is both remastered and expanded.  More notable still, Jasper Sits Out was the first of Westberg's homemade releases that Lawrence English ever heard, making it the album that inadvertently dragged this quietly beautiful facet of his artistry into the light.  As such, I half-expected Jasper to be a towering culmination of the entire reissue campaign, but it is more or less on the same level as all the consistently fine preceding releases (aside from one truly dazzling piece).

Last Updated on Monday, 27 March 2017 12:43

High Plains, "Cinderland"

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cover imageThis is the debut release from the duo of Loscil's Scott Morgan and classically trained cellist Mark Bridges.  The pair met while at a residency in Alberta, then convened for two weeks of winter recording in renovated schoolhouse in Wyoming.  Consequently, High Plains is quite an apt name for this project, succinctly capturing both the windswept isolation of the region and the project's deeply melancholy aesthetic.  Being unfamiliar with Bridges, I expected High Plains to be a rather Loscil-esque endeavor, but the only truly significant similarity is that this album continues the bleak trajectory of Monument Builders: Cinderland mostly feels like a neo-classical soundtrack to an art film or perhaps like a stark and drone-damaged homage to Dirty Three.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 March 2017 12:37

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