2019 Music List

Here’s a bunch of albums I enjoyed in 2019 and I know I’m missing a lot, but it’s been a long year y’all. Enjoy! And here’s to music in 20-20. As usual, only Bandcamp albums are here because no other streaming service is as good to artists.

 

Netsh – 50 tracks to enhance your robotic implants
https://netshmusic.bandcamp.com/album/50-tracks-to-enhance-your-robotic-implants

Blockhead – Free Sweatpants
https://blockheadnyc.bandcamp.com/album/free-sweatpants

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe
https://cinematicorchestramusic.bandcamp.com/album/to-believe

Jenny Hval – Practice of Love
https://jennyhval.bandcamp.com/album/the-practice-of-love

FITNESS – OUR LOVE
https://fitnesss.bandcamp.com/releases

clipping. – There Existed an Addiction to Blood
https://clppng.bandcamp.com/album/there-existed-an-addiction-to-blood

CARES – Control Isn’t Real
https://cares.bandcamp.com/album/control-isnt-real

Muqks – Any%
https://doomtrip.bandcamp.com/album/any

Glass Beach – The First Glass Beach Album
https://glassbeach.bandcamp.com/album/the-first-glass-beach-album

DJ Shadow – Our Pathetic Age
https://djshadow.bandcamp.com/album/our-pathetic-age

1 Trait Danger – 1 Trait World Tour
https://1traitdanger.bandcamp.com/album/1-trait-world-tour

Sofie Birch – Plantes
https://seilrecords.bandcamp.com/album/planetes

Nivhek – After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house
https://grouper.bandcamp.com/album/after-its-own-death-walking-in-a-spiral-towards-the-house

Warmth – Wildlife
https://archivesdubmusic.bandcamp.com/album/wildlife

Joe CS – Night Owl
https://joecs.bandcamp.com/album/night-owl

Valiska – Numbers
https://valiska.bandcamp.com/album/numbers

DJ Beeno – No Rules Here
https://kniteforce.bandcamp.com/album/kfw01-no-rules-here-ep

Olga Wojciechowska – Infinite Distances
https://astrangelyisolatedplace.bandcamp.com/album/infinite-distances

36 and Black Swan – In Four Parts
https://pitp.bandcamp.com/album/in-four-parts

Backxwash – Deivancy
https://grimalkinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/deviancy

Tidelands by Valanx (Reverse Alignment)

https://reversealignment.bandcamp.com/album/tidelands

A personal story wherein I’m a creep: I found this randomly while stalking Warren Ellis’s Bandcamp purchases (via my BC feed, so that’s excusable, I think).

Creating interesting dark ambient is a tough thing; you have to manage literal (mono)tones with enough changes and differences that engage the listener. Valanx does this well here, and it is refreshing not to be overwhelmed by walls of drone all the time. The decoration on the drones is surprising. Sounds akin to echoes and droplets eminate throughout the work, without taking over. Reverb bells speak softly while creaks of rusted doors and small items fall down those steps still not submerged.

There’s an overall story here, but even single tracks have a progression (Breaking Free to the Surface). Another vision of the future where water levels rising have dramatically changed the way society functions, the album is (to this listener, at least) more mathematical than dreary. It is less a sadness about how things got to be this way, and more of a documentation of how things are now (in this imagined future).

The progression of the album guides us through this changed future. We approach the water and dive deep into it before coming back out at the end in the final tracks.

The rise of water levels is expected to be prevalent in most coastal communities by the turn of the century (https://phys.org/news/2019-03-destruction-sea-california-worst-wildfires.html), although poor communities will be affected disproportionately (“And that’s why the World Bank, in its report, argues that climate change and poverty reduction can’t be separated as issues, or treated locally. The world needs to resolve both.”, Gabe Bullard writes for NatGeo). Some of the cities that will become engulfed are huge hubs of culture and life, and the displacement that will be wrought from the water level rise will create unimaginable changes to societies all over the world.

These worries may have inspired this album, but they should inspire us all to be more aware of the actions we’re taking as both linked societies and overall as a species. We’re now in damage control mode, which often makes dark ambient a genre mirroring our very situation.

