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KRANKY RECORDS

Belong

Realistic IX

    Acid-washed motorik drone with buried vocals from experimental duo.
    Follows up, thirteen years later, from critically acclaimed album Common Era.

    Realistic IX, the third full-length by the duo of Michael Jones and Turk Dietrich aka Belong, is both an expansion and excavation of their signature acid-washed songcraft.

    Bleached guitars, metronomic drums, and buried voices rev, swirl, and seethe across shifting gradients of haze and hypnosis, alternately driving and diffuse. Melodies surge closer to the surface, flexing their form before resubmerging into quickening currents of feedback. Elsewhere the elements dissipate into a dusk of murk and microtonalities, electricity liberated back into infinite night.

    Although it’s been thirteen years since Belong’s prior Kranky offering, Common Era, none of the duo’s rare synergy has decayed in the interim. Jones and Dietrich’s commitment to oblique states of motorik drone and liminal emotion continues to evolve and unfold, increasingly tactile and unreal, an alluring glow glimpsed through fogged windows at witching hours.


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Realistic (I’m Still Waiting)
    2. Difficult Boy
    3. Crucial Years
    4. Souvenir
    5. Image Of Love
    6. Bleach
    7. Jealousy
    8. AM / PM

    Roy Montgomery

    Temple IV - 2024 Reissue

      This is the first vinyl issue for what is arguably Roy Montgomery’s finest solo album, originally released in 1996 on CD. The original album has been enhanced with two newer tracks that constitute side 4 of the album.

      From the original press release:
      Few recording artists have aligned the quantity and quality of their releases as well as New Zealand singer/guitarist Roy Montgomery has in 1995. Beginning with kranky's release of the soundtrack for an imaginary film That That Is...Is(Not) by Roy's duo Dissolve early in the year, a series of superb albums and singles have been issued by a variety of labels across the world. Each one of them is a must have. Most recently, the Drunken Fish label released a collection of pastoral drones entitled Scenes From The South Island, singles have appeared on the Roof Bolt and gyttja labels, and further singles are scheduled with Ajax, Siltbreeze and others.

      Temple IV is the first solo recording by Roy Montgomery on kranky. The album was recorded by Roy on a 4 track tape deck and then thickened up with monophonic moog. The tracks on the album are thick with interwoven guitar lines and moog drone, inspired by the Guatemalan rain forests and the mysterious ruins of the temple and ruins Roy visited there. Roy Montgomery spent the past year in New York, Chicago and London before returning to New Zealand. While in the UK he played live with Flying Saucer Attack and collaborated with spoken word performer Kirk Lake. A brief tour across the United States in September saw Roy performing before enraptured audiences in New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

      The long overdue recognition of Roy Montgomery as a crucial figure in New Zealand's musical history as a member of The Pin Group, Shallows and Dadamah, is now augmented by his new recordings. Temple IV will serve to extend and deepen that appreciation.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. She Waits On Temple IV
      A2. Departing The Body
      A3. The Soul Quietens
      B4. The Passage Of Forms
      B5. Jaguar Meets Snake
      C6. Above The Canopy
      C7. Jaguar Unseen
      D8. The Light Is Heavy The Rain Is Soft*
      D9. I Will See You There*

      *bonus Tracks

      Adam Wiltzie

      Eleven Fugues For Sodium Pentathol

        The latest suite by composer (and Stars Of The Lid co-founder) Adam Wiltzie took shape following a move north from Brussels into the Flemish countryside, although it was initially inspired by a recurring dream wherein “if someone listened to the music I created, then they would die.”

        The album uniquely evokes and evades the allure of oblivion, keening between beauty and ruin, forever unresolved. Wiltzie cites the barbiturate of the title as both muse and sacred escape: “When you are sitting face forward on the daily emotional meat grinder of life, I always wished I could have some, so I could just fall asleep automatically and the feeling would not be there anymore.”

        Recorded at Wilzie’s home studio, with strings added in Budapest at the old Hungarian National radio facility (Magyar Radio), the tracks feel simultaneously intimate and infinite, unfolding vistas glimpsed in an inner space.

        Robert Hampson of English drone rock icons Loop mixed the album, further lending the music a sense of cinematic expanse and oblique hypnosis.

        These are fugue states as much as fugues in a literal classical music sense-smeared epiphanies of uncertain memory and spatial dislocation, coaxed from the unconscious and set aloft.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: There are incredibly few things that Adam Wiltzie or Dustin O'Dalloran put out that I won't buy (or Brian Mcbride for that matter), and that's obviously not going to stop at this impeccably conceived album by one of the most important composer in the modern-classical sphere. It's *beautiful* and every bit what you'd expect, with a little of what you wouldn't.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Buried At Westwood Memorial Park, In An Unmarked Grave, To The Left Of Walter Matthau
        2. Tissue Of Lies
        3. Pelagic Swell
        4. Stock Horror
        5. Dim Hopes
        6. As Above Perhaps So Below
        7. Mexican Helium
        8. We Were Vaporised
        9. Don’t Go Back To (Boogerville)

        Loscil / Lawrence English

        Colours Of Air - 2024 Reissue

          The union of composers Lawrence English and loscil aka Scott Morgan is seamless, sublime, and long overdue.

          Born of a conversation centered on the notion of “rich sources” as a forge for electronic music, Colours Of Air is a collection of recordings of a century old pipe organ housed at the historic Old Museum in Brisbane, Australia, which were then processed, transformed, and elevated into eight majestic electro-acoustic threshold devotionals. The timbre of the instrument and spatial fluctuations of room tone infuse the music with a subdued, sacred feel, like vaulted light in a nave of stained glass. They describe the album as “an iterative project, a reduction and eventual expansion,” sifting the swells and drones of the organ for every shivering shade of radiance.

          The tracks are named for the hue each piece suggests – from the gauzy levitational miasma of “Yellow” to the pulsing melancholic mirage of “Violet” to the seething twilit sandstorm of “Magenta.” Morgan and English are both adept at conjuring moods of muted grandeur, like landscapes veiled in dusk, still looming and luminous. 


          TRACK LISTING

          1. Cyan
          2. Aqua
          3. Yellow
          4. Grey
          5. Black
          6. Pink
          7. Violet
          8. Gold
          9. Magenta

          Niecy Blues

          Exit Simulation

            South Carolina singer and producer Niecy Blues describes her songwriting process like an undertow: “I feel a strange pull, and let it carry me, following swirling leaves... whole days roll by, forgetting about the body.”

            Their full-length debut, Exit Simulation, captures this sense of deep-rooted divination, cycling between simmering ballads, ghosted R&B, downtempo gospel, and looped vocal improvisations – often within the same track. The title is taken from a science fiction novel she read during the purgatory of the pandemic, alluding to a dimensional ideation of departure – “the permission to imagine leaving.”

            Recorded in her current home of Charleston, she characterizes the album’s mood in terms both reflective and raw: an exploration of things suppressed, foundations beginning to crack, “talking myself off a ledge.”

