Diversions :: Grails

Grails’ history stretches back to the late 1990s, with the Portland, OR-based collective fearlessly exploring various galaxies over the course of several absorbing LPs. Their latest masterpiece, Anches En Maat, suggests that they’re nowhere near finished with those explorations. Here, Grails dive headlong into a sleek, neon-lit zone — one you can imagine providing the awesome soundtrack for a prime-era Michael Mann flick, with a welcome dose of David Axelrod drama tossed in for good measure.

With a European tour looming, Grails shared some inspirations and influences with Aquarium Drunkard. Heady times await …

Diversions :: Vacant Lots

With its blasted out drums, scuzzy guitars, and sleek synths, Interiors, the fifth album from Brooklyn synth punk duo The Vacant Lots, cruises into a chrome-plated retro-future. He joins us to discuss Iggy and the Stooges, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Suicide, and other formative influences.

Diversions :: Erik Hall On Simeon ten Holt And Steve Reich

In 2020 Erik Hall released his version of Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich–the first in a planned trilogy of classical minimalist interpretations by the Chicago musician. This month sees the release of the second installment in the series, Hall’s take on Canto Ostinato by the late Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt, an intimate, hour-long solo performance consisting of multitracked grand pianos, electric piano, and organ. For this edition of Diversions, Hall digs into the inspirations behind the series thus far …

Diversions :: Orions Belte

The previous installment of Diversions found multi-instrumentalist Spencer Zahn diving deep into the sonic world of fellow traveler, Keith Jarrett. This edition finds us in the hands of Kim Åge Furuhaug, who drums for the Norwegian trio Orions Belte. An AD favorite, the group are pulling a proper KISS move ⟨™⟩ this month, each releasing a solo album via a 3xLP box set, making Furuhaug the analogous Peter Criss. As Furuhaug went straight jazz with his offering, we asked the drummer to walk us through its aesthetic DNA.

Diversions :: Spencer Zahn On Keith Jarrett

We recently caught up with Spencer Zahn whose new album, Pale Horizon, dropped last week via Cascine. A multi-instrumentalist whose varied output touches on jazz and piano-based works, for this installment of Diversions Zahn dives deep into the works of fellow traveler, Keith Jarrett.

Diversions :: Beach Fossils – The Other Side of Life: Piano Ballads

For this installment of Diversions we caught up with Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur on the heels of his project’s new lp, The Other Side of Life: Piano Ballads. A stylistic turn, this latest work grew out of the artist’s love for Lester Young, Chet Baker, Bill Evans and Coleman Hawkins – specifically their ballads. As such, we caught up with Payseur to discuss these influences, and how their work plays into the vibe of the new album.

Diversions :: Kevin Morby On His Favorite Demos/Home Recordings

For this installment of Diversions we caught up with Kevin Morby on the eve of his upcoming release, A Night At The Little Los Angeles (Sundowner 4-Track Demos). Comprised of ten tracks recorded at Morby’s home studio in Kansas, we asked the singer-songwriter to riff on some of his all-time favorite demos and/or home recordings. From Jandek to Aretha, and beyond.

Diversions :: Howlin Rain

Ahead of the release of The Dharma Wheel, Ethan Miller of Howlin Rain discusses the dark comedy of Ottessa Moshfegh, adventurous music by King Crimson and Stevie Wonder, Thomas Pynchon’s V, Capote, and the genre unto itself filmography of Almodovar.

Diversions: Evan Cheadle / Beyond ‘Fault Line Serenade’

Evan Cheadle’s debut full-length is a staggering collection of hazy and fragile songs, adorned with the finest of baroque and psychedelic flourishes. Written between several years of touring as a member of Canadian stalwarts The Deep Dark Woods, Fault Line Serenade builds upon Cheadle’s 2018 EP, and recalls greats like Bill Fay or Gene Clark and more contemporary earthy travellers like Josephine Foster or Jacco Gardner.

Elskavon & John Hayes :: Du Nord

The collaborative debut of ambient-classical composers Elskavon & John Hayes, the pair’s intent was to frame the sonic strata of their home state of Minnesota’s overong winter months. They’ve succeeded.

This installment of Diversions catches up with Elskavon and Hayes as they run us though a sampling of the art (and atmosphere) that informs their debut.

Diversions: Hausu Mountain

Japanese filmmaker Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s cult 1977 horror-comedy Hausu is an apt namesake for the Chicago experimental label Hausu Mountain. Fusing cartoonish imagery with absurdist humor and the occasional scare, the imprint’s prolific output since 2012 has connected an international subterranean network. Here, founders Doug Kaplan and Max Allison share 10 selections—ranging from Dead bootlegs to Bandcamp links to experimental movies—that inform their sideways approach.

Diversions: Jim Wallis, Beyond ‘Europa’

Ambient multi-instrumentalist Jim Wallis is set to release his debut full-length, Europa, at the end of the month via the London based Tip Top Recordings. An accompanying score to Rwandan director’s Kivu Ruhorahoza’s documentary film of the same name, we asked Wallis to walk us through some of the neo-classical, ambient and atmospheric works that bled into his sonic approach.

Modern Nature :: A Soundtrack/Score Companion

Constant readers will no doubt recognize the name Jack Cooper, whose former project (Ultimate Painting) remains an in-house favorite. Following a stripped back solo venture, 2017’s Sandgrown, Cooper returns with a group proper – Modern Nature – who have just released their debut full-length, How To Live. While anchored by Cooper, the record’s grooves find a formidable cast of players exploring myriad veins of Kosmische Musik, British folk traditions, and beyond – all underpinned with an oblique sense of otherness.