Read the rest of our end of the year coverage:
- Favorite Albums of 2012: Kevin Tappin [link]
- Favorite Albums of 2012: Will McGee [link]
- Favorite Albums of 2012: Kyle Minton [link]
- Favorite Albums of 2012: Tyler Hanan [link]
10. Symmetry – Themes For An Imaginary Film
Italians Do It Better are doing so many things right; the fashionista approach, the specific, murderous imagery, and more than anything this year I just wanted to be this sound. I wanted to recreate my image, my gait, my speech, to mirror everything they were doing. Johnny Jewel is revolutionizing correctly, borrowing from the past and adding a stylish new spin, a role model for so many musicians coming out this year, and for so many people just wanting to express themselves. But what made Themes stand out over, say, that key release from Chromatics this year, is the element of mystery; the rush you get from your own night drive, not being able to see through the murk, and never knowing what’s around the corner. Music has been this cool before, but never as thrilling.
"Held (Tim Hecker Remix)" - Holy Other
You can’t possibly turn away from a pairing such as this. Tim Hecker injects a wealth of molasses into the already deliberately paced title track off of Holy Other’s Held, and suddenly the ghastly wails are sinking in the slow pulse of Hecker’s brand of aural quicksand. It’s a quick bite of Hecker’s all-consuming methodology that’s sure to come through with more abrasive static and waves of feedback with Instrumental Tourist, his upcoming collaboration with Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) which drops on November 20 (link).
- Kyle Minton
"Sunrays" - Catching Flies
I’ve been wanting to post more amateur music for a couple of reasons. First, how can you really describe a musical movement if you only listen to the recommendations of the well read blogs? Second, can you really have a micro-genre if there are only two or three developed artists in the field? For instance, Tri-Angle is THE name in down tempo beat heavy techno/R&B, but is witch-house really a “thing” if only one label exists? Third, if you read one blog you read them all (they all have their nuances but compare the major posts of p4k/stereogum/gvb).
All that said, it’s hard. Posting unpolished, unprofessional music is always a risk. There isn’t much of a point except for the risk taking, and anyone who emails me personally is guaranteed not to be taken seriously (I also wouldn’t reference your success in Red Bull magazine).
I chose “Sunrays” because of what it lacks more than what it has. It needs a melody. The track alone provides too much space for the production alone to stand out, and it’s missing a key ingredient that, if done correctly and by someone who knows what they’re doing, might elevate it past it’s Soundcloud obscurity (Mr. Lies already achieved this feat earlier in the year). But it also got me thinking about witch-house. Balamb-Acab and Holy Other have seemingly taken over the field. Where have Salem gone? Where is oOoOO? Maybe Soundcloud is the real breeding ground for the genre or maybe it’s leading to a Burial infused Trip-Hop sound. But what stuck about Catching Flies are the jazz influences. The nods are more to witch-house than to R&B or Dubstep staples, but there are moments of jazz wisdom. Sunrays provides the perfect backdrop for a jazz singer, “Let Your Hair Down” leads with a great jazz sample but under-performs. From someone who deeply misses jazz and the effect it has on music, it’d be great to see a comeback.
Ps. Change your name.
"(W)here" - Holy Other
I did some promo for Held, the new Holy Other album, not too long ago [link], but I feel compelled to speak on the album again after dropping myself into its entirety. I make no attempts to hide my adoration for this type of music - aqueous beats and bloops, enshrouding bass, etc. - but that doesn’t take anything away from just how good the music is. Just let that initial rumble blow everything else away and immerse yourself [link].
- Tyler Hanan
"Love Some1" - Holy Other
A new Holy Other track - give yourself some time to submerge yourself. It slowly surrounds and imprisons the listener in the most wonderful way - it’s smooth, emotive, and an absolute pleasure. His full-length debut, Held, will be released August 28th on Tri-Angle - a label that often dominates my listening habits.
- Tyler Hanan