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:

rust to rust: a 2010 mix

December 31, 2010

My final post of the year, and my first ‘mix’ (I use that term loosely – it’s not an art I’ve remotely mastered as yet). It’s a companion to yesterday’s good in 2010 compilation and, for no reason in particular, it’s called rust to rust. Like the compilation it contains tracks from five of close to 94‘s top ten albums of the year, so even if the mixing isn’t up to scratch, be assured the music is. Happy new year.

0:00:00Infra 7 by Max Richter from the album Infra (Fat Cat)
close to 94’s #05 album of the year/album review

0:01:13Far From Land by Nest from the album Retold (Serein)

0:06:01India Lately by Gold Panda from the album Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)
album review

0:12:32 / I Feel Your Soul by Ghostape from the compilation Milky Disco 3: To The Stars (Lo Recordings)

0:15:23 / Silent Servant (Regis Edit) by Sandwell District from the download Bleep X Sonar 2010 (Bleep.com)

0:19:58 / Generator 7b by Keith Fullerton Whitman from the album Generator (Root Strata)
close to 94’s #03 album of the year/album review

0:22:27 / It Doesn’t Arrive by Emeralds from the album Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego)
close to 94’s #01 album of the year

0:25:48 / Stress Waves by Oneohtrix Point Never from the album Returnal (Editions Mego)

0:31:00 / Night Escape On Water, The City In Flames by Ensemble Economique from the album Standing Still, Facing Forward (Amish Records)
album review

0:36:17 / Angel Echoes (Caribou Remix) by Four Tet original version from the album There Is Love In You (Domino)

0:43:34 / VCR (Four Tet Remix) by The XX original version from the album XX (Young Turks, 2009)

0:52:07 / Salendro by Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics from the album Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics (OST) (Strut)
album review

0:53:51 / A Hidden Place/No One Really Knows by Sohrab from the album A Hidden Place (Touch)
album review

0:58:04 / V8 by Senking from the album Pong (Raster-Noton)
close to 94’s #08 album of the year

1:02:42 / Cherry Moon by Lorn from the album Nothing Else (Brainfeeder)
album review

1:06:10 / Os Veix3 by Autechre from the album Oversteps (Warp)

1:10:27 / The Making Of Grief Point by Loscil from the album Endless Falls (Kranky)
close to 94’s #09 album of the year

1:18:22 / ends

See also:

albums of the year 2010

December 29, 2010

Another bountiful 12 months for the open-minded listener, and a great first year of music for this blog to dip its toe into. Below I list my top ten long-players of 2010. Tracks from each of them will be featured on my annual compilation or mix, both of which will be published before the bells ring in 2011.

#10
Album cover for Hidden by These New Puritans

These New Puritans: Hidden (Angular Recording Corporation)
£4.62 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Amazon.co.uk]

A welcome sign that British pop has not lost neither its ambition nor its precociousness. These New Puritans reached far beyond their Southend-on-Sea origins with their second album, Hidden, somehow weaving art-pop, dancehall rhythms and orchestral interludes into a coherent listening experience. The juxtaposition of a forlorn clarinet harmony with 8-bit toms on Drum Courts-Where Corals Lie is one of many sublime moments.

#09
Album cover for Endless Falls by Loscil

Loscil: Endless Falls (Kranky)
£3.36 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £5.99 from [Boomkat]

For his fifth album on Kranky Scott Morgan (a.k.a. Loscil) continued his exploration of crackling drones, this time animated by an almost organic heartbeat. Its moment of truth occurs at the last, the breathtaking The Making Of Grief Point, in which Dan Bejar’s (singer-songwriter for Destroyer, for whom Morgan drums) dystopian stream of consciousness finally gives voice to Locsil’s brooding soundscapes.

#08
Album cover for Pong by Senking

Senking: Pong (Raster-Noton)
£3.78 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Boomkat]

Stark, crystalline, minimal electronic music supplemented with deep (and deeply satisfying), booming synth bass pulses. In Pong – an homage of sorts to the seminal computer game – Jens Massel (a.k.a Senking) has created what should become the reference standard for any musician looking to take dubstep into darker ambient territory – paying attention to the stunning V8 in particular. A work of unnerving beauty.

