It’s always difficult—and rather arbitrary—to call on the best of something, anything; especially when there are to be only four chosen ones, amongst a sea of candidates. I probably already alluded to this challenge when I came up with my recommendations series, but I want to state it again, as a memory refresher. Here, I emphasize four albums, out of a sea of potential releases that came out during this passing month, but, really, all albums mentioned in this post—including the “Honourable Mentions”—could have starred on the podium. The choice of these four might be more of an effect of circumstances, swings of moods, and pure chance. All albums mentioned here—today or in earlier iterations of this column—are equally worthy of your time and attention. Moreover, I can safely assume that there is at least one album that should be on this list, but isn’t; it might have slipped under my radar, I might have listened to it in the wrong frame of mind, or I might change my opinion about an album that was released this month. The pitfalls are many, so please don’t be mad after my if I overlooked a fantastic album; that is, I can assure you, much to my dismay… With that in mind, let’s see what June offered us!
P.S.: Go through the entire post, and there’s a surprise for you at the end!
Charlie Looker – Simple Answers
The record is very “modern classical”, in essence, and takes many influences from industrial music, post-punk, and metal music. The orchestra-electronic ambivalence of Simple Answers reflects well the left-right divide of the world’s current politics. However, contrary to real life, the two perspectives complement each other and give off something that is greater than the sum of its parts on record. Between swellings of string sections and pulsating synth bass, the warm voice of Looker delivers his powerful and introspective message.
Maeth – Whaling Village
Adding to their already impressive sonic quality, this newcomer brings new aspects of the band’s sound to life, while keeping the things I liked the most well anchored. For example, the use of various bell cymbals, although somewhat shier than before, is still present and I still love it! Maeth’s atmospheric, contemplative take on the genre is also still there, and perhaps even more so than ever. The three songs paint a single, massive tapestry, flowing into one another and concatenating into “Everything is an orchid, 1609, but I am shafts of light.” The meaning of which is still obfuscated to me.
Pale – EP
Pale’s EP expands on their demo with three new songs and a re-recording of the already available tracks. “Gossamer” might still be my favourite, but all other tracks show an incredible grasp on what makes post-black metal and blackgaze great, without any of the flaws often associated with the subgenre. “Zodiac” is angry and relentless, and “Hortus Sanitatis” is dreamy and atmospheric. Their sound is crisp, tight, and, in my opinion, practically perfect. The drums sound organic and huge, the guitars are crunchy and the bass is just thick enough, while the vocal delivery is on point, often reaching poignant climaxes.
Peter Evans and Weasel Walter – Poisonous
Poisonous indeed, the newest release from free, avant-garde jazz duo Peter Evans & Weasel Walter is a journey into the delirious mind of a poison-afflicted would-be mycologist. In forty-four minutes, the two seasoned musicians craft an album obsessed with venenous fungi that sounds as lethal as its subject. I don’t know how many layers of improvised or forethought material have been arranged to create this fever dream, but the result is a dense hallucinative soundscape as heard through thick forest haze.
Here’s our first ever Spotify playlist! It consists of one track from all the albums that I listened to from the month—that I somewhat enjoyed—that can be found on this platform. I hope that it will serve as a wider net for the avid music scrounger. This can be seen as gross filter, along with the Weekly Release Dumps, the finer filters being anything that I write about on this blog, and the very fine filter being the monthly recommendations.
If you use Spotify and have some time for music, please listen to this playlist, you might make incredible finds that didn’t resonate with me enough to write about them.
P.S.: I’m currently putting together playlists for each month of 2018 so far. So, if you want more, search “CTEBCM” and go through all playlists there!