Friday, December 27, 2013

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 4 in G Major

I know I don't post enough about classical music on my blog but its not because I don't listen to it. My favorite pieces of music are all classical. The reason you don't read much about it here is because I don't understand it well enough to criticize or praise properly. I'm ignorant of most music that truly matters. My attempts at writing about jazz albums are poor enough as it is.

I've recently discovered this piece and am quite obsessed. I also found THIS  wonderful essay on the work over at If you're a classical person, you'll enjoy the essay. If you're not that nerdy, just listen to the piece I've provided here.

If anyone has a version they prefer more than this, please respond. I listened to the few that are on youtube and am sharing the one that works for me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Top 25 Albums of 2013

So here we are. Another one down. I tell ya, this was a tough year to pick the best albums. In fact, usually I stress out because I can't find twenty-five records I'm really crazy about. Not the case in 2013. When I began compiling and realized I was going to have to cut a couple dozen, it was a bummer. But let's just forego the honorable mentions and get to work. Feel free to bitch, moan, and question my judgement, I'd love to get any feedback. And as always, thanks to the many of you that frequent this ol' mess, even when I'm slacking. I truly appreciate it. Here we go...

25. Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities (Excelsior Recordings)

24. German Army - Burushaski (Belaten)

23. Steven R. Smith - Ending / Returning (Immune)

22. The Stranger - Watching Dead Cities Decay (Modern Love)

21. Darkside - Psychic (Matador)

20. Morphosis - Dismantle (Honest Jon's)

19. Tatsuya Nakatani & Shane Perlowin - Anatomy of a Moment (New Atlantis)

18. Burial - Truant / Rough Sleeper (Hyperdub)

17. Forest Swords - Engravings (TriAngle)

16. Demdike Stare - Test Pressings 1-4 (Modern Love)

15. The Thing - Boot! (The Thing Records)

14. Mind Over Mirrors - When the Rest are Up at Four (Immune)

13. Lonnie Holley - Just Before Music (Dust to Digital)

12. The Haxan Cloak - Excavation (Triangle)

11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away (Bad Seeds Ltd.)

10. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp)

9. Justin Walter - Lullabies and Nightmares (Kranky)

8. Pharmakon - Abandon (Sacred Bones)

7. Implodes - Recurring Dream (Kranky)

6. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus 7 (Warp)

5. Miles - Faint-hearted (Modern Love)

4. Wolf Eyes - No Answer: Lower Floors (De Stijl)

3. Deafheaven - Sunbather (Deathwish)

2. Cliff Martinez - Only God Forgives (Milan)

1. Huerco S. - Colonial Patterns (Software)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls (Blackest Ever Black, 2013)

Each winter I seek out new records that fit that certain special mood. You know, dark and beautiful, foreboding yet hopeful, somber but bright. It looks like Camella Lobo's first release after going solo (Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant stepped down earlier in the year) is that record for me this season.

One characteristic my winner must have is that Faith / Pornography / 17 Seconds era Cure vibe. Well, the records starts off with just that. Sort of an 'All Cats are Grey' homage. From there it probably gets compared to Zola Jesus on the 'Stridulum' EP's most mellow and subtle cuts. One lovely aspect is how she uses her vocals as more of an instrument than an attempt to convey meaning. I prefer to think of this as an instrumental record because the music does stand alone. The slightly atonal guitar lines remind me of Blessure Grave, the bass is straight Simon Gallup, and the drum programming is just classic with a bit of tribal thrown in for good measure.

2013's good time goth platter.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

German Army - Burushaski (Belaten, 2013, CS)

Besides the fact that its incredibly good, I'm having trouble describing this cassette. LA act, German Army makes noisey coldwave synth pop? No, that's not enough, it also feels like ritual music from a space tribe. Maybe those supposed aliens that purportedly visited earth thousands of years ago? Of course, this sounds like you're watching the music on vhs. A retro-futuristic cyber dub? Maybe the aliens' ship crash landed at a resort in the South Pacific? Now, they're stuck for eternity, drinking on the beach like the Corona commercials, only their analog synthesizer brain implants allow them to record tape loops while inebriated. Yeah, that's it, and then, twenty years ago, David Lynch and Phillip K. Dick remix it and put it in a time capsule, only they don't bury it because all of this is happening 1978...when Cabaret Voltaire smoked meth with Ray Bradbury while watching Donnie Darko on laserdisc. Bumbaclot.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tatsuya Nakatani & Shane Perlowin - Anatomy of a Moment (New Atlantis, 2013)

This is one helluva couple of musicians. They're hardworking, ever touring, ever recording, and literally subsisting on music itself. How rare true musicians are these days. Well, here I offer up two fine specimens, with a duo recording that has sneaked into my favorite releases of 2013.

I've seen Nakatani and Perlowin play before. The frenetic improvisational energy that I was familiar with has been replaced with something far more enjoyable. This record is a string of compositions that somehow navigate a field of busy and dense percussion experiments underneath pastoral and meditative yet tense guitar lines. The result is predominantly somber and contemplative pieces, flowing effortlessly one to the next, shifting through a spectrum of emotions, creating a quite engaging narrative. This is a fine example of a new direction in modern music, unaffected by environment or expectations. Truly innovative material.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Demdike Stare - Post-collapse (DDS, 2013)

Well they've outdone themselves again. Here's a new mixtape you absolutely must have. They are the kings of crate digging. From cosmic jazz to proto-club jams, drum edits to field recordings, you will never have a clue what these tracks are. Cuz they ninja.

Buy this at Boomkat.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Halloween II - OST (Death Waltz, 2013)

In affiliation with LA's Beyond Fest, my latest favorite label,  Death Waltz, who does vinyl re-issues of horror soundtracks, has issued an extremely limited amount of these scores on cassette:

Halloween II
Halloween III
A Field in England
Assault on Precinct 13

So, you'd better hurry if you're a tape nerd like me who wants these John Carpenter / Alan Howarth gems in a never before offered format.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fluxion - Vibrant Forms (Chain Reaction, 1999 / vinyl by Type, 2013)

If you're an old techno head, you know Chain Reaction very well. In the 90's, Basic Channel duo (Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus) began a label to release as many dub techno club tracks as possible. Acts such as Monolake, Vladislav Delay and Porter Ricks became icons in the undeground. My favorite release was always Fluxion's 'Bipolar Defect' and now, thanks to TYPE, I finally have Fluxion's 1999 compilation 'Vibrant Forms' on vinyl. These are sprawling 4x4 cuts knee deep in a viscous and esoteric head trip. Beautiful epic minimal music for those who like to mentally cut a rug alone in their bedrooms.