When music speaks to both the past, present, and futures to come, it invites listeners to take pause and cherish the moment. Contours’ recent release Balafon Sketches does just that and this profound meditation is worth savoring. There’s a lovely melange of traditional instrumentation (Indonesian gamelan and West African balafon) alongside homemade string and percussive instruments that are drenched in delay and reverb to create interlocking polyrhythms and soothing ambient textures. Tracks like A2 “Keld,” featuring Abel Selaocoe & Callum Connel, illicit feelings of home and comfort with layers of wind instruments and an acoustic guitar that sounds like it’s in love. On the other end of the spectrum is “Okutama,” a synthesizer-driven track that uses field recordings of a nocturnal rainforest to conjure mystery. There’s also a lovely pattering drum here that is played with so much personality it sounds as if it’s speaking. We recommend playing this one on a quiet night at home paired with your favorite red wine.
– Tana Yonas
Recommended – A2 Keld, A1 Balafon A, B2 Eastern Bells, B3 Okutama
Tags: Cassette / Experimental / Jazz / New Age / Now Sound