• Best of 2012

    2 Ene 2013, 23:46

    Now that 2012 is officially over, it's the right time for a report about what last year brought to me - musically speaking - and what lies ahead in 2013.

    Best Album
    Choosing 2012's best album has been a tough decision: if I was asked this question 6 months ago I would have been 100% sure about my answer, but in the second half of the year I've discovered - and listened to - quite a few albums which I previously ignored and liked a lot.

    1. Matt Elliott - The Broken Man

    And... the first place goes deservedly to the British singer-songwriter: after the amazing "Songs" trilogy, an istant classic to me, Elliott managed to compose another brilliant record, where he sums up the lyrical themes explored in the Songs trilogy and places them alongside a musical style which resembles the classic European songwriters. In particular, I found within this album a strict bound between Elliott and Fabrizio de André, one of my favourite Italian songwriters. Furthermore, this album helped me to get through some difficult moments this year, and that grants it the absolute primacy.

    2. Holy Other - Held

    Just 4 months ago I didn't know Holy Other at all, and now his stunning debut album has become one of my favourite 2012 releases: this should give you an idea of how much this album captured me. I'll borrow from Pitchfork's review one sentence to express what I think about this album: "[Held represents] humanity's greatest desire fulfilled: to be held, to be comforted, to be loved."

    3. DeepChord presents Echospace - Silent World

    Dear Rod Modell & Stephen Hitchell, why haven't I discovered your wonderful project before? I remember when two years ago Liumin came out and I, despite that intriguing front cover, completely ignored that album: what a mistake! Fortunately, the release of Silent World this year reawakened my interest about these two producers and I discovered Silent World (along with Liumin, of course) I liked a lot for its urban soundscapes, brilliant beats, and dub/ambient influences.

    Honorable mentions (in no particular order):

    Shackleton - Music for the Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EP

    Death Grips - The Money Store

    Roly Porter & Cynthia Millar - Fall Back: Live at Aldeburgh

    I'll just say: Roly Porter you are amazing, please keep up with the good work. Hope to see him live in Italy as soon as possible.

    Best Metal Album
    Considering my musical taste, 2012 has been a disappointing year when it comes to metal: few interesting - to me - releases, a couple of big disappointments and a general (and growing) lack of interest towards the genre. However, a couple of albums have been a really positive surprise.

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

    What can I say about this band that hasn't been already said? When you thought they have released their best album (Colors) and they've achieved their composition mastery, these guys release this monumental concept album, the second part of the story about two men whose fates, despite being separated by thousands years, seems strictly connected; in 72 minutes BTBAM sum up their countless influences (prog rock, jazz, and many others), their "old-style" -core moments and add impressive phatos and epicness.
    And above all, Tom Jones likes them so much he dances to Extremophile Elite

    2. Deathspell Omega - Drought

    Drought is the most brilliant way to celebrate the conclusion of the band's "trilogy" focused on God, Satan and Man: it takes the great ideas and the vibe of Paracletus and pushes them a little further towards dissonance and complex rhythmical structures. I just wonder what are their planes for the future.

    3. Blut aus Nord - 777 - Cosmosophy

    Cosmosophy managed to get to the 3rd place in the metal chart just in the last days of the year; okay, I started listening to Blut aus Nord - and, in particular, to the 777 trilogy - late last year, but after Sect(s) and Desanctification I wasn't expecting anything like Cosmosophy. Forget the "classic" black metal, the blast beats, and in general something "extreme": Cosmosophy is rather soft, I dare to say, more meditative, more influenced by post metal. It's probably this difference, when compared to Sect(s) and Desanctification, that I liked.
    You can also find a good review of this album, along with Drought, in the group Dissonant Network - a really nice group about black, death, dissonant and technical metal.

    Honorable mentions:
    The End of Six Thousand Years - Perpetuum

    Abyssal - Denouement

    Best EP/Single/etc.

