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GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL

Kate Bollinger

Songs From A Thousand Frames Of Mind

    With her proper full-length debut, Songs From A Thousand Frames Of Mind, Virginia-born, LA-based songwriter Kate Bollinger redefines and refines her craft with intention. Inspired by pop, rock, and folk songs of the 1960s, Bollinger and her band — including collaborators Jacob Grissom, Adam Brisbin, Matthew E. White, and Sam Evian — favor the eclectic, melodic, and majestic, supporting intimate, stream-of-consciousness lyricism with classic instrumentation. It's a collection of pop songs, polished yet scrappy with an underlying punk spirit, navigating life, relationships, and growing up. The release follows a run of singles since her 2022 record on Ghostly International, lauded by the likes of NPR and The Fader, contributions to friend's projects (Drugdealer, Paul Cherry), and tours with Faye Webster, Liz Phair, Devendra Banhart, and others.

    TRACK LISTING

    01. What’s This About (La La La La)
    02. To Your Own Devices
    03. Any Day Now
    04. God Interlude
    05. Lonely
    06. Running
    07. In A Smile
    08. Postcard From A Cloud
    09. I See It Now
    10. Sweet Devil
    11. All This Time

    Casey MQ

    Later That Day, The Day Before, Or The Day Before That

      "Remembering is not the opposite of forgetting," Casey MQ sings at the start of Later that day, the day before, or the day before that, his new LP and Ghostly International debut. It's a phrase fittingly misremembered from something the LA-based, Canadian-born composer came upon as he spiraled into unconscious and subconscious-led writing sessions at the piano. Casey’s known for his 2020 breakthrough release babycasey, which gave voice to songs seen through the lens of childhood, various film score work and collaborations with artists such as Oklou (who returns here), Eartheater, and Vagabon. His gifts as a producer and songwriter are rooted in textural world-building and the excavation of personal truth. With Later that day... he questions what is true entirely, understanding our mind's tendency to bend and project onto pictures of the past. Across vivid, baroque pop balladry, Casey MQ reorients his recording project and point of view under the notion that memories are malleable. All the joy, pain, love, and loss housed within remembrance is open to interpretation and deconstruction, which he does deftly, with curiosity and complete artistic freedom.

      "It's a memory album," Casey puts it simply, winding up for the deeper unpacking, "and it might be a breakup album, too...there are more questions than answers." Engaging his dreams and sitting with sheet music at his newly acquired piano, he looked to new and old inspirations including the works of Claude Debussy, Joni Mitchell, and Joe Hisaishi's beloved Studio Ghibli film scores. "Since I was young, I always wanted to write a piano album." babycasey's studied electronic sound isn't wholly abandoned on Later that day... instead, it comes through like an atmosphere, giving Casey's more spacious, minimal arrangements a distinct luster and sheen. The textures and tones shift from song to song as if mirroring the way our minds constantly recontextualize, remember, and forget.

      Cathartic opener "Grey Gardens" — its title derived from a dream abstractly related to the Toronto restaurant, but not the 1975 film, which he cites as another coincidental false memory — presents the record's plaintive, haunted feeling. "Even if not reading into lyrics, sonically I wanted it to feel like you're being pulled into a universe. Not fantasy or otherworldly per se, something more tangible, of the body and mind,” Casey says. “Hearing it back, I realized this track was the key to unlocking it." His tender falsetto hovers above ambient washes and echoed keys, each word falling carefully in the crevices. "Asleep At The Wheel" unfolds on arpeggiated synth before a burst of symphonic color; the synth returns inverted to harmonize with the outro, "I love a car crash, I love a story, I love a memory, I swear it's real..."

      Casey leans into digital imagination on the warm, introspective "Me I Think I Found It." Subdued, stuttered percussion underscores the singer as he cycles through pixelated imagery — screenshots, smiles, streetlights — searching for higher meaning through love. Built on ascendent chord distortions, "Dying Til I'm Born" gives the record one of its boldest pulses of emotion. The back half stretches out; "Is This Only Water" is sparse and foggy, "Baby Voice" is intimate and desperate for something to remain. "Words For Love" grooves on guitar, and "Tennisman9" aches in heartbreak. French musician Marylou Mayniel, aka Oklou, appears as the collection’s only guest for the closing duet, "The Make Believe," a bright and buoyant send-off that gives Later that day... both a sense of resolve and cyclical-motion. "We are young, under the sun," they sing together, a parting image brimming with lightness.

      TRACK LISTING

      01. Grey Gardens
      02. Asleep At The Wheel
      03. Me, I Think I Found It
      04. Dying 'Til I'm Born
      05. Is This Only Water
      06. See You Later
      07. Baby Voice
      08. Words For Love
      09 Tennisman9
      10. The Make Believe (feat. Oklou)

      Hana Vu

      Romanticism

        Hana Vu's "contemplative indie-pop captures the disillusionment of young adulthood," writes NME. Her new LP Romanticism furthers that sentiment as a coming-of-age work that mourns the impermanence of youth and searches for meaning. The acclaimed LA-born songwriter's been making music since high school, with a full-length debut and several EPs behind her of glowy, brooding anthems of abstraction and emotion. With previous work, Vu welcomed feedback as she went, but while crafting Romanticism, she shielded herself from outside opinion to preserve a singular vision. The result is a unified collection of songs aching with depth and intimacy. Lush and loud, the songs can feel both reminiscent of guitar-heavy late-aughts indie rock, and expansively futuristic in its layered synth bass. They pulse with meaning and jolt with playfulness, anchored by her powerful, sonorous voice and underscored by the record's Romantic era-inspired artwork. "I'm just trying to convey my perspective as boldly as possible. To succinctly crystalize how it feels to be young, but also to be deeply sad." Under Vu's magnetic gaze, soaking up sadness has never felt so alive.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Look Alive
        2. Hammer
        3. Alone
        4. 22
        5. Care
        6. How It Goes
        7. Dreams
        8. Find Me Under Wilted Trees
        9. Airplane
        10. Play
        11. I Draw A Heart
        12. Love

        Recondite

        Hinterland - 10th Anniversary Edition

          For many great artists, going back is the way to move forward. With this in mind, Berlin-based producer Recondite looked to his homeland of Lower Bavaria for his debut Ghostly International release, Hinterland. “I tried to capture the area's mentality and natural environment within the album,” he explains. “Particularly the moods that behold the emotions of the four seasons, which differ a lot in this region.” In fact, most of the field recordings featured in this 10-track LP were taken in his recent visits to the free state in southeastern Germany.

