A lot has been said about 2016, most of it about famous people dying and world politics. New phrases have come to the fore that I’m not sure I understand, like: ‘Neo Liberalism‘ and ‘Alt Right‘. It’s not that I think I’m stupid, it’s just that stuff seems broken and I’m not sure how it’s going to be fixed. And, despite my grumpy facade, I’m usually an optimistic person, but this year something changed.
The death of Bowie seemed to set the tone for the year. He was so much to so many people, I admired him greatly and saw him as an enigma, a true (dare I say it) artist. Although it was the death of common decency that I will morn. When the hell did become okay to use Nazi style propaganda to further ones course? Brexit saw this country split in two with the politicians setting the tone and once our ‘leaders’ started to act like children then so it seemed did everyone else, myself included. Battle lines were drawn and everyone, and I mean everyone, had an opinion. From the amount of thinly veiled racism that was being spouted I am surprised the final vote was so close. All of this lead to the death of Jo Cox, murdered for her political beliefs. I sat with my head in my hands and cried a little for somebody until that day I had barely heard of. Farage, Hopkins et al are all pretty much to blame, in fact the entire political establishment and media should hang their heads in shame. After that I realised it was time to rise above the pettiness and try and listen more. It was as if the UK had set the tone for America, as the frankly bizarre American presidential elections unfolded with a confused and worrying result.
As I watched the world seemingly unravel from behind my pillow, I was thankful for the light that was shone brightly and gave me chance to escape, that light was of course my wonderful family, friends and that great comforter, music. Thankfully, despite what you may have been lead to believe, music is alive and well and in this new era of internet communities and small labels it is in fact prospering. Time and time again I have seen ltd runs of 500 sell faster than I can make puppy dog eyes at my wife in order to get the money together. Then,there are the people like myself who want to spread the word or put on gigs all of this adds up to a friendly and organised underground network.
I chose all 32 albums in this list on merit and it could have been an easy top fifty. Now we are down to the last two. I wrote about Nudity upon its release and it remains one of my most played albums. The winner though has to be Kuro.
I am guessing most of the people who read this blog will be aware of the people involved, but for those of you who don’t, this album is a collaboration between Gareth Turner (who is best known for his bass skills in the power noise duo Big Naturals and as a member of Anthroprophh), and Agathe Max who is a classically trained violinist, and what a meeting of minds it is.
This album has battered me senseless time and time again. It has a crushing heaviness but with an astounding amount of depth and beauty that the listening experience is quite unlike anything I have heard before. If pushed I would say that Monoliths and Dimensions by Sunn O))) is the nearest comparison I can think of. It’s an escapism album, it’s an album where the journey is as important as the destination. At times the heaviness gives it a dystopion feel and yet the music can seem ancient or even otherworldly. Although this blog for the most part deals in psych ( I use that term loosely), its by no means exclusive. The question is will this album suit the psych head? the answer of course is a resounding yes! In fact your only concern is will you be able to find your way back.
So to all the 32 bands all I can say is thank you!
Gnod-Mirror (Rocket Recordings)
Goat-Requiem (Rocket Recordings)
Dreamtime- Strange Pleasures (Cardinal Fuzz)
The Myrrors -Enhanced Earth(Beyond,Beyond Is Beyond)
Broken DC- Astragal (God Unknown)
Horseback-Dead Ringers (Relapse Records)
Ten- Yokon Youth (Ten Recordings)
H.U.M.-Trinity Way (Rocket Recordings)
Kuro- S/T (Rocket Recordings)
Dead Sea Apes- Soy Dios (Cardinal Fuzz)
Kikagaku Moyo- House In The Tall Grass (Guruguru Brain)
Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation -Mirage (Rocket Recordings)
Colonel Petrov’s Good Judgement- Moral Machine (Moral Machine Records)
Peter J Smyth- Black Smoke (God Unknown)
Narcostanicos-Body Cults (Bad Afro)
Mugstar- Magnetic Sessions (Rock Action)
Henge- S/T (God Unknown)
Juju – S/T (Sunrise Ocean Bender)
Kandodo/Mcbain-Lost Chants (Creepy Crawl)
Cavalier Songs- Blezard (God Unkown)
Big Naturals /Anthroprophh-S/T (Cardinal Fuzz/Capture Records)
Heron Oblivion- S/T(Sub Pop)
Sutcliffe Jugend- Offal (Cold Spring)
Psychic Lemon- S/T (Drone Rock Records)
Nudity-Is God’s Creation (Cardinal Fuzz)
Moths & Locusts-Helion Rising (Sunmask Records)
Necro Deathmort-The Capsule (Rocket Recordings)
Menimals- S/T (Riot Season)
One Dog Clapping- Adventures In Entropy House (self release)