Posts Tagged ‘albums’

The Year In Sounds, Words and Liquid

December 31, 2012

Albums of the year

20.    Oren Ambarchi – Audience of One
19.    Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
18.    Hanne Hukkelberg – Featherbrain
17.    Radere – I’ll Make You Quiet
16.    Bill Fay – Life Is People
15.    Anduin – Stolen Years
14.    Pye Corner Audio – Sleep Games
13.    Outer Space – Akashic Record
12.    Raime – Quarter Turns…
11.    Lower Dens – Nootropics
10.    Kleefstra/Bakke/Kleefstra – Griis
9.      Dead Rat Orchestra – The Guga Hunters of Ness
8.      Mount Eerie – Clear Moon
7.      Saffronkeira – A New Life Part I and II
6.      Clark – Iradelphic
5.      Wadada Leo Smith – Ten Freedom Summers
4.      Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourist
3.      Motion Sickness of Time Travel – Self Titled
2.      Bersarin Quartett – II
1.      Swans – The Seer

Tunes of the year

  1.  Fenn O’Berg – Christian Rocks
  2.  GY!BE – We Drift Like Worried Fire
  3.  Swans – Lunacy
  4.  Squarepusher – Angel Integer
  5.  Slugabed – Sex
  6.  Aquadisco – Soft Galaxies
  7.  Raime – The Last Foundry
  8.  Pye Corner Audio – The Mirror Ball Cracked
  9.  PiL – Lollipop Opera
  10.  Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Driftin’ Back
  11.  Natural Snow Buildings – Bone Diadem
  12.  Mount Eerie – House Shape
  13.  Mogwai – Rano Pano (Tim Hecker remix)
  14.  Lindstrom – No Release
  15.  Lee Noble – Motion Forever
  16.  Frank Ocean – Pyramids
  17.  Emeralds – Adrenochrome (but just for the guitar wank ending)
  18.  Burial – Kindred
  19.  Belbury Poly – Goat Foot
  20.  Ariel Pink – Kinski Assassin

Most frequently listened to this year (not the same as Last FM obv; also not in order)

  • Christian Rocks – Fenn O’Berg
  • If Not I’ll Just Die – Lambchop
  • Dark Steering – Squarepusher
  • The Seer Returns – Swans
  • Leaving The Island – Evan Caminiti
  • The Pining 2 – Clark
  • Glass Walls – ASC
  • All Your Gold – Bat for Lashes
  • 4AM… – Afterhours
  • A Swan Is Born – Can
  • Now Then – Belbury Poly

Other things/comps enjoyed this year

  • Can – The Lost Tapes
  • WITCH – We Intend To Cause Havoc
  • Various Artists – Tomorrow’s Achievements: Parry Music Library 1976-86
  • The covers to the Below The Radar comps the Wire do as the pictures all look like news readers having an orgasm

Books Read This Year (not in order of quality, but consumption)

  1. Andrew Marr – A History of Modern Britain
  2. Lauren Beukes – Zoo City
  3. J.A. Baker – Peregrine
  4. David Toop – Haunted Weather (again)
  5. K.W. Jeter – Infernal Devices
  6. Iain M Banks – The Player of Games
  7. Tim Gatreaux – Waiting for the Evening News
  8. Philip Kerr – Field Grey
  9. Philip Kerr – If The Dead Rise Not
  10. China Mieville – Embassytown
  11. Philip Kerr – If The Dead Rise Not
  12. Alastair Reynolds – Redemption Ark
  13. Franz Kafka – The Complete Stories
  14. Walter Mosley – A Red Death
  15. John Banville – The Newton Letter
  16. Saul Bellow – Him With His Foot In His Mouth
  17. Kim Stanley Robinson – Wild Shore
  18. Martin Amis – London Fields
  19. Paul Auster – Travels in the Scriptorium
  20. Umberto Eco – Baudolino
  21. Thomas Packenham – The Scramble for Africa
  22. Richard Morgan – Broken Angels
  23. Roger Deakin – Wildwood
  24. Don Delillo – The Players
  25. M. John Harrison – The Centauri Device
  26. Jeff Somers – The Electric Church
  27. Robert Silverberg – Shadrach in the Furnace

Pints consumed¹

Estimated cost

Top Ten Beers (according to The List [UK unless stated])

10.     Miltons – Nero
9.      Stone (US) – Ruination IPA
8.      Harbour – Double IPA
7.      Highlands – Orkney IPA
6.      The Rat Brewery – Crazy Rat
5.      Brewfist (IT) – Burocracy
4.      Brewsters – Hophead
3.      Dark Horse (US) – Special Black Reserve
2.      Magic Rock – Clown Juice
1.      Brewdog – Growler