          Recondite’s production career has only spanned a handful of years, but his versatility with electronic music as an expressive medium puts him beyond others with discographies twice as long. He began Plangent Records in 2011 as a means for releasing his own music in limited batches. Lush, gorgeous, and vibrant are three words that can often describe his original productions, whether it’s floating in a beatless ambience or driving a hard rhythm through the sound system of a nightclub or warehouse. His debut album came out in 2012 on the Los Ange-les-based Acid Test imprint, and quickly put him up alongside labelmate Tin Man, who offered a remix for the On Acid LP. The record also included one from Scuba, who'd mixed “Backbone” (Plangent #002) into his 2011 DJ-Kicks. Eventually,

          Hot Flush released a separate single for “The Hope” – Scuba’s recent hit –exclusively featuring exclusively featuring two different Recondite remixes.

          Hinterland is another step forward in Recondite’s progression, maintaining a style all his own and acknowledging the finest moments in his previous releases. It’s no small feat to incorporate one’s observations of human nature against nature, and to lay it out in such a way that is cohesive, linear and sonically beautiful both up close and from a distance. “Characteristics of people’s minds,” he says. “Such as satisfied, frightened, calm, melancholic, sad, stoic, frustrated, strong, deep...they are captured in the sounds.

          ”While the record can be enjoyed in one long listen, there are going to be different tracks that speak to individual listeners. “Clouded” is one of the stronger arrangements, taking the sonic sweeps often heard from Marcel Dettmann or Function and filling the surrounding space with dreamy samples and warm bass. “Stems” is playful and fluid, and the record’s opener, “Rise,” is an eerie and melodic tinkering intro. As a whole, the release of Hinterland on Ghostly International is a perfect marriage – the label has always had an affinity for music with depth and frequencies that can magnetize a wide variety of listeners. "Basically, this is the album that had to come out of Recondite eventually,” he adds, smiling. “It is Recondite.

          TRACK LISTING

          01. Rise
          02. Leafs
          03. Still
          04. Riant
          05. Stems
          06. Floe
          07. Abscondence
          08. Clouded
          09. Fey
          10. The Fade

          Tycho

          Awake - 10th Anniversary Edition

            What we said about the album on it's initial release:

            For over a decade, Tycho has been known as the musical alias of Scott Hansen, but with the release of Awake – his second LP for Ghostly International – the solo project evolved into a three-piece band. Relating closer to post-rock than ambient soundscapes, the record is situated in the present, sounding more like Hansen than drawing from his influences. This is, in many ways, the first true Tycho record.

            Following 2011’s Dive LP, the San Francisco-based designer toured extensively, and with a full band on stage, his sound coalesced into a percussive, organic whole. Zac Brown (guitars, bass) rejoined Scott on the road for this tour, but it was the particular addition of Rory O’Connor’s live drumming that ultimately sent Hansen back to the studio with a more precise vision. “After the tour, I decided that I wanted to capture the more energetic, driven sound of the live show on the next album,” Hansen recalls. Bringing musicians into Tycho’s creative process was a step towards expanding his own songwriting and advancing the project beyond its current sound.

            In a cabin near Tahoe last winter, Zac and Scott began fleshing out the structure of the new record, but it wasn’t until they set up shop in the hills of Santa Cruz with Rory that it all fell into place. “It crystallized the vision of how the drums would come to the forefront on this record,” says Hansen. The sound was much more stripped-down and concise with more organic instruments in the fold. Songs like “Montana” and “Awake” are a departure from Tycho’s previous material – unique to the group effort poured into the songs on the new record – while “See” and “Dye” echo ideas from previous works, bridging a middle ground between the old and new. Working with Count Eldridge, who also engineered Dive, the team could fixate on the pulses that Tycho might previously layer under synthesizers and exhume them with distinct bass and guitar patterns.

            Also known for his design work as ISO50, Hansen’s visual and sonic efforts have dovetailed throughout the course of his career. “This is the first time in my life I've dropped everything to focus on one artistic pursuit,” notes Hansen. Previous Tycho releases came to fruition when an amalgam of songs were nearing completion, but Awake is where music becomes the focus and true expression becomes the result.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Awake
            2. Montana
            3. L
            4. Dye
            5. See
            6. Apogee
            7. Spectre
            8. Plains

            Mary Lattimore

            Goodbye, Hotel Arkada

              Through evocative, emotionally resonant music, Goodbye, Hotel Arkada, the new LP from American harpist and composer Mary Lattimore, speaks not just for its beloved namesake — a hotel in Croatia facing renovation — but for a universal loss that is shared. Six sprawling pieces shaped by change; nothing will ever be the same, and here, the artist, evolving in synthesis, celebrates and mourns the tragedy and beauty of the ephemeral, all that is lived and lost to time. Documented and edited in uncharacteristically measured sessions over the course of two years, the material remains rooted in improvisation while glistening as the most refined and robust in Lattimore’s decade-long catalog. It finds her communing with friends, contemporaries, and longtime influences, in full stride yet slowing down to nurture songs in new ways. The cast includes Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), Meg Baird, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Roy Montgomery, Samara Lubelski, and Walt McClements.

              “When I think of these songs, I think about fading flowers in vases, melted candles, getting older, being on tour and having things change while you’re away, not realizing how ephemeral experiences are until they don’t happen anymore, fear for a planet we’re losing because of greed, an ode to art and music that’s really shaped your life that can transport you back in time, longing to maintain sensitivity and to not sink into hollow despondency.”

              For the title and inspiration, Lattimore’s mind returns to the island of Hvar in Croatia, where she first saw those silver ladders at the water’s edge. “There’s a big old hotel there called the Hotel Arkada, and you could tell it had been hosting holiday-goers for decades in a great way. I walked around the lobby and the empty ballrooms and it looked like a well-worn, well-loved place. My friend Stacey who lives there told me to ‘say goodbye to Hotel Arkada, it might not be here when you get back’ and I heard soon after that it was actually going to be renovated in a very crisp, modern way.” Lattimore became fixated on the ingredients that make a place special — for Hotel Arkada, the patinaed chandeliers, the patterned bedspreads, the echoes of its intangible charm — and how when those leave this world, as they inevitably always will, it feels important to memorialize them, “to bottle it for a brief second."



