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2019-12-15

MUSIC 2019: top EPs, live recordings - and my own shit



After my TOP 22 albums and my TOP 20 live shows it's time for the third and last part of my musical rewind of 2019, where I gather everythink else I want to rank or mention.

Which isn't very much this time, because two new 7" records (and one of them being a magazine extra) doesn't really justify a list. So here are my TOP 3 EPs and live recordings - and then three videos with my honestly most favorite music stuff of the year. Please check them out!








TOP 3 EPs:


  1. THE COMET IS COMING - The Afterlife
     
    Here's yet another example of "one excellent release per year just isn't enough". Think of "Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery" as a colourful ball of modelling clay; to fit it into a shorter running time you press it together with all your power. Its particles are closer together now, everything is tighter. The electronics are crispier, the droning keys are vibrating deeper. The beats are harder to resist and the saxophone reaches higher to the stars. The Comet Is Coming are just getting a little bit better with each LP or EP. Just as the album "The Afterlife" also features one track with a guest poet / musician, the male counterpart to Kate Tempest, if you will. It's Joshua Idehen, who we already love from his contributions to Sons Of Kemet's "Your Queen Is A Reptile".   

      
  2. RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON - Bliss
     
    Drone. Super drone. Radar Men From The Moon drone. No, wait! I've already reserved this introduction for another release. (See live recordings below!) It works for both bands though, since this EP from the Dutch psych heads especially in its more ambient moment feels very much alike Ulver's "Drone Activity". RMFTM's approach however is more direct, meaner and harder. When they're using harsh electronic beats you can imagine JK Flesh nodding in approval of this buzzdroning grumble-bee of a record.


     
  3.  MOLASSES - Morning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight
     
    Named after the last song of the album "Earth Air Spirit Water Fire" from Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies, it his no big surprise that this group, which was founded for a commissioned Roadburn performance, is basically a merger of the late guitarist's last psychedelic rock and his occult proto-metal with The Devil's Blood. The stomping beats with that signature groove, the hard rock powerchords, the layered lead guitars harmonizing into eternity... and of course she herself on lead vocals, "the Devil's Mouth" Farida Lemouchi, whose longing, mystical voice has been dearly missed. If the the sound of this EP would just be a tad clearer and the running time a little longer, "Morning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight" could have been my number one here.

 








TOP 3 live recordings:



  1. Drone. Super drone. Ulver drone. Two weeks before an event called (surprise!) "Drone Activity" in a former fish warehouse in Oslo Krystoffer Riggs' famous local band was invited to play a show there and agreed to perform 90 minutes of exclusive new music. Some band members could only come shortly before the performance, the drummer wasn't available at all. But somehow they managed to prepare just enough basic structures to have it bloom into a phenomenal dronescape. Edited down to four massive tracks this resulted in an album dramatically different than - yet truly on par with - their last studio work "The Assassination Of Julius Caesar".


  2. ORANSSI PAZUZU - Live At Roadburn

    When the Finnish blackadelic hypnotribalistic colossevil cosmic black metal force Oranssi Pazuzu played in Het Patronaat in 2016 the interest in the band was much bigger than the room. So they made a triumphant return in 2017, which is documented on this gigantic record. Considering that they already co-created my personal album of the year with the Waste Of Space Orchestra, this an extremely pleasant icing on the Pazuzu cake.

    [Speaking about dark and epic Roadburn records: Mizmor's "Yodh: Live At Roadburn 2018" is another jewel of doom and black metal you don't want to miss!]


  3. ZEAL & ARDOR - Live In London

    No, I won't delve deep into the genius of Zeal & Ardor's black metal meets gospel meets blues in an alternative universe mix again right now. But what I cannot emphasize enough is the pure mass of hits on this live recording. Only the debut EP and one full album are not much material for the kind of headlining status Manuel Gagneux's band has already achieved, so there's a whole handful of new songs which are celebrated just as euphoric as the rest of the repertoire. All in all "Live In London" is not only a great live recording, but also an excellent point to start in case you're still new to Zeal & Ardor.









and else?


I've thought about including other rankings, but I just don't have enough 10" records or re-issues or whatever to justify them. The category of disappointments is not only negative, but it also feels so samey, because every year there are bands who disbanded (Subrosa), lost crucial members (Sinistro) or avoided Hamburg / Northern Germany on their tours (hello, Earth!), so I'm not doing that either.

That leaves me to conclude with my own shit...




DRUTURUM activities:


DruturuM sadly did not play live this year. Yeah, it's been a horribly long time now.

However we finally finished "Druturum V: Wayfarer" and played a live home session of it in our rehearsal room in April. As always there are some small mistakes, but all in all we are very proud of this huge chunk of Danelectro drone with lots of psychedelica, Glockenspiel and some surprising twists and turns in it.

You can watch the whole session - flavoured with lots of my photographs and some new Digital Harinezumi video sequences - in three parts on our YouTube playlist:






Even though we haven't practiced it since then, we're still willing to do one exlusive "real" live performance of "Druturum V: Wayfarer" with an audience at some point. Maybe even as a double feature, if we're allowed to, haha.

Because meanwhile we're working on "Druturum VI: Tightrope Walkers on the Junction of Memory, Dream and Oblivion", which will again feature some new instruments and styles and already has a very fine cover artwork (1972, Ohlsen family archives):










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