Completed intentions 2012 (coloured text = success)

2012: The Pipeline

  1. Lecturing Master’s students on methodologies, very briefly
  2. Conference paper in April
  3. Performances in Leeds (possibly)
  4. Field work: Jan – July
  5. Completing 2 more chapters of thesis: Spatiality and Technology

2012: The Resolutions

  1. Make more than a passing acquaintance with classical music
  2. Listen to the radio (possibly in conjunction with no. 1)
  3. Make more headway with LNT
  4. Return to learning Mandarin

Additional completed intentions (subsequent to post)

  1. Lose weight (21 pounds since September, though some has been regained in Dec)
  2. Go on much delayed honeymoon
  3. Upgrade to full PhD
  4. Send journal article for publishing (Navigating the Archive: Resistance and Memory in Contemporary Avant-garde Practice submitted to Poetics in December)

Intentions for 2013

  1. Finish PhD
  2. Finish Shinje
  3. Record some new/collaborative music
  4. Work out what exactly to do with my life once I have completed No.1

Image that sums up 2012

I’ve clearly wasted a lot of time

Comparisons With Last Year’s Assessment

  • I drank less in 2012, possibly because I had no alcohol during February (see ‘ Additional Complete Intentions’ above).
  • I drink a fair number of beers from the States, possibly own to the influence of Dan P.
  • I have read a lot less this year, possibly owing to being busy and/or playing Skyrim, or the books being long.
  • I haven’t kept details of things I have done on certain days this year, nor offered news headlines or obituaries. My review is very me-centric.

Overall Score


¹ This figure is almost certainly inaccurate. It was obtained by taking my by-now-hilarious beer list, and halving the number of drinks on it; this is because, in most cases, if I am in an establishment with a number of interesting beers, I will drink halves to maximize how many I can try. I am aware of how sad this appears, and I don’t care.


Albums of the Week: Last Week July – First Week August

August 4, 2010

A small update, to come in advance of a more sizeable post on ‘stations’ and ‘horses’; the former will arrive this weekend/Monday, the latter, about three weeks later. A loose time line for the title of this post then, largely because I was briefly in Luton for Zoe’s birthday, visiting assorted family members and so forth (apologies to those I missed). I don’t really want to add too much, as I think this is more of a touching post to remind me of certain things come a lengthy 2010 rundown/review after Nightmare Before Christmas. In no particular order then, I’ve been listening to-

The Suburbs
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Tiger Flower Circle Sun
Christopher Willits – Tiger Flower Circle Sun

Between Buildings and Trees
Andrew Thomas – Between Buildings and Trees

The Way Out
The Books – The Way Out

Play Scar
Chris Abrahams – Play Scar

Crush Depth
Chrome Hoof – Crush Depth

Heavy Ghost Appendices
DM Stith – Heavy Ghost Appendices

Something That Has Form
On/Fennesz – Something That Has Form…

Glitterbug – Privilege

Live In NYC
Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Live In New York

Albums of the Week: May 23rd – 29th + Garcia

May 28, 2010

The return of my top ten recommendations for listening, obtainable via parting with money, nepotism, using spotify/last fm, piracy etc. In no particular order, as they’re all pretty good, and this is meant as more of a ‘What Is On Rotation’ type deal. Having said ‘Food – Quiet Inlet and Lorn – Nothing Else would top things if an order was imposed.

Clubroot – II MMX

Lorn – Nothing Else

Rene Hell – Porcelain Opera

Actress – Splazsh

Olan Mill – Pine

@C – Music for Empty Spaces

Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here

Oval – Oh!

T + + – Wireless

Food – Quiet Inlet

Stokes came up at the beginning of the month, and we carved out a nice twenty minute improv, constructed on several layers from analogue synth, guitar, vocals of various kinds, bells, no-input mixing desk and tribal powers! (no light box this time). From that session, we have, I think, three completed tracks. The first, I put together from the recordings made on Chris’ four/six/eight track, the second, Chris’ version of the track also culled from the original and third, a remix I made using the constituent parts but rearranging and distorting them in new and (hopefully) exciting ways. Not too sure what to do with it yet – free-to-download, actual physical release, net only release…both an attempt to attach ourselves to ‘real’ labels – but the version Chris constructed is available here, assuming his site hasn’t been randomly erased again.

