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  • A quick review of my 2012 pick-ups

    30 Dic 2012, 15:00

    In this journal entry I will quickly comment on all 2012-released albums I've listened to. There will be no particular order. I find it very hard to rank a lot of albums I more or less relish equally; people ranking ther favourite albums strictly always baffle me. For the sake of clarity I will order the albums in alphabetical order (artist - album title). There won't be ratings as well because numerical ratings without proper context explaining the numbers (like music magazines tend to have) plainly suck. There won't be pictures either because I don't feel like it.
    Time to mention what WILL actually be there: Quick, subjective comments. I'm no music expert and I don't expect readers to be excited about my opinion anyway, so I won't even try to discuss the albums or to write screeds. If people would feel inspired to check something out, I'd be more than glad and I think quick comments are enough to provoke such reactions. I'd be also rather grateful for recommendations based on my personal 2012.




    alyosha's dream - dream sequence & machine dreams

    This is something neat found on bandcamp. Alyosha's Dream creates an ambient soundscape with hip hop-like downtempo beats. Though Dream Sequence, which is a lot longer than Machine Dreams, tends to be a bit drawn out, this music does serve well in creating a hypnotizing, soothig atmosphere. I do like to play it when I'm studying.
    Both albums are available as a digital download for free on the artist's bandcamp site: http://alyoshasdream.bandcamp.com/album/machine-dreams


    Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

    This one is a very great one. Basically, it's what you could have expected from BTBAM after their last two full length albums and the preceding EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues: „Epic“ songs full of hairebrained and almost wanky metal. BTBAM manages it to walk on the thin line between astonishing technical, sometimes wanky virtuosity and somewhat remarkable, to some extent even catchy song writing. After some extensive listening, I started to favour The Great Misdirect over Colors. I'm still not sure how well The Parallax II will stand the time test, but I'm pretty sure that it will come close to Colors and The Great Misdirect. At least.


    BorknagarUrd

    This album title calls for a trilogy. However, it wouldn't be a shame. Though I'm still in favour of the two first albums (the ones with Rygg), this album is still very good on it's own and in my opinion far more accessible than the other Borknagar prog albums. More importantly, Frostrite goes easily for the rank „favourite song 2012“. Damn it, is this song catchy.


    Kantelian - Avoid & Wrong Half

    I'm putting these two albums together because they're mostly the same. Kantelian is one of my „They're-on-bandcamp-and-for-free“ finds of this year and I'm pretty impressed by it. What we can hear is glitchy breakcore/drill'n'bass with some minimal ambient pieces thrown in. As generic as the description does sound, as much does this artist leave me in awe. This is high quality breakcore with teeth breaking bass lines and ludicrous power. Someone wrote in the Kantelian's last.fm shoutbox: „As much as it pains me to admit, I think this guy is putting out way stronger material than Venetian Snares at this point.“ This pretty much sums it up.
    Stuff is alongside with Kantelian's 2011 debut Obelisks available as a digital download for free on the artist's bandcamp site: http://kantelian.bandcamp.com/


    Loscil - Sketches from New Brighton

    Okay, I promised no rankings, but this case is a bit different: This is easily my most favourite album this year, hands down. This does surprise me as well. Though I've gotten quite addicted to ambient/ambient-like soundscapes recently, I didn't expect an ambient album to astonish me that much. This album isn't extraordinarily outstanding in any sense, it's greatness appears to be neat, a very subtle and inconspicuous form of quality. Yet I simply fell in love with the overall sound and the images they suggest to me. This is also my favourite work by Loscil so far.
    Accompanying this album is the EP New Brighton Field Study, which is available as a free digital download via Loscil's bandcamp site: http://loscil.bandcamp.com/album/new-brighton-field-study. It contains miscellaneous field recordings taken in New Brighton. Not as exciting as the actual album, but still smoothing. I still need to try to combine those with the Sketches from New Brighton.


    Neurosis - Honor Found in Decay

    Well, this is a let down for me. :( First I want to make clear that this is a rather good album; it's solid modern sludge and it sounds pretty much like Given to the Rising, which I digged a lot. And there are some fine songs on it, like At the Well or Raise the Dawn. But overall it just didn't stuck with me and I don't think that this will change significantly in the future. Might be that I will get surprised, but I can't see it coming. On the other hand, I can't really say that this is a bad album, technically speaking.
    Oh, and I think that Neurosis should have done more in the manner of the last 30 seconds. A Neurosis-solid sludge album with some asian folkloristic instruments? Sounds exciting. I think it would have been worth a try.


