"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Thirty-three & a third

You may know the drill by now: in a sincere though inevitably clunkily artificial attempt to spread recognition as widely as possible without devaluing it too much, LMYE’s co-authors each independently pick 15 releases that particularly mattered to them during the year – but under two faintly hair-shirted constraints: no more than one selection per artist & one per label. 

Duplication across our 2014 line-ups was very limited. Only Lawrence English’s Wilderness of Mirrors (a highlight of another stand-out year for his Room40 imprint, our 2012 Label of the Year), Fennesz’s Bécs (eMego), Stephan Mathieu’s Sacred Ground (Schwebung) and Janek Schaefer’s Lay-By Lullaby (12k) featured on both initial drafts. 

This year we expand the resulting master list to a Festive 33-1/3. In particular, we throw in two epic collections that were too significant to exclude, even if they weren’t strictly speaking new music: Chris DooksThe Motherlode & The Otherlode (Broken20) & Kenneth Kirschner’s Imperfect Forms (Tokafi)

In addition, a wry part-vote for Le Berger’s Interwoven Sonic Tapestry – formally released at a minute to midnight (EST, presumably) today “to ensure avoidance of any 2014 and / or 2015 'top' lists” – rounds out our initial 2014 roll-call. 

Mandatory health warning: plenty of other artists & other labels than those featured here made great music this year. As previously, we’ll acknowledge the broader universe of releases that resonated with us in a follow-up post…

Anjou Anjou (Kranky) [jl]
Thomas AnkersmitFigueroa Terrace (Touch) [jl]
Andrea Belfi Natura Morta (Miasmah) [jl]
Nicolas Bernierfrequences (a / fragments) (LINE) [jl]
Alex CobbMarigold & Cable (Shelter Press) [jl]
Robert CurgenvenSIRÈNE (Recorded Fields) [jl]
Dalhous - Will To Be Well (Blackest Ever Black) [al]
Deaf CenterRecount (Sonic Pieces) [jl]
Loren Dent - Anthropology Vols. 2 & 3 (Infraction) [al]
Chris DooksThe Motherlode & The Otherlode (Broken20) [jl]

Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn & the Infinite Sadness (Students of Decay) [al]
Lawrence English - Wilderness of Mirrors (Room40) [al/jl]
Lawrence English & Stephen VitielloFable (Dragon’s Eye) [jl]
Fennesz - Bécs (eMego) [al/jl]
Chris HerbertConstants (Room40) [jl]
The Inward Circles - Nimrod is Lost in Orion & Osyris in the Doggestarre (Corbel Stone Press) [jl]
P JørgensenGold Beach (Low Point) [jl]
Kangding Ray - Solens Arc (Raster-Noton) [al]
Sima Kim - Debris (Soft Corridor)
Kenneth KirschnerImperfect Forms (Tokafi) [jl]

Le BergerInterwoven Sonic Tapestry (in the key of) (self-released) [jl]
Stephan MathieuSacred Ground (Schwebung) [jl/al]
Neel - Phobos (Spectrum Spools) [al]
Duane Pitre & Cory AllenThe Seeker & The Healer (Students of Decay) [jl]
Abdulla Rashim - Unanimity (Northern Electronics) [al]
M. Sage - A Singular Continent (Patient Sounds) [al]
Pascal Savy - Adrift (Eilean Records) [al]
Janek SchaeferLay-By Lullaby (12k) [jl/al]
Shifted - Arrangements in Monochrome (Part 1 & 2) (Avian) [al]
Nicholas Szczepanik - Not Knowing (Desire Path) [al]

TCF - 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B (Liberation Technologies) [al]
Tegh - Night Scenes (Inner Ocean) [al]
Mike WeisDon’t Know, Just Walk (Type) [jl]
Cody Yantis / Nathan McLaughlin / Josh Mason / Joe HoupertLine Drawings (Desire Path/FET Press) [jl]

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

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Cavern spelunking

Carine Masutti was once Temporary Item.s (as celebrated here & especially here a while back), but has lately found greater permanence as herself. A limited edition treat from earlier this year (77 tapes for the world...), her Of the Glowing Mud cassette on Barge now has a companion EP - Of the Glowing Mud II, suitably if prosaically - to house remaining pieces from the original exhibition. 

Immersion in the full mud bath is recommended. These 11 pieces affirm while darkly extending Masutti's distinctive, lop-sided sound - its lurching playfulness, its idiosyncratic, percussive textures, its femininity (perhaps that last is just the power of suggestion, though it'd be a stretch to describe very much of either Mud as macho). 

The unexpected meshing of the alien & the organic, as Barge's blurb (below) brilliantly puts it, is striking. While those spelunked caverns seem like the aptest setting for many of these dank reverberations...

Blurb: "Often sounding alien and organic within the same track, “Of the Glowing Mud” is an expansive mixture of eerie heaviness and delicate sonic architecture. Visions of glacial ice melting, spider webs being spun, electricity spreading across a grid or cavern spelunking reveal themselves over the two sides of chrome tape. 

Carine says that cats' ears will especially appreciate certain tracks on the album."

All tracks mastered by the great Denis Blackham, btw - in what must have been one of his last assignments before 'semi-retirement'. No surprise that he brings much glow & no mud...

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

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Carved presidents

"Wounded Knee is empty and quiet. No visitors come to remember. Yet there would be no United States without the persecution and expulsion for which Wounded Knee has become a symbol."

Laced with loss & ghosts, Stephan Mathieu's Sacred Ground soundtrack (out recently on his own Schwebung label) is - sorry for the bombast - about as profound as music gets. 

While the claim is both grandiloquent & a bit banal, since all of his work has enormous depthSG seems a special case all the same. Mathieu's empyreal, gathering sound takes on even more weight within (& in the service of) a sustained enquiry into persecution & expulsion. 

The music's insistence, a kind of fierce ethereality, underscores the film's themes - the forgotten slaughter of Native Americans, the juxtaposition of the Wounded Knee & Mt Rushmore sites (made even more painful by the Black Hills' spiritual resonance for the indigenous people), the descendants' shocking poverty. 

The fit of sound & subject is strikingly apt - you could almost say it makes Mathieu a co-author of SG... 

With more aptness, the release is dedicated to Herzog soundtracker Florian Fricke, incidentally.

Sacred Ground Trailer from Ludwig Schmidtpeter

"What do the Native Americans think about this perennial mass tourism that is happening on their own ground? Do the visitors know that the granite spires of the Black Hills into which the presidents were carved are sacred to the Indians of the Midwest? 

What happens when the perspective is reversed? When a Lakota Indian becomes the director of Mt Rushmore? When white Americans stand at the sober mass grave of slaughtered Indians? How do the tourists confront the abject poverty of the victims’ descendants?

How do people live with the presence of the past in the present? 

Is it possible for America to come to terms with its history?"

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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