An all star troupe from the contemporary British folk scene participates in this album. With many alternations through the tracks and beautiful melodies this is a noteworthy record.
Another great project from Steven R. Smith. One man band, electrified sound, motorik and monolithic, abstract and clearly shoegazing. Wonderful!
Uncategorized blurry nebula of electronics, broken rhythms, tweaked vocals and most of all a pure theatrical atmosphere – or pure thrillerish atmosphere.
The second best guitar led improv release 2012 by these huge brit talents is full of urgency, pathos and enough jigsaw stylistic detours to keep firing the imagination of the most adventurous listeners.
A back to basics, call to arms undressed and rigid post-hardcore seminar full of angular Quarterstick / Dischord guitar / bass /drums interlocks and a utterly convincing punk –poet yelling at the mic was what we needed withstand the grim Greek realities.
Stunning covers on famous songs, even better than you imagine – a pure American record from the Canadian legend.
A glorious meeting between the unholy savant of the avant doom metal underground and UK top improv drummer. The obscure menacing forces behind this conception are unknown but the black-hole energy free sludge rock they came up with was one of the year’s most successful experimental takes on really dark aggressive music.
The veteran guitarist returns with a full band in a mothdropping record. Something between blues and no-wave this is a sludgy masterpiece, full with positive energy and distortion.
In a rare case of the justified hype, Frank Ocean might just as well be the new Prince and not the new Jay Z. In fact, lyrically there’s more depth and musically more innovation than most indie song-writing wannabies- just listen without preconceptions whities…
Three scores for three Derek Jarman’s films in one great album. A quicksand of drones, an atmospheric unique music galaxy, an abstract swirl that will melt your brain.
The cunning hex of Sussex and the lyric balladeer of Glasgow have teamed up and delivered a modern folk rock classic full of catchy, romantic tunes that can heat up the heart of all true lovers.
In a year with a lot of competition on the female avant pop sounds (see Minerva, Holter etc) Alice Cohen simplistic sci-fi synth layered melodies and Kate Bush oriented songwriting was an unexpected winner.
Here the two saxophones are caught in a vivid dialogue: sometimes they agree, sometimes they disagree, mostly they’re entangling in a mindblowing improvisation, truly unchained from any structure.
Slow changing melodies flourish with feedback. Barn Owl’s half, delivers a guitar-ambient album that flows through delays, silences and dark mists of electricity.
A beautifully orchestrated, brooding, twisting inner saga comprising of progressive folk touches upon sustained drones and electronic rhythms. Above all that clear, weightless voice of Tucker lurking over this cloudy, misty magical folk-o-drama.
Gospel music, Jesus, Jazz, kraut rock and psychedelic pop are drift into a velvet underground stream. Poetical lyrics with strong and simple melodies – this is probably their best album.
The ripe fruit of collaboration between two young US artists. It offered one the most carefully crafted hauntological electronic essays on the nostalgia for those bright, sweltering and hedonistic days at the end of any Mediterranean summer.
In this celebration live recording for his 70th birthday, you can hear all the tricks from M.Cooper’s magic improv hat. And those tricks have been perfected through the years. Applause.
The doom-ridden soundscapes built from industrial clutter, slow-motion gigantic beats and distant voices evoke if not an end of the world apocalypse, surely the demise of our own European dystopian dreaming.
With the great Rick Rubin on the producing duties like Slayer, Metallica and Johnny Cash before them the old and tired ZZ Top was rebaptized in fire of rock ‘n’ roll. In an organic, thick pulsating wall of rigid sound, the zzizies delivered their most exceptional joyous hard rockin’ tunes.
One of the few first generation survivors came back with a dub-rooted, trip-hop influenced electronic sonic panorama that managed to hit the perfect balance : fresh & ageless, polished yet street-ready.
Impervious thick wall of sound, thrilling noises, monolithic and powerful melodies, epic compositions. In other words the well known brain-bombing army of the music terrorist veteran M.Gira. If this album wasn’t extremely long it would be closer to the top. Still, though, they are much better live.
The prolific guitarist’s quintet toy around with elastic wormhole like structures are based upon around urban jazz half-melodies, blemished noisy harmonics and contrasting rhythms to produce a dense, sophisticated work of multi-dimensional improv that is by contrast inexplicably listenable.
Folk guitar and free jazz drumming gives a warm and direct result that sliding from North Africa melodies to American country music with an enviable simplicity – a great album close to the Sandy Bull’s universe.
Really, what can you say about a good Dylan record?
This uber-technical, tight, vulgar power trio reconceived the whole avant / psych rock paradigm of Skullflower / Fushitsusha / Naced City as a blueprint for a new black metal sound. The gates of hell are open for the new generation.
Free jazz elements, tart and acute rhythms, violent and strict guitar passes builds a theatrical atmosphere with the slow build-up of the long lasting tracks and the political and angry vocals of G.W. Sok.
Amplified violin drones, heavy drumming streams, hard noises in a non-form aggressive and kinetic hybrid that smash your head like a hammer - a powerful and tense tornado. Perhaps the soundtrack of social collapse?
