Kitchener’s D-Zero—a self-professed “university dropout and aspiring Sun Ra”—dips into subzero ambience on soft planet, creating a submerged Korg Kaoscillator landscape with electronic pulses bubbling to the surface. Paddling with the reliable strokes of a Volca Beats drum sequencer and mixed with a Tascam 2488, soft planet takes inspiration from the soundscapes of late 90s and early 00s video games. This album works best when it drifts where it wants to.
Best Tracks: q ni edulerp, sometimes when you wake up, and crystal shards
Thin Barrier bears the ambient fruits of an hour-long live improvisation on Peterborough’s Trent Radio during winter solstice. The album features dreamy guitar loops fed through a Casio SK-1 keyboard, field recordings gathered in Mairena Del Alcor, Bellaterra, and Peterborough, and live sampling from Jake Ryan’s phone.
Cacophonous church bells, tumbling microphone blowouts, silky percussive grazes, interlocking guitar melodies, and bobbing samples create the sense of being cradled by branches in the wind, weaving and swaying under the slow transit of clouds. Listen seamlessly.
Best Tracks: Untitled I, Tintinnabulation, Untitled III, and The Rest Of It
Self-described as “music for being alone on the Internet at 3 am,” Canadian Nevrmind’s Dream Volume evokes the feeling of an empty dance floor, blurred eyes pink from the glow of an exit sign, feeling the weight of a watered-down mixed drink sloshing against the sides of a plastic cup, unencumbered by a coat and purse long gone missing.
At its simplest, Dream Volume is a moody 5-track album of ambient, electronic dance music. But ingested after midnight, Dream Volume enters a wifi state of mind, constantly reloading and refreshing, geotagging to a nearby café in Chinatown, toggling to someone else’s iPhone, dancing as though someone is watching, cropping for later. Listen late.
Best Tracks: Diaspora, Sunrise, Sunset, and Newborn
I wish I had listened to Sylvan Esso about a month ago so I could have added Hey Mami to my favourite songs of 2013 . That song is exactly what I want to hear right now to distract me from my frozen body and the weird wind burn I’ve developed on my cheeks that apparently happens when I breathe and it’s -30 Celsius outside… not that I’m complaining.
I’m looking forward to a full album from the Durham, North Carolina band because I keep replaying these three songs they’re so good and I kind of think they’re one GIRLS musical feature away from ‘breaking it big’ so keep an eye out for them. Sadly no shows set for Toronto right now, but I have a feeling that may change.
p.s. for more music from Amelia Meath (because her voice is just so pretty), but with more of a folk-y vibe, check out her other project, Mountain Man
Spirit If… holds some of my favorite Canadian music so when I saw that Kevin Drew plans to release a new album, I acted a little like this:
Take a listen to the single Good Sex above. The new album Darlings will be out March 18, which means I have another exciting thing to look forward to inbetween my wait for the new season of Game of Thrones.
Fun Fact: apparently they were looking for real Toronto couples back in December to act out “intimate scenarios” (aka make-out) for the music video, seems fitting for the title and tone of the song. I’m still just so pumped he’s releasing something new. Enjoy!