After my first selection several stars from the underground music world contacted me to complain about being omitted and that was a cause of much embarrassment, as you can imagine. But it's so difficult, knowing them as I do, and in some cases enjoying their work, yet not believing them to be worthy of inclusion. How do you tell a friend they have BO? More to the point, how do you explain the fact that you left their work out of a selection such as this? So I ignored them. I refuse to allow personal connections to influence my choice because you deserve better. There will be no nepotism here! The result of these emails, however, was to prompt me to consider more albums from this year and realise that others did deserve to be mentioned. I should say that none featured below contacted me. I would never embarrass those who did in such a manner, but should they be reading this I say: try harder next year and keep on sending me free promo links.
Andrzej Korzynski - Secret Enigma
Multi-genre-spanning magic compiled by Finders Keepers, the painfully fashionable label responsible for Latvian horror, Amish psyche and Pakistani metal comps (all of which you no doubt own). It was said on a forum I occasionally visit that simple lists were tiresome and that people should write about their selections, and I thought that was fair enough, so here I am writing....like this: 'Funky-pop, electronic, Easy, orchestral and other genres make up this high quality selection which, really, is akin to a box from Hotel Chocolat which your very best friends might buy you this Xmas, if they really like you, because the shop isn't cheap, and other comps are like Quality Street compared to this (although I'm perfectly willing to eat those too, especially when they're hand 'round the office...'cause when you're at work, you'll eat any shit to alleviate the boredom, won't you?)
Thought Broadcast - Emergency Stairway
Pound Shop fidelity so lo, you can't get under it - enigmatic, intriguing, Ravi Binning brings primary school collective workshop aesthetics to bear with some beats, bleeps, hisses and drones, the like of which were last heard on a radio play adapted from an Arthur C. Clarke story broadcast in 1941 that you heard on the car radio whilst driving through California during a torrential storm.
Kreng - Works For Abattoir Ferme 2007 - 2011
To think I forgot to include this first time 'round - shame! I've pestered Pepijn to get his finger out (don't ask me where it's been stuck for years, it's too embarrassing) and make a new record, but does he listen? No. Does he care what I want? No. He's an awkward sod who refuses to feel obliged to make a new album even though the world (critics who know their stuff) wants one and has unanimously praised his previous work. I think it's all a plan to build anticipation to the point where when he does release a new album we'll go mad for it, even if it consists of video game bleeps and nothing else. Or he turns to Footwork, which is unlikely. Anyway, this set sold out on vinyl, but only three people in Austerity Britain bought it, probably. Music not made for home listening proves worthy of listening to, at home. Profound ambient orchestration, like all the moodiest parts of Wagner pieced together.
Asva & Philippe Petit - Empires Should Burn...
The 23-minute-long title track tells the tale of bunny rabbits running off to have an adventure only to be terrorised by a farmer called Empire and his family who shoot three of them before - I won't spoil it for you, except to say that it involves members of the loveable Leporidae family constructing a huge wicker man. It also includes me favourite title of the year, 'Sweet Dreams Asshole'...and a mess of extremely moody ambient nasty music...right up my street....
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - Instrumental Tourist
Probably the oddest record I heard all year, entailing as it does loose keyboard noodling over (or under) various forms of electronic noise, some of which reminds me of the Blade Runner soundtrack ('Racist Drone' and 'Grey Geisha'), whilst elsewhere, Sun Ra springs to mind, and though many have aspired to conjure up some of the spirit of His Cosmo Lordship, few do so successfully, and I suspect that Hecker and Lopatin have done so unconsciously or at least via embedded listening experiences surfacing uncontrollably...and if you understand what I mean, you're wiser than me.
Gabriel Saloman ~ Adhere
This album persists in being worthwhile no matter how many times I re-listen with a view to possibly deleting when I look at how much room is left on my hard drive and decide that something's got to go - and I can't say fairer than that...not when culling is a crucial part of keeping the computer running properly and so many have fallen by the wayside, or rather, been made to disappear in one click, which is one of the joys of a file over physical records 'cause, as you know, the duds amongst them have to be carried to a record shoppe (if you can find one) and you only get 50p for each...so...this is a damned good album which, as I say, persists...insists, even, on being heard...like a distant whisper saying something important...so listen...
Bee Mask - When We Were Eating Unripe Pears
This album's grown on me over the last few weeks. I did give it a mention without doing it justice, which is not to say it's a work of genius, but that the nostalgic tones weaved into maverick mosaics make me happy and remind me of sci-fi soundtracks of the 50s that never got made, not even in the wildest dreams of Louis and Bebe Barron should they be transported forward in time to liaise with Tim Hecker. Oh and, irony of ironies, I can't stand unripe pears...they must have some give in them when tested...