Groove Crusader – Justice Wears High Tops

https://groovecrusader.bandcamp.com/album/justice-wears-high-tops

Here’s an album that sees a vengeful, pessimistic future, and yet juxtaposes it with energetic, almost happy beats and melody. Telling the story of a Terminator-like journey from the future into the past, in order to deliver the full weight of ecological collapse on those responsible, the Groove Crusader/Doctor Sung album straddles a serious issue with the tongue-in-cheek aura that synthwave often emits. It may be a particularity of the genre, but vengeance is a theme that fits snug into both synthwave and video game styled music.

Joining the theme with more somber pieces (Landfill: Earth, and Postatmosphere) creates a world reminiscent of 80’s Captain Planet reruns. In that world, the bad guy was clearly defined. Here too, Doctor Sung explains that the fury of the future is aimed at those who profit off the ecological collapse.

It is not truly a fantasy sci-fi story; many investors are thinking of their own pockets with respect to the changes sure to happen within the current generation (https://www.vox.com/2014/8/18/6031219/how-to-profit-off-of-global-warming). As the ice melts, new extraction opportunities will drive oil companies to exacerbate the problem already caused by extraction. It isn’t strange to think that future generations will be upset at the conscious destruction of their environments.

The whole production oozes this Captain Planet-as-RPG style, from the cover art, to the drums used. Subtle clicks help to establish a unique style from Sung’s Groove Crusader project. The EP was tasty, and hopefully we get more eco-conscious material like this from them again.

 

Some Albums I Liked in 2018

Honestly, 2018 was a great year for music releases. Great work everyone. Here’s to more next year. The below are some albums I enjoyed on Bandcamp (mostly) without any particular order. With all these ‘Best Of’ lists coming out right now it’s possible I’ll be modifying this to add more.

First of all, shout out to the only album that’s not on Bandcamp:

Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Now the format is

Artist – Album

HYPERLINK

 

Here we go!!

 

輕描淡寫 – 小圈子

https://bludhoney.bandcamp.com/album/–2

 

2 Mello – Memories of Tokyo-To, An Ode to Jet Set Radio

https://2mellomakes.bandcamp.com/album/memories-of-tokyo-to-an-ode-to-jet-set-radio

 

Anna von Hausswolff – Dead Magic

https://annavonhausswolffmusic.bandcamp.com/album/dead-magic

 

Deva Mahal – Run Deep

https://devamahal.bandcamp.com/album/run-deep

 

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris – Everything’s Fine

https://quellechris360.bandcamp.com/album/everythings-fine

 

Moderator – Sinners Syndrome

https://moderator.bandcamp.com/album/sinners-syndrome-2

 

JPEGMAFIA – Veteran

https://jpegmafia.bandcamp.com/album/veteran

 

Kadha Bonet – Childqueen

https://kadhjabonet.bandcamp.com/album/childqueen

 

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs – No New World

https://massofthefermentingdregs.bandcamp.com/album/no-new-world

 

Mitski – Be the Cowboy

https://mitski.bandcamp.com/album/be-the-cowboy

 

Laurel Halo – Raw Silk Uncut Wood

https://latencyrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/raw-silk-uncut-wood

 

Hiro Kone

https://hirokone.bandcamp.com/album/pure-expenditure

 

Noname – Room 25

https://nonameraps.bandcamp.com/album/room-25

 

Underground System – What Are You

https://undergroundsystem.bandcamp.com/album/what-are-you

 

Sonae – I Started Wearing Black

https://sonae.bandcamp.com/album/i-started-wearing-black

 

Celer – Alcoves

https://celer.bandcamp.com/album/alcove

 

Fia Fell – All In The Same Room

https://nicemusiclabel.bandcamp.com/album/020-all-in-the-same-room

 

Son Lux – Brighter Wounds

https://sonlux.bandcamp.com/album/brighter-wounds

 

Kali Malone – Cast of Mind

https://kalimalone.bandcamp.com/album/cast-of-mind

 

Machine Girl – The Ugly Art

https://kittyonfirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-ugly-art

 

