Staff Picks - March 2024

Staff Picks - March 2024

April 18, 2024

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Spring is here, so check out the monthly Staff Picks column, with a bright selection of albums and compilations released last month. As usual, expect anything from jazz to electronics, ambient, traditional, experimental and beyond, both new releases and reissues.

What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, here's the monthly Staff Picks. If you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

From Arne Eigenfeldt to Carme López

Cosmin TRG - Ecstatic Data (Feral Note)
Cosmin TRG - Ecstatic Data (Feral Note)
Alëna Korolëva - Premonitions (forms of minutiae)
"Whenever I go, I can't help but notice signs of a looming change. I eavesdrop on conversations of creatures big and small, and like me, they seem uneasy and uncertain about what's to come. Something is in the air, dark clouds gather, winds are shifting course. Amidst the confusion and restlessness, the voices of non-human and human worlds blend in a worrisome symphony. This piece is an ode to anticipation, to the beauty of different forms of life on the brink of the sixth mass extinction. Joining in the chorus are the American toad, northern winds, an old kettle, Mr. Cat, tawny owl, crickets, domestic chickens and pigs, trumpeter swans, honey bees, truck horns, cormorants, seagulls and other elements and critters." - Alëna Korolëva

Arne Eigenfeldt - A Walk to Meryton (Redshift Music)
North Vancouver-based composer Arne Eigenfeldt provides a compelling contrast to the all-too-pervasive narrative of "encroachment" around artificial intelligence in music. Having designed and employed his own generative/ real-time interactive music software since the 1980's, he's a veteran in this field and that's the key to his more charitable outlook. The Double LP set A Walk to Meryton employs an an open-ended, modular AI scheme that he began developing around 2013, Musebots.

Bégayer - Évohé Bègue (Murailles Music - Via Parigi - Le Saule)
French Chanson, Noise, echoes of music from faraway and long ago, modified radio transistors and other old electronic gear, French song, noisemakers, rumours of ancient and distant music, handmade instruments, modified transistor radios and other old electronic objects, Bégayer is looking for a gesture for those without folklore, for the offspring of this culture of lack, born as much from the twilight of popular habitus as from noisemakers' howling, from village squares as from the swarming of digital streams, for an unprecedented kind of rapsod-aliens.

Carme López - Quintela (Warm Winters Ltd.)
Quintela, the debut album by Carme López, a performer, teacher and researcher of traditional oral music from Galicia, is a new experimental work for Galician bagpipe. Influenced by the approach of composers like Éliane Radigue or Pauline Oliveros, the Spanish composer creates slowly modulating sound environments, and stretches the sonic the possibilities of the bagpipe to its absolute limit. Quintela is structured in four movements, plus a prologue and an epilogue, which serve as a link to the contemporary language of the instrument.

C_C - Six Crossings (zamzamrec)
Édouard Ribouillault (C_C) is known for his unique mix of bass distortions, and breaks, his love for dub, as well as his hypnotic (infinite) performances with a table brimming with various gadgets and electronics. Six Crossings is c_c’s ultimate recording with the electronic setup he has honed for nearly 10 years of live performances: several drum machines and a sampler interconnected to a mixing system and feedback effects, analog and digital hybrid.

Cosmin TRG - Ecstatic Data (Feral Note)
"The ritualistic notion of ecstasy is largely lost in the Anthropocene: the body high, the mental, the chemical have replaced, prosaically, a state of being that recedes language. In our current stage we extract, exploit and regurgitate vast amounts of digital ooze that has become our mode of being, flattening experience. Uniformity in conformity, ethically and aesthetically. Between our physicality and our projected avatars seeking dopamine hits and euphoric meltdowns: Ecstatic Data."
Eugene Chadbourne & Lukas Simonis - Our Echos Abide Unhang Me, K-Louse (z6records)
Eugene Chadbourne & Lukas Simonis - Our Echos Abide Unhang Me, K-Louse (z6records)

From Dagar Brothers to DJ Nigga Fox

Dagar Brothers - Berlin 1964 - The Lost Studio Recording (Black Truffle)
Black Truffle presents a pair of archival releases from the Dagar Brothers, among the most revered 20th century exponents of the ancient North Indian dhrupad tradition. The vocal duo of Moinuddin and Aminuddin Dagar (sometimes referred to as the ‘senior’ Dagar Brothers to distinguish them from their younger siblings, Zahiruddin and Faiyazuddin Dagar), belonged to the nineteenth generation of a family of musicians in which dhrupad tradition has been kept alive through patrilinear transmission, each generation undergoing a rigorous education of many years’ duration that can include singing up to twelve hours each day.