            The music of Niecy Blues transposes reverie and reckoning into emotive devotionals of keys, guitar, bass, synth, and bewitched voice, steeped in sacred atmospheres gleaned from a youth spent in a religious Oklahoma household: “My first experience with ambient music was church – slow songs of worship, with delay on the guitar... even if you don’t believe, you feel something.”


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Exit Simulating sings with the sort of rhythmic swing of a 90's R&B record, but swims and ripples with waves of ambient and Balearic influence, resulting in an album that's both wildly adventurous and intensely addictive. Thoroughly stunning work from Niecy Blues.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. 1111
            2. The Nite B4
            3. U Care
            4. Violently Rooted
            5. Exit Simulation
            6. Exits
            7. Soma
            8. Messages From Above
            9. Lament
            10. Violently Rooted Reprise
            11. The Architect
            12. Analysis Paralysis
            13. Cascade

            Grouper

            The Man Who Died In His Boat - 2023 Repress

            “When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach. The remains of the vessel weren't removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside.

            “I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man's presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home.”

            The Man Who Died in His Boat is an album of unreleased songs recorded alongside the Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill album.


            TRACK LISTING

            01 6 
            02 Vital 
            03 Cloud In Places 
            04 Being Her Shadow 
            05 Cover The Long Way
            06 Difference (Voices) 
            07Vanishing Point 
            08 The Man Who Died In His Boat 
            09 Towers 
            10 STS 
            11 Living Room

            Stars Of The Lid

            The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid - 2023 Repress

              "Put simply, 'Tired Sounds Of...' is one of the most unremittingly beautiful albums I've ever heard." Drowned In Sound.

              "Unspeakably beautiful." AllMusic.com.

              "One of the most beautiful recordings we have ever heard." Aquarius Records

              "A fantastic masterpiece, missing this would be foolish." Touching Extremes.

              "Their relentless commitment to subtlety sets them apart, as does their masterful hand with tone… dissonance is doled out in small portions, perfectly coloring the sculpted fields of sound." Pitchfork.

              "When all else fails and you need to shut the rest of the world out, this is a guaranteed mute button." Self- Titled.

              TRACK LISTING

              Requiem For Dying Mothers, Pt. 1
              Requiem For Dying Mothers, Pt. 2
              Down 3
              Austin, Tx Mental Hospital, Pt. 1
              Austin, Tx Mental Hospital, Pt. 2
              Austin, Tx Mental Hospital, Pt. 3
              Broken Harbors, Pt. 1
              Broken Harbors, Pt. 2
              Broken Harbors, Pt. 3
              Mullohand
              The Lonely People (are Getting Lonelier)
              Gasfarming
              Piano Aquieu
              Fac 21
              Ballad Of Distances, Pt. 1
              Ballad Of Distances, Pt. 2
              A Lovesong [for Cubs] Pt. 1
              A Lovesong (for Cubs] Pt. 2
              A Lovesong (for Cubs] Pt. 3

              Stars Of The Lid

              Stars Of The Lid And Their Refinement Of The Decline - 2023 Repress

                "I simply feel that they are making the most important music of the 21st century." Ivo Watts-Russell - 4AD label founder .

                "Crushingly sad, lightly melancholic, or even uplifting, depending on the state of mind of the hearer… a sound divorced from intention and its ambiguity is its strength." Pitchfork.

                "The sound of deep sea disintegration… a work of art." Tiny Mix Tapes.

                "Music of such quiet and devastating power it can silence a room in five minutes without the volume knob on the stereo being manipulated. Deeply moving…." AllMusic.

                "Traces the fluid contours of a void through diaphanous lines that reveal all of its miasmal abstraction." Dusted "A two-hour juggernaut of careful dynamics and warm tones." XLR8R.

                TRACK LISTING

                Dungtitled (in A Major)
                Articulate Silences Part 1
                Articulate Silences Part 2
                The Evil That Never Arrived
                Apreludes (in C Sharp Major)
                Don't Bother They're Here
                Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage
                Even If You're Never Awake (deuxieme)
                Even (out) +
                A Meaningful Moment Through A Meaning(less) Process
                Another Ballad For Heavy Lids
                The Daughters Of Quiet Minds
                Hiberner Toujours
                That Finger On Your Temple Is The Barrel Of My Raygun
                Humectez La Mouture
                Tippy's Demise
                The Mouthchew
                December Hunting For Vegetarian Fuckface

                Bowery Electric

                Bowery Electric - 2023 Reissue

                  Reissue of debut album from 1995, now including their 1994 Drop EP.
                  First time available on vinyl in nearly two decades.
                  On Pitchfork’s Best Shoegaze Albums Of All Time list.
                  Included in Andrew Earles’s Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996.

                  This new double LP version restores the track “Deep Sky Objects” to the original running order of the album as it was left off of the original single LP version due to side length restraints. This is the first time this album has been available on vinyl in almost two decades, and the first time the Drop EP has been available in any format since original release in 1994.

                  At the same time, Kranky is making the CD version available once again for the first time in many years, with the Drop EP tracks also included.

                  The debut album from New York City’s Bowery Electric was released by Kranky in late summer 1995 after they came to the label’s attention via their self-released 2x7-inch Drop EP from the year previous. The first in a trio of albums released by the core duo of Lawrence Chandler and Martha Schwendener finds them in their most raw form.

                  “The perfect realization of their aesthetic, each word and chord tuned and focused for maximum impact.” — Pitchfork

                  “Genuinely hypnotic.” —The Wire 


                  TRACK LISTING

                  Side A:
                  1. Sounds In Motion.
                  2. Next To Nothing.
                  3. Long Way Down.
                  4. Another Road
                  Side B:
                  1. Over And Over
                  2. Deep Sky Objects
                  3. Slow Thrills
                  Side C:
                  1. Out Of Phase
                  2. Drift Away
                  Side D (Drop EP):
                  1. Drop
                  2. Let Me Down
                  3. Head On Fire
                  4. Only Sometimes

                  Bowery Electric

                  Beat - 2022 Reissue

                    The second album from New York City's Bowery Electric was released in late 1996, less than 15 months after their self-titled debut, but it found them having traveled light years musically in the interim, the group having seemingly decided to see how far they could take the guitar/ bass / drums / vocal setup into the atmosphere.

                    Every aspect of their approach had been refined and focused: squalling, distorted guitars had been transformed into hazy, sensual sheets; the live drums transmuted to sampled rhythms more in debt to the blossoming downtempo sound of the day; bass lines reduced to their most basic diagrams; vocals submerged to become one with the narcotized fog of the instruments; even the lyrics were reduced to a few minimal lines used sparingly so as not to overshadow the dynamic.

                    Beat is a lush and dense mantra of shadowy percussion, barely-there vocals and immersive drones that envelops the listener in an opiated blanket of sound. Includes the bonus track "Low Density," not featured on the original U.S. release.

