This week’s edition is for the daydreamers, those with imaginations turned on, seeking aural dream-aids (not sleep-aids), or at least, something to compliment those moments of serene focus.
These forest pixie children from Colorado are masters of the textural landscape. Last year’s Hidden Lands was praised for its drifting sense of cinematic fantasy, each song containing a sample of every song on the album (a subtle and complex technique which naturally tricks the subconscious). They’ve followed that release with an audio/visual journey: Dreamland, where each week another episode of pastel-filtered wanderings appears at their vimeo channel, along with an addition to the soundtrack. Now up to track 18, there’s never been a better time to lay back in this growing map.
Brooklyn’s Daniel Klag has rendered singular thoughtscapes under the radar now for a few years, all leading to this fully formed LP. Weird Fiction is straightforward ambient, inspired by literature, and thematically inclined to mountains. Song titles suggest peaks, domes, ramparts, and chasms; and its vast tone does the rest. There’s a surreal and calming static exchange at hand here, certainly best suited for isolated treks.
If anyone’s work can truly live up to the term “angelic”, it’s Julianna Barwick’s. Her primary instrument is a pristine voice, something she feathers and multiplies to, well, heavenly effect. The Magic Place, her 3rd release, is a delicate masterpiece, fusing choral crescendos with droplets of piano and the occasional soft but soaring percussion. Also recommended, her recent collaboration with avant pioneer Ikue Mori—another striking listen.
Two Bicycles entered the field as the “side project” of sunshine synth-crooner Teen Daze, and quickly became something all its own. Far darker, and more guitar-centric, these recordings revealed a minimalistic and personal dynamic to the artist, and a real gift for organic composition. The Ocean is meant to tell a day-to-night story, where the character feels a range of water-bound emotions, or as he puts it, “the ocean can bring both optimism and fear, hope and loneliness.”
Only pressed to 100 copies in 1978, this lost gem is experiencing a 2011 rebirth thanks to Digitalis Recordings, and sites like Altered Zones who’ve sent a new generation off swimming in it. Shaped by a German oceanographer inside his houseboat music studio, Science of the Sea is essentially an aquarium of the mind, an ode to nature, built with the synthetic. It endlessly ripples wordless new age currents, entirely capable of taking one very deep into turquoise meditation.