Various Artists – Album Roundup

We’ve all seen some pretty rough justice in the wake of global capitalism’s recent crises, but Greece has suffered worse than any other part of the developed world. The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud appears to be a response to these circumstances, although it’s too complex an album to be pinned down quite so glibly. Choral voices are layered with a complex variety of rock textures, ranging from post-rock atmospherics, through mathy convolutions to heavy prog riffing. It’s the big epic sweep of things that tends to predominate, rather than the individual voice or the…

Various Artists – Album Roundup

There’s more than a nod to dreampop and shoegaze in this music, but Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo are clearly too in love with the raw and ragged sound of a distorted electric guitar to tame it to the extent that might imply. Some of Wish You Were A Pony is downright heavy! This is pop music, but not lowest-common-denominator, mass-market pop; it’s pop because it’s all about simple, accessible melodies, infectious, danceable rhythms, lush, inviting soundscapes, and, well… fun.

ELIKA – Snuggle Bunnies (shoegaze/ dreampop)

Shoegaze and dreampop are genres that, because they are so sonically mediated, offer artists an opportunity to work in a way that is conceptually or semantically layered without seeming inaccessible. Because they offer an established language which is both amenable to manipulation, and widely understood, they lend themselves to very individual statements that are stylistically located without being generic. In other words, they are suitable venues for musical artists seeking to combine a serious, even experimental creative agenda with a pop sensibility.

Drowner – E.P. (shoegaze/ dream pop)

Listen hard, listen through the surface textures of Drowner’s debut release, and you will find a lot of the music is punchy and kinetic: that’s not how it presents itself, however, because they are punching through a big fluffy pillow of sonic goose down. This is music that is as much about its textures as anything else, and its textures are big, soft, spacious and enveloping. At times there are potentially harsh distortions, but they pass through abrasion into white noise, to flow over and through you like the sea.

Ports Of Call – Fractals (shoegaze/ dreampop)

Bass and drums provide Fractals with a spare and sturdy scaffold, from which they hang their shimmering banners of translucent, liquid sound. There are vocals, with audible lyrics, but for me they function similarly to the guitars, as a textural element: reverb returns are often separated in the mix from their sources, vocal or instrumental, but the effect is usually so wet, so expansive that it overrides the ‘literal’ dry sound. This is a music of soundscapes: it’s something of a cliché to talk about ‘visual’ music, and people often do so without being clear…