Friday, October 21, 2022

First-Hand Dissection and Insight on New Audio Music Releases

The month of October is well-known for Autumn leaves and Halloween parties. As some contemplate what costume to wear, or to simply prepare for trick-or-treaters outside their homes, the diversion of a new DaveCromwellWrites music review is now present. Familiar electronic artists who work in the synthetic realm are featured here alongside similarly situated creators. While some are equally focused on thoughtful lyrics and their vocal presentation, others opt for sprawling ambiance of epic proportions. The universal line connecting them all is the ability to make inspired tangible recordings.

It's been a year or two since new Lunar Twin music has entered our universe. The enigmatic west coast duo are now back with “Beyond The Sun,” the first single release from their upcoming album “Aurora.” Bryce Boudreau (vocalist/songwriter) and Christopher Murphy (multi-instrumentalist/producer) continue to expand on their sonic vision with this new material. A full nine track album will be released on the first of December. Until then we have this wonderful new track which receives a close listen and complete review below.

Regimented electronic synth-bass pulses kick the track off with Kraftwerkian aplomb. Modulating through a distinct progression, subtle explosive hiss leads in to the opening lines. “I watch you fly away” is delivered in that now familiar Lannegan-eque sandpaper rasp. “Shadows stay the same” continues the vocals, cycling the intro line once more before capping this time with “our love with never fade.” A mixture of electronic and traditional sounding drums enter the mix, expanding sonic parameters. Vocals become more expressive through elongated diction, phrasing and apparent sharp-edge layering. All of that creates a psychedelic sensation to the floating/flowing voices and instruments of synths and percussion. A plateau break of sorts emerges midway, pared down to only drums and voice, with those vocals extolling the virtues of “sun” and “sleep.” Trippy-somnolent voices continue on, and bass-heavy synth throbbing returns the full sonic palette. There's a Nine Inch Nails feel to it all, who have also been known to rely heavily on bassy synth-lines and obscured, whispered vocals.

Listen here:

Previous Lunar Twin reviews on this site can be found HERE, HERE and HERE.

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Multi-disciplinary artist and singer-songwriter Ora Cogan is no stranger to the DCW review world. Having previously covered her psychedelic folk and ambient dream pop album “Crickets” a few years back, discovering a new EP "Dyed" has now arrived serves as welcome news. This latest music expands on her previously established hypnotic opulence and reflective elegance. These soundscapes touch on neoclassical themes, weaving together Gaelic folk, mantras and chant into unique art-rock compositions.

Commencing immediately in full falsetto-voiced motion (bypassing even a hint of slow-build instrumental intro), title track “Dyed” lyrically feels more autobiographical than fictionalized storytelling. “I woke up by the field, with a bee hitting the glass. You rolled your sequined eyes at me, as you pulled up your pants.” There's a floating sensation to the guitar and background voice elements, creating a dreamlike feel. A descending progression serves as foundation for the distinct chorus that goes “I am a fool in love and I’ve got nothing to prove.” Longer-held dive down notes and soft percussive flicks contribute further movement within this section. A brief twangy guitar interlude leads into the next verse. When the subsequent chorus section emerges, lyrics become more poetic, making comparisons to “love” as “an island forever losing its shore.”

A pleasantly surprising choice for the EP's middle track is a personalized reworking of PJ Harvey's 1995 song “To Bring You My Love.” While the original had only sparse instruments of guitar and organ, focusing predominantly on Polly's deeper vocal register, Ora adds percussion and a lively bass guitar to her higher pitched voice. Although the lyrical story is true to it's original - “I was born in the desert - I been down for years - Jesus, come closer - I think my time is near” - Ms. Cogan bathes it all in her familiar softly psychedelic sheen. Long instrumental passages between verse and chorus amplify the more musical qualities to this piece. Slight lyric changes appear in places, using “fell out” in place of “cast out” in both instances on the second verse. Ora speeds up the pace of the original somewhat as well, moving it away from Harvey's dirge-like progression to something lighter. Different too are the vocal ranges, with PJ's leaning more towards Patti Smith, and Ora falling closer to Joni Mitchell.

Final entry “Driver” is a lengthy 6 minute ambient meditation that stretches out time and thought processes for maximum introspective effect. Voices are flow in ethereal clusters, at first unintelligible like Gregorian Chants. A steady guitar churn creates a semblance of pace, as fragments of lyrical voicings emerge. “Black marble steps shining in the sun - And if anyone gave any reason,” can be made out through the undulating disquiet. “You’re growing out of your shadow. Every morning you hear It - So clear” the celestial story continues. An impactful rising guitar drone emerges near the midway point, providing a gritter element to the floating atmosphere. Layers of chanting are reestablished, infusing an avant-garde formation reminiscent of Lisa Gerrard's work with Dead Can Dance. Chiming guitar figures present snippets of melodies against a wind-rush field, enhancing the full sonic expression.

Info on how to acquire this EP and Listen can be found here:

Ora now embarks on month long tour of Ireland, England, Scotland and France, with all of her dates listed on her Bandcamp and other sites as well.

A previous feature on Ora Cogan can be found on this site here.

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Returning here for another review is the work of Baltimore-based recording artist Andres Alfonso, who makes solo music as Los Dientes Hundidos en la Garganta. While that phrase loosely translates to “the sunken teeth in the throat,” Andres composes his ambient works with guitars, bass and heavy looping. What comes out of that are wonderfully dreamy experimental ambient electronic soundscapes. The second single “Configurations” from upcoming album “Infinite Past” on Jak Jonson Tapes has recently dropped, and get's a full review below.

A dreamy ambience starts immediately in full flight, as gentle rising waves envelop a wide sonic spectrum. Powerful staring-into-the-void atmospherics create a sensation of awe, as if experiencing something otherworldly. With this initial glacially strong soundscape making a large impression, subtle movements ebb and flow inside of it. Higher pitched tones can be detected, elevating above the mass to create an almost-reverential quality. There's a depth to this audio composition that entices our mind to go on a vision quest. One in which hallucinations and/or dreams would have you flying over vast mountain ranges and deep unexplored oceans. A sensory experience that slows down time, affecting both the auditory and neural systems of mind and body. While comparisons to Harold Budd's “The White Arcades,” Brian Eno's “Apollo” and their collaboration on “The Pearl” all come to mind, a more obscure album by Vidna Obmana - “The Contemporary Nocturne” serves as a like-minded work as well.

Listen and be mesmerized:

This digital track can be acquired now on their bandcamp, as well as the artists entire discography.

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