This might look like a best-of-2020 list, but it’s not. It is, rather, a random – albeit carefully curated – list of the following: albums or videos I was planning to write about in 2020 but didn’t manage to; albums that don’t really fit into the concept behind horizontalpitch, but which I find too cool not to post about; more albums I got through a trade; and the usual things I stumble upon.
If there’s one album that I kept coming back to last year, then it’s one by Shlohmo, fittingly titled ‘The End”. The album is actually from 2019, and – except if the artist has a parallel life as a clairvoyant – he couldn’t have known that we were about to face a pandemic. Still, the liner notes are pretty spot on:
The album is vaguely about the end of the world, but from the viewpoint of smoking on the couch during the extinction event. Reading a nice book while the meteor hits. The fake peace of insularity during chaos
n-So came out with a new album, and it’s perhaps even better than his previous one, which I’ve had on heavy rotation for quite a long time.
2020 has been the year of tape for me. Not that I wasn’t interested or aware of it in previous years, but it kind of mutated into an obsession during the lockdown. Maybe it’s all that time spent inside.
I had this album on my wishlist for quite some time (it just keeps getting bigger and bigger) but finally bought it during the first Bandcamp Friday.
It often happens that I’m vaguely interested in an album when I stream it from the web, but then really fall in love with it once it’s on my portable music player. The music really changes once I can listen to it, in the evening, on the sofa, sipping a glass of home-made limoncello. That’s what happened with this album. Make sure to check out the track “Whorl”, it’s a wonderful blend of tape-based experimentation and pop.
And, talking about tape:
Through another trade, I learned that XAOC Devices co-founder Marcin Łojek founded a new label. It’s called Leiбforschung. Here’s how they describe it on Bandcamp:
An exclusive imprint established to promote the introspective works of associated artists, ultimately providing a firm foundation for further endeavours.
While rejecting any apparent formal classification, Leiбforschung curators invoke definite aesthetics, largely obsessed with spiritual angst, cultural interfusion and social ritualism.
Limited edition vinyl, tape and printed matter releases.
Their first release is a beautifully-designed, black and gold, dark ambient vinyl by a band called Rites of Fall.
From here I could start a whole article about music made or facilitated by the people who design and build the instruments we all love and use. One day I’ll maybe get to it. In the meantime here’s another, beautiful, recently released EP by China’s most talented electronic instrument maker, Meng Qi.
On the other side of the globe. A new release by monome’s very own tehn, sparked by Jacques Lacarriere’s The Gnostics. My favourite track here is definitely “wide awake”. It sounds like the soundtrack to a new beginning. Also like a soundtrack to one of those video games in which you go out and explore a bizarre and wonderful imaginary world, without any goal, other than the journey itself.
Again through chance, I learned about this album published on the Swedish label Purlieu. Something I’ve said before in appreciation of this album: I really like the sometimes uncanny (in a good way) feeling that emerges from how the piano has been treated, either sound-wise or playing-wise.
There’s a sense of having that piano there in front of you, but at the same time there’s always something completely unreal about it.
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