Last month Moog Music launched the Moog Sound Studio, a new semi-modular synthesizer “aimed at both beginners and seasoned professionals”, which supposedly provides everything you need to get started on your path to musical greatness. Except talent of course: you need to provide your own. To celebrate the launch Moog teamed up with a load of amazing artists to demonstrate the capabilities of the MSS, including Ela Minus, Bonobo, Peter Cottontale and Julianna Barwick, none of whom are short of talent and all do excellent jobs in making this look easy. Barwick’s Open is a sinister delight, with her unmistakable vocal accompanied by muted percussion and church organ-like tendrils of Moog-y goodness.
Anna von Hausswolff’s latest album All Thoughts Fly was recorded entirely on a pipe organ in a Gothenburg church, and the results are as baroque and dramatic as you would expect. At times furiously intense, at others calm and reflective, it’s not so much an otherworldly experience as it is a feeling of being catapulted back several hundred years into a dank and earthen past. Outside the Gate (for Bruna) is the final track: a soothingly meditative finale to yet another exceptional body of transportive music.
Lafawndah is such an outrageously talented individual that it was always going to be interesting to see how she musically followed 2019’s breakthrough debut Ancestor Boy. I’m not sure many expected an album inspired by a trilogy of fantasy novels, but here we are. I haven’t read the Broken Earth books but research suggests they are almost unremittingly bleak. That would certainly explain Don’t Despair, which I assume is an ironic title as the entire track seems to be doing its level best to make you do just that. Lafawndah’s crystalline vocal is the focus, with skeletal percussion and screeching synths adding to the paranoid landscape.