Lots here, for some reason, but let’s get into it
two shell – Home / No Reply
wooosh. I don’t often get goosebumps at the drop at my age, but both these tunes are incandescently good.
Barbie Bertisch – I Thought This Would Be Easier
The most gorgeous & melancholy Blade Runner / Vangelis sunrise moment off a record full of them.
Daphni – Cherry
The lyrics for this are just “FM! FM! fm! fm! FM!”, and so on. I can’t count how the shift goes, or how this is counted, but it’s great just the same.
Pariah – Caterpillar
Call Super – Swallow Me
I thought this was Cathy Berberian doing a Sequenza, and lost my shit a little. Turns out it is Kamala Sankaram, no less amazing, over a snappy flip – which is all you need sometimes.
Emma Jean Thackray – Venus (Black Science Orchestra Remix)
I don’t know if the kids would say that this slaps, nor am I sure if quasi-speed garage can in fact “slap” – but I am pretty sure it does and that it is a great record
KH – Looking At Your Pager / Gwen Stefani – Let Me Check My Itinerary (KH Remix)
I appear to be becoming someone who likes a Kieran Hebden banger … which is a bit embarrassing, but I am happy to own it.
Cruisin’ Gang – Tap Dancing
The most over the top Italo / hip-house / tap-dance-sampling record in the world – a delight in every way.
Honorable mentions of the most high order to: Reece Cox – Clang 2, Billy Lo – It’s The Life, fleet.dreams – Can’t Stop The Momentum, Kush Jones – Big Stepper, Anthony Naples – Swerve, Daphni – Cloudy, and Objekt – Bad Apples.
Daphni (with bonus Four Tet b2b) @ Nowadays
This one was almost kinda sorta spoiled by seeing the pretty tall Kieran Hebden in the club, and thinking … will they? Will they? They did, and the last 90 minutes was a great back-to-back, but the rest of the night was awfully good too. The aggressive eclecticism, the touches back to early 2000s battletech (Holden’s ‘The Idiot’ was played, and I lost it a bit), bits of jazz, etc.
Love Injection 7-Year Anniversary @ Public Records
Bertisch and Raffaele know things, and those things sound amazing on the Public Records sound system. A deep night for deep house, disco, and soul (A small advanage is that Shazam actually works at Public Records, but then the tracks are only available on vinyl – c’est la vie)
Four Tet @ Nowadays
Not many people can start with like 4 minutes of ambience – and then play ‘Some Polyphony’ to boot, to say nothing of Angel Echoes, Moth as I was leaving, and so forth.
Kush Jones @ Good Room
Backspins, uptempo heat, and vibes for days from Kush and DJ’J.
The most honorable mentions to Ben UFO at Mr. Sunday, DJ Python & Anthony Naples at Good Room, Underground Resistance at dweller, Pearson Sound at Contrair somewhere in Belgium, AYA at Nowadays, and rrao at Nowadays
James Holden & Wacław Zimpel at whisperfest, Antwerp
I am sure James Holden would be very annoyed to be called “The Man”, but here we are. This set was surprisingly light on pure noodling, Wacław was on electronics as well as wind instruments, the Holden percussion shuffle was in full effect, and it was pretty much great.
Carly Rae Jepsen at Radio City Music Hall
CRJ! The pride of Mission BC has a whole lot of huge hits that she can’t really sing any more because the entire crowd will sing them for her. Start with 3500 people belting the riff to ‘Run Away With Me’, that’s before we get to ‘Call Me Maybe’, to say nothing of ‘Cut To The Feeling’ as the encore (with a guest from NYC ballet).
And, perfectly, Jepsen really does shout “hey!” in the middle of songs. What more could you want?
Honorable mentions to Julia Easterlin at The Owel; the NY Phil doing a delightful Saariaho / Stravinsky / Sibelius / Bartok program; to Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Lorraine James at Knockdown; to Caroline Shaw and Roomful of Teeth; and to the blazing jazz show I wandered into at Ornithology.
John Luther Adams – Lines Made By Walking (JACK Quartet)
For all that That Thing is over, it’s been a stressful year for a bunch of reasons; this was a perfect balm.
Barbie Bertisch – Prelude
Sticking with the theme of the sublime and the relaxed and maybe the Vangelis-esq – this apparently long-time coming album from Love Injection’s Barbie Bertisch is maybe casually transcendent, let’s say? Very, very good, regardless of verbiage
Hudson Mohawke – Cry Sugar
Not sublime at all, yow! HudMo storms back into form with a grip of bangers, stormers, stompers and heaters, all of which are worth your time
Hannah Read – Cross The Rolling Water
Really, this is a grip of heaters and neck-snappers as well (check ‘Old Kentucky Whiskey’ for reference), with a few sneaky-good pop/folk tunes around as well.
Olivier Messiaen – 8 Préludes (Yvonne Loriod)
And back to the sublime. Ominous cover art aside, these are lovely preludes, and are Messiaen at some of his most luminous.
Honorable mentions to Overmono – Cash Romantic, the Toucan Sounds Playground Volume 3 compilation, Noori & His Dorpa Band – Beja Power, Greta Morgan’s Desert Lullabies, and Terry Riley’s Keyboard Studies, played by John Tilbury.
A short year for DJ sets, but some real stars
Ben Ufo & Four Tet – Hessle Audio, April 2022
Pretty rarely, you hear a set that you know, on hearing, is going to define the rest of the year, if not the next few years. Sasha at Glastonbury in 2003 was one, James Holden’s BALANCE 005 was one. Kenzie Clarke’s NYPD in 2009, also. This is another “oh, yeah, that’s what that year sounded like” snapshot instant classic.
Pearson Sound, Pangaea, Ben UFO – Hessle Audio, May 2022
Well, that’s a bit embarrassing – but this one really is just as good as the above.
Fiyahdred – FACT mix 842
Scorching. I guess it’s a south London sort of year. This one manages to be just about everything to all people – starting with a dancehall cover / re-flip of “Set It Off” and getting better from there
Wata Igarashi – Live @ Etched, Live @ Rural
Wata Igarashi – Live @ Etched, Live @ Rural
I’m cheating and putting one very calm ambient set and one that I’d call a BIG RAVER into one entry. They’ve both got the Igarashi signature arps, but are different in about every other way.
Most honorable mentions to DJ Nobu live at Bassiani, Yu Su live at Dekmantel, DJ Voices’ Fact Mix, and the Shhhhh Gamelan mix on NTS.
The future of music? Certainly one of them – the sort of “bass music” set that does justice to the form while making you want to shout “fuck the police”
(also a very odd but fun crowd – preppies, goths, the whole works)