New music roundup: December 2013 releases and previews

It is nearly time to start compiling the retrospective lists covering all the great music released this year, but first let’s have a look at some of the late 2013 releases as well as one or two we will see in January.

‘Kanata’ by Mono 

It has been over a year since the release of ‘Nostalgia’ by Mono, so it was a wonderful surprise to see a new single come out.  It is the theme song for a prime-time Japanese drama mini-series called “Kanata no ko” based on an original story by author Mitsuyo Kakuta.  Shorter than most Mono tracks, no doubt to suit the purpose for which it was written, ‘Kanata’ still delivers the unmistakable emotional and stirring Mono sound.

Ordering information: http://monoofjapan.bandcamp.com/album/kanata

‘Oblivion Hymns’ by Hammock 

Every Hammock release is a seismic event in the realms of ambient and post rock music and ‘Oblivion Hymns’, released in late November,  once again pushes the needle on the musical Richter scales.  The album is unabashedly and mournfully sentimental, featuring orchestral elements of cinematic intensity layered on top of a sonic foundation that will be familiar to their legion of fans.  It is impossible to listen to this record and not be deeply moved.  ‘Oblivion Hymns’  is available for digital download and in a variety of physical packages on the Hammock Bandcamp page.

Ordering information: http://shop.hammockmusic.com/album/oblivion-hymns

 

‘Heroes and Ghosts’ by This Patch of Sky 

This Patch of Sky, an instrumental/cinematic rock group from Eugene, Oregon puts out their new LP ‘Heroes and Ghosts’ on Dec 1.  It is a potent blend of lyricism (think Explosions in the Sky) and raw power (think This Will Destroy You).   The album flows beautifully and each song feels imbued with thoughtfulness and heart.  Sadly the label, Oxide Tones, just announced an indefinite hiatus.  We can be thankful they pushed on to help deliver this one to us.

Order info: http://thispatchofsky.bandcamp.com/album/heroes-and-ghosts

 

‘Memento’ by Ocoeur 

In December, electronic musician and graphic designer Franck Zaragoza will release another recording as Ocoeur, this time a 5 track EP called ‘Memento’ which will have three brand new tracks and two guest remixes of ‘Light’, a tune from his debut album. The EP will be released on Dec 3rd by N5MD.

Ordering info: http://n5md.com/discography/221/Memento

‘day breaks the morning shapes we speak’ by Woodworkings 

Woodworkings is the moniker for the music of Kyle Woodworth, aptly named given the warm acoustic touch that permeates the tracks on his new effort ‘day breaks the morning shapes we speak’ which will be released by Own Records on Dec 13.   It is a fine collection of pensive and beautiful pieces that seamless drift from ambient to neoclassical to folk-leaning acoustic.

Ordering information:  http://ownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/day-breaks-the-morning-shapes-we-speak

‘Release’ by Elskavon 

Those of us who savored ‘Movements in Season’, Chris Bartels first foray into ambient as Elskavon,  will be pleased to know that he will be putting out not one, but two more very soon.  The first half of the new project is called ‘Release’ and will be available on Dec 9 on his Anthem Falls label.  The second installment will appear in Spring 2014.  The preview track ‘We Can All Be New’ promises more of the same thoughtfully crafted pristine sound that characterized the debut album.

Ordering info: http://anthemfallsmusic.com/albums/

‘Elsewhere’ by Stèv

Stefano Fagnani calls the sounds he makes as Stèv as “music for daydreaming” and that is a very apt description for this wonderful track called ‘Winter Train’ which will appear on ‘Elsewhere’, his forthcoming EP to be released by Loci Records on Dec 10.  The style is rooted in electronics, but is blended with acoustic elements to retain a smooth and organic feel.

Ordering info: http://locirecords.com/uncategorized/new-signing-stev-elsewhere-ep

‘Beautyfear’ by Marsen Jules 

Looking ahead to early 2014, Marsen Jules will be putting out a new album called Beautyfear in January on the Oktaf label.  The description of the album is nothing less than tantalizing:  All twelve tracks on Beautyfear were created during a week stay in a theatre workspace on one of the hills of Lisbon. “It‘s an album on the fragility of beauty“, as Jules describes briefly. “Music that can neither be described as ambient music or experimental sound art, but more likely delivers a poetic approach to music, live and sound itself”.   The preview track, “Beautyfear III” certainly fits in the picture framed by those words with its hushed, melancholic beauty.

Ordering info: http://www.oktaf.com/

‘False Haven’ by Caught in the Wake Forever 

Caught In The Wake Forever, the solo project of musician & home recording artist Fraser McGowan, will be releasing a new mini-album called ‘False Haven’ in January through Sound in Silence.  Listening to the preview tracks, it appears this will be more delicate and less experimental in nature than ‘Meditations in Exile’.   The warm tones and wistful melody of ‘This House Is Not The Same’ go straight to the heart.

Ordering info: http://soundinsilencerecords.bandcamp.com/

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