A new weekly digest of musical discovery. Featured in this edition: Eeem (Finland), Glowworm (USA) w/ Laura Masotto (Italy), Hidden Orchestra (UK), Lena Natalia (USA), Sora Shima (New Zealand), Twincities (USA), Wodwo (UK)
Eeem – “Swirling”
One of a series of single track releases by Helsinki-based sound artist Emmanuel Toledo (aka Eeem) inspired by a series of novels by science-fiction novelist Iain M. Banks centered around an interstellar utopian society called The Culture. The cinematic orchestral feel beautifully echoes the title of the selected work to which it is paired, “Hydrogen Sonata”.
Glowworm – “Smoke Signals (feat. Laura Masotto)”
from the forthcoming album Midnight Intervals
A trans-Atlantic collaboration between by American composer Kevin Scott Davis aka Glowworm and Italian violinist/composer Laura Masotto. Written in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the short but striking piece bristles with scintillating beauty and undercurrent of anxious tension. Check the Glowworm bandcamp site for two more collaborative singles to come leading up to the full-length release Midnight Intervals in October.
Hidden Orchestra – “Attic”
from the forthcoming album Creaks (Minority Records)
This track provides a stunning entry point into an imaginative world of music created by created by Joe Acheson’s Hidden Orchestra for the video game Creaks. While the music in the game is “generative, randomized, and infinite”, the album version of the soundtrack takes 21 of 100+ pieces developed over a 5 year period and turns them into traditional ‘fixed’ versions of the tracks. This piece features Tomáš Dvořák (Floex) and Jack McNeill on clarinet, Poppy Ackroyd on violin, Rebecca Knight on cello, and both Jamie Graham and Tim Lane on drums & percussion. The 2 LP/CD album will be released in October.
Lena Natalia – “The Hero”
from the new album Straight Is the Gate
Few artists can weave a magical story with a keyboard like Chicago-based pianist & composer Lena Natalia. It is wonderful to see her back with a new full-length release, her first since 2018’s Lonely Satellite. The new collection released last month is entitled Straight Is the Gate. The cobble-stoned close on the cover hints at the irrepressible charm and bittersweet romanticism of the music inside which will ring pleasantly familiar to anyone who has enjoyed her Parisian diptych Sundays in Paris (2015) & Rendezvous in Paris (2016).
Mary Lattimore – “Sometimes He’s In My Dreams”
from the forthcoming album Silver Ladders (Ghostly International)
A new album from LA-based harpist Mary Lattimore is always something to look forward to, but the prospect of a collaboration with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead is that much more tantalizing. One listen to this fabulous lead-off single and the interplay between their two instruments was all the prompting I needed to put in my order. The full release will be available in early October.
Sora Shima – “At the Edge of Hope Is Despair”
from the new EP At the Edge of Despair
What an unexpected and pleasant surprise to the first new music in six years from New Zealand’s Sora Shima who we’ve not heard from since one of my favorite post-rock albums of 2014, You Are Surrounded. It may be short, but very sweet to hear their immersive new sounds, both the exhilarating title track and emotive ambient B-side “Loss”.
Twincities – “june 6th”
from the new EP in homes, in homes, in homes
Another welcome surprise release is this one from Twincities, the ambient project of New York based musician and audio engineer Fletcher McDermott who we last heard from on …plays the brown mountain lights released by Dauw in the spring of 2016. Perhaps more reminiscent of his september tapes (2014), in homes, in home, in homes is a tidy EP of more structured material with the kind of restrained and nuanced attention to layering and texture that always makes his work so absorbing to listen to.
Wodwo – “onko äiti”
from the new album On aamu
My (and possibly your) introduction to the “balmy textures” and guitar based ambient music of Wodwo, a musical project from Ray Robinson, who lives in Derbyshire, England. I was fascinated to learn that Ray is also an award-winning novelist and screenwriter and I also highly recommend his outstanding short film “Edith” (available on Vimeo) which stars none other than accomplished Scottish actor Peter Mullen and features an affecting soundtrack by Richard Birkin, another fine composer who may be familiar to readers of these pages.