Death Blues
Questionnaire II

Daniel Bachman
Blevin Blectum
Ulises Conti
Ian William Craig
Dakota Suite & Sirjacq
Death Blues
Yair Etziony
Imagho & Mocke
Kassel Jaeger
John Kannenberg
Martin Kay
Kontakt der Jünglinge
Akira Kosemura
Land Observations
Klara Lewis
Oliver Lieb
Nikkfurie of La Caution
Pitre and Allen
Michael Robinson
Slow Dancing Society
Tender Games
Tirey / Weathers
Tokyo Prose
The Void Of Expansion
wild Up
Yodok III
Russ Young

Compilations / Mixes
Dessous Sum. Grooves 2
Silence Was Warm Vol. 5
Under The Influence Vol. 4

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Belle Arché Lou
Blind EP3
Blocks and Escher
Sunny Graves
Paradox & Nucleus
Pye Corner Audio
Sawa & Kondo
Toys in The Well
Marshall Watson

Toys in The Well: Now, OK
Toys in The Well

Múm, Sigur Ros, and Efterklang are the influences cited by Toys in the Well for Now, OK, and the detail's as handy a starting point as any for considering the merits of the twenty-three-minute EP. Certainly Toys in the Well—formed in 2009 in Odessa, Ukraine and now operating out of Uppsala, Sweden, and Riga—shares with those better-known outfits certain qualities, among them a concern for delicate songcraft and instrumental colour. Five years on from its Letters To Ourselves When We Grow Up album, the group returns with four electro-acoustic settings whose sinuous melodies whisper their way into one's thoughts.

In material written by Jachin Pousson and Joel Gabrielsson, the group weaves a rich pop fabric from guitars, synthesizers, piano, glockenspiel, and drums, though it's a hushed vocal sound that is Toys in the Well's most distinguishing sonic characteristic. Credit for that goes to Joel, who sings throughout, and Sofia Gabrielsson, who appears on two songs. “Way Inside” inaugurates the EP on a luscious, heavily atmospheric note with a captivating lead melody whose appeal is amplified when it's alternately tinkled by glockenspiel and sung . A hint of post-rock seeps into “Wind Chases” in the rhythmic insistence that drums contribute to the otherwise free-floating, synth-drenched reverie. At seven minutes, “Most Grow” is both the EP's longest song and its most ambitious in terms of arrangement and epic reach. Each song is a meticulously crafted scene-painting that douses the vocals with resplendent instrumental detail, whether it be the soft glimmer of a synthesizer or a piano or guitar texture. Lyrically, the group focuses on life issues—weathering personal storms, grappling with decisions large and small, growing up, and so on—but does so in a way that thankfully doesn't translate into music that's downtrodden or bleak.

August-September 2014