(art is by akira otani)
Scraping our inconsolable selves together after the cataclysmic non-event that was the Mayan’s calendar running out and not obliterating the multiverse with… something… we present to you the final part of the 20JFG guide to 2012. These people died: Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Tony Scott, Neil Armstrong, Patrick Moore, Ravi Shankar. On the plus side: we discovered the God Particle! Yay humans.
Although this isn’t quite the almighty celestial xylophone disco raga jam that is no doubt unfurling in the heavens, 20jazzfunkdave has shunted together a party mix from some humans in 2012 who are not dead and who didn’t identify the Higgs-Boson but who are still quite good.
May it soundtrack breaking all of 2013’s resolutions in the space of one desperate, unholy hour.
Until then, here are some portals to new worlds we stumbled across this year. Enjoy rabbit-holing!
Matt Hendon (Being friends w/ & receiving best of year summaries from/):
2012… not the smoothest of years on a personal level at all but of course the shitty times are always greatly helped by the continuing healing power of sound… the pinnacle of 2012s cathartic darkness needs to be awarded to Raime who dropped the magnificent musical A-bomb ‘a quarter turns over a living line’, throwing a cashmere blanket over our eyes to help us prepare for the end… This black strand of impeccable industrial electronic shuffle held hands with heavy hitters from Actress, Andy Stott, Ital, & Shed… PAN records shone a slight ray of light onto the slanted dancefloor with stunning works from Lee Gamble, Heatsick & more, excited to see where on/off earth the label takes that sound into 2013….Liars switched it up and went electronic drone punk with mesmerising effect… long running OG brighton crews Cold Pumas & Sauna Youth both dropped accomplished & glorious debut full lengths of blown out weird punk… sun araw, m. geddes gengras & the congos made me want to start smoking again… I subconsciously learnt every word on the frank ocean album…I wasted when I could in the sun to albums from Ty Segall, The Men, Thee Oh Sees & Dinosaur Jr… I bonded over the David Kilgour reissue… Solange made a perfect pop song in ‘losing you’ that actually spoke to me (holler at me Solange)… I learnt that no matter how good a release is people really just aren’t into cassettes after all – next Where To Now? release will be vinyl.
2012. Another year of hard work, a year of unrest and loss, a year that has bought me closer to some people than ever before, and has pushed others far further away. Another year that we are thankful that the things our eyes & ears soak up in our casual time still have that fresh ability to make us smile inside & out. The following are streams that made that happen for me…
LABELS… Italian Beach Babes, PAN, Blackest Ever Black, Faux discx, Modern Love, Honest Jons, RVNG, Spectrum Spools, Numero, Light in the Attic, Hippos in Tanks, Sacred Bones, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Kindred Spirits, Soundway, Analog Africa, Death Waltz, Ghost Box, Pressure Sounds.
OTHER MUSIC…Julia Holter, Dean Blunt, Grimes, Goat, John Talabot, Daphni, Sun Kil Moon, Six Organs.., Quakers, Van Stonholdt, Mark Leckey, Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin, Sealings, Cut Hands, Silent Servant, Mirroring, Vision Fortune.
COMPS / REISSUES…Country Funk, Josef K, Can, Southern psychadelic moment, Personal Space, Robert Turman, Suzanne Ciani, Shangaan shake, Peter Zummo, Ruff Sqwad, Donnie & Joe Emerson, Flaming Tunes
2013… start looking forward to new full lengths from Haxan Cloak, Dam-funk, Grouper, Factory Floor, & Mazes to get the year rolling. Ye Ye Fever continues to shake dancefloors on a more regular basis. Where To Now? Grows. I take more holidays.
Dress as you feel, feel good.
Matt Hendon. (Resident Music (www.resident-music.com) / Where To Now? / Ye Ye Fever.)
We have chosen one slab from the excelsior list which Matt produced above. It is the Kingston Black Metal Fanfare of:
Buy Black Mamba form: Blackest Ever Black.
