"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Plenty more


One final transmission from the last-chance saloon: in the spirit of maximising inclusion & recognition, here are 25 more 2020 releases that lightened & brightened a year in profound need of both...

This alternative list is a way of acknowledging the inevitable limitations of the original Festive Twenty (or any list...). While those 20 stood out to us as especially meaningful or evocative or thrilling, they are of course very far from constituting last year's only great releases.

It also completes our broader picture of the year's music. Besides the two Twenties, this also includes a baker's dozen of compilations & 10 'projects' beyond the bounds of a single release.

 As ever, this list is constrained to one pick per artist/label - in order to acknowledge as wide a listening range as possible. Moreover, this one had no prospect of picking up votes for multiple releases from the same artist or label since it's all on jl (whereas the original Twenty is the combined work of al & jl...).

Again as ever, this constraint also meant having to exclude outstanding releases such as Geneva Skeen's Double Bind, Past Walls & Windows by Todd Anderson-Kunert & Pinkcourtesyphone's Leaving Everything To Be Desired (all among a raft of brilliance in Room40's 20th anniversary year, as noted...) - never mind other losses to the hair shirt like Grand River's Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes (Editions Mego) & Romeo Poirier's Hotel Nota (sferic)


Anyway, the (alternative) list:

William Basinski & Richard Chartier :: Something From The Pink House (self-release)  

Black to Comm :: Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens (Thrill Jockey)

Celer :: Wasted In The Waiting (self-release)

John Chantler :: Doing Nothing / Nothing Doing (self-release)

CLEARED :: The Key (Touch) 

EMRA GRID :: five cycles through an empty chamber (LINE)

Lawrence English :: Lassitude (Room40)

FEAN :: II (Laaps) 

FRKTL :: Excision After Love Collapses (self-release)

David Fyans :: Crushing Depth (self-release)

Haarvol :: Ridge of Humming Spoils (Moving Furniture)

ISAN :: Nothing Picked & Placed Nowhere (wiaiwya) 

Kassel Jaeger :: Swamps/Things (Shelter Press) 

France Jobin :: Death is perfection, everything else is relative (Editions Mego) 

Kim's Spirit :: Blossom Everywhere (A Red Thread)

The Necks :: Three (Northern Spy)

Jake Muir :: the hum of your veiled voice (sferic)

Lynette Sandholm Evvers :: Fundamental Colours II (Other Forms of Consecrated Life)

Simon Scott :: Apart (12k)

Tom James Scott :: Mine Is The Heron (Students of Decay)

Sontag Shogun, Stijn Huwels :: The Floating World & The Sorrowful World (Thesis)

Richard Skelton :: LASTGLACIALMAXIMUM (Aeolian)

Three Point Circle :: Layered Contingencies (Palace of Lights)

Ida Toninato :: We Become Giants (Dragon's Eye)  

Jeremy Young :: Filaments (Eliane Tapes) 

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

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Horn of Plenty


As a further part of broadening the recognitions in LMYE's Festive Twenty for 2020 (list / compilations / alt list [to follow]), here are 10 'projects' that went beyond the bounds of a single release - sometimes far beyond, either by sheer weight of output or - in a couple of cases - being part of a larger work in several media...

The self-description of one entry - :zoviet*france:'s long-running, unceasingly exploratory A Duck in a Tree mix series on Resonance FM - more or less encapsulates them all, happily: "genre-refusing, zero BPM, hypnatropic & maximinimalist recordings that have grabbed their attention".

Note that both Broken20's 'proper ambient' Slow Notes series & Front & Follow's inspired Isolation & Rejection benefit deeply worthwhile charities. 

Equally, Touch: Isolation - whose sprawling brilliance parcelled out across the lockdown spring was on a scale only matched by Boomkat's Documenting Sound (though without an Akira Rabelais mega-mix as the completist's reward...) - sought to support artists through the pandemic. 