Marlowe – Marlowe

https://lorange360.bandcamp.com/album/marlowe

 

Wimps – Garbage People

https://thesewimps.bandcamp.com/album/garbage-people

 

Empress Of – Us

https://empressof.bandcamp.com/album/us

 

Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo

https://khruangbin.bandcamp.com/album/con-todo-el-mundo-excluding-n-s-america

 

Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears

https://letseatgrandma.bandcamp.com/album/im-all-ears

 

The Armed – Only Love

https://thearmed.bandcamp.com/album/only-love

 

City Girl – Celestial Angel

https://city-girl.bandcamp.com/album/celestial-angel

 

In Love With A Ghost – Gay Story

https://inlovewithaghost.bandcamp.com/album/gay-story

 

 

 

Degrowth

‘Degrowth’ has been out for two months. Thank you all for the support, listens, retweets, commentary, and the sliding into the DMs. 🐈 I’ve received a lot of kind words and nice reviews back from listeners.

It means a lot. Hope it can help set the mood for the coming autumn (or spring) seasons as well. 🍃🍂🍁🕷️🐛

https://krzyzis.bandcamp.com/album/degrowth

This cover was generated in Blender.

degrowthcov350

Enjoyed Albums of 2017

Here’s some (25) albums that I liked in 2017 that are available on Bandcamp. I tried to limit this to Bandcamp available albums only. Special mention to Princess Nokia who isn’t on BC though. They are not in any order.

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
https://priests.bandcamp.com/album/nothing-feels-natural

AUSTRA – Future Politics
https://austramusic.bandcamp.com/album/future-politics

Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai
https://ibibiosoundmachine.bandcamp.com/album/uyai

Blanck Mass – World Eater
https://blanckmass.bandcamp.com/album/world-eater

La Dame Blanche – La Dame Blanche 2
https://ladameblanche.bandcamp.com/album/la-dame-blanche-2

Vagabon – Infinite Worlds
https://vagabon.bandcamp.com/album/infinite-worlds

FRKTL – Prose Edda
https://frktl.bandcamp.com/album/prose-edda

Forest Swords – Compassion
https://forestswords.bandcamp.com/album/compassion

Black Swan – Travesty Waves
https://blackswan.bandcamp.com/album/travesty-waves-2017

Neurotech – The Catalyst
https://neurotech.bandcamp.com/album/the-catalyst

Forgotten Fields – Forgotten Fields
http://music.forgottenfields.co/album/forgotten-fields

Correlations – Night Acquisitions
https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/night-acquisitions

Perturbator – New Model
https://perturbator.bandcamp.com/album/new-model

Leyland Kirby – We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives
https://leylandkirby.bandcamp.com/album/we-so-tired-of-all-the-darkness-in-our-lives

Cunninlynguists – Rose Azura Njano
https://cunninlynguists.bandcamp.com/album/rose-azura-njano

Ben Frost – The Center Cannot Hold
https://benfrost.bandcamp.com/album/the-centre-cannot-hold

Valiska – On Pause
https://valiska.bandcamp.com/album/on-pause

Sidewalks and Skeletons – The Void
https://sidewalksandskeletons.bandcamp.com/album/the-void

woob – Tokyo Run
https://woob.bandcamp.com/album/tokyo-run

L’Rain – L’Rain
https://astronautico.bandcamp.com/album/lrain

The Comet is Coming – Death to the Planet
https://thecometiscoming.bandcamp.com/album/death-to-the-planet

Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent
https://protomartyr.bandcamp.com/album/relatives-in-descent

The Inward Circles – And Right Lines Limit and Close All Bodies
https://theinwardcircles.bandcamp.com/album/and-right-lines-limit-and-close-all-bodies

Throwing Snow – Embers
https://throwingsnow.bandcamp.com/album/embers

Caterina Barbieri – Patterns of Consciousness
https://caterinabarbieri.bandcamp.com/album/patterns-of-consciousness

As far as soundtracks go, the soundtrack to RUINER (Devolver Digital) blew it out of the water for me this year.

New Music

I’ve been putting out a lot of stuff in October so this is a bit of a write up.

