Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 50 of 2013: 50-41

Willst du Chinese sein musst du die ekligen Sachen essen

50) Banque Allemande- Willst du Chinese sein musst du die ekligen Sachen essen

I was championing this album to people since I first heard it back in March.  These German noise rockers apparently had one album released before this, but this is the only one I have heard from them.  While they sing in their native language, the sound is extremely accessible.  Some place between 80’s rock, the Strokes, and noise rock, Banque Allemande strike a nice balance of rocking out and still being playable to your German exchange student friends.

You probably let this album slip by you this year, so take the time to hunt it down now, as there are less than 100 copies left to grab.  Six tracks, 42 minutes.  

Check out a track from it Here 
Get it Here

Folklore Venom
49) Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement- Folklore Venom

Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement had two great albums come out this year, this and the Plant with Many Faces.  Both are drone filled ambiance focused heavily on atmosphere, and both received extremely limited physical releases I was unable to get.

I first got into RSE after listening to 2012’s Black Magic Cannot Cross Water.  In Folklore Venom, however, gone is the sounds of field recordings of water; it is replaced by a much darker tone.  Even the repetitious synth sounds are bleak.  Some of the best albums are those that can conjure emotions within the listener.  Folklore Venom does just that, focusing on creating a dreary, burden-filled sound.  The end result is a hypnotizing album that stays with you for a few moments even after the album ends.

If you are lucky and another print happens, you’ll want to try and grab it Here:

48) Nohome-Nohome

This free-jazz album is focused on tension.  While I own a copy (got it Here), I never get the chance to actually play it through my speakers.  The only time I did was with my ipod, and within minutes my one cat tackled my other cat than ran to the basement and hid.  Than the other cat kept clawing the carpet in a panic staring at me.  This, from cats that usually are rubbing my leg when I play Sissy Spacek.

I think this sums up the album rather well though.  At almost an hour in length, Nohome is a relentless assault of feedback, with a barrage of drums which comes in endless waves. 
Brotzmann’s kid is in this band, which makes a lot of sense, as I would recommend this album to anyone who likes Machine Gun.  

Listen to a live performance Here

47) EyE-Cozzvo (Chill)

EyE, ex frontman of Boredoms, uses his Cozzvo albums to create a strange, almost, downtempo sound.  This album is probably closest in style to some of the free improv albums that came out this year, despite it not being an improvisational album.  Really though, it is hard to restrict this album to any set genre.  Around 16 minutes in, the album is ambient.  Before that, it was a chillwave sound similar to Com Truise.  By the time you are 30 minutes in, throat singing and glitchy static make up much of the sound heard, creating a sound that is the equivalent of Yoshimi and Yuka in a digital age.

I had not heard any of EyE’s stuff aside from Boredoms (and some Hanatarash).  Cozzvo (Chill) makes sense as a next logical step if you know the journey of sounds Boredoms took over the years.  Hints of Vision Creation Newsun can be found, but gone is the intensity that came with that album’s psychedelic tribal drum sound; it is replaced by a calmer, more meditative sound.

I purchased Cozzvo and Cozzvo (Chill) using Rinkya, but by now, discogs may be your best bet.

Prallel Greyscale
46) Giuseppe Ielasi & Kassel Jaeger- Parallel//Grayscale

For a few weeks this was my album of choice before bed. Usually I prefer a little more intensity when listening to electronic drone music, however this album, while quite minimal in its approach to drone, is still very captivating.  

Having tried both of Giuseppe Ielasi's other albums from the year, I firmly believe that this was his strongest output of the three.  The soundscape it creates it almost meditative; the harshest of tones is handled in a way as to present them quietly and calmly to the listener.  

Editions Mego is nice enough to host both tracks on their youtube, so listen to the whole album with these two links: One, Two.
Pick this album up Here

45) John Butcher, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, Burkhard Stangl- Plume

Plume is some great free jazz.  While only two tracks long, this album clocks in at 1 hour and 10 minutes.  It is very minimal at times, but that only increases the potency of the buildups  The first track has a few 3 minute buildups, all of which end up collapsing in on themselves and creating empty spaces filled only with cymbal taps.  The Saxophone on Plume really is what does it for me though.  It will begin crooning right before the buildups, almost signaling their approach.  Even after the ten minutes of space in “Fiamme”, it is the saxophone at the 21 minute mark that brings the next swell.

