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Koeosaeme’s Annulus builds a cohesive world of glossy, blissed-out reveries

Japanese producer Ryu Yoshizawa has a rich career that includes making music for business conglomerates Square Enix and Lotte, spending 17 years and counting in sound artists’ group Office Intenzio, and providing live support for synth-pop pioneers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. His output as Koeosaeme has been varied too. His 2017 debut under that […]

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Colleen’s The Tunnel and the Clearing is a perfect summer breeze of an album

Under the name Colleen, French composer and multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott has spent the past two decades traversing musical styles: She explored hypnagogic looped samples on her 2003 debut, Everyone Alive Wants Answers, dulcet folktronica on 2005’s The Golden Morning Breaks, and chamber-music ambience on 2007’s Les Ondes Silencieuses. Schott’s work is consistent in its arresting […]

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Crazy Doberman take us on unwieldy free-improvised journeys with Two Tales of Lost Witness Marks

Crazy Doberman are an Indiana free-improvisation and jazz collective created in 2016 as an offshoot of the group Doberman, started three years before. Core members, including Tim Gick and Doberman cofounder Drew Davis, appear on many recordings, but Crazy Doberman’s lineup is loose—it varies on each of the band’s 40-plus albums and has featured dozens […]

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Aya Nakamura delivers pure shots of intimate emotion on Aya

French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura expresses an effortless but firm candor in her lyrics (she sings in French) that’s cleanly mirrored in her music. Her breakout single, 2018’s “Djadja,” was a relentless kiss-off; its unwavering dancehall beat and bubbling synth percussion provided the perfect backdrop to Nakamura’s exhausted yet ferocious vocals. This synchronicity permeates her third […]

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Trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes demonstrate their powerful synchronicity

Trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes begin their new duo album, Heritage of the Invisible II (International Anthem), with “Initial Meditation,” a red-hot vortex of percussion and electronics whose abrasive, hypnotizing swirls sometimes sound like a helicopter flying overhead. That powerful opening statement makes clear that these musicians—best known from unrepentantly political jazz ensemble […]

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Loraine James expands her kaleidoscopic IDM on Nothing

Loraine James makes kaleidoscopic music defined by frenetic, glitched-out beats. Despite its restless sense of perpetual movement, the London producer’s music is transparently emotive; every turbulent arrangement allows for a narrative that conveys anxiety, anger, and giddiness, even as the sound and aesthetic of a track is often icy and austere. After breaking through with […]

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Phew’s harrowing synth-and-voice experiments on Vertigo KO channel the dread of living in our world

For more than four decades, Hiromi Moritani has been making music by her own rules. She’s largely known for the short-lived art-rock band Aunt Sally, which she started as a teenager in late-70s Osaka, and for her 1981 self-titled solo album under the name Phew. Since then she’s continually honed her craft as Phew, expanding […]

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Kelly Lee Owens’s Inner Song is laser focused and immersive

Welsh producer Kelly Lee Owens begins her sophomore album, Inner Song (Smalltown Supersound), with an instrumental cover of Radiohead’s “Arpeggi.” Her version is all about effervescent electronics, and it can evoke the feeling of being underwater—isolated from the rest of the world with only your thoughts. When Owens’s vocals arrive on the following track, “On,” […]