Max Payne 3: Max Payne 3 represents the moment when we started to get tired of the bleak & nasty narrative trajectory of mainstream games, whose culmination was the ghastly Hitman: Absolution. Nevertheless, Max Payne’s 3 shooting was top notch, the Sao Paulo Penthouse discotheque level was stroboscopically ace, and the soundtrack by long-time 20JFG faves HEALTH a brutal delight.
Buy the Max Payne 3 Soundtrack: From iTunes.
Mazes: “Mazes‘ Bodies is the will to transcend, and the power to do so over a fierce vector of motorik repetition, and through a shimmering vortex of guitar melody. There are important echoes here – episodes of levitation in the Feelies’ Crazy Rhythms, flashbacks of Television’s graffiti of NYCs celestial map, at least two W-bands’ summoning Rother & Dinger into an unholy bad-land/spider-land, and Sonic Youth, always.
This is our kind of humanity, and Mazes are its champions.”
Also listen to the excellent Hookworms remix. Here.
Mi Ami: In Decade, Mi Ami render unnecessary that pilgrimage to Ibiza you feel you should have made in your youth. They act like tectonic shift masters / codeine disco incantators to bring you the best imagined versions of that island and more places – the Warehouse, an imaginary Roulé club space, and the Loft, all of them void of all toilet hassles, never-ending queues and dodgy drug shenanigans. Quite simply, an important edit of heaven.
Buy: From 100% Silk.
Bonus & post-script to our “dance item” yesterday. This is what Mi Ami’s (& Magic Touch’s) Damon Palermo rocked to during 2012.
You Should Be Dancing, Roland Dance Module, Gino Soccio Dance to Dance, Techno! The New Dance Sound Of Detroit, Voyage I Love You Dancer, Dance Hall Dave Manchester, The Taxi-Dance Hall, Beth Lesser’s The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture, Disco Dancer I Am A Disco Dancer, The New Dance Show, PPU Video Party, Fiorucci made me Hardcore, Dance Mania, Dance Energy BBC2.
It looks very good to us:
Mind Over Mirrors: We like Mind Over Mirrors rather a lot. The heavily treated harmonium at the heart of everything, somehow managing to bridge the gap between the strange sounds of our 8-bit youth and the strange sounds from the analogue synthesisers that were being ritually abused a few years before. All while being produced by an instrument far, far older than that.
Buy Check your Swing: From Hands in the Dark Records
Moebius (Heroes): This year, the range of possible vistas into which mankind can gaze was narrowed by the Quiet Bouncer. Or maybe not, as the doors that open once can be crossed many more times, infinite like the Möbius strip symbolises, and the wonders of Information Economics & Boundless imagination allow. This is how new branches in the Tree of Wisdom are spawned.
Paraphrasing John Maynard Keynes, Dreamers who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct seer. Madmen who peek into the future, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some Engineer of New Worlds of a few years back.
Of these engineers, Moebius is one of the greatest. We acknowledge our debt to him, and Ray Bradbury too, he also passed away this year.
Motion Sickness of Time Travel: Much like Bersarin Quartett, the success of the Motion Sickness of Time Travel album outside of the blogosphere and DIY scene was hugely encouraging. One half of the brains behind yet another brilliant tape label, Hooker Vision, Rachel Evans made a beautiful piece of sound-sculpture with her the eponymous MSoTT album – at times resembling digital shoegaze.
Buy Motion Sickness of Time Travel stuff: at Bandcamp
Mueran Humanos: Culpable — a song so good it was given as a Christmas present between two of the 20JFG heads. A song so strangely euphoric we played it at the end of a rare DJ set this year and everyone danced. A song so disconnected from the beautiful horror of the rest of Mueran Humanos’s discography that we’d point to some violent unexplained event having driven them over the edge (if the B-side hadn’t brought us back to Ballard-ian apocalypse territory – phew). If Solange hadn’t turned up with Losing You this’d be a lock for single of the year. As it is, I’m torn.
