An unpopular opinion: I don’t really like Arca’s music and find it fairly hard, even borderline impossible to listen to. I’m wrong, obviously, and if I think about it it’s objectively ‘good’ (many would argue peerlessly groundbreaking), I’ve just never got on board with it. So it’s a rare treat to hear her remix of the equally experimental Laurie Anderson and enjoy it, so I’m finally free to jump on the Arca Appreciation Juggernaut ™.
Year Of Love is the second single to be released from Jenny Hval’s forthcoming album Classic Objects – her first studio album for 4AD. The song explores a “very troubling” experience she had of witnessing a marriage proposal at one of her performances. Plenty of artists, I’m sure, would have experienced this as a purely romantic act, and thought very little about it afterwards, but for Hval it elicited questions about how her art impacts others, and her own marriage; themes she explores and attempts to resolve over the course of the song.
Of course, you could just ignore all that and enjoy what is – lyrics aside – one of the most upbeat songs in her catalogue to date.
New year, new Burial, and what better way to fully embrace the January bleakness than with his amorphous, ambient-leaning Antidawn EP, which acts as both protective cloak and insidious amplifier of the cold, hash reality of the world across five expansive, spectral tracks. Burial’s work has become increasingly loose over the last decade, formal structures all but abandoned for longform sketches as various motifs are explored and then abruptly cut off as others emerge from the static-ridden gloom. Shadow Paradis stands out for me, as its final moment are among the most beautiful he’s ever conjured, and that’s saying something.
The world has changed – arguably irredeemably – since Huerco S released his last album, the universally lauded and wordily titled For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have); an album which many have aped but few – if any – have bettered. February 2022 sees the release of his new LP Plonk, which, if the first tastes are anything to go by, we’re all going to be completely absorbed by for many years to come. His palette many have expanded since For Those…, but his ability to craft intoxicating sonic worlds remains as tight and impressive as ever.
I wanted to start 2022 with something uplifting and positive and was sure this was a suitable choice. However after a few listens I’ve decided that actually Nosaj Things’s latest single might instead be crushingly sad and melancholy. I just can’t decide. So here it is so you can make your own mind up. Happy/Sad New Year all!
The third LP from the anonymous electronic producer was a welcome surprise drop today. If you’re not familiar with their work, the two previous albums consisted of murky dub techno – every track exactly five minutes long, a theme that continues here – that while not exactly ripe for the dancefloor, still held into some vaguely rhythmic propulsions: a fading dream of the rave rather than a direct memory. Vol. 3 however does away with any such pretence, with most of the tracks quickly dissolving into little more than washed out hints of ‘dance’ tracks’, a creaking, lilting ship on an infinite sea of static.
I haven’t yet had the chance to dive into Tirzah’s second LP Colourgrade which landed today, but I really, really hope it’s all as good as Beating suggests it will be. Lo-fi, fuzzy tape feedback, washed-out synths and her plaintive vocal combine to create an atmosphere that’s both otherworldly and highly intimate and a track that stands out as sounding like nothing else you’re likely to hear this week/month/year.
As someone who loved Low’s last album but is only vaguely familiar with their extensive back catalogue, I’ve spent the week trying to play catch up as much as possible in anticipation of their new LP HEY WHAT which arrived today in all its melancholy, distorted glory. It’s been quite a week, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend piling through that much Low at once (the darkness! the depths!), it’s been interesting to trace the developments of their 20+ year career in just a few sittings. As a fairly new fan, I certainly don’t have any authority in ranking these things, but also: HEY WHAT is categorically their best album, and Hey is its emotional zenith.
Eternally Recurring is the lead single from New York City-based Colombian guitarist and composer Jan Esbra’s forthcoming debut album Temporary Objects: a collection of 10 improvisations and spontaneous compositions that draws influence from a variety of artists including Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, Blank For.ms and Lightbath. Created using guitars, samplers and various effects pedals, it’s incredibly minimalistic and initially stark – clinical even – but over time starts to exude a real warmth and depth of character that completely draws you in.
My obsession with anything that even vaguely evokes the 80s continues unabated, satiated generally today by Bristol-based artist Lucy Gooch’s beautiful EP Rain’s Break, and specifically by this track, with its sparse, crystalline synth lines and breathy vocals. Gooch said of the EP that she wanted to create something “with a dissonance and eeriness to it”, and those aims have absolutely been fulfilled, the resulting EP providing a brief but engrossing escape from the relentless grind of reality.