As you huddle in the confines of your den, either being battered by freak storms, baking under pedestal fans and intermittent showers, or freezing your bollocks off, you probably wish you were somewhere else. These next ten acts will take you there - but "there" is objective, and you may be kicking and screaming...
First up is Shortwave Broadcaster. A US native now residing in Copenhagen, Denmark, Shortwave Broadcaster brought out Everything You Do Is Deja Vu through Saint Marie Records the other month. An exercise in reverb-heavy guitar minimalism, a soothing loop (ahhhh, I see what's been done there!) whirlpool of glacial majesty and grace. I was swept away when I first heard this, and now it's my go to record for when I have a headache, or am tired, and want to float away to a place far from here. When I do this, I'm rewarded with rejuvenation and a virile imagination, waking up refreshed and with vivid memories of my dreams. It's pretty incredible - I suggest you grab a copy and see for yourself.
I loved the two tracks New York-based sound artist Ajnabi did based on his time in the West Bank - I wrote about it here - and now he has a self-titled album out. It's darker stuff, more errant and experimental, and the fact that each song is given a specific date had me searching the internet for events that took place on those dates that I could connect with. Because that is what Ajnabi is all about - deep, core emotional connection, the draining kind, the cathartic kind. Boris Pugo, the USSR Minister of the Interior committed suicide on August 22 1991 - and its sonic counterpart does sound apocalyptic, the moment when you realise everything you ever fought for, no matter how awful and ill-conceived it may have been, has been all for naught; everything has caught up with you; your soul is officially bankrupt. Standing on the building's edge...man, I AM Boris Pugo. Ajnabi is that powerful. Amazing.
Let's head to Oakland now, and to self-proclaimed "psych-beat minstrel of the Left Coast" Daring Ear. His latest release Afterflash came out on Magnetic South earlier this year - you can still get copies of it here - it toys with Eastern drone mantras, kosmiche cycles, opaque paisley undulations, noise meltdowns, some warbled r'n'b, even a lick of northern soul. It's a warped little number, and well worth a listen.
Scottish wanderer Matthew Collings has impressed me a lot this year, and he has presented me with another track that is a marching kettle tin of otherworldly mystery. 'They Meet On The Subway' plays quite like a Sigur Ros symphony actually - and there is never anything wrong with that - until it ends in splintered noise, ala Sigur Ros' darker moments - again, happy days. Its a studied progression in emotion through burbling manipulation, the quiet/loud dynamic exactly that - dynamic. Collings just did a live soundtrack to a screening of Berberian Sound Studio, and his constant explorations of sound can only mean greater things are in store.
Its been a while since I'd heard new tunes from my Macedonian friend FYDHWS. His latest unsettler - 9. Eschewing the more psychy jams and Branca squalls, what we have here is the undulating wails of despair, an industrial viral scream of muted metallics and ever-shifting shadows. All I can think of whilst listening to this is that this should score the most fucked-up psychological horror movie we are yet to lay eyes on. Something like very early Dario Argento but crossed with a baser, more unhinged Nicolas Roeg - baroque body horror Giallo, anyone? This is European music, thinking of post-Soviet urbanscapes left behind, concrete ghost towns of macabre architecture, perennial grey skies and a distant church bell tolls... Creepy, and amazing. A must - get it here.
Chicagoe ambient/drone artist Cinchel has been doing his thing for over a decade now, trying to recreate the sounds in his head. That sounds kinda daunting and borderline scary - not when these voices are the arbiters of soundscapes far, far away (although he does have a song called 'I Think I'm Hearing Voices', so...hedge your bets), no harm can be done to you, now come sit and listen. He sent me two of his releases, Stereo Stasis and Sometimes You See Yourself (Through the Cosmos). The recordings are vastly different in some ways - Sometimes... revolves around the glass harp/wine glass cyclical sonics with guitars looped in, whilst Stereo Stasis is more standard guitar/loops/laptop deal - but these extrapolations of experiments in space and time converge into a likeminded aesthetic - that of entrapment in the nether glow between waking and sleeping. Not a bad place to be...
Hailing from Providence, the same burgh that spawned one of Sonic Masala's all time favourite bands Lightning Bolt, drone-ite Matthew Kattman AKA The Rainbow Body has released a lovely spiralling squall in the form of Magnetic Highway. Kattman is crafting some celestial sprawl here, his electric guitar expanding out in all directions to create a sonorous noise that feels both invasive and effusive at the same time - immersion through the pores, through osmosis. It's hypnotic light shining forth, rising and falling like synthetic breaths - its majesty incarnate. With earplugs.
Coming off the excellent Wood & Wire assembly line is Domestic Cinema, the new release from Melbourne drummer-cum-sonic jigsaw artist David Evans. The subtle tinkerings and intricacies inherent across the breadth of this album belies Evans' predilection for the vernacular of the mundane; but rather than stand idly by whilst the minutiae of life drives him into an early grave, he has harnessed the manmade sounds that echo as a metronomic constant in the back of the mind's eye and brings it to the forefront. Therefore the coalescing unease that a song like 'Telco House' brings about is the inverse of malaise - it's rife with nervous energy. Mouse clicks, whirring machines, brooms, typewriters, whipper snippers - everything is ripe for creating impending doom. The sheer tenacity of Evans to work these "found sounds" into his incestuous beats and explorations is commendable - the fact that Domestic Cinema is so captivating is a minor triumph. You can get the album here.
New Zealand dreamer Sleeper brought out his debut record From Beyond on A Guide To Saints, Room40's cassette label, earlier this year. Apart from sharing the same name as the pretty good (in a batshit crazy, Jeffery Combs kinda way) Stuart Gordon sexual horror movie from the 80s, these meanderings are ripe for dissection as they coalesce over you - the sounds of sinewaves when in a cryogenic coma. It'd be frightening if it wasn't so beautiful. Incredible stuff - you can grab From Beyond here.
Let's close out with the ethereal bedroom schematics of Melbourne's The Galaxy Folk. The dude, Angus Bell, insists that this is all electronic, not live instrumentation of any kind. Jesus. Don't tell the next generation that - the guitar shops will go out of business. His Honeygarden EP is one of spectral elegance, and whilst it doesn't fit with most of the previous molds of sonic deviations, it suits the fade out mood that dusk brings, and that is where I'm at right now - and because he has a song called Down Under, it's awesome, and Australia just won the 1st Ashes Test. You can buy Honeygarden on 10" lathe-cut vinyl (only 50 made) here.