DECAYCAST Essential ListEning: Dan Kletter Shares Favorite New Releases 0f 2021

Every year at Decaycast we like to invite some guest contributors to contribute end of the year thoughts, threats etc, titled “Essential ListEning”. Excited to share the first of many to drop over the next few weeks. First up is DJ/community enabler Dan Kletter.

This year was extremely fucked up for me, so I really leaned hard into music to help soothe the pain. In no particular order, here’s some of my favorites:

This Darc Rama was recommended by [Robert Smith](https://twitter.com/robertsmith) and it’s the perfect balm for when you need cheering up. Really captures a certain essence of mid-80’s new wave music. All of his songs are fantastic. This one is my favorite.

Been listening to versions of the new R.K. Faulhaber from Helen Scarsdale for months. Really wanted to say something sooner about this masterpiece. Everything is constructed entirely from digital synthesizers without any external effects or processing.

For the past few years irr. app. (ext.) has been producing a monthly digital single. His Legends of Frogtown series is the most varied and complex. They’re all amazing. This one is my favorite.

Once again Headboggle has topped himself applying a constraint and working his whimsical style within that framework. Everything is composed with MIDI, digital synthesizers, and a Steinway grand piano, hence the title.

I found these shimmering improvisations for prepared 12-string guitar by Jef Mertens by peeking someone’s Bandcamp collection. Helps me get in the zone with my data science schoolwork.

I don’t know anything about Imperial Valley from Other Forms Of Consecrated Life except it’s meant to be a kind of evocative soundscape to accompany Dorothea Lange’s depression-era photography.

I think Claire Rousay recommended this LP by Skirts and, man oh man, it’s some really wonderful summer vibes music that just makes everything feel warm and delightful.

This LP by MARV from the enmeshed label is a real journey of wistful sounds that will carry you on a bed of fluffy clouds. It’s all about how you spend your time instead of the destination.

Can I say Spiritual Exit is Aaron Davis aka Acre? First met at a Noise Pancakes show and was transfixed by the immense drone conjured from a few guitar pedals. Slip into this trancendental bath and relax.

This debut LP by Sweeping Promises is an immense powerhouse duo of driving no wave inflected post-punk meets gliding new wave. Instantly hooked and played on repeat endlessly.

This incredible piece by Shanna Sordahl reflecting on the transformation from hurting to healing after a physical injury must have been as cathartic to make as it is to listen to.

This Yasmin Williams LP is transformative and rejuvenating. There’s depth and layers demanding attention. Or you can also just be vicariously present.

This LP made with hand-built stringed instruments by Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken from Debacle Records is a profoundly immersive experience.

This Byron Westbrook LP is thoroughly engrossing. Feels like a reflection of the emotionally heavy times we’re going through without any of the aftertaste.

This compilation from Camp Cryptid Records feels so hopeful in the face of all the crushing despair and overwhelming tragedy. Also, there’s something deviously, beautifully playful about inviting your cryptids to join you round a campfire.

Another random Bandcamp find. I just feel more people should experience this mysterious LP and let its viscous transmission flow and envelope you like a gentle cocoon.

This LP by Raub Roy aka Horaflora weaves a tapestry of resonances from motorized objects and other acoustic instruments, accented by a delightful tour of everyday neighborhood life.

Third installment of John Wiese’s keenly improvisational conversations with various collaborators from overlapping scenes. Because the lineup keeps changing, the result is different yet unpredictably familiar.

Anecdotally, I’ve purchased more accordion music this year than previously. For example… This LP by Walt McClements is a truly exceptional companion soundtrack for real or imaginary travel through the fleeting slices of everyday life.

This LP by Sofie Birch & Johan Carøe from STROOM.tv fills the void with delicate, dreamy sonic prose.

Extremely attracted to this Vanessa Amara LP from Posh Isolation of random microphone feedback (by intentionally placing them wrong) taunting tender, plaintive arrangements with acoustic instruments.

First heard of Guanaco± via [microphones in the trees](http://calmintrees.blogspot.com) about their tape from Sweat Lodge Guru. This LP is like picking up a conversation with an old friend. Beautiful 6 and 12-string guitar arrangements.

Ever since Love of Diagrams broke up I’ve been searching for a band with that driving angular sound and this debut LP by Chimers (also from Australia) is everything you could ask for and more.

This LP of hallucinatory synths and reverb drenched beats by Kristen Gallerneaux from Shadow World is infectious listening. Techno isn’t really my bag but this is simply exquisite.

Below are things released late this year which I haven’t had enough time to really dig into but are currently getting play:

This Ava Mendoza LP of guitar might from Astral Spirits (cassette) and Relative Pitch (CD).

This tranquil EP by Sunken Cathedral from Full Spectrum.

This incomparable LP of bagpipe drone duo by David Watson and Matthew Welch from Room40.

This uncategorizable LP of trumpet playing by the mighty Liz Allbee.

###

Dan Kletter loves music, classic movies, fonts, and YOU. Ask him about rabbits! He’s an erstwhile freeform radio DJ and great community enabler at [KFJC](http://kfjc.org) where he booked, produced, and hosted countless live, on-air performances. He also ran 24 Hour Drone with [Norman Teale](http://www.thenormanconquest.net). His acclaimed radio show, [Psychoacoustic Soundclash](http://kletter.us/soundclash) ran from 2000 to 2008.

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