"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Twenty is plenty

Presenting 20 releases that lightened & brightened a year in profound need of both...

To state the obvious: these weren't the year's only great releases. Nor do we suggest they were the 'best'. But they stood out to us as especially meaningful or evocative or thrilling - or some combination of these...

It's notable how many of them capture live performance in a year when this was largely impossible, except through streaming. 

Notable too is how many are self-releases. Labels aren't on the way out, to be sure. But Bandcamp has enabled a direct connection with audiences that seems to really work for artists (not least in sharing performance, of course).

As ever, the overall list is a compilation of our two separate lists. Each was limited to one pick per artist/label. 

Again as ever, this constraint (to range as widely as possible within our listening) meant having to exclude outstanding releaeses such as Lawrence English's 'deepening' Lassitude (among a raft of brilliance, to the earlier point about labels, in Room40's 20th anniversary year...). 

Among other painful losses to the hairshirt were France Jobin's flawless Death is perfection, everything else is relative & the remainder of her Editions Mego labelmate KMRU's outpouring (besides multiple albums, the EPs, mixes & even a piece for The Arsenal are all must-hear)...


Ultimately, this list forms only one part of a broader picture of the year's music. This will soon (no, really...) also include projects that went beyond the bounds of conventional releases, compilations & some alternative picks. 

For now, though, LMYE's Festive Twenty for 2020:

Chris Abrahams :: Appearance (Room40)
Shoeb Ahmad :: im/modesty (Flaming Pines)

William Basinski :: Lamentations (Temporary Residence)

r beny :: Seafoam & Dust (Dauw)





Black Glass Ensemble & Friends :: Be Mine in Patience: an Embrace in B minor (omnempathy)

Sarah Davachi :: Figures In Open Air (Late Music)

drøne :: the stilling (Pomperipossa)

Carlo Giustini :: Gli Spiriti Della Marca (Vaagner)




Chris Herbert :: Kranky NTS Radio (self-release)

Hotel Neon :: Moments (Sound In Silence)

KMRU :: Peel (Editions Mego)

Lamasz :: Nature Morte (Past Inside the Present)




Alva Noto :: Xerrox Vol. 4 (Noton)

øjeRum :: Selected Percussive Works 1998 - 2001 (Opal Tapes)

Jim O'Rourke :: So You Want to Write A Fugue (Steamroom)

Benoît Pioulard :: A Few Moments In (Disques d'Honoré)




Maja S. K. Ratke :: Corona lockdown concert for Tusk Festival 2020 (self-release)

William Selman :: The Life of Lines (Critique of Everyday Life)

Hirotaka Shirotsubaki :: Slowdance, Lowtide (self-release)

thme :: that’s what it will be like (Whitelabrecs)




Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Decayed alternative

To accompany our recent Festive 33-1/3, an attempt to acknowledge the inevitable, inadequate contingency of year-end lists with, er, another year-end list: the Restive 33-1/3...

As always, the point is to highlight some of the past year's many fine releases that resonated with LMYE's ears while spreading recognition as widely as possible.

Not that even this second collection completes the picture of 2019: besides the artist & label multiples ruled out by our approach (see below), the year brought countless further releases that deserve your time & attention, of course...

In any case, the hairshirted LMYE framework still applies to this supplementary list: again, no more than one selection per artist (&, clearly, none represented in the earlier list); again, no more than one per label (ditto).

There are only three deviations from the usual 33-1/3 methodology. The first is that all Restive picks are jl's aone. The second is that compilations make up the entire quartet of additional selections that go beyond the confines of conventional releases;

No doubt :zoviet*france's 15-LP 'Chasse' wooden box would have featured, though, if these ears ever got to hear more of it than the samples at Soundohm...

You could also consider heavyweight serial releasers Kevin Drumm & Jim O'Rourke included by default (only four new Steamrooms over the year notwithstanding...).

The third is that in the spirit of inclusion this list's conventional releases go somewhat over Festive's strict 30 limit.

Anyway, in the hope that it inspires interest in these outstanding works & their labels here's the list:

Joshua Adams & Natural Information Society :: Mandatory Reality (Eremite) https://eremiterecords.bandcamp.com/album/mandatory-reality 
Oren Ambarchi :: Simian Angel (Editions Mego)
anthéne :: Virtue (Lillerne
Arovane + Porya Hatami :: C.H.R.O.N.O.S. (Karlrecords)
Julianna Barwick :: Circumstance Synthesis (RVNG Intl)

William Basinski :: On Time Out Of Time (Temporary Residence Ltd.) https://williambasinski.bandcamp.com/album/on-time-out-of-time
BLACK TO COMM :: Before After (Thrill Jockey)
Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann :: LP1 (greyfade)
Evan Caminiti :: Refraction (Make Noise)
Laura Luna Castillo :: Folksonomies (Cudighi

cinchel :: a ghost's hand leads you through darkness (1473)
Sarah Davachi :: Pale Bloom (Superior Viaduct)
Emilia :: Pollinations (Rottenman Editions)
Carlo Giustini :: Custodi (LONTANO Series)
Darren Harper :: Paths (Shimmering Moods)

Ian Hawgood + Phil Tomsett :: Fragmented Boundaries (Home Normal) https://homenormal.bandcamp.com/album/fragmented-boundaries
Stijn Huwels :: Tomodachi (Dauw
James Sandford :: 59335 (Broken20
Eva Kierten :: The Shattered Vessel (Other Forms of Consecrated Life) https://otherforms.bandcamp.com/album/the-shattered-vessel
Kajsa Lindgren :: Everyone is here (Warm Winters Ltd)
loscil :: Equivalents (kranky

Mark Lyken :: boneshaker (czaszka rec
øjeRum :: on the swollen lips of the horizon (LINE)  
Kali Malone :: The Sacrificial Code (Ideal)
Sean McCann :: Puck (Recital Program
Darren McLure :: A Mere Fraction (Audiobulb)

Hideo Nakasako :: Texture of Days (Muzan Editions)
Perila :: Irer Dent (sferic
Theodore Cale Schafer :: Patience (Students of Decay)
Sedenion :: Fever’s Corner (Reserve Matinee

Remo Seeland :: Hollow Body (Hallow Ground)
Richard Skelton :: The Eternals (Aeolian Editions
Sontag Shogun :: It Billows Up (Youngbloods)
Strange Mountain II :: Please Wait For Me, Please Wait Forever (Polar Seas) https://polarseasrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/please-wait-for-me-please-wait-forever 
Swartz et :: Sol Angels (self-released)

TVO & one_star_hotel :: H.O.C (Test Recordings)
Various Artists :: MMXIX (Midira)        
Various Artists :: Rural Electronics (Adversary)
Various Artists :: The Warmest Hum (VAAGNER)
Various Artists :: Vol. VII (Unknown Tone)
Miki Yui :: wigawiga/wigawigawiga (Hasana Editions)

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.
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