2015 Top 10s & 20s
Roomful Of Teeth

David Arend
Artificial Intelligence
Nimrod Borenstein
Randal Collier-Ford
Julien Demoulin
Denki Udon
R. Nathaniel Dett
Dwiki Dharmawan
Yair Etziony
Marina Fages
Francesco Di Fiore
Flowers for Bodysnatchers
From the Mouth of the Sun
Markus Guentner
Momenta Quartet
Music Komite
North Atlantic Explorers
Prequel Tapes
Alessandro Stella
Swarm Intelligence
Robert Scott Thompson
Trigg & Gusset
Aino Tytti
Andy Vaz
We Mythical Kings
Sebastian Zangar

Compilations / Mixes / Remixes / Reissues
Dub Phizix
Stacey Pullen
A Simple Procedure
Tour De Traum X

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Big Phone
Great Panoptique Winter
Mute Forest
Thee Koukouvaya
Joshua Van Tassel

Ant'lrd: Clouding Indefinitely
Inner Islands

Selaroda: viaje a través de sonidos transportative
Inner Islands

It's fitting that these cassette releases appear on Inner Islands, considering how much they suggest a dream-like cleavage from familiar metropolitan surroundings and all of their usual anxiety-inducing intensity. Up first is the aptly titled Clouding Indefinitely, a seven-track collection of hazy tape meditations issued by Portland, Oregon-based Colin Blanton under the Ant'lrd alias. Accurately characterized as “the damp fog rolling by in slow motion as you sit amongst the trees” and generated by Blanton using magnetic tape, wave slicer, loops, tape recorder, processed fog, and keyboard, the material on the forty-minute release (sixty-one if you add the bonus download track) developed during a period of transition for Blanton as he acclimatized himself to the Pacific Northwest. Oft sounding as if his lazily meandering tracks were recorded with water surf pounding alongside them, Ant'lrd's blurry productions creak and rattle like some waterlogged children's toy; they're a lulling group, too, with representative settings such as “Visualized Loop” easily capable of slowing one's heartbeat. A little bit of a woozy Boards of Canada vibe infuses the keyboard-heavy drone “Reset Button,” whereas “Window Seat//Hvy Lids” relocates us to the Amazonian jungle of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, with ecstatic vocalizing by Dash Lewis also worked into its Popol Vuh-like sound design. Things grow progressively blurrier as the head-trip advances until “Root Structure” takes us out on a warbly wave.

Trippy too is the thirty-five-minute Viaje a través de sonidos transportative, whose creator, Selaroda (California-based Michael Henning), informs us that its six “journey music” settings “were inspired by the idea of sharing earthly creations with life-forms from elsewhere in the cosmos.” It's a natural companion recording to Ant'lrd's with one exception: in an anomalous moment that's more jarring than unpleasant, beats played on an acoustic drum kit dominate the otherwise mystical “Mgeni ngoma safari mduara chama”; elsewhere, “Santur solo from tau ceti f, circa 1929” similarly departs from the norm in devoting two ear-catching minutes to Persian hammered dulcimer playing. More typical of the release are “Phonons et phenomes, à l'infini éternelle,” a deep ambient-drone epic whose wordless vocals and synthetic keyboards shimmer transportingly for eleven minutes, and “Ondas de reflexão interior,” a twelve-minute outro that smothers Budd-styled piano playing with wave upon wave of synth whooshes.

December 2015