                    "Bowery Electric have made something utterly astonishing here. So deep, so wide, and somehow as intimate as a train crash. The first six tracks are just the most crushingly beautiful thing I've heard in 1997; the last five are even better. Good god, THIS IS IT." Melody Maker.

                    "While cymbals shower down over the songs like a torrent of shattered glass, their austere beauty is never static. Ambience has rarely sounded so messy." Exclaim.

                    A near-perfect mix of shifting dance beats, menacing electronic drones, analogue bleeps,
                    syncopated rhythms and ethereal vocals." Now UK.



                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side A:
                    1. Beat
                    2. Empty Words
                    3. Without Stopping
                    Side B:
                    1. Under The Sun
                    2. Fear Of Flying
                    3. Looped
                    4. Black Light
                    Side C:
                    1. Inside Out
                    2. Coming Down
                    3. Postscript
                    4. Low Density*
                    Side D:
                    1. Postscript

                    *bonus Track Not On Original U.S. Release

                    Saloli

                    Canyon

                      Portland pianist Mary Sutton second’s fulllength for Kranky delves deeper into her roots as a Cherokee Nation citizen (Saloli, pronounced like “slowly,” is the Cherokee word for ‘squirrel’).

                      The album is intended to evoke “a day in the life of a bear in a canyon in the Smoky Mountains,” with each track channeling a different emotion or experience in its daily explorations. As with her 2018 debut, The Deep End, the entirety of Canyon was composed and performed live on a Sequential Circuits MultiTrak synthesizer – but this time routed through a delay pedal. This refraction adds a lyrical spatial quality, as though “echoing off canyon walls.” It's music both gentle and adventurous, curiously rooting through soils and streams, in a sustained state of discovery.

                      In Cherokee teachings, humans and animals are considered to have no essential difference – originally, all the creatures of the earth lived together in harmony. Canyon captures shades of this Edenic notion across eight elegant pieces, alternately meandering, pensive, playful, and pure. Sutton’s playing, as always, is dexterous and dimensional, mirroring the dazzled senses of its muse.

                      Her father, the Cherokee painter and flute-maker Jerry Sutton, created the artwork. Its yellow lettering is from the Cherokee Syllabary and spells “Yona", meaning ‘bear.’

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Waterfall
                      2. Lily Pad
                      3. Snake
                      4. Yona
                      5. Silhouette
                      6. Full Moon
                      7. Nighthawk
                      8. Sunrise

                      Christina Vantzou

                      No. 5

                        While on the island of Syros in the Aegean Sea for a film festival performance, Christina Vantzou experienced what she characterized as “a moment of focus”—a specific vision for the sprawl of raw recordings she’d been amassing for her fifth album. Upon relocating to the Cycladic island of Ano Koufonisi, she situated herself outside at a patio table with a laptop and headphones, taking brief breaks to swim, and began the “reductive process” of shaving and shaping the source material into uneasy but lyrical movements, alternately austere and adorned with strange inflections: glottal groaning, cavernous water, glittering eddies of modular synth, languorous silences. Mixing the pieces herself without outsourcing to an engineer compounded the intimacy and autobiographical dimension of the music; she refers to No5 as “almost like a first album.”

                        Drawing on sessions staged in February 2020, Vantzou’s editing instincts emphasize process and isolation, spotlighting resonance and restraint, liquidity and long tails. Fleeting configurations of piano, wind, strings, synthetics, and field recordings, these are spaces as much as compositions, surreal grottos of shifting light, suffused with a sense of invisible divinity. Although seventeen musicians appear on the record, the proceedings feel minimalist and malleable, sculpted from interstitial moments and oblique synchronicities. The definition of a composer as “one who joins things” is here both plumbed and proven; Vantzou describes No5 as “a letting go,” a place of “soft borders,” unfixed and undefinable.


                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Enter
                        2. Greeting
                        3. Distance
                        4. Reclining Figures
                        5. Red Eel Dream
                        6. Dance Rehearsal
                        7. Kimona
                        8. Tongue Shaped Rock
                        9. Memory Of Future Melody
                        10. Kimona II
                        11. Surreal Presence (For SH And FM)

                        Earthen Sea

                        Ghost Poems

                          Jacob Long’s third Earthen Sea outing for Kranky, Ghost Poems, further refines his fragile, fractured palette into fluttering arrhythmias of dust, percussion, and yearning.

                          Composed during the first wave of lockdowns in New York, the pieces took shape patiently from samples of piano, texture, and domestic sounds (sink splashing, room tone, clinking objects), filtered through live FX to imbue them with an intuitive, immaterial feel. Wisps of melody splinter, shimmer, and refract, like light on water; pulses accrue and dissipate, as if mapping shifting sands. Throughout, there’s a sense of matter made animate, of absences felt.

                          Long cites notions of “the studio as a dub instrument” and the melancholy of “7th chords on a fake Rhodes patch” as central elements in his process, transforming raw materials into rare thresholds of symbiosis and hypnosis. This is music for night skies in hollowed out cities, for views across rivers towards unknown shores: restless, placeless, and profound.


                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Shiny Nowhere
                          2. Stolen Time
                          3. Felt Absence
                          4. Oblique Ruins
                          5. Snowy Water
                          6. Rough Air
                          7. Slate Horizon
                          8. Ochre Sky
                          9. Fossil Painting
                          10. Deep Sky

                          Grouper

                          Shade

                            The 12th full-length by Pacific Northwest artist Liz Harris aka Grouper is a collection of songs spanning 15 years. She characterizes Shade as an album about respite, and the coast, poetically and literally. How we frame ourselves in a landscape, how in turn it frames ourselves; memories and experiences carried forward mapping our connection to place.

                            — An ode to blue / What lives in shade —

                            Songs touch on loss, flaws, hiding places, love. Deep connections to the Bay Area, and the North Coast, with its unique moods of solitude, beauty, and isolation—a place described and transformed by the chaos and power of river-mouth, wild maritime storms, columns of mist that rise up unexpectedly on the road at night. Portions were recorded on Mount Tamalpais during a self-made residency years back, other pieces made longer ago in Portland, while the rest were tracked during more recent sessions in Astoria.

                            Throughout, Harris threads a hidden radiant language of voice, disquiet, and guitar, framed by open space and the sense of being far away.

                            Echoing a lighthouse, burying the faults of being human / Into things that we project upon the sky at night.


                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Followed The Ocean
                            2. Unclean Mind
                            3. Ode To The Blue
                            4. Pale Interior
                            5. Disordered Minds
                            6. The Way Her Hair Falls
                            7. Promise
                            8. Basement Mix
                            9. Kelso (Blue Sky)

                            Loscil

                            Clara

                              The latest collection by Cascadian resident loscil aka Scott Morgan is a stunning meditation on light, shade, and decay, sourced from a single three-minute composition performed by a 22-piece string orchestra in Budapest.

