Moss Bliss – All the Love

This marks the first time anyone has submitted filk – basically folk music with a science fiction, fantasy or horror focus – for a listen. And it’s not bad! Honestly, this is, at its heart, just folk music – the lyrics of the songs I listened to weren’t even all that obviously “folky.” The songs here are simple arrangements of acoustic guitar and vocals, with absolutely minimal production (perhaps just a touch of reverb?) so the songs live and die by the performances and writing. 

Luckily, the voice here is warm and inviting, with a straightforward delivery. The guitar playing is similarly focused, eschewing fireworks for fingerpicked chords and basic strumming. The material includes originals and (obscure) covers, including “Raven and Crow,” with a medieval/fantasy vibe; “Dolphin Song, a cover about, well, dolphins; and “All the Love in the World,” the best of the bunch, a strong melody and arrangement but an absolutely harrowing listen based on its heavy subject matter of familial abuse. 

(Listened to the 3 songs listed)

Randy Resnick – Rather Quirky Music

Notable guitarist Randy Resnick (not even going to try to summarize his musical history, but a quick search will reveal his considerable pedigree) offers up exactly what it says on the tin: an eclectic and quirky mix of short tunes, both instrumentals and songs, in a variety of genres. Jazz, blues, rock and funk are all name-checked and that covers most of it, but there’s lot of subtlety atop that foundation. 

Opener “It’s High Time” is a groovy little bop that opens with a harpsichord-like timbre, slides into a weird kind of blues and then is over before you know it. “A Freak (Afrique)” is a percussion led jam with some great rhythms and a quiet saxophone lead (or maybe it’s a clarinet?) that hits all the right spots. “Among the Planets” is a proggy blues number with an aura of mystery that ends way too soon, and closer “Dih Dih Dah Dit Dih Dih Dah” slides into a weird but wonderful downtempo territory with its insistent sub bass, ratcheting hi-hats and washes of synth.

(Listened to tracks 1-4, 6-7, 11-12)

Mort Phantasm – “Immortal Blood”

Hell yeah, a death metal tune about vampires! I know that’s all some of you even need to hear, for good or for ill, but stick with me for a moment. The vocals lean into the gargled-glass school of metal growls (sometimes dismissed as “Cookie Monster vocals”); the guitars chug, soar and howl as needed. The drums are programmed but they get the job done just fine. Overall, a fun dip into the heavy side of the pool to delight metal fans and vampire fans alike; fans of both should definitely have a listen. 

Lime Bar – May 68

Two tracks of deeply weird IDM goodness. First up is “Speedrome,” just under 3 minutes of thumping drum programming, a synthesized voice talking about being a robot, quirky sound design and clever production. Chonky, muscular and groovy; slightly reminiscent of old-school Junkie XL. 

“Penance” leans into the more ambient side of the coin, with lots of shifting, warm timbres and minimal rhythmic elements. It’s certainly pretty in a way, but it’s also just weird and atonal enough to leave you a bit unsettled. These would both work as part of a film score for the right film – and it’d be a weird one. 

aluralura – “All Right”

Fuzzy, lofi downtempo that feels like it wants to grow up to be a deep house track (albeit a deeply weird one): all that’s missing is the kick drum and a groovy bassline. Hard hitting drum sounds, minimal pads and a garbled, filtered vocal chop are the main ingredients, and for the gearheads, it might be interesting to hear this was all done on a Digitakt.  

b psycho – “Black Yuri Theme”

Another lofi downtempo track! This one offers what sounds like a real bass guitar, some absolutely snappy drums and a gorgeous lead synth/string line, along with some chilled out e piano chords to tie it all together. Goes a little hard to work as the kind of background music that gets bundled up into those “lofi beats to study to” compilations, but it’s all the better for it. The title puts me in mind of anime, and this sounds like it would be a perfect soundtrack to some kind of dark, spy-themed series.

RadioPhobicSherkPop – “The Wind in Winter”

If the tags are to be trusted, this is based on an ‘80s grindhouse film called Shogun Assassin but I don’t think you need to know the source material to appreciate the gorgeous sounds and infectious rhythms of this track. An absolutely irresistible synth arpeggio drives the heart of the track, but it is well and ably supported by soaring string pads, washes of filtered synth and percolating rhythmic elements. Pretty and inviting, and somewhat reminiscent of classic Yellow Magic Orchestra and other early ‘80s synth pioneers. 

El Roachy – “Those Pearls…”

Let’s close out the week with a real banger, shall we? El Roachy’s “Those Pearls…” is an absolute barnstormer of a progressive/tech house track, full of squiggly acid lines, clever sound design (a train recording turned into a riser, for example) and relentless energy. The drums hit hard (particularly that kick which will leave an indentation in your chest), the energy is over the top and it’s all in tribute to the creator’s dog Rita Frankie, who recently passed. Pour one out for Rita, turn it up and get moving.

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