Sunset – “Your Eyes Are Mirrors,” The Glowing City
Wow, this album is great. It’s one of these seamless song-into-song-into-song albums, and the sound is constantly changing, yet remaining identifiable throughout. Bill Baird is the name of the guy behind it, a sort of all-in-one musician with talented friends, not unlike The Microphones’ Phil Elverum (though the music is very different).
My friend Jeremy dropped this in my lap. Peach Pit, a Croatian (?) math-rock band that takes the usual “weird progressions and signatures” style of math-rock music and adds a surprising amount of power and melody. This is the first track of four, and they really cover a huge amount of musical ideas over the 26 minutes they use up. It’s actually shocking how good they are sometimes.
Yeasayer has a really weird thing going on. But when they hit, they hit hard. “No Need to Worry” is a great example of this. Very unique sound. Sometimes they fall under the “mystical” category of music along with Gang Gang Dance’s God’s Money and Charalambides’ Our Bed Is Green.
When I heard this on the radio, I thought I’d gone back in time. It’s a really solid soul tune with a great horn and rhythm section, and although it could be a little shorter, it’s still a great track. I didn’t feel that the rest of the album lived up to this, though – it’s actually new and other parts of the album are much less soulful. She even does a cover of “Crazy,” a song I detest. But check this one out.
Women’s self-titled album is sort of like a cross between Deerhunter and Grizzly Bear or something. It’s unpredictable, virtuosic, and good pretty much all the way through. But the whole time, you keep thinking “what kind of music is this exactly?” From faultless chorused voices in the insanely short “Group Transport Hall” and “Black Rice” to shimmering and mystical soundscapes like “Woodbine,” they cover a lot of ground. The whole album is worth your time, so check them out.
The Gray Field Recordings – Rune of the Moon and Endymion
One of the standout tracks from Gold Leaf Branches, a compilation from Digitalis. I’m not a fan of spoken word but it’s nonsensical enough to be inoffensive. The artist has a knack for the mystical auditory environment; you can hear some more at Last.fm.
I heard another Eric Whitacre piece on the radio one day and was surprised to find he was a contemporary choral composer, not however many decades or centuries old. “Sleep” is not particularly complicated musically, but his sense of harmony is stunning.
Flim, a Dresden-based electronic composer, has put out several albums of electronic but frequently classically-inclined music. “Hell 3,” obviously the third in a series of Hells, is, I think, his piano masterpiece. The original “Hell” is also excellent, but I think this one is more refined and more expressive.
He has a way of timing the notes that you hear the first note and get its impression, then the second note both modifies the first and stands on its own. If they were played simultaneously, or a hundredth of a second later, the effect would be lost.