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2018 shit

Written by: 7 January 2019 No Comment

2018 was fucking dark man. Don’t know if it’s me getting older, the prevailing authoritarian fascist leanings of international politics, or the increasing rate of ecological collapse, but I found it hard to keep a spring in my step this year.

Spending time with my friends and family was good, drinking helps obviously, and of course music, which goes well with these. I couldn’t get hold of nearly as much music as I wanted this year, but I think I’ve increasingly nailed the process of finding good stuff, particularly bandcamp came into its own as a means of finding and buying music. Wish I could sort my wishlist there into clearer groups though.

Here go some of my favourite musical picks this year, followed by a few other bits – not rated, just picked for your delectation.

Gas – Rausch

A night-time journey through the misty German forest.

Raime – Am I Using Content or Is Content Using Me?

A step ahead for Raime, pulling together their prior influences and adding paranoia inducing youtube ripped samples. Music for the dystopia.

Steven Julien – Bloodline

Raw jacking slammers for your brain.

V/A – Bblisss

Soothing ambient works from various new artists. Vinyl came out this year.

Jonny Nash and Lindsay Todd – Fauna Mapping

Indonesia inspired experimentalism. I like all Jonny Nash’s stuff but this particularly hit me.

Westside Gunn – Supreme Blientele

Back to the classic 90s style hiphop with production from some who were involved the first time round. Nostalgic feelings but also a good record.

Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs

Short but sweet. Earl absolutely one of my favourite younger MCs.

Laurel Halo – Raw Silk Uncut Wood

Mini album on Latency records. Orchestral experimentalism. I like Eli Keszler’s percussion and he also put out a nice album on Shelter Press this year.

Autechre – NTS sessions

A towering monolith of noise.

Wanderwelle – Gathering of the Ancient Spirits

Out on the ninja approved silent season label. Very very deep and soothing.

Rezzett – Rezzett

Blistering distorted out techno and dnb sounds. Frazzled goodness.

Tropa Macaca – Cacador Do Futuro

Queasy Portuguese synth noise work outs. This with a coffee kickstarted some mornings for me.

Spiritual Jazz 8 Vol 8. Japan – Part One/Two

Jazz, reissue, Japan boxes all checked in one go. Beautifully packaged and presented if you like to wank on about that kind of thing.

Uon – Untitled

More ambient I’m afraid. Huerco S’s West Mineral label probably my favourite of the year. This Uon record in particular is beautiful. Obvious chuggy Basic Channel influence but Basic Channel are awesome so there’s nothing wrong with that.

CV and JAB – Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface

Musical interpretation of a 90-metre panoramic wall drawing by Zin Taylor. Experimental stuff that rewards volume and focused listening. Shelter Press had a lot of releases I liked this year.

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Non music! Other good stuff (books/tv/movies). Not all came out in 2018 but that’s when I ingested them.

My Friend Dahmer

A kind of Dazed and Confused vibe adds some levity to this pretty dark story.

Good Time

Really enjoyed this one. Strong soundtrack from Oneohtrix Point Never.

Death of Stalin

If you like Iannucci’s stuff (Veep, In the Loop) and/or have a passing interest in Russian history, this is pretty much a must.

The Terror

Lots of great Brit character actors and some dark and heavy events.

Atlanta – Season 2

This had some ups and downs but overall still a favourite of mine.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Enjoyed this more than I initially expected. Darkness and 90s vibes abound.

Escape at Dannemora

Haven’t quite finished this but great performances from Patricia Arquette and Benecio Del Toro mumbly but cool as usual.

Books!

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence – Michael Pollan

Really interesting and well detailed writing about the history and development of understanding of psychedelics.

Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata

A short (I knocked it off on the shinkansen) but intense book, touching on many things including capitalism, women in Japan, and people that don’t fit conventionally into society.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou

This book is a reminder to take silicon valley and the miracles of technology in general with a grain of salt.

Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski

Not a new book (came out 37 years ago), but I hadn’t ever read it. Bukowski remains a favourite author of mine.

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