Asthmatic Kitty, the label home and Michigan outpost of Sufjan Stevens, has an interesting record series called Library Catalog devoted to music basically prepped for a utilitarian role. What that is, or turns out to be seems ambiguous. They write of series: "for possible use in films and television, background sounds for home or office, or personal needs, such as relaxation, stimulation, meditation, concentration, or elevation,” or more specifically as “accompaniment to cooking, eating, sculpting, exercising, high stakes poker, soaking, panoramic landscapes, cuddling, car chases, drawing, knitting, bandaging, romance, playing chess, or planning the rest of your life, of which this is the first day." I don't think it presumptuous to assume Asthmatic Kitty considers "listening" a crucial aspect of the whole endeavor. But I do find it a recessionarily shrewd move on their part, providing indie ambient and arty instrumental rock that seems tailor made to indie films and forward thinking TV. Then again, like many of Sufjan and his crew's ideas (I'm still pissed about the 50 states project's abandonment, and for the record I think Sufjan's noisey, electronic dabbling is terribly ill-conceived, and the BQE is a snorefest), I won't hold breath for them to come to fruition. But as an excercise in 'backgroundness' these records do fine. Some more than fine. Yuuki Matthews, who plays with Seattle's underrated Crystal Skulls is releasing Music for Savage Tropical Imagery December 8, which on the strength of "Conquerors" the first track leaked by Asthmatic Kitty, promises to be a a hazy, rueful Eno-meets-chillwave affair. Fellow Crystal Skull Casey Foubert and James McAlister, who both have solo entries into the series, come together on Music For Drums, a record that does as it a describes just with a lot more interest than you would expect. The mixing is taut, the layers rich, the compositions shifting. I've posted a smattering of teasers from a few of the other records including the Sufjan collab with Lowell Brams "Alpha to Theta" on Music for Insomnia which sounds way too close to Yoga music to my ears but seriously might get some motherfuckers to sleep. Also check out Roberto Carlos Lange's (Helado Negro) "Amazonian Pacific" which is an odd mishmash of darkwave, ambient, and noisey avant kraut grooves, but definitely works. They've amped up their release schedule for these records so keep a look out as they seem to be getting better with each.

Yuuki Matthews - Conquerors

Casey Foubert/James McAlister - Big Moth

Lowell Brams - Alpha to Theta

Law of the Least Effort - Law 2

Roberto Carlos Lange - Amazonian Pacific

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