Dave Sewelson, Ava Mendoza - Of It But Not Is It (Mahakala Music)
Recently released by Mahakala Music, this new album features Ava Mendoza (electric guitar and voice) and Dave Sewelson (bari sax and voice).

DJ Nigga Fox - Chá Preto (Príncipe)
Chá Preto sounds revolutionary but not so much in DJ Nigga Fox’s discography, accustomed as we are to game-changing compositional solutions in the afro musical continuum but - never forget - also in dance music taken as a broad genre.

Dolores Mondo Stash - From Fragments Of Endeavour
Dolores Mondo Stash has been around for a few years and it's a Bucharest based solo project that started in 2017. Since the beginning, Dolores Mondo Stash was a vessel for sound experimentation, from different recording techniques to different styles and influences; from industrial, noise to no-wave, psychedelic and ambient. His work is mainly shrouded in a lo-fi aesthetics - the tape loops being a recurrent sound theme and technique used in his work.

DYW with Solo Operator & Kola Dykhne - Negative Space (FPE Records)
DYW is a dialed-in trio of improvisers, given to nurturing, growing and moving big blocks of sound. Displaced from Moscow by geopolitical storms of the early 2020s, Danya, Yasha and Vova now reside in several countries, and have brought with them this astonishing document of togetherness, produced in the moments before the shit hit the fan. DYW's new album Negative Space, their second overall and first for FPE, is a collaboration with sympathetic reedists Solo Operator and Kola Dykhne, recorded in an airy, bright house in the country, a day of friendship and concentrated work.

Eugene Chadbourne & Lukas Simonis - Our Echos Abide Unhang Me, K-Louse (z6records)
Eugene Chadbourne (born January 4, 1954) is an American banjoist, guitarist and music critic. Lukas Simonis is a Dutch composer, improviser and writer, mainly active in experimental music and sound art.
Moor Mother - The Great Bailout (Anti-Records)
Moor Mother - The Great Bailout (Anti-Records)

From Gesloten Cirkel to Moor Mother

Farah Kaddour - Badā (Asadun Alay Records)
Badā is the solo debut of Beirut's Farah Kaddour, a gifted buzuq player, researcher and educator. Kaddour works in folk and classical Arabic music in ensembles while also playing a vital role in modern Arabic ensemble Sanam. Kaddour was also a member of Mustafa Said's Asīl Ensemble between 2013-2018, a group dedicated to contemporary expressions of the Arab classical tradition, and appeared on their recording of Said's work Autism.

Florian T M Zeisig - Planet Inc (Stroom)
Recorded and produced during late night sessions from 2019-2022 while re-watching archive episodes of the German TV show Space Night from the late 90s.

Gesloten Cirkel - I Live In The Midwest (Selvamancer)
Underground electronic artist Gesloten Cirkel lands on Selvamancer. The Barcelona based DIY imprint with Dutch rave roots proudly welcomes him with an exciting new mini album ‘I Live In The Midwest’. It’s a true testament to his producing prowess and extensive musical diversity, and pushes the boundaries of industrial and shamanic sounding breaks, acid and the remarkable pounding electro he’s known for.

Hanno Leichtmann & Valerio Tricoli - Cinnte Le Dia (NI VU NI CONNU)
"What might look complicated on a tech rider sounds intuitive on record: these are two versatile musicians engaging in a play of difference and repetition, acting and reacting to each other in real-time, but also creating additional layers by inserting new elements after the fact. In a very literal way, Cinnte le Dia is the duo’s most refined album, yet at the same time a testament to the uncanny energy they unleash during their improvisations. It’s solemn and moody, spontaneous, and driving at once. Of course, a computer couldn’t handle that." Kristoffer Cornils

MINING - Chimet (The Leaf Label)
Over a period of seven days in October 2017, the devastating Atlantic Hurricane Ophelia fed straight into another weather event, known as Storm Brian in the UK. MINING mapped the data from this storm onto various musical values and parameters, including harmonic range, pitch, density and volume - resulting in a continuous piece of electronic sound design that directly traces the contours of the two storm systems. After several iterations, improvised instrumental performances were added on piano, cello and synthesiser.