              TRACK LISTING

              01. And Then He Wrapped His Wings Around Me (Feat. Meg Baird And Walt Mcclements)
              02. Arrivederci (Feat. Lol Tolhurst)
              03. Blender In A Blender (Feat. Roy Montgomery)
              04. Music For Applying Shimmering Eye Shadow
              05. Horses, Glossy On The Hill
              06. Yesterday’s Parties (Feat. Rachel Goswell And Samara Lubelski)

              Lusine

              Long Light

                Seattle-based producer Jeff McIlwain, aka Lusine, returns with his 9th full-length record, Long Light, marking twenty years since he first joined the Ghostly International roster. A cited influence for myriad electronic artists including London’s Loraine James and others, Lusine is known for visceral, kinetically-curious music that fuses techno, pop, and experimental composition. In recent years, McIlwain has pushed his craft skyward with more collaborative, song-forward work. Long Light shines the throughline; his signature looping patterns and textures are dynamic yet minimalist as ever. Structurally straightforward, tight, and bright, the material radiates as the most direct in his catalog, featuring vocal contributions from Asy Saavedra, Sarah Jaffe, and Sensorimotor collab- orators Vilja Larjosto and Benoît Pioulard. Lusine found his sound early on, but he’s never stopped pushing and pulling at its potential, patiently deconstructing the distractions and solving the puzzles. With Long Light, a laser-focused, process-driven artist reaches an exceptionally satisfying level of clarity and immediacy.

                McIlwain sees the title, taken from the lyrical phrase “long light signaling the fall again,” written by Benoît Pioulard for what became the title track, as a guiding device that reflects several meanings. “There’s this sort of paranoia where you don’t know what is real, it’s an age of high anxiety and there are all these distractions,” McIlwain explains. “It’s like a fun house mirror situation.” Following the long light is the only true way through, and he holds that metaphor to the album’s recording, which also carried a cyclical nature akin to seasons. Like the start of fall, the album completes a period of cultivation; “Music making is a struggle and you have to have a ton of patience.” Long Light is proof that what lies beyond the noise, at the end of the figurative tunnel, is worth all the work it’s taken to get there.

                Across the collection, McIlwain identifies the core sonic element, a vocal cut or a simple beat sequence, from which to build everything else off. On the opener “Come And Go,” he multiplies a vocal take from longtime collaborator Vilja Larjosto into a celestial choir, evoking their Sensorimotor standout “Just A Cloud.” It’s the bass hook on the single “Zero to Sixty,” curving around the voice of Sarah Jaffe, whose pliable range and cool delivery provide the source for Lusine’s unmistakable mapping. The chorus is Jaffe’s (“cold-blooded”) line repeated in step with melodic synth pulses and the buzzing deep bass. “I feel like I am dreaming / You make me feel like I am walking on a cloud / I don’t ever want to feel the ground,” sings Asy Saavedra (of Chaos Chaos) on “Dreaming.” This time McIlwain keeps the phrase intact, making subtle tweaks to the timbre and texture as chimes, clinks, and snaps oscillate. “Long Light” has it all: Lusine’s percussive mood-building, rendered with samples from drummer Trent Moorman, and a contortion of tender poetry, courtesy of friend Thomas Meluch, aka Benoît Pioulard (Morr Music, Kranky).

                The album balances vocal pop motifs with some of Lusine’s strongest instrumental expressions, from ambient-minded foreshadowing (“Face- less,” “Plateau,” “Rafters”) to hypnotic head-nodders like “Cut and Cover” and “Transonic.”

                It is rare to arrive at a landmark work two decades into one’s craft, but through repetition, refinement, and patience, Lusine extends a defining moment, an essential piece to his discography.


                TRACK LISTING

                01. Come And Go (feat. Vilja Larjosto)
                02. Zero To Sixty (feat. Sarah Jaffe)
                03. Faceless
                04. Dreaming (feat. Asy Saavedra)
                05. Transonic
                06. Plateau
                07. Long Light (feat. Benoît Pioulard)
                08. Cut And Cover
                09. Home
                10. Rafters
                11. Double Take

                Tycho

                Awake (Anniversary)

                  For nearly a decade, Tycho has been known as the musical alias of Scott Hansen, but with the release of Awake – his second LP for Ghostly International – the solo project has evolved into a three-piece band. Relating closer to post-rock than ambient soundscapes, the record is situated in the present, sounding more like Hansen than drawing from his influences. “This is, in many ways, the first true Tycho record.”

                  Following 2011’s Dive LP, the San Francisco-based designer toured extensively, and with a full band on stage, his sound coalesced into a percussive, organic whole. Zac Brown (guitars, bass) rejoined Scott on the road for this tour, but it was the particular addition of Rory O’Connor’s live drumming that ultimately sent Hansen back to the studio with a more precise vision. “After the tour, I decided that I wanted to capture the more energetic, driven sound of the live show on the next album,” Hansen recalls. Bringing musicians into Tycho’s creative process was a step towards expanding his own songwriting and advancing the project beyond its current sound.

                  In a cabin near Tahoe last winter, Zac and Scott began fleshing out the structure of the new record, but it wasn’t until they set up shop in the hills of Santa Cruz with Rory that it all fell into place. “It crystallized the vision of how the drums would come to the forefront on this record,” says Hansen. The sound was much more stripped-down and concise with more organic instruments in the fold. Songs like “Montana” and “Awake” are a departure from Tycho’s previous material – unique to the group e!ort poured into the songs on the new record – while “See” and “Dye” echo ideas from previous works, bridging a middle ground between the old and new. Working with Count Eldridge, who also engineered Dive, the team could fixate on the pulses that Tycho might previously layer under synthesizers and exhume them with distinct bass and guitar patterns.

                  Also known for his design work as ISO50, Hansen’s visual and sonic e!orts have dovetailed throughout the course of his career. “This is the first time in my life I've dropped everything to focus on one artistic pursuit,” notes Hansen. Previous Tycho releases came to fruition when an amalgam of songs were nearing completion, but Awake is where music becomes the focus and true expression becomes the result.


