leaving richmond is the electronic music project of Los Angeles based composer Jordan Pier. Aptly-titled Great Distances, his latest release is a half-hour listening excursion that draws from IDM and downtempo styles laced with psychedelia and space age sensibilities. Bouncy bass-laden beats and colorfully vibrating tones add dimension and robustness throughout, making these compositions seem like the perfect accompaniment to stimulating visuals of adventure and speed such as skydiving, rollercoasters, fast cars and rocket launches. Favorites include “What About Now (ft. A Sanborne)”, which is characterized by a chilled trance rhythm, electric guitar textures and looped vocal phrases, as well as “Waves of You” with its ping-pong effects and tripped-out groove. An enjoyably unique offering of imaginative electronica, Great Distances is sure to take the listener on a ride of sound-sensory fun and mind-bending coolness! (Available at Amazon, Bandcamp and other online retail and streaming platforms.)

Mikuskovics Baum is an eclectic musical duo comprised of accomplished multi-instrumentalists Bernhard Mikuskovics and Georg Baum. Marking the duo’s ten-year anniversary, their latest album Timeless beautifully intermingles Celtic, Native American and other world elements to create deeply tranquil atmospheres of minimalist ethnic fusion. Incorporating various harps, flutes, sound bowls and other exotic instruments such as the Indian shruti box and Mexican log drum, Mikuskovics Baum’s melodically meditative soundscapes seemingly paint images of idyllic natural environments. One especially gorgeous piece is “Intuition Element”, with its softly cascading layers and hypnotizing overtone-singing effectively evoking a softly-flowing waterfall nestled within a hidden forest. Enthusiastically recommended, Timeless has quickly become a personal favorite which beckons repeated listens! (Available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

Having recently released a couple of solo albums prior to his debut appearance on the Spotted Peccary music label, Tom Eaton’s latest album, titled How It Happened, recalls the moody semblance and haunting soundscapes of Abendromen and Indesterren with its purposely understated yet emotionally stirring atmospheres. Conveying a mysterious, melancholic beauty, these perfectly minimal melodies feature drifting piano notes and subtle ambient guitar figures amid softly-illuminated tonal embers and shadowy twilight mists that effectively impart the notion of a fading away, or passing of a phase. As with Eaton’s previous works, How It Happened is another remarkable showpiece of richly emotive ambient magnificence! (Available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

Fire Opal is the latest album by Massergy and debut for this artist on the Spotted Peccary music label. Named for the fire opal stone of Mexican folklore, the album was entirely recorded in a nocturnal outdoor setting, with the overall result feeling evocative of sparse woodland environments and southwestern desert spaces. Weaving ambient acoustic guitar textures among electro-organic soundscapes, Massergy creates warmly immersive and billowing atmospheres that are seemingly sewn together from scintillating threads and freeform curves. Personal favorites include the sensually hypnotic “The Shepherdess”, the percussively pulsating “Cold White Smoke” and the spaciously transcendental “Fire Opal”. An engrossingly enthralling album from start to finish, Fire Opal is deserving of the highest possible praise! (Available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

Toward the Horizon is the collaborative debut album by electronic music veteran Craig Padilla and electric guitar wizard Marvin Allen. Beautifully sculpted from analog and digital synthesizers and featuring classic Berlin School sequencing, these retro-futuristic sound passages are further illuminated by soulfully stratospheric guitar figures immersed in shimmering multi-tonalities. Alternating throughout between electrified rhythmic patterns and free-floating cosmic expanses, Toward the Horizon is a mesmerizing masterwork of otherworldly time-traveling dreamscapes! (Available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms).

Sound Currents is the third collaborative release by multi-instrumentalist Tom Moore and flutist Sherry Finzer. Weaving electronic sequencer patterns among earthy shamanic soundscapes, the album seemingly evokes a sensuous intangible mystery and the unlocking of ancient secrets conveyed by the compositions’ deeply resonating atmospheres, which enshroud exotically meditative flute melodies throughout. Easily the duo’s most impressively stunning collaboration to date, Sound Currents is surely destined to be among this year’s favorite albums! (Available for pre-order at Bandcamp.)

Stephen Peppos possesses an extensive musical background with many accomplishments to his name. Titled Deep Listen, his latest album impressively delivers ten sonic immersions comprised of churning textures and oscillating frequencies, which are mesmerizingly molded throughout by subtly-shifting tonalities. As if simulating the experience of being enclosed in a submarine, these murkily aquatic soundscapes effectively evoke the mysterious depths of the sea. Perfectly topped-off by hypnotizing favorites that include “Break of Dawn” and “Transmogrify”, Deep Listen is the ideal album for those seeking to embark on a deep listening excursion! (Available at Amazon and other retail and streaming platforms.)

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