lithosphere: a 2013 mix

April 19, 2014

close to 94‘s annual mix for 2013 continues the shade-then-light formula established in previous entries, but with a strength and mass that suggests elemental, tectonic forces at work, broken only the emergence of organic life… Click on the Mixcloud player above to listen.

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0:00:00 / The Empty Set: “Ambika P3” from the EP Material

An earth-shattering field recording of amplified sound taken in the Ambika P3 concrete bunker/art gallery in London.

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0:01:43 / The Haxan Cloak: “Excavation (Part 1)” from the album Excavation

More sinister atmospherics from magister sonus Bobby Krlic.

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0:04:43 / Boards Of Canada: “Come To Dust” from the album Tomorrow’s Harvest

A highlight from the Sandison brothers’ welcome return.

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0:08:21 / Oneohtrix Point Never: “He She” from the album R Plus Seven

A mystical interlude from Daniel Lopatin.

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0:09:46 / Prurient: “You Show Great Spirit” from the album Through The Window

A monumental slab of industrial techno that, as Pitchfork pithily puts it, presents “subtly damaged sheets of sound that are noxious, malignant, and hidden like carbon monoxide”.

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0:18:40 / Daniel Avery: “Free Floating” from the album Drone Logic

A strident combination of rhythm and bass, described by Andrew Weatherall as “gimmick-free machine-funk of the highest order”. Which it is.

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0:24:59 / Fuck Buttons: “Stalker” from the album Slow Focus

A mid-tempo companion to “You Show Great Spirit” (see above) – epic, unrelenting, self-assured, doesn’t give a Button.

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0:34:54 / Grails: “Invitation To Ruin” from the album Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 4, 5 & 6

Baroque metal, wrecked poetry, a tragic serenade – a perfect paradox.

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0:37:04 / Senking: “Capsize Recovery” from the album Capsize Recovery

The first of a trio of (inevitable) entries from the Raster-Noton family: Jens Massel delivers another slab of drum and bass, with the emphasis on the latter.

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0:42:48 / Kangding Ray: “Nuis Octury” from the single Tempered Inmid

David Letellier temporarily stepped away from the Raster-Noton label to record another collection of muscular, asymmetrical techno.

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0:47:52 / Diamond Version: “Turn On Tomorrow (Version)” from the single EP3

Raster-Noton label heads Alva Noto and Byetone’s run of high-quality precision electronics continued into 2013. An album is due in 2014.

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0:50:49 / Nils Frahm: “Hammers” from the album Spaces

A dextrous live performance of arpeggiated techno on a grand piano – that sounds good, right? It is.

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0:54:16 / Esmerine: “Lost River Blues I” from the album Dalmak

Montreal-based Esmerine were co-founded by Bruce Cawdron and cellist Rebecca Foon (cf. Saltland, featured in the good in 2013 compilation). Dalmak saw the collective absorb the music of Turkey, creating a mesmerising fusion of east and west.

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1:01:38 / Apparat: “Pv” from the album Krieg Und Frieden

Sascha Ring strikes again (he is also featured, in his collaboration with Modeselektor, on good in 2013), this time with a typically anthemic overture from his music for German theatre director Sebastian Hartmann’s production of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

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1:04:51 / Greg Haines: “Habenero (Version)” from the album Where We Were

With Where We Were, British composer Haines perfected the blend of piano and electronics, as showcased on “Habenero”, both on the album and his performance of it at London’s Scala last April.

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1:11:23 / Lubomyr Melnyk: “A Warmer Place” from the album Corollaries

Melnyk’s trademark continuous flow of notes is moderated a touch on this restful, concluding piece. The soothing arpeggios remain, but are given new poignancy by the simple string accompaniment.

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1:19:22 / ends

 

See also:

freeze/thaw: a 2012 mix

March 10, 2013

The now-traditional companion to my annual compilation, this time themed to match the endless chill this winter has brought. Click on the Mixcloud embed above to listen.

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0:00:00 / Thomas Köner: “Novaya Zemlya 3”, from the Touch album Novaya Zemlya
[eMusic]

Köner’s meditation on the eponymous Arctic archipelago marked his return to the frozen climate of his 1990s trilogy Nunatak Gongamur, Teimo and Permafrost (reviewed here). The intervening decade or so has done nothing to diminish his unexplained affinity with this landscape. Surrender to its cold embrace.

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0:02:20 / Loscil: “Collision Of The Pacific Gatherer”, from the Kranky album Sketches From New Brighton
[Boomkat]

Another track with a strong sense of place: this time New Brighton, a coastal quarter in Scott Morgan’s (Loscil’s sole member; previously on close to 94) home of Vancouver. The tidal rhythm of “The Collision Of The Pacific Gatherer” aptly reflects the aftermath of the event it seeks to evoke: in 1930 a barge named “The Pacific Gatherer” ran into the Second Narrows Bridge, causing a section of the latter to fall into the water it spanned.