                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Awake
                  2. Montana
                  3. L
                  4. Dye
                  5. See
                  6. Apogee
                  7. Spectre
                  8. Plains

                  Helios

                  Espera

                    The catalog of American composer Keith Kenniff spans over a dozen releases as Helios and nearly as many as Goldmund since 2004. Kenniff’s music deals with subtlety, and the variance between these projects loosely follows a few signifiers; Goldmund favors post-classical piano, Mint Julep, a project with his partner Hollie, is shoegaze pop, while the lines around his Helios project are intentionally hazier. Within the alias, Kenniff glides between minimal ambient electronics and more robust instrumentation, all run through his mini-cassette recorder for a distinct wobble. 2018’s Veriditas, his first Helios LP on Ghostly International, found Kenniff shaping verdant landscapes of harmonic sound, focusing on texture over structure. He followed it up in 2020 with Domicile, an even quieter synth-toned ode to the indoors. Now he returns to the electro-acoustic movement that marked much of his earlier output; the music of Espera is lush, livelier, and perhaps the most singular in his run. Titles are telling in Kenniff’s work, and Espera, a Spanish word meaning “wait,” speaks to the producer’s patient and cinematic craft. The record balances engagement and contemplation with a billowing accessible lightness, and reveals Helios at a compelling intersection, composing songs as vivid and three-dimensional as they are characteristically modernist and understated.

                    “Patience is something I aspire to in my life and profession,” says Kenniff, who recorded Esperaat night, his preferred mode, when life is uncluttered and unrushed. While the Helios project has fit neatly into the beat-less category in recent years, Kenniff felt a natural pull to pivot for these sessions, embracing downtempo percussion, both acoustic and electronically rendered. Arrangements also swelled with layers of guitar and piano, made familiar with his usual tape treatment giving the material a warmer, closer feel, homemade yet expansive, vibrant yet peaceful. “The textural aesthetic of the instruments was as important as the melody, harmony, or rhythm itself,” he adds.

                    The album opener, “Fainted Fog,” reintroduces this fuller, panoramic version of Helios. Woozy synths give way to a propulsive drum pattern as the track’s characteristics populate in the haze. A piano plays between the beat, and another synth solos overtop, ascending towards the peak with an exhale of live kicks and looping guitar. For every bold moment on Espera, there are more muted, counter-balancing stretches; “Intertwine” offers one of the most meditative. Strums mingle with keys in the front half before the beat returns to deliver a hypnotic nod.

                    Kenniff sees each song as integral to the whole — “if you took one out, it would be like tearing a page from a book,” he says — but still functional independently, like a series of self-contained epics. “All The While” best represents this intention; a song in three equal parts constructed on a resonant drum sequence. Shimmering synth notes surface first, then pastoral guitar and piano flutters, converging at the end to evaporate into the ether.

                    Nearly 20 years in, Kenniffs has mastered the signature slow-building emotional arc. Take the golden-hued “Lineoa,” which blooms from a simple guitar phrase to a fully symphonic, climactic closing scene. Ever curious, he welcomes new sounds across the album, like the sinuous flute on “A Familiar Place” and the divine, digitized vocal presence on “Emeralds.” These production choices keep the Helios project from receding into the background, even if the artist himself is private, and the ambient space in which he thrives is often uniquely tied to other activities in our lives. On Espera, Kenniff is a producer and multi-instrumentalist leaning into the rich details, and the vistas he’s surveyed are wider and more captivating than ever.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: As one of my favourite ambient artists, I think it's unfair for me to try and pass any sort of judgement other than 'buy this' on any Helios records. What I will say for the initiated is that it slightly eschews the less rhythmic modern-classical indebted pieces of the past couple years for a lean towards the more electroacoustic beauty of 'Eingya' or 'Ayres'. What i'll say for the uninitiated is : 'buy this'.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Fainted Fog
                    2. Intertwine
                    3. All The While
                    4. Every Time
                    5. Impossible Valleys (CD/Digital Only)
                    6. Lineoa
                    7. A Familiar Place
                    8. Lowland
                    9. Well Within
                    10. Emeralds (ft. Hollie Kenniff)
                    11. Rounds

                    Emeralds

                    Solar Bridge

                      Emeralds — musicians John Elliott, Steve Hauschildt, and Mark McGuire — emerged from the rust-pocked, post-millennial Midwest drone/noise scene seemingly unable or uninterested in keeping up with themselves. Their proliferation of material was intimidating; mountains of improvised, home-recorded music were released on limited-edition tapes, CD-Rs, and split LPs. There is and was a sense that the Ohio trio was after something beyond physical mediums. By 2008, their sprawling live sets were a known can’t-miss at any underground experimental event. Tiny Mix Tapes reviewed that year’s appearance at No Fun Fest: “No one’s sawtooths, sines, and other various waveforms were so beautifully sculpted and beamed out into the Plejades as Emeralds’.” These basement dwellers were shaping meditative, psychedelic, arpeggiated electronic music in the veins of German kosmische forebears like Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze, and Tangerine Dream. Made primarily with synthesizers and guitar, Emeralds’ music possessed the same astral psyche with a home-crafted punk edge, a distant descendant of that pioneering era, and a bridge to someplace new, someplace scorched. Released on Aaron Dilloway’s (Wolf Eyes, etc.) Hanson imprint, Solar Bridge was the first Emeralds album to receive any kind of proper distribution and represents the first attempt to archivally preserve their fluid craft. The first of an inimitable five-LP run before the band dissolved in 2013, Solar Bridge is a moment of glistening primacy that boots up a catalog and legacy that the heads still grapple with. Emeralds begin to make sense of it in the fall of 2022 with a remastered Solar Bridge LP release on Ghostly International.

                      The Midwest leaves an indelible mark on Emeralds’ sound; their debut characteristically vibrates as if from a ghost mall or some other relic of the rust belt. Side A, “Magic,” finds the three young musicians summoning by way of analog synthesis and processed guitar motifs. Though it could be loosely called “drone,” this miasmic wall of melody ripples through dynamics; pulses ebb and flow in and out in a way where every edge disappears. Like any good magic trick, there is something invisible at play here.

