Driving me backwards

The platform doesn’t want your concept

Driving me backwards
“Dolphin Spray,” Actress [Bandcamp]

Last night I had to replace the headlights in my car. The entire headlight assembly, not just the bulbs. I don’t recommend it unless your headlights no longer work, and even then I don’t recommend it. There’s always the bus.

One upside to the entire ordeal, though: Over the course of those five hours, in between watching DIY YouTube mechanics, I was able to give this week’s playlist quite a few more laps. What started the week as a pretty solid set of new music wound up a couple of songs lighter, and the playlist feels all the stronger for it. (Spotify, Apple Music)

“Dolphin Spray,” Actress

At the genus level, there’s electronic music, where what generally hooks me in, regardless of species, is the sense of the organic, the truly handmade. Not that I need a lot of convincing when it comes to Actress, but this fun little groove subtly roars with a sense of the organic. It’s beyond tape hiss, and all about the imperfections—a stray note, for example, perhaps intentional, perhaps not—that remains in the final mix. It’s those kinds of countless, almost imperceptible details that make the difference.

Dolphin Spray, by Actress
from the album Statik

“Tunnel,” André Bratten

Bigger production, but similarly artisanal, this homegrown breakbeat feels so well crafted and thoughtful. But hardly (thankfully) not in an over-intellectualized way.

Tunnel, by André Bratten
from the album Slay Tracks

“Wild Boars,” The World of Dust

Psychedelic and poppy, this is some pagan youth group music right here. As if Current 93 covered the Beach Boys. What a lush, gorgeous song, and one I kept coming back to time and again this week.

Wild Boars, by The World of Dust
from the album 13 Holy Nights

“Rag Doll,” Someplace

Seefeel-ish, drone-y shoegaze that was almost certainly recorded inside a dishwasher. It could have gone on for another hour and I wouldn’t have minded.

Rag Doll, by Someplace
from the album Stuck In A Loop

“What can I say to you when we both lost someone we love?” Qozy

Acoustic emo pop that is so spare and glacial yet ever so slightly devastating, recalling some of the best moments of DIIV or Quiet Slang.

What can I say to you when we both lost someone we love?, by Qozy
track by Qozy

“Neuralyzer,” Burnt Pink, Swarvy

What an arrangement. The way the instruments weave—and unweave—throughout this one is so beautiful and mesmerizing. It’s simple, but really it’s not.

Neuralyzer, by Burnt Pink
from the album Perfectionist

“Smoke,” Eiko Ishibashi

The drums, obviously. That orchestral bed, the swooning flow of all that sound, it’s a real mood, it’s wonderful. But the drums—and those rolling rimshots—obviously.

Smoke, by Eiko Ishibashi
from the album Evil Does Not Exist

“marble angel,” aloisius

I’ve been wanting to find a way to talk about aloisius, especially The Unfolding Rose because it’s such a specifically online sort of concept album:

the unfolding rose is an ever expanding album mostly made up of improvised one take songs recorded and mix & mastered by aloisius.

if u buy for 50p {or more} it will continue to grow {update} in your collection {this has been tried & tested}. the album will continue to unfold until the end of aloisiyai's life, at which point the album will be complete and will be officially renamed 'the unfolded rose'

At least, that’s the way The Unfolding Rose works on Bandcamp, where it’s now grown to 118 tracks—but, as with most worthwhile things, it’s ruined on the platforms. Spotify and Apple Music currently have it split into three separate albums, with maybe more to come.

This song, by the way, isn’t from The Unfolding Rose at all, but it’s excellent all the same.

Anyway, is The Unfolding Rose a concept album? Well, it has a concept so I’ll say sure, but not one where the track order is integral. But in its case, the format—where it can continue to build as a single entity—is vital to what it wishes to convey, and the platform breaks that concept. (Not dissimilar to how the 8-track format treated classic concept albums, like Sgt. Pepper’s, by changing the track order and editing one song to be longer; and Ziggy Stardust, by rearranging the order and splitting “Soul Love” into two parts; and I’m not even going to look into Pink Floyd.)

marble angel, by aloisius
track by aloisius

“sad bowl,” Ulla, Ultrafog

This operates at a subatomic level, as frequencies and music drift in and out, floating and whispering within the sounds of an imagined space. Truly stunning.

sad bowl, by Ulla & Ultrafog
from the album It Means A Lot

“Citrinitas,” Elsa Hewitt

The construction of this song fascinates me. It’s not exactly backwards, but the swirling synth, partially gated effects, and staccato, off-kilter bassline make the song, which somehow stays upright, feel as though it’s built on shifting sands.

Citrinitas, by Elsa Hewitt
from the album Chaos Emeralds

“Slayer on a Sunny Day,” My Best Unbeaten Brother

I dismissed this track a few months ago as being a Wedding Present rehash, and then spent the past few months trying to find it again. It’s here, it’s clever, it’s exuberant, and I should have known better.

Slayer on a Sunny Day, by My Best Unbeaten Brother
track by My Best Unbeaten Brother

“Deep Call,” Coral Morphologic, Nick León

I absolutely lost myself in this, and I’m out of words.

Deep Call, by Coral Morphologic & Nick León
from the album Projections of a Coral City