Hey, here’s an index of my writeups of all 50 albums from Wire Magazine’s (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Albums of 2018.
Bloody Sirens by Musarc & Neil Luck; Boomkat Store Link: Bloody Sirens
Number 49 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
I had to skip this one yesterday, as I hadn’t figured out a way to listen to it in the car. It’s only available from the Boomkat Store and not on any Streaming Platforms. Actually, I’m a bit surprised that only one album, (well EP,) ended up being a slight problem. There were a few that were only available after purchase on Bandcamp, but this is the only one taking the true high road of no streaming at all.
Also, woo! The last album of the Wire Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2018!
Bloody Sirens is a work of Neil Luck, a British composer, or as he puts it.
“I am interested in live performance, fallible bodies, the pathetic, theatre, the esoteric and the unesoteric. My music is concerned with sound, of course, but resonates with other live and fine arts practices. “
Bloody Sirens was also a work of the UK based “choral collective”, Musarc.
Bloody Sirens sounds like it was as much a performance for vocal ensemble, as it was a composition.
3 shorter songs and one longer song.
The texts of the pieces are often composed of the sonic and or textual debris of the 21st Century.
The pieces are whimsical, curious, serious, and funny. Often they are declamatorily about themselves, with the vocalists informing on the actions in the pieces as they are happening.
The main piece, “Bloody Sirens,” appears to be based on a very loose understanding of American Baseball along with a coincidental relationship/pun relating to “perfect pitch”.
That is about as close as I can get to describing what goes on here.
If that sounds at all interesting, I recommend checking it out yourself.
#NeilLuck #Musarc #BloodySirens #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Safe in the Hands of Love by Yves Tumor; Label Link: Safe in the Hands of Love
Number 50 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
Gauzy pop ditties, a la A.R. Kane, embedded amongst harsh industrial collage soundscape and spoken word experiments.
I sort of liked the harsh industrial collage soundscapes, but the pop songs with quirky lyrics leave me a little cold.
I can’t say I want to go back and listen again.
#SafeInTheHandsOfLove #YvesTumor #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Communion by Park Jiha; Bancamp Link: Communion
Number 48 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
Along with For by Kate NV, Communion is one of the more pleasant surprises of Wire Magazine’s Top 50.
Park Jiha is a Korean musician whose primary instruments are piri (double reed bamboo flute), saenghwang (mouth organ) & yanggeum (hammered dulcimer). She is joined on this entirely acoustic endeavor by woodwind player Kim Oki, vibraphonist John Bell, and percussionist Kang Tekhyun.
The pieces have a super intimate feel, influences for the compositions seem to come primarily from Western contemporary and classical music, despite the unusual instrumentation.
It is a sort of chamber music, though it often sounds like it might have been recorded outside or in nature.
Park Jiha is an incredibly expressive player and a gifted technician on all the instruments she plays. Her piri playing, particularly for me as a woodwind player, is truly inspirational and moving.
It’s a really beautiful album.
#Communion #ParkJiha #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Ecce Homo by Ipek Gorgun; Bandcamp Link: Ecce Homo
Number 47 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
“Born and raised in Ankara, Turkey, Ipek Gorgun is an electronic music composer currently enrolled in the doctoral program of sonic arts at Istanbul technical university’s center for advanced studies in music.”
On the pleasant side of noisy, Ecce Homo often uses looped bell-like sounds to create environments in which to explore with synthesizer and samples.
I enjoyed most of the songs on Ecce Homo, however, for whatever Gorgun felt the need to sample from Alex Jones, of Info Wars infamy. She pulls extensive vocal samples from Jones’ largely incoherent anti-semitic rant about “infiltrating” the Bohemian Grove, The Bay Area’s legendarily exclusive retreat for the rich, famous, and influential.
As with Agnarkea’s Black Helicopters, I am unclear about the intention, and also embarrassed that assholes like Jones have become megaphones for the worst of America’s impulses.
#EcceHomo #IpekGorgun #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) by Jon Hassell; Bandcamp Link: Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)
Number 46 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
Jon Hassell probably first came to everyone’s attention through the Brian Eno and Jon Hassell album “Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics” on the E.G. Music Label.
At the time, Hassell defined “Fourth World Music” as, “a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques.”
He had come up among the New York minimalists, (Terry Riley and LaMonte Young,) then studied Indian classical music techniques, trying to apply what he learned from that to his trumpet playing.
