and finally some special recognition to two labels at the top of their respective games this year.
with the exception of a few passable releases of average acid, Spectral had an incredibly strong run of varied and ever-classy techno releases. while i don't keep up with the droves of techno / minimal releases that become available every week (and if i did, i'm sure i'd find a lot more that i like), i feel like Spectral keeps me up to date as to what's best in the scene. and the covers look nice too. like these:
Osborne - Ruling 12"
the full-length is really solid, but proceed directly to "go" with the choicest cuts on the 12". "Downtown" is total neon-glowing night music, retro and new at once, probably my favorite techno / dance song of the year.
Sami Koivikko - Sapphire 12"
kaleidoscopic, sultry and epic , perfect for when your drinks are really kicking in. dancefloors in deep spaaaaaaaace.
Broker/Dealer - Soft Sell 12"
like a slightly glossier counterpart to Osborne, this is the neon-colors vibe at a more kinetic clip. like driving through chicago if it looked fancy like in a movie instead of all stressful like in real life.
Lawrence - Divided 12"
airy, spacious and flowing, nothing kicks too hard on Lawrence's endcap to Spectral's year. probably good for the quieter tail end of a set.
and other winners from Kate Simko, Audion, Daso & Pawas, the Death Is Nothing To Fear comps, and a relentless collection of Matthew Dear's early non-album work.
something turned this year and i got really interested in noise more than before, especially anything that had to do with Dominick Fernow's Hospital label. pretty much every single major release on this label had my attention this year, because unlike so much in the drone / noise scene, little of the material felt half-assed. this is crafted stuff. i.e.:
Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion
alternates between an alley and a knife flash in the dark and a bedroom and a patient conversation. concludes with the knife making contact with flesh / bone. glacial, glorious.
Jason Crumer - Ottoman Black
probably the most horrifying record i've heard in recent memory. brutal like something you've lived to tell about.
Burning Star Core - Challenger
beautifully diverse and engaging, surprisingly accessible.
Cold Cave - Painted Nails 7"
promising neo-industrial / darkwave thumpers.
Prurient - Cocaine Death / Time Began In A Garden
in addition to great releases on other labels (Whip Enthusiasts, And Still, Wanting, The Black Post Society, to name a few), Dom put out some of his best work yet on his own label. Cocaine Death gathers recent cassette output, most of which consists of burnt-out and strikingly melodic synth dirges. Time Began In A Garden is a small gem of four dark-ambient tracks that would fit right in if they were released on Type. a banner year for the prolific Fernow.
and i think that does it for this year. i've got a handful of things i'm looking forward to next year (Animals Collective (who isn't?), Tim Hecker, Broadcast, Radio Dept., Sholi, Mi Ami, etc) but that's not worth getting into detail about. if you have any opinions or input of your own i'd love it if you left a comment or something. shows me that people read this things.
thanks. more posts soon.