In Parallel World, Delphine Dora moves away from the tightly-coiled visions of Le fruit de mes songes (Bezirk) and the feverish psych-folk of L’au delà (fort Evil Fruit), instead creating two longform piano and vocal explorations that mark languorous dances from dappled sunlight into shadowier realms. As usual, Dora weaves together her playing and singing to create distinctively dreamy/spooky compositions, which, despite the relatively straightforward treatment this time round, continue to hum with unearthly vibrations. Vocal lines, although occasionally multi-tracked, often seem to be doubling and multiplying as they swirl above the succession of broken bagatelles, cautiously-advancing melodic sketches and multi-directional dissonant bursts that make up the two sides of this tape, as if a choir of ghosts has seeped up through the floorboards only to be sucked into a restless tonal vortices. It’s a more-from-less technique that works well with the looser, lighter approach of Parallel World, almost mischievous at times, as if Dora has come to an accommodation with the restless spirits constantly churning through her work. Forcing those revenant energies up from her lungs, shaman-like, she lets them loose to find their own twisting paths through the flux.
Parallel World is just one of an increasing number of delights from Kevin Cahill’s Power Moves Library, which specializes in exquisite limited-run cassettes that combine an endearing hand-made quality with a restless curatorial instinct. Almost every release from Power Moves Library is great, and since last September Cahill has hit a particularly fruitful seam. His own Downer Canada project kicked off the purple patch with Hieronsong, an addictively mysterious series of static-swathed transmissions and lo-fi grumbles that finally opens up into a hallucinatory reverie of swanee-whistle hoots and coos. Other releases range from nicely-chilled out picking and strumming (the Ocathail / Hastío split), through queasy dronecasts (Mold Omen’s No Edits in Heaven) and confounding noise-mulch (Causings’ Live on WKCR Sep 6, 2015) to cosmically-inclined electroacoustic journeying (Dane Patterson’s Wellness Center). Physical copies are all sold out but, mercifully, Cahill has made digital versions available from the Power Moves Library Bandcamp. They’re pay-what-you-like, but I’d urge you to put your hand in your pocket to support Cahill’s endeavours as you’re opening your ears to this fine project.
Need more convincing? How about Excavation Music, the label’s recent series of mixtapes featuring global indigenous and traditional song forms. There are three tapes so far: a fantastic compilation from South Asia courtesy of Phong Tran, a similarly-adventurous mix from west Africa by Ryan Waldron and, most recently, an ear-opening bunch of tracks from Australian indigenous musicians, put together by Cahill himself. All three take paths less followed, digging deep to avoid sonic and cultural clichés that listeners from the global north might expect or bring to compilations of this type. They’re all fab, obviously, but I hope Cahill will forgive me for selecting Phong Tran’s Drifting On A Reed Or Two as my favourite, for the pure sonic joy it brings me, from first percussive bars of Yamlajat’s Mukh Terra Chan bursting forth like a swarm of groovy bees, through to the final transcendent yodels of Ali Mohammed Sheikh’s Pyari Cham Na Nender. Go and get them now. Run as fast as you can.
Listen to a great interview with Kevin Cahill here.