Techno-maven Holly Herndon’s debut album, Movement, explores the tenuous and enigmatic relationship between emanations of the flesh and any sufficiently advanced technology. As Arthur C. Clarke could have told you, the result is pretty darn magical. These seven tracks find the flame-haired sonic scientist invoking experimental rhythm and soundscapes that are almost as accessible as any top-40 pabulum. The work challenges its listeners, but it also seduces with serpentine, cybernetic glamour before dangling us off a cliff. Standout selections include fan death-whir ritualization “Terminal” and haunted vocable meditation “Fade.”
Self-described “backseat bass hearse/psychic tango” duo Jewels of the Nile’s third release won’t drop until February, but you can hear it now and presale orders score you gold vinyl, among other artsy rewards. I’ve been enamored of Jessy DeLaurentis and Meghan Scanlon’s witchwave project since its first single, a cover of Christian Death’s “Deathwish,” appeared on a 2011 split with Soft Metals. The debut full-length, Pleasure, enthralled me and this EP continues that starry-eyed tradition. Test the mantle with “Gold Chains” and “Concierge” and see if you can resist Jewels’ constellation.
When the world lost Trish Keenan to pneumonia in the first breath of 2011, many Broadcast fans were left with a hole in their hearts. I am among that group. Listening to the group’s final album, Berberian Sound Studio, can’t erase the grief of the horrifyingly commonplace erasure of a talented vocalist and songwriter from our collective musical memory, but it’s a lush, gorgeous and thoroughly spooky posthumous tribute to the promise cut short by coccoid bacteria and circumstance. Instrumental in nature, it spotlights the spirit of library music that attracted many Broadcast fans and serves as a fitting hauntological tribute to the absence of Keenan’s voice.