Filed under: album reviews, almost nothing, live reviews | Tags: moritz von oswald, vladislav delay, sun araw, vladislav delay quartet, Groupshow, sohrab, shackleton, john chantler, kreng, miasmah, 2011, modern love, demdike stare, andy stott, aethenor, miles, grouper, biosphere, vatican shadow, ghedalia tazartes, emptyset, nisennenmondai, single note project, rashad becker
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To me, Modern Love was the label of 2011, the main support for my daydreaming. Demdike Stare’s ‘Tryptych’ (containing ‘Forest of Evil‘, ‘Liberation Through Hearing‘ and ‘Voices of Dust‘) and ‘Elemental‘, Miles’ ‘Facets‘ (also his ‘Midden‘ as Suum Cuique), Andy Stott’s ‘Passed Me By‘ and ‘We Stay Together‘, G.H.’s ‘Ground EP‘… all these have haunted my ears. As far as Demdike is concerned, even Andy Votel’s cover design is responsible for that feeling of achievement — a feeling you got in live events too. Last month, an outstanding party took place in Berghain. The Manchester-based duo was playing along with some mesmerizing footage of horror films on two huges screens and Andy Stott was throwing his swirling beats in some dark erotic way. The whole thing enraptured everyone.
The other label I couldn’t help coming back to through 2011 is Miasmah. I have been seduced by the somber and crystalline beauty of Kreng’s ‘Grimoire‘ (see my last post from… six months ago) and his previous albums, notably ‘L’Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu‘. It strangely kept me warm during the colder month of the year. Simon Scott’s ‘Bunny‘ was also an inspiring album. And Kaboom Karavan’s ‘Barra Barra‘ made my day several times.
The good thing with this shortlist of mine is it has all been uploaded on the labels’ soundcloud page and therefore can be heard for free in a decent quality. Needless to say that you can buy the cd or vinyl versions.
∴ Demdike Stare – Tryptych, Elemental ∴
∴ Andy Stott – Passed Me By, We Stay Together ∴
∴ Kreng – Grimoire ∴
I wouldn’t be able to write down a top 30 or 50 list because I have not listened over and over again to that many, but a few other recordings stood out by themselves though.
∴ Æthenor – En Form for Blå ∴
∴ Biosphere – N-Plants ∴
∴ John Chantler – The Luminous Ground ∴
∴ Grouper – A I A ∴
∴ Miles – Facets ∴
∴ Pinch & Shackleton ∴
∴ Shackleton – Fireworks ∴
∴ Sun Araw – Ancient Romans ∴
∴ Vatican Shadow – Pakistan Military Academy, Kneel Before Religious Icons ∴
∴ Vladislav Delay – Vantaa ∴
∴ Vladislav Delay Quartet ∴
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I also had the chance to attend some stunning live acts. I already said how good the party with Andy Stott and Demdike Stare was, but I have not mentioned Emptyset sharing the bill: in fact dancing on pure bass, dust sound and silence was quite a weird experience — that I highly recommend.
An evening with Aidan Baker, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Barn Owl at the Levee club contained gorgeous moments of music. In between songs I could sip my beer and have a chat with Adam Thomas (aka Preslav Literary School, who played some mighty tape loops at Madame Claude during the summer and released a gorgeous, drony album called Veer).
Ghedalia Tazartès playing and howling on the Haxan film at NK made a lasting impression and his last minute contribution to an improvised gig with Chris Corsano and Dennis Tyfus afterwards was such a happy ending.
Nisennenmondai at Festsaal Kreuzberg was an uplifting concert; whose mind does cute drummer Sayaka Himeno not blow?; their new disco-krautrock track ruled.
I was happily surprised by a short performance of Cyclo (Alva Noto and Ryoji Ikeda) in the Gestalten bookshop; not soulless at all; and some impressive visuals.
Possibly anachronistic band Atari Teenage Riot harmed my ears in Astra; logically they displayed energy and communicative rage.
Iranian ambient prodigy Sohrab was the last one to play in a series of mini-gigs that night of September in West Germany and he saved the night; good news for him might mean good news for me.
In the same venue, once again I enjoyed another Groupshow concert. Jelinek, Pekler, Leichtmann are adorable aliens. More than ever it felt like an improvised cooking lesson by some ménage à trois.
Last but not least, in a gallery named Vittorio Manalese I entered another space-time continuum thanks to the very still music emitted by Moritz von Oswald playing a grand piano and treated by Rashad Becker’s analog equipment. Single note project, they called it. Then followed a Pantha du Prince show with cloaks and bells: it all seemed Grand Guignol in comparison.
I’d cry if I had to write down all the gigs I missed this year. Silence is better.
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