                      On Side B, “The Quaking Mess,” oxidized squeals and shuddering mechanical whines commingle with square and saw wave pads and flickering guitar details to create a post-industrial parking lot tableau. Eventually, the ground swells up, and a massive firmament trembles below the wobbling synths and rickety electronics. There is a power at the heart of Emeralds’ sound that displays a kind of egalitarian psychedelia, a working-class kosmische, a proletariat trip zone. Everyone is welcome to watch the world fold in on itself as they are pulled into the portal.

                      “Photosphere,” a previously unreleased recording included as a digital exclusive, affords a look at a more serene stretch from the same session. A demure guitar loop wafts above slowly shifting tectonic synthesizer drones; the tremendous restraint the trio shows here hints at part of the unique place they would carve out for themselves, both together and respectively, in the annals of American DIY experimental music. Elliott, McGuire, and Hauschildt are known now for being tuned into a mutual vocabulary as Emeralds. They are players that exercise a kind of profound listening. Slowness, as a kind of punk ethos. As the static sputters into the right channel around the twelve-minute mark, the scene becomes selfaware, and we are released into the ether.

                      Emeralds materialized as a fully formed entity radiating cosmic potential. Their discography evolved and incorporated different qualities and vocabularies but hearing where it started will always feel different. The density, the patience, and the sheer refinement presented on Solar Bridge legibly demonstrates how and why Emeralds has become a legendary part of the contemporary electronic music canon. 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      A1. Magic
                      B1. The Quaking Mess 

                      Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

                      Let's Turn It Into Sound

                        Acclaimed composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith returns to Ghostly International with Let’s Turn it Into Sound, her most ambitious, intuitive, and inviting work to date. Though ambient and modern new age circles have embraced Smith’s catalog, Let’s Turn it Into Sound favors a more baroque and robust form of avant-pop. The music bursts with vertiginous vocal harmonies and detailed sound design, forming a truly unique sonic vision.

                        “Art is awe, art is mystery expressed,” writes Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. “Art is somatic, even if it is experienced cerebrally. It is felt.”

                        The central mysteries of Smith’s ninth studio album, Let’s Turn it Into Sound, have to do with perception, expression, and communication: How can we communicate when spoken language is inadequate? How do we understand what it is we’re feeling? How do we translate our experience of the world into something that someone else can understand?

                        For Smith, a self-described “feeler,” the answers are inspired by compound words in non-English languages, translation, sculptural fashion, dance, butoh, wushu shaolin, and other forms of sensory and somatic experience. Just like fashion uses lines, shapes, colors, textures, and silhouettes to communicate on a sensual level separate from the conscious mind, Let’s Turn it Into Sound strives to use sound to communicate what words alone cannot.

                        “The album is a puzzle,” Smith says. “[It] is a symbol of receiving a compound of a ton of feelings from going out into a situation, and the song titles are instructions to breaking apart the feelings and understanding them.” The energized “Is it Me or Is it You” comes from traversing the gaps between how you see yourself and how another might see you, through a filter of their own projections. The hushed sense of revelation that brackets “There is Something” refers to the feeling of walking into a room and being subconsciously aware of the dynamic present. All the while, Smith interprets these feelings through sound.

                        This auditory interpretation process, driven by earnest curiosity, led Smith to record some thoughts and questions that popped up along the journey in Somatic Hearing—a booklet which accompanies the album.

                        Over three frenzied months, recording alone in her home studio, Smith allowed herself to pursue new experiments to accompany her usual toolkit of modular, analogue, and rare synthesizers (including her signature Buchla), orchestral sounds, and the voice. She created a new vocal processing technique, and gave herself permission to pursue a pacing that felt intuitive, rather one that followed typical song structures. She walked around in the windiest season with a subwoofer backpack and an umbrella, listening to the low end of the album amidst 60mph gusts. She listened to herself, and, in doing so, to an inner community which suddenly opened to her. Underlying the album is a dynamic relationship between what Smith describes as six distinct voices, each a multifaceted storyteller. By acknowledging these characters, she was acknowledging her whole being: the woven plurality of self, the complex process of noticing and resolving inner conflicts, and the joy of finding harmony in flux. “I started to feel so embodied by all of these characters. This is all the felt, unsaid stuff [my inner community] wants to communicate but it doesn’t have the English language as its form of communication, and so [this album was a form of] giving space to let it talk and not judge it and just let it play.” By not adhering to expected song structures, each song feels even more like a conversation, with each character getting to express themselves in full.


                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Have You Felt Lately?
                        2. Locate
                        3. Let It Fall
                        4. Is It Me Or Is It You?
                        5. Check Your Translation
                        6. Pivot Signal
                        7. Unbraid: The Merge
                        8. Then The Wind Came
                        9. There Is Something
                        10. Give To The Water

                        Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Emile Mosseri

                        I Could Be Your Dog / I Could Be Your Moon

                          “His music filled me with the urge to connect with the world,” Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith says of Emile Mosseri. She first heard his work while watching the 2019 film The Last Black Man In San Francisco; just minutes in, she paused it to look up who did the score and wrote to him immediately. “I love Emile’s ability to create melodies that feel magically scenic and familiar like they are reminding you of the innocence of loving life.” Those talents saw recognition in 2020 with an Oscar nomination for Mosseri’soriginal score to the film Minari. He was already a fan of Smith’s and became increasingly intrigued by her impressionistic process as they started to talk. “The music feels so spiritual and alive and made from the earth,” Mosseri says. “I think of her as the great conductor, summoning musical poetry from her orchestra of machines.” I Could Be Your Dog / I Could Be Your Moon, their two-part collaborative album, introduces an uncanny fusion of their sonics. Constructed using synthesizer, piano, electronics, and voice, this soft-focus dream world is lush, evocative, and fleeting. It finds two composers tuning their respective styles inward as an ode to mutual inspiration, a celebration of the human spirit and its will to surrender to the currents of life.

