Dex Wolfe has revealed details of his first solo release under his own name. The Minnesota songwriter and producer will release his debut EP, Lightness, on October 23rd. While Wolfe hasn’t released any solo music, he has been active in the Minneapolis music scene for over a decade now as a bandmate, engineer and sideman.
In the works for three years, the upcoming Lightness EP saw Wolfe revisit some of the songs he’d written in the past while also crafting new compositions. Initiated by darker times, and mirrorring the state of the world today, the EP is also something to celebrate, being described as “a tenebrous maze that exits into a graceful clearing”. The EP title is inspired by the cycles of light and dark, and as Wolfe explained, it refers to the “process of being in a dark part of the cycle, but being rebirthed in light like we are every day.” Featuring four tracks, Lightness is an impressive showcase of his songwriting and multi-instrumental talents, drawing from post rock, jazz, and folk music. Ahead of the EP release, we can already hear the gorgeous and compelling first single ‘Lightning’. He commented on the song:
“I wrote Lightning while sitting on a bridge in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I was awestruck by a massive golden lightning storm that intricately painted the entire horizon in the distance. As I sat in the light drizzle, I watched tens of passers-by walk with their faces angled downwards toward their phones, paying this incredible beauty of nature no mind or reverence. The juxtaposition of these two events felt so acute, as if being offered up as an archetype of western civilization in the 21st century.”
Mary Lattimore is set to release her new album Silver Ladders next month and she had already enticed us with two sublime singles, ‘Sometimes He’s In My Dreams’ and ‘Pine Trees’. Ahead of the album release October 9th through Ghostly International, the experimental composer and harpist has shared the gorgeous title track. Lattimore offers some insight into it below:
“Silver Ladders was written about this place in Croatia on the island of Hvar, where the sea was deep greeny-blue and you could float with all of the people from the town. There were all of these ladders from the stone path right into the water. I thought it was the most beautiful place on Earth, as a person who loves to swim. I was hired to play a wedding in Big Sur, another breathtaking spot, and the rugged coast reminded me of my time in Croatia, so this melody came to me as I was warming up for the wedding. I recorded it on my phone and that’s where the song came from.
This was one we tried to recreate it in the studio, but the demo sounded better and purer. The ending was smudgy and watercolory already but I tried to describe to Neil what I wanted from it, even more strange and suspended in the air, and he pulled some wizardry and made it sound just how I’d imagined it. The demos I made with the idea that he was the one to fulfill what the song was asking for with techniques I didn’t know how to manifest but could kind of amorphously describe. He really “got it” and that’s why we were a good team, along with his beautiful new ideas (especially adding all the bass synth) that really worked with the vibe.”
Suuns have been rolling out several versions of ‘2020’ as part of their remix project, which saw them invite other musicians they admire to remix the song lifted from their 2013 album Images Du Futur. Following the first two instalments, the Montreal based quartet have just shared the third and final one, featuring re-workings from Brazilian singer-songwriter Sessa; Montréal-Beirut contemporary Arabic audio-visual duo Jerusalem In My Heart; Brooklyn-based dream-pop project Sound of Ceres; New York saxophonist, drummer, synthesizer player and composer Brahja Waldman, and footwork pioneer RP Boo. All the remixes are avilable digitally on Bandcamp on a Pay What You Can basis, with all proceeds going to the NAACP. Here´s the electrifying version of ‘2020’ reworked by Brahja Waldman.
There’s a new album on the way from Norwegian musician and composer Kjell Braaten, who is also known as a member of Wardruna. Entitled Ferd, which means “journey” and “explore”, the album draws from a wide range of worldwide influences and sounds, especially from North Africa, America and the East and aims to honour the people who have traveled the world, promoting cultural exchange. “This aspect is highlighted through working with music in a historical sense,” explains the press release, “as most of the travelers’ instruments were brought back from far away cultures – bringing with them musical inspiration as well.” Braaten sought inspiration in Scandinavian nature and ancient sites where he spent a long time.
Ferd arrives on November 13th through By Norse Music, and ahead of it Braaten has shared the lead single ‘Østavind’, which is an old Norwegian term for the wind that blows from east. He commented on it:
“I use the word in the expanded sense, pointing at the fact that much of our culture (as many musical instruments) was brought back from the far east. It is a hymn to those who travelled there, but also to those who came here. There is endless evidence of how vital part this trade has played in Scandinavia’s cultural development. To underline the cultural exchange, I have used only instruments based on accepted finds from around Scandinavia, some with its origin in the middle east. The rhythms and scales used in this composition are from both cultures.”
‘Østavind’ comes with a video accompaniment produced by Ruben Gentékos and Tyra Rachel Torp-Bangsrud. Here it is.
Celebrated and talented pianist and composer Neil Cowley embraced a solo career last year, after more than a decade with his trio, Neil Cowley Trio. Following a period of self-discovery and reinvention as an artist, he is delving further into his solo career with a trilogy of new EP’s. Entitled Building Blocks, his new work weaves a mosaic of sounds and influences, skillfully merging elements of ambient, electronic, improvisational and contemporary classical music. As the press release describes, the new compositions “chronicl[e] Neil Cowley’s reconnection with his principal instrument and old friend, the piano.”
The first EP, Building Blocks, Pt. 1, will see the light of day this Friday and Cowley is offering ‘Eureka Pulse’ as the first utterly sublime and delicate taste from it.
In other good news, Neil Cowley has also announced a debut solo album will arrive in 2021, following the EP’s release.
We are getting excitingly close to the release of Manu Delago‘s Circadian Live, his live album recorded last year while touring Circadian in Europe with his ensemble. Delago had already shared the majestic live version of ‘Uranus’ and now the single has been paired with an accompanying video. Watch it below.