Rich Allen Poop 2016

Favorite Things ~ 2016 ALBUMS

Buy World’s End Girlfriend ~ Last Waltz New or Used via Amazon
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World’s End Girlfriend ~ Last Waltz (Virgin Babylon)
God? Light? The prayers rise to the heavens. As the end of the world approaches, the frenzied orchestra plays its heart out: the soprano strains her voice, the violinist snaps her strings, the drummer breaks his sticks, all in vain. This is the end of kingdoms and kings, of strivings and searchings, crumpled up like a child’s paper doll, thrown in the fire, turned to ash, then blown away.

Buy ‘Olafur Arnalds ~ Island Songs New or Used via Amazon
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‘Olafur Arnalds ~ Island Songs (Mercury Classics)
In Iceland, summer is a magical season. The sun never sets, and the shadows are sublime. It’s a perfect time to explore the land of fire and ice. This summer, Ólafur Arnalds recorded one track a week at different locations, calling on the aid of different collaborators, the only constant being cinematographer Baldvin Z. The result is an intimate CD/DVD combo, a multi-media treasure.

Buy Colin Stetson ~ Sorrow: a reimagining of Gorecki’s Third Symphony New or Used via Amazon
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Colin Stetson ~ Sorrow: a reimagining of Gorecki’s Third Symphony (52Hz)
Forty years after its premiere, Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs wears a new coat. Colin Stetson preserves the passion while trading the quietude for dynamism. The music topples at times into post-rock, thanks to Rebecca Foon (Esmerine) and Sarah Neufeld (Bell Orchestre). It’s one of the most visceral albums of the year, amplifying the emotions to an almost unbearable degree.

Buy ‘Olafur Arnalds ~ Late Night Tales New or Used via Amazon
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‘Olafur Arnalds ~ Late Night Tales (Late Night Tales)
Late Night Tales is less a DJ set than a lovingly-curated mix tape. On his installment, Arnalds showcases the finest tracks from some of Iceland’s best performers. But his own new material provides some of the album’s most memorable segments, especially a plaintive, stripped-down version of “Say My Name.” A brilliant blend of new and old, guaranteed to spark new discoveries.

Rent Kjartan Sveinsson ~ Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen via Amazon
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Kjartan Sveinsson ~ Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen (Bel-Air Glam., Vinyl Factory)
Sveinsson, in conjunction with co-author Ragnar Kjartansson, has created an opera for the ages, a reminder of Iceland’s artistic glories during a time of political turmoil. The music finds grace in unexpected places, arriving far after the prayers have ended. One imagines a nearly-deserted church, an old Icelandic priest, the comfort of knowing that one has borne the weight of the world through fire, water and stained glass, and has not shattered.

Buy Matmos ~ Ultimate Care II New or Used via Amazon
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Matmos ~ Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey)
An album comprised entirely of washing machine sounds, Ultimate Care II travels through many eras of music, from concrete to komische: a sonic version of the hot tub time machine. Now Matmos is preparing to go on tour, bringing the washing machine along; laundry has never been so much fun.

Buy Eluvium ~ False Readings On New or Used via Amazon
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Eluvium ~ False Readings On (Temporary Residence)
Matthew Cooper has been recording for two decades, and is still evolving. The filtered operatics and dilapidated drones of False Readings On lend the album a sense of spiritual conflict, which echoes its theme: a “meditation on self-doubt, anxiety, and separation from one’s self”. The final 17-minute track is devastating, a finale that swallows everything it follows.

Buy New Order ~ Complete Music New or Used via Amazon
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New Order ~ Complete Music (MUTE)
Just when it seemed New Order had rightfully disappeared, the band released Music Complete, and this even better follow-up, which contains all the remixes. Even if some are disposable, the six best tracks alone would comprise the best 45-minute dance album of the year.

Buy Roly Porter ~ Third Law New or Used via Amazon
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Roly Porter ~ Third Law (Tri-Angle)
Third Law represents a new angle of attack for Roly Porter, who uses drone and distortion to scribble around the edges of electronics. Porter has become the poster boy for a new generation of recording artists, including recent collaborators Shapednoise and Rabit. But like Ben Frost before him, he remains the focal point of the scene. The majesty of this recording is that it acknowledges the template of typical electronic music, but refuses to follow it. We hear a revolution in these grooves.

Buy Jherek Bischoff ~ Cistern New or Used via Amazon
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Jherek Bischoff ~ Cistern (Leaf)
Cistern is a patiently-paced set that reflects Bischoff’s time improvising in an (empty) underground water tank. Yet the actual recording was anything but isolated, as the artist recruited 26 guest musicians to help realize his vision. The title piece is the highlight, but the album is best played as a continuous suite; it sparkles like a vein of gold in an un-excavated rock and possesses a similar worth.

Instrumental Tracks
‘Olafur Arnalds, “1995”
Drombeg, “Every Morning, a Miracle of Color”
Brave Timbers, “Swimming in the Isar”
Eluvium, “Beyond the Moon for Someone In Reverse”
Explosions in the Sky, “Wilderness”

Instrumental Tracks
Lukas Graham, “Seven Years”
Sia, “Bird Set Free”
Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, “So Much Grace”
All Sons & Daughters, “Rest in You”
Birdy, “Keeping Your Head Up”

Packaging
Molécule ~ 60°43′ Nord (CLASSIC, Mille Feuilles & Bleu de Paname)
Ian Humberstone and David Chatton Barker ~ Black Dog Traditions of England (Folklore Tapes)
Forresta ~ Bass, Space & Time (Self-Released)
Kirill Nikolai ~ Letting Go Variations (Fluid Audio)
William Ryan Fritch ~ New Words for Old Wounds (Lost Tribe Sound)

Music Videos (in viewing order)
The Others (Directed by Hiroshi Kondo, Music by notuv)
A Small Escape (Directed by David Sandell, Music by Oskar Vellinder)
Up&Up (Directed by Vania Heymann & Gal Muggia, Music by Coldplay)
Disco (Directed by Ralf Hildenbeutel, Music by Ralf Hidenbeutel)
Fay (Directed by Sabine Volkert, Music by Koloto)
L’illusion de Joseph (Directed by Pask D’Amico, Music by Al-Maranca)
Kenzo World (Directed by Spike Jonze, Music by Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums)
Marble Machine (Directed by Hannes Knutsson, Music by Wintergatan)
Space Carnival (Directed by Morgan Beringer, Music by The Comet Is Coming)
Order from Chaos (Directed by Maxime Cauberet, Music by Max Cooper)

Fiction
Blake Crouch, Dark Matter
Peter Brown, The Wild Robot
Ransom Riggs, Tales of the Peculiar
Jeanette Winterson,
Christmas Days
Shaun Tan, The Singing Bones

Non-Fiction
Jennifer R. Durant, Sparrow
Randy J. Paterson, How to Be Miserable
Bill Streever, And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind
Mary Capello, Life Breaks In
Henry Hitchings, Browse

Art & Illustration
Mary Beth Beucke, Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass
Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge
Josh Katz, Speaking American
Paul Buckley & Elda Rotor, Classic Penguin
Katie Daisy, How to Be a Wildflower

Children’s
David Litchfield, The Bear and the Piano
Sam Zuppardi, Jack’s Worry
Kenard Pak, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
Jon Klassen, We Found a Hat
Jory John & Lane Smith, Penguin Problems

Favorite Films of 2016
Kubo & the Two Strings
Hell or High Water
La La Land
A Monster Calls

Richard Allen
A Closer Listen
www.acloserlisten.com

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