Anna Von Hausswolff - Current 93
I’m kicking things off with the incredibly talented Anna Von Hausswolff, and although this isn’t from our roster of artists, this is one of my favorite songs of the year. I bought the vinyl on the back of hearing it for the first time. The live performance at The Dome in London was tremendous, I really felt the power of the music and it moved me.
Daughters – City Song (Ipecac)
To be honest, I could have picked any one of the songs on this album as my favourites fluctuate. I love absolutely everything about it, from the incredible attention to detail in the composition of sounds across the album, to the profound lyrics. Certainly in my mind, Daughters made one of the most surprising albums of 2018.
The musical output of Carla Bozulich is totally staggering. Carla is one of the most fearless, uncompromising and striking musicians of our time. And Quieter is another brilliant record with some impressive collaborators. In Carla’s words Let It Roll is “the most honest work I’ve ever done” – this searing album opener certainly has had a lasting impression on me.
Lucretia Dalt – Edge (RVNG Intl)
Here’s another artist who isn’t part of the RU roster however I’m totally bowled over by the album Anticlines which came out this year on RVNG Intl. I discovered Lucretia Dalt at Le Guess Who? Festival on my first visit there this year. I wandered into the room as she was playing this song and I was hooked. The more I read up about Lucretia, the more intrigued I become.
Jaye Jayle – Accepting (Sargent House)
Jaye Jayle’s album No Trail And Other Unholy Paths is full of wonderful sounds. When I first encountered it, there were some album notes which suggested that you don’t necessarily have to listen to this in a linear way, so I made a point of listening to the album with the sequence shuffled, and interestingly I found it shifted the impact that the songs had on me at different points in time. This particular song was one that always, always resonated strongly.
HHY & The Macumbas – Wilderness Of Glass (House Of Mythology)
This album was a revelation for me from the moment I first heard it. There are points of reference that I can detect from elements of particular tracks but taken as a whole entity, it is certainly not characteristic of anything in particular I’ve heard and I love that. Percussive, peculiar, propulsive, mysterious, and most definitely very special. This epic album opener seems like a good place to begin this voyage of discovery as I did earlier this year. And another collective who intrigue the more I read about them.
The Body – Nothing Stirs (Thrill Jockey)
I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer captured all the essential flavours of The Body’s singular sound in one album entity, and it is brilliant. This song is brooding, dramatic and features the incredible vocal presence of Kristin Hayter, who’s solo output I’m also extremely fond of. But more on that later… The Body’s live performance with Thou at Roadburn this year was by far one of my highlights of the festival, and the London show with Lightning Bolt was probably the best I’ve ever seen them.
Nordra – The Commercial (SIGE Records)
SIGE records had a pretty wonderful output of albums this year, and the album Pylon II from Monika Knot aka Nordra certainly left a lasting impression on me. Using an array of instruments and samples Monika creates sounds inspired by architectural design and surveillance. To me, this song The Commercial really taps into the idea of surveillance in the age of algorithms and ‘smart’ technology. The song itself is put together so cleverly, even if the effects are somewhat disturbing.
Current 93 – Bright Dead Star (The Spheres)
In 2017 Current 93 spread around a short trailer video eluding to a new album, but we had to wait until October 2018 for it to arrive. The Light Is Leaving Us All is well worth the wait though, it is a masterpiece, and this song could well be one of the most beautiful songs that David has written – his vocals sound superb. Current 93’s release show at a packed out Shepherds Bush show this year was also one of the best live shows for me this year.