                          Early into their correspondence, Smith and Mosseri realized they were neighbors in Los Angeles and met up for a few hikes. Their conversations led to a musical exchange over email. The exercise became a sketch, the start of their first song together, “Log In Your Fire,” with Mosseri finding flourishes in Smith’s cathartic synth lines to intonate and harmonize alongside. Lyrically, it’s a beautiful, open-ended sentiment. “Being a log in someone’s fire, to me, means letting go, and surrendering to that feeling,” says Mosseri. From there, the pair composed a series of musical foundations, trading files from afar, nurturing the eventual expansion as the remote days of 2020 set in. Smith likens the collaborative experience to the exciting uncertainty of starting a garden, “doing what I can to facilitate growth while enjoying the process of being surprised by what will actually grow.”

                          In the summer of 2021, the duo finished work on the sequel, I Could Be Your Moon, expanding their musical language as the first part reached its September release. Songs from these more recent exchanges find them even more synced, forging into percussive and harmonic experiments, leaning further into their “unused musical muscles,” as Smith and Mosseri put it. A unified vocal presence emerged. “As the friendship grew I think we both learned how to support each other more and musically that was communicated through singing together,” adds Smith.

                          Now taken as a full album set, I Could Be Your Dog / I Could Be Your Moon moves fluidly from track to track, panning through textural vi- gnettes. Two roughly 17-minute halves, the set evokes the bittersweet sense of something too bright or rare to last, a short-lived glimpse into a golden hour. There is a dreamy, elemental intention to this music, which Smith and Mosseri say came naturally, as they both embraced intuitive interplay throughout their creative back-and-forth. The stylistic threads of each composer are recognizable yet become more ambiguous as the album progresses, sewn into a singular vision. “I’m so grateful that my musical ideas could dance with hers with some grace and harmony,” says Mosseri. Smith adds that this experience helped her “remember that mu- sic can be a connecting layer of friendship, especially in a time when the usual ways were out of reach.”

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: An absolutely stunning collection of nigh-choral electronic pieces, imbued with Aurelia Smith's mastery of the synthesiser and Mosseri's expertise in the soundtrack field. A collection of unexpected, organic compositions that are from neither one world nor the other but perfectly at home in both.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          01. Log In Your Fire
                          02. Moon In Your Eye
                          03. Brush
                          04. I Could Be Your Dog
                          05. Glendora
                          06. Blink Twice
                          07. Moonweed
                          08. Green To You
                          09. Amber
                          10. Standing In Your Light
                          11. Shim Sham
                          12. Golden Cow
                          13. Radio Replacement

                          Fort Romeau

                          Beings Of Light

                            After a run of critically-acclaimed singles and EPs, British producer Michael Greene, aka Fort Romeau, returns to the full-length format with Beings of Light, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Insides and his second LP on Ghostly International. While a prolific DJ who orients many of his productions for the dancefloor, Greene still sees the album as the ultimate statement of intent, “a space to stretch out, to speak in full paragraphs rather than stunted sentences.” He has explored several stylistic fragments in recent years (including the summer 2018 anthem “Pablo,” hailed a Best New Track by Pitchfork), but when faced with the extended pause to the dance community in 2020, Greene felt compelled to focus on a larger body of work. Embracing a back-to-basics mentality, he amassed over a dozen hours of sounds, asking himself throughout the sessions: “Does the music move you? Is it honest?” He came out the other end with Beings of Light, an expressive collection traversing rainy day ambient, moonlit disco, and dream-like techno in pursuit of the power found within our subconscious.

                            Like previous Fort Romeau records, Greene’s foundational inspiration for Beings of Light is imagery. Specifically, a work by Steven Arnold, a Dalí protégé known for con structing otherworldly, tableau vivant set designs from found objects until his death in 1994 amid the AIDS crisis. Arnold’s 1984 photograph Power of Grace (featured as the album art and lending a title to one of its tracks) spoke to Greene immediately: “It’s transcendent in the most potent and direct manner, imagination untethered by material, elegance without riches. Imagination always wins over resource.” The visual, as well as the surrealist idea that dreams allow us to create a better reality, led Greene to shape his most ambitious and complete record to date, a love letter to dance music coded with a message of hope. The album title comes from his belief that people can facilitate change by first imagining the way we want things to be, and not letting cynicism block that light.

                            The urgency is felt right away, as album opener “Untitled IV” ushers in a sprinting tempo in its exploration of the human voice, a recurring device in the Fort Romeau project. Greene uses it as a compositional layer, disembodied with its context often opaque or reduced to a single phrase. Here the voice is scattered in percussive twitches, colliding with a kick drum to induce a near state of hypnosis as horns sound off in the distance.

                            Propulsive standout “Spotlights’’ is Greene’s ode to the romanticised New York City that lives in our hearts, nocturnal and carefree. A vocal snippet repeats the title with a breezy poise, reminiscent of classic house cuts. “Ramona’’ honors the beloved Robert Johnson club in Offenbach, Germany. Hazy, spacious, and sustained, Greene designed the beat with their system in mind, “also with a strong nod to the more modern lineage of exceptional minimal house music from Frankfurt,” he says. Two ambient pieces surround the track, “(In The) Rain” sets the scene and “Porta Coeli” (a Latin phrase which loosely translates to “heaven’s gate”) soundtracks the comedown. It’s these sequential choices that reflect Greene’s desire to reach beyond the formulaic demands of the dancefloor for something less tangible, a middle space. “One that relates to the immediacy of precision frequency soundsystem music but also connects to us with the complication and ambiguity that is required of human emotion,” he explains.

                            No better example than the album’s closer, the title track. An arc constructed with atmospheric textures, euphoric swings of percussion, and a well-placed piano refrain, “Beings of Light” is adaptive; one could imagine it reverberating from a club, scoring the emotional apex of a film, or radiating through the realm of dreams. That is where Greene sees us having real impact. “The dream world is our most potent weapon against the status quo - realities cannot exist without first being imagined. It is the job of power to limit the scope of the imagination. We must resist it always and fully.”

                            TRACK LISTING

                            A1. Untitled IV
                            A2. The Truth
                            A3. Power Of Grace
                            A4. (In The) Rain
                            B1. Spotlights
                            B2. Ramona
                            B3. Porta Coeli
                            B4. Beings Of Light

                            Mary Lattimore

                            Collected Pieces: 2015-2020

                              In the afterglow of her acclaimed 2020 album Silver Ladders (a year-end favorite of NPR, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and others), Los Angeles-based harpist Mary Lattimore returns with a culminating counterpart release, Collected Pieces: 2015-2020.

