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Jon Buckland

Ultracrepidarian

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Top 25 Records of 2019

There seems to be a thread running through the albums that I’ve gravitated towards this year. One of a sort of wary hopefulness. Things may have been tough, they will inevitably be tough again but there is a sense of perseverance laced throughout. The world may feel like it’s taking two steps forward and one and a half backwards at any given moment but through this we are left with a choice: give in to the mounting gloom or battle to find some light emerging from within it.

Lunacy - Age of Truth

“We are all chimeras, theorised and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.” The Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway, 1985. Knowingly or not, we all seem to have acquired additional elements of technology that we now include in our daily lives. Some of us wear glasses. Others, hearing aids. Most walk around with headphones on or earbuds in. There are those with prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, and digital tattoos.

Low Variety - #1

Ushering aside the noise pop of his previous Dead Gaze project, R. Cole Furlow has extended his limbs into more arcadian realms for this, his first release under the Low Variety moniker. On first listen #1 could easily be mistaken for a series of simple yet entrancing, guitar-based folk instrumentals. Conjuring images of sunlit melancholy, pastoral cavorting, simpler times. But you don’t have to scratch too deep for this idyll to distort. Cracks appear, images phase in and out.

Sunn O))) - Pyroclasts

Pyroclasts begins with deep sounds unfurling like the wings of a quetzalcoatlus in the morning light. Wings that beat their first and heaviest, causing trees to bend, buckle, and all manner of avian habitats to skitter and tumble to the earth. Dust kicks up in a whipped pool. Fur and scales shrink back into underground hollows. Each flap of a wing is enough to strobe light into night for the world beneath. Borne out of improvised sessions beginning or closing the day’s recordings, these 4 heavi

Jenny Hval - The Practice Of Love

Jenny Hval’s output has been consistently evolving. Her releases on Sacred Bones have grown from the frazzled trip hop of Apocalypse, Girl through the distressed and confrontational vampiric sounds on Blood Bitch to 2018’s The Long Sleep with its oneiric jazz swamp, all the while refusing to tread water. Throw in her persona-blurring novel, Paradise Rot, with its visceral upending of corporeality, sexuality, & apples, and her catalogue of work seems both expansive and vital.

Mai Mai Mai - Nel Sud

In Joanna Hogg’s recent semi-autobiographical film – The Souvenir – a young aspiring filmmaker details their ambition to tell the story of struggling dock workers in Sunderland. She is gently ushered away from this subject matter and advised that perhaps she should look to film something that she has more experience of. We then see her grow in confidence and prowess as she focuses her attentions on something a little closer to home.

Graham Dunning & Edward Lucas - End Of A Cable

What happens when you team up a London-based improvisational trombone player with an experimental musician best known for their mechanical techno sets? This might sound like the set up to an elaborate joke wherein the punchline only means something to people wearing turtlenecks but, in fact, it is the question posed by Spanish tape label TSSS when they agreed to put out a cassette of the pair’s efforts a short while back.

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch - Only You

Following on from her sumptuous 2018 release, Époques, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch has been tapped up to score the debut film from British director, Harry Wootliff. That film, from which the title of this release is taken, has already been receiving glowing plaudits from the likes of Mark Kermode, Charlotte O’Sullivan, and Peter Bradshaw and it’s highly plausible that her score has played a hefty part in swaying those critics.
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I will walk heavy and I will walk strange.

Mark Z. Danielewski

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