The Hydrangeas Whisper by Boof

Boof - The Hydrangeas Whisper

You’ve just paid the cover charge for the galaxy’s premiere dance club/time machine. Patrons of all species gradually stumble into the large room. The DJ grabs the mic and starts to shout. “Welcome, folks! This is Time Warp (not to be confused with Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s Time Warp), and tonight we’ll be zooming and grooving all over the universe in search of one thing: the funk!” You hear an engine start up and the room comes to life. Pleasant travels!

Boof is just one of the numerous names donned by Maurice Fulton, the producer behind The Hydrangeas Whisper, the immaculate funk/house record that more people need to be talking about. Think Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time, but much more mindful of the dance floor headspace. This is undoubtably an artist that holds a mastery over the movement of feet and the bobbing of heads.

Fulton’s sound design and song progressions are fascinating, but what really shines here is the tasteful inclusion of live instrumentation. Nearly every song has some form of marvelous solo riding the wave of house music euphoria. These tracks are definitely slow-burners, but that doesn’t mean you won’t adore every step on these lengthy sonic staircases, and the crests of each will incite chills throughout your whole body.

Maybe the most intriguing inclusion on this wonderful album is a little track entitled “Emi’s M,” which sounds eerily reminiscent of a nigh unmistakable Dave Brubeck classic. Fulton has no issue with making it his own and mutating it into a jazz/dance fusion track for the ages. Quite honestly, this whole record, front-to-back, will provoke head nodding at the very least. If you’re seeking dance floor-igniting, funk/jazz-influenced house music with skilled live instrumentation, this album is for you.

– stasi (@stasisphere)

The Hydrangeas Whisper by Boof

Ten Love Songs by Susanne Sundfør

Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs

The end of the world is here. You are a soul sans a physical body, suspended in a perplexing yet comfortable state, in what appears to be an endless sky stretching in all directions. Other twinkling souls surround you, all facing inward toward an empty space. A bright light from the space illuminates everything, and suddenly you know, without a doubt, that love is all there is and ever was. The light shrinks and silhouettes a female human form. She begins to sing . . .   

I find myself a smidgen anxious while writing this, as there could be no way to string words together to effectively encapsulate how much this album means to me. It is (and I anticipate it will remain for some time) my favorite album released this year, so far. It’s stunningly gorgeous in a multitude of different ways, and I will do my best to highlight just a few of those.

Susanne Sundfør may not be a name you recognize immediately unless you’re reading this from somewhere in Norway or its surrounding areas, where Sundfør is something of a household name and musical hero. Ten Love Songs is her sixth album, but only her second that’s been released on a wide scale. To put it candidly, Sundfør fills each album with simply gorgeous little pop songs nestled within expansive worlds of classical and electronic instrumentation. Her previous album, The Silicone Veil (also a masterpiece, in my opinion), drives a little more on the experimental side of the road, while this record embraces the pop lane in the best way.

From the very first few seconds of “Darlings,” it’s clear that Sundfør and her angelic voice are just something different; something worth listening to and sharing with people you care about. “Fade Away,” “Delirious,” and “Slowly” are perfect, timeless pop songs for any generation. “Memorial” and “Trust Me” could be amazing, world-altering novels in written form. I truly believe Susanne Sundfør has the potential to ignite a terraforming of the entire pop music landscape, forcing simpleminded artists to rethink their strategies entirely. If you’re seeking gorgeously-orchestrated, experimentally-minded pop music, this album is for you.

– stasi (@stasisphere)

Ten Love Songs by Susanne Sundfør

Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

You’ve just stumbled through the door and into the hippest funk club on Saturn’s most happening moon, Hyperion. Species of all sorts fill the smoky room, enjoying drinks and substances of all sizes and shapes. The lights dim down, the house musicians takes the stage, an applause thunders and dies, and the band begins their set . . .

I truly, madly, and deeply love (multi-love?) this album. Multi-Love is Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third studio album, and it’s astoundingly pleasing how much they’ve sonically progressed since their previous two records (which are also quite great, might I add). I struggle to find the right words that effectively encompass this melodically-expansive album, but I can tell you that this talented group has brought the funk, and they’ve brought it hard.

I sincerely hope Prince and Stevie are bobbing their heads to this somewhere in the world, because I know they would surely adore this record. Sound design and savvy studio skills play a hefty role, but they certainly don’t detract from the stellar songwriting found here. If you know of sweeter progressions than the ones found on standouts “The World Is Crowded” and “Necessary Evil,” please, I’m all ears.

And the melodies. Oh, the melodies. I am hard pressed to call this the catchiest album of the year, so far. Every song sounds like a song that’s existed for decades. There is something for everyone on this record, and you’ll discover new things that you love about it with each subsequent listen. If you’re seeking the funkiest tones this side of the galaxy, this album is for you.

– stasi (@stasisphere)

Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

HIVE1 by Tyondai Braxton

Tyondai Braxton - HIVE1

Year: 23XX. You’re a consciousness implanted in a robot, built just like many others on an artificial world. You “wake up” to start your “day” with a greeting from the nano-flies that implant the necessary imagery and motives into your mind hard-drive. Enjoy your “day”!

This one isn’t for the faint of heart. You may know Tyondai Braxton as the former singer and guitarist of Battles (one of my personal favorite bands, and you must take a listen to Mirrored if you have not yet), but don’t let his past resume influence your preconception about what this little album contains. This one is a creature all its own.

The eight tracks on this album were created for the purpose of a performance work entitled Hive that premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and boy, does this sound like a performance work like no other. The predominantly synthetic and percussive textures that weave through this album can be abrasive at times, but every sound has a purpose and place in holding this structure together.

Similar to Holly Herndon’s recent masterwork Platform, this album sounds as if it was graciously sent to us through a time machine from centuries into the future. Contrary to Herndon, Braxton cares not about appeasing the masses’ requirement for anything resembling a harmonious melody. I mean this in the best way possible. If you’re the type of person that talks socially about preferred classical percussion ensemble pieces or your favorite Aphex Twin b-sides, this album is for you.

– stasi (@stasisphere)

HIVE1 by Tyondai Braxton

Positivity in Music

It’s something that is greatly lacking in the music ecosystem. There are far too many outlets dedicating their time to bringing down the unique voices of others. I would love for this site to become a beacon of positivity for those looking to expand their palette for sound consumption in an oversaturated world.

You won’t find negative reviews here. You also won’t find numerical ratings, but rather short glimpses into the worlds that I’ve experienced while listening to these albums.

I hope you enjoy! Thank you for reading!

– stasi

Positivity in Music