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There is a clichéd way to say anything worth saying, so Michael Feuerstack simply looks for the scenic route and tries to enjoy the journey at the same time. On his latest full-length album, Natural Weather, the songwriter wanted to make something gentle and complex: a recording that celebrates music as a refuge from binary thinking – a means to seek wisdom in the grey areas.

Listen // Watch videos for ‘Love Is All Around‘ + ‘Nobody Knows‘ –

Recorded at home, Natural Weather offers a deceptively rich palette. Most of the instrumentation is provided by Feuerstack, with Jeremy Gara on drums and violin cameos by Sarah Neufeld. The background singers also figure prominently: Camille Delean shadows Feuerstack in harmony, while Michelle Tompkins and Mike O’Brien glimmer in response.

This collection balances Feuerstack’s signature dark humour and empathic inquisitiveness as the songs relax into deep ambiguity around heavy themes: love, death, memory, age, mental illness, intimacy, and ambition.

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The sonic landscapes conjured by JOYFULTALK reflect a curiosity; a tinkered lightfield of forward motion, a maniac’s grove. The brainchild of composer and instrument builder Jay Crocker, JOYFULTALK is without a doubt the most forward-thinking musical act to emerge from the rural outpost of Crousetown, Nova Scotia. Along with fellow Calgary transplant and multi-instrumentalist Shawn Dicey (Ox, Lab Coast), JOYFULTALK offers up instrumental compositions that flow like wordless rivers and glitching fields of electric grass, through a bric-a-brac vocabulary of handmade electronics. Their music channels a sonic regionalism influenced by the craggy treelines and babbling brooks of Lunenburg county, with gnarled jamscapes rendering natural spaces in a hazy parallel universe, navigating the astral plane by way of their rugged Maritime environs.

Montreal’s Constellation Records have announced the project’s sophomore album, Plurality Trip, due out later this summer. You can hear the first single, Monocult, below and watch the album teaser which includes the song Future Energy Field I.

Listen to ‘Monocult’ // Watch the album teaser video

“decidedly darker than its predecessor, taking influence from contemporary trance and techno”Exclaim!

Plurality Trip is an extension and refinement of the duo’s junkshop practices, drawing from contemporary dark trance and techno, while rooted in the outré swamps of krautrock and the refracted webs of noise and dub. Though heavier than its predecessor, the weight is never debilitating – Crocker and Dicey roam the shadows with rugged tones that reveal an expansive core. Pulled into a half-sped ghettotech mirage, woozy on new-age overdose, the listener may be lulled into a key-run reminiscent of Mahmoud Ahmed before eddying into a whirlpool of industrial jank. Heady and skitteringly kinetic, Plurality Trip unfolds like a fever dream shot through with dappled forest light and darkening skies. The result is a superbly idiosyncratic and invigorating take on avant-trance music with few comparisons.