                              The subsequent recording was lathe-cut on to a 7-inch, then “scratched and abused to add texture and color,” from which the entirety of Clara was sampled, shape-shifted, and sculpted. Despite their limited palette, the compositions summon a sense of the infinite, swelling and swimming through luminous depths. Certain tracks percolate over narcoleptic metronomes while others slowdive in shimmering shadowplay, sounding at times like some noir music of the spheres.

                              Although Morgan's compositional premise for Clara was quite defined, the resultant work is wonderfully opaque and spatial, equal parts lush and lurking, traced in fine-grained gradients and radiant silences. The album's title comes from the Latin for ‘bright': a fitting muse for this masterpiece of celestial electric currents and interstitial ether, where “shadows are amplified and bright spots dimmed.”


                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: I love a bit of Loscil. 'Sketches From New Brighton' and 'Plume' get a heavy workout on my home stereo, and 'Clara' is sure to go the same way. It's a beautifully rewarding and rich collection of textural washes and shifting soundscapes, perfectly in line with the rest of Loscil's impressive canon, but standing entirely on its own. Beautiful stuff as ever.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1.Lux
                              2. Lumina
                              3. Lucida
                              4. Stella
                              5. Vespera
                              6. Sol
                              7. Aura
                              8. Flamma
                              9. Orta
                              10. Clara 

                              Ana Roxanne

                              Because Of A Flower

                                The sublime songs comprising Los Angeles-based musician Ana Roxanne's second release, Because Of A Flower, germinated gradually across five years, inspired by interwoven notions of gender identity, beauty, and cruelty. She describes her process as beginning with “a drone element and a mood,” then intuiting melody, syllables, and lyrics incrementally, like sacred shapes materializing from mist.

                                The experience of identifying as intersex informs the album on levels both sonic and thematic, from spoken word texts borrowed from tonal harmony textbooks to cinematic dialogue samples and castrati aria allusions. It's an appropriately interstitial vision of ambient songcraft, a chemistry of wisps and whispers, sanctuary and sorrow, conjured through a fragile balance of voice, bass, space, and texture.

                                Despite a background studying at the prestigious Mills College in Oakland, Roxanne's music rarely feels conceptual, instead radiating an immediate and emotive aura, rooted in the present tense of her personal journey. She speaks of the flower in the title as a body, singular and sunlit, as many petals as thorns, an enigma beholden only to itself. But whether taken as surface or subtext, Because is a transfixing document of a rare artist in the spring of their ascension. 


                                TRACK LISTING

                                1. Untitled
                                2. A Study In Vastness
                                3. Suite Pour L’Invisible
                                4. - - -
                                5. Camille
                                6. Venus
                                7. Take The Thorn, Leave The Rose 

                                Loscil

                                Coast/Range/Arc//

                                  Named after the geographic formations of the seismically volatile Cascadian coastal mountains, the coast/range/arc// reissue features new artwork and an additional track.
                                  Remastered by James Plotkin and available on vinyl for the first time. 


                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Black Tusk
                                  2. Fromme
                                  3. Stave Peak
                                  4. Névé
                                  5. Brohms Ridge
                                  6. Goat Mountain
                                  7. Black Tusk (descent) 

                                  “I could go on and on about the insane virtuosity, about the rare analog wind synth that almost no one in the world plays anymore, about the most unique intervallic melodies and harmonies, but it’s all secondary to the simple beauty that Justin Walter is able to conjure up with his solo music.” Colin Stetson

                                  Michigan trumpeter Justin Walter’s solo work centers on evocative, intuitive explorations of the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), a rare wind-controlled analog synthesizer from the 1970’s.

                                  Its unique, smeared tonality allows for an expressive range of glassy, jazz-like textures, which Walter loops and layers with hushed electronics and twilit trumpet, painting opaque landscapes of resonant beauty.

                                  Walter’s 2013 debut, Lullabies & Nightmares, included a handful of collaborations with percussionist Quin Kirchner but Unseen Forces finds him fully solo, refining the project to its essence: shape-shifting watercolors of pastel haze, lit by the soft synthetic glow of electric breath. It’s a sound both modern and timeless, fusing emotion and technology, gauze and melody, force and fragility.

                                  From Justin Walter: Unseen Forces is a collection of recordings that document the use of improvisation as a means to create sounds that can either function on their own or serve as the foundation of, or source material for, additional improvisation. There was a definite process used to create this music but at no point was any music ever written or composed.

                                  When putting this music together I was often aware of feelings related to density, spacing, silence, and the sense of time pulling back on itself, like trying to stretch a scene and pull on it in ways that distort it ever so slightly. This is a record of melodies, alone and in complex relation. This music is a reflection of both feeling, and thought, as much construction as composition. The recordings of the EVI, as well as the sequencing done using samples of those recordings, are mostly the result of exploring melody through intuition. Harmonically simple, but with a complex pallet of texture.


                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Introspective wandering avant-jazz sections clash with soaring airy ambience and cut-up string sections. Sparse pianos on 'End Of Six' for example are alone but for their own shimmering reverb tails, left to ruminate through the sound field uninterrupted. From the minimalism and fog comes beauty and warmth, presenting as snippets of found sound and crackling pads.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. 1001
                                  2. Unseen Forces
                                  3. Sixty
                                  4. End Of Six
                                  5. It’s Not What You Think
                                  6. Isotope
                                  7. Following
                                  8. Soft Illness
                                  9. Red Cabin

                                  Graceful compositions flow throughout. Steve Hauschildt’s fourth release for kranky following his Where All Is Fled full length from late summer 2015.

                                  The songs fluctuate from the serene calm of album opener Horizon of Appearances, to the pulsing hypnosis of Ketracel, and on to searing grandeur of album closer Die in Fascination, Throughout, Steve remains restrained and in complete control of his sound.

                                  Strands is a song cycle that is about cosmogony and creation/destruction myths. The title alludes to the structural constitution of ropes as I wanted to approach the compositions so that they consisted of strands and fibers which form a unified whole. This was so the songs could have the appearance of being either taut or slack without being fundamentally locked to a grid. So the sounds/tones have a certain malleability to them and sound like they're bending through time. It's also grittier and more distorted than my previous albums.

                                  I wanted to try and capture that moment in nature and society where life slowly reemerges through desolation, so it has a layer of optimism looming underneath. The music represents this by seemingly decaying at times but then reforms and morphs in a fluid way back to its original state. I was also inspired by the movement of rivers, particularly their transformative aspect and how they're in a state of flux and change, in particular the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland where I live, which notoriously caught on fire thirteen times because of industrial pollution in the 1960s and before. I was very interested in the dichotomy of oil and water and the resulting, unnatural symptoms of human industry. It's a very personal record for me as it is a reflection of my hometown where I grew up and where it was mostly recorded.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: Where 'Where all Is Fled' was nuanced, but rife with confident and optimistic moments, 'Strands' is much more tilted towards the uneasy. Slightly syncopated melodies and growing pads unsettle but never become jarring, merely lending an equally proficient counterfoil to the majority of his already startling oeuvre.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Horizon Of Appearances
                                  2. Same River Twice
                                  3. A False Seeming
                                  4. Ketracel
                                  5. Time We Have
                                  6. Strands
                                  7. Transience Of Earthly Joys
                                  8. Die In Fascination

                                  Physicalist is the third album from New York City synthesis trio Forma. Since their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats.

