Having recently made his bow on Wayward's Ugesto EP, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Elderbrook (AKA youngster Alexander Kost) delivers a promising debut EP of his own. Kost's three original tracks do a good job of defining his style - a kind of soft-focus, overtly atmospheric blend of contemporary bass music, yearning downtempo pop and James Blake-style fragility. Opener "Could" is probably the pick - thanks, in no small part, to a deliciously tactile late night sound - though bonus tracks "Rewinding" and "How Many Times" are similarly attractive. The Six provide the obligatory woozy, bottom-heavy dancefloor rework of "Could", while Andhim's grandiose, sprawling remix of "How Many Times" sounds like an anthem in the making.
Second time around for native New Yorker Gabriel Garzon Montana's criminally overlooked debut album, Bishoune: Alma Del Huila. Montana is a rare talent: a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer with Colombian and French heritage whose poignant, evocative and thoughtful songs join the dots between modern soul, James Blake style fragility, jazz, deep house, experimental hip-hop and broken beat. It's a mix that makes for wonderful listening, with the accompanying remixes - not featured on the original release - enhancing the experience. The Archie Pelago rework of "Pour Mamman" - a soul-jazz classic in the making - and Patrick Russell's dub techno influenced rework of the same track are probably the picks of a strong bunch.
RVNG Intl's reissue series has been the jewel in the label's crown this year, with K Leimer's A Period of Review and Craig Leon's Nommos both offering killer retrospectives that put many other labels to shame. The third and final subject for this year is Ariel Kalma, a French-born musician who found inspiration in India's sacred music traditions on a trip to the country in the '70s. An artist whose minimalistic style is comparable to Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Charlemagne Palestine, An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972 - 1979) collects unheard material from the artist's archives, and is essential listening for fans of psychedelic floatation tank sounds.