Should I start doing this thing again? I dunno...does anybody even read it anymore?
I really fell off w/ listening to new music, although I never really paid it much mind to begin with.
Been through a lot of jobs, musical projects, and weed in the past 2 years, but who cares about that?
Anyhow. Recently, I started to get back into newer stuff...mainly jazz and electronic, because new rock music is weaaaaaak.
Here are some things that came out this year, which I am enjoying. Maybe it will turn into a 'best of 2016' list? I dunno. We'll see how bored I get at work.
Andy Stott - 'Too Many Voices'
I can't decide if I like this or his previous album, 'Faith in Strangers,' more. That one has the track 'Damage,' which is probably my favorite SONG by him, but this one is more consistent. It's also not as dark, and more of just a nighttime cruising record, I guess. That's what I do with it, anyhow. I don't really know what to call it, which is why I like a lot of stuff coming out this year. It's got murked out 808 drumkits, weird vintage synth tones, detached female vocals, and even some 80's post-punk bass guitar. It's too slow to be techno, and while it thumps like a rap record, the mood is more similar to The Cure or something.
Zomby - 'Ultra'
Ok, so the first two tracks are pretty obnoxious. A lot of stuff that's being tagged as 'UK Bass' is like listening to someone play Call of Duty from the other room. Lots of super-modern effected drums and gun clacking type shit. Sometimes it feels really random. Other stuff, like the previously mentioned 'Too Many Voices,' is super cool. Zomby falls prey to the UK Bass gun sounds and obnoxious synths on the first two cuts, but then this record turns into a pretty neat combination of trap-style drums, creepy, cold, synths, and unconventional song structures that seem pretty off-the-cuff, like he doesn't ever go back and re-edit things. There's even a Lil Ugly Mane sample, which sold me on it. People seem to prefer his last release, the 2xCD 'With Love,' but I dunno, it's pretty damn long, and a lot of it sounds the same. This is a pretty nice distillation of that, and 'Fly 2' (ft. Blank Banshee) is better than anything on that record.
Nicolas Jaar - 'Sirens'
Some of this is really not my thing...like, ambient soundscapes I guess, but I still appreciate that this dude is doing something really unique in a time where that's pretty hard to achieve. That being said, 'The Governor' fucking rips, and I could smash a bunch of stuff to it forever. This, to me, is the beginning of a new kind of anger. Probably just as off-putting as the beginning of punk rock, and just as hard to pin down. Jaar calls his music techno, I guess, which seems weird, because it's more like a really modern take on minimal wave. Some of it drags a bit, but when it comes together (like on 'The Governor',) it's pretty much everything I want from music. Cool, detached, Suicide-esque vocals, Detroit techno-style electronics, and some seriously wild drumming and clarinet(?) playing. This dude is pissed but instead of yelling and hitting a guitar, he's making music that literally feels like it's about to break.
Yves Tumor - 'Serpent Music'
While this might not go down as one of my favorite records, it perfectly illustrates what I love about recent music trends. It's perfectly fucking okay to wholesale jack some old soul song and just sing over it and morph it into a depressed, introverted stew. And, it's perfectly okay to stick that song on a record with cut-up marching drum field recordings, and some seriously haunted industrial-influenced R&B. Tumor is an associate of gender-fluid rapper Mykki Blanco, and has produced for them. This is a very strange record, but I like all the ideas on display, and it reminds me a lot of Divine Styler's 'Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light.' Even the album cover, with its soap-opera soft focus, combines a bunch of eras into a nonspecific whole.
Immune - 'Breathless'
From what I can tell, there was a lot of hype for this album, then it kinda disappeared once people found out this producer just stole a bunch of old techno and trance songs and kinda mixed them together half-assedly. Whatever. Art is art. It might be plunderphonics, but it's pleasant to listen to on a rainy afternoon, or even to go to sleep. Maybe Immune should have released it as a DJ mix instead of a proper album, but I would rather listen to this than spend hours digging for rare 90's techno cuts and slowing them down myself.
Melt Yourself Down - 'Last Evenings on Earth'
I got bored about 2/3 of the way through, but that's still a pretty good run all things considered. Recently, I've been pretty bored with rock music, and afro-funk, jazz and soul has kinda taken its place, so it's cool to see that stuff influencing modern groups. This FEELS like punk to me, even though it absolutely doesn't sound like it. The sax lines are like a cross between Morphine and Fela Kuti. The bass and drums, although playing pretty standard afro-funk patterns, are SUPER blown-out and huge-sounding. The vocals are sometimes cool, sometimes meh. Even if it's not a 'favorite,' it's a very creative record.
Spark Master Tape - 'Silhouette of a Sunkken City'
I've been a fan of Spark since his first mixtape, 'Syrup Splash.' Not that that matters for any reason, it's just been fun to watch the development of an artist from the beginning. To be sure, I'm not really sure what the fuck Spark is doing or planning. Disappearing for long periods of time, then coming back anonymously with another record of radio-friendly trap filtered through the avant-garde. This time around, songs are longer, more fully-formed, but also less fun. Spark seems really depressed, and I guess who can blame him? This is more of a 'greater than the sum of the parts' album than 'The Serengeti Swoup,' and probably because of this, there are fewer stand-out tracks. 'Chalkk,' 'Goin' Robbin'' and the absurd 'She Started Talkin'' are some of his best tracks, and Paper Platoon's production has just kept getting weirder. There are less of your favorite mixtape sound effects, but there are more obviously-stolen accapella 'features,' including a track that has all the surviving members of NWA together. Also of note, he seems to have some better pitch-shifting software this time around.
Well, I might be back with some mixes or downloads. You should buy any of these releases if you dig 'em though (except the Immune one, cuz fuck it.) I did, which makes this the first year I've paid for music since like 2011. There's some good shit out there for once.