                                  Physicalist is a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries.

                                  The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.

                                  Formed in 2010 by Mark Dwinell in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Forma released their first two full-length LPs on John Elliot’s influential Editions Mego imprint, Spectrum Spools. Physicalist is the first full-length statement from the new lineup, which also includes founding member and percussionist George Bennett.

                                  The double LP contains two distinct halves; the first consisting of rhythmic compositions derived from the trio’s formidable array of modular and vintage synthesizers, and the second breaking from the grid with ambient, free-flowing experiments on piano, flute and acoustic percussion. The album marks a departure from Cool Haptics, the group’s techno-leaning 2014 EP on The Bunker New York.

                                  Physicalist takes its title from physicalism, the philosophical belief that all phenomena in the universe are created entirely from physical interactions. Using a synthesizer as its foundation, kosmische music turns algorithms into art by investigating infinite possibilities within a set of physical parameters. The electronic composer Laurie Spiegel once suggested that a looped algorithmic sequence could go on forever, and as long as humans were able to interact with it, it would never cease to interest us. This is the bedrock of improvisation, and it is from this vantage point that Forma have created Physicalist, an American kosmische music in which a boundless voyage gives way to a structured environment—a programmed jazz with the grid as guidepost. “We’re not interested in providing an escapism for people,” says member Mark Dwinell, “We want to instead connect with people through a vigilantly monitored present. To us, that real moment, shed of any fancy, is just as divine.”


                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Barry says: One of my absolute favourites, Forma. I remember hearing their self-titled debut album many moons ago and being equally blown away by their follow-up Off/On. This one is just as mindblowing. Kosmische synthplay and driven motorik rhythms abound, chirping pads and reverb-soaked arpeggios come together into a beautiful and melodic scree. The latter half of the album is more ambient, focused on acoustics more than electronics but with the unmistakeable sound they've become known for. Another brilliant showing, and an essential for any electronic music fans.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. Collapse Of Materialists
                                  2. Sane Man
                                  3. Spin Glass
                                  4. Ghosts
                                  5. Maxwell’s Demon
                                  6. Descent
                                  7. Wanderer Imitates A Cloud
                                  8. As If Pianos Grew On Trees
                                  9. Collapse Of Materialists 2
                                  10. Physicalist
                                  11. Improvisation For Flute And Piano

                                  MJ Guider

                                  Precious Systems

                                    Melissa Guion is MJ Guider. She lives and works in New Orleans and previously released the Green Plastic extended play cassette in early 2014 on the Constellation Tatsu label.

                                    Employing heavy washes of bass and a deft touch in mixing, she uses stark contrasts to construct a semi-surreal aural space.

                                    What results are songs that exist in a wholly contained sound environment, minimal yet lush, spare yet saturated, and most importantly, entirely compelling.

                                    “...black syrupy goodness that hits all the right spots.” Fact
                                    “...swallows up the listener in dark, warm, gooey vibes.” Tiny Mix Tapes

                                    From MJ Guider:
                                    “Precious Systems is inspired and influenced by the landscape in and near New Orleans, particularly the juxtaposition of the natural with industrial and commercial constructs as they reflect life here.

                                    The songs on the album attempt to create contrasts of their own as one means to induce unreality or alter perspective. While it is greatly influenced by science fiction, its sounds and stories often become it themselves.
                                    The sounds come from a variety of sources, but are anchored by a few aging, outmoded machines.

                                    A beloved Rickenbacker 3000 in combination with a Roland R-8 drum machine, and RE-501 tape echo set the tone of technology in subsidence.”


                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: Though it might seem unlikely, gothic tinged shoegaze/ambient has seen a bit of a surge in recent years. Tropic of cancer being a notable (and equally excellent) recent addition. Precious Systems is as haunting as it is enchanting, saturated top-heavy drones whirl around Guion's haunting voice, driven along by cavernous guitar, and every so often punctuated by driving hardware drum machines. Spooky and shadowed gothic shoegaze for the masses.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. Lit Negative
                                    2. Triple Black
                                    3. Surfacing First
                                    4. White Alsatian
                                    5. Second Surface
                                    6. Former Future Beings
                                    7. Their Voices Clear Now
                                    8. Evencycle
                                    9. Fiction Control

                                    Christopher Bissonnette

                                    Pitch, Paper & Foil

                                      Christopher Bissonnette is a Canadian musician/sound artist/designer living and working in Detroit and Windsor. He has released three full-length albums for Kranky and a collaborative recording with David Wenngren (Library Tapes) on Home Normal.

                                      Continuing the explorations of the analog synthesizer first revealed on his last album, Bissonnette's deft touch in recording and mixing is a joy to experience. While most contemporary analog synth slingers find themselves unable to not overload the sound-field with the endless array of possibilities the instrument provides, Bissonnette provides a master class in economy and control.

                                      Since his first full album release, Periphery, ten years ago, Bissonnette has been expanding his aural vocabulary and production techniques incorporating elements of concrete, field recording and modular synthesis.

                                      This new series of works reflects an evolution of my adeptness with modular synthesis. As with my previous release Essays in Idleness, Pitch, Paper & Foil was constructed from a range of synthesis and compositional techniques. The goal with this album was to form a collection that exhibits more restraint than previous works.

                                      Modular synthesis can be an unruly medium and taming it in order to produce delicate or subtle tones can be challenging. As with Essays..., I have allowed the artifacts of the process to find their way into the finished product. Tape noise, distortion and by-products of the random sequencing method all contribute to the character of the final recordings.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Epoch
                                      2. Diminution
                                      3. Keeping Guard
                                      4. Shuttering Slides
                                      5. Surcease
                                      6. Textbooks Of The Elites
                                      7. The Rate Of Delay
                                      8. Dualism

                                      Grouper

                                      Ruins - 2023 Repress

                                      Eagerly anticipated new album from Liz Harris AKA Grouper.

                                      IN HER OWN WORDS...

                                      Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother's house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village.

                                      The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. Made Of Metal
                                      2. Clearing
                                      3. Call Across Rooms
                                      4. Labyrinth
                                      5. Lighthouse
                                      6. Holofernes
                                      7. Holding
                                      8. Made Of Air

                                      Anjou

                                      Anjou

                                        The culmination of four years writing and editing, Anjou marks the ?rst collaboration between Labradford?s Robert Donne and Mark Nelson since the release of that group?s “?xed:context” LP.

                                        Combining modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation, Anjou deftly weaves noise with gentle ambience and melody with texture.

                                        Guitar, bass and Steven Hess? (Locrian, Fennesz, Pan American) live percussion give the eight pieces an immediacy and create a framework for the more abstract sounds of digital and analog synth programming.

