While the light at the end of the quarantine tunnel is hard to see, thankfully there are plenty of lanterns along the way in the form of killer new releases each week.
This Friday's releases have something to reflect everyone's isolation strategies. Listen to a few key tracks as you read here.
For the philosophical and introspective approach, Nap Eyes have us covered as always. Nigel Chapman's lyrics on the three tracks released already display the full range of why I love his writing so much, from surreal humour to wistful self-examination and meditative thought - Who else could start a song with the question "Is Mark Zuckerberg a ghost?" and end up at the repeated mantra "Transcendence is all around us"? All the while the lead guitarist is absolutely RIPPING, which is not a word I really like but none else does justice..!
If you're into them as well, check out Lewsberg. Similarly existential and funny, and even more deadpan, here's hoping their second self-released LP doesn't fly as under the radar as the first.
For a shot of pure fire to the heart (for although we must stay home we must not sit still), give your attention to the new Irreversible Entanglements LP on the unstoppable International Anthem. Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother) pulls no punches on her tirade against the institutional racism of the US and the brutality and injustice committed by its police force in particular, atop a furious free jazz maelstrom. Among the very best of the International Anthem releases, even with their massively high standards. Recommended if you like Jaimie Branch and Matana Roberts. Their self-titled LP has also been repressed.
Fresh air has been really helpful for me, thank god the sun has come out, and the minimised traffic going down my street means I can have the windows open and let beautiful, spacious piano music float through the air and blend with the birdsong and gentle hum of the outside world. The ideal way of listening to much of it, I think. Volume down low, barely there. A perfect record for this is Mississippi Records' Arvo Part compilation Für Alina, all sparse piano with occasional minimal string accompaniment. A repress is due this Friday. Putting the needle down is more like setting a paper aeroplane off on a gently ambling flight path, around the room, in and out the window. Lovely arvo listening.
If you wanna go the other way and paint all your windows black with the volume cranked up, Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))) is releasing a live LP recorded at an event for The Guidebook of Church Burners, which explores the iconography and history of Black Metal. The album is also dedicated to Romanian avant-garde composer Iancu Dumitrescu, so expect some real heavy shit. On the same day, O'Malley will release Golem Mecanique's Nona, Decima et Morta on his Mego sub label Ideologic Organ. Isolated breathy vocal incantations, dissonant organ and mellotron drones, and a mechanised hurdy gurdy instrument called a BAB that sounds like a herd of demonic sheep bleating simultaneously - terrifying. What are you waiting for, draw that pentagram, light those candles, let's get this ritual started.
Mego also have two Recollection GRM releases for you to wrap your head around - or to have your head wrapped around by - from Bernard Fort & Bernard Parmegiani. Between the two Bernards we are presented with incredible sound art experiments exploring mathematical fractals, microsounds, quadrophonic diffusion and more. Now's your chance to finally do that online course in Sonic Arts and really understand what any of that means, instead of just enjoying the mindfuck.
And we still can't stop listening to Horse Lords' masterpiece from last week on the daily. If you're into the microtonal guitar and repetitive grooves of 75 Dollar Bill and Sunwatchers, then you need this.