John Swana, Mark Price, & David Lackner – ‘Smooth End of Summer;’ and Justin Walter – ‘Lullabies and Nightmares’ [Capsule Review]

smoothend2-560x386After a relatively brutal winter up north, here’s a pairing of albums to induce the onset of our latest summer: the first a few hairs of the dog, the second a wash of good vibes like wearing swimtrunks around town.  United by the distinct sound of the electronic valve instrument (EVI) – a sonic hybrid of Moog and melodica – both albums feature a certain dusky surrealism full of optimism and ease.  From the Galtta label, John Swana, Mark Price, & David Lackner celebrate a ‘Smooth End of Summer’: spread over 10 tracks, Swana and Lackner lay down a shady cover of impressionistic sketches with choice embellishments from Price.  Saxophone and EVI interweave in a multidimensional mix of resonant swaths and glottal textures, a cozy reality as cavernous as a mushroom trip, and as strange a soundtrack as the most avantgarde films inexplicably dominating Saturday TV matinees.  Hand-numbered to 125 copies.  $7 from the label HERE.  Recommended.

KRANK179_5x5_300dpiThe latest signing for Kranky comes with little precedence: ‘Lullabies and Nightmares,’ the major league debut by Justin Walter, captures a fleeting, bleeding Bushwick sound neighboring on the Galtta contingent.  Using EVI and post-production, Walter shares with Daniel Lopatin an ear for ‘the hook,’ and a chillaxed appreciation for the pleasant ease of modern technology.  Percolating, channel-skipping, the disc is a sort of “what if” story – “what if the Album Leaf had signed to Kranky” – though the familiar cadence is aptly upset by the irregular appearance of percussion, or horns, tearing the wallpaper to patinas.  Reminiscent of Do Make Say Think in this regard, yet becoming the wonderful wobble from the newest Quicksails, the disc prefigures a happy wanderer, the cheery white guy you want to shove for no decent reason, he no company to misery.  Dubiously wedged on the Kranky-continuum between Greg Davis and White Rainbow, the disc is really a subtly new and promising scent for the label to pursue.  They call them “hybrid shorts” – look it up.  Available on LP & CD HERE.