This summer has been incredibly busy for myself - working two jobs (including one being new), studying for my class, and renovating my house. Summer is supposed to be a time for relaxation but for myself the free time just means more for me to fill out my schedule. I personally love living like that, but alas we all need down time which will happen for me in August.
Anyways, I'm saying all this due to me being behind on my promise for Keeping Score section (I promise more is on the way this weekend hopefully!) and being late on this section. Of course these blog posts are just for me, but for maybe the one or two frequent visitors I appreciate your patience. June is generally the last month before music releases die down for summer break in July and August. June also released some incredible albums all around I find, so picking what made the top 5 was difficult.
As always, enjoy 5 albums we never got a chance to discuss on the podcast, and these albums are just ones I believe are worth checking out.
Well, I've discussed experimental label Orange Milk before, so you probably know what you're in for just judging by that. For the unaware though, Orange Milk puts out some of the most forward thinking electronic albums that borders just pure sound design with an experimental attitude. CVN is no different, an artist from Japan who hails from the duo Ruins, makes music for a certain aesthetic: walking through Tokyo. He highlight sounds of nature throughout bringing a presence of peace to the chaos of the industrialized city, as well playing with pop characteristics to imbue pop culture craze. CVN uses the styles of beat tapes, industrial music, and ambience to create a unique experience of listening.
The legendary Bill Callahan puts out another incredible album. With Callahan, you usually are safe to assume what you're going get - incredibly well written lyrics, backed by old school folk and roots instrumentals that parallel Callahan's deep yet soothing voice. Callahan comes from fame of his Smog alias but the past years he has been releasing records under his own name. If you're unfamiliar with his work this would be a wonderful place to begin with him (I was also so close to picking this album to discuss on the podcast as well). It's a strong contender for perfect summer album this year, as I completely imagine sitting in a rural area with a fire blazing while the stars gaze overhead. If that's your kind of aesthetic as it is mine, do please check this one out.
Sophia Saze is a new artist on the rise in the electronic scene. With an ambitious double album as a debut (Part II comes out tomorrow actually), she reveals herself to the world in ways people wouldn't imagine. Saze has said that the concept of this album is to show the duality of personality - how we often hide a part of ourselves from everyday public eye. She uses field recordings from her childhood, as we backing her classical trained education with some beat manipulation. Saze also has the impression that we as people nowadays don't have patience as much as we used to due to the mass consumption of media. This can be a quite controversial statement yet I'm slated to agree with Saze as I do believe her example is true on how we jump from album to album, not giving enough time to what might be significant to us. Self was built to be patient with - on other words, sitting and only listening for the full experience and if you aren't prepared to do that, Saze states you weren't ready for the experience in the first place. The concept, music, and the person Saze is makes this an incredibly interesting release (excited for Part II!).
The Sacrificial Code is an album undeserving for our ears (to those of us that love drone). Kali Malone creates and atmosphere of "closeness" with the use of her organ. With every note of drone, we await the next movement becoming what she says "receptors" to the "trance inducing movements". The beautiful drones she creates bring us to emotional ecstasy, finding ourselves almost floating through a space of euphoria. This type of music is both for the academics, as well the music lovers in us all. The experience alone is why the concept of music interests me so much - how we can bend these rules, to manipulate the sound waves that our brains somehow interpret all in different ways (also why I'm interested in combing this with my psych degree). Malone feels the album helps us alter our perception while listening to enable us to do self-reflection, and finding fulfillment.
For those unfamiliar with the DJ-Kicks series from K7 Records, it is essentially DJ set recorded on album. Peggy Gou chose these songs to remix in her own way that relates to her journey (and that is what makes this DJ-Kicks standout). Gou has stated before it was a goal of hers to make a mix for the series, and here she is being the first Korean woman ever to contribute to the series. Gou takes tracks from all over the place spanning from the ambient opening of Spacetime Continuum, to the IDM of Aphex Twin. With this release, Gou wanted to represent her Korean heritage with a tiger (as well showing the endangerment of the species). The tiger is very important to Korean culture and mythology, and this was about where she was from showing the world what her background is all about. Experience Gou's life journey in full through the world of music that drove her to her passion, and celebrate a wondrous cultural background along the way.
Konx-Om-Pax - Ways of Seeing (Minimal Techno)
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Solastalgia (Ambient)
Taiwan Housing Project - Sub-Language Project (Post-Punk/Noise Rock)
Abyssal - A Beacon in the Husk (Black/Death Metal)
Bedouine - Bird Songs of a Killjoy (Folk)
Stef Chura - Midnight (Indie Rock)
Tengger - Spiritual 2 (Krautrock)
Jambinai - ONDA (Post-Metal)
This Gift is a Curse - A Throne of Ash (Black Metal)
Pinkish Black - Concept Unification (Post-Black Metal)
God Body Disconnect - The Mist Between Mirrors (Dark Ambient)
Earthen Sea - Grass and Trees (Minimal Techno)
Kevin Richard Martin - Sirens (Ambient)