Moor Mother - The Great Bailout (Anti-Records)
The Great Bailout is an expansive meditation that acts as a non-linear word map about colonialism, slavery, and commerce in Great Britain.
More eaze, pardo & glass - Paris paris, texas Texas (OOH-sounds)
More eaze, pardo & glass - Paris paris, texas Texas (OOH-sounds)

From Richard Teitelbaum to Santa Cruz

More eaze, pardo & glass - Paris paris, texas Texas (OOH-sounds)
OOH-sounds family members more eaze, pardo & glass join forces on a celestial album linking ambient neo-folk, fractured electronics and romantic escapism. Referencing to Wim Wenders' 1984 road-movie drama masterpiece, paris paris, texas Texas is a strikingly cinematic tapestry of americana, resampled guitars, glistening electronics, subtle field recordings and processed vocals.

O Morto & Ayoub ElAyady - Lila (Sucata Tapes/Discrepant)
Lila is the Arabic word for night and is also the name of the liturgic ceremony manifested in a trance, as a process of healing and therapy, through a ritual of sensory immersion conducted by music (gnawa), incense, colour and dance. From sunset to dawn, seven colours are revealed, associated with different rhythms and stages of ecstasy. In LILA, Ayoub ElAyady, Khalid Boulhamam and O Morto summarily travel through the seven colours of the nocturnal ritual in all its scope – using both the form of tradition and electronic manipulation.

Richard Teitelbaum - Asparagus (Black Truffle)
Australian imprint Black Truffle presents a reissue from legendary American composer and live electronics innovator Richard Teitelbaum, centred around his soundtrack for Suzan Pitt’s cult 1978 animation Asparagus. Best known to some listeners for introducing Europe to the Moog synthesizer as a founding member of Musica Elettronica Viva in Rome, Teitelbaum’s extensive and radically experimental body of work includes collaborative recordings with master improvisers like Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille and George Lewis, intercultural experiments combining electronics with non-Western instruments such as the shakuhachi, works for computer controlled piano, and large-scale multi-media operas.

Rhodri Davies - Telyn Wrachïod
Cildraeth Sienco is an improvisation based on an amalgamation of the notation and structure of Angharad Jenkins’ Brandy Cove with the alternative string tuning of ‘Cywair yn Nghywair y Wrach’ from Robert ap Huw’s manuscript.

Sam Shalabi - Night School
"This album was recorded over 5 nights last summer in the wee hours of night surrounded by 3 cats and a bubbling fish tank.. Each piece is based a melody or structure that was originally meant to be for oud and electronics (a trace of that remains on 2 tracks) but I opted for the quiet rawness of the takes after I listened back a few times.." Sam Shalabi

Santa Cruz - Bothways - Motorwolf Space War 1000 (Bunker Records)
"Previously unreleased dark industrial electronic bass with heavy psych doom metal death rock hybrid production by Santa Cruz (ex-Orange Sunshine from The Hague) made long after the Black-Out, operated under psychosis in the dark."

Sinonó - La espalda y su punto radiante (Subtext Recordings)
New York City-based Latinx vocalist, improviser and composer Isabel Crespo Pardo assembled sinonó to help bring their levitational poem-songs to life with a focus on abstraction, texture and sublime simplicity. The trio features Lester St. Louis - a New York-born improviser, composer and sound designer - on cello, Boston-born multi-instrumentalist, educator and bandleader Henry Fraser on double bass, and Crespo on vocals.
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

Dragoș Rusu is co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic, sound researcher and allround music adventurer, with a keen interest in the anthropology of sound.

Victor Stutz is a sound adventurer and music selector from Bucharest – currently based in Barcelona - with a background in anthropology.

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