Tyler Coates wrote a piece for Flavorwire today,* two days after Dylan Farrow’s open letter in the Times. I felt like I should write about it, because I’m annoyed and unlike Coates I feel like that’s a great state from which to engage in dialogue. So here goes.
Before anything else, though: How amazing is Donotlink? There’s so much consternation these days about undercooked thought on the internet and deliberate provocation / half-assing on the part of writers, and it’s really really great that there’s now a tool that will allow you to read flashpoints of anger like Coates’ or the works of Hamilton Nolan, should you decide to, without fulfilling their purpose. It’s a small comfort, but I’ll take what I get. Speaking of, here’s a Donotlink to the piece to which I’m responding: http://t.co/ZyHBSCJTeY
As I took my friend Jia’s advice and started getting serious about the prospect of writing through this year, all the energy I once put into my music collection waned, especially toward these last few months. I’ve found it harder and harder to write about what I’m listening to. But 2013 featured some good records, despite the preponderance of dude producers taking female names, which is a trend for some reason. Looking back, Alpha Pup is represented much more than I expected, but great labels abound (Don’t Be Afraid, Mr. Saturday Night, Teal Recordings, NNA Tapes, etc).
Here are my favorite albums of 2013, plus a lot more. I could expound on any at length, but these are submitted without comment. Links to songs where available:
This week was a good week for things on my procurement list that weren’t house, or whatever it is I listen to when I’m not listening to Swans. Here are some of them:
Cross Record - Be Good
Every reverb-heavy solo woman with a guitar gets compared to Grouper so I’m not going to do that here. Cross Record reminds me of that act’s sometime-collaborator and labelmate Ilyas Ahmed more than anything else. It’s a lovely record, beautifully arranged, diverse (always a sticking point when it comes to solo guitar works). Mostly breathtaking but stomps when it needs to. It’s really good and you should buy it.
The Range - Nonfiction
Mrs Jynx - Diving Loop
Donky Pitch as a label started out oriented around slightly goofy blown-out club music ala Slugabed before transitioning into suitably gaudy versions of juke and “trap” in the fairly recent past. To my knowledge Nonfiction is their first LP, and it showcases one of the young label’s outliers. The Range’s production is less ostentatious than the label standard and leans more on intricate arrangements ala IDM. It reminds me of early Machinedrum stuff, on the cusp of his dalliance with footwork, before the inevitably sleep Ninja Tune victory lap. I like this record a lot.
By standards not including the original crop of AI-era Warp nerds, Mrs Jynx is an old IDM hand, having plied her trade with a couple of albums for Planet Mu. Her new EP for Central Processing Unit features more of her electro of a gentle nature. Very pretty, and sorely missed among so many glitch pretenders and would-be Brainfeeder types.
Secret Pyramids - Movements of Night
I’d never heard of Secret Pyramids before, though Students of Decay is a great label. Ambient music sometimes accumulates in my hard drive, because it requires a certain kind of context and effort for me to really focus on it even though I love it. I get albums with the intent of listening to them and then they languish until I need to read or write. Which is fine! But the ones I love the most are the ones that break out of those confines, and I think Movements of Night is one of them. It’s basically in the same wheelhouse as Loscil, or Leyland Kirby’s less weird outings, or the less jazzy Serein label albums, or a less saccharine Eluvium. I guess that’s a long way of saying this is “cinematic” and “transporting”, which it is. I long for ambient / modern comp albums that aren’t subtle but aren’t ham-fisted either. Those albums don’t come along often. Movements of Night is one of them.
I’ve decided to ever-so-slightly revamp this tumblr so that I can capably use it as an outlet for my ~brand~ as my writing slowly, slowly proliferates. My name’s on the header now. I’ll be posting published stuff here and interacting with the throngs of adoring fans I’m sure to accumulate.
Enjoy this new thing.