Music for Programming: Every morning we flip a coin – if it’s heads, we go around our day with a Music for Programming mix in our personal stereo. If it’s tails, then we listen to some other music (randomly selected itself, from our music library).
We can now confirm that our productivity during the Music for Programming treatment days displays a statistically significant increase compared to the control – and this is only what is measurable. If our intangible benefits were realised, we estimate we would already rival the Internet Behemoths of the Valley for profitability & market cap. You should be thankful these benefits remain unrealised, least we pull a Hank Scorpio on your material infrastructure.
The Music for Programming mixes contain items like these, stitched in phantasmagorical sequence:
Go to Music for Programming to listen to the mixes.
Neneh Cherry & The Thing: This was an odd one, because it seemed to simultaneously excite and disappoint everyone. Fans of The Thing’s Nordic death jazz were let down by how reigned in they were on the tastefully-delivered, surprisingly ‘smooth’ renditions of Suicide and other hipster standards, while when we saw the collaborative troupe perform in Shoreditch, Neneh fans seemed confused by the droning improvisations that alternated with the more uptempo party tracks. But taken on its own terms, the resulting album, The Cherry Thing, was pretty damn cool. Neneh hasn’t lost an ounce of star quality, and her voice slides so beautifully around The Thing’s slippery bass, drums, and sax.
Buy The Cherry Thing: from Boomkat
This Is My Jam: A lot of people quibbled over the name. Well, not so much ‘quibbled’ as ‘pathologically hated’. But TIMJ was manna for music geeks. Basically a Twitter of music – with pop videos and soundcloud clips instead of flaming and narcissistic trivia – at least 70% of all the really cool stuff we found this year was floating around our networks on This Is My Jam first. Our ally kicking_k rightly described it as “a radio station programmed by your friends” or “playing a DJ set at the speed of plant life”. You can (and should!) follow dave and juan by clicking the links.
image by Brecht Vandenbroucke
The Busy Trap: Every once in a while the stars align so that our lives cross some sort of zeitgeist motorway and for a brief moment share kinship with some hitherto invisible hive mind. Earlier this year an article went up on the NYT beautifully describing the self defeating busy trap we’d fallen into. Many plans were made to escape. But how could they succeed when we’re all so frightfully busy.
You can read it here
Outer Church: Another 2013 resolution at 20jazzfunkgreats is to attend the Outer Church more regularly. This Strange Attractor is a sorcerous flash in the lurid pan of Brighton’s Night, a lightning bolt from the dome above entangled with mineral muscle from the pit below. Find out about their forthcoming shenanigans here, and check out their swell site too.
Yves Malone hasn’t yet played at the Outer Church, but he could well have.
Find out more about him: in Bandcamp.
Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980: “A coffee table book is a gatefold double LP for art dilettantes. This has everything from Rodia’s Watts Towers to the poster for Herman Nitsch’s 1978 “Orgies Mysteries Theatre” (an event attended by members of the GERMS)…a wealth of inspiration.” (Edmund Xavier)
Buy: from Amazon.
Edmund Xavier has himself given us several moments this year through the projects he is involved with, that is:
- FWY, who with San Clemente has done for the high-tech North Californian sprawl what Basil Kirchin once did for the abstracted industrial North, voiding it of all life and movement (except his own), & revelling in its disturbingly reticulated, digital-dream haunted psycho-geography to transfix our senses with a gentle, sad warmth.
- Horrid Red‘s Nightly Wreaths, another slice of a Valhalla that heat-glimmers like Mojave. Or an iteration of Fallout designed by a romantic genius. Or a Borderlands where our existential heroes rummage for counter-cultural artefacts at the bottom of craggy mausoleums for Can, Neubauten, The Fall and the 4AD records staple.
Paco Sala: Paco Sala’s ‘Ro-me-ro’ deduces abstract truths from the personal epic of the people of the city, and re-codes them into bass, pitch, riddim and ululation, like Balinese shadows projected at the back of the discotheque by a light that cannot be found.
