Spotlight 17
Anneli Drecker

Aegri Somnia
Susan Alcorn
Damián Anache
A Sides and Makoto
Heather Woods Broderick
Atrium Carceri
Robert Crouch
Anneli Drecker
David Evans
Anne Garner
Tania Giannouli
Peter Gregson
Grönnert and Mondfish
Emily Hall
Hidden Orchestra
Hior Chronik
Hilde Marie Holsen
Deborah Martin
Scott Miller
Monkey Plot
Kate Moore
Mr. Jones
NOW Ensemble
Numina + Zero Ohms
Kristoffer Oustad
Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier
Bruno Sanfilippo
Maria Schneider
Dirk Serries
Robert Scott Thompson
Skydive Trio
Time Being
toy.bizarre / EMERGE
T_st & Dronelock
Kamasi Washington
Andrew Weathers
Yen Pox
Young & Martin

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Alex Agore
Bird People / Waterflower
Donna McKevitt
M. Mucci
Nattavaara Rocks

Bird People / Waterflower: Split Cassette
Liminal Noise

Here's an hour-long split cassette release with much to recommend it. The tenth such outing from Liminal Noise, the release features material by two artists inhabiting different spheres within the psych-folk genre, with the A-side given over to two long-form improvisations by Bird People (Austrian Ulrich Rois) and the B to arresting vocal-heavy musings by Waterflower (Riga, Latvia-based Sabine Moore).

On the Bird People date, Rois is joined by two new band members for live playing bereft of overdubs and effects, the result of which is meditative-styled dronescaping generated from a variety of acoustic instruments. Cymbals, bells, and singing bowls are prominently deployed, though bowed strings, banjo picking, and harmonium wheeze also surface during the twenty-two-minute “It's A Long Way To Snowy Valley.” Stylistically, it's more ritual drone than gamelan, but sonically the percussive character of the piece establishes a connection. About halfway through the piece, the activity level heats up and the material's psychedelic leanings intensify. During the comparatively restrained “Covered in Ashes,” Bird People eschews percussion for eight minutes of tremulous string playing.

As absorbing as Bird People's music is, it's the Waterflower half that's the release's strongest selling point. In her six pieces, Moore assembles a multitude of sounds into unpredictable collages, and it's not unusual to hear a piano warbling at the center of a pulsating whorl of processed rattle and thrum. Following a Popol Vuh-styled opening salvo (“Tree's Hands”), vocals surface in “Sniegoti” to immediately alter one's take on the Waterflower project. Moore multiplies her voice until it becomes a babbling brook of vocalese and in so doing amplifies the trippy quality of her musical world. In “Wind's Havoc,” the gentle murmur of Moore's voice offsets the turbulence of thunder, whereas “Eyes” grows eerie by comparison when disembodied vocal expressions flood the haunted space. Things take an especially psychedelic turn during the ten-minute closer “Reasons To Sleep” when a potpourri of quivering sounds--vocal, squeals, and otherwise—collide within an amoebic mass. These Waterflower tracks prove hard to ignore when they are so—in keeping with an especially aptly titled track—“Different.”

July-August 2015