Sunday, May 13, 2012


#musicdiary2012 for Friday, May 11th, Saturday, May 12th, and Sunday, May 13th, 2012
(if you don't know what this is, read this post or go here)

Well, when I started out, I had no idea that I would find the write-ups difficult. I spent Friday night at a friend's house and didn't have chance to put up a report. Yesterday, while I was at home all day, I wasn't in a mood to do anything other than write my list of what I'd listened to. As I didn't listen to much music today, I decided to save it all up and write about it in one big chunk. So, here is my final entry on my week's listening for #musicdiary2012. I'm planning on writing tomorrow about some conclusions I've been able to draw over the course of the week.

Friday, May 12th, 2012
I put this on as I made my morning internet rounds. This was the first Fennesz track I ever heard (back in 2006, if I recall correctly, just after I'd discovered Tim Hecker and read some reviews that linked the two) and--like many people, I imagine--it was what caused me to investigate further. With the sunlight coming in through the big window in front of my desk, the track's submerged melodies (a version of the Sandals' theme music from the film The Endless Summer) felt just right. I didn't want to listen to the whole album, which I don't find as rewarding as either Venice or The Black Sea.

  • Lone - Galaxy Garden (2012)
As I was getting ready to head out to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the evening (I needed Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and clamato juice to make Caesars, my favourite drink), I put this album on. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it: it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a few parts that make it hard for me to warm to it fully (I'm not a huge fan of how hyperactive the beats can be, for example). Nevertheless, I'm definitely enjoying it more with each listen. It feels like a summer album to me, so I can see myself listening to it quite a bit in the months to come.

  • Four Tet - "Jupiters" from the Jupiters/Ocoras 12" (2012)
I've talked about this track already. It's quite good. If you haven't already listened to it, then you should.

I listened to all of these in the afternoon as I attempted to do some work. The d'Eon track was pretty dreadful; I couldn't quite make it all the way through. Neon Indian was almost a reflex reaction to it, something bright and poppy to wash the taste out, so to speak. It's my favourite track of his, and I still don't quite understand how it wasn't a chart-topping, globe-conquering monster. I've written about the Shlohmo EP before, but I feel as if I underrated it a bit when I reviewed it. I've come to enjoy it more and more as the year's gone on. I wanted to listen to the Talk Talk song on Wednesday night when I was walking, but for some reason I'd forgotten to put the album on my iPod. It's a great, great song. I put The Weeknd on while I waited for the friend to come by and pick me up. Given its sudden appearance right at the end of the year, I never felt like I'd given the album its due, so I've spent more time listening to it than House of Balloons or Thursday over the past few months. The first half, from "D.D." through "Initiation" is pretty much flawless, but "Same Old Song" might the worst song of the trilogy and "The Fall" is overlong. Nevertheless, the album ends on a strong note, and if it's the weakest of the three, it's still pretty fantastic.

Saturday, May 12th, 2012
I listened to these three songs in the afternoon after reading Paul Thompson's review of the album for Pitchfork. I wasn't expecting much--garage-punk is not exactly my preferred genre--but the review made it sound as if this might be a worthy follow up to Girls' Album (something Girls themselves do not seem capable of at this point). I can't say I was impressed, to be honest. Oh, it was fine if you like this sort of thing, but just like I don't "get" Guided by Voices, I don't have any use for this album in my life right now.

I listened to a stream of this song embedded in a topic on an MBV forum in order to hear the glitch that everyone has been talking about. It's definitely audible at 2:46 and it is puzzling how this would escape a noted perfectionist like Kevin Shields. I don't really have any interest in the conspiracy theories swirling around this song now, though, and whether or not it's on the digital or analog master doesn't both me in the least. Also, seeing as it's my least favourite song on Loveless, I'm glad that the glitch, if there had to be one, happened here.

  • Microstoria - _snd (1996)
  • Pure X - Pleasure (2011)
  • Sapphire Slows - True Breath EP (2011)
  • SBTRKT - SBTRKT (2011)
I missed/skipped a birthday party last night as it was on the other side of the city and not very convenient to get to by bus. That's not a great excuse, and I was pretty annoyed with myself for not going. I wasted time on the internet instead, which, while it might be one of the most 2012 things possible, did not make for a particularly enjoyable evening. Although waking up without a hangover was nice, it didn't quite justify missing what was sure to be a great party. Anyway, listening to the Microstoria album in the dark with my eyes closed made me feel as if I knew what it's like to be a computer. Were I to make a cyberpunk movie, I think I'd want something like late-90s Milles Plateaux-style glitch to feature heavily on the soundtrack. I named Pure X an honourable mention in my best of 2011, and it's another release that I've come to feel I underrated. Were I to make the list all over again, I think I'd swap out Era Extrana for it. Sapphire Slows I learned about from a Dummy interview. I hadn't listened to this EP very much and I decided to do so. It's very pleasant, but I can't say that it grabs my attention. After it finished, SBTRKT's self-titled came on, and I let it play. It was one of my favourite albums last year, and I continue to love it (in fact, once again, I would probably change its ranking were I to redo that list; BNJMN's Black Square and SBTRKT would swap places).

  • Shigeto - Lineage (2012)
Before going to bed, I put this on while I did some reading. Lineage was faulted when it came out for being so similar to a lot of other music that's out right now, and I agree that it's quite reminiscent of a lot of "ghostly" ambient-ish electronic music that's indebted to post-Dilla instrumental hip-hop. Nevertheless, it's well-written and produced, which scores it some points, and I find it quite nice to have on when I want something that won't fade entirely into the background but won't prevent me from thinking/concentrating on what I'm doing.

Sunday, May 13th, 2012
I am generally not a fan of live recordings. I don't have many of them in my collection and I'm not one to seek out bootlegs. While I don't doubt that there are transcendent live recordings that are better than the studio recordings of the songs/music in question ever could be, I don't tend to get much enjoyment out of poorly recorded live shows. This set of Hecker at Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina last year, though, is phenomenal. I love the way he works with his own material here to craft an engaging forty minute suite whose force and beauty would translate during a festival, not an easy thing for a composer of abstract electro-acoustic music. That the set climaxes with "Chimeras" feels fitting--almost like he's playing his "hit" that he's teased the crowd up to that point with the possibility of--and listening makes me want to see Hecker live very badly.

  • Slint - Spiderland (1991)
  • Slowdive - Pygmalion (1995)
Two of the great post-rock albums of all time, back to back, as I write this post. I'd had the opening guitar riff to "Breadcrumb Trail" in my head earlier, and as I hadn't listened to Spiderland in probably a year, I decided to give the album a whirl. If I don't love it quite as much as I did in high school, I still find it to be an engaging listen, and from the first notes I was pulled back into its spell. These days, I'm much more likely to pick Pygmalion over Spiderland, mostly because its quiet beauty matches my mood more often than Slint's brooding intensity and cryptic narratives. I can think of few albums that are more enjoyable at the end of the day than Pygmalion, as it feels like you're getting in touch with the dreamworld just before you go off to sleep. Its songs follow an oneiric logic that doesn't mean formless pleasantries--in fact, it recognises the darkness and discordance of dreams, the possibility that any dream can become a nightmare--but that makes it an intuitively right listening experience, as if the album must exist in the exact form that it does. All of its sounds hang together in the service of something that you're never quite sure of, which is a tricky feat to pull off well.

And with that, I'm done with #musicdiary2012. Hopefully you've enjoyed my (unfortunately) infrequent reports on my week's listening. As I said up top, I'll try and write up some of my thoughts on the whole project tomorrow.

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