Dudley Benson’s contemplative “Matariki” is named after the time of the year in the southern hemisphere when the constellation Pleides appears in the midwinter sky and signaling the Maori New Year. It is a time to think back on those who have passed on with the star formation as a conduit to communicate with them much. Benson’s melody is low key and almost functions as a piece of theater like a song written for a section of a charmingly eccentric musical about the presence of the spirits our loved ones who have died remaining in our consciousness long after they have left corporeal form. Benson takes the implication of these cosmic patterns to another level into blissed out sections of song and with the help of illustrator Emile Holmewood for the music video. Benson communicates how these things we imbue with so much essential meaning aren’t as significant in the grand scheme of things as we often imagine them to be. Heady stuff but with this way of manifesting the song is imaginative rather than pretentious. Watch the video below and follow Benson at the link provided.
Mat Creedon’s “The Time Has Come” references “Space Oddity” in the first section of the song with a nod to Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls” for the Heart of the Sun” in the next section as part of the chorus. And the synth pop song has a bit of a now retro-futurist feel with pulsing, distorted synth lines and vocals processed to sound like they’re coming from the kind of A.I. that might be running an interstellar spaceship except for that bit about voices in its head and other refinements that one would most expect from an organic being. This space ship metaphor also serves as a message about getting on with the momentous events of one’s life rather than put them off and getting swept in the forward motion of your personal destiny. Listen to the song on Soundcloud and follow Creedon on Spotify.
On “Tyko” Sal Dulu demonstrates how one can take familiar and established musical ideas and transform them into something fresh and stirring to the imagination. Structurally and sonically saunters into your brain like a downtempo track with the lush atmospheres, introspective soundscapes and a sense of depth. The bright synth shimmer that cycles in an out is like a reminder that the real world awaits your return from this trip into dreamlike reverie. The vocals are used as a sampled mantra more than conscious wording. At times the song is reminiscent of Moby’s most blissed out moments, at others like a mid-90s trip hop act going fully abstract and expressing pure feeling and the ghosts of pleasant memories in sound. Listen to “Tyko” on Soundcloud and follow Sal Dulu at the links provided.
“Asura,” a collaboration between German electronic music duo Acado and producer Elias Doré takes us on a journey to sacred spaces as suggested by the title. Asuras are divine beings from Hindu mythology that often do battle with the deities. It’s also a word that means “powerful” or “mighty.” It’s the latter that might be used to describe the slow but steady forward momentum of the track’s low end. Subtle but inescapable and giving context to the organic feel of the complex and finely syncopated percussion and a foundation on which the the tracks numerous sound experiments and melodies can come to the fore and shine like characters in some tonal version of shadow puppet theater moving and expressing themselves with grace and nuance. Appropriately the closing end of the track begins with a spoken mantra that ushers in a period in the song featuring what sounds like processed dulcimer and an electronic version of a highly processed steel drum. Hypnotic and meditative, “Asura” is a mind-altering electronic dance track. Listen on Soundcloud and follow Acado at the links provided.
DOXA’s new track from it’s newly released EP2 “Hypnogogia” is appropriately titled because its mixture of melody, synth drones and organic textures as rhythms flows in a way that feels like coming in and out of conscious and the state between. Calling it “dreamlike” wouldn’t be quite accurate as it has a quite vivid character that doesn’t feel like you’re lost in a haze so much as hyper aware of your surroundings yet able to relax and let the mind function at a higher level. The video for the song and its time lapse visual pace fits perfectly with the electronic percussion and its accents, cutting out the inessential stuff like speed reading reality. Fans of Boards of Canada and Seefeel will find much to like with DOXA’s work as it shares that spirit of tapping into and engaging both the unconscious and the intellect to stir emotional responses. Watch the video for “Hypnogogia” on YouTube and follow DOXA on the project’s Facebook page linked below.
A lot of synthwave sounds like it’s reflecting the dystopian end of 80s science fiction and crime drama, as it should, as the 80s had more post-apocalyptic cinema per capita than any other decade unless you count the whole zombie thing. But “Lifetimes” by Zaxcess, the fourth track from its new The Takeover EP, sounds like what a sequel to Blade Runner soundtrack might be like if things worked out with Deckard and Rachael. Roy Batty’s expiration date turned out to be a false alarm and they all hung out in a tropical paradise with Gaff who decorated the landscape with even more elaborate and fanciful origami creatures. The melodies are bright and effervescent, the dynamic expansive and filled with a sense of joy and wonder. And hope, which is the antithesis of the cynicism that informs the dystopian aesthetic. Now that we live in fairly dystopian times, Zaxcess is offering the sound for a divergent vision of our future. Listen to “Lifetimes” on Soundcloud and follow Zaxcess at the links below.
With a little dub echo and dancehall flavor, Patrick Goddard’s “Hollow Home” is the kind of post-punk that draws on that era of punk when all the London punks were deep into Jamaican music of the 1970s and the musical ideas, sounds and rhythms mingled more than is often acknowledged much these days as an influence outside of ska punk. Goddard uses the melancholic tone or undertone of much of post-punk and reggae to write a song looking back on the past and lost friends whose ideals fueled their lives and bonded them and how when those friends pass on it leaves an emptiness in your concept of place and what you think of as home whether that’s a physical place, a community and or a web of social relationships like a creative scene in a city, across continents and around the world. Goddard’s use of horns to sound out a mournful melody, sure, places the music in the context of a style of music but also where that music fit in with the life he’s lead and the friend’s he’s had whose now absence haunts him. Listen to “Hollow Home” on Soundcloud and follow Patrick Goddard at the links below. They’re you can find out where to listen to more of the album Apparition (Lung Records) from which this single hails.