Presenting a new mixcloud series of hour long playlists posted every other Thursday. Ghost Signals is a collection (mostly) instrumental drone/ambient/doom/psych/post-rock/metal/modern classical pieces that share a common mood, loosely threaded together by samples from old noir movies/short stories/talks and speeches etc, inspired by Midnight Radio by Ehud Lavski and Yael Nathan: https://imgur.com/gallery/oYoLyHC
ghost signal #1: horror eats the light
grails – i want a new drug (00:00)
dag rosenqvist & matthew collings – renaissance (02:57)
erik lavender – innesluten (07:35)
locrian – a visitation from the wrath of heaven (13:04)
glacier – though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow (21:19)
bohren & der club of gore – maximum black (34:16)
origamibiro – odham’s standard (41:36)
rafael anton irisarri – sky burial (44:36)
wrekmeister harmonies – night of your ascension (pt 5) (49:49)
spoken word parts written by thomas ligotti.
Well, it’s nearly the middle of February already – so it seems as good a time as any to wrap up this round up of the previous years best songs. They don’t call me The Timely Content Kid for nothing. Also some might call having 25 songs on a top 20 list something of a cop out. To which I have no real argument.
It was a great year for music though and I think this list demonstrates just how good. Especially since it was a year in which I didn’t find much time to delve into all that much hip hop – Busdriver and Milo narrowly missed the cut for the list but that was about it for my rap listening in 2015, bar a couple of L’Orange produced albums – and almost completely ignored what was by all accounts an excellent year for black metal. It was a year of Too Much Music and this, for better or worse, is how I spent it. And given how much fun I’ve had putting this list together I’m leaning towards, “for better.”
Part 2 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
Infinite Dissolution may be the easiest Locrian album to listen to, but that doesn’t exactly make it easy listening. An Index of Air is a barrage of muted pseudo-back metal passages sweeping along the kind of guitar heroics that in any other hands could easily sound bombastic and cheesy. Wordless screams ring out in a reverb haze as if coming from somewhere else – somewhere you really don’t want to go. It isn’t until nearly 7 minutes in that it starts to resemble a song and the ‘most accessible Locrian album’ starts to make sense. Out of nowhere some haunting vocals emerge from the mist in a melody that if it weren’t so corroded might sound anthemic. It’s a passage that lasts barely any time at all but like a brief movie stealing performance, say Welles in The Third Man or Brando in Apocalypse Now, it towers over everything to the point your memory tells you it lasted much longer. Infinite Dissolution is a record about the end of man and amidst the gnarled wreckage and ruins that make up the rest of the record it’s that one moment of haggard beauty the mind keeps wandering to.
And so another year passes. As per tradition a large chunk of the internet spent the final month of 2015 seeking to make sense out of the ceaseless avalanche of music that descended upon us throughout the year by ranking the crap out of it. How else can we be sure that any of it meant anything it we don’t put our chosen records into a pile and demand that strangers look at it and agree that that our choices are indeed righteous? Where would humanity be without our ability to decree one thing to be better than another thing until we have a sufficient number of things to make a list? Why we’d surely be lost, flailing in the dark, forced to confront the futility of our endeavours.
Well fear not: today I can add my own list to the internet and stave off any such epiphany for a little while longer. My top 20 appeared alongside those of 60 other writers in Echoes & Dusts Record of the Year interactive jamboree. Which is a treasure trove of obscure gems one could easily get lost in until the next listing season is upon us.
Me oh my would you look at the time? It barely seems like five minutes ago that I was publishing the second 2015 playlist back in July and yet here we are rounding up quarter three in the only way I know how – with an oddly paced and overlong playlist. Time flies when all the songs you listen to are 10 minutes long.
This one, I feel, sums up my obsessions of the year about as well as a 25 track playlist possibly could – there’s plenty of meandering kraut-flecked psych (Giobia, Carlton Melton, Hills, Domovoyd), some hybrid black metal strangeness (Hope Drones, Locrian), a touch of monolothic fuzz-drenched doom (Windhand), a bit of awkward post-punk indie fare (Ought, Self Defense Family) and a fair bit of straight up rock n’ roll (Indian Handcrafts, Greenbeard, The Sword). For whatever reason these are the sounds I’ve gravitated towards. I’m inclined to believe it’s been a great year for these kinds of things and I’m just doing my solemn bloggers duty in telling you all about it. But it could just as easily be the result of a chemical imbalance of the brain or the lingering after effects of my first foray into wine making causing my senses to skew towards these odd sounds. Who can say? I’m no sciencematician. ‘m just a humble maker of playlists.
There’s also some stuff which bolts together a few of my genres of choice into something else entirely (the post-metal/doom/spoken-word-babbling-about-wizards of OHHMS, heavy psych band Herbcraft finding a groove that sounds like something from a crate diggers funk compilation, the odd surf-noir of La Luz) and a couple of songs from outside my wheelhouse that somehow wheedled their way into my consciousness – like the lushly orchestrated modern soul of Natalie Prass or the deadpan slacker indie pop of Courtney Barnett. Something for everybody you could say. You’d probably be wrong – but you could say that.