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0:06:59 / Shackleton: “Music From The Quiet Hour, Part 1”, from the Woe To The Septic Heart album Music For The Quiet Hour/The Drawbar Organ EPs
[eMusic]

Dubstep grandee Sam Shackleton (previously on close to 94) continued his journey into the remoter regions of the genre with his double release Music For The Quiet Hour/The Drawbar Organ EPs. The former set is a foreboding, cinematic exercise in dub, with his now-trademark take on African drumming timbres and rhythms adding to its potency.

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0:11:00 / Kangding Ray: “South”, from the Raster-Noton EP The Pentaki Slopes
[eMusic]

After making (in this blog’s opinion) possibly the finest electronic track of the past few years in 2011’s “Or” – featured on that year’s close to 94 annual mix – it was a racing certainty that, if David Letellier released anything in 2012, it would make the cut here too. He did, so it has.

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0:18:57 / Diamond Version: “Empowering Change”, from the Mute album EP1
[eMusic]

A glitch music supergroup comprising Raster-Noton label heads Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and Olaf Bender (Byetone), Diamond Version sounds every bit as assured as you would expect. The sparse, driven power of “Empowering Change” comes from the first of five planned EPs on Mute.

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0:25:21 / Silent Servant: “Utopian Disaster (End)”, from the Hospital Productions album Negative Fascination
[eMusic]

I was fearful that the demise of the Sandwell District project would spell the end of key artists in residence like Function and Silent Servant. Thankfully not. The latter re-emerged on Hospital Productions with a typically solid set of industrial techno in Negative Fascination, including the concept-encapsulating and ultra-hypnotic “Utopian Disaster”.

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0:33:08 / Monolake: “Hitting The Surface”, from the Imbalance Computer Music album Ghosts
[Boomkat]

Robert Henke followed up 2009’s excellent Silence with Ghosts, a companion of sorts to the earlier album according to Henke’s own commentary. While not quite as successful as its predecessor overall, the uptempo “Hitting The Surface” bubbles along very nicely.

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0:39:22 / Valgeir Sigurðsson: “The Crumbling”, from the Bedroom Community album Architecture Of Loss
[eMusic]

The second movement (the thaw, as it were) of this mix starts with a beautifully tortured piece from Icelandic composer Sigurðsson’s third album, Architecture Of Loss. As the ice cracks, the crumbling begins.

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0:44:25 / Moon Ate The Dark: “She/Swimming”, from the Sonic Pieces album Moon Ate The Dark
[eMusic]

0:49:19 / Insa Donja Kai: “End Silence”, from the Sonic Pieces album Insomnie Joyeuse
[eMusic]

0:52:44 / Dictaphone: “The Conversation”, from the Sonic Pieces album Poems From A Rooftop
[eMusic]

This trio of acts from the consistently rewarding Sonic Pieces label (previously admired by close to 94) generate, in their individual ways, warmth and contentment in these (still) cold and harsh winter months. Moon Ate The Water pairs Welsh pianist Anna Rose Carter with Canadian producer Christopher Bailey on a flowing hymn to days by the river; Kai Angermann, Insa Schirmer and Donja Djember conjure the reverie of childhood memories; and Dictaphone (Oliver Doerell and Roger Doering) seemingly rework The Cure’s “Lullaby” as meditative improvisation.

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0:57:21 / Bersarin Quartett: “Zum Greifen Nah”, from the Denovali album II
[eMusic]

Thomas Bücker’s second album honed his reputation for rich, even epic, ambient composition. “Zum Greifen Nah” (“Within Reach”) is a typically cinematic piece, painting an aural picture of the search for a tantalising truth.

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1:02:58 / Jóhann Jóhannsson: “The Cause Of Labour Is The Hope Of The World”, from the Fat Cat album The Miners’ Hymns
[eMusic]

“The Cause Of Labour…” is taken from the score to The Miners’ Hymns, filmmaker Bill Morrison’s eulogy for the coal mining industry of north east England (watch the trailer). Jóhannsson’s stirring evocation of the tradition, dignity and pride inherent in the subject and its people shines through unequivocally.

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1:10:13 / Matthew Bourne: “Juliet”, from the Leaf album Montauk Variations
[eMusic]

On his Montauk Variations, Bourne turned his back on his hitherto mischievous, quirky take on contemporary jazz. As “Juliet” charmingly demonstrates, he has replaced it with a pastoral minimalism that provides the perfect end to a cold, cold winter.

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1:13:35 / ends

See also: