Listening recommendations from the past, the present, Portland, and the periphery.
News of the passing of two reclusive veterans of their respective genres came last month: ambient composer Harold Budd, 84, and masked rapper MF DOOM, 49. Budd's discography boasts gems across four decades, but the best showcase for his architectural vision of ambient music is The Pavilion of Dreams (1978), produced by Brian Eno. And if you haven't heard the stoned, strangely beautiful sample trip of DOOM's magnum opus Madvillainy (2004) yet, get on that.
Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas' III is their first collaboration since 2007's II, which was arguably the crown jewel of the Norwegian space-disco movement. The latest album is more than a worthy follow-up. Both explore the intersection of dance music and the ambitious '70s definition of rock, but where II was woolly and weed-scented, III is a gleaming, perfect product with a welcome hint of audiophile fetishism.
Expanded from her Bisexual Space Magic EP, local artist Amie Waters' Cosmos of the Soul is a "cosmic synthwave epic" that visualizes her journey of self-discovery as a nonbinary trans woman. Her synths light up eagerly like the control panels on a journey across the stars. It's like the soundtrack to the best, bravest, queerest '80s action movie that never existed.
Joshua Chuquimia Crampton is one of the country's most interesting new experimental guitarists. Listening to his New Year's Day release, 4, is like watching a musician perform with a thought balloon over his head. On one level, we're involved in what his fingers are doing on the frets and what his feet are doing on the pedals. On another, we're engaging with the weird, volcanic architecture his music generates.