Travelogue: New sounds for a new year

While it may have been a year to forget in many ways, 2022 left us with plenty of fine music to savor thanks to the irrepressible creative drive of the artistic community. Having spent the better part of the past two weeks immersed in a great deal of that music, it is time to take a peek at what we have to look forward to in the new year. Here are a dozen releases coming out in early 2023 I am already looking forward to. No doubt there will be more to come on some of these in the coming weeks & months, but for now don’t sleep on checking out the tantalizing previews and pre-order options.

Alaskan Tapes – Who Tends a Garden [Nettwerk]


The theme for Brady Kendall‘s newest album as Alaskan Tapes came to him during a visit to an old bookstore while visiting New York’s Adirondack Mountains in New York where he came across the 1935 title Who Loves a Garden by Louise Seymour Jones – clearly a very suitable choice for his introspective approach to soundscaping & composing. The previews are more than welcoming, and the packaging looks especially lovely as well with bespoke artwork for each track, striking red vinyl for the LP edition, and a hardcover book of poetry & photographs on offer.

Limited edition red vinyl LP, digital downloads, and hardcover book of photos & poetry to be released January 13, 2023 via Nettwerk

Arovane- Sinter [Laaps]


Pioneering musician and sound designer Uwe Zahn, aka Arovane is set for this intriguing release later this month on the Laaps imprint in which he explores the sonic possibilities suggested by its titular theme. Sinter, we are told, is “produced by the process of compacting and forming a solid mass of material by heat or pressure without melting it to the point of liquefaction”. It proves an apt metaphor for the candescent synthesized sounds Zahn has forged in his studio.

Limited edition CD & vinyl LP and digital downloads available via Laaps

ghost and tape- Freeform [Home Normal]


Heine Christensen returns to Home Normal with his first album as ghost and tape in five years with seven tracks of blissful modular synthesis. While awaiting this one, be sure to check out his earlier release on the label, the lovely V​á​r (2017).

To be released on limited edition CD & digital April 3, 2023 via Home Normal

Hammock – Love in the Void [Hammock Music]


After a series of poignantly beautiful albums in a cinematic neoclassical vein, Marc Byrd & Andrew Thompson dust off their considerable post-rock chops for a Hammock album that promises to be aglow with incandescent sonic colors, soaring guitars, and emotional catharsis. That is certainly what the title track delivers in spades. Joining the band on this new journey are frequent collaborators Christine Byrd (Lumenette) on vocals and Matt Kidd (Slow Meadow), who contributes string arrangements and various sound treatments.

Due for release January 27. 2023 on CD & digital as well as double vinyl LP which can be ordered in five different colors. A limited-edition signed test pressing and other merch bundles are also currently on offer.

Hani Rani – On Giacometti [Gondwana Records]


Invited by film director Susanna Fanzun, to score her forthcoming documentary on Swiss painter & scluptor Alberto Giacometti, Hania Rani took herself to the mountains of his home country to compose in the seclusion of its picturesque surroundings. “Spring” is the first taste of what she came up, a plaintive solo piano piece with notes that fall like rain amidst a flutter of brushing hammers.

Time flows with each new wave of sound coming through the river, reminding us that we are part of the cycle, which endlessly repeats itself. left the valley with the first breath of the spring…

Hania Rani

Due to be released on limited edition vinyl LP & digital on February 17, 2023 by Gondwana Records

Harry Towell & Friends – Petrologist’s Lens [Whitelabrecs]


As a musician himself, Harry Towell (aka Spheruleus) is more than just a curator of Whitelabrecs – he both charts its creative direction and participates in it. Continuing the trend of rolling out a compilation album at the start of each year, for 2023 he invited a dozen artists that have two or more releases on the label to co-develop a track with him for Petrologist’s Lens. Towell is the petrologist referred to in the title and it is through his musical ‘lens’ that we are offered a unique way to experience geology of the land areas native to each artist by blending and layering sonic elements based on their unique characteristic.

To be released January 14, 2023 in two limited ‘vinyl-effect’ CD editions with 16-page booklet

Hollie Kenniff – We All Have Places That We Miss [Western Vinyl]


Following up her stellar 2021 solo debut, Hollie Kenniff returns to Western Vinyl with We All Have Places That We Miss which promises to linger in the same heady swirl of shoegaze, ambient drones, and angelic vocals that we enjoyed on The Quiet Drift. The album is inspired by Hollie’s reflections on a lakeside cottage built by her grandparents which became home to many treasured family & childhood memories and compelled by her empathetic understanding that there was a universality to the sense of loss she experienced when the difficult decision was eventually taken to relinquish it.

