Here are five micro-reviews of noteworthy recordings that have crossed my desk recently—this time accompanied by streams of entire songs so that you can hear the music for yourself, rather than merely reading about it. (Thanks to all of the artists for making that possible.) In case it isn't obvious, I really dig all of these discs. —BC
The Atomic Clock
If you are into old-school psychedelia infused with contemporary sensibilities and seasoned with deft dynamics, hooky melodies, and tasty production treats, you’ll likely dig Stock’s refreshingly creative, guitar-driven, and black light-worthy trip. Ryusong.
Surface to Air
Surface to Air
Acoustic guitarist Jonathan Goldberger, upright bassist Jonti Siman, and tabla player/percussionist Rohin Khemani tack away from the high-intensity “Shakti” territory one might expect from the instrumentation, instead focusing on pretty and often mellow ensemble interplay that is more about vibe than vibrancy. NCM East.
Michael Manring and Kevin Kastning
Inspired by the majesty of the New England countryside, this collection of entirely improvised duets is informed both by the extended ranges (and creative tunings) of the electric basses and acoustic guitars that were played, and the uncanny real-time compositional skills of the visionaries who played them. Greydisc.
René von Grünig and Mark Wingfield
Mark Wingfield has created a unique electric guitar vocabulary utilizing synthesized and modeled sounds, and his playing is characteristically deep, nuanced, and inventive on this glorious and at times sublime collaboration with keyboardist von Grünig (which also features beautiful sax work by Ian Ballamy). Dark Energy.
Faith in Worthless Things
Keyboardist/programmer Fletcher enlisted an intriguing lineup for this lovely and intelligent melodic-prog outing featuring vocalist Lisa Fletcher and Touch Guitarist Markus Reuter predominantly, along with cameos from Robert Fripp, Tim Motzer, BJ Cole, and other luminaries. Unsung.