                              Lattimore has described the process of arranging these releases as akin to “opening a box filled with memories,” and here that box continues to populate, accessible for both the artist and fans. Evocative material separated by years, framed as a portrait of an instrumental storyteller who rarely pauses, recording and often sharing music as soon as it strikes her. Seemingly in constant forward motion for the last five years since her Ghostly debut, Lattimore glances back for a breath, inviting new chances to live in these fleeting moments and emotions; all the beauty, sorrow, sunshine, and darkness housed within.

                              “Mary, You Were Wrong” mirrors an author’s bout with a broken heart. “It’s about how you have to keep on going even if you make some mistakes,” she says. The bittersweet refrain cycles throughout, a little brighter every time, slowly, like the way time tends to heal.

                              A newer single, “We Wave From Our Boats,” was improvised after walking her neighborhood during the early days of lockdown in 2020, and shared on her Bandcamp. “I would just wave at neighbors I didn’t know in a gesture of solidarity and it reminded me of how you’re compelled to wave at people on the other boat when you’re on a boat yourself, or on a bridge or something. The pull to wave feels very innate and natural.” The heart of the track is a somber loop, over top which Lattimore’s synth notes ruminate, each a gentle shimmer of optimism in the most anxious and absurd of days.

                              Also recorded in 2020, “What The Living Do” is inspired by Marie Howe’s poem of the same name, which reflects on loss through an appreciation for the mundane messiness of being human. The echoed, slow-marching track has a distant feel to it, as if the listener is outside of it, watching life play out as a film. She adopted the same approach for “Polly of the Circus,” explaining it was the name of one of the old silent films discovered in permafrost in the Yukon [featured in the documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time], “the only copy that survived and it kind of warped in the aging process.”

                              A trove of pieces are collected here, most recorded in the moment, just Lattimore and her Lyon and Healy Concert Grand Harp, contact mics, and pedals. There’s the one about the American astronaut’s homecoming (“For Scott Kelly, Returned To Earth”), the Charlie Chaplin-like character who lost their glasses (“Be My Four Eyes”). Like her most affecting work, these songs showcase Lattimore’s gifts as an observer, able to shape her craft around emotional frequencies and scenes. Her power as a musician is rooted in how she sees the world: in vivid detail, profoundly empathic, with deep gratitude for nature and nuance.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              A1. Wawa By The Ocean
                              A2. We Wave From Our Boats
                              A3. For Scott Kelly, Returned To Earth
                              B1. Your Glossy Camry
                              B2. Be My Four Eyes
                              C1. Pine Trees (Home Recording)
                              C2. We Just Found Out She Died
                              C3. What The Living Do
                              D1. Polly Of The Circus
                              D2. The Warm Shoulder
                              D3. Mary You Were Wrong

                              Twenty-plus years into his career, producer / vocalist / songwriter / DJ Matthew Dear remains artistically unpredictable in pursuit of his prescient strain of electronically-formed, organically-delivered indie pop. His work traverses myriad musical worlds, belonging to none. But these fluid moves have not been without a few forks in the road, decisive turns, and what-ifs. Most notable is the pivot-point following Dear’s acclaimed 2007 avant-pop LP, “Asa Breed”, in which he broke away from the 4/4 grid of his techno / house debut “Leave Luck To Heaven” and into something much more wild and idiosyncratic. Traveling between his adopted Detroit and his home state of Texas throughout 2008 and 2009, Dear amassed a set of personal, playful, looping guitar-centric recordings he’d consider for his next album. Given the new momentum of the hybrid electronic pop of “Asa Breed” which led to an opening slot for Hot Chip and remixes for ‘00 heroes like Spoon and Postal Service, Dear decided to shelf the material. He moved ahead to work on his watershed 2010 album, “Black City”, a steely noir set which earned him a Best New Music on Pitchfork and a worldwide tour with a besuited band. This lost album had a sound, a spirited country romp in the techno barn, and it had a rough title, a scribble on one of the CD-Rs passed to Ghostly label founder Sam Valenti IV, Preacher’s Sigh & Potion. He never fully walked away from it, and merely kept moving down the road, waiting for the audience to catch up. Over a decade later, that time is now.

                              “Preacher’s Sigh & Potion” finds Dear unknowingly at an intersection in his young run, a burgeoning songwriter at his most freewheeling and unaffected. In hindsight, there were hints of Preacher’s sound on “Asa Breed”, but the set still registers endearingly out of step with his eventual direction. This was the first time Dear tapped so directly into his late father’s influence as a fingerpicking guitar player in the 1960s and ‘70s and a gateway to the music of John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, and Emmylou Harris.

                              From the twang and tambourine stomp of album opener “Muscle Beach,” to the metronome-like pulse of “Hikers Y” complete with an unmistakable Matthew Dear dryly dismissive mantra, to the gloomy carnival-leaving-town pomp of “Gutters and Beyond”, “Preacher’s Sigh & Potion” is filled with the reckless notions of an artist dashing the history of pop and rock, the twang of country, the build and release of techno. Dear is an auteur, and in retrospect, so many of his signatures crop up in these relics from his former self. Dear remembers him well: ‘It’s crazy how music memory exists in a very deep and indescribable tangibility. I know the person who made all these, and remember glimpses of the desk, or studio set up for each recording. I know who wrote these lyrics, and where they were mentally during that process.’ Revisiting this material now also has Dear thinking about his father’s legacy.


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Matt says: A cosmic-acid, hillbilly-'tronica album anyone? It sounds pretty batshit, but I can't help thinking this was everything Moby was trying to achieve in 1999.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              01. Muscle Beach
                              02. Sow Down
                              03. Hikers Y
                              04. Never Divide
                              05. All Her Fits
                              06. Supper Times
                              07. Crash And Burn
                              08. Heart To Sing
                              09. Eye
                              10. Head
                              11. Gutters And Beyond

                              It was the end of 2013 and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, the frontman and principal persona behind Choir of Young Believers, was worn out. He’d been touring the band’s last record the haunting Rhine Gold, for the better part of a year and, when it was over, he felt confused, adrift and didn’t feel like playing music. He was doubting the future of the band. The way he coped was to detach. He postponed writing in favor of traveling, deciding that instead of diving back into the creation of another record, he would allow himself to move in whatever direction he desired. His impulses guided his decisions; he wasn’t feeling very inspired by the guitar or the piano, so he started to fiddle around with a small pocket sampler his mother got him for Christmas, using it to make small soundscapes, beats and collages. Those early experiments became the building blocks for Grasque, from the warped, weird choral vocals that open “Serious Lover” to breezey, breathy R&B of “Jeg Ser Dig,” on which he sounds like a Scandinavian Sade.

