Number 23 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
I had thought Dedekind Cut was a sort of combination of ambient and goth.
I don’t know if Tahoe is representative, but if so, it is more of an ambient drone.
Digital reverb soaked keyboard washes, occasional early music vocals, the odd field recording, and quasi-Asian keyboard noodling are mixed in a static casserole of sounds, baked at 375 until bubbling, then refrigerated. Reheated the next day on a paper plate.
It reminds me of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks music or a low rent Popol Vuh.
Brace Up! by Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt; Bandcamp Link: Brace Up!
Number 22 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
Chris Corsano is a drummer who lives in the North Eastern United States and Bill Orcutt is a guitarist who lives in, or near, San Francisco. Chris Corsano has a diverse recording history, from Björk (Volta) to the skronkiest free improvisation with Paul Flaherty and a little of every thing in between. Bill Orcutt has been mining the black seams at the edges of punk, folk, and improvisation, for the better part of 30 years, first gaining notice as the guitarist in the band Harry Pussy.
Some of Mr Orcutt’s records can be contemplative, edging along the sort of work that John Fahey did, reinterpreting American popular and folk traditions.
Brace Up! is not that sort of work.
Mr Corsano’s playing is almost always propulsive, sounding like an octopus has been dosed with meth and let loose in the pantry.
They complement each other well, each pushing the other further than they might go on their own, but in different directions.
Corsano keeps Orcutt skittering, barely letting him get a footing before taking off with another idea. Orcutt pulls Corsano down a bit, making him dig more repetition than he usually does.
It’s a great album, though, obviously, not one to put on if you’re looking to relax and take a nap.
Number 21 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
You got me on this one.
I must be missing some critical United Kingdom cultural context, ‘cos this just sounds like fairly plain lo-fi electronic pop music. I feel like about a million people are recording music pretty similar to this with garageband or on their phones every day.
It’s not bad, per se, I just can’t detect anything of note in the music, beats, lyrics, or production that would place it in this Top 50 releases of 2018.
Number 20 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
Odd, as far as I can tell, this album by Nordra was released in October of 2016, strange that it would be in the wire magazine best of 2018. Maybe it was initially released independently and got picked up by a label ?
Well, I missed it back in 2016, so a pleasure to listen to it in 2019.
Nordra is the project of Seattle musician Monika Khot.
This music was composed to accompany a multimedia performance Pylon II (there was a Pylon and there is now a Pylon III).
The music is pretty fascinating, it dances on the jagged edge, tilting between abstract electronic music, film scores, pop music, and dance music.
It is mostly instrumental, with the odd well placed sample. The self slicing brownie pan commercial provided a bit of levity, though it was playing against another slightly disguised home surveillance advertisement.
Another win for the wire magazine top 50 releases.
Number 19 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
I’d heard a couple of Eartheater, (not to be confused with the Swedish Sludge Metal Band Earth Eater,) songs when random shuffling, so I knew to a certain extent what to expect.
And, frankly, after a few disappointing albums, was really looking forward to something I would enjoy.
Thankfully, I did enjoy IRISIRI.
Eartheater, aka Alexandra Drewchin and associates, has a wonderful voice and an eclectic touch on arrangements and sonic environments. With Dub-like production techniques, the album feels alive, it is constantly changing, with sounds and events moving in and out of processing. I was continually surprised by this album, never knowing quite what was going to come next.
I particularly liked one track, which started with a harp solo and the musical track was slowly invaded by a seemingly unrelated electronic dance beat. It almost felt like you were listening to your friend practice their harp as an all night dance party raged in a nearby loft.
Number 18 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
First, seven songs at around 3 minutes each, isn’t really an album. It’s maybe half an album, or as we used to call it back in the days of physical media, an EP or Extended Play recording.
The songs are occasionally catchy, among them, “Infared” is actually pretty good, especially the instrumental last 15 seconds or so. The beats, samples, and song environments are nothing super special, at least compared to most of the similar albums on the list so far. One song, “Come Back Baby” is almost half extended samples of a James Timothy Shaw, aka The Mighty Hannibal, song of the same name, which seems pretty lazy to me.
The lyrics are pretty much nothing but someone saying, over and over, “I am a shallow, status obsessed, asshole.”
So many products and brands are name checked, it got me wondering if there was some pay-to-play going on.
Number 13 in the wire magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 releases of 2018.
Eli Keszler is a percussionist, composer, and performer in Oneohtrix Point Never.
The percussion here, while mostly acoustic, is interesting in that the patterns have more in common with those which underlie electronic dance music than they do with “Jazz” or even “Rock” music drumming.
They are super fast and often quite repetitive.
The melodic component tends to be more bent than the percussion, composed of loops which are often processed. I heard a brass instrument, bells, and frequently keyboard washes.
There is an interesting contrast between long tones from the melodic component and the skittering, hyperactive percussion.
Somehow, it hypnotized me, and made me very sleepy. But, minimalism often does that to me.
So, if you’re looking for an interesting, modern, cure for insomnia, Stadium might be just the thing.
Number 7 in the wire magazine Top 50 releases of 2018.
Senyawa are an Indonesian duo.
I would classify what they do as a sort of ritualistic performance art.
The vocalist has a very low voice and groans more than sings. They accompany themselves on handmade electrified and acoustic instruments and percussion. Most recently they have discovered a small handbag of digital EFX boxes.
Due to the external similarity of their music to a couple Western genres, mostly drone metal and maybe prog, they have been adopted a bit by fans of those musics, and the associated publications and scenes.
Well, to be honest, if you heard a Senyawa song between a SUNNO))) song and a magma song, it wouldn’t sound terribly out of place.
I like them a lot and have been kicking myself that I missed their performance at the lab, here in San Francisco, last year.
Regrets, I’ve got a few…
Don’t make the same mistake I did! If you get a chance, go see them!