This album is largely an electronic/ambient work and actually charted at number 34 on the UK Dance Album Charts in 2018. He plays his characteristically gnomic trumpet over a variety of digital loops and samples, bending, spindling, and mutating with great abandon.
It makes fine house cleaning music.
#ListeningToPictures #JonHassell #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir by Gaye Su Akyol; Bandcamp Link: İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir
Number 45 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
Gaye Su Akyol is a Turkish vocalist.
Her music, primarily, mixes Psychedelic Music influences, Surf Music influences, and Turkish folk scales and motifs.
I’m just gonna put an extended quote from her album notes here and leave it at that.
“We are masses moving within a huge chaos. We are the disaster seeds of a cultural collapse which infiltrates the human mind and inhibits dreams. In an age when we are forced to forget dreaming, as societies we become weak signals of the barren mind. We are descendants of unqualified herds that follow grunts. We are the miserable, standardized, un-rebellious and unfounded robots of the new world.
“What could be the one thing that could separate us from this herd, these masses, these crises of ambition ground down by the things we memorize?
“This album is in search of the great crisis of existence, the assorted peculiarities that you are subjected to when you refuse to get used to and are alienated by things such as war, or death, a sudden separation forever from a loved one, dreams for instance, the nature of species, what we look for in this weird planet, what we are not able to find, what we call real and what we turn down as dreams.
“Dreams keep you awake and it is time to wake up!”Gaye Su Akyol
#GayeSuAkyol #İstikrarlıHayalHakikattir #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Pastoral by Gazelle Twin; Bandcamp Link: Pastoral
Number 44 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
I didn’t know anything about Gazelle Twin before putting this on.
Initially, it put me off a bit, there was some early music choral bits going on, which triggers my PetShopBoys-o-phobia.
However, upon listening a bit closer, I realized that in the Chorales, and spoken word segments, such that they were, the lyrics were the every day detritus of life in the twenty-first century. Things you might hear on the bus or when you’re reading the newspaper. “Just look at these kids now. No respect. It was much better in my day.” etc. Cut ups, a la W.S. Burroughs.
And, like Burroughs, it is often quite darkly funny.
The music is electronic, beat and loop based, with prominent vocals as mentioned. And occasional recorders.
A super interesting album, if I were ordering these, Pastoral would be in the top 10.
#Pastoral #GazelleTwin #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
The Dark Orchestra by Nkisi; Bleep Store Link: The Dark Orchestra
Number 43 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
Bleep sums the album up with the following:
“In an endless ocean of critics and producers suffering the daily dose of terminally impressed dusty tape tekno and hauntology focused hardcore and jungle throwback 12″s, Nkisi’s The Dark Orchestra is a glass of ice-cold water smashed across a scene that is in much need of a very serious wake-up call.”
I really have not much idea what the Bleep Store writeup of this album means, other than to say I did enjoy Nkisi’s The Dark Orchestra.
It is an EP. It is faster techno-ish electronic music with serious sub-bass action. There is enough variation over the EPs 15 or so minutes that nothing ever gets stale, in fact the whole thing altogether sounds not much like anything I have heard before.
One thing I will note is that Nkisi is now on a label called Arcola, which is a sub-label of Warp. She had previously been on a label called NON-Worldwide which has a few compilations. I seriously recommend checking them out. Some of the tracks on those compilations are pretty mind blowing. Electronic music that stretches its boundaries to include the world.
#TheDarkOrchestra #Nkisi #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50
Qualm by Helena Hauff; Bandcamp Link: Qualm
Number 42 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.
I am not a huge fan of commercial dance music, as in the sort of music you might hear at a rave.
Ms Hauff skews a bit close to commercial dance music, as in the sort of music you might hear at a rave, for my personal taste.
What she seems to be doing is playing vintage synthesizers over rave beats and loops.
OK, it’s a little edgier than that, there are some slightly grungy sounds, but not much.
If that sounds like something that would interest you, I encourage you to check her out. The song names are pretty funny, with titles like, “Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg”, “The Smell Of Suds And Steel“, and “Primordial Sludge“.
Personally, while I enjoyed it for a while, the bombastic beats get exasperating after while, and I was feeling pretty done well before the album was over.
#HelenaHauff #Qualm #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50