Rich Allen Poop 2018



Favorite Things ~ 2018

ALBUMS

Rent Somni ~ Bloom via Bandcamp     Bandcamp    Rent via iTunes [?]
Somni ~ Bloom (Friends of Friends)
Bloom is the perfect summer album, reflecting the open road, the ocean breeze, the sand and the surf. Sequenced as a single mix, the music recalls Botany’s Lava Diviner and Night Shift’s Trespasser’s Guide, while bringing something new to the table as well. By choosing sounds associated with happiness (whistling, waves, wind chimes), the artist paints an aural picture to match the cover collage.

Buy Hillsong Worship ~ There Is More New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Hillsong Worship ~ There Is More (Hillsong)
The world’s #1 worship band returned with a classic this year. While “Who You Say I Am” ruled the charts, at one time an incredible ten tracks appeared on the Christian Top 40. Hardbound packaging and a bonus DVD put this one over the top; we’ll be singing these songs for years.

Buy Spurv ~ Myra New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Spurv ~ Myra (Fysisk Format)
Some say the golden years of post-rock are over, and that all the best bands are on their way down. But Myra offers evidence to the contrary. This is not a headphone album, or even a car album; it deserves the full speaker treatment. Spurv means sparrow, but here it sounds like a pterodactyl. As soon as those monster riffs drop in “et løfte i fall,” we’re sold.

Buy Floex & Tom Hodge ~ A Portrait of John Doe New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Floex & Tom Hodge ~ A Portrait of John Doe (Mercury KX)
It’s hard to pull off a convincing modern composition/electronic blend, but this year Floex & Tom Hodge managed to do so. Starting with the hybrid highlight “Wednesday (Is the New Friday),” the duo keep the energy upbeat and the intelligence high from first beat to final fade.

Buy Ian Hawgood & Danny Norbury ~ Faintly Recollected New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Ian Hawgood & Danny Norbury ~ Faintly Recollected (Home Normal)
Sometimes an album isn’t just an album; it’s a companion. Faintly Recollected was released at the very beginning of the year, and became a soundtrack to snowfall and reflection. The dual theme of memory and hope is a perfect score to the lynchpin of time. The CD is constructed as one continuous, beautiful piece. Danny’s cello is elegant yet mournful, while Ian’s chimes are peaceful and soothing. Together, they seem to be saying, rest now; everything is going to be all right.

Buy Michael Price ~ Tender Symmetry New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Michael Price ~ Tender Symmetry (Erased Tapes)
Lovely, lilting and ultimately transportive, Tender Symmetry is evidence of a composer at the top of his craft. Tender Symmetry features Grace Davidson (the soprano from Max Richter’s Sleep), the Shards choir (from Nils Frahm’s All Melody), Peter Gregson and a host of other musicians. The music was recorded at and inspired by National Trust locations in the U.K., creating a tender symmetry.

Buy Jóhann Jóhannsson ~ Englaborn & Variations New or Used via Amazon     Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Jóhann Jóhannsson ~ Englaborn & Variations (Deutsche Grammophon)
The musical community lost a great composer this year, and remains in mourning. The label agonized over the new edition of Englaborn, but made the right decision; we needed it as a lens for our loss. A second disc of re-imaginings serves as a further extension of the artist’s great legacy.

Buy Manu Delago ~ Parasol Peak New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
Manu Delago ~ Parasol Peak (One Little Indian)
When Manu Delago brought his band and film crew into the Alps to record this album, they didn’t know a storm was coming. The weather became part of the story, as documented in the gorgeous film that accompanies this release. The shot of a musician lugging a tuba up a mountain is both crazy and divine. After the storm, when all are safe at base camp, the relief is palpable.

Buy Institute of Landscape Architecture ~ Melting Landscapes via Bandcamp     Bandcamp
Institute of Landscape Architecture ~ Melting Landscapes (Self-Released)
Glacier-colored vinyl, beautiful black-and-white photography and pristine recordings of snow, ice and spring melt make this record one of the year’s most timely releases. As climate change doubters continue to call the effect a theory, glaciers continue to melt and the landscape grows ever more unstable. Kudos to the teachers and students who got together to make this marvelous album.

Rent The Vegetable Orchestra ~ Green Album via Amazon    Rent via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
The Vegetable Orchestra ~ Green Album (Transacoustic Research)
Don’t play with your food. We all hear this as kids, especially when we use green beans as drumsticks or blow bubbles into our drinks. Either someone forgot to tell these performers, or they rejected the rule. They’ve made a career out of vegetable music, but amazingly are not a novelty act; they find inspiration in Terry Riley, Steve Reich and West African kora music. Green Album may go down in history as an alternative to The Beatles’ The White Album and the many variations of The Black Album (Prince, Metallica, Jay-Z). We relish the possibility.

Individual Tracks
Cory Asbury, Endless Alleluia
Kodaline, I Wouldn’t Be
Josh Groban, Granted
Lauren Daigle, Rescue
For KING & COUNTRY, Amen

Packaging
Various Artists ~ Field Works: Metaphonics (Temporary Residence) Box Set
Capac ~ Through the Dread Waste (This Is It Forever) Pamphlet & Combustible Log
Institute of Landscape Architecture ~ Melting Landscapes (Self-Released) Vinyl & Photos
Hillsong Worship ~ There Is More (Hillsong) Hardbound Book & DVD
Mary Stark ~ Film As Fabric (Folklore Tapes) 10” + Zine & Cloth

Music Videos   (in viewing order)
Dream Voyager (Directed by Patrick Blades, Music by CUTS)
A Gradual Decline (Direction and Music by Anthony Tomling/CUTS)
IRIS (Directed by remi devouassoud; Music by Michel Petrucciani)
Illogical Lullaby (Matmos Edit) (Directed by Yoshiko Akita, Music by Hatis Noit)
The star that devours the planets (Directed by Damien Tran, Music by Alix Lhoumeau)
Arena (Directed by Paraic McLoughlin, Music by Paraic McLoughlin & Pearse McLoughlin)
Via (Direction and Sound Design by Maria Constanza Ferreira)
Tiny Foldable Cities (Directed by Felix Green, Music by Orbital)
Platonic (Directed by Paraic McLoughlin, Music by Max Cooper)
Dead Birds (Directed by WeCanMake, Music by Sami Fitz)

Books
A.L. Kennedy, The Little Snake
A fairy tale, a parable and a cautionary tale all at once; brief and beautiful.
Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World
A real eye-opener; for example, did you know that immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens?
Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep
I’m a little late on this one (it was a 2017 release), but now I’ve caught up on reading … and sleep.
Mike Carey and Peter Gross, The Highest House
The year’s best series, collected as a graphic novel: high court intrigue, magic and beautiful art.
Jimmy Carter, Faith
Still teaching Sunday School well into his nineties, and with plenty more lessons to share.

Favorite Films of 2018
Avengers Infinity War;
Black Panther;
A Quiet Place;
Won’t You Be My Neighbor;
Leave No Trace

Richard Allen
A Closer Listen
www.acloserlisten.com

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