Music is a commodity. I have tried to fight against it my whole life forever arguing with people about the value of art, how it is something far deeper than random scores assigned. Sadly everyday I see the numerical values attributed to various bands, the star system, etc. Oh well I tried. I failed. I figure it is better to embrace this idea, the concept of ever-evolving musical stock.
The idea behind the “quarterly report” is to see exactly how music changes throughout the year, what comes to me quickly what takes more time. Additionally as an added bonus it helps making end-of-year list much much easier. End-of-year lists are many months away but typically it takes almost all of November and part of December to figure out exactly what left the greatest mark on me. Nor is this going to be a binding document: plenty of the albums and artists here are representative of a few months, nothing too substantial. When that year end is reached only then will I truly understand what will have some sort of lasting power.
In 2016 I at first felt a little left out in the cold, unaware of what could possibly be coming my way. I hoped there would be a few nice changes from bands I had followed for a while, bands that had been left out in the cold, unable to reach their earlier peaks. Many of those releases disappointed me and I wondered if 2016 would be one of those disappointing years where hardly anything of value would come out. Thankfully I have been proven wrong, very wrong.
Below are some of the things that I have been particularly fond of thus far this blessed year of 2016. Obviously I know there is a lot I might have missed, I expect that this is the case. Plenty always just escapes me and at this point in my life I am completely fine being behind the times in a multitude of ways. This is the way life is structured. I know that no matter what I do, regardless of the amount of research I do, there will be things that elude me. Vice versa, I know there are a few that probably would rank as an ‘expected’ response as deemed by various tastemakers, etc.
Many of these took me by surprise which is what I prefer. Aluk Todolo was a band I had never heard before and they came out quite strong. Ditto for the psychedelic whirlwind of Cloudland Canyon’s chaotic songs. Mary Lattimore’s harp work seemed particularly refreshing as few bother with the instrument (with the notable exception of Joanna Newsom). A few seemed reminiscent of earlier bands, like Ytamo. At first I thought it might be a side project of Giuseppe Ielasi’s but upon further searches I found no connection. Others, like Cavern Of Anti-Matter, appeared to be directly related to the dissolution of Stereolab, a nearly instrumental version of their lounge-krautrock vibe.
I hope that the next quarter gives me as much to enjoy and that I am able to further discover all the wonderful sounds that remain out there for me to experience. Hopefully this is a good way of seeing what the sleepy 2016 has in store.
- Aluk Todolo – Voix
- Anna Meredith – Varmints
- A Pleasure – Jream House
- Bitchin Bajas & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
- Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Void Beats Invocation Trex
- Cloudland Canyon – An Arabesque
- Esperanza Spaulding – Emily’s D+Evolution
- Kane Strang – Blue Cheese
- Mary Lattimore – At the Dam
- New Dreams Ltd. – Sleepline
- Perfume Advert – Foreverware
- Ytamo – Mi Wo