2015 Artists' Picks
Kevin Kastning
Andy Vaz's House Warming

17 Pygmies
Aaltonen & Haarla
Rodolphe Alexis
Marc Barreca
Le Berger
Book of Air
David Cordero
Council of Nine
Green Isac Orchestra
Anders Lønne Grønseth
Hatakeyama + Serries
Heinen & Borring
William Hooker Quartet
How To Cure Our Soul
Kevin Kastning
Kastning / Clements
Kastning / Szabó
Kastning / Wingfield
Library Tapes
Louis Minus XVI
Rhys Marsh
Palmbomen II
Smith & Lindberg
Robert Stillman
tholl / fogel / hoff
Julia Wolfe

Kosemura, Shinozaki, Nitta

Compilations / Mixes / Remixes / Reissues
Collection 100
Landscapes of Fear

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Amonism + Revenant Sea
Matt Barbier
Hesperius Draco
Markus Oehlen
Greg Sawyer

How To Cure Our Soul: Luna
Low Point

As a word, Luna can refer to any number of things, from band names and cities to whales and ships, but the association How To Cure Our Soul wishes to emphasize on its third official release (issued in digital and cassette formats) clearly has to do with the moon—after all, Luna is the Latin name for moon and in ancient Roman mythological terms the word refers to the divine embodiment of the moon. And in keeping with such meanings, the three immersive drones midwifed into physical form by Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente on Luna sound very much like the kind of material one would associate with lunar landscapes as opposed to something firmly earth-rooted.

Though the two Italy-based members are Fine Art graduates who treat How To Cure Our Soul as an audio-visual marriage of sound and visuals (video, photography), Luna's focus naturally falls on the sound side as far as the recording is concerned—which isn't to suggest that a visual dimension is entirely absent as the three pieces are certainly capable of inducing extra-sensory responses in the listener. The recording appeals on a number of levels: for one, it's refreshingly concise at thirty-five minutes, and secondly, in choosing not to embellish the material the duo remains true to the drone genre's inherently restrictive character.

In such stripped-down material, the tiniest gesture calls attention to itself, such as the abrupt modulation in pitch that occurs a quarter of the way into the twelve-minute opener “From the village to the country under the moonlight” and the gradual metamorphosis that transpires near the end of “Midnight: song of crickets on the green hill.” During “Night climb to the Mount Analogue,” melodic fragments seem to materialize beneath the thick drone, though the by-now sufficiently dazed listener might simply conclude they're merely a projection rather than physically real. Other aspects might be less noticeable—the subtle expansions in sound and fluctuations in volume, for example, and the wavering, overtones-like effect generated by the slow-motion pulsations—but they are nonetheless present. Produced using electric guitars, sampling effects pedals, and tape manipulation, the settings form a starry-eyed triptych that'll have your thoughts drifting upward as you contemplate questions of cosmology and the nature of time.

January 2016