A return, of sorts. We apologise for going off-duty over the past month, and would like to offer some classical US death metal by way of re-introduction.
Incantation's devastatingly powerful 1992 debut Onward to Golgotha is rightly regarded as a release that defined and shaped death metal. Formed of brutal hammer blasts of break-neck pace combined with a suffocatingly slow crush, Onward to Golgotha sits alongside similarly-timed releases by Death, Autopsy, Obituary, Immolation (et. al.) as an extraordinarily skilled and compositionally labyrinthine foundation of the genre.
Now over 20 years old - though as consistently vital as ever - a whole generation of metal bands frequently revisit the forceful and weighty delivery of destructive musicality here. Listen in full above.
Our last post of 2012 accidentally becomes our first post of 2013 due to lethargy and the all-enveloping Christmas period taking over.
Delayed, but not forgotten, another Squealer-favourite Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - formerly of San Francisco’s genre-defining Tarentel and owner of the superb Root Strata label - here contributes his list of the year just passed:
Suzanne Ciani – Voices Of Packaged Souls Roe Enney - All Or Nuthin (Rhyme Or Reason) The Durutti Column - Short Stories for Pauline Lee Gamble - Diversions 1994-1996 & Dutch Tvashar Plumes Aaron Dilloway & Jason Lescalleet - Grapes & Snakes Andrew Chalk - Forty-Nine Views In Rhapsodies’ Wave Serene Jandek – Maze of The Phantom Woo – It’s Cozy Inside Gareth Williams & Marie Currie – Flaming Tunes Laurie Spiegel – The Expanding Universe
Jefre also kindly put together a stunning mixtape for us earlier this year. Listen here.
Gnod - Shitting Through The Eye Of The Needle KTL - V Cannibal Movie - Avorio Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - M’Bondo Version Wolfgang Voigt – Rückverzauberung 6 Oren Ambarchi - Sagittarian Domain Egisto Macchi - Voix Mika Vainio / Kevin Drumm / Axel Dörner / Lucio Capece - Venexia Dickie Landry - 15 Saxaphones Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
Raime are written up here. (Please N.B. that the first paragraph is not specifically about Raime. We approached them, not vice versa).
While we have already opted to publish featured artists’ end of year lists as opposed to our own, we will commit to picking our favourite record of 2012.
Bristol’s kandodo (aka former Heads member Simon Price) and his self-titled debut album of dark, cascading, Africanised drones (released in June by Thrill Jockey) were an easy choice for our top spot. Nothing else quite like kandodo has reached our ears this year.
Price has contributed his own top ten for 2012 as part of our ongoing artists’ choices feature. “In no particular order”:
- Om - Advaitic Songs - Moon Duo - Circles - John Carpenter - The Fog OST - Witch - We Intend To Cause Havoc! - Dylan LeBlanc - Cast The Same Old Shadow - Grimes - Visions - Swans - The Seer - Delta Swamp Rock Volume 2 - Tame Impala - Lonerism - Can - The Lost Tapes
Here at Squealer, we are under no pretence of self-importance. We are aware that our audience is far more interested in what the artists that we feature have to say than the nerdy “journalists” that put together the write-ups on those musicians.
With this in mind, we will likely eschew a record selection to represent our interest in the releases of 2012, and instead feature the picks of the artists whose work is clearly far more important.
We begin with Copenhagen’s Thulebasen. Featured here, and the first of plenty:
- Muzz - Light show (CS) - Lamburg Tony - Noise Dance - Lucky Dragons - Publicity Reform - Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland - The Attitude Era - Father Murphy - Anyway Your Children Will Deny It - THEESatisfaction - Awe Naturale - Daughn Gibson - All Hell - U.S. Girls - GEM - Girlseeker - 1-800-Greed - Lower - Someone’s Got It in for Me/But There Has to Be More
N.B. The band “put in the link for Muzz because its hard to find and its extremely amazing.”
Admittedly, we have featured DIIVbefore, though this was before the release of their fantastic OshinLP (Captured Tracks, 2012) and - more importantly - before bandleader Zachery Cole Smith changed the name of his project from Dive to the more obtuse DIIV. So, theoretically, we are featuring Dive once and DIIV once, and are doing our hardest not to break our own one-feature-only rule.
Oshin surfaced in June of this year. It is a Anglophilic record, full of off-beat snare hits, floating guitar lines and pressing bass melodies that reference Joy Division and New Order with ear-piquing nods to Neu! and Cole Smith’s previous project Beach Fossils. Essentially, this recipe leaves us with an endearing and fruitful combination of the familiar and the contemporary. It offers plenty, encouraging repeat listens in its multi-dimensional swirls and heavily masked lyrics, but it is not so alien as to require deconstruction or method.
We approached Canadian musician / campaigner Stefan Christoff's Duets for Abdelrazikproject with some caution. Though the grounding moral message here is solid and valuable, and the list of musical collaborators respected, we have found that a politically vocal musical release can potentially manifest its own downfall. Despite strong moral intentions, musical projects can suffer from allowing the music itself to take a back seat, ending up contributing little to either cause. Not as a rule, of course, but occasionally “protest music” is in danger of qualifying as neither.
Happily, Duets for Abdelrazik does not fall into such traps. Born from the same protest circles and philosophies as the grassroots campaigns that Montreal has been so involved with and protective of, the musical performers here also span the city’s pivotal scenes and artists. Recording took place at the near-legendary Hotel2Tango - home of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and the Constellation label - and features names that appear on several guest credits of important Montrealer albums.
The pieces are centred around Christoff’s piano, and - as the title would suggest - feature a guest performer in harmony and foil to Christoff’s lines. The results are (morally speaking) reflective of the anguish, outrage, resilience and fraternity that political victim Abousfian Abdelrazik went through during his forced struggle between the Canadian and Sudanese governments. It also, crucially, acts as a crier, demanding that Abdelrazik’s troubles are not forgotten or ignored.
Musically speaking, the record is similarly evocative, combining elements and timbres of the melancholy and the exotic. One of two leaked tracks, the piece we feature below sees Sam Shalabi duet on oud with Christoff, a serpentine, Eastern melody that sits at odds with the comforting purity of the untreated piano, but spiriting the track into hauntingly beautiful territory.
The chief difficulty that we face in writing up San Francisco’s Apprentice Destroyer is that this is is all we really know about him / her / them. Musical quality and an eccentric (lack of) back-story aside, several fruitless attempts at searching for further explanation have yielded us with information enough to write three definite sentences: the name of the project, its location, and the assertion that their self-titled debut release was recorded between 2009 and 2012 at Guitar Center on portable equipment (see: Apprentice Destroyer’s bandcamp page above).
Baffling stuff, sure, but when accompanied with a musical output that references Eno, Robert Fripp, Tangerine Dream, Dustin Wong, Don Caballero, Joy Division, Ulver within three modest-length, untitled instrumental tracks, the information shortage does little to hold back the intrigue and interest.