"Stagnant" is the last word I would use to describe Madison, WI via Ridgewood, NJ singer/songwriter/clarinetist Julian Lynch, whom I discovered via his Born 2 Run tape on Dana Jewell's Wild Animal Kingdom and his contributions to the inaugural Underwater Peoples comp a couple summers ago. Terra, his third full-length, demonstrates an attention to nuance and the subtleties of composition that are often overlooked by the artists of his time. Its sounds are crisp and clean, with loads of negative space in between. But they twine into something that verges on maximalist through a combination of deft recording techniques and Carl Saff's ever-lush mastering.
Sonically, Terra pulls from an ever-widening pool of sonic reference points, which you can explore on the fantastic mix series Julian has been posting to his Tumblr, Space Mountain. From the Durutti Column-smooth melodies ("Water Wheel One") and the Indian-inspired tabla beats ("Dissapointment") to the sound of circular breathing on a clarinet (or, in the case of "Ground", an EWI), Terra mines our collective past, scouring the edges of obscurity and reconstruing its findings into something unclassifiable. The titular "Terra" opens with a sultry bass line, clarinet, and shakers before the gentle pat of hand drums ushers in the melody. If you're not deeply engrossed yet, just wait 'til the guitar-synth drizzles down your spine three minutes in. Julian's meticulous arrangements weave in and out of sonic states that feel as virgin as they do familiar; Julian's touch is so genuine, it's almost hard to believe they were captured in the Google era.
Terra is out April 26th on Underwater Peoples