BY TOM MURPHY AWARENESS – SUPER PERFUNDO ON THE EARLY EVE OF YOUR DAY AwareNess is the brilliant, primary beatmaker and producer in hip-hop duo Calm. with rapper Time who has released a single here and there over the years. But this album, which he says was in a dream and inspired by the film, Waking Life, highlights how his tracks are often an exercise in creative sound design, most often giving resonant emotional context to poetry. In this set of songs, AwareNess provides both content and context in finely composed electronic melodies with textural rhythms baked in giving the melancholic and reflective moods a tangible quality. Bright, ethereal bursts of strings and guitars flare and fade over minimal beats and the command of tonal nuance is worthy of the likes of Air and Burial. If you’ve heard any of AwareNess’ other productions and beats you know they’re standout, but this album is a stirring demonstration that his skills can also stand alone. KELLY GARLICK – WILD GOOSE VICTIM Kelly Garlick has apparently only been crafting ambient soundscapes and what one might place in the realm of hypnogogic pop for less than a year, but already this sprawling collection of sound experiments feels like years in the making. Garlick uses field recordings and samples to convey a physicality of nearly abstract but deeply felt emotional experiences. The flow of white noise in “Cardiovascular” is the musical equivalent of the haze and imperfection of a family film reel or an old VHS recording. And it is lo-fi elements like that which Garlick brings to every track that anchor the songs into your mind the way a hook might in a pop song. One hears the sound of ghostly guitar, chimes, distant human or non-human chatter and a diverse array of other sound sources collaged together to produce a unique listening experience. The song titles perhaps suggest a more concrete and specific experiential touchstone like “Crying glistening,” “Diving or falling depends on your framing of it” or “Flickering burning star,” and in doing so, add another layer of depth to an album that contains a multitude of meanings and inventive creative expression. MEET THE GIANT – WE ARE REVOLTING It’s been five years since Meet the Giant released its self-titled debut after spending nearly a decade incubating its songwriting and sounds before launching in a public manner. But a pandemic has stretched the timelines for all bands. And Meet the Giant is a group that seems meticulous in its songwriting and arrangements, even though this album, as with the initial offering, has a core of earnest emotional power. The way the trio combines fiery yet elegant hard rock with moody post-punk and an electronic music sensibility rooted in downtempo and hip-hop production so seamlessly is even more developed here. The songs are scorching and soothing and this time around the social commentary is even more poignant. But it’s never clumsy. And when Meet the Giant makes obviously powerful statements in music and lyrics on “Will Not Follow,” those more subtle but no less incisive as on “Death Past Her,” “Woman Kind” and “Seeker” hit just as deeply. Fans of Failure will appreciate how this record in particular feels like an arc of story from the future that comments with insight on a dystopian present through cinematic epics rendered as rock songs. SENSE FROM NONSENSE – WHERE PLANETS GO TO DIE Ever since Tom Nelsen has been making music again under the Sense From Nonsense name as companion pieces to his imaginative short films spanning realms of horror, science fiction and/or surreal humor, he’s more fully developed what might be described as a sound design approach to songwriting with a similar sense of playfulness. For this latest EP, Nelsen taps into a kind of a collective science fiction myth of a point in space where everything ends. But here the mixing of zombie mythos and the variety of cosmic, psychedelic science fiction embodied in Heavy Metal Magazine and the comic book work of Alejandro Jodorowsky and his unrealized film version of Dune, Nelsen makes a new kind of a synthwave John Zorn reminiscent of the weirder end of Trans Am. FOR MORE, VISIT QUEENCITYSOUNDSANDART.WORDPRESS.COM 25

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