"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 31 December 2018

Arse about face

Once more into the hair shirt, dear friends...

Having already named the four projects falling outside normal 'release' boundaries that complete our list, we press on somewhat arse about face to present LMYE's Festive 33-1/3 in full. 

Clunky though it clearly is, our approach remains the same: two sets of 2018 releases (15 each) that meant especially much to us over the year, selected independently with both sets limited to no more than one pick per artist/label. 

Once overlaps have been horse-traded into a final 30, the list is supplemented with our additional quartet.

In all of this, our goal is always to spread recognition as far as possible: over & above LMYE's desire to embrace - rather than limit  - the multiplicity of sounds & artists we love, this is an attempt to acknowledge & respond to year-end lists' inevitable partiality. 

It's never comfortable to reflect on how different ours might look on another day or in another mood, given every year's surfeit of compelling music..

Moreover, some labels' outstanding output forces unpalatable choices. Notable releases like Jana Winderen's Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone, Triac's Departure & M. Geddes Gengras's Light Pipe (all ineligible because of labelmate selections) are clearly still core parts of the year's best...

Note that a number of fine labels regrettably unrepresented here, such as ACR, Polar Seas & Schwebung, will feature in a follow-up piece on the year's key compilations.

As always, for a more inclusive picture of our listening please explore the monthly Lend Me Your Radio series on SoundCloud, al's Mixcloud & jl's Bandcamp (collection & wish list)...

ASC :: Trans-Neptunian Objects 2 (Auxiliary)
Monty Adkins :: Empire (LINE) 

William Basinski & Lawrence English :: Selva Oscura (Temporary Residence)
Tomasz Bednarczyk :: Illustrations For Those Who (Room40) 
Lea Bertucci :: Metal Aether (NNA)
Philipp Bückle :: Paintings (Moving Furniture)

Casino Versus Japan :: Suicide By Sun (self-release)

CMD094 :: Kagami Tears (No Problema) 
The Caretaker :: Everywhere at the end of time (self-release) 
Kate Carr :: the thing itself and not the myth (Glistening Examples)

Dominic Coppola :: Serenity Channel (Strange Rules) 
Sarah Davachi :: Let Night Come On Bells End The Day (Recital Program)

Etelin :: Hui Terra (Soda Gong)

Forest Management :: 21st Century Man (self-release)

Gray Acres :: Gray Acres (Sound In Silence)

Rafael Anton Irisarri :: El Ferrocarril Desvaneciente (Umor Rex) 
France Jobin & Richard Chartier :: DUO (mAtter)
Laura Luna Castillo :: Laminares (Genot Centre)

Mordançage :: Mordançage (Fluid Audio) 
øjeRum :: Selected Organ Works (Vaknar)
Orphax :: Summer's End (Low Point)
Jim O'Rourke :: Steamroom [#38-42] (self-release)

Pausal :: Volume Flow (Hibernate) 
Francis Plagne & Crys Cole :: Two Words (Black Truffle)

Poemme :: Moments in Golden Light (Constellation Tatsu)  

Positive Centre :: Forever Optimum (Horo)

r beny :: eistla (self-release) 
Mike Shiflet :: Tetracosa (self-release) 
Geneva Skeen :: A Parallel Array Of Horses (Room40) 

Tapes and Topographies :: Opiates (Simulacra) 
Ultrafog :: How Those Fires Burned That Are No Longer (Motion Ward)
Various :: All (Longform Editions)

Various :: Live at Human Resources (Touch) 
Ian Wellman :: Susan's Last Breath Became the Chill in the Air and the Fog Over the City's Night Sky (Dragon's Eye) 

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

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Festive downpayment

As a preamble to or downpayment on LMYE's annual Festive 33-1/3 - out shortly in its traditional New Year's Eve slot - & to give them some additional prominence merited by their ambition & scale, these are the four 'projects' that round out our list. 

Besides each selecting 15 releases that meant the most to us over the year, subject as ever to the recognition-spreading/hair-shirted restriction of no more than one per artist/label, we highlight a quartet of works that go beyond the confines of a single album. 

This year's four comprise:

Jim O'Rourke - Steamroom (#38-42)
Longform Editions (the lot...)
Mike Shiflet - Tetracosa (Volumes 1-8)
The Caretaker - Everywhere at the end of time

To be sure, the year brought other deeply worthwhile larger-scale projects. But these four resonated particularly vividly with these ears.

(Full disclosure: while al & jl make the list's core 30 selections between us, the additional 3-1/3 are jl's alone.)

That three of the four are self-releases seems significant. Clearly, very few labels would underwrite a 24-hour release like Shiflet's immense drone epic ('350 unique sound objects categorized & layered such that no two moments are alike') or a 6-album conceptual suite like The Caretaker's exploration & embodying of dementia (though Boomkat have provided vinyl & CD versions of some of the 'stages'...).

This makes Longform's emergence from the Preservation stable all the more notable - & all the more worthy of celebration: a label dedicated to being 'a space of musical discovery for extended, immersive music pieces from around the world' that has already accumulated 16 often glorious pieces since emerging in June.

Longform's uncompromising emphasis on 'deep listening' is also relevant here. Despite their length, each of the quartet repays full immersion - revealing work that can be "truly tender & beautiful" (as one comment on the ravishing Steamroom 40 puts it).

Inevitably with pieces this long, engagement ebbs & flows. Some moments, some avenues are - naturally - more successful than others. Perhaps this puts it in the territory of Eno-esque ambience, "as ignorable as it is interesting". 

But this classification doesn't feel quite right. This is all music that demands, & in turn richly services, the fullest of attention...

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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