“I’ve been a fan of Hidden Shoal for over a decade now. Born in 2006 [right around the same time as I began to write about music], this Perth (Australia) based label has been appearing on my rotations, and end of year lists, with their experimental ambient output, shoegaze, post-rock, and everything in between. Releases from Memorybell, Antonymes, Slow Dancing Society, Markus Mehr, Sankt Otten, and Jumpel are among the standouts of the rich catalogue. Now, the label has signed Santiago Lizón for an extended version of his album as Crisopa, titled Transhumante, which originally appeared on Sound In Silence in 2017. This Madrid-based musician has previously released works for n5MD and has often shown up on my radar with his melodic ambient electronica from Biodance (2012) and A Lucid Dream Kit (2015). Transhumante is a complex piece of intelligent brain music, swirling with its synth patterns, dissonant chord progression, and uplifting downtempo rhythms that instantly remind me of the works by Boards of Canada, Plaid, and a bit of The Flashbulb [maybe it’s the vocoder?] soused in the organic ambiance of Hammock, Christopher Willits, and Tycho. I absolutely love the composite melodies, percussive intricacies, and sidesteps in harmonic scales, challenging the mind to stay awake to peel apart its thirteen gorgeous tracks. “The new extended version of the album includes six beautiful new additions, bathing the listener in waves of ecstatic synth swells, textural loops and insistent rhythms. These surging, emotive tracks simultaneously summon forth aching nostalgia and a blissful state of hopefulness.” If you missed the original release, this is a perfect opportunity for you to catch up with this brilliant album, to which you’ll find yourself returning to uncover newfound charm. Don’t forget to dig through the label’s past inventory – remember, there’s no such thing as “old music”.”

Headphone Commute