Wild Mercury Sound

The Best Of 2012 So Far: Additions, Footnotes etc…

The Best Of 2012 So Far: Additions, Footnotes etc…
John Mulvey

Pondering what to write about this morning, it occurred to me that there were more things to say about my favourite albums of 2012 so far, following up from this Top 40 that I posted last week. For a start, a bunch of records that I forgot to include:

1. Earth – Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II (Southern Lord)

2. Kandodo – Kandodo (Thrill Jockey)

3. Motion Sickness Of Time Travel - Motion Sickness Of Time Travel (Spectrum Spools)

4. Panabrite – The Baroque Atrium (Preservation)

5. Plankton Wat – Spirits (Thrill Jockey)

6. Raajmahal – Raajmahal (Kelippah)

7. Terry Riley – Aleph (Tzadik)

8. Mike Wexler – Dispossession (Bella Union)

Thanks to those of you who reminded me of some of these, and also to this next tranche of albums, which I think are worth a mention, even though I’m not 100 per cent sold on them:

9. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls (Rough Trade)

10. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral (4AD)

11. Tindersticks – The Something Rain (Lucky Dog)

12. Trembling Bells & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – The Marble Downs (Honest Jon’s)

13. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

I suspect 9-13 will be pretty familiar, but a few notes on 1-8, which seem to feature quite a concentration of longform synth/kosmische meditations of one kind or another, from Kandodo (Simon Price from The Heads, making ambient crust out of the Stooges’ “We Will Fall” and Sonic Boom’s early Spectrum records), to Motion Sickness Of Time Travel’s epic, glazed effort for the Emeralds’ label, which sits alongside Mark McGuire’s solo work as a bridge between ‘70s proto New Age and ‘90s dreampop, after a fashion.

Raajmahal is one of a bunch of vinyl records made by and sent over by Decimus AKA Pat Murano, one of the the extended No Neck Blues Band family that also includes people like Dave ‘D Charles Speer’ Shuford. The Raajmahal s/t is a diffident, super-minimal drift set that reminds me a little bit of some of those Natural Snow Buildings records, but with a more pronounced weightlessness and space. Really lovely. Panabrite is straightahead kosmische synth that’s no less nice for all that, and is my favourite entry in Preservation’s Circa series since the Deep Magic and Quiet Evenings (featuring Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, incidentally) albums last year.

Mike Wexler is a singer-songwriter with some arcane prog-folk inclinations, who hasn’t received the same levels of attention as most Bella Union artists. If you’ve got into “Dispossession”, I can vigorously recommend his “Sun Wheel” album that came out on Amish a few years back, and which I prefer.

Finally, there’s this great new Terry Riley double CD trip, “Aleph”, that I didn’t even know existed until I picked up a tweet on the subject from The Wire’s Derek Walmsley last week. First time in a while that Riley has revisited the patient, unravelling organ reveries of “Descending Moonshine Dervishes” and “Persian Surgery Dervishes”, I think, and while the tuning of this particular just intonation can be hairy in places, the complete journey is hugely rewarding.

Thanks for all your responses to the original list, by the way. I’m thinking that it may be hard to construct a readers’ chart out of them, but please keep them coming: always interesting to see your recommendations.

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Editor's Letter

The Fourth Uncut Playlist Of 2015

This week's big distraction has been what appears to be a crazy number of early Aphex Twin tracks accumulating on Soundcloud (I've added the link below). Among the new stuff, though, please try Bop English; the new solo project of James Petralli from White Denim.