Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it includes projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes it's just made up of great records that we want everyone to hear, but never got the chance to write about. The result is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.
S. Araw Trio: XIII Activated Clown
Recorded during a residency Portugal, this record is a sprawling, otherworldly testament to the freedom that results from setting a group of trusted friends loose in an improvisatory way. According to press materials, the two sides of the record—each of which consists of a single piece—are themed around day and night, but even those thematic conceits dont really seem to limit what Cameron Stallones, Tomo Jacobson, and Jon Leland do in practice.
The structure is loose and fluid, bleeding from swirling ambient passages—like the bit that opens "Mantis Suite: Invitation to Love," where MIDI mallets patter like digital rain—into abstract jazz passages and jittery percussive bits that are harder to categorize. They seem to often mine their sample libraries for cheap-sounding electronics, but arranging them at in such a way that they still feel lush and misty—like a diorama of a jungle mocked up with toothpicks and silly string.— Colin Joyce, Sun Araw's Misty New Album Shows the Freedom of Improvising With Friends
Terre Thaemlitz: Comp x Comp
One of electronic music’s most important thinkers offers a big ol’ data dump here of old tracks once intended for or released on far-flung compositions. A lot of it’s the disorienting sound-collages and twisted noise for which the musician best known as DJ Sprinkles is most acclaimed, but there’s also stranger things collected here. See tracks 28-75, each of which are only a second long and only one of which actually contains any sound. These were originally part of a tribute to the creator of the CD, and intended to fill up the remaining space on the disc so that it was entirely full of data. It’s divorce from that context here, which only makes it feel stranger as you watch in silence as Bandcamp “plays” each of the sound-less tracks. What does it mean? I am not smart enough to know, but it gets my gears turning more than your average Bandcamp upload.— Colin Joyce
Damon Zucconi: Untitled Substance
Squiggly algo-logic and glitchy leaps of faith inform the machinic club contortions of the Philly artist Damon Zucconi’s Untitled Substance. Blooming from grainy noise, the record finds its rhythms in the gutters that run along the roadsides of techno fetishists and dancefloor futurists, glimmering in this beautiful and heavy way. There’s something wonderfully unwieldy and awkward about the way some of the sounds and rhythms overlap—like you’re trying to bounce and werk on top of a glacier. Good luck.— Colin Joyce
Angelo de Augustine: Tomb
The key difference between Tomb and the two full-length albums that soccer player-turned-singer-songwriter Angelo de Augustine has released over the past half-decade is the presence of Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman. De Augustine’s gossamer acoustics and whisper-quiet falsetto remain intact, his musings on heartbreak still seeping nostalgia and utopias lost, but Bartlett’s little flourishes fill the record out. Over a dozen songs that might otherwise risk monotony, I find myself engrossed by barely audible piano trills on “You Needed Love, I Needed You” and the glimmers of keys on “Somewhere Far Away From Home.” There’s texture here, and after a couple of listens, that helps de Augustine’s morsels of misery to land. “It was all you could take,” he sings to himself as “Bird Has Flown” opens up, in the middle of a memory about his absent father. The line sticks, and I have that as a tribute to restrained sonic variety as much as anything else. — Alex Robert Ross
Cucina Povera: Zoom
The drippy synths and humid field recordings on Glasgow-based composer Cucina Povera’s 2018 album Hilja felt alive in the way that molds do—they were slow-moving, self-replicating, potentially dangerous. This follow-up is actually composed of a more simple process; it’s less composerly, the contents of a few looper jams recorded to a Zoom recorder (hence the title). But it’s equally spare, foreboding, and otherworldly, consider it the yeaste starter from which her more algal compositions once bloomed.— Colin Joyce
Jay Mitta: Tatizo Pesa
The latest gem to emerge on the Ugandan label Nyege Nyege tapes is this lead-footed dance record by Jay Mitta, a producer from Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar. It’s impossibly fleet-footed stuff, often flying along at upwards of 180 BPM, but it’s never heavy or disorienting. Mitta uses bright melodies and playful drum programming, he just works super fucking fast, all the vibrant colors blending together into a delirious blur. It’s the feeling of taking a car out on a country road on a beautiful spring day: You push the pedal down, watch as the scenery swirls around you, crack a smile.— Colin Joyce
Various Artists: Auricular Discipline I
New York fetish party BOUND’s debut compilation is a rangy collection, bouncing from John Barera’s acidic and lighthearted opener to Auspex's machinic ambience to the feedback-laden industrial puttering of the closing track by Liminal Audio. It goes some places. Some of the scene’s best producers turn in real belters here—False Witness’ “Zechariah” is crushing and crackly in all the right ways and KILBOURNE’s speedy hardcore mutations are in rare form on “How to Get Into the Twin Palms (which is saying something, if you happened upon her 2018 EP Evnika, which is the sort of techno record that’ll make you want to punch through a brick wall). It’s all killer stuff, and hey, even better, the proceeds from the compilation benefit the Urban Justice Center's Sex Workers Project, which provides aid to sex workers who desperately need it. — Colin Joyce, Hey, Check Out This Sick Techno Comp Benefitting Legal Aid for Sex Workers
Follow Noisey on Twitter.