KIMONO MY HOUSE: Rachel Evans released a double dose of her solo project Motion Sickness of Time Travel during December. First is the deceptively lush ambience of Shinrin-yoku, a single track running just over half an hour, named after and performed in service of the activity of “forest bathing” (essentially allowing oneself to be immersed in nature in a mindful way). With this in mind, Evans’ recording has the potential to be a nice companion to such activity. This track is available as a download only. Next up is Evans’ piece Ballade for a Blue Moon, crafted by use of audio made by Evans between September 2013 and August 2014 on the night of each month’s full moon. Using voice, synths and other electronics, she mixed the pieces into a new composition to celebrate the full moon of Oct. 31, 2020. This record is much more nuanced and, due to its multiple recording sessions, contains a few different personalities and temperaments. Completely worthwhile and rewarding. Check out each of these at motionsicknessoftimetravel.bandcamp.com.
ATHENS > OMAHA: Although each would go on to participate in multiple collaborations, including solo work, Athens will always remember Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor as Azure Ray. Last week, the pair’s debut album (originally released by Athens’ label Warm Electronic Recordings) was re-released 20 years to the day it first came out. This edition also marks the first time the album is available on vinyl. It’s available now via Flower Moon Records, which was founded by Fink and Taylor and is the repository for all their work. For more information, please see flowermoonrecords.com and azureraymusic.com.
SOUR CREAM & ARCHIVES: Do you have that one room where you just store all your old, totally unorganized things? You know, the kind of room that New Year Resolutions were made for? Well, Thom Strickland (Smokedog, et al) has built such a room online, now containing 12 separate “releases” as of this writing. These are archives of his recordings spanning at least 10 years. He deliberately decided not to include any information with them so they all look like they were released very recently. Also, d’ya like noise? Well, he’s got it in droves. But he’s also got some really great jams, such as the first track on the three-track 99 Red Buffoon, which rocks in a deconstructed Krautrock kind of way. Man, this is just a huge grab bag of things, so get your fill over at brownpaper.bandcamp.com.
HIDE AND SEEK: New-to-town musician Bill Trieshmann found himself alone over the past year due to Covid restrictions, preventing him from doing any in-person collaborations with local musicians. So he recorded his new album under the project name Fairweather Friends by himself and performed all the parts. The album is named Point of Choice. The first five tracks are available to stream as we speak, but this isn’t for sale anywhere. Generally speaking, Trieshmann is well-steeped in classic alt and college rock. This is occasionally a stumbling block, such as on the over-eight-minutes-long opening song “You Can’t Stop The Light,” but serves him well on the sparkly jangle pop of “I Don’t Wanna Let You Go.” So your mileage may vary—plus you’re gonna have to go to YouTube and search for “Fairweather Friends” if you want to find this—but I found a few things I dug. For more information, wave your hands in the air and pray to God.
AMERICA ONLINE: The University of Georgia Wind Bands will host JanFest: the 71st Annual UGA January High School Band Festival Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6:15 p.m. Hoo boy, that’s a whole lot of words, innit? At any rate, this is a virtual event that I’ve no doubt took some real doing to undertake. The evening begins with a chat with Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser (more info available at musicforall.org/who-we-are/bios/dr-tim-lautzenheiser). Then, there are video performances from Central-Carroll High School Symphonic Band, Dutchtown High School Wind Symphony, Woodland High School Wind Symphony, plus a video concert from Hodgson Wind Ensemble and Friends. Conductor H. Robert Reynolds (University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music) will host a talk named “What Makes a Great Conductor Great?” and the night will close out at 9 p.m. with a chat among composers Jennifer Jolley and Alex Shapiro, and soprano Lindsay Kesselman. For more information, please see ugawindbands.wixsite.com and facebook.com/ugawindbands.
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