Here’s a quick review of the year so far. We’ve each chosen our two favourite songs of the first half of 2013, and they’re presented here in no particular order.
The Knife – A Tooth For An Eye
A wordly musical knowledge, and a lifetime of anger, pleasure and rhythmic principles condensed into an exciting, lean, and elegant 4:35. – Bernholz
Colin Stetson – To See More Light
Like Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’, it starts off with a sinister, patient patter of gradual, psycholgically affecting horror, and becomes something grander and more sublime. A slow reveal, the raw, arpeggiating sax seeps into the subconsious unravelling a deep, hypnotising complexity. – Bernholz
Anna Meredith – Orlok
Anna Meredith’s last EP, Black Prince Fury, was one of my favourite releases of 2012. Anna is a self-deprecating but fiercely talented composer, with a brilliant sense of humour. ‘Orlok’, from her new (forthcoming) EP Jet Black Raider (Moshi Moshi) continues her series of playful, 8-bit cinemascapes. – Gazelle Twin
Sharaya J – Banji
I caught wind of Sharaya’s debut via Kode9 who shared it on twitter saying ‘so good’… which it is. Surprised it’s not been such a hit. – Gazelle Twin
His Electro Blue Voice – Kidult
Italy’s His Electro Blue Voice open the recent Sub Pop 1000 compilation with a glorious wave of guitar panic. I can’t wait for their debut album coming soon on the same label. – Great Pagans
Mykki Blanco – Wavvy
Only amplified by the incredible video, Mykki Blanco’s gender-straddling hip hop hooked me with it’s oppressive atmosphere and jumpy rhythms. – Great Pagans
Joey Anderson – Press Play
Joey’s already released a lot of interesting, abstract club music this year. This is a good example of his unsettling and weirdly compelling style, and it also has the most beautiful piano line that I’ve heard so far this year. – Acquaintance
Dark Sky – In Brackets
I just love everything about this. The musicality of it, the warm enveloping chords, the rattling percussion, the unshowy production, and the effortless transitions between rhythms. Definitely a keeper. – Acquaintance
As a young teen, it was Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack to The Terminator and Terminator 2 and the slow, cold analogue pulses of John Carpenter’s film scores which first introduced me to the cold yet alluring world of electronic /dark ambient / drone / musique concrete (or whatever genre suits the reader best). In the same vein of analogue murk, but with a far more introverted facade, I’ve slowly been listening my way through the work of Bruce Gilbert.
In his back catalogue of albums, soundtracks and other projects, I’m beginning to discover a black pool of industrial, gloomy delights from his solo work, as well as uncovering the work of one of his former bands, Dome (pictured above). Wikipedia tells me that they used to perform in art galleries with objects, or instruments made from found objects on display for the audience to interact with. This reminds me of the sound art of UK-based, Sicilian-born artist, Seb Patane, and his sonic project, Frontier, Frontier! which occupies similarly odd DJ-meets-performance-art terrain utilising masks and beekeeping costumes – worth noting too, that Gilbert’s DJ moniker is DJ Beekeeper.
My favourites of the Bruce Gilbert collection so far, perhaps due to the regular introduction of pulse, are his 1996 album Ab Ovo, and This Way To The Shivering Man (1990) both of which must have inspired the majority of sonic ideas in The Knife’s 2009 album, The Colouring Of Pigeons. I also hear much of Gilbert’s influence in Richard Russell’s impeccably restrained, and I would go as far as to say perfect production on the late Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here – my favourite album of 2010 by a long, long way. If you ‘do’ Spotify, you can listen to Ab Ovo and This Way To The Shivering Manit in their entirety.