MOLESOME, Are You There? (Roth-händle, 2021). Swedish musical chameleon Mattias Olsson is making the most of his time in lockdown, producing one fascinating record after another. Add Are You There? to this collection, a record with a greater sense of intensity than past Molesome releases. Olsson’s sound is forever shifting with each recording, and this album is no exception. The music nicely blends spacious soundscapes with well-grounded grooves, making it consistently undefinable. Songs like “Spacestation Funeral,” “Being Kate,” and “Iceman” are good for evoking multiple emotions, and continue to prove that Olsson’s well of musical ideas has no apparent bottom. Are You There? makes for a satisfying sonic entre.
Ronald Bühlmann, Dubnos (VQ kultur, 2020). Out of Switzerland comes guitarist Ronald Bühlmann, whose chops evoke thoughts of the late Allan Holdsworth dipping his toes into tinges of metal, fusion, and soundscapes. This is not to say this guitarist is somehow derivative. Bühlmann most definitely has his own voice, augmented by an array of instruments he mostly plays himself. “Mighla” sets the record’s tone nicely, taking listeners on a journey of solid lead lines and steady grooves. “Ubiquitous” stretches that ambition just a little farther. Just when we think we’ve recovered from that, former King Crimson violinist David Cross adds a little spice to “Aaschutz” the provides the perfect lead-in to the record’s 12-minute finale. This is not music for the faint of heart, even if it is highly accessible. Anyone looking or music from off the beaten path would do well to stop by here.
BEN LANG, Modern Man EP (Moo Moo Records, 2020). Singer/songwriter Ben Lang has put together a quick set of laid-back and languid tunes that might evoke thoughts of a folksier Lou Reed. His songs rely on simple arrangements and to-the-point vocals to get their meaning across, and the messages are most definitely received. The title track stands out, as does “Tee Off with Your Head,” which provides a country shuffle. This quick six-song collection offers a nice jumping off point to what seems destined to be a most interesting career.
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