                              The record pulls in a host of unlikely influences: smoky jazz on the noirish “The Whirlpool Enigma” twinkling pop on “Gamma Moth” and sun-bathed soul on “Cloud Nine.” It’s not so much a reinvention as a redirection, maintaining all of the group’s essential elements but setting them within a new context. Much of that is because, when Makrigiannis started the project, it wasn’t meant to be a new COYB record. Having been inspired by everything from experimental electronic music to Danish ‘80s and ‘90s pop, to modern hip-hop and R&B to techno and westcoast slow jams, he’d made a new, imaginary band in his head called Grasque to reflect those influences. He quickly recorded both “Græske” and “Face Melting” with Aske Zidore, who had also produced Rhine Gold, and when Choir of Young Believers reconvened to tour with Depeche Mode, he wrote a few guitar-based songs to play live. Gradually, he realized all of his new ideas and music could melt together with Choir of Young Believers. A couple of months later, he and Aske went to a small Swedish farm for a week and came back with more than 10 hours of new music.

                              The result is an album that is confident and expansive, incorporating an encyclopedia of styles while still maintaining the essential elements of Choir of Young Believers’ DNA. It’s pop music, put through a kaleidoscopic filter. “I must admit, one of the things I worried about was ‘What will people think?’” Makrigiannis says. “With almost all ofthese songs, I had been in doubt. Some, I felt, were too poppy, others too experimental some didn’t even feel like songs, but more like trips, or feelings. Some even had Danish and Greek lyrics. But now, it’s all Choir of Young Believers to me, and it feels great to have pushed the walls around the band, giving it a bit more space. It’s weird for me to think about all that doubt ”Could I do this? Could I do that? I mean, it’s my fucking band. I can do what I want with it. Right?”

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Olimpiyskiy
                              2. Serious Lover
                              3. Vaserne
                              4. Face Melting
                              5. Græske
                              6. Jeg Ser Dig
                              7. Cloud Nine
                              8. The Whirlpool Enigma
                              9. Perfect Estocada
                              10. Salvatore
                              11. Gamma Moth
                              12. Does It Look As If I Care

                              Tobacco

                              Ultima II Massage

                              On his third album, the Pennsylvania snake-synth-charmer deepens his approach to aural depravity. 'Ultima II Massage' widens a jagged swath through the dude’s own weird catalogue, each disparate track damaged to the point of contributing to some sort of greater, lurching Frankenstein-like state. Immediately after finishing 2010’s 'Maniac Meat', he went to work on the beat-addled series begun with 'Fucked Up Friends' in 2008. But he's saved the worst for last, amassing the most misanthropic material for 'Ultima'. To wit, SPIN dubbed early share “Lipstick Destroyer” a “junkyard takedown of Daft Punk’s beloved, pristine electro.”

                              This is easily Tobacco’s most diverse set to date - his own Stereopathetic Soulmanure, but about that 1-900 hotline life: massage parlors, plasticized sleaze, fake tans, old dial-ups to the fan clubs of dead B-actors. Fittingly, the album’s only contributor is music director Brian LeBarton who shrieks as Notrabel on the grimy freak-out “Streaker.” At 17 tracks, Ultima is stacked with beautifully perverse hits - from the sickly sticky “Eruption,” to the wobbly demon swaggerer “Face Breakout,” to the distorted punk spazz of “Dipsmack,” to the apocalyptic sepia ambience of “Spitlord.” You may hear disembodied bits of Boards of Canada, early Def Jam records, and Gary Numan, or maybe just public-access TV and bad VHS dubs of ‘80s horror flicks. Or the sun exploding and everything you’ve ever loved melting. Again, Tobacco was just trying to make meditation music.

                              But to find that rotted sweet spot, as always, he had to subvert his pop urges. Tobacco went back to the cassette decks he started off with - analog weapons of distortion to compliment his hissing vocoder and blown rhythms. Any moment that felt “just right” was brutally assaulted until ugly again. All to accomplish one end: “This might be my most purposely difficult album yet, but I promise if you let it in, it can fuck you up.”


                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Streaker (ft. Notrabel),
                              2. Good Complexion,
                              3. Video Warning Attempts,
                              4. Eruption,
                              5. Lipstick Destroyer,
                              6. Self Tanner,
                              7. Face Breakout,
                              8. Blow Your Heart,
                              9. Beast Sting,
                              10. Dipsmack,
                              11. Creaming For Beginners,
                              12. Omen Classic,
                              13. Pool City, McKnight Road,
                              14. Spitlord,
                              15. Father Sister Berzerker,
                              16. The Touch From Within,
                              17. Bronze Hogan.

                              When Randolph Chabot, the 22-year-old auteur behind Deastro, is asked about the title of his new album, he recounts a dream about a prince, a kingdom, an evil King of Darkness, and a search for the mythical "Moondagger", the bearer of which wields ultimate power. While "Moondagger", Deastro's new new album, does contain traces of that dream, the record itself is infinitely more down-to-earth, containing the sort of unrelentingly earnest, inspirational pop music that could only come from a kid weaned on fiction but living desperately, joyously in the here-and-now. "Moondagger" expands upon the positive electro-pop of "Keepers" - Deastro's home-recorded opus from 2008 - with the addition of a full band. Thick, atmospheric production obscures bright, starry-eyed melodies; ecstatic synth squiggles dance around new-wave beats on songs about Nordics, toxic crusaders, and geometric shapes; arrangement ideas bounce off one another within ambitious song structures that swerve left, then right, then left again. And yet underneath all of their seeming irreverence, Deastro's songs are breathtakingly down-to-earth—melodic slices of synth-led experimental pop whose energy builds with each iteration of the chorus, hitting emotional peak after emotional peak until they collapse in a heap.


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