Not just a tasty drink, Horchata is Michael Palace, a scientist at the University of New Hampshire’s Complex Systems Research Center. His music dovetails with his work, which studies “necromass” (dead wood) in the Amazon rainforest. There, he makes field recordings, which he utilizes in his music. Environmental and ecological themes run through his music; recently, he provided the soundtrack for Out of Balance, a documentary film about ExxonMobil and climate change.

Manus (excerpt)
Tentacular (excerpt)

Coleoids are sea-dwelling invertebrates classed as cephalopods. In Palace’s words, Coleoid (Afe, 2007) “focuses on the extreme depths in the oceans that these creatures can withstand and the alien-like world of darkness and pressure.” Thus, this album is abyssal but polychromatic. Of its four long tracks, “Manus” is my favorite, as it explores a minor chord from seemingly every possible 3-D angle. “Tentacular” goes fathoms deep, conjuring up groaning bulkheads and glimpses of enormous creatures. This album’s m.o. is slow but constant movement, with shimmering morphing into booming.

Assured, often fearsome, yet sometimes oddly soothing, Coleoid has been in heavy rotation for me. It’s available as a limited edition of 100 in a tasty A5 sleeve from Afe’s mail order.