Mark Templeton – Carved And Cared For (Under The Spire)
A true winner right here. Templeton’s newest solo venture is the stuff dreams are made of, taking the murky majestic melancholy of Leyland Kirby and tying it in dynamic loops, reminding me a bit of Nicholas Szczepanik’s We Make Life Sad but with loops that grow, a half-forgotten memory of a seaside jazz lounge playing swamp horns, drugged drums, and meandering pianos, all smeared into an intimate haze of organic harmonies, ancient gritty tape loops warped by your brain under the load of more recent experiences, found object clattering in the back room, an impossibly perfect balance of everything, retaining a beautiful clarity in the fog of drone, the analog warmth amidst the glitchy processing, the dark dank depression intertwined with bright bittersweet hope, nothing sounding more right at this moment. Only 300 copies pressed, available in March, preorder now and save yourself the heartache of missing out on this masterpiece.
Black Eagle Child – Eighteen And Six (Under The Spire)
Black Eagle Child (aka Michael Jantz, aka Avant Archive champion) is dropping a new LP on Under The Spire, which is certainly reason to celebrate. And after a couple dozen releases, Jantz has purified his tactics to give you the glorious Go Around, Again. Fantastic sounds on here, doing a sort of Citay-like ambient psych with elements of Ponytail’s light loop styles and The Books’ chopped pop, sunny and charming and everything pleasant. Jantz shows his cards on the first track, the A side stunner “Sun Cylinder,” where he touches everything with a gentleness, crafting hundreds of loops & layers that don’t build into any sort of climax but come and go as they please, a constantly evolving current, a vacation in his dreamworld. The three tracks on the B side are equally wonderful, cheery & easy, giving you the benefit of the doubt, hooking you with its playfulness & mass appeal, but then Jantz shows off his mad skills, every cut & fade a perfect segue to the next moment of bliss, and compiling what seems like a full warehouse of instruments, you get to hear everything in his collection, banjos & accordions, bells & xylophones, electronics & violins, drums & hand claps, lots of guitars & pedals, all that shit and then some, a never ending display of sweet kitchen sinkery. It’ll be shipping soon and it’s still in pre-order mode where you can get it for £2 cheaper than usual. No reason to skip out on this one.
Myrmyr – Fire Serpent’s Lull (Under The Spire)
Two lovely ladies (Agnes Szelag from Evon & Dokuro and Marielle Jakobsons from Darwinsbitch & Date Palms) making exquisite electro-acoustic tunes (heavy on the acoustic). Lots of delicate syrupy strings, like liquid lace being stretched to its thinnest. Looped into charming beats with handclaps, plucked strings, bells, accordions, like Animal Hospital teaming with Eluvium, except with more pep in its step. Sadness & somber darkness abound, weaving seamlessly with moments of cheering reprieve. The electronics are an understatement, not a crutch, slightly bending the acoustics or adding an element of static otherwise unavailable. Culminates in a long heaving drone, blissful, a perfect closer. Recorded on Shasta Mountain during a snowstorm, Fire Star is a very warm record, one of solitude. A triumph if I’ve ever heard one.