Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The year in music | 2014

Electronica and ambient is to my generation of music geeks what serious jazz was to our predecessors. The post-rock, post-pop, post-alt music of a non-mainstream adulthood.

My favorite discovery of the year: Christian Löffler, via Questionable Content author Jeph Jacques.

In particular, Löffler's Young Alaska. A sublime standout, even in a year that saw an unusual number of artists mixing energy and subtly in the same tracks.

Not that there wasn't rock. My favorite tracks in that genre are found in the absurdly awesome adult vampire romance, Only Lovers Left Alive. Which you should watch late on a quiet Saturday night. At least four or five times each year. Preferably with someone smart, lovely, and eternal by your side.

I somehow missed Broken Social Scene's Forgiveness Rock when it came out in 2009. An album which, well, rocks on multiple levels and tempos.

When embedding here on the blag, I try to stick with videos posted by the bands or music labels, and which are made available for sharing. However, the official one below is crap as far as sound quality. A much better copy can be found here. One that will let you know why you should buy the track if not the album.

As much as I try to avoid the stagnation of nostalgia, I did give into Pearl Jam this summer. A happy reminder of a decade proudly misspent wandering the high country of the Sierra Nevadas or bouncing around the world under arms.

Electronic swing. It was a thing this year. An update of the drive and sophistication of a mid 20th century American sound.

The darkest sound of the year came in Kangding Ray's Solens Arc. Gothic-cyberpunk.

The brightest was found in Lone's Reality Testing.

The most complex and evolving tracks were those of Andy Stott's Faith in Strangers.

I came across an amazing psych-rock track early in the year while knocking about the the interwebz one rainy morning. Somehow cheerful and ethereal, which had appropriately enough been used to help eulogize an insanely talented young creative who worked in kinetic sculptures, robots, and puppetry. A woman who died way too young in an accident last year while hiking in the mountains near her home in Colorado.

Creative Compulsive Disorder & Remembering Zina Nicole Lahr from Stormy Pyeatte on Vimeo.

It was a good years in music. And an amazingly productive one for me. One in which writing and other applied arts turned into a decent-paying profession. One that mixes content creation with software and library management skills. Along with more travel in the coming twelve months, what I'm most looking forward to is putting a whole lot more time into genre writing, and scoring more publications in science fiction and, maybe, possibly, with a fantasy title.

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