Buy: from Boomkat.
Peepholes: Imagine us playing a sandpit first person shooter in a level concepted by Andrei Tarkovski, implemented by James Cameron and fucked up by China Mieville. Playing it on legendary, rocking those checkpoints.
First a culturally complex discotheque whose air renders the trajectory of drum-beats visible, and their sound distorted in a way that optimises their feverish dance allure. Then, into the bottom of a cliff where the pop tribes hurl their misfit spawn, mutant wolf children who whistle the sweet melodies of utopia while surviving a constant night which is red in tooth and claw. We end at a clearing illuminated by the last embers of a dying bonfire, stalked by presences big and lumbering like spillage from a Maurice Sendak nightmare.
Are these leviathans on the prowl, imperial dreadnoughts, godly ectoplasms or riotous inmates at the EBM asylum?
We cannot see, but we can hear. Their bellowing and sirens, oscillations and chanting mark the steps of Peepholes’ geometric progression. A curve which bounds this weird region where we are now trapped, its psycho-geography an embodiment of all we look for in music = Myth & Trance; Home.
Buy The Overspill! From Upset The Rhythm.
Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984: Chocolate Industries excellent ‘Personal Space’ compilation contains many magically topical ephemera from Jeff Phelps and Spontaneous Overthrow, or The New Year’s My Bleeding Wound below. Like Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland after them – these guys brought much needed love and soul to a contemporary trope that’s almost as worn out as the tapes this compilation was recorded on.
Buy Personal Space: From Chocolate Industries.
RxGibbs: RxGibbs‘ Proxy falls through the hazy memories of a Kompakt future: a land of brushed metal and milk. Where reclaimed architectural units of the past; are put into service as the unblinking backdrop; to the entropy of elegance into decadence. The crisp frame to the final moments of a 48 hour binge. Straight through the part 4AD , part Gainsbourg ecstatic/mournful signing of a female voice. Falling back to the ghostly wireframes of piano house — a dubby place now populated by breeding pairs of Minimal House-oids (a northern European species). Falling through the synth strains that sound rather like a choral rendition of the metal on metal of banking trains. Falling through the glorious repetition. Falling eventually to a pillow soft stop that belies its mechanical reproduction.
Buy Futures EP: From Cascine.
Royal Limp: the musical form of the incomparable Andy Auld, popped up on these pages in 2012. Both writing a post for us and in demo form. None of that quite prepared 20JFG for the hook drenched Velvet Underground baiting Garage Rock that rolled forth from the Royal Limp — now a full band — that played first at Fitzherbert’s and then the Green Door Store in a cold damp Brighton winter. Joyous surprise of the year.
Sam Rosenthal: Sam Rosenthal’s 1980s homemade ‘electronic mood compositions’ rise like Sim City quarters from a polygon plot whose apices are Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Wendy Carlos and others. Up they go in their architectural race, describing with geometry the emotions of their residents – an inescapable nostalgia and an unquenchable curiosity, always hope, and loneliness at the end, perhaps reduced by the sentient machines who keep them company in this no-place/post-place which Sam Rosenthal imagined.
They are his agents, and they sing this song.
Buy Tanzmusik: From Mannequin Label.
Scott Walker: Something Wicked That Way Lies. Look at our Scott walk there to look it in the eye most defiant, learn its song & sing it into oblivion, weave himself an Arab carpet of its gut & offal, & fly back, like a Satanic Silver Surfer from the most abyssal depths.
Watch & listen & be thankful, he’s done it so you don’t have to.
Buy Bish Bosh: From 4AD.