Additionally, the sax is quite varied throughout.  The end of “Fiamme” shows it chirping along with the drummer, while at other parts it reminds me of Gustafsson’s playing.

The second track, “Vellum”, brings more piano into the picture than the first.  This track is equally focused on dissonant bursts being lengthily spaced.  It is this spacing and pacing that really makes this album for me, as even after a few listens I find myself waiting in anticipation for the next surge of musical energy.

Miracle Mile
44) Starfucker- Miracle Mile

I was a huge fan of Starfucker’s 2012 album, Reptilians.  It is, in my opinion, one of the best modern interpretations of synth-pop; everything mgmt initially strived to be.  With Miracle Mile I was less blown away.  Everything is toned down a bit, and where the mood of the previous album was upbeat with more dubious undertones, Miracle Mile places the somber mood much more in focus.  Simply put, don’t expect the same style sound as Starfucker was making when doing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” covers, because it just isn’t there.

Some may call this new sound a sign of maturity from the band…but in my opinion, when I am listening to a band called Starfucker, I don’t want (and am not expecting) maturity.  Overall, I agree, there sound has matured.  And while it is still great, I guess I am already nostalgic for their older sound.  If you liked Reptilians than definitely check this out 

Stream and purchase the album Here

Soldier's Requiem
43) Gabriel Saloman-Soldier’s Requiem

This year it seems that the lesser discussed half of Yellow Swans made the better record.  I really liked Pete Swanson’s output, but Gabriel Saloman’s release went less noticed even though I think it is better. 

I’m going to begin by stating that until this year I had heard none of the Yellow Swans member’s solo projects.  This album caught me so off-guard at how peacefully eerie it was.  I remember reading somewhere Pete Swanson said something about how Gabriel was trying to capture the solemnness soldiers feel after battle (this description is almost certainly wrong.  If you find a link to that article, please link it, so I can eat my own words).  Regardless of what exactly he was trying to capture, the drumming’s focus on snare drums coupled with the staticy hiss in the fashion of rainfall works so well.  “Boots on the Ground” may be my favorite track.  The guitar is so staccato and minimal at the beginning, then suddenly comes back overdriven and distorted.

Finally, I love how this album is arranged.  Four tracks: one long, one short, one long, one short.
This album deserves attention from anyone wanting a concept album full of guitar, ambiance, and drones.

Listen to it Here

Lord Said Go to the Devil
42) K.- Lord said Go to the Devil

This was an album that I heard just as I started trying to put together this list.  The list had been all put together, but I ended up having to squeeze this in and remove Marsen Jules Trio.

This ambient/drone album creates an almost gothic/chamber sound, that is dark and mystic feeling.  The album is 7 tracks long, six of which clock in around 7 minutes in length.

I have been finding more and more great music from Poland recently, and this album is no exception.  If this sounds like your cup of tea, take a look at it, cause it is a real shame to see good stuff like this go unnoticed.

Listen to it and buy it Here

41) Oozing Wound- Retrash

Let’s start by having you watch a 57 second commercial for Oozing Wound’s 2013 release, Retrash.

That commercial just sums it all up.  They are the most brutal band on thrill jockey, and this album attests to that.  If you watched that commercial and didn’t either smirk or have an urge to head bang, than this album isn’t for you.  If either of those happened this album is 100% totally for you.

I usually am more of a noise rock guy than a metal guy (hence why these guys got randomly added to my noise rock list for 2013), so I don’t have too much to compare them too.  This is the type of band you listen to when you are using beer to making a protein shake; when you are driving to an exam hung over.  Overall, this is the hardest rocking thing I have heard this year, and both nights I bonged beers this year I ended up putting this album on at some point.

Links to audio previews and how to purchase are Here

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