#07
Album cover for Rivers by Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Wildbirds & Peacedrums: Rivers (Leaf Label)
£4.20 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Boomkat]

Rivers in fact brings together two EPs released earlier in the year. On the first, Retina, the Swedish husband-and-wife duo (who also made my end-of-year compilation for 2009) were joined by a chamber choir, adding a sacred dimension to their primal purity. Though less adorned, Iris (the second EP) is no less powerful. Wildbirds & Peacedrums also provided one of my most memorable live experiences of the year. Truly special.

#06
Album cover for Black Noise by Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince: Black Noise (Rough Trade)
£8.99 from [Boomkat]

The opening track title – Lay In A Shimmer – says it all. German techno musician Hendrik Weber’s (a.k.a. Pantha Du Prince) third album is minimal, sure, but it’s also rich with atmosphere and soul. Its potency lies in its accumulative use of layered, ringing chimes as a call to meditation. On Black Noise Weber offers to lead you through rituals simultaneously ancient and modern. My advice: submit.

#05
Album cover for Infra by Max Richter

Max Richter: Infra (Fat Cat)
£5.46 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Amazon.co.uk]

From my album review back in September: “It is everything it should be, and nothing more: melancholic but melodic, intricate but intimate, contemplative but concise… Richter’s unerring ability to allow his music to communicate meaning with the minimum time and effort, with no unnecessary repetition or waste, is the key to Infra‘s rewarding coherence. True minimalism.” It is yet more affecting in a live setting.

#04
Album cover for Swim by Caribou

Caribou: Swim (City Slang)
£3.78 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Boomkat]

Another immaculate set from Dan Snaith (Caribou née Manitoba), who hasn’t really put a foot wrong in ten years. Swim is at least equal to his last album, 2007’s Andorra. No mean feat. Stylistically ploughing a similar furrow to Black Noise (see #06 above) – minimal-techno-with-chimes must be one of this year’s micro-memes – but warmer, freer and more lyrical, Swim sounds like something Arthur Russell would have produced had he been at his peak today. That’s high praise indeed, by the way.

#03
Album cover for Generator by Keith Fullerton Whitman

Keith Fullerton Whitman: Generator (Root Strata)
£2.94 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £4.99 from [Boomkat]

From my album review published, um, the day before yesterday: “On Generator, Whitman creates the conditions for the machine to direct proceedings… It’s mesmerising. In some ways it’s not useful to dissect tracks individually, though there’s ample variation among them to warrant it. From the blissful arpeggios of 1 to the atonal space communications of 3, from the minimal techno of 7b to the white noise of 8, the constant is a purity of expression – a vacuum into which you can pour your own meaning.”

#02
Album cover for This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening (EMI)
£7.49 (deluxe edition) from [Amazon.co.uk]

Reportedly James Murphy’s swan song as LCD Soundsystem, part of me didn’t want to love This Is Happening. It’s just too inevitable, almost as if it is a duty not a choice. The knowing Heroes pastiche on All I Want was, I thought, the perfect opportunity to scoff that Murphy was all out of hipper than thou post-punk references. He had finally Lost His Edge. No such luck. Like his self-titled debut and follow-up Sound Of Silver, this album is another collection of perfectly pitched post-post-punk. Music for now and forever.

#01
Album cover for Does It Look Like I'm Here? by Emeralds

Emeralds: Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego)
£5.04 from [eMusic] (requires membership) – £6.99 from [Boomkat]

You know those times when you’re caught in the rain but it feels like the most wonderful thing? That’s what listening to Does It Look Like I’m Here? is like. It has something to do with the way notes cascade down like synthesised water droplets, glancing off you but adding, particle by particle, to the gathering euphoria. On their umpteenth recording in just five years Cleveland, Ohio-based Emeralds have wrought their sometimes untamed blend of Kosmische, minimalism and drone into an hour of intense but harmonious oblivion.

See also: