Favorite Things ~ 2011 ALBUMS
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FareWell Poetry ~ Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite (Gizeh)
This music is dangerous. It invites us to pass through the raging fire so that we might stand on the ravaged side, patting the flames on our singed clothes and glaring triumphantly at the monster that should have destroyed us. Spoken word, post-rock and Shakespeare’s Troillus and Cressida are combined in such a way as to challenge Godspeed! You Black Emperor for the post-rock crown.
Buy from Tartaruga Records
Petrels ~ Haeligewielle(Tartaruga)
Haeligewielle (holy well, sacred spring) is an album of creation and destruction, holiness and human honor. Its characters and etymologies dance around each other like fish in a waterspout: William Walker, Frances Danby, Canute the Great. The album is a masterpiece of narrative, a blackened ship with a broken mast that defies the storm and in so doing discovers its own dark
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Origamibiro ~ Shakkei (Abandon Building)
Origamibiro’s name implies the art of paper folding, yet in this case, it’s the art of sound folding: making shape from sheets of sound. Shakkei is the incidental landscape, the background that becomes the foreground through attention and integration. While most recordings invite us in, this one invites us out, to a greater engagement with the uncomposed music that is constantly unfolding around us.
(Out of stock at) Boomkat
Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek ~ Mort Aux Vaches (Staalplaat)
Kleefstra/Davis/Kleefstra and Nils Frahm guest on this album of piano, strings and spoken word. Listening to this Amsterdam recording is like taking a long walk through an old sanctuary, marveling at the crumbling brick, the flickering candles, the glint of light through stained glass: the awe that architecture can inspire without ritual or sermon.
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Jacaszek ~ Glimmer (Ghostly International)
Glimmer is an album that sounds like it looks: creased and torn and sharp, elegant and ancient and gold. Behind the elegance flashes an alluring glimmer: heard, then lost, then heard again. Glimmer is the ore that the prospector overlooked, the book that the librarian misshelved, the dying sentence spoken after the family had left the room: a modern artifact, encased in clay and left to deteriorate.
Buy at Boomkat
Paul Jebanasam ~ Music for the Church of St. John the Divine (Self-Released)
Jebanasam used to produce jungle breaks, and he scored the original trailer for Transformers 3, so it’s a shock to learn that he’s also a classical composer. By the time the final notes of the fourth movement have ended, the drawstrings of the listener’s attention have been tugged skyward; the artist has managed to reach something deeper than the inner ear.
Buy from Ninjatune
The Cinematic Orchestra ~ Entr’acte/Manhatta (Self-Released)
Two separate releases unveiled as one, Entr’acte and Manhatta are sparkling new scores to old silent films, and they deserve to be on an album together. With The Artist gaining such recognition in the late months of 2011, the time is now to get the orchestras out of the studio and back into the pit.
Buy from Side With Us
Not to Reason Why ~ The Book of Hours (Self-Released)
A flame-haired, man-eating swan inhabits the cover, which hearkens back to the illuminated manuscripts of old; the cream-colored vinyl is as beautiful as a can of A&W. The music is buoyant, and the titles are succinct: "Good Morning," "Good Afternoon," "Good Night." The album ends with 33 consecutive blasts of guitar, bass and drums; it’s like riding the biggest rollercoaster in the park one last time before leaving.
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Sleeps in Oysters ~ Lo! (Seed)
And lo! There was Lo! And it was good. And on the seventh day, God couldn’t rest, because he was playing it all day, and the trees of the field were clapping their hands. That’s how it is with these people, you invite them in, and soon you’ll do anything to keep them, to hear their sweet, sad voices in the floorbeams, to eat the edges of their notes and hope that more will grow back, like the arms of a starfish.
Buy from Unfothomless
Simon Whetham ~ Mall Muzak (Unfathomless)
Mall Muzak was recorded at a mall in Bristol, but it could have originated at any "half-derelict" mall in the world. It’s a product of the recession, a wordless manifesto for uncertain times, a tabula rasa for the projection of our consumer uncertainties. By recording the sound of escalators and delivery bays, Whetham turns the foreign into the familiar, the familiar into the foreign. He captures the noise beneath the noise, the mall beneath the mall, the muzak that is always present, but seldom heard.
FareWell Poetry, “As True as Troilus” (from Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite)
Petrels, “Canute” (from Haeligewielle)
Not to Reason Why, “Good Night” (from The Book of Hours)
*shels, “Butterflies on Luci’s Way” (from Plains of the Purple Buffalo)
He Can Jog, “Gather/Burn/Echo” (from Norwood, Wisconsin)
Single Track EPs
Paul Jebanasam, “Music for the Church of St. John the Divine”
The Cinematic Orchestra, “Entr’acte”
The Humble Bee, “The Royal Game”
Rain Drinkers, “Dwelling”
Macro Kingdom III Directed by Clemens Wirth, music by Radium Audio
Bubble Directed by Elliot Dear, music by Jon Hopkins & King Creosote
Simple Math Directed by DANIELS, music by The Manchester Orchestra
Hey U Directed by Sundeep Toor, music by Basement Jaxx
Domaine de la Lutte Directed by Bas van Huizen, music by Stig Inge Oy
Noise teaser Directed by Kijek/Adamski, music by Grzegorz Manko
Music from a Dry Cleaner Directed and performed by Diego Stocco
Timelapsing the End Times Directed by Mikel Camara, music by Max Richter
Hello I Like You Directed by Mixtape Club, music by Huma Huma
Time Directed by Metron, music by Hans Zimmer
Books ~ Fiction
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls. A posthumous work adapted by a close friend, with stunning results
Lev Grossman, The Magician King. Better than the first part, with a more likeable central character
Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear. The second in a trilogy; so far, so good, resolution to follow
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus. Young scribe’s debut gives notice to the magical literary world
Shaun Tan, Lost and Found. The best of Tan’s smaller works, collected in a captivating hardcover.
Books ~ Art, Design and Non-Fiction
Kevin Reagan & Steven Heller, Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
Hugh Adersy-Williams, The Periodic Table: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc
Kenneth Gross, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
Sandy Hill, et al., Mountain: Portraits of High Places
Bernd Brunner, Moon: A Brief History