Kate NV – Room for the Moon

[RVNG Intl., 2020]

Russian musician Kate NV’s new album, Room for the Moon, expands on the minimalist synth pop from 2018’s для FOR. As with that album, analog synths garble, bleep, and thump, but this time around NV is much more polished. There is an immediacy to this album that was slightly missing from her previous efforts. The growth is noticeable, her voice is more confident, and her songwriting skills are sharp. As with all Kate NV albums, there remains a level of quirkiness certain to delight fans but risk a widespread embrace. It’s what sets her apart, however, and it is what will ultimately allow her to build an enduring legacy. Check it out if you like Japanese minimalism, Yellow Magic Orchestra, or analog synth pop in general.

Purchase vinyl, digital, cd, or cassette here: https://katenv.bandcamp.com/album/room-for-the-moon

Tokyo Shoegazer – Crystallize

[299 Japan Records, 2011]

This long lost gem of shoegaze has finally gotten the vinyl release it so much deserved by Light in the Attic. The music here is quintessential shoegaze. They open with a bang. Crystallize begins by throwing what feels like all of the guitar pedal effects one can muster at the listener. It’s a dizzying experience, and can be disarming upon first listen, but listeners who stick around are rewarded for their effort.

From there, they launch into “Just Alright,” a much more subdued piece that leans heavily on dreampop.

The real star here is “Bright.” Tokyo Shoegaze combines the squall of My Bloody Valentine, the harmonies of Lush, the vocals of Elizabeth Fraser, and some tight drumming to create a sound that is instantly recognizable, yet wholly their own.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many places you can listen to this album in full other than YouTube. If you like what you hear there, I highly recommend purchasing the new pressing from Light in the Attic and Graveface.

Purchase vinyl here: https://lightintheattic.net/releases/5538-crystallize

Kosmischer Läufer – The Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972-83, Volume 4

[Unknown Capability Recordings, 2018]

The fourth installment of the, supposedly, lost secret music of Martin Zeichnete, written to provide the East German olympic team music to train to, is once again a stellar example of motorik, electronic music in the vein of Tangerine Dream, NEU!, and Ashra. This time, along with the typical pieces we would expect from this project, side B contains a suite of music composed for a film meant to stimulate athletes. As always, it’s all a little too perfect to feel totally true, but regardless, the music is still well worth the visit, if not repeated listens.

Listen and purchase here: https://kosmischerlaufer.bandcamp.com/album/volume-four

Polypores – Flora

[Castles in Space, 2019]

With Flora, created under the moniker Polypores, Stephen James Buckley crafts beautiful ambient electronic, surrounded by field recordings of bubbling springs, rustling trees, and bird chirps. Yet there’s something other worldly about this music that plucks these familiar sounds from their associated surroundings, morphs them in front of us, and fashions them into an alien soundscape. This disassociation, and the creative employment of analog synths has been my go-to album for the past several days. Exceptional, mesmerizing stuff.

Polypores live.

Listen and purchase here: https://polypores-cis.bandcamp.com/album/flora