On Drugs - Primitive Calculators
Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 5 - The Caretaker
Make Me Know You Sweet - Pendant
A Laughing Death In Meatspace - Tropical Fuck Storm
Mother - Xylouris White
Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 4 - The Caretaker
Psychedelic Spirit Show - Moon Wiring Club
Double Negative - Low*
Pastoral - Gazzelle Twin
Mandy OST - Johann Johannsson
Culture II - Migos
Insula - Proc Fiskal
Cocoon Crush - Objekt
Unfold - Gabor Lázár
This list is in no way authoritative or comprehensive (go to FACT, OPIUM-HUM or The Wire for that) as I didn't check out hundreds of albums this year like I usually do. Severe debilitating migraines caused my life to be lived at about a 3rd of its capacity. So I was rarely in a jovial mood to even entertain the thought of listening to the latest pop tune or experimental opus. The above records are just the handful I managed to enjoy in 2018.
I didn't mind Addendum from John Maus, Late Electrics by Rangers, Young Thug's Slime Language/On The Rvn, Future's Beast Mode 2, Kazuashita by Gang Gang Dance, Laurel Halo's Raw Silk Uncut Wood, The Invisible World Of... by Beautify Junkyards, Neville Watson's The Midnight Orchard, Duppy Gun's Miro Tape etc. They might have ended up in my main best of 2018 list but I just haven't listened to them enough to rate them properly. I can't even recall if I liked Let's Eat Grandma's I'm All Ears or Sophie's Oil Of Every Pearl's Un Insides...er probably not.
There were new records from Gas, Oneohtrix Point Never, Alvin Lucier, Eli Keszler, Chris Carter, Bruce, Pusha T, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Rico Nasty, Playboi Carti, 21 Savage, Chief Keef, Gnod, Dead Can Dance, Julia Holter, Autechre, Supersilent, Jon Hassell and a bunch of others that I just didn't get around to listening to let alone buying. FACT even have a list of the best 13 ambient LPs of 2018. None of which I've heard either and that's probably where my head should have been at more than anywhere else this year. I'm sure some of this unheard music is good stuff but that's the way my 2018 cookie crumbled.
On the soundtrack front I enjoyed Rob's Revenge OST and Colin Stetson's Hereditary OST but I didn't even get around to that Scott Walker/Sia soundtrack or the new Halloween from John Carpenter & Co.
I nearly fell into the nostalgia traps of new releases from Space Afrika, Beta Librae, Barker... all perfectly adequate facsimiles of past high water marks in innovative electronic music.
...apparently rave is the new old thing...hasn't it been the new old thing for several years now?
Was The Sons Of Kemet album really all that? *Rhetorical question.
I wonder what Mark Fisher would have made of Guttersnipe's My Mother The Vent? Being Mars wannabes in 2018 is kinda trad, innit? Talk about not killing yr idols. Mars formed in 1974! Another case of a band picking up on the sonic aesthetics of a band but not understanding the revolutionary ideas behind them.
I don't even know who Twenty One Pilots are or what they do...er... same goes for Amnesia Scanner and Tirzah. Do I need to know? Am I missing out?
I enjoyed track-y tunes like Ramos from Ploy and Agua Y Puerta by Lechuga because they sound like I could have made them myself on GarageBand if I could have been bothered.
What would Mark Fisher have thought Part 2: Vessel's Queen Of Golden Dogs? I mean I get what they are doing but why would you want to do that? It feels like a project as part of a music degree doncha reckon?
Liquid Drum'n'Bass, seriously people?!
Oh...and who gives two fucks about Kendrick Lamar when you've got YG serving up Californian gold ala Big Bank! YG is West Coast's main man.
*LOW - DOUBLE NEGATIVE
This record is a bit like Sun Kil Moon's Benji album from a few years back, it was hard to ignore due to the groundswell of popularity on the internet and even from the archaic printed paper people. I first heard Low on the legendary Witch In The Colours radio show hosted by Jason Reynolds on Melbourne's 3RRR when I Could Live In Hope was released in 1994. At the time they were described as an American answer to Slowdive, which was a little misleading. I still remember hearing Lazy for the first time and its Slint meets Twin Peaks reverbed vibe had me mesmerised. To me, Low reached perfection in 1995 on their 2nd album Long Division. That LP was a three piece doin electrifying minimal rock with their signature threatening, gloomy and slow burning jamz that sounded like they were recorded in a cold and lonesome echo chamber. Sure they had very good records after Long Division including the following The Curtain Hits The Cast (1996) and a couple recorded with Steve Albini. I lost touch with them after that though. So it was weird listening to them this year but also a joy. Double Negative is like a Low chopped & screwed tape. I don't know how they ended up in this sonic terrain (although they have always had an experimental bent) but it's great that they did. Low are still Low of old ie. lovely yet intense melodious close boy/girl harmonies. Its just that the sonic textures have been beautifully fucked with. Stuff drops in and out, gets slowed down, gets chopped, gets sent into the red, goes glitch-y and disintegrates then swells back to life in a swathe of distortion. The outstanding track Always Tying To Work It Out sounds like DJ Screw could have been at the controls. This all might sound like a strange juxtaposition but it works to an impressive degree. Enthralling.