                                        The product of twenty plus years of friendship, Anjou is re?ned and challenging. An extension of the Labradford sound-world but no mere victory lap, Anjou represents Donne and Nelson stepping out and forward, their eyes ?rmly focusing on the future.

                                        Context:
                                        Mark Nelson formed the legendary Labradford in the early 90?s and and started working solo under the “Pan•American” moniker a few years later. Robert Donne played in Breadwinner, joined Labradford shortly after the release of the ?rst album, recorded an album with Adam Wiltzie as “Aix Em Klemm”, and has been active over the last decade in the trio Cristal. Percussionist extraordinaire Steven Hess has collaborated with dozens of artists including Greg Davis and Fennesz, and has worked in the Dropp Ensemble, Cleared, and Haptic to name just a few.

                                        Christopher Bissonnette

                                        Essays In Idleness

                                          The third album from Canadian composer Christopher Bissonnette sees him expanding his palette by narrowing his sound sources to a self built analog synthesizer.

                                          Eschewing the whiplash and/or everything including the kitchen sink style of assembly so common among current analog a?cionados, Bissonnette instead applies his signature compositional style of using long held tones and sweeping drones that alternate between, and fuse, pure tonal transcendence and patient, sparkling melodies that slowly reveal themselves.

                                          “Essays in Idleness was born from a desire for a more tactile approach to sound generation. With a limited number of sound sources, the process encouraged more focused examination of the available range of choices.

                                          The album is a series of experiments subsequent to a period of deep re?ection on my working process. This sequence of tracks is the culmination of two years of intense exploration with the intention of allowing the medium to have a more profound affect on the outcome, the methodology allowing chance, risk and error to play a greater role.

                                          Some of the studies focus on a generative process, allowing the composition to build upon itself, while others are constructed from more complex textures and compositional fragments that shift and modulate organically.” - Christopher Bissonnette.

                                          Disappears

                                          Era

                                            Era is the fourth annual report from Chicago powerhouse quartet Disappears. It was formed during the gloom of the Chicago winter at Electrical Audio by now regular foil John Congleton.

                                            Insular and dark, the album sees the band further re?ning their love of dub, minimalism and repetition into their most original and stark set yet.

                                            It harks back to the early 80?s post punk period, when almost anything seemed possible with the classic two guitar, bass and drums lineup, and exploration and expansion of what could be done with these elements was at the fore.

                                            Dueling wiry and squalling guitars lead the way while a lockdown rhythm section provides the perpetual forward motion.

                                            Era is Disappears at their most abrasive, contemplative, and paranoid – it?s the sound of the void looking back.


                                            Ken Camden

                                            Space Mirror

                                              This is the second solo album from Ken Camden who lives and works in Chicago. He also plays in the Implodes sound quartet.

                                              Space travel is the dream of many and the reality of few. Since Yuri Gagarin ?rst shed the bonds of earth gravity in 1961, only about 500 humans have made the trip beyond the atmosphere.

                                              Ken Camden travels to space while still grounded on terra ?rma. His vessel of choice is a guitar and some effects with which he journeys on fantastical expeditions and surveys the biggest territory of all, the one between your ears.

                                              The glimmering sound ?elds he forms could be a soundtrack to an epic 60?s science-?ction ?lm, or a long forgotten grade school educational ?lm strip explaining how humans would be living on Mars early in the 21st century.

                                              Camden?s narrative rejects the dominant dystopian view of the future and posits that there are great voyages yet to be made in inner and outer space.

                                              The album forms a gravity-free environment in which the listener is suspended, enhancing an aural excursion to the outer reaches of the musical Kosmos.

                                              Benoit Pioulard

                                              Hymnal

                                                Hymnal is the fourth kranky album by Thomas Meluch under his musical alias Benoit Pioulard, following Précis (2006), Temper (2008) and Lasted (2010). It was written and recorded throughout a year spent in southeastern England and on the European mainland, during which the ubiquity of religious iconography and grandiose cathedrals became an unexpected muse.

                                                Raised as a Catholic but never especially pious, Meluch drew on this aspect of social history as the basis for Hymnal's 12 chapters. He notes a particular preoccupation with the ways that faith offers a sense of solace and belonging in an existence that inherently provides none, framed in a context of tradition, ritual and the notion of the eternal.

                                                Themes aside, Hymnal contains some of Meluch's most expansive instrumental works (“Knell”, “Gospel”) and fully realized pop compositions (“Hawkeye”, “Reliquary”, “Margin”), making for a rich and dynamic long-playing arc. Also featured are string arrangements by kranky label mate Felix and guitar work from ambient maestro Kyle Bobby Dunn.

                                                NB: The album's cover depicts the dessicated interior of a centuries-old tree on the estate of surrealist Edward James in West Sussex; it was felled be an invasive, parasitic black fungus while still alive and verdant.

                                                Grouper

                                                Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill - 2023 Repress

                                                  I held my breath and stared at them until they parted the air around me like a curtain.

                                                  This is a new reissue of Grouper?s breakthrough 2008 album which has been out of print on all physical formats for the last few years.

                                                  Press quotes for Dragging a Dead Deer...:
                                                  “There?s a deeply meditative, almost spiritual beauty to these tracks; a melancholy that?s simultaneously strangely hopeful.” Drowned in Sound
                                                  “This remarkable album is actually what I personally always wanted 4AD records to sound like, only they never quite delivered the hazy pleasures their beautiful sleeve art promised.” Pitchfork [8.2]
                                                  “A psych-folk bent for harmonic discord and atmospheric dread ?nds something forever sinister lodged at the album's heart: thekind of beauty that makes sailors run aground.” Mojo
                                                  “More than just a pretty acoustic record, Harris, through Grouper, has created a startlingly vivid and brooding shoegaze gem that works in spite of its length and ?rst impressions.” Sputnik

                                                  Tim Hecker

                                                  Ravedeath 1972

                                                    Tim Hecker's latest work approaches a form of secular musical transcendentalism from within the battered temple of spirituality. 

                                                    Recorded in a church in Reykjavik, Iceland and using a pipe organ as the primary sound source, this new piece is essentially a live recording. In reality, it exists in a nether world between captured live performance and meticulous studio work, melding the two approaches to sonic artifice as a unity. It is in parts a document of air circulating within a wooden room, and also a pagan work of physical resonance within a space once reserved for the hallowed breath of the divine. While the title of the piece "Hatred Of Music" might be a clue, the album is also partly an attempt to confront a pervasive negativity surrounding music. Historical rituals of destroying pianos, mountains of pirated CDRs pushed by bulldozers in Eastern Europe, or the melancholy of the digital music era began as sideline motifs which quickly informed the work on this record. They also really didn't at all.

                                                    Despite that the context is wide open in such a form of musical abstraction, the substance of these immersive compositions showcases Hecker's continued mastery of organizing sound into a visceral near entity. It is an almost physical presence that the listener feels as much as hears. This work is a significant contribution to Hecker's oeuvre, one which spans over ten years of musical production. "Ravedeath, 1972" is an enigmatic document of beauty and force.

