5 ON THE FLY: Five mini reviews all in one place.
Psychic Pollution – AI Existential Intelligence Report
Last year’s ‘Tanz Für Dunklen Seelen’ was a love-note to the early days of kosmische, but Psychic Pollution (Jzero Schuurman) now sets his sights on the future. And a steely, cold future it is. Using analog-style synth methods, Schuurman paints a rather grim picture with chords and passages that may be tuneful but have that hint of foreboding. Tracks such as “Memorization Aptitude Experiment” and “Contemplation Sequence #228” move at an ambient pace, while others like “The Last Door to Consciousness” have a beat, of the post-punk, motorik variety. No matter. They’re equally ominous.
Prime cut: “Memorization Aptitude Experiment”
Echuta – Morning Figure When Absolutely Calm
‘Morning Figure When Absolutely Calm’ by Echuta is decidedly odd. Against a backdrop of low-key, mostly unobtrusive, music (with drums and guitar by Ace Martens) Andy Resto recites some strange lines with an even stranger voice. The voice quavers with uncertainty and perhaps trepidation. It’s as if he’s seen the coming of a nightmarish tomorrow, and we should all be worried.
That’s not to say that the music is to be just brushed off. Tracks like the jazzy/improv “Lightning Rod” and folksy “A Heated Pool” don’t push themselves on you but they do sound pretty intriguing until they (deliberately) fall apart at the end. “Fishhook”, on the other hand, has a very solid melody and rhythm, although even that one gets increasingly off-beat as it goes along.
Prime cut: “Lightning Rod”
Her Harbour – Go Gently Into the Night
Singer-songwriter Gabrielle Giguere returns in the guise of Her Harbour. As with her previous offerings, ‘Go Gently Into the Night’ features a sparse musical backing, which “forces” the listener to focus on Giguere’s voice. No problem there at all as it is a unique voice — mournful and insightful. HH tackles baroque pop with a folk-singer sensibility, but there is also an element of ancient blues around the edges.
Prime cut: “Chime and Knell”
believeh – “Songs of Common Praise . “
“Songs of Common Praise . “ is an audacious example of quirkiness holding sway, even in the face of very reasonable-sounding americana folk rock. The vocals are uncertain and undisciplined, making them stand out like a sore thumb when you have lovely folk guitar strains reminiscent of early Rod Stewart (see, e.g., “Lay Me Low”). Things get even quirkier with songs like “Black Moment” where the singer sounds like he is literally singing from the gutter. Getting to the point of outright humour, “Hey Jew (in the name of Jesus Christ)” is a take on the old rock-blues staple “Hey Joe”.
Prime cut: “I’m Bad”
Husband & Knife – Another Side
Halifax’s Husband & Knife don’t so much bludgeon you over the head as slowly but surely bring about submission with repeated blows from a velvet hammer. But you will succumb.
KC Spidle’s voice is tuneful and heartfelt, but it so restrained as to feel remote, which actually lends an air of mystery. The music is equally unoppressive, relying on mood as opposed to power or volume. For instance, the echoing guitars truly set our “Hearts on Fire” and a lovely bluegrass base gives “Runaway” an easygoing vibe.
Prime cut: “Appetite”