It’s been a long time since I was compelled to write about new music. One of the side effects of maternity leave is that you enter a cultural black hole. The most I managed in terms of any new media was the occasional TV series (thank you streaming services) and lots of books. Books pair beautifully with breastfeeding.
The opportunity to truly listen to any music disappears since life isn’t about entering the intimate sonic space of a musician. So one of the few things I relish about returning to work and its daily commute is the space I have to listen to music.
For this purpose I revel in some decent headphones (Shure SE215s) that render me deaf to anything but music and also saves fellow passengers from hearing anything too.
I have been enjoying mostly indie and alternative things, John Grant’s new album, Mr Gnome (thanks to my husband sticking it on my phone) and an old but wonderful release by the unlikely pairing of Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan in Ballad of the Broken Seas.
I got curious to see what had just been released so delved into iTunes on the way to work last week and noticed Oneohtrix Point Never (OPN) who is currently housed by Warp Records, the experimental electronic dance music label. Interested to read about the blended and slightly weird album that is Garden of Delete I downloaded it.
It’s been a while since some EDM truly stole my heart and that was two years ago when I stumbled across Jon Hopkins’ release of Immunity, an album that I played to death for well over six months and introduced me to the wonderful world of Hopkins and also his collaborations with King Creosote. It was their album, Diamond Mine and also Hopkins’ Contact Note that provided the music backdrop to Smallest’s home birth.
I’m not going to write a lengthy review, as there is plenty of them out there; I only want to flag up a particular track. Freaky Eyes provides the near end modern day movement to this strange and compelling album that mixes scant and quite frankly odd and disturbing lyrics with electronic and industrial sounds. It starts quietly and builds to the entrance, at 1:25, of an electronic organ that creates a dark and ecclesiastical atmosphere; it truly melts my heart and steals my breath.
I turn up the volume, close my eyes and tilt my head back, I play it over and over and over again; basking in the plucked base tones at 1:31, 1:36 and 1:42. It descends into hints of fading harshness and drifting vocal samples that are never quite distinguishable as the track changes complete direction. Sublime.
If you only hear one track, one album this year, let it be this.