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…