Greetings fellow space travelers, time bandits, and cosmic riders, welcome to another exciting edition of Complex Distractions’ Long Story Short. Here’s where I chat up an album I’m digging in a paragraph or three. I’m getting caught up on some amazing records that have been released over the course of the last three or so months. Lots of things that have fallen through the cracks due to time constraints, an overabundance of amazing albums, and just a general malaise I’ve been fighting since the beginning of summer.
I don’t know what it is. Well, I do. It’s just getting older and watching things change and morph around me, while I feel I’m stuck in the same cycle. Music used to pull me out of that kind of mental self-harm, but it’s been a little heavier than usual. The nice thing is that once I get out of the fog there’s plenty of great music to fill my bruised psyche with.
Silver lining? You betcha.
Today I’m hitting up albums from zakè, Steve Hadfield, Cinchel, and Coral Club. Another round of amazing independent electronic artists, along with some amazing independent record labels. So check them out below and have a pen and paper handy to take some notes.
zakè : Sound Space Variations
I first heard zakè with Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea and their excellent Azure Vista Records release Liberamente. zakè and co made a fabulous zone out new age/drone album that filled the dark chasms in my mind left by a year of isolation and fear(yep, 2020). Then there was zakè and City of Dawn’s Agape, yet another gorgeous swath of droning brilliance and ambient beauty. Now we have zakè’s Sound Space Variations, a continued trek through deep, intellectual sound excursions inviting the listener to open their minds and go deep.
Sound Space Variations goes a little darker than what’s come before, though we build up to it. The six tracks work up from a place of sonic solace to something more sinister, with the final track “Bewrayeth” clocking in at 27 minutes of tension and slow burn dread. There’s an almost Bernard Herrmann feel to it, sounding like a skeletal version of Herrmann’s excellent Taxi Driver score. Once you listen, I think you’ll get it. Either way, this is yet another stunning sonic wall of noise from zakè.
Steve Hadfield : See The World Anew Vol. 2
On musician and record label runner(Disintegration State) Steve Hadfield’s latest release with See Blue Audio he takes inspiration from the great blue sea itself. While his last release with See Blue Audio, See The World Anew Vol. 1 took inspiration from the moon, See The World Anew Vol. 2 takes inspiration from uncharted waters. The vast sea sits in as Hadfield’s muse, while also being a parent and the world stage play a role in this masterful and epic set of songs. You can almost feel yourself disappearing into the abyss and exploring a world under a world as the music unfolds in grand displays of mystery and wonder.
This is a fascinating and spiritually enriching listen, and one that feels incredibly personal. “The Deep Blue Sea” in-particular feels especially warm and delicate with Hadfield’s daughter’s voice echoing throughout the endearing piece.
Coral Club : Lost Cities
Coral Club is the musical project of Alexander Sirenko, and Lost Cities is his third release under that moniker. According to Moon Glyph Records, Lost Cities is “inspired by deserted urban cores during lockdown 2020, it brought to mind disappearing epochs and cultures, lost to time and entropy, nearly without a trace.” There’s a monolithic feel to this album. An industrial heartbeat, as if rhythmically digging to the center of the earth. There’s an organic nature to the sound here. Buzzing tones and reed-like highs give the impression of listening to this album outside among the crickets and chirping night life.
Over the course of seven lively, living, and breathing tomes Sirenko as Coral Club builds a hypnotic and psychedelic listening experience that must be experienced to be truly appreciated.
Cinchel : Disappear
Disappear is the sound of an artist looking for the need to create again. Cinchel and their partner moved from their apartment in the Windy City after 13 years into a new home. This meant relocating the creative space the musician knew for so long into a new, larger space. You’d think moving to a bigger space would mean creative juices flowing freely, but it really meant trying to find the drive once again. Disappear is Cinchel finding that creative groove.
Drones abound, Disappear is a stunning sound world of extraterrestrial sonics and otherworldly noise that feels at once comforting and disconcerting. I feel Cinchel put it best, “dealing with the trauma and expressing the joy of having something stable in a world that is very much not.” Indeed.