I want to go back to writing here and what better time to start than the beginning of the year, the time of resolutions and new beginnings? And what better topic that summaries of the year that’s now gone?
The last time I made a musical summary of a year was six years ago and I have to really keep myself from telling you all the great music from that whole period… But I will have to start with some pieces from 2016 too, because they were prevalent and listened to very often in 2017 as well.
1. Abney Park, “The End of Days” (2010)
Shown to me by a Steampunk-obsessed friend from work, C. after I tried to impress her with my limited knowledge of this trend in music by giving her my discovery, the Oxford based musical cabaret The Mechanisms.
For this entry I chose the first song I ever heard from them, because it instantly sucked me into their steampunk post-apo atmosphere and it’s the first my mind goes to when I think of them, with its hypnotic rhythm, great instrumentation and fantastic lyrics (“The world again will be theirs one day” repeated at the end of each verse, every time in a different context). But really, any piece by this very prolific band is wonderfully palatable, be it from their later, Steampunk years, or earlier, more Emo-Gothic era, which also surprised me by how digestible it is for me.
Even though their whole discography is available on Spotify, for me they’re well worth buying the whole album collection (at the time of writing there’s 16 of them) digitally on their website, especially when a 50% off promo comes every now and then.
2. Shpongle, “Divine Moments of Truth” (1998)
Shown to me by another friend from work, T. who doesn’t work with me anymore and is greatly missed in large part due to his tastes in music and movies, even if he had some mishaps (hello, “Lobster”, my old frie… I mean, go die in hell).
T. listens mostly to ambient electronic music. While I tried to show him some artists in this area he might not know (Future Sound of London, Infected Mushroom), he proved over and over that he does know his stuff (although I did succeed once or twice – I still remember hearts in his eyes when he first heart the theme from “Stranger Things”) and in turn he passed to me this weird album by this weird band.
This specific piece stood out for me from their whole debut album, the 1998’s “Are You Shpongled?”, because of seemingly backwards Japanese narration in the beginning, some amazing rhythms in the middle reminiscent of the amazing “Heavyweight” by Infected Mushroom, and then the computerized vocals that managed to fit the piece’s title into its strange rhythm.
Also, a great piece to run to.
3. Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of Shadows, “In Der Palastra” (2007)
This amazing song was also shown to me by T. as a proof that he doesn’t really listen only to instrumental electronic 80s style ambience, but also some really weird songs (I think it was right after I tried to show him The Legendary Pink Dots), but stylistically is also fitting to what C. might be listening to, with its musical box intro, Victorian xylophone-based instrumentation, a music video based on video footage made to look like made by the Brothers Lumiere.
But then the lyrics, my God… The emotions conveyed by this one of a kind artist (Sopor truly is someone worth learning about) in the lyrics and their delivery are heart breaking in how torn they are between self-hatred and the need of self-acceptance.
For me this is THE song of 2016.
(join me next time for some ACTUAL 2017 music…)