On Codex Amphibia, Thomas Tilly lets the field recordings take the reins. Collected in Guiana in late 2016 as part of a field research project with the French National Center for Scientific Research, the mostly unprocessed selections paint vivid pictures of a lush natural environment. Leaves rustle, water bubbles, and the ribbits of the titular amphibians are just a few of the sonic elements that comprise the organically dense collages, and the masterful production ensures that everything is heard clearly. The digital version comes with a few photos that I assume were taken during the recording process, and it’s a testament to the album’s clarity that they’re almost exactly like what I was picturing in my mind while I was listening. It’s one of the most intensely immersive albums I’ve ever heard, with Tilly’s subtle additions in the form of sine waves and quiet drones keep anything from seeming too stagnant. Codex Amphibia is a truly awe-inspiring work, one that I’m sure will reveal more layers as time goes on.
I bought Couesnon in a three tape bundle from Katuktu Collective’s Bandcamp for $12, which is probably among the best decisions I’ve ever made (free domestic shipping too! Only three left, get them while you can). Haven’t gotten a chance to listen to the other two tapes yet, but Couesnon honestly made the purchase worth it all on its own. Ambient musician Erik Levander creates achingly beautiful, noisy soundscapes that expand and contract effortlessly. Textural and melodic elements exist in perfect harmony, as equal a balance as the abrasive elements have with the gorgeous drones and ethereal ambiance. There’s more than enough diversity across the five tracks to warrant multiple listens, which I have definitely been taking to heart; I can’t seem to get enough of it.