This is my yearly post about my latest music discoveries. Writing this I am listening to the album “Eskimo” by The Residents. The arctic sound effects fit my mood, as I’m sitting here in the middle of winter without heating and warm water. My boiler has some problem causing it to shut down 5 minutes later after turning it on. A mechanic was already here a couple of times and did some repairs, that all lead to further errors. He wanted to finally fix it yesterday, but the manufacturer of the boiler didn’t send out another part that needs to be replaced. So, again, I will sit in a cold flat without warm water well into the new year…
…so, The Residents make a good companion. “Eskimo” is the right album to get under a warm blanket.
This year didn’t really bing a lot of new music that I really liked, but I (re)discovered some older albums that I would like to recommend for your listening pleasure.
I will start to recommend the latest album that I recorded with my own band mockART. We released “Men Who Lost Their Heads” this year as you will probably know already, if you read my blog regularly. As a theme we recorded tracks about conspiracy theories and paranoia that we read about in connection with the Covid Pandemic. If you like to learn more about the album or order it on CD or cassette, please visit our website.
One of my favourite bands bands of the late 1990’s and 2000’s was Arab Strap. So I was happy that they released a new album this year, and a really great one as well. “As Days Get Dark” sounds exactly like Arab Strap without exactly repeating their old sound.
I also really like the new album by Moor Mother. I already liked some of there older works, but “Black Encyclopedia Of The Air” is probably her most astonishing work: I never heard anyone recording music that is so mellow and so groovy at the same time. The music itself weaves a lot of sounds and music styles together in such a perfect way that it sounds like nothing I have heard before.
Nurse With Wound is another band I really like. “3 Lesbian Sardines” starts like a classic electronic/IDM album and slowly gets deeper and deeper into more and more experimental sounds and structures.
A lot of contemporary experimental music is too ambient for me. But “Melanesia” by Roberto Musci is the exception. He mixes ambient sounds with musique concrète and traditional ethnic music to something unique.
Having recorded an album about conspiracy theories myself, we didn’t record a track about chemtrails. Fortunately, Lana Del Rey did the job for us with “Chemtrails over the Country Club”.
But certainly there are also a lot of older albums I enjoyed listening to this year. I really enjoyed the albums Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis recorded as Dome in the early 1980s. For me they are the continuation of Wire’s music from the late 1970’s. Other discoveries from that era are Factrix‘s only studio album “Scheintot” and the collaborative effort by Anna Homler and Steve Moshier that resulted in the album “Breadwoman”. Another interesting project of the early 1980’s is Gray that also features artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo. Their unique mix of hip hop, industrial and no wave was collected on the album “Shades of…”. Further I can recommend the experimental electro pop works of Tiziano Popoli that were collected on the album “Burn The Night / Bruciare La Notte”.
I also dived into the works of Bernard Parmegiani. His compositions between electronic experimentation and musique concrète sound very unique. It is hard to pick a favourite, but I think my favourite album is “De Natura Sonorum” because he creates a sound universe here that produces pictures of wide landscapes and natural wonders in my head.
I also discovered Le Stelle di Mario Schifano this year. Mario Schifano was a postmodern / pop art artist from Italy who probably wanted to create his own Velvet Underground. On “Dedicato A…”, their only album, “Le Ultime Parole Di Brandimante, Dall’Orlando Furioso, Ospite Peter Hartman E Fine (Da Ascoltarsi Con TV Accesa, Senza Volume)” is probably the most astonishing track. With more than 17 minutes it changes continuously to parts of psychedelic freak out.
Continuing with some rock music, I explored some of the more obscure krautrock bands. One of the highlights was Zweistein‘s triple album “Trip • Flip Οut • Meditation” that sounds like an aural acid trip. Baba Yaga‘s album “Collage” fuses rock and traditional Iranian music. On “Crawling To Lhasa” Kalacakra sound a little like a gothic rock / medieval folk band. “Elektronische Mythen” is Jürgen Karg‘s only solo album. He ventures into electronic experiments and ambient sounds that are quite unique. Last but not least I listened to Amon Düül I a lot. Most of their albums are freak out sessions recorded in low quality, but if you listen closely there is so much to discover on “Psychedelic Underground” or “Collapsing Singvögel Rückwärts & Co.”.
Last but not least there are two jazz albums I like to mention here as well. The first one is “Aida” by Derek Bailey. It is just a man improvising on his guitar that references many other music styles from flamenco to country and folk to punk rock. The second album is “Parallèles” by Jac Berrocal. Though already recorded in the 1970s, you already hear some tracks that remind you of trip hop and sound collage styles that other artists explored years later. Still innovative I can also recommend his later albums that he recorded with David Fenech and Vincent Epplay.
So, now you have some music to discover for the New Year. And I will grab another blanket and try to keep warm till the heating works again eventually.
I’m looking forward to see you again next year!