Steve Hauschildt — Sequitur
Emeralds co-pilot Steve Hauschildt follows up his 'Tragedy & Geometry' album for Kranky with the plush new age disco dreamscapes of 'Sequitur'. Arguably, Steve is the lazy one in Emeralds, conjuring only three solo album to date compared with the gazillion respective works from bandmates John Elliot and Mark McGuire. But, as evidenced here and previously, he's also the canniest and most pop-wise, honing a more concise, richly rhythmic and melodic style of composition still rooted in cerebral concepts: "I feel that the album in a sense treads the imaginary boundary between Nature and Artiﬁce. It is postmodern, but not necessarily a post-Freudian statement on cyborg theory or feminism. Rather it is a musically mimetic domain where these ideas freely collide and coalesce". Commanding a 20-piece arsenal including Crumar Orchestrator 2, EDP Wasp & Spider, Farfisa Organ, Moog Modular V, Oberheim OB-SX, Roland TR-808, Linndrum LM-2, and a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, he serves a deliciously widescreen sound, yet perhaps the most crucial element is Steve's own voice, albeit filtered and transformed by his kit to escape the strictures of gender and create cloud-like choral harmonies and pads which both emulate and trigger human responses equally. They're almost inseparable from the purely synthetic elements, yet it's their unique formants (sort of vocal fingerprints) which present a valuable variable and a warm, glowing soul which radiates optimism and a positive sense of futurism.
Loscil — Sketches From New Brighton
Scott Morgan makes a welcome return with his seventh album of amorphous ambient drift as Loscil. Since 2001 the Vancouver resident has eked out a special niche with his much-loved Kranky releases, a sound that's equal parts dub techno momentum and tenderly organic sound design, one which consistently and carefully treads a fine line between crepuscular, chamber-like melancholy and widescreen optimism. 'Sketches From New Brighton' is an impressionistic collection inspired by his time spent watching the ships drift by from an ocean side park in Vancouver. It unfolds as gracefully as that imagery evokes; massive abstract shapes serenely, quietly cut across rippling rhythmic patterns, distant fog horn like sonorities ricocheting across the bay with the noirish, North Western elegance of a Badalamenti theme for a Twin Peaks. This is a really lovely album, do check if you're into The Sight Below, Biosphere, Yagya...