Crow’s Labyrinth – Consolation

Ambient music created entirely with a bass guitar and effects, you say? Oh, and it’s largely improvised live, without overdubs? Wipe that doubt away, this works quite well! Opener (and title track) “Consolation” is a mournful dirge of an ambient drone that expresses the vibe of its name very well via sliding tones and a powerful sonic presence. 

“Stateless” could just as well been titled “weightless” – it drifts in and out like gossamer, here and then over before you know it, but pleasant enough a distraction. Closer “Responder” is the only one where it’s more or less immediately obvious that what you’re hearing is bass guitar, as it pushes the iconic sound thru a series of delays (and possibly loops?), then decorates the space created with little note runs over the top. 

(Listened to entire EP)

Stefan Bohacek – “Secret Places”

It’s been a minute since we had any straight-up dance music up in here, so this is a nice one to hear. I’m not up enough on the current movements in the dance music scene to slot this into a genre, but it clocks in at 120 bpm or so, has some pretty snappy drums and a gorgeously lush arrangement full of sweeping synth sounds, ear-catching vocal stabs and other warm, welcoming timbres. The vibes are sort of progressive, even trancey, but at a deep house tempo… Whatever the genre, it’s a well-produced dance track that I wouldn’t be sad to hear out clubbing (if I still went out clubbing LOL).

Moule – “Kaizopocalypse”

Happy hardcore meets chiptune in an old-school platformer! At least until it takes a turn into something like cyberpunk synthwave, anyway – and then launches into yet another direction 30 seconds later. Whatever you call it, this one is a high-energy trip thru some groovy old-school sounds, extremely energetic rhythms and a lot of different ideas. This one will please you ADHD types who find it hard to get thru 5 minutes of a single style (and yeah, I mean that in a good way). Utterly charming and never a dull moment.

Key 13 – Sea · Sky · Clouds

Opening with a dense, layered breakbeat/IDM track overlaid with a poem, some field recordings of surf and some pitched percussion, this reads like a modern take on turn-of-the-century electronica (maybe something like Mouse on Mars, or perhaps a more hyped up Banco de Gaia), which is a fun sound that I haven’t heard in a minute. 

The EP progresses in that vein, with a series of short, to-the-point tracks that build off of terse rhythms, sampledelic arrangements and clever programming. Definitely of interest to anyone who thinks that electronic music took the wrong fork circa 2002 or so. Not to say it’s retro, tho – more like a continuation of a style that fell out of style back then, all grown up for today.

Christian Pacaud – 2021

Lush, organic and cinematic, this is the sound of jazz crashing into post rock while the ghost of prog looks on with approval. Twisty, unusual rhythms and interesting harmonic movement realized by an array of impressive musicians, including both traditional rock/jazz players (guitar, bass, drums) but also strings and more. Sounds like someone made a movie out of the weirdest dream you ever had and this is the score. 

(Listened to tracks 4 & 5)

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