                                                    The album was recorded mostly over the period of one day in July of 2010. Iceland-based musician Ben Frost assisted with the engineering and performs on this recording.

                                                    FOR FANS OF: Eluvium, Ben Frost, Pan American, Nadja.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. The Piano Drop
                                                    2. In The Fog I-II
                                                    3. In The Fog III
                                                    4. No Drums
                                                    5. Hatred Of Music I
                                                    6. Hatred Of Music II
                                                    7. Analog Paralysis, 1978
                                                    8. Studio Suicide, 1980
                                                    9. In The Air I-III

                                                    Ethernet

                                                    144 Pulsations Of Light

                                                      "144 Pulsations Of Light" is the debut full length release by Tim Gray under the name of Ethernet. Tim states: 'Based on my research and experience in using sound for induction of meditative states, I set out to apply trance-inducing sonic effects to drone-ambient music. I recontextualized the deep bass kick sound used in techno dance music as a subdued hypnotic pulse to accentuate the textures. An unprocessed analogue Roland TR-808 was used for this pulse, as well as binaural beats and spatial effects processing to create music to facilitate deep meditation. I blended layers of synthesized textures with organic field recordings made in Central Japan in '00-'01, and Northern California between '03-'08. The intent of the album is to produce an introspective sonic environment conducive to self-healing work and voyaging into new states of awareness.' While Tim's description may read as somewhat dry and technical, the sonic landscapes that he composes are anything but. He sculpts textural washes of sound to create immersive, constantly shifting aural psychedelic environments. Hazy, gaseous atmospheres that are alternately arid and humid float above, in and around the muffled pulses used as rhythms. The experience is not unlike that of landing on an alien planet, stepping out of a spaceship, and surveying new terrain.

                                                      To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie

                                                      Marlone

                                                        "Marlone" is the second album release from the oddly monikered duo To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie. They are a pop band of sorts, in that their songs can worm their way into your head and not leave, but they are certainly not a group to be lumped in with the top 40 prattle that dominates the airwaves nor the mediocrity that smothers the interwebs. Quite different from their other releases, "Marlone" is a more organic and open work, allowing breathing space for the songs to unfold and evolve; witness the slow, sinister burn of both "Villain" and "Turritopsis", and in quite a change of pace for the group, they even deliver a straight ahead pop song with the brisk romp of "In People's Homes". What they assuredly are is a group that continually explores the union of the light and the dark, the sweetness of the female voice set against the salty backing tracks, always searching for the fine balance between the calming and the equilibrium challenging.

                                                        Greg Davis

                                                        Mutually Arising

                                                          "Mutually Arising" is Greg Davis' second album for Kranky following 2004's Somnia. Follows numerous releases by Sun Circle (Greg's duo with Zach Wallace). Features two tracks over 51 minutes, "Cosmic Mundra" is a subtle and slowly changing circle, a sun, the sun, the moon. Not the Arpeggio Minimalists, rather: the quiet time stretchers of long tones and long tones sustained and hyper-sustained until buzz value outweighs pitch, sounds seeming to fly around the screen, hyper-spiritual with hardly a word. "Hall Of Pure Bliss" is a chord and all sorts of wonderful sounds which live to its left and right. Low is left and high is right and then the travelling hisses swim on either side of this imagined keyboard in glitter-space.

                                                          Gregg Kowalsky

                                                          Tape Chants

                                                            "Tape Chants" follows Gregg's "Through the Cardial Window" album released in early 2006 on Kranky. Moving away from the realm of digital, Greg has experimented with analogue synths, tape loops and acoustic sound. "Tape Chants" is made up of performances and compositions using tapes as the main source material, as well as the mono speakers of various cassette players for the piece's amplification. All of the cassettes are tuned to each other using the pitch control and half-speed playback devices located on the Sony TCM 200DV cassette recorder. All of the compositions are constructed with tuned sine-waves as the starting point and the pieces are built using sources such as shruti box, percussion, gongs, etc.

                                                            Lotus Plaza

                                                            The Floodlight Collective

                                                              In 2008, Deerhunter fans were presented nearly an embarrassment of riches with the release of the group's third album, "Microcastle, its pre release 'leaked' companion disc, "Weird Era Cont.", and front man Bradford Cox's solo project debut as Atlas Sound. With a good deal of Deerhunter-related material appearing on the band's web blog in 2008, anticipation surrounding the release of "The Floddlight Collective", the full-length debut of Lotus Plaza (guitarist and co-songwriter Lockett Pundt's solo project), came as little surprise. While the album doesn't stray far from the gauzy, ambient dream pop of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound, it comes across as a far more focused affair than either of those group's efforts. Rooted in Pundt's adoration of the wall-of-sound vocal harmonies of 50s Brill Building songwriters and the hypnotic, reverb-drenched haze of shoegazers like the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, the songs are full of shimmering and opalescent melodies that teeter on the edge of something inchoate and chaotic. From the chiming, layered melodies of "Whiteout", which gently accumulate into a blizzard of white noise wash out, to the cresting surf-rock dissonance of "Sunday Night," with its circling microtones and billowing waves of guitar distortion, Lotus Plaza create blissful pop ambience that celebrates the beauty of sound unhinged.

                                                              Tracklisting
                                                              1. Red Oak Way
                                                              2. Quicksand
                                                              3. These Years
                                                              4. Different Mirrors
                                                              5. Whiteout
                                                              6. What Grows?
                                                              7. Sunday Night
                                                              8. Antoine
                                                              9. The Floodlight Collective
                                                              10. A Threaded Needle

                                                              Tim Hecker

                                                              An Imaginary Country

                                                                "An Imaginary Country" is the stunning second release on Kranky for Tim Hecker and his seventh album in total. Previous releases were on Alien8, Mille Plateaux, EN/OF, Fat Cat Records. Follows a collaboration with Aidan Baker (Nadja) for the Alien8 label and a track on Kompakt's much praised "Pop Ambient 2009" compilation. "An Imaginary Country" continues from the trajectory of Tim Hecker's last album, the critically acclaimed "Harmony In Ultraviolet", while also showing a few new tricks. Tim has incorporated more pulses into this work and also works with a sound palette including over-driven mellotron strings and synthesizer. At times this album is less overtly aggressive than previous works, but the notion that this is pastoral work would be dead wrong as there are plenty of the agitated crescendos for which Hecker is known. This music backs off from the void of immensity in favour of a terrain of lushness and warmth. With this album Tim Hecker expands his palette as well as his range, further cementing his reputation as a singular and significant entity in the world of contemporary music.