Albums of the Week: 23- 30th Jan

January 28, 2010

This week, what I’ve listened to, helpfully listed in ascending order:

5. Jaga Jazzist – One-Armed Bandit

4. Kaito – Trust

3. Various Artists – Pop Ambient 2010

2. Four Tet – There Is Love In You

1. BJ Nilsen – The Invisible City

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have gone for a new Touch release this week as my personal favourite. BJ Nilsen’s work for me has been a bit hit and miss so far, with the occasional outstanding piece mixing up against some pretty standard ambient stuff, but The Invisible City is much more focused and consistent. The shorter tracks like Phase and Amplitude and Scientia combine an
effective blend of constructed ambient textures with field recordings from across the globe (Iceland, Sweden etc.) with the resulting sound a compelling one, belying the miniature duration. The standout track for me is the 15 minute Virtual Resistance, which begins life as a haze of reversing peaks that subside in to a chilling pulse of cello and synth, punctuated by a distorted guitar which oscillates across the stereo spectrum, with the crunch of pebbles underfoot. It’s wonderfully produced, with real attention to the details in each sound, particularly the field recordings that include a chair being dragged across a room and some kind of ship hitting a harbour wall, recorded under water (well…that’s how it sounds…it could be something else entirely). The only down side is the title track, which sadly falls back in to the aforementioned ambient trope of earlier work, but this is a small disappointment in comparison to the work as a whole.

Four Tet’s new album is more straightforward than the Everything Ecstatic, in that he’s pulled back the unnecessary layers and focused on making sure all the individual elements work as a whole. He has clearly benefited from his time spent with Steve Reid and Burial, as the tunes feature occasional percussive flourishes and distorted vocal samples, adding a new depth missing from earlier work where the intent was seemingly more in favour of cramming as much in as possible. The beats are pretty much 4/4 throughout, but this isn’t a problem because the synth lines and bass work so effectively to shape the songs. I think this is the sort of record that will work as a good introduction to Four Tet, before moving to more cluttered release.

Pop Ambient 2010 was a disappointment. BVDub’s tracks are the best thing here, as expected, and with the notable exception of Jurgen Paape’s 864M with its haunting brass line and distant percussion, the tracks are two or three samples worked together with a bit of delay/reverb. Perhaps this opinion has developed as a result of listening to this record after Nilsen’s (much like the mistake I made last week), but there seems little to delineate the contributions.

Jaga Jazzist’s album is all over the place. The production is an unpleasant fuzz, the arrangements are complicated for little more than the sake of doing so, and the tiny tricks and twists of previous albums have been left out in favour of making a record that sounds like Jaga, rather than one that is made by them. Kaito’s album is not much better. The production is pedestrian, the arrangements are streamlined and in doing so lack any real flair or imagination. All in all a mixed week. I’ll choose more
carefully next week.

Albums of the Week : 16th – 22nd Jan

January 20, 2010

<My selection for the week is largely based on things I have been sent, or albums I missed at the arse end of last year (Evangelista). I was hoping to have something more insightful than simply selecting a favourite, but have annoyingly had my time eroded by various concerns. In the spirit of honesty, I thought it better to post than avoid. Next week, when my schedule is clearer I'm going to mention something about my formative musical experiences, how they have occupied specific mental and physical spaces, and how the memory of which obviously informs present choices and continuing bias.

Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise

Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra
Kollaps Tradixionales

Evangelista – Prince of Truth

Owen Pallett – Heartland

Beach House – Teen Dream

My choice of album of the week is going to be Owen Pallett’s Heartland. This choice is largely the product of it being an amazing undertaking, the sort of album where I struggle to understand how one person could not only have had this in his head but also worked with so many people to edit and produce it to near perfection (credits to Rusty Santos and the Czech National Orchestra). One review mentioned a crossover between Andrew Bird and Neil Hannon, which I can definitely see. The vocal has that flavour to it, and the subject matter (a violent fictional farmer) is pretty left-field. The arrangements are clever, and occasionally amusing in that way where you laugh but aren’t 100% sure why the sound combinations are funny. Overall, it’s just a very enjoyable record fully of impressive twists and informed orchestration as you’d expect; with violins gradually falling apart, the occasional burst of brass from the gloom. Having said that, it’s not that easy to get in to, but is certainly worth the effort. I expect to see it on top ten lists at the end of the year.

