(We invited Chicago’s Surachai to share with us some of his favorite music from 2013 because we suspected it would be an unusual list. We were not wrong. And if you happened to have missed Surachai’s 2013 album, Embraced, which BadWolf reviewed here, check it out on Bandcamp.)
Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum (Recollection GRM)
Unfortunately, I found out about Bernard Parmagiani only recently, and only recently did he die. He left behind an immense catalog of some of the mind-bending compositions and sounds from last century. I’ve been collecting all the reissued GRM titles and most of them take you to school, then you realize some of these reissues are anywhere between 30-50 years old.
Emptyset – Recur
Emptyset released another album on Raster Noton and its pretty much exactly what you’d expect if you’ve heard Emptyset before. They’ve refined their signal chain and test the threshold limits in a way that results in beautiful reactionary distortion and compression.
Emptyset: Fragment from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.
Pharmakon – Abandon
A friend let me borrow a stack of vinyl and this one stood out. Usually not a fan of many power electronics, but Pharmakon does it exceptionally well and it’s been on constant rotation. Excited to hear what she does with her next few releases.
Raime – Quarter Turns Over A Living
This is probably my favorite album of the year, even though it was released late last year. Their patterns and selected sounds are both minimal but at the same time punishing. The sparseness of the tracks gives room to breath but I’m pretty sure its trying to suffocate you. The mix/mastering on this album is among the best I’ve ever heard, and this record hasn’t left my rotation since I first got it.
Autechre – Exai
Everything Autechre releases is essential listening if you appreciate anything associated with sound. I used to think that an Autechre album is looking about 10 years into the future of trends in music, but after Exai, I now realize that their direct music will never be trendy. However, their techniques and sounds can be picked apart and reappropriated.
Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
This album is just catchy as hell and I can’t stop listening to it. Not sure what people think of them or how this album stands in their catalog, but I pretty much dig everything QOTSA releases.
Jacques Brodier – Filtre de Realite
There are plenty of sounds on this record that I’ve never heard before, and after looking into the gatefold, this is probably because he’s using a bunch of sound sources that aren’t exactly instruments. An essential listen for anyone into experimental.
Abyssal – Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius
The comparison is almost impossible to avoid and you don’t have to choose one over the other, but I will – I like this band and album better than Portal. If Portal stopped fucking around with poorly recorded records, this would change the conversation.
EDM – A2 / B2 (Various Artists)
You can’t convince me that most of these tracks are not really excellent Richard D. James tracks. You can’t.
Taken from my lists: http://surachai.org/2nd-half-of-2013-playlist/ & http://surachai.org/2013-mid-year-list/
What, no comments? That’s sad. I’m sure left one here the other day too. Anyway, obviously a random mix of sounds compared to the usual fare on NCS. Raime is probably the pick of the bunch for me – the more bare sound reminds me of a movie soundtrack, and it has a nice creepy edge.
That Jacques Brodier track sounds like someone recorded something on an old cassette over existing audio without erasing all of it first, perhaps even like recording from radio while going from station to station. Add to that whatever non-conventional sources he’s using and you have something interesting, albeit with limited appeal.
Hmmm… that Pharmakon track is a lot better than I expected it to be. For some reason, I thought of The Residents when I heard it. Don’t know why, not all too familiar with their output.
I’m with Booker about the sound of the Raime track. Decided to see if any of the other songs went beyond what they did with this one. Came up empty handed. Not bad, but it’s not something that grabs my attention. Not my thing, sorry. But it does seem well done for what it is – or isn’t.