                                                                Jonas Reinhardt

                                                                Jonas Reinhardt

                                                                  Without doubt one of Kranky's greatest album of 2008, an essential purchase for fans of John Carpenter, Harmonia, Goblin, early-Kraftwerk, early Moroder and Neu. Drawing from traditions of 20th Century instrumental synthesiser music, Jonas Reinhardt represents a love affair between analogue electronics, sweeping atmospherics, and driving motorik beats. Combined together, these elements bring the album's thirteen pieces into focus as the soundtrack for an inner-eyelid space epic that never was. Inspired in equal measure by the natural beauty of his California coastal surroundings, continental European art-rock experimentation, and the freewheeling punk aesthetic of contemporary home studio recording, Jonas Reinhardt's music transcends it's influences to bring into being a work that's wholly new while referencing a celebrated aesthetic of the past. Armed with a battery of analogue synthesisers and vintage drum machines, Jonas writes music that is at times stark and spare and at others lush and all-encompassing; all the while keeping an underlying rhythmic pulse just beneath the surface.

                                                                  Christina Carter

                                                                  Original Darkness

                                                                    Christina Carter is an exceptional and compelling musician, pushing the boundaries of personal expression and innovative sonics, she is perhaps better known for her work as part of the popular free-folk duo Charalambides. Christina Carter has a gift. In a world where most people shy away from the truth, from honesty in emotion, Christina has the strength to address those feelings head on through her music. Within the songs of "Original Darkness", she confronts loneliness, self doubt, inadequacy and desire. She bares these emotions in a sometimes tender, sometimes forceful, sometimes pleading voice, a voice in which you can hear her vulnerability, her trepidation. Christina's words, and the mournful sound of them, stirs a melancholy that is supported and framed by her gently plucked guitar notes, notes that echo the sadness in the world she sings of, as well as the words she sings. These ten new songs paint pictures; exposing the underbelly of what we all really think but most will not say, of what we all really feel but push away. With the addition of gentle bells and occasional keyboards, Christina reminds us of what it means to be honestly human.

                                                                    Benoit Pioulard

                                                                    Temper

                                                                      "Temper" is the second album by Thomas Meluch under his Benoit Pioulard nom de guerre. Benoit Pioulard creates crystalline folk-pop teeming with fragile vocals, acoustic guitars, electronics, and percussion in a hazy shoegaze style that's more than a little easy to fall in love with. With a broad palette of instruments that lately includes harmonium and cello, he constructs diverse arrangements that skirt the borders of pop with beautiful, detailed atmospheres. The scope and sonic narratives of songs like "A Woolgathering Exodus" and "Golden Grin" exhibit new degrees of musicality, while the weightlessness of "Brown Bess" or "Sweep Generator" reflects the unrestrained context in which the record was produced.

                                                                      Boduf Songs

                                                                      How Shadows Chase The Balance

                                                                        The second full length release from this UK resident follows his "Lion Devours The Sun" album from late 2006 on Kranky. A lot of artists are described as 'outsiders' or 'underground', but with Mathew Sweet this is actually an apt description as he belongs to no 'scene' and is working on the farthest fringes of the 'music business'. On his second full length release, "How The Shadows Chase The Balance", Mathew Sweet uses the same formula that he has employed previously; one microphone, one acoustic guitar, a few random instruments, a couple of field recordings, and a deft, understated touch with the mixing process. He locked himself away in his home studio (to be honest, his bedroom) and no one else heard a single note until he was finished. Musically the album is akin to Iron & Wine / M Ward with the themes of death, alienation, fear, hatred and isolation that are his forte, as well as his affinity for gothic imagery. If you listen closely you can hear small bits of rain hitting the window, and cars sliding by on wet roads. The final result is one of the most unassuming, and engaging recordings of the year. It is intimate, extremely personal, and spectral in presence.

                                                                        Raglani

                                                                        Of Sirens Born

                                                                          Previously only available as a limited CDR, 100 copies only made. Situated in the soundworld of contemporary kosmiche electronica, "Of Sirens Born" goes several steps further than many retro-focused efforts, rendering audibly literal the traditional metaphor of voyage that has underscored so many synth-driven concept albums. Beginning tentatively and uneasily, these five pieces progress through expansive phases of grandeur and menace, shipwrecking before washing ashore on a new world. Although indebted to the dark romanticism of krautrock is clear, this is not an electronic trip through well-worn evocations of cosmic space. It is rather a story about the submerged memory of mythic voyages, of a time when every far-off destination was alluring, dangerous, and questionably real, envisioned from the perspective of a world well-mapped and conquered by machines.

                                                                          Bird Show

                                                                          Untitled

                                                                            This is the third album by Ben Vida under his Bird Show moniker following his "Lightning Ghost" album from 2006 on Kranky. Bird Show is an active member of a whole host of experimental bands including Town and Country, Pillow, Central Falls, Terminal 4 and Everyoned. As Bird Show he truly taps into the US free-folk psyche movement which has been gaining a lot of deserved praise and attention in recent years. His new album, which is untitled, contains a whole host of instruments including: Hammond XB-2, microKorg, Moog Voyager, Gibson SG, Berinbau, Shona Mbira, Slit Drum, Pan Pipes, Shakers, Vietnamese Jaw Harp, Tambourines, Ride Cymbal, Congas, Wood Flute, Ring Modulator, Elephant Bells, Violin, Qraqeb, Zither, Voice, Ten String Harp, Frame Drum, Finger Cymbals, Triangle.... to name just a few. It is his ability to fuse together all of these different sounds which makes Bird Show such a unique artist and which makes his new album such essential listening.

                                                                            Cloudland Canyon

                                                                            Lie In Light

                                                                              "Lie In Light" is a work of extraordinary, hypnotic intensity and brain-melting beauty. It appears there is a second "kosmische musik" period in full bloom around the world at the moment, not so much 'kosmische' as in krautrock but instead 'cosmic'. You can play pick the influences if you like, but you can do that with any group. Cloudland certainly owe a debt to the German underground of the 70s, but they have also added flourishes of baroque pop and even a tinge of the 80s New Zealand scene into their sound. From the lock down groove of the opening track "Krautwerk", to the dense buzz of "White Woman", through the pastoral psych of "Heme" and on to the gentle wash of the closer "Mothlight", Cloudland Canyon have created an eclectic and rewarding listen.

                                                                              Valet

                                                                              Naked Acid

                                                                                Kranky's run of superlative albums continues (3 albums in The Wire's Top 50 Records Of The Year 2007) with the second solo release from Portland artist Valet, aka Honey Owens, following up her widely lauded "Blood Is Clean" album from early 2007, another trip through the fertile garden of her imagination. From the gentle narcotic haze of the album opener "We Went There", which is dissected by Honey's trademark incendiary guitar work, to the lazy alien country blues of "Fuck It", and through the hyperventilating rhythmic distortion of the closer "Streets", "Naked Acid" is a fever dream of ghostly incantation and smudged psychedelia. Honey Owens has collaborated with a number of well-known and obscure artists including Jackie-O Motherfucker and Nudge and has been an important figure in the Portland, Oregan experimental music scene for more than 10 years. 'A beguiling, meandering combination of trance-like chants, pulsating drones and frazzled guitar doodles'. - The Wire.


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