offthesky - The Serpent Phase
I have a confession to make. When Jason Cordor debuted Cold Distances
(dataObscura/databloem) in 2003, I thought it was the bee's knees. I listened to that disc on repeat for weeks and practically wore it out. I continued to follow Cordor's work over his next few releases, but I eventually started to feel that he was moving in directions that did not always sync with my audio palette. Sometimes his work hit the right spot, but often it didn't.
With that as context, The Serpent Phase
really resonates with me in a way that none of his releases have since 2003, even though this album is nothing like Cold Distances
. The Serpent Phase
is seven short tracks based largely on acoustic instrumentation (flutes, violin) that, of course, are treated in the ways you might expect with modern processing methods. The atmosphere is serene and mysterious; the sounds bellow and fill the sky. This is great drifting ambiance and will likely be one of my favorites of the year. Frankly, if I had heard this one "blind" with no knowledge of the artist, I never would have pegged it as offthesky.
I'm a sucker for good art and packaging too. The cover reminds me of something that might be seen in the v23 days of 4AD, and the digipak itself is a 6-panel matte finish. Lovely.
Buy/Stream: https://hibernate.bandcamp.com/album/the-serpent-phaseMax Richter - Sleep
This has been resurfacing in my listening over the course of the week. This is a really ambitious and lovely release. I complained about it a bit in the thread dedicated to this album, largely because it is not conductive to sleep. But is an outstanding piece of work for waking.
Richard Allen nails my thoughts on this album in his review at A Closer Listen
If you're not a huge fan of modern classical/composition, then at the very least check out the "space" tracks (what Allen refers to as his "space playlist"). Those tracks alone are worth the price of admission.