Black Mass - Lucifer
The Unexplained: Electronic Musical Impressions Of The Occult - Ataraxia
Memoire Magnetique Vol.1 1966-1990 - Bernard Parmegiani
The Music From Bagpuss - Sandra Kerr & John Faulkner
Impressionz - Ekoplekz
Chronolyse - Richard Pinhas
East West - Richard Pinhas
Rhizosphere - Richard Pinhas
A Dream Sails Out To Sea: Get At The Wave - Takashi kokubo
Coochin Moon - Haroumi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo
Orient - Hiroshi Sato
African Scream Contest Volume 2: Benin 1963-80 - Various
Two Niles To Sing A Melody: The Violins & Synths Of Sudan - Various
Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie In 1980s South Africa - Various
Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94 - Various
Apart from those first three records mentioned by Lucifer, Ataraxia (both Mort Garson pseudonyms) and Bernard Parmegiani I'm pretty out of the loop now when it comes to pioneering ye olde avant-electronics reissues. God I even missed an Aussie Creel Pone release this year! How many live recordings of Throbbing Gristle do I need? Well all of them so I guess one more wouldn't hurt. Then there was a whole deluge of Japanese electronic, ambient, city-pop, image albums and Ghibli soundtracks from the 70s & 80s, a lot of which are getting issued in the west for the first time. Have all the good electronic and horror soundtracks now been reissued? I don't even know if great labels from the 00s like Trunk, Omni Recording Corporation, Strut or Finders Keepers are still reissuing interesting esoterica in 2018. On the African tip there were choice compilations on Soundway, Ostinato Records and Analog Africa, that stuff seems to be petering out now that they've reached the 80s Post-Boogie/R&B/Pop phase. What comes after that? Probably not much. Then again maybe in Africa they did noise-rock, indie, grunge, riot grrl, acid house, 'ardcore rave, techno, ambient, jungle, speed garage... who knows? Uh-huh! I just saw on the interwebs that this compilation Pantsula! The Rise Of Electronic Dance Music In South Africa 1988-1990 was released last year on on Rush Hour Music.
INSIDE NO. 9
The anthology show that is sometimes horror, sometimes black comedy, sometimes drama and sometimes all of the above. Most film-makers get 2 hours plus to tell their story and it's usually not a masterpiece. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton give themselves 29 minutes and make a twisted ripper every time. Only comparable to The Crown in consistency and quality. Their genius is breathtaking!
Even better than the first season.
Pretty good but hey, I guess you can't top The Wire can you?
Fascinating true crime documentary series. Did the justice system get it wrong? Surely Michael Peterson is guilty but yeah I get it, there's not enough solid evidence against him though.
Disturbing four part true crime documentary about a bunch of fucking nutters and their strange hair-brained heist scheme that culminated in the murder of the pizza bomber. I don't know who or what to believe. You do not want people like this in your life.
Alison Brie is so charismatic as is Kate Nash and surprisingly Marc Maron is very good. Best telly soundtrack of the year ie. bunch of terrific old 80s radio songs I haven't heard since the 80s.
Bananas OTT crime drama/soap opera/comedy with the best wardrobe in TV since the 70s. Very 2018. This was entertainment.
Evil Has A Name: The Untold Story Of The Golden State Killer Investigation.
This is an Audible exclusive. Six hours featuring audio from key detectives, profilers, criminologists, forensic experts, victims etc. in the saga of The Visalia Ransacker/East Area Rapist/The Original Night-Stalker. Fascinating insight into the revolutionary ways of catching old evil cunts ie. Joseph DeAngelo the man who raped over 50 women & girls and killed over 13 people in California from 1974 to 1986. Paul Holes is the rock star of detectives! and the escalating technology surrounding DNA is the catalyst that is the icing on this case's cake. Amazing story.
Happy New Year!