Like other Bandcamp subscriptions, Scanner's Fan Club served this role for an individual artist - providing an insightful stream of often compelling exclusives from installations & other unreleased output. 

Sprawling brilliance also describes the continuing unfurling of A Year In The Country's 'year-long explorations of an otherly pastoralism, the undercurrents & flipside of bucolic dreams' - now entering their seventh year...

Longform Editions has featured in this slot before, but no matter: 2020's editions (including members of the LMYE pantheon like Celer, Robert Curgenven, Taylor Deupree, Chihei Hatakeyama & Strategy, as well as a host of welcome discoveries) were some of the strongest yet from this exceptional initiative. 

Unexplained Sounds Group's amazing geographic anthologies follow Electroacoustic Lebanese Music forming part of LMYE's unpublished selection of 2019, for what that's worth...

Finally, Le Berger's 'faint, warped, imperfect' pale blue dots: 

"The prism by which we should measure progress is the way we treat one another; locally, globally. Also the way we treat & share our habitat."

 The list:

12/13/14/15/16/17 (Longform Editions)

Anthology Of Post Industrial Music From Balkan Region / Persian Experimental Music Vol. II / Experimental Music From Mexico (Unexplained Sounds Group)

dat pale blue dot tho I/II/III/IV/V - Le Berger (self-release)

Documenting Sound (Boomkat

A Duck in a Tree (:zoviet*france: / Resonance FM)

Isolation & Rejection series (Front & Follow)

Scanner Fan Club (self-release)

Slow Notes series (Broken20)

Touch: Isolation (Touch)

Year 6 (A Year In The Country)


Touch: Isolation showreel

Top photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech. Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Plenty compiled

Late? Indisputably. But we can't let 2020 go without acknowledging a raft of outstanding compilations that, like our recent Festive Twenty, succoured these ears over a challenging year. 

The list numbers a baker's dozen. It mostly comprises conventional collections of a single label's output, though one collects disparate pieces from a single artist. It also includes a mix confined to a single label, which seemed both eligible & worth celebrating too.

Along with two further instalments (initiatives that went beyond a single release & an alternative 20), the list helps broaden the Festive Twenty. As emphasised, the Twenty makes no claims of 'best' but is rather what resonated most with us when we recapitulated the year (subject to the restriction of one pick per label/artist, for each contributor's list of 10). 

Besides the deliberate restrictions to maximise inclusiveness, we no doubt overlooked many compelling candidates.

This is the same. In contrast to the Twenty's democracy, however, this list is largely the responsibility of jl - though with al's helpful input.

Several of the releases benefit health, social & environmental charities. Others simply showcase the work of labels or individual artists - including the ultimate meta release in this territory, a vast compilation of compilation tracks...

The longest pick contains over 100 tracks; the shortest, nine. Most are pay what you want. None is more than $10 (for the digital version, anyway).

One was released on New Year's Day 2021, while another (along with a single artist mix that would also have been included but for the 'one pick per' hairshirt) was originally available as a crowdfunding reward for a 2019 campaign. This list is unflinchingly claiming both for the year just gone, all the same.

Mea culpa corner: LMYE, er, compiled a list of outstanding 2019 compilations too, but failed to publish it at the start of 2020 when life (or death, strictly speaking) got in the way. Still not sure how to resolve that failure, but this list - which features several labels who also graced the unpublished list - is a first down-payment on doing so.  

Building A Better Reality: A Benefit Compilation (JMY) 

Distant Lights Receding (TVO)

Gap In Time (Dronarivm) 

Healing Sounds II: A compilation for those in need (Past Inside the Present)

Home Normal (Home Normal)

homework - year 5 (taalem) 


Moving Music: sounds from the rocking chair (Moving Furniture)

Mutatis Mutandis (Spire)

Mysteries Compilation | Chapter One (Mysteries of the Deep)

Particle Count (Room40)

Points Of No Return (Beacon Sound)

Solitary Hymns (Vaagner)

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

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 releases 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 also includes 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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