Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are something more than a band. They merge different genres, cultures, and media into intense and sometimes bewildering works of art including costume design, video games, and music. Their second album is titled UZU and begins with a serene tribute to Atalanta, a character from Greek mythology who was abandoned as an infant for being born a girl, nursed by bears and raised by hunters.
Grey Reverend is the musical project of L.D. Brown, a singer-songwriter with a strong jazz background. He began playing saxophone at the age of 9 and when he was 22 he studied jazz guitar under the tutelage of the great Pat Martino. His aspirations to master the complex intricacies of the genre were thwarted by focal dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects fine motor skills. Determined not to give up music altogether, Brown focused his attention toward acoustic guitar and his voice, and has just released his second album under the Grey Reverend moniker, A Hero’s Lie.
Anna Meredith pushes sound to exciting places. The Scottish composer has written music for opera, collaborated with a beatboxer, and wrote a piece titled Handsfree in which she directed the talented musicians of Great Britain’s National Youth Orchestra to perform with their instruments resting at their sides. She also makes electronic music, taking her imaginative sounds from the concert hall to your headphones. KRCU’s Jason Brown has this review of her latest EP, titled Jet Black Raider.
Patrick Sweany began his musical journey in acoustic blues, but quickly stepped over to electric sounds and was never shy about incorporating soul and R&B. His latest record is titled Close To The Floor and the bluesman explores various dark themes including the gut-wrenching topic of premature death.
Kimya Dawson is a quirky lo-fi folk singer and Aesop Rock is a dexterous and dense rapper. The two have collaborated before, but Hokey Fright is their first full length album together.
This pairing makes sense because these two artists each have a conversational wisdom in their work. There’s a positivity to what they do: despite the heaviness of topics such as death, and not just the concept of death, but specific and personal examples involving someone one’s own age.