Sensations’ Fix: RVNG continue dredging the depths of the Sea of History, and deploying the treasures thus amassed as blueprints for the constituent countries of a utopia inoculated against invasion and decadence through a division of labour between knights and bravos and prophets of a cosmic gospel that blooms within everyone who listens. Italian progressive avatars Sensations’ Fix are clearly part of the last tribe, in communion with other masterminds of the transalpine Head (or Brain, rather) movement, Ash Ra most particularly. They produce infomercials for this utopia. Imagine the promo videos for Rekall Incorporated but directed by Terrence Malick – exploding with vistas to lure pilgrims from the overworld, & keep the locals enthused by the sustained prospect of adventure and discovery.
As the late Ray Bradbury stated in his introduction to the Martian Chronicles, ‘It is good to renew one’s wonder. Space travel has again made children of us all’. Hear hear, we have our rockets.
Buy Music is Painting in Thin Air: From RVNG International.
Suzanne Ciani: Suzanne Ciani, legendary composer, new age diva, artificial intelligence translator. She also made music for commercials, perhaps most famously (in 20jazzfunkgreats’ pantheon) for Atari. Eight Wave is not billed as such in the track list for ‘Lixiviation’, the first output in her collaboration with Finders Keepers, but it actually is – an advert for Mentat School. Tune into the right reality, and you will see.
Terragen 2.4: A piece of software as arcane ritual. Fiendishly complicated, sparsely documented. An incredibly powerful and beautiful world builder. So computationally intensive that it forces you to wait as it painstakingly builds up each image, first as a pointillist GI pass then shards of the final image brutally blink into view, first in low-res then high until the many fragments of your image make the whole. So you sit and wait and watch and pray it doesn’t hang on an obscure bit of maths, nestled within a node you barely comprehend. As near to magic as a point release of software got this year. [2.4 streamlined the use of render farms and thus placed animation within reach]. Planetside Software
The Slaves – Spirits of the Sun: Four tracks of the sublime, unnerving and apocalyptic. As if Herzog was knocked out of phase and Popul Vuh had to soundtrack it. Instead of allowing the physical world to reflect the inner chaos and madness of his anti-heroes, he instead partly submerges in the abstract terror at their heart; half burning reels of film and generally losing his mind instead of constructing epic vistas of pathetic fallacy.
“My discovery and involvement in the above-mentioned grops was spawned from a random, almost throw-away tweet last year by the inimitable (and incredible) Suzi Analogue. She mentioned something about Betawave X and it sent me searching for information on this project, curious to hear some sounds. A few bits of email correspondence, a gap in time, and an eventual reconnection and the rest is history. As conversations progressed, more bits of information came out. After that initial blast of Betawave X (in the form of Ghetto Hymns of the Earth Bound & Weary), I was down the rabbit hole and wouldn’t be the same.
Next came the introduction to SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL (easily my favorite artist of 2012 and one that influenced me in so many ways, not just musically) and from there the entire Compendium blossomed forth. I still can’t quite get my head around how much great stuff this one group of artists in Vancouver has their collective hands in, but it is immense and beautiful. There’s the instrumental hip-hop stylings of Jolin Ras; the beat tapes from Hashbrown; smooth electronic ambience from wzrdryAV; the heft of Galaxaburn; and there’s Astrx and MX7 and Mysterforms and more and more. Each has a singular vision that adds a different branch to the collective whole and Transmolecular is certainly a case where the sum is greater than the individual parts.
Take a ride and get lost because this is only beginning. The sun has just barely begun to shine.” (Brad Rose, Digitalis).
Buy The Call from Below: From Digitalis.
Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, the Congos and Raw Power Band at London (as witnessed by Matt RVNG): “A moment that left an ecstatic stamp on my soul was between the sun araw, m. geddes gengras, the congos and raw power band set and encore at the village underground in london – the four kings / congos were bouncing off the wall like youth, riveted by the reception – blanketed under my own swathe of euphoria having just left the stage, i couldn’t imagine my heart swelling any more, but this did it.” (Matt IGETRVNG)
Buy FRKWYS Vol. 9: Icon Give Thank & Icon Give Eye: From RVNG International.