    Párvulos - Multum In Parvo

    Another bandcamp find. This does not excite me as much as most of the other bandcamp finds, but it does have it's appeal. I can't really say, what it actually is, some experimental IDM stuff with occasional glitch sounds. I think it serves better to everyone to listen to this in order to grasp the direction of this album's music.
    Multum in Parvo is available as a digital download for free on the artist's bandcamp site: http://parvulos.bandcamp.com/


    Saltillo - Monocyte

    Oh how much did I anticipate this. There is a little story behind this. Saltillo is the solo project of Menton J. Matthews III (Sunday Munich), which was only known for the 2006 album Ganglion, an extraordinaire mixture of partial classical instrumentation, fresh trip hop song writing and spoken samples of poetry and Shakespeare plays. This album, though only marginally distributed, constituted a relative high amount of fame for only one release. For years there was nothing heard form Saltillo, except the rumor that there would be no second album. But in 2011 it was announced that Ganglion would be re-relased and Monocyte was going to follow Ganglion's footsteps. A hype was born and I eagerly participated in it. But surprisingly, the album pretty much lived up to the hype. In my humble opinion it even surpasses the formidable Ganglion since I think it to be more consistent. In any way everyone who digged Ganglion surely should give Monocyte a try, as well as everyone who is interested in unorthodox trip hop.
    In other good news, it has been already confirmed that a third Saltillo album is under work. Source: http://playdead-nation.blogspot.de/2012/03/interview-menton-j-matthews-iii.html


    Sigh - In Somniphobia

    As a comitted listener of Sigh I was kinda struggeling with the last two releases of this band. Both of them grew a lot on me, but they took their time, that's for sure. I was expecting a similar experience with their new album and I was right. Kinda. It grew a lot faster on me, in fact I think to be pretty good compared to the last two albums. It has a slight hint of a feeling reminiscent of Imaginary Sonicscape, but maintaining the sound of Sigh 2012. Only the lyrics are... well, nevermind. As if I would care about Sigh's lyrics. Oh, and The Transfiguration Fear is an excellent song which stands out on this album. It's incredibly catchy and could have appeared on Gallows Gallery as well. It's one of my favourites of this year.


    T.G. Olson - Various

    Okay, this is something unusual. I had not the opportunity to give proper attention to this, but for the sake of completeness I'm listing it here. T.G. Olson is member of the stoner rock band Across Tundras and 2012 has been a very productive year for him. He released a lot of miscellaneous solo stuff and as far as I can see, most of it seems to be some bluesy alt-country with a lot of wild west aesthetic, but I'm not absolutely sure about it. Exception to this are his „Blood Meridan for Electric Drone Guitar“ EPs which follow the simple rule of „nomen est omen“. It's all for free on the bandcamp site of Across Tundras, along with some older stuff, Across Tundras albums (very fine stoner rock I recommend as well), another project with T.G. Olson called BrightStar and some albums of funeral electrical. I have no idea how Funeral Electrical is related to Olson or Across Tundras and I haven't listenend to Brightstar or Funeral Electrical yet, but you might give a try to it. You can order most of their stuff (if not all) via bandcamp as well.

    http://acrosstundras.bandcamp.com/music


    The Mount Fuji Doomjazz CorporationEgor

    Haunting beauty; This is a live recording of a live show in Moscow, offering a live impro of TMDC more or less in the fashion of Succubus. Walking on a thin line between free jazz and dark-mooded ambient, this album easily satisfies the demands of the older album's fans. For anyone unfamiliar with TMDC I'd still recommend Succubus for beginning, though.


    Undergang - Til døden os skiller

    Haven't had the chance to give much attention to this album, but from what I've heard: It slays. It's good, solid death metal, combining old school vibes with some fresh ideas. Surprisingly, this is another bandcamp find with free digital downloads accessible via the bandcamp site: http://undergang.bandcamp.com/


    world's end girlfriendStory Telling Again And Again

    For the sake of completeness. This is a short EP containing a new song and two miscellaneous remixes. This release on it's own is nothing outstanding, but all tracks are nice and everyone interested in WEG might be delighted by the fact that Maeda released this EP for free as well. The download links for the mp3s (stored at Virgin Babylon records) can be found in the video info of the youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-dzywc7m6E&feature=channel&list=UL


    Wreck and Reference - No Youth

    Another hidden diamond found on bandcamp. This band is playing a mesmerizing style of somewhat drony/noisy doom metal accompanied by bloodcurdling vocals and an overall depressive attitude. It's definitely an insider to look out for.
    No Youth, together with the 2011 debut Black Cassette, is available as a digital download for free on the band's bandcamp site: http://wreckandreference.bandcamp.com/. There is a also a link directing to the website of Flenser Records, where you can order Wreck and Reference LPs.



    Still-missing-out-list:
    Boris / Asobi Seksu Split
    Enslaved - Riitiir
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
    Magma - Félicité Thösz
    Nile - At the Gate of Sethu
    Ufomammut - Oro: Opus Primum
    Yakuza – Beyul

    I was under the impression that I was looking for more albums, but I can't think of any and I've lost my „released in 2012“-list. Oh my...