A wonderful debut of pristine, elliptical post- folk songwriting, light as a feather finger picking and unpretentious calm vocals. In the magic hands and velvety voice of Dickson lightweightness becomes ethereal
True believers of the Young cult fevered dreams came true this year. Uncle Neil triumphantly returned with the Crazy Horse to his psych rock trademark sound. In those long free form takes you can listen to his guitar psychedelicly weep for a half an hour, while “Ramanda Inn” is his most heartbreaking mantra since Cortez and “Walk like a Giant” is an huge undiluted dose of Horse power rock.
A fantastic collaboration between an excellent voice and a guitar virtuoso. A true to form interpretation of British folk music from the 60’s era conveyed perfectly, in a passion and gentle way, into 2012.
Left wing political statements in vivid blues-rock compositions. Powerful and direct, I heard this album over and over again this year, even though I don’t understand a single word from the never ending torrent of lyrics.
For now, the magnum opus of Kang is an oasis of fresh ideas on what is traditional music and how it how be orchestrated in a neo-classical style. It is remarkable how he manages to move so freely between European and Oriental classical music, proposing a new music that feeds from this discord to create an unprecedented sonic effervescence.
Distorted and noisy moans, hypnotic and electrified loops, shivering whispers and foggy guitar solos. A minimal approach to the superb and unique muddy music/non-music milky way of Dead C’s guitarist M. Morley through 2 long-lasting tracks.
The psych jap poppers returned with the legendary Ikuro Takahashi drumming and throwed in an healthy dose of blissful tweeness into our troubled cerebrum. Mosha, mosha oh yeah baby!
The usual haunted melodies with the usual thrilling voice of Martyn Bates. The usual transgression of folk, pop and avant-garde with the usual great lyrics. An album full with songs that can stick to your mind for weeks.
An unexpected and rare techno sound that comes from the stirring of post-punk, old-fashioned electronics and industrial noises in a bowl of dark and dystopian atmosphere. If you hear it at night with headphones it will surely blow-up your mind.
TLASILA’s swansong was a rugged snapshot from the hellish urban realities we all tread upon. Smith’s vocals, more discernible that ever, are at the center of the recording and his hysterical, impulsive performances reached a peak while musically this is was their best effort to inject extreme noise “how gives a fuck” tactics to scorching industrial-almost-music concrete structures. Extreme situations require extreme reactions.
Bow, bow before our weird folk princess singing like a bird of paradise her original dark lullabies, sacred hymns and euphoric exorcisms. A Yma Sumac class talent at the service of premier American art song.
The one of the few survivors from the Chicago school of post-rocking, the 9nth album of the quartet was the epitome of post-modern indie rock. As ever Sam Prekop’s breathy, crisp and sensitive vocals blended ideally with the synthlines backdrop, the strummed guitars and the propulsive drumming but this time the unassuming restraint tunes evolved after a few listens to prime cuts of most finesse avant pop.
Sadly it had to be Wagner’s soulmate Vic Chestnut death that resparkled the muse to our lonely crooner to write these sentimentally insightful lyrics. With him an understated quintet twist and turn solemnly on the baroque americana orchestration creating the avant country aural equivalent of a poetry book being read quietly on the rustic settings of Nashville’s countryside.
70’s progressive folk meet Balkan traditional music. This album of Danniel Padden’s band is more straightforward, more uptempo and more cohesive than all the previous, without any lack of losing their quality as a humorous, psychedelic folk super band. Brilliant!
Probably, the most successful concept avant-garde album of the year came from this presumably corky old man. A very demanding listen,unfolding more complex, enigmatic, humorous, dark and perverse aural manifestations that any human can absorb within a song’s duration – what else our spongy brains could ask for?
High caliber players here: Ranaldo’s emotive guitar discharge, Buck’s imaginative polyphonic percussion and Watson’s bucolic vibrating bagpipes come together on fleetingly ambient improvisation. The outcome was a very focused yet amorphous maritime drone that resonated to the distant horizons…
Fantastic second release by the underground avant-rock virtuoso trio. The snake-charming riffs are unleashed with feral beauty, the interplaying solos are ecstatically crisscrossed and the Arabic uncoiling melodies take you way beyond to the holy Sun City we all abide to with pride.
Simple and minimal music captures a strong atmosphere of ecstatic ambient as the sound waves slowly mutates with easily to digest noises. This live recording makes a transverse shortcut to the core of the music itself.
A truly free, in any form and shape, recording – unpredictable and difficult to categorize. The most cerebral record from the guitar mastermind Keiji Haino and his troops. Jazz? Blues? Noise? Rock? You name it – everything has been layered here.
Fay’s third official album in five decades was a revelation for all fans of mature, piercing, gnostic songwriting. Beyond his soft spoken voice, the lush, vintage arrangements and the “wise hermetic from the mountain” lyrics lies a masterful album of songs of Wyatt’s league.
A heartfelt songwriting, honest and simple. Dawson’s voice is unbelievable warm and direct as it shivers and screams his truthful lyrics that acrobat from comedy to tragedy. Even though he is close to Jandek, Richard Youngs, John Fahey and John Martyn, Dawson magically finds a bridge to cross to an unknown and unexplored singing/songwriting place and he marks it with his magnificent songs.
I could never believe that Pelt after the loss of Jack Rose could make a decent record. Of course I was wrong. This twisty diamond is music synesthesia. Improvisation never sounded so structured before, folk tradition so psychedelic, free music so cohesive, ambient so solid, instant composition so ecstatic. An absolute masterpiece.