The Furry Trap & Jonny Negron (and that Howl in the Head): “What made my 2012? That’s tough. It was all palm trees and scouring winds and clocks that don’t work properly, wasn’t it? I’d say that Josh Simmons’ The Furry Trap and Jonny Negron’s self titled book harmonized best with the howl in my head this year.” (Matt Colegate from Teeth of the Sea, L’Incal C lub & many other great things).
The Turin Horse: Bela Tarr’s ‘final’ film painstakingly stages the end of the world, pivoting it around a apocryphal passage of Nietzsche’s later life where a beaten horse stands in for hope in humanity. Which seems awfully glib in the face of the primal fury behind every elongated silence and blistering apocalyptic gale. Making a choice between hope or despair seems pointless in the face of the cleansing natural cataclysm that eventually blocks out the light. Which I guess is its own form of nihilism.
Todd Terje (at Sonar, as reported by Sam Wander): I have 8,174,099 neighbours. We fight our best fight: against bleak fog, acute disinterest, heedless eye-contact. That kind of thing. London sprawls, we swarm around. Sometimes forgetting anywhere you might drop a geo pin holds the most splendid secrets. Sometimes forgetting every inch is, y’know, a bit remarkable. We know it contends with all the greats but we still chase ourselves into listlessness. And then we need to escape.
I escaped mid-year to Sonar, and escaped once more to ‘off-Sonar‘. Walking miles to a village on the outskirts of Barcelona, seeking some form of Inner Visions. Amongst all the deadpan house, Todd Terje stepped up and went a little off-piste. John-Paul-Young-
And of course, there was this:
Buy It’s the Arps: From Boomkat.
Vision Fortune (having your retina semi-detached by, as described by James Hines): ‘2012, for me, has been a bit of a lost year when it comes to music. I didn’t keep up to speed with things online/in print and in concert, and I certainly didn’t have the money to buy records.
So when I was asked to contribute to this list I wasn’t going to talk about a band or a record, I was going to talk about the artist Jeremy Deller.
But he will just have to be happy with the mention, because last night I saw Vision Fortune again, for maybe the sixth or seventh time this year. My right eyeball still hurts a bit. The assault on my Retina, and the subsequent rally on my Occipital Lobe, I fear, has left me with permanent damage; all thanks to the industrial strength strobe light, that V.F insist on playing with throughout their set. This is the sort of professional bit of kit that they use in movies to replicate lightning. It is relentless and brutal and beautiful.
The V.F sound is just that….a brutal, beautiful, merciless assault; its the sound of light and cells going to war. The allied forces of light and sound attacking, in wave after wave, throbbing and piercing through lens and drum until you can swear you felt your brain recoil and retreat to some safer recess if you skull. Apparently last night’s show will be their last with a full line-up for some time, but I’m pretty sure they will still be just as vicious live, perhaps even more so, like a wounded animal. That is a frightening proposition’ (James Hines)
Buy Vision Fortune: From Italian Beach Babes.
Xander Harris – New Dark Age of Love & The Driver: Xander Harris brings us the banging spectral harmonies and Night Drive wet dreams. An over-saturated and over-stimulated Theme from Blade Runner. Plunging through a Los Angles of 2019 raised not on the ashes of Noir but the the amphetamine death of Akira. Drums that only form a guide for the synths; a silk lattice for the superhighway of light that surges up and around and all over this track.
The album New Dark Age of Love is also included here because we’ve listened to it an inordinate amount of times this year but it’s not out until next. Something to look forward to.
XXJFG Nameless Mixes: Let us finish our celebration of the 2012 that was with some self-indulgence, and therefore true to the reasons why we started this page in the first place – to share songs and the landscapes that they inspire with each other first, and with everyone else second.
The Nameless mixes that Stuart 20JFG has produced have greatly animated the year elsewhere in the Hive Mind, which looks forward to many more in 2013.
But hold on, there are still many unexplored areas of this mix which kicked off the series in June 2012.
Stop being silent cartographers & share your information on the wall to the side.