Last Sunday, on the verge of the new year, I listed my favorite recordings of 2020. This week it’s back to regularly scheduled programming, a weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them. (This weekly feature was previously titled Current Listens. The name’s been updated for clarity’s sake.)
▰ Tomorrow, January 4, is a lot of people’s first day back at work (remote or essential) of 2021, and “Ethereal Pathway” is the sort of music to help guide the return to salary mode. The glacial chords ease back and forth, drifting into and out of sync with each other, which is almost a metaphor. For some reason I can’t embed it here, but it’s at soundcloud.com/roofhare. The track is by the Rhode Island-based musician Roofhare, aka Kees de Groot.
▰ Slow Sketch, Vol. 2: Reflections of the Ambient Community is a 36-track compilation from the Madrid-based EL Muelle Records label, with contributions from Taylor Deupree, r beny, Patricia Wolf, the duo of Stephen Vitiello and Ted Laderas, Corey Fuller, Yann Novak, Benoît Pioulard, and other favorites, many based in Portland, Oregon. (Proceeds benefit Fundación Aladina, which helps pediatric cancer patients.)
▰ Released at the tail end of 2020, Oh Ho! is an exploration of alternately spectral beauty and something akin to conversational interplay by Mary Oliver (viola, violin) and Rozemarie Heggen (double bass). (Thanks, Mark Morse of Subterranean Distribution, for the recommendation.) It was put out by ICP Orchestra, based in Amsterdam.