scott hansen’s most recent full-length effort under his tycho moniker, 2014’s awake, is a sonic diary outfitted for westward treks via automobile to watch the sun set behind a bank of mountains. the album’s eight tracks are a perfect union of post-rock grandeur and cascading ambient soundscapes, a mesh of motion and meditation. after nearly two years of touring endlessly in support of awake, hansen returned home and slowed the project down earlier this year, intent on recording a new album.
it’s not clear if “epoch” is the impending album’s title track, but tycho’s latest single is described as indicative of a darker sonic evolution hansen sees his project taking. “epoch” still resonates as anthemic – or, more accurately, multiple anthems stacked atop one another to eventually achieve blissful cacophony – but there are enough brooding undercurrents in the track’s murky bass line and hesitant, melancholic synth figures packed in as well to give it a distinctly ominous tone that hasn’t really existed this prominently in tycho’s music before.
the follow-up to awake is gestating; there’s no word on a title or a release date, but the new album will most likely appear sometime next year, probably on tycho’s longtime home, ghostly international. for now, spend some time with “epoch,” below.
chaz bundick does not sit still, as evidenced by his prolific output the past five years as toro y moi and les sins. bundick released his latest toro y moi effort, what for?, earlier this spring and has taken to sharing outtakes and unheard tracks from those sessions as of late; the most recent is “that instead of this,” a ninety-second fidgety, nocturnal instrumental that’s best experienced on infinite loop. take a listen below.
radicalfashion is hirohito ihara, a japanese composer slated to release his long-awaited sophomore album tomorrow via flau records. garcon follows the minimalist tendencies of its predecessor, odori, and features ten sparse, pensive compositions that evoke strong memories of erik satie while subtly contributing to the modern post-classical movement. “in women,” the album’s penultimate cut, is a comparatively consonant, full-bodied work that offers a rare sustained bit of momentum on garcon. still, its unexpected harmonic resolutions and grating grace notes serve as indicators of the wide spectrum of emotions radicalfashion chooses to explore at a moment’s notice, an exercise that dominates the album. take a listen to “in women” below.
clark’s eponymous album that he dropped last fall was a jarring experience, with dark, aggressive tones underscored by fervent drum programming. his ethos shows no sign of subsiding; a follow-up ep entitled flame rave is due out march 23rd, and it’s prefaced by a new track called “silver sun.” brash, brassy synths dominate early before losing their sense of identity to a cavalcade of other elements. the song is an exercise in gradual ambiguity, a concept clark excels at rather well. take a listen to “silver sun” below.
the trajectory of teen daze’s relatively short career is exhausting to cover, as his prolific nature and a general curiosity have prompted over a dozen releases in the past four years. the abbotsford producer truly hit his stride with 2013’s glacier, a monumental album that found him juggling his electronic and ambient ambitions with aplomb. but his trajectory is by no means linear, and teen daze has proven that he’s inclined to shed certain acquired attributes like live instrumentation if it’s beneficial to his creative intellect. his newest ep, a world away, is an interesting side-step, one that finds him delving deep into dance music without throwing in the towel on his ambient palate.
boasting six well-developed tracks, a world away flows and technically qualifies as a full-length album despite its rather utilitarian purpose as a tour ep for teen daze’s upcoming stint in europe. while it’s ultimately a placeholder for his follow-up to glacier, the ep still feels like a cohesive, standalone unit and is anything but hastily prepared. “reykjavik, january 2015” retains mere minutes of its acoustic piano motif before being swallowed whole by muted drums and persistent synth jabs, perhaps the perfect musical allusion to the duality of teen daze’s musical persona. the ep’s strongest tracks, “another night” and “than,” feel somewhat indebted to house music despite their occasional chilly moments. “than” is the longest piece on a world away, clocking in at nearly nine minutes, but any semblance of redundancy disappears once his commanding use and development of polyrhythms in separate drum tracks becomes apparent.
teen daze closes out a world away with “i feel god in the water,” a customary ambient track that has almost become his calling card. above all else this project has always felt incredibly pensive, and the fact that jamison continues to end his recordings with a placid, stagnant piece is a telling indication of just how intimate his music truly is. though his next full-length isn’t due until later this year, a world away is still an important juncture in teen daze’s discography and goes beyond the purpose it serves to offer potential insight into his future endeavors.
multi-tasking is fairly common within the eau claire music scene. veterans often lend their talents to a myriad of projects spanning a multitude of genres, from indie rock to hardcore punk to jazz and back again. one who embodies the exact description listed is dave power, who has most notably drummed for local indie stalwarts meridene and adelyn rose, but he’s also spent time loudly punishing his kit in puncher and deftly renegotiating tempos and time signatures in various jazz combos.
