Tag Archives: Moses Sumney

This Week’s Essential Releases: Hip-Hop, Post-Punk, Experimental Soul, and More

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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The Best Albums of 2017: #20 – 1

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The wait is over. These are the 20 Best Albums of the year.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding. These are Bandcamp’s Best Albums of 2017.

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Album of the Day: Ian Chang, “Spiritual Leader”

Even if you don’t recognize Ian Chang’s name, you’ve likely heard him drumming somewhere before. The Brooklyn-based, Hong Kong-born percussionist is best known for recording and touring with outfits like Son Lux and Landlady, but he’s also worked with a wide array of other musicians—Matthew Dear, Moses Sumney, and Dave Douglas, to name a few. After drumming professionally in the U.S. for more than a decade, Chang’s various musical experiences have led to the release of his own album, Spiritual Leader, an adventurous, genre-bending EP that explores the physicality of electronic music, and the relationship between the human and the machine.

Chang’s methodology is what sets him apart from many other contemporary solo drummers and electronic musicians. All the tracks on Spiritual Leader were performed and composed using Sensory Percussion, a mesh (silent) drum kit. One of its key properties is its ability to “host” two separate samples in a single pad (on its opposing ends, for instance); over time, the sounds can mould into each other as the drummer’s repositions hit. This is a key compositional feature of this particular kit and Chang makes good use of it. “ASMR” is a perfect example, its various textural and melodic samples merge to create an atmospheric, almost ambient piece.

Elsewhere on the EP, Chang manages to showcase his impressive percussive skill set, fusing dynamic off-kilter beats with ambient soundscapes and elements of sound design to great effect. On “Romeo” and “Spiritual Leader” especially, mesmeric webs of rhythm, vocal, and synth samples launch into deep sonic peaks.

Over the course of his debut EP, Chang freely moves between genres and Spiritual Leader never settles down. While traces of IDM, free jazz, and ambient are explored, none of those terms really encapsulate what Chang has created. It’s challenging, resonant, and familiar.

Adam Badi Donoval

The Best Albums of Summer 2017

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Every three months, the Bandcamp Daily editorial staff combs through the stacks to present our favorite records of the year to date. The albums presented here run the stylistic spectrum, everything from noise to indiepop to hip-hop to everything in between. And if you like what you see here, check out our picks for winter and spring of 2017, too.

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Don’t Call Moses Sumney an R&B Singer

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Photo by Ibra Ake.

Moses Sumney wants to be real. His search for truth is a hallmark of his music, and he’s spent plenty of time exploring the shadows of his mind, getting comfortable with his own darkness.

“All the things you’re not really supposed to think about, like, ‘Oh, I’m going to die alone’—I think about that all the time,” Sumney says softly, strumming his guitar as we speak over Skype. “I’m just the kind of person that will go there. I’m obsessed with personal honesty.”

Sumney recently spent some time living in an apartment in London. It was either there or Asheville, North Carolina—a place where the woods, like the mountains in which they’re nestled, seem to go on forever. Asheville is Sumney’s favorite city in America, and it’s the place where he started work on his debut full-length, Aromanticism, a concept album that investigates an uncomfortable truth: What does it mean to feel loveless in a society that considers romantic love a primary reason for existence? In the rural stillness of the Appalachians, Sumney was able to disconnect from the world and connect with himself, in search of the answer.

“To truly feel solitude, I had to be someplace where there was no phone service, where I couldn’t actually go on my phone or the internet—because it’s not real if you can still talk to people, or if you can still check your notifications,” he says. “The first two days, I was antsy. Then it became liberating, because it’s like, ‘Wow, I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to answer to anyone. I don’t have to talk to anyone.’ I was thinking so much about things I never think about. My mind was activated, and I was going to places mentally that I don’t ever go, because I get distracted before I get there.”

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Art-Soul, Replicant Jock Jams & Americana

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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