North East label, Waxing Crescent Records, first came to our attention at the back end of 2021 with their release of Stuart Cook’s Piano at 51°40’49.6″N 2°14’09.2″W – an elastic, mind-bending take on drone and experimentation.
So good, it sneaked into our Top 50 Albums of 2021, and (as we often do) it forced us to dig a little deeper into the label’s offerings.
Established last year by Phil Dodds, Waxing Crescent Record’s first release dropped last July in the way of Rupert Lally’s Timelapses, and from the 13 releases which have followed, it’s evident that this label aren’t ones to deal in filler, showcasing a wide range of weird and wonderful ideas from both established and up and coming artists throughout the world. Waxing Crescent has been that vital vessel in seeing releases from artists such as Sulk Rooms, Camp of Wolves, Polypores, and many more.
They say timing is everything and the beauty of Bandcamp (from the outside at least) has appeared to be a catalyst for Waxing Crescent, with many of the label’s limited edition cassette runs having sold out upon each release. It’s a niche space in which Waxing Crescent play and so far they have been worthy winners.
Adding to the Waxing Crescent story is the unique artwork for each of their releases, with the artist, Eidolon, producing distinctive sketches that form a vital thread to the label’s tapestry. Almost 12 months since its beginning, and it’s clear that Waxing Crescent contains a diaristic essence, both through image and sound.
So with that, we bring you our first Label Watch feature by taking a look at Waxing Crescent Record’s output so far in 2022.
Ty Lumnus: Distinct Entities and Morphological Connections
Four tracks immersed in the tech-house hybrid of Kompakt, Glasgow artist, Fraser Rowan, returns under his Ty Lumnus moniker for Distinct Entities and Morphological Connections.
With these four tracks, Rowan transcends the intricacies of left-of-centre ambience and sound design with an immediate collection of sounds that are something like euphoric transit lounge electronica.
Rowan doesn’t waste a moment here, and looking at the label’s 2022 releases that have followed, Distinct Entities and Morphological Connections is the perfect gateway into the world of Waxing Crescent.
Kuma: Hounds and Echo In Conjunction
With his tentacles reaching wide and far, Kuma is a worthy addition to the Waxing Crescent broad church with his latest release, Hounds and Echo in Conjunction.
With undulating drones that provide the backbone to these 12 tracks, the Vancouver producer illuminates the kind of film score muzak that should have been the backdrop for Dune.
From post-country meanderings to chamber drone, on Hounds and Echo In Conjunction we are met with a series of soundscapes that spread right across the experimental landscape. Within the Waxing Crescent stable so far, it’s evident that no one has dispensed nightscapes like Kuma.
Lying Cat: With Occult Static
After their album, A Pleasant and Profound Hand into a Peaceful Death (Cue Dot Records), anonymous UK producer, Lying Cat, arrives on Waxing Crescent with their latest offering, With Occult Static.
This is a release that takes you beyond the gates into a world immune from worry. Essentially a distorted stress-free zone that sounds like Flying Lotus twiddling the knobs to an array of punters sprawled out on the grass amid a summer sunset.
It’s almost like post-modern composition and exactly the kind of record that makes Waxing Crescent a crate digger’s delight. Whilst it may not be the most immediate sounding release of this bunch, it’s a key piece to the puzzle.
Giants Of Discovery: The Language of Vibration
Inspired by Anne Michaels’ 1996 novel, Fugitive Pieces, producer Kevin Downey returns with his next instalment under the Giants Of Discovery alias with The Language of Vibration.
Downey employs modular synths as he showers us with a series of ambient dreamscapes tailor-made for high altitudes (Time is a Blind Guide and the title track). Equally, it could also be a worthy companion to watch the sun creep over the horizon (This Moment and album centrepiece, Aurora).
Either way, on The Language of Vibration Downey produces the kind of record that imbues infinite hope.
Dark Sines: The Cenote Expedition.
In the latest Waxing Crescent release, Appalachian experimentalist, Taylor Proffitt, releases his debut album as Dark Sines, The Cenote Expedition.
Mastered by ambient mainstay, Rafael Anton Irisarri, this is perhaps the darkest release on Waxing Crescent, as Proffitt guides us through the candle-lit labyrinths where we are met uncertainly at every turn.
It’s high drama and Proffitt revels in it, with dark tones weaving all the way through The Cenote Expedition. While it occupies the similar murky sound world that Irisarri has also frequented over the years, for a debut, Proffitt has produced something seamless and assured.
For all of Waxing Crescent Records’ releases, visit the label’s Bandcamp.