I thought about how many people are missing places that are important to them. Sometimes grief feels isolating, and it felt like I was mourning the loss of a place that mattered greatly to me.

Hollie Kenniff

To be released on limited edition vinyl LP, CD, & digital on February 10, 2023 via Western Vinyl

Lights & Motion – Reanimation 2023 [Deep Elm]


Nearly a decade ago, this blog saw its first full-length review published and it was for the original release of this album by multi-instrumentalist, composer, & producer Christoffer Franzen under the name of Lights & Motion. Having had the opportunity along with a small group of friends & supporters to interact with Chris as he brought us along for the ride from lonely, tentative nights in the studio to a fully realized post rock opus, it will always be a special one. As for that review? Well, let’s just say the album has held up much better over time. As good as it still sounds, Christoffer brings the skills and growth he has cultivated over the years to the creation of a ten-year anniversary edition of Reanimation with a significant refresh including new string arrangements, vocals, bass & drum parts, and even 2 previously unreleased tracks.

I really love my first album and how it sounds, it was written, produced and mixed on pure self-taught instinct. But because it was my first album and I wasn’t as experienced an engineer as I am now, there are some things sonically that I always knew I could improve upon. So, these mixes aren’t supposed to feel night and day to the listener, they should just sound fuller, wider and more hi-fi.

Christoffer Franzen

To be released for download and streaming on January 13, 2023 by Deep Elm Records

Loscil + Lawrence English – Colours of Air [Kranky]


Colours of Air brings two much-admired veteran sound artists together in collaboration for the first time – Scott Morgan aka Loscil and Lawrence English. That’s probably enough said for many of you to be placing your pre-orders already. We learn that the album was “born of a conversation centered on the notion of ‘rich sources’ as a forge for electronic music” and so fittingly the tracks they developed were based on recordings of a century old pipe organ housed at the historic Old Museum in Brisbane and transformed into eight majestic hued soundscapes.

To be released on CD & digital on February 3, 2023 by Kranky

marine eyes & IKSRE – Nurture [Past Inside the Present]


Nurture brings together “two “kindred spirits from other sides of the world” – Los Angeles based musician & artist marine eyes (Cynthia Bernard), and Melbourne based multi-instrumentalist & sound healer, IKSRE (Phoebe Dubar). Working as long-distance pen pals, they exchanged field recordings accompanied by photos & stories and braided them in shimmering strands of ambient drone, ethereal vocals, strings, and guitar to create this highly anticipated new album.

The mail became a geographical lesson, and also an uncovering of each other’s emotional landscapes…This cemented a creative friendship cultivated in nature, music & holding space for each other’s stories in creative living and motherhood.


To be released January 13, 2023 on limited edition “mystery color” vinyl LP & digital via Past Inside the Present

Observatories – Our Newly Acquired Knowledge [IIKKI]


The fact that IIKKI is just adding the nineteenth entry in its catalog as it enters its seventh year is some indication that each release is something of an event. Each edition is a dialog between a musical and visual artist culminating in an album accompanied by a hardcover book of art or photography. Some of the music this imprint has produced has been especially sublime, none more so than that produced by the duo of Ian Hawgood and Craig Tattersall (aka The Humble Bee) working together as Observatories who made their first appearance on the label with their exquisite 2021 album Flowers Bloom, Butterflies Come. It is lovely to see them return again so soon with another collection of finespun filigreed soundscapes. This one will be paired with the photographic art of Tereza Kozinc and Klavdij Sluban.

To be released on January 19, 2023 on limited edition CD & vinyl along with art book by IIKKI

William Ryan Fritch – Polarity [Lost Tribe Sound]


If there is someone you can count on to think out of the proverbial box and do interesting things in the studio, it is William Ryan Fritch. While albums like the monumental Deceptive Cadence: Music for Film Volume I & II highlight his cinematic virtuosity, his new album Polarity, the first in a trilogy reflecting on the many water crises affecting life on our planet, finds the composer & multi-instrumentalist on the more experimental side of his sonic spectrum. Struggling to “meaningfully utilize synthesized sounds and direct input signals in his music”, Fritch incorporates and unique contact mic configurations to create tactile resonances which can be heard on the preview tracks with an almost industrial intensity while preserving their uniquely organic feel.

Digital release due January 13, 2023, via Lost Tribe Sound