over the past year, power has been quietly adding to his repertoire by posting standalone tracks to bandcamp under the moniker of white dune. the singles would appear and disappear with virtually no proclivity, but they offered a glimpse into power’s burgeoning interest in electronic music and his capacity to handle virtually every aspect of the music’s production. after a dry spell and a few delays, power released expanse, his first full-length as white dune, this past tuesday.
what’s striking, especially in comparison to power’s most recognizable work, is how subdued and pensive the music throughout expanse feels. much of the album’s premise is predicated on the marriage of arpeggiated synths and drums – both live and electronic – and while the latter often provides momentum, the songs still retain a somber, introspective quality. power’s adelyn rose companions have guest spots throughout expanse, including a truly haunting vocal feature by jaime hanson on “corbin dallas,” and fellow eau claire producer sloslylove puts his own spin on “good night, mr. bateman” to close out the album.
although just a side-project currently confined to power’s home studio, white dune has proven to be another successful campaign among his many musical endeavors. stream and download expanse at a pay-what-you-want rate below via bandcamp.
a large chunk of the internet got privy to slow magic in june when the mysterious electronic artist released the pulsating single “girls.” now slow magic is back with “hold still,” a dark new offering from his upcoming record how to run away, out september 9th via downtown records. get lost in the ambiance below, courtesy of slow magic’s soundcloud page.
as ricky eat acid, sam ray has created one of the most arresting albums of 2014 with three love songs, and he’s also found time to revive teen suicide, plug away at a new julia brown record, and cuddle with plenty of cats. but ray’s meticulous output as an electronic musician continues at a steady rate; his new ep sun over hills, out for free on july 8th, was announced in a noisey feature earlier today. accompanying that feature was “angels,” an erratic and sometimes downright aggressive single that embodies the nightmarish theme attached to sun over hills. take a listen below, courtesy of ricky eat acid’s soundcloud page.
we’re a little bit late to the party on this new song from slow magic, but “girls” is a must-listen. the lead single from his upcoming album, out soon via downtown records, pulses slowly as if fed through a rotary speaker. it’s perfect for a summer day like today. check out “girls” below, courtesy of slow magic’s soundcloud page.
brian batz makes music under the moniker sleep party people, but his given name never seems to be that detached from his project. there’s never been any question about the identity of the man behind the music, and batz even goes so far as to post every sleep party people song on a soundcloud account bearing his name. personally, if i were responsible for something as breathtaking as the music of sleep party people, i would want direct credit as well. on the project’s newest album, floating, batz ups the ante and creates one of the year’s best amalgamations of pop music and ambient sounds.
the lead single grabbed from floating, “in another world,” was – and still remains to be – a delectable earworm in every sense of the term. as the first taste of sleep party people’s new material, the song leans heavily on batz’s signature falsetto while adding strings and groove-heavy percussion over a minor key to make it truly ominous yet simultaneously infectious. the tracklist of floating is more or less aesthetically constructed around “in another world,” which gives the album a logical, if not somewhat predictable, trajectory. the opening triptych of songs are traced by warbly, modest mouse-esque guitar lines that weave expertly through batz’s ethereal voice and the percussion it sits on top of. “a stranger among us” seems to swap the six-string for the sine wave, promptly foreshadowing the electronic turn batz will begin to take shortly.
after pitting a western-themed guitar loop against synthetic strings on “in another world,” batz begins to broaden his horizons, culminating in “i see the sun, harold,” a hazy instrumental that bleeds acoustic piano effortlessly with feedback and other white noise. the song’s counterpart, appropriately titled “i see the moon,” offers an eight-minute detour down the most upbeat road batz travels throughout floating, but the song ultimately proves to be nothing more than a well-structured bypass; floating closes out with “only a shadow” and “scattered glass,” two melancholy cuts that are among the strongest on the album. “only a shadow” adds hesitant, vulnerable vocals to the aesthetic dictated by “i see the sun, harold,” allowing “scattered glass” to provide a huge contrast with its gradual layering and steady crescendo, effectively ending floating on a rather triumphant note.
brian batz is incredibly well-versed in manufacturing emotive songs, and he continues to display this trait on floating. sleep party people’s music is utterly cinematic, and this album is best experienced through headphones in order to appreciate each song’s subtle nuances. keep tabs on floating and try not to fall in love with the album artwork. it’s a harder task than it seems.