Long Story Short : Yves Malone, The Psychic Circle, Blank For.ms, Sachi Kobayashi

Hello, and welcome to the first ‘Long Story Short’ of 2023. Feels like its been forever since I posted one of these, and maybe it has. Regardless, I’ve got a group of albums here that I think you should check out. Labels like Castles In Space, Library of the Occult, Mystery Circles and Noci Miste are serving up some fun, heady, and engaging music. Getting the year started right with releases by Yves Malone, The Psychic Circle, Blank For.ms, and Sachi Kobayashi.

There’s a good possibility that some or all of these artists are going to be tickling your ears for the first time, and that’s a very good thing. That’s why I do these, so that I can spread the word on some pretty amazing artists. So if you like what you read, go check out these albums and you dig? Well then spread the gospel, ladies and gentlemen. And maybe even drop some money in the jar and pay these artists for work. That’s how we keep the artist making art.

Without further adieu, let’s get started.

Yves Malone : A Hello To A Goodbye

Canada’s Yves Malone(aka Dylan Marcus McConnell ) knows how to create a mood. His last album, 2020s Immortal Death, was a sweaty, dark synth album that locked into early 80s synth scores. All hardware, all the time, Yves Malone commits to the sound of the time and does it expertly and eloquently. His music evokes late night movies, alone in the house, and the feeling that something isn’t quite right.

With his new album – the jittery and propulsive A Hello To A Goodbye – Malone goes all in. Recorded in the height of pandemic times, Yves Malone mines the fears, doubts, and unknowns of a future sitting firmly in the grey area. There’s the kinetic touches of Harold Faltermeyer, the melodic feel of Tangerine Dream, and the analog bleeps and blips of Konami Kukeiha Club, all rolled into an immensely engaging and heady album. He manages to evoke both a calm surrender and pensive paranoia; an album rich in layers and emotional turmoil.

Library of the Occult : Dracula(1897)

Leave it to Library of the Occult to fill those musical caverns inside of you that you didn’t know needed filling. Tom McDowell fills a very specific musical need on his LOTO label, and it’s eerie, psychedelic, and always on the Gothic side of things.

The latest release coincides with the label’s book club, and that book is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Each month a 7 inch lathe cut single is released with far out music to accompany Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story. Each month is a different artist, and this month it’s The Psychic Circle who provide their brand of Gothic-meets-psychedelia sounds over two dreamy, woozy tracks. Groove to their psych-fried sounds while getting lost into the world of the Count, Renfield, and a story that started a decades-long fascination with the living dead, doomed romanticism, and put Transylvania on the map.

BlankFor.ms : In Part

BlankFor.ms is Brooklyn-based musician Tyler Gilmore. Tyler makes dreamy and engrossing music using degraded tapes, analog synthesisers and an old spinet piano. It’s music that tows the line between subtle ambient and new school electronic classical. The music is rich in emotional ebbs and flows, wobbly sounds as if emanating from a dream, and which are then brought into lucid daylight like a distant sound that wakes you from that dream world.

Gilmore’s latest as BlankFor.ms is the mysterious and hazy In Part. Released with Mystery Circles, In Part is 6 woozy songs covered in tape hiss, electronic grit, and brought into our reality with piano. These songs walk a fine line between dreams, reality, and that halfway point between comfort and disconcerting. Gilmore makes fine use of mood, atmosphere, and the feeling of being slightly off balance. Like that gauzy feeling when the anesthetic begins to wear off and consciousness returns.

Sachi Kobayashi : Damage

Tokyo, Japan’s Sachi Kobayashi’s heavy and heartfelt album Damage is made as sort of the headspace of a man suffering from mental illness. The kinetic highs and lows from wavering distortion and confused static to almost manic joy comes through in her electronic compositions. Experimental in nature, but with the album’s narrative it all makes sense and becomes far more emotionally connective in that way.

This is what Kobayashi had to say about her work and the album: “I like to imagine something from a sound. This project is a record of my experimentation to see what can be created from a single sound. As I composed the music, I thought of a number of cinematic scenes, so I developed a story and created a fictional movie, and the music was used as its soundtrack.” “The theme of this fictional film is mental health. The animation has a few twists and turns to entertain, but my thought while creating this story is that I want you to take the necessary steps in case of an emergency. For you will not regret it. Because I believe it will save you from yourself.”

Damage is a striking and effective album, both in its use of electronics to create a frenzied mind and anxiety-ridden soul, as well an album saying something important about mental health. Hit up Noci Miste and grab a copy.

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