I started working on The Branch (named due to theme and also my branching away from purely drone/ambient work sometimes) back in February. It took a while to get it done, but it is available here and everyone enjoyed it. There’s a visible difference in the amount of finished full album listens compared to other albums, when looking at the stats, which is great to see.

Switching it up with a more electronic, synth, and symphonic elements this time around really allowed to play with melody. Sometimes that’s a secondary thought in ambient work, so it was nice to paint with different brushes.

https://krzyzis.bandcamp.com/album/the-branch

a0714669857_10

I did that cover myself too which may or may not have taken longer than the music itself.

(This is a joke. The music took way longer.)

If you’re into spooky drones, this is a Halloween special for this year:

a1479160965_10

https://krzyzis.bandcamp.com/album/palinopsia-villa

Also did the cover here, though the background was made by a cool designer linked in the album notes. It’s the Silent Hill cafe re-imagined. 3D modelling for both the above covers, as well as the music video for Tree of Memory from The Branch was pretty fun. The video is available here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSHk1Lfba3A

Software Synths on Minicomputers and MIDI control

I’ve come to the conclusion that without a USB soundcard, using either the C.H.I.P. or the RPI2 for a synth attachment to a MIDI controller is not viable. However, a few cool synths for UNIX systems exist that you can probably run on one of these babies with little effort.

I’ve managed to control and sound off using fluidsynth (instructions at

http://andrewdotni.ch/blog/2015/02/28/midi-synth-with-raspberry-p/

by Andrew, thanks!).

 

However, there’s still lots of noise coming through. Not sure if this is the latent energy use by the RPI2 or what, but I’ll work it out eventually. Likely I need to invest in a USB soundcard to really go anywhere with this.

Potentially a MIDI controlled soundbank or synth box might be the end goal anyway. I don’t know how viable it’ll be to have the RPI running like this for something like a live show, but I’ve seen people do it. My intent is to get yoshimi running with full MIDI control:

 

https://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/yoshimi

 

I’ll keep y’all updated as it goes. Here’s a picture of a C.H.I.P.

Jpeg
Jpeg

Disquiet 0240, Centrifuge

 

First Disquiet Junto for me! Really wanted to do one for a while now. It had a pretty good reception!

Here I’ve started with an empty centrifuge turning on and humming. It’s an empty machine while I recorded it, no samples, no test tubes, but it spins and drones anyway. On top of that I layer some synths that build into the sound. Lots of reverb and EQ work on all portions.

Slowly the synths come out with FX changes, which really describes the internal workings of the centrifuge. The deeper down you go to more mechanical and dangerous the machine is; it is meant for separating the heavy from the light at the tiniest level, after all.

More on the Disquiet Junto below:

More on this 240th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a piece of music in which a drone slowly, imperceptibly, gives way to something rhythmic and/or melodic” — at:

disquiet.com/0240/2

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

disquiet.com/junto/3

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on llllllll.co and on a Junto Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion).

The image associated with this project is by Michel Banabila, and is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/94muSj2

1.

Here we’ll be following the programming and production of music and soundscapes by krzyzis.

My previously released work is available at https://krzyzis.bandcamp.com/.

My unorganized samples of projects are available at https://soundcloud.com/krzyzis.

I’ve been a FL Studio user for over ten years (back when it was still called [REDACTED] LOOPS). It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks but I’d be open to suggestions.

The krzyzis project is mostly atmospheric and soundscape work. I have done more ‘active’ compositions in the past under the name Reynard (and even under krzyzis itself). I have no genre preferences but the ambient stuff is what I seem to gravitate toward.

I will be releasing the next album on Bandcamp on November 6th, 2016. It is mostly completed, though undergoing mixing and mastering; much of this blog might speak of these processes for the next little while, but there are mini-things I want to write about.

I’ll be trying my first Disquiet Junto (a group prompt for music making, http://llllllll.co/t/music-that-emerges-from-a-drone-disquiet-junto-project-0240/4027/13) this week, so I’ll write about that process soon! Always wanted to try it, and now that the base of it is ‘drone’ music, I feel I’d be right at home in the mini project.