What to Listen to This Week

Grouper’s “Shade” is “Nebraska,” if Bruce had to keep his voice down for the neighbors.


The Heat Warps is a new blog documenting every live tape of the Miles Davis band between 1969 and 1975, and if you’ve never heard Davis’ music from that period—or have only heard comparatively tame documents of the time like In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew—it’s time to dive in. This might be some of the furthest-out electric music ever devised, and though many of the bootlegs The Heat Warps digs up are of questionable sound quality, the music is rarely anything less than stupefying.


At the intersection of shoegaze and ambient live, Ulrich Schnauss and Jonas Munk meet up every five years or so to make an album defining their shared style. Eight Fragments of Illusion is their third and best. Its synth arpeggios create great archways and vaulted ceilings as echo-drenched guitars bounce endlessly between them. It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking this stuff. There’s so much more personality in Eight Fragments than in most of the “chill” music YouTube algorithms endlessly churn out.


Astorian ambient master Grouper’s new album, Shade (out on Kranky on Oct. 22), documents her travels between San Francisco, Portland and her hometown over the past 15 years. It feels like a travel diary, and the first single, “Unclean Mind”—just a lightly strummed acoustic guitar and her vocals ducking in and out of comprehensibility—sounds like a lonely missive from an empty hotel room. It’s Nebraska, if Bruce had to keep his voice down for the neighbors.


Twenty years old this year, Christian Fennesz’s Endless Summer is a reminder of how satisfying it can be to have to work a little bit for your comforts. It’s as true of shucking an oyster or plunging into a cold river as it is of penetrating Fennesz’s dense clouds of guitar distortion and electronics to find the pop melodies buried below. Endless Summer is named for a Beach Boys greatest-hits compilation, and the more you listen to it, the more you realize he’s not just being ironic