Our collective has an insatiable appetite for new music. We compulsively sift through the depths of the web for tunes we can share with each other and ultimately with you. The sheer volume of music released on a daily basis can be overwhelming. We wouldn’t have it any other way, but after all is said and done there's so much music we never have an opportunity to spotlight. So for a moment we are looking back on 2017 to remind ourselves and our readers of the best drops that went unmentioned in our publication. Each staff member has chosen to share one album, EP, or compilation. Maybe you'll discover something new, or end up reflecting on a favorite of your own from 2017.
Thanks for staying chooned with us.
YISHAI | DUFFREY - THE WORLD THAT YOU KNOW (3/1)
Woody Klann’s mindbending adventure through irrepressible dub and stretching tempos was a huge career move for the Bay Area artist. Rarely does a psychedelic LP get dropped on the electronic dance scene, with so many gems that have been playing out for years. Duffrey struggled searching for a label to release his material to a wider audience. To see him release on Shanti Planti is a joy I experienced as fan and friend. Finally, the artist I love was exposed to the world; go check him out!
MALAKAI | LUSINE - SENSORIMOTOR (3/3)
Lusine has been a longtime favorite of mine since discovering the Ghostly Internationalrecord label a number of years ago. His music really satisfies something that I don’t find in many other places. It has a sort of elegance, simplicity and spaciousness to it while still maintaining a strong, driving energy that is no small feat of balance. Sensorimotor is a masterfully crafted sonic journey that walks that line flawlessly, taking you from the dance floor into the clouds and back again. Composition aside, the sound design and production on Sensorimotor is some of the more evocative, articulate and engaging work I have heard in a long time. It truly lives up to its title, offering a fully immersive sensory and motor experience through sound.
PASQUALE | ALFA MIST - ANTIPHON (3/3)
My foray into the world of jazz music is a long-standing passion and musical influence that I've chased after for about four or five years now. Sometimes, in the course of listening through countless LPs, EPs, and singles, you stumble across that one particular record that forces you to take a step back, re-engage, and find yourself completely immersed in an aural headspace. Antiphon by Alfa Mist is one such record, and really solidified my current approach to and appreciation for avant-garde directions in jazz and other instrumental music. It is a conscientious mosaic of tonal relationships and organic rhythms. Each track on the album takes on a unique and effervescent form, and feels like the culmination of decades of jazz theory and stylistic development; it is distinctly jazz in the 21st century.
KATIN | THE BUG VS. EARTH - CONCRETE DESERT (3/24)
I am a huge fan of droned out guitar riffs and dubstep. That’s why I thought the collaboration between Earth and The Bug was too good to be true. Instead, Concrete Desert makes a statement, and the two styles coalesce to form more than the sum of their parts. Dark and heavy bass music is lifted up with melodic ambience and distorted guitars. The music has a theme that could place you on the American frontier, or appear as the soundtrack to an eerie thriller movie. It is the duo’s debut LP, and follows the Boa/Cold EP that put these two on the map, excellent in its own right.
Two icons, both Earth (Dylan Carlson) and The Bug have each pursued their sounds for more than twenty years. It is to our luck that they saw the potential of forming this collaborative project. It's not for the faint of heart, but certainly is for those keen on the organic meeting the technological in music.
WYLER | ISZLAI - ROTUNDA (5/27)
Little can be found about Jozsef Iszlai, aside from his Romanian origin and hometown of Csikszereda. He currently resides in Cluj Napoca, the de facto capitol of Romania’s Transylvania region. I managed to gather that he plays guitar left-handed, and has since his mother brought one home when Jozsef was nine. One thing that really stood out is that he produces music for television and film, and is even currently scoring for theater.
“Rotunda” was released in May of 2017, and is Iszlai’s first full-length release. The album fuses elements of trip-hop, idm, ambient music and deep house whilst also weaving in gorgeously succinct stringwork and organic percussion. A minor eastern influence is also present throughout the release, with interplay between Iszlai’s guitar and alluring asian string melodies. In the past, Iszlai has used foley sound from the city of Cluj Napoca in his music. I’m not sure if that method was integrated into the creation of “Rotunda,” but the slight industrial influence and texturing leads me to believe it was. “Round-up,” my favorite tune from the release, includes what sounds like a Subway car careening along it’s track - an instantly captivating element for a New York City native. The careful rocking of the train is almost soothing in it’s off-kilter cadence and seamless incorporation.
Each track is narrative-based, with a melodious dialogue between elements that tells a tale of mystery and paradox. Ultimately, “Rotunda” is an impressive first release from a young, dextrous artist with a massive range and a penchant for creating emotionally charged music. I eagerly await a future release.
FRANCESCO | FOUR TET - NEW ENERGY (9/29)
Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet recently released his ninth studio album, New Energy. New Energy explores a rich combination of acoustic melodies blended with tranquil yet forward moving beats. I instantly fell in love with this album's ability to simultaneously soothe and stimulate the mind. When listening, I find myself in deep contemplation, but with a sense of acceptance.
MAX | KURSA - YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT FOR BREAKFAST PT. 3 (THE FINAL COURSE) (12/5)
You Can Eat Whatever You Want For Breakfast Part 3 (Final Course) is the final album from Kursa’s recent breakfast-themed trilogy. As one of the pioneers of Neurohop, the Bristol bass legend has gained significant attention in the USA with launch of label SLUGWIFE along with his collaborative project K.L.O. Y.C.E.W.Y.W.F.B. PT. 3 starts off spoon feeding the listener a dose of distortion, glazed with metallic foley sounds, and organized around an assortment of heavily swung '90s boom-bap drum patterns, halftime, and traditional drum and bass breaks.
With a seven-minute “Introduction”, Kursa brings us into a dissonant abyss of thick, watery textures and glistening high ends. Heard in songs “Flabby Fries”, “CANYATHO” and “Green Steal Spork” he uses chopped, distorted, and interwoven bass sounds to carry the melodies of his tracks, turning off-kilter glitch noises into harmonic trip-hop collages. The album tansitions into a sixth track “Wifey” which uses sonic elements similar to “Introduction” to create a cohesive intermission from the hardcore elements of the album. As the record progresses, Kursa's drum and bass roots seamlessly emerge from songs “Dustika” “Coldest Blue” and “Itago” while he continues to interweave the spicy neuro elements that define his style. Although Kursa's breakfast regimine remains highly classified, it is safe to assume that like this record, it is extra chunky, nutrient rich, and uninhibited by societal norms.
MARK | MICKMAN - MENDING THE RIVEN (12/6)
Mending the Riven is the third LP overall, and the second of 2017, from the elusive Illinois-based glitch wizard Cameron Ingraham aka Mickman. This release, Mickman’s longest to date, delves deep into downtempo and traverses time signatures with abandon on songs like “The Human” and “Entelechy” (this unfamiliar word means “the realization of potential”). Mickman’s straightforward and intelligent psychedelia is given fresh room to breathe on “Mending the Riven” with relaxed, low-bpm atmospheres. The record escalates in intensity, however, as it rolls along, with Mickman opening the filters and finally letting one rip on the last song, “Contact”. This progression, the thematic song titles, and a consistency of sound design make “Mending the Riven” extraordinarily cohesive. Despite words appearing in just one track, “Now Exist”, a story undergirds the album. These twelve tracks are an effort to sew together the riven, meaning “that which has been split or torn violently”. But what, exactly, is it that’s been split apart as to need mending? That is for the listener to interpret.