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sam prekop / who's your new professor / thrill jockey

Fans of the Sea and Cake and Sam Prekop's previous solo release will be pleased to hear that his newest solo venture doesn't wander too far from the sound that made him famous. (It also probably helps that three-quarters of the Sea and Cake play on Who's Your New Professor, as well as Chad Taylor, Josh Abrams and Rob Mazurek, the same instrumentalists responsible for his earlier solo album's lighter, jazzy touch.) "Something" opens the record with Prekop's layered, breathy vocals hovering over the sounds of a cornet and bass. The album follows through with a mix of livelier instrumentals and flowing, soothing songs, Prekop's melodies melting into phased-out guitar and gentle rhythms; in "Magic Step," his vocal disappears allowing the warm, Caribbean-inspired percussion to carry the track. Perfectly gratifying for these last (let's hope!) nights of winter.
listen: density
listen: dot eye

masha qrella / unsolved remained / morr

Sweet vocal melodies with experimental indie-tronic pop. "Destination Vertical" by Rechenzentrum and Masha Qrella was also previously released on ~scape's But Then Again five year anniversary album.
listen: destination vertical
listen: feels like

goldmund / corduroy road / type

Goldmund is the alias of Keith Kenniff, a young Berklee student who has previously released an album of electronic music on Merck. This sparse tastefully performed solo piano music is very delicately played, and with only the barest accompaniment, Kenniff manages to create a compelling dramatic arc over the course of the album's 13 songs.
listen: ba
listen: door of our home

minamo / shining / 12k

Japanese electro-acoustic minimalists Minamo have returned with the much-anticipated follow-up to 2003's aptly titled Beautiful. Last year, band member Keiichi Sugimoto released two great solo albums under the name Fourcolor. I was enthralled with his gorgeous processed guitar pieces, but upon popping the new Minamo album into my stereo I realized that I'd forgotten the wonderful intricacies and dynamics of the full quartet's interplay. As on their previous four full-length releases, Minamo have built the album around live recordings and improvisations, with lulling electronic textures and ambient drones building and weaving amidst simple piano and acoustic guitar passages. This is a group that doesn't need to hide behind a massive and dense wall of sound, but instead works with an incredibly light and precise touch. Shining is a fantastic album, quite possibly their greatest one yet. Of the many groups working with laptops today, very few have figured out how to develop this level of organic interaction between the musicians. Minamo makes the process look deceptively easy.
listen: raum
listen: tone

dj hell / ny muscle / international deejay gigolo

DJ Hell borrowed A.R.E. Weapon's track title for his latest album, NY Muscle, and hired some "NY muscle" to help him make a new album of nasty dancefloor rumbling jams. The album is peppered with a few bleepy nouveau electro tracks Keep on Waiting and Wired featuring Jon Selway, plus a cameo by James Murphy adding his muddy/blown speaker, smash-cymbal disco rock vibe to Tragic Picture Show, but the majority of the album is nouveau Chicago: dark, pumping house grooves with a teaspoon of nastiness thrown in. Let's party!
listen: keep on waiting (feat. erlend oye)
listen: listen to the hiss