The best releases of the year 2012! (Part I)

It’s been a very interesting year when it comes to music. There have been a great amount of releases that have been up there with the greatest of yesteryear. Since everybody seems to be doing these lists, I will join in on the fun and recommend you the best releases of this year. Some of those releases might’ve been what I’ve reviewed on this blog and some others might be releases that I haven’t reviewed yet. I think it’s fun to do these lists nevertheless and hope that you will be with me next year too, as I will be continuing with my quest to shine a light on good and unintentionally obscure gems that seem to be passing by in the speed of light, only getting picked up by the smaller blogs like mine and other blogs. I will also be doing other lists that will be turning up in the days ahead of us and I might actually do something “big” for a change, just to celebrate this year’s passing. Welcome to Part I which in an unorthodox manner, displays the four best releases of this year.

dalet-cover4. Various Artists – A Somatic Response

A compilation from the wonderful label Beläten. It’s been with me since many months back and was probably the first compilation that I ever reviewed. There is something interesting in the way the artists were compiled on this compilation, it seems like it took a long time for Thomas to sort them out and place them in the right spot. Rightfully so, it also made it a whole lot better and it felt like it had been worked on for quite some time. Even though the music at times might not have been what I expected, I could hear that it reeked of quality. There was basically nothing wrong with it and it was a suitable piece of art which hopefully will get what it deserves in the future. I think its one of the greatest compilations of this year and therefore its included in the first batch of the best releases. If you haven’t already heard it, I suggest you do. I would also like to quote a little bit from the review I did on it:

With a synthesizer brain, you can’t go insane.

solblot-fc3b6r-mig-finns-ingen-vc3a4rld3. Solblot – För Mig Finns Ingen Väg Från Hemmets Dörr

An adaptation of the wonderful poems that Verner Von Heidenstam wrote in the end of the 19th century. If anything, this album should be and is a part of Swedish cultural heritage. It also broadens the horizon of neofolk, since they’ve managed to put their own approach to the music and the genre as a whole. They’ve outdone themselves when it boils down to it, since they made a lot of variation in between the different song and it is noticeable that they have what it takes to put Sweden on that scene. I don’t think any other band in that particular genre (at least from Sweden) have managed to stay that original and still make it. The album is a milestone of their discography but also as a whole, it really enlightens the aspects that might be forgotten nowadays and heighten them to the max. Hopefully they’ll move on to create yet another album that can withstand the toll of time, as I certainly hope that this album will, because its a positive outreach and insight into both cultural and musical aspects of Sweden. I would like to quote a bit from my review of their album (unfortunately only in Swedish):

Jag hoppas att de tänker ta någon av de andra klassiska svenska dikterna och göra något av det, själv tror jag i mitt stilla sinne att Heidenstam hade varit väldigt stolt över detta om han hade levt bland oss idag. Ett riktigt bra album och förmodligen något man kommer att se tillbaka på, när Solblot cementerat sig själva ytterligare, och kunna kalla den för “en klassiker“.

2721236100-12. TSTI – Evaluations

One of the most original albums to be released this year. The throwback to the wonderful 80’s music that I love so much have also made a mark on TSTI. His latest album evaluations is a good reminder of how much greater some of the synth-pop and darkwave could be. It took me a while to find it and I even conducted an interview with him about his music. I also reviewed his album, which was a listening experience that actually could describe this year very well in every sense. He managed to pinpoint the exact things about this year, musically, that made it suck so hard. But there was always some sense of relief, even though there wasn’t much of it to begin with. His music takes out the best in me and riddles in nostalgia, which helps me remind myself of how things were before. Surely a milestone album when it comes to that genre and a very interesting addition to a pretty suffering style of genres. The analog dimension of it makes it even more worthwhile to listen to and I sincerely recommend it. I should also quote something from my review of it:

I love how the synths start sounding like dolphins communicating below surface, even though its almost a few seconds. I believe that is the essence of S. Smith, he can both be very complex at hand but when you think about it – he’s also managed to keep a basic edge to what he’s doing.

PRO002811. The Deadfly Ensemble – An Instructional Guide For Aspiring Arsonists

It’s not hard to realize why I chose this album. Since I’ve listened through it, I picked it up once again and started listening. Every time I listen to it, it blows my mind and it’s probably one of the most original albums I’ve heard in a very long time. I must also say that it was hard to review such a masterpiece, because you didn’t know where you should go and you didn’t know what to say. But I must say that I completely loved the theme of the album and I tried my hardest to describe it in a way that would be suitable. Nothing can really touch this, not even the release that is on second place in this review. The amount of quirkiness, the sincerity and the sheer complexity of the music at hand left me indecisive about including it into the list, just because it blows every other record out of the water. I would even go so far as to include an excerpt from my review of their album, which leaves nothing else to be said:

They’ve managed to fit in so many emotions into this and they’ve managed to actually keep the music alive, the lyrical content excellent and everything else top notch. Everyone involved with this have outdone themselves and I’d like to say that his is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. It absolutely smacks many other albums away from the first place and crowns itself.

Which, concludes this years (Part I) list of the best releases. I wish you a Merry Christmas!

V/A – A Somatic Response

The Cover!

The aesthetic beauty of the front cover is absolutely astonishing. A hint of minimalism, overload of darkness and a subtle ambition. With a synthesizer brain, you can’t go insane. Also, the geometrically aligned dots with numbers make an excellent expression, as if this is a calculated (which it is) release with lots of things to offer. The ambiguity of it is perfectly fitting with the black, white and gray layering. As if you’re storming into something you haven’t seen before, revealing details of a flawless manufacturing with multidimensional influence.

Which at large can become a little bit too detailed, but it makes for the interesting contrast of the backside featuring a small Beläten symbol with roman letters contra a computerized URL. So, in case you’d wonder about it, you won’t really escape the pin-pointed detail and cleanliness of it. But I really like the multifaceted approach of keeping the cover tidy and minimalistic, but at the same time experiment with immense detail. Nothing hits the spot more than some scientist trying to squeeze some synthesizer knob, and at the same time being branded as “nr. 1“. Apparently the brains synthesizer seems to be labeled in German, making it sound even more underground. What number 3, 4 and 5 are references to seems pretty unsolvable. But the a, b and c seem to be in the geometrically correct position.

The aesthetics become a reminder of experimental electronic covers, and since this release comes in tape-shape, it makes it even better. Since the resemblance of older tape-released experimental electronica comes to mind, with grinding gear and industrial feeling. You can actually see the depicted character on the front push a button, in which the line of sight and geometrical line goes in total symbiosis with it. Like a well-oiled machinery, or a symbol of man and machine – e.g. a cyborg. Also, when opening up the folded cover, it discovers the secret passages of “E” and “F” on what seems to be disco-lights. Excellent.

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Interview with Thomas from Beläten!

Thomas Ekelund is the man behind the label Beläten. He’s also a musician, graphic designer and visual artist and comes from Gothenburg. His older projects include Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words a musicproject active from 2000-2010, Fukk God Lets Create a MP3-label active from 2000-2005, Fukk Tapes Lets Erase a tapelabel active from 2005-2009. And also a bunch of other projects, currently he’s occupied with these projects: Trepaneringsritualen, Swollen SS (with Lina Babydoll), IRNI (with Joachim Nordwall) and also, at times, Teeth. So, in other words this man is obviously occupied and have been occupying himself with projects throughout the years. I got the opportunity to interview Thomas about his current “sideproject” Beläten, where he draws his influences from, what he thinks about the music industry, where he is in the piracy question, tips for people wanting to start out their own label and much more. This is the first label-interview ever published on Invisible Guy, make sure to check it out!

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