The other reason for picking it is because the other albums sort of corralled me in that direction. Black Noise is lush, in the non-slang meaning of that word, the production (which seems to be an obsession
for me with electronic musicians) is crisp and uncluttered. It sounds beautiful…but isn’t in the same league as This Bliss. Not that I expected much of a departure, but I still wanted a little more than refinement on its own. Teen Dream was equally pretty, but will perhaps be damaged by those suggesting Beach House are ‘doing an Animal Collective’ this year. I’m not certain if this is meant as a compliment. As I recall as many people hated Merriweather as liked it. Teen Dream just sounds a little inconsequential to me, coming after Heartland. Perhaps I should have listened in a different order?

Finally, ASMZ and Evangelista continue that trademark Constellation sound tradition. Prince of Truth is a good follow on from Hello Voyager (Crack Teeth being a particular highlight for me), but the nature of the production means it sounds a little too samey. Again, I think this is the Owen Pallett after-effect talking, as on any other day I’d probably have listed it in a different order, but there we go…I can but judge in the moment, as hypocritical and ill-informed as that makes me. ASMZ fall in to the same camp in this respect, as Efrim’s ordering, FX choices & instrumentation remains stoic, the songs failing to pull away from the presumptions I have developed about where-the-songs-are -going over the past 2 ASMZ records. Live performance is a different matter; having seen them a few years back at The Scala in London, I urge people to go out and have a listen during their brief European adventure. Tickets via ATP website I think. I’m guessing the songs on here will spring to life in a live setting, in much the same way that they did on This Is Our Punk Rock when I saw them…it seems odd that the new album acts as a sort of introduction to the performance and not the other way round, but there we go.

Albums of the Week + Apology

November 24, 2009

I’ll add the apology first. I had a piece about Edward Woodward and The Wicker Man as a combined obit and hauntological exploration, but I was sadly sidetracked by getting a job at last, and so, as ever, things went on the back burner. As way of an apology, and for missing last Friday, an early addition of albums of the week that includes more than five albums. Amazing.
The Edward Woodward piece will follow, hopefully, next week or thereabouts. A review of ATP Nightmare Before Christmas will also arrive after the event.

Albums of the Week

Mountains – Etching

The Necks – Silverwater

Aufgang – Aufgang

King Midas Sound – Waiting For You

2562 – Unbalance

ABC – The Lexicon of Love

Matt Elliott – Drinking Songs

Numerous pleasing listens abound in the past week plus, and the happy return of The Necks added to this. Hanging Gardens and The Chemist are past favourites, and Silverwater offers a nice dose of Minimalist influenced playing, nimble unhurried percussion and intertwining bass work. Mountains are a beautiful group. Choral is an amazing album and Etchings seems to be an EP high-lighting the processes which brought it about. It is ‘live’ apparently, in that it was recorded in one go. 30 minutes in and it reaches an impressive crescendo, unusual for a release that is classified as ‘ambient’.

My favourite of the week was a return to Matt Elliott’s Drinking Songs, which was released 4 years ago now. The tracks bleed in to one another, repeat themes and characters, are haunted by the ghosts of lost sailors, soldiers and the bars they inhabit(ed) and are eventually pulled apart by the twenty minute closer ‘The Maid We Messed’. ‘The Kursk’ and ‘What’s Wrong’ are top for me, even if the latter does remind me of Fagin in Oliver Twist. The former does a neat trick of merging the acoustic elements and over-layered vocals with electronic manipulation of a delicate and nurturing kind that I myself try and fail to cultivate in my work. Worth finding.

Albums of the Week

November 13, 2009

‘An infrequent revelation’ some say! ‘Water treading’ offer others. Every Friday, a brief five item list of what has been spinning on the turntable (or more likely from the laptop).

Albums listened to this week include:

Bottin – Horror Disco

Steve Reich – Different Trains

Noveller – Red Rainbows

Bugskull – Phantasies and Senseitions

Delia Derbyshire – Electrosonic

Obviously if any end up being repeated I’ll just have to lie and pretend I listened to something else. I reckon I average maybe five new things (new to me) a week, so perhaps this will work. Next week a dazzling array of ELABORATIONS as to why these things are good/being listened to/should be listened to by other people.
Obviously this week Bottin qualifies on the basis of cover art alone. Stupendous! Noveller is this weeks recommended listen I’d say; made by SarahLipstate who has worked with the likes of Parts & Labour + ColdCave as well as personal favourite Rhys Chatham. The album is awash with an extraterrestrial guitar sound not dissimilar to Chatham, as well as some enveloping drone work that reminds me of dusk in a clearing sky. Worth a go.

You get part of her film ‘Interior Variations’ on the enhanced CD apparently.

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