Underwater Sleep Orchestra – Insomnolence (2023)
Underwater Sleep Orchestra is a joint project of Bruce Moallem (God Body Disconnect) and Pär Boström (Cities Last Broadcast and Kammarheit). Insomnolence is their second effort, a set of drifting, layered drones accompanied by electroacoustic noises and processing. This results in a hypnogogic feel, with light static and vocalizations, as well as hazy distortion introduced by the rather unique approach of running these recordings through a VHS tape. The listener would benefit from generous volume as many details are hidden in the mix.
Caldon Glover – Ùir (2023)
After last year’s Labyrintia, I was excited to find a new Caldon Glover release in my inbox. While Ùir heads in a different direction from that of its predecessor, the overall quality is at a commensurate level. Indeed, the album’s six tracks in the 7-11 minute range include deep roiling synth, orchestral overtones, sparse but well-placed percussion, throat singing, and perhaps even a processed guitar note here and there. This is dark, ritualistic music from a primeval time, as suggested by the cover art. Glover is one of the experimental ambient artists that we should all be watching carefully. Very well done.
Various Artists – Mercury Mission Diaries (2023)
This collaboration features experimental / electroacoustic / dark ambient artists Skrika, Red Fog, Keosz, Sole Massif, Tineidae, Dronny Darko, Onasander, and In Quantum. The theme is outer space horror, with slow-moving drones and generous effects that tap, click, and pound in numerous patterns. In some tracks, waves of synth are accompanied by flowing sequencers, with wisps of cosmic tones. While all tracks are tightly composed and well produced, particularly strong efforts come from Skrika (jarring bursts in and about majestic synth layers and sequenced lines), Keosz (exploring the extreme ends of the frequency spectrum with discordance), and Dronny Darko (sparse and haunting electroacoustics and object noises).