LTO – Storybook
Delicate piano melodies constitute the beating heart of LTO’s inorganic soundscape. Yet while nebulous machine whirs and glitches herald a sterile and desolate future, the albums organic component remains refreshingly resilient in ‘rise’ – the thunderous mechanical revolt of tracks such as ‘Bodhran’ in LTO’s previous album find no place in ‘Storybook’. While LTO retains much of the dark, machine-like anonymity of his previous project ‘Old Apparatus’, the album achieves a poise reminiscent of Nils Frahm.
Il:lo – Vega
A Spanish word meaning ‘grassy plain or valley’ and the 5th brightest star in the sky; ‘Vega’ conjures wide-open expanses through its melodic construction, playful percussion and reverberation. The album unifies elements of ambient, house and world music to create a unique sound that is at once calming and invigorating. A document of the travels of the French duo, the percussive sounds of the title track imitate a yearning for adventure, before the smooth saxophone riffs of ‘Lundja’ implore the listener to submit themselves entirely to the breeze. By ‘Kelele’, the mood lends itself more to introspection – an expression of profounder emotions as the duo turn to reflection on their travels.
Jefre-Cantu Ledesma – On The Echoing Green
‘On The Echoing Green’ sees Jefre Cantu-Ledesma move towards shoegaze with a much greater pop-sensibility than in his previous works. ‘A Song of Summer’ uses saturated guitar sounds and heavy distortion to situate the listener in a sun-scorched field, emulating the intensity of a torrid afternoon, surfeited with alcohol and cigarettes. Taking inspiration from Blake’s poem of the same name, the album’s eponymous track utilises lush guitar progressions and entropic noise to collapse temporal boundaries, exploring themes of youth, life and death.
Frameworks – Kings
Combining cinematic compositions with elements of future house and hip-hop, Frameworks has refined his signature sound for his sophomore album. ‘Komorebi’, the 1:15 opening track, fuses birdsong, chimes and strings for a spellbinding opening. With no direct translation in English, the Japanese word captures ‘sunlight through the trees’, a lacuna that can only be a sharp statement of intent – Frameworks’ sound is truly distinctive.