Archives for posts with tag: Northern-Spy Records

It’s time for my end-of-year list. I really didn’t listen to as much new stuff this year as I did in 2011, so the list is cut to 20. Generally tried to limit to one album per label, but I didn’t really follow that rule (go 12k!?). Anyway, maybe I’ll add some comments at some point. Really beautiful stuff, and I look forward to diving into some other great albums based on other year-end recommendations soon.

Like I said last year, if you are struggling to find out more information about a specific release, let me know and I can possibly direct you in the correct direction. But for the most part, I would recommend searching for these fantastic labels and their online websites.

1 Swans The Seer Young God Records
2 Gareth Dickson Quite A Way Away 12k
3 Nuojuva Valot Kaukaa Preservation Records
4 Deep Listening Band Great Howl At Town Haul Important Records
5 En Already Gone Students of Decay
6 Fire! With Oren Ambarchi In The Mouth – A Hand Rune Grammofon
7 Steve Peters + Steve Roden Not A Leaf Remains As It Was 12k
8 Strategy Strategy Peak Oil
9 Hakobune The Cowboy Across the River Constellation Tatsu
10 From the Mouth of the Sun Woven Tide Experimedia
11 Gabriel Saloman Adhere Miasmah Recordings
12 Sujo + Sun Hammer Fistula Inam Records
13 Neptune msg rcvd Northern-Spy Records
14 Electric Bird Noise Live at the Basement Silber Records
15 Brian Eno Lux Warp Records
16 Mount Eerie Ocean Roar P. W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.
17 Sharon Van Etten Tramp Jagjaguwar
18 Thee Oh Sees Putrifiers II In The Red Records
19 Gultskra Artikler Abtu/Anet Miasmah Recordings
20 White Hills Frying On This Rock Thrill Jockey Records

I’m sure anyone who blogs must go through the phase where you ask the question, “is any of this worth it? Do people really care?” I think I’ve arrived at the point where even if no one gets anything out of this, it’s at least a documentation of my own journey through musical appreciation. I can look back, read my thoughts about things, be reminded of exactly how I felt/thought at a certain time, and find something worthwhile in my growth, my process. Sort of like a public diary, I guess.

So I went back to CD Cellar this past Tuesday night for a wonderful evening of ambient / noise / experimental goodness. This time there was a significant turnout at the record store, which gave me more hope than last time. I schmoozed a bit, but this time, the performance schedule was prompt and the first of four acts came on at about 8:05pm. I don’t remember the names of the two of them, but it was a piano and bass duo. It seemed that they improvised mostly for 15-20 minutes. The pianist had a good sense of abstract, free jazz-esque spurting and twinkling, while the bassist produced very interesting textures. I distinctly remember him playing the strings in a circular manner, ranging from aggressive, sharp tones, to smoother, longer pitches. My favorite part of their performance was probably at the midway point when feedback produced by the mic’ing of the keyboard created a deep drone, and added a whole new accidental texture, to this already interesting performance.

The next performance was pretty incredible. Perhaps it was the highlight; it’s hard to say because the whole evening was such an impressive show. Jeff Barsky (of Insect Factory and Plums) and Jason Mullinax (Pilesar) played an apparently improvised set. Barsky’s guitar work was so unique, muscular, and deliberate. The use of effects, loops, and textures was inspiring. Mullinax pounded the drums, creating driving polyrhythmic jams. I thought the middle of the set had too much kitchen-sink percussion and noodling around, but the bookend parts were incredible. I can’t wait to see these guys perform again, separately or together, and I can only pray that the recording from this show makes it up onto the District of Noise website.

In a somewhat unusual manner, the headliner Forsyth came on next. Janel and Anthony were to close out the evening after Forsyth’s performance. Chris Forsyth was a very pleasant guy. He calmly introduced all his pieces, explaining the inspiration behind each piece and talking a lot about the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia, which clearly had a major role in shaping his new record, Kenzo Deluxe, out now on Northern-Spy Records. (Northern-Spy, by the way, is the best. Just thought I would mention that again. Really great people and always supportive of KZSU. Oh yeah, all their records are fantastic, too.) He started off with the self-titled song from Paranoid Cat, on Family Vineyard, and then proceeded to play the majority of his new album. I was really impressed. His playing reminded me of Sir Richard Bishop, Jon Porras, and Barn Owl, generally. The compositions were long, hypnotic, dreamy. I remember the last song he played was a slow-burn emotional tugger. Truly a great performance, and I consider myself lucky that I got to see him play in such an intimate setting.
Janel and Anthony closed out the night with a mix of improv and dreamy ambient-type stuff. The only negative I can point out was that the first piece’s distorted guitar sounded like a toy guitar amp. The distorted guitar was buried too low in the mix, and the effects were too simple. It really rubbed me the wrong way. The rest of the set sounded great; Janel bowed her cello, slowly and smoothly, and the orchestral duo were even joined by DC noise artist Violet (link also contains performance with Janel & Anthony). Violet came in to manipulate electronic equipment, tape decks, and the like. The last piece was definitely arty and weird improvised goodness.

That’ll do it for me for now. I’m a bit exhausted. Hope to make it out to some more musical performances this summer!

It’s time for my end-of-year list of musical goodies that touched my ears. What a wonderful year of listening! If you are struggling to find out more information about a specific release, let me know and I can possibly direct you in the correct direction. But for the most part, google is everyone’s friend.

1 Josh T. Pearson Last of the Country Gentlemen Mute Records
2 Grouper A I A : Alien Observer / Dream Loss Mississippi Records
3 Lumerians Transmalinnia Knitting Factory Records
4 Rivulets We’re Fucked Important Records
5 I Am Oak Oasem Snowstar Records
6 Haunted House Blue Ghost Blues Northern Spy Records
7 A Winged Victory for the Sullen A Winged Victory for the Sullen Kranky Records
8 Demian Johnston & Mink Stole Trailed and Kept Debacle Records
9 Starving Weirdos Rolled in the Mist of Never Ceasing Currents Without a Rest Forever Onward Bo’Weavil Recordings
10 Tim Hecker Ravedeath, 1972 Kranky Records
11 Blue Angels Isidora Digitalis
12 Oren Ambarchi/Robbie Avenaim Dream Request Bo’Weavil Recordings
13 Sean McCann The Capital Aguirre Records
14 Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges Constellation Records
15 Deaf Center Owl Splinters Type Records
16 Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier L’Enfant Sauvage Aguirre Records
17 Implodes Black Earth Kranky Records
18 Warm Ghost Uncut Diamond EP Partisan Records
19 Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin FRKWYS Vol. 7: Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin Rvng Intl
20 Daughters of the Sun Ghost With Chains Not Not Fun
21 Sundrips Just a Glimpse Debacle Records
22 Gnod InGnodWeTrust Rocket Recordings
23 Tidal / Motion Sickness of Time Travel Tidal / Motion Sickness of Time Travel Tranquility Tapes
24 Voder Deth Squad 1 Stunned Records
25 Thee Oh Sees Carrion Crawler / The Dream In The Red Records