Thursday, February 24, 2011

Favourites of 2010 - #1: The Listening Trends

This is post #1 in the 3 post-series concluding my 2010 Year In Music.
This one deals with the listening trends I had in 2010, the genres and styles I was most into, devoting the most time exploring and those I couldn't get enough of.

Like everyone else, I had various pronounced listening interests in 2010.
Here are the most prominent ones:

A) Pscyh/Stoner/Sludge/Doom - One such trend that started early was a fascination with anything stoner/psychedelic which then lead on to enthusiasm with anything sludgy and Doom-y. I’m not sure why this sudden need for this types of music, but it came strong and heavy. Hence why I was so enthralled with the new albums by bands like Samasara Blues Experiment, Luger, Moon Duo, My Brother The Wind, Electric Orange, Hypnos 69, Titan, Black Mountain, Sailors with Wax Wings, Sahara Surfers, Anta, Quest for Fire, Motorpsycho, Seven That Spells, Spiritual Beggars, Mugstar, The Resonance Association, Asylum on the Hill, Moster Magnet, Rainbows Are Free, Rotor et al. Then subsequently, with the new albums by band like Kylesa, Howl, Mose Giganticus, Ufomammut, Year Of No Light, Electric Wizard etc. Indeed, I got my fix of these sounds this year. And I’m not mentioning other albums in the same vein from other years I only got to this past year.

B) Ambient – I continued to explore the realms of ambient music. I’ve discovered so many in 2010, including many releases of that year that I can’t mention them all (besides, you’ll see many mentioned in the list below). The year’s haul includes Greg Haines, Hammock, Mains de Givres Thisquietarmy, Phonophani, Master Musicians of Bukkake and Nest. I’ve also discovered albums from previous years such as those released by Iambic, The Beautiful Schizophrenic, Flica, Final, Ben Woods and others.
One particular trend I had was delving into dark ambient following the thrilling albums I discovered in 2009 by The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. These two complemented well those I had by Bohren und der Club of Gore, Deathprod and Lustmord. This is how I got to start listening to Atrium Carceri, Aeoga, Darkspace, Corrupted, Asianova and others. This led me to create the first series, Dark Ambiances Series in which I’ve already featured several of the aforementioned bands.

C) Electronic/Down-tempo/Lounge/etc. – The second musical fascination started out sometime in mid 2010 when discovering the likes of Italian band Fonderia and their 2010 album My Grandmother’s Space Suit and the Scottish quartet Hidden Orchestra and their beautiful Night Walks (both of which I featured in the blog). I then proceeded to actively recommend these bands on Progressive Ears and Prog Archvies (and here) only to get recommendation in return from fine friends on both boards. I’ve been advised to look for the likes of Red Snapper, Lymbyc Systym, Xploding Plastix Aim and Amos Tobin, only to then find some more good stuff in the likes of Bonobo and Pivot (though this last one could be classified as post rock as well). I know these are “old news” to a lot of people, but to me they are quite a new revelation and a fascinating one at that. Hence my initiation of the second series in the blog, The Electro-Lounge Series, focusing on this type of music.
Other Electronic music goodies form 2010 included Apparat Organ Quartet, 65daysofstatic, Berry Weight, Holy Fuck, Igorrr, Pantha du Prince and Radio Massacre International.
Other albums were either just ok or less impressive to me like those by Errors, The Aschere Project, Future-X, Kemialliset Ystävät, Kammerflimmer Kollektief and The Knife in Collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock.

D) Metal – 2010 had some excellent releases (in my opinion, in case it wasn’t clear up until now), several of those are up there in my favourite list below (read on and find out) and it also had its share of mediocre and bad albums. There wasn’t any particular trend here in my listening habits, more of looking for releases by bands I like (In Lingua Mortua, Solefald, Agalloch, Ihsahn etc.), as well as looking for anything new that sounds intriguing (Dakrya, Winterhorde, Cleric, Equilbirium, Barren Earth etc.). In fact, I found many of these newer acts to deliver some of the best albums this year.

E) Prog/progressive – I favour a broad interpretation of the term Prog, that being both the sound already established in the 70s as well as music that strives to experiment with their music, develop it further than the norm, go out of boundaries and aspire for the unusual, whether it is in song structure, instrumentation, sounds, approach etc. To be more precise, I think of it more as a measure, as in how progressive is something, not if it is or isn’t.
Anyway, this isn’t a very thought-out part on my part, but I hope you get the drift. This year there were great releases by Frogg Café, Orbs (not to be confused with The Orb), Rational Diet, Lute, Yugen, Aranis, Ciccada, Univers Zero, Major Parkinson, Extra Life and many others. As you will see in the List I’ll post, there were both new and old(er) acts that released solid albums in 2010.

F) Chamber Music/Modern Classical – I’ve continued looking for bands and musicians that release intimate and minimalistic music mostly played by strings, piano or cello. In the “Cello” department I’ve found, thanks to Bandcamp and The Silent Ballet, Kristin Rule, Julia Kent and Zoe Keating. In the other sectors I’ve discovered (again thanks to Bandcamp and The Silent ballet) Sophie Hutchings from Ausrtalia, Cicada from Taiwan, Daníel Bjarnason and Ólafur Arnalds both from Iceland.
There were also more fabulous releases by Aranis and Univers Zero as well as Yugen and Rational Diet. Other fine and beautiful releases were by Les Fragments de la Nuit, Nils Frahm & Anne Müller and Hauschka. There was also a new release by DAAU, but it didn’t do much for me.

G) Acoustic rock – In this department I had unintentional discoveries in Matt Stevens (which I featured here), Steve Unruh and Rob Martino (Chapman stick), both of whom released albums in 2010 and also Amity In Fame’s album from 2008 as well as Kevin Hufnagel’s 2009 album and Rodrigo y Gabriela’s releases.

H) Bandcamp – I actively look for new music. Whether by seeing ads in magazines, recommendations in forums and reviews on music boards such as Progressive Ears, Prog Archives and The Silent Ballet among others. However, this year marked another step in this “quest” of mine with the rise of the Bandcamp platform. I browse the genres in Bandcamp looking for any band that seems interesting. You seen me mentioned several of these findings in the blog in the last months.

So, what were your listening trends in 2010, if any? (doesn’t have to be about 2010 releases).
Was there any style/genre/sound in particular you were after, fascinated by or trying to get into?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any comments?