    1. Emptyset - Collapsed

    2. Deathspell Omega - Drought

    3. Kuedo - Work, Live & Sleep in Collapsing Space

    Comeback of the Year

    Also known as the "God, I almost lost my hope about this artist!" or "His new album is really nice, I wasn't expecting that".
    1. Francesco Guccini - L'Ultima Thule

    2. Kayo Dot - Gamma Knife

    3. Calexico - Algiers

    Best Concert

    Ugh, my biggest musical regret in 2012 has been the too few concerts I've attended; Calexico, Flying Lotus and Shackleton are just some of the artists I wasn't able to see live because of various reasons. Fortunately, the few concert I attended were absolutely awesome.

    1. Ben Frost - Live in Parma, 27/01

    2. Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - "s" Tour, Live in Parma, 25/09

    3. Kuedo - "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", Live in Milan, 13/09

    Musical moment of 2012

    1. The beginning of Killshot, by Ben Frost, performed live. It's like the biggest BWOOOOOOOO))) I've ever experienced, fantastic.
    Here's a video of the song performed live. I'm fighting with for the right BBCode and it doesn't work, damn it.

    2. MC Ride pushing Missy Red off stage. "She was in his area." (as someone has commented on Youtube)
    Here's the video.

    3. Resetting scrobble count after six years of honorable service. I'm a romantic.

    What I'm waiting for in 2013

    1. New Roly Porter album and European tour: Roly's debut album Aftertime was simply amazing, it instantly became a classic to me (and won the "best 2011 album" prize). Last fall he also released Fall Back, a live collaboration with Cynthia Millar (who played dulcitone and Ondes martenot on Aftertime) where the contrast between classical orchestration and electronic drone is very clear and creates a very interesting album. Considering this, I really look forward to a new release by this artist sometime in 2013, and I'm absolutely thrilled to listen to it.

    2. New Stars of the Lid album and European tour: these guys haven't release any full lenght since 2007, and 2013 would be the right moment to release a new album. The couple of concerts they performed last December, moreover, make me hope for something new.

    3. Cynic's new album: Re-Traced and Carbon Based Anatomy were good EPs, but I'm still hungry for new material from this band. Sean Reinert's statement on Facebook just adds more hype: "This album marks CYNIC's 5th release. It's a bold new sound for CYNIC and marks a gigantic leap in the band's progression. We've had a lot of time to let this material develop and gestate, and it finally feels ready to be unleashed on the world. I've been in trio mode with Malone and Masvidal flushing out a zillion and one details, and couldn't be happier about what's happening with these songs. They are truly alive!" (Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh!)
  • Best of 2011

    24 Nov 2012, 19:41

    Just a short list about some good music 2011 brought me. I should have done it, like 10 months ago, but my sloth has held me back 'til today.
    So let's get started.
    Best non-metal album
    1. Roly Porter - Aftertime

    Dune-themed drone with a corrosive, suffocating and beautiful sound. Simply amazing.

    2. Kuedo - Severant

    3. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

    Honorable mentions (in no particular order):
    Mark McGuire - Get Lost
    Emptyset - Demiurge
    Blanck Mass - Blanck Mass

    Best metal album
    1. Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All

    After their great sophomore effort Everything is Fire, Ulcerate's new album synthesize the dissonant, technical sound of the band and blends it in an apocalyptic mood which reminds sludge and post-metal atmospheres. Really look forward their next releases, I want some more!

    2. Primordial - Redemption at the Puritan's Hand

    3. Scale the Summit - The Collective

    Honorable mentions (in no particular order):
    Concealment - Phenakism
    Gigan - Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes

    Best EP
    1. Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

    2. DJ Rum - Mountains

    3. Laurel Halo - Hour Logic

    Biggest Disappointment
    Note: this is an extremely subjective list, which includes those albums that may not be bad, but disappointed me a lot for several reasons: either I like that band so much I couldn't stand a "bad" album, or that album is not as amazing as their predecessor(s), etc.

    Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

    All Shall Perish - This is Where it Ends

    Ulver - Wars of the Roses

    Best concert I attended
    The Ocean - Live @ Summer Breeze 2011, 17-20/08
    Primordial - Live @ Summer Breeze 2011, 17-20/08
    Ulver - Live @ Teatro Regio, Parma, 12/11