2018 Music Rewind

Mary Jane Leach — (f)lute songs

For much of this year I felt like I had less time than usu­al for active music lis­ten­ing. I got mar­ried, my wife was preg­nant, she gave birth to our beau­ti­ful daugh­ter, I had work com­mit­ments, my band The Twi­lights record­ed and released a new album, etc. As a result I have a huge back­log of albums that I want­ed to check out that I have not lis­tened to yet.

So, this year’s list con­sists of albums that I did hear that made a strong enough ini­tial impres­sion on me that I either 1.) wrote it down to remem­ber for this list, or 2.) imme­di­ate­ly sug­gest­ed some like-mind­ed friends have a lis­ten — with the caveat that my sur­vey was woe­ful­ly incom­plete as I prob­a­bly only made it through half of my to-do list of albums.

Any­way, here’s my list in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

Beak〉〉〉〉
Geoff Bar­row (of Por­tishead fame) has brought his atten­tion to groove and atmos­phere to a fusion of prog rock and krautrock. It’s not high­ly tech­ni­cal music, but I use the prog rock label because of the pro­duc­tion style and drum sounds as well as some pret­ty pre­cise play­ing.

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2017 Music Rewind

2017 was Don­ald Trump’s first year as pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. Per­haps it is “out­rage fatigue” at play, but it seems in ret­ro­spect that the albums that res­onat­ed with me this past year share cer­tain qual­i­ties. Most of my favorites exhib­it patience, stead­fast­ness, focus, and deter­mi­na­tion. I need­ed music that is restora­tive. I need­ed it to pro­vide space for my brain and my soul.

Jared C. Balogh — Between Probabilities (Evgeny Gerasimchuk, Grigory Bazhanov and Jared C. Balogh)

Balogh’s com­po­si­tions are com­plex thorny things some­times. Rhyth­mi­cal­ly dense, melod­i­cal­ly spiky, angu­lar in all the best ways. What a treat to hear this set of com­po­si­tions real­ized with live gui­tar (played by Evge­ny Gerasim­chuk) instead of ren­dered via com­put­er. Avail­able as a free down­load on WFMU’s Free Music Archive. Dis­clo­sure: Jared is my friend and band­mate.


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2016 Music Rewind

For much of this year I felt as though I was not able to keep abreast of music releas­es well enough to even pick favorites. Then sud­den­ly towards the end of the year I came across sev­er­al real­ly great releas­es and A Tribe Called Quest dropped their first album in years which turned out to be amaz­ing. Who knows, anoth­er great album might get released in the few remain­ing days of 2016…

The Body — No One Deserves Hap­pi­ness
Start­ing off qui­et and dark like Miran­da Sex Gar­den, this album soon gives way to slow-crush­ing heavy gui­tar glac­i­ers. Almost like Swans in the 90s turn­ing back into Swans in the 80s.

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2015 Music Rewind

Here’s my list of favorite releas­es for this past year, pre­sent­ed in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

Lucre­cia Dalt — Ou
This is filmic, cin­e­mat­ic music. Sounds creep in and out of view with the seam­less rhythm of the best film edi­tors. Tex­ture and grit are key ingre­di­ents but har­monies do some­times emerge to lend a famil­iar emo­tion­al anchor to the abstrac­tion. There’s a radio­phon­ic woozi­ness that bathes the whole affair in nos­tal­gia.


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2014 Music Rewind

There were so many inter­est­ing album releas­es in 2014 I felt I could bare­ly keep up. In fact, I was still adding titles to my Best of 2014 con­tenders list late into Decem­ber. Here are some of my favorites, in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

The Bug — Angels & Dev­ils
Kevin Mar­tin returns to his The Bug alias for a full length LP and sev­er­al EPs worth of mutant bass music in 2014. More than any oth­er elec­tron­ic music pro­duc­er, Kevin under­stands the equal impor­tance of mass/weight and tex­ture. Both aspects are deployed extreme­ly effec­tive­ly whether the track is an atmos­pher­ic snarling dub-wise bass mantra or a neck-snap­ping mutant-dance­hall-cum-grime firestarter.

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2013 Music Rewind

Time, once again, to review some of my favorite music releas­es from the past year (pret­ty much the only reg­u­lar fea­ture of this “blog”). 2013 was a very fruit­ful year for alt‑R&B/future‑R&B as well as for Chica­go-Lon­don bass hybrids. All the usu­al caveats apply. There is always too much music to hear all the great releas­es in a year but these grabbed me more than the rest. I look for­ward to read­ing all the oth­er lists to catch up on what I missed.

Chants — I Feel Like I Feel It
If mem­o­ry serves, I heard about this release via dj /rupture’s Mudd Up blog. The most obvi­ous sign­posts are Shlohmo or Origa­mi Sound’s post-Bur­ial sound­scapes but Chants man­ages to make an elec­tron­ic music album that sounds extreme­ly per­son­al and expres­sive. There is a strong enough iden­ti­ty to shrug off easy com­par­isons.


And the pric­ing starts at zero dol­lars: http://hushhushrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i‑feel-like-i-feel-it
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Arundel (Papa M acoustic cover)

I post­ed this video recent­ly of my acoustic cov­er of “Arun­del” by Papa M.

Some­one asked in the com­ments for tabs, so I went about try­ing to make some. I used Tux­Gui­tar, which was not a bad expe­ri­ence but the pdf export looks real­ly fuzzy. If any­one has any tips for improv­ing the out­put, I’d love to hear them.

Down­load: Papa M — Arun­del tab­la­ture (14KB)
Tun­ing: (low to high) C G C F C E

Hope you enjoy learn­ing this piece, it’s one of my favorite gui­tar solos.

[UPDATE 13 Novem­ber 2017]: Thanks to a com­menter on YouTube I learned the new ver­sion of Tux­Gui­tar has bet­ter PDF out­put. The tab file has been updat­ed and it is much eas­i­er to read (plus small­er file size)!

My Favorite Music of 2012

There are still some great albums and sin­gles being released mid-Decem­ber, includ­ing a new 12-inch from Bur­ial, which could eas­i­ly be includ­ed here if I had had more time with them before com­pil­ing this year’s list. As always, this is my small con­tri­bu­tion to the mass of music nerd list-mak­ing that hap­pens at the end of each cal­en­dar year. I’m sure I’ve missed some of your favorites and I will like­ly read a lot of oth­er lists to sat­is­fy my curios­i­ty over missed items and unjust dis­missals. I hope you find some­thing to enjoy!

Selections in alphabetical order

Burial — Kindred

Hyper­dub have released two 12-inch records from Bur­ial in 2012. If you like Bur­ial you like­ly know what to expect. No sur­pris­es here: crack­ly atmos­phere, meta-rave son­ic vocab­u­lary, skit­tery per­cus­sion… All the things I always love about Bur­ial, no mat­ter how same‑y it’s start­ing to get. The only sur­prise, then, could be that I’m still not tired of Bur­ial music.


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