What I listened to this past February and March. We didn’t have much of a winter here in the midwest but the windswept, icy expanses of Tim Hecker’s Piano Drop (2011) proved seasonally affective. After seeing it listed and name-dropped for years, I finally checked out Oval’s notorious 94diskont (1994). Despite 17 years between the two albums, the two complement each other quite well. The thematic ties are tantalizing: Hecker’s album, which depicts an MIT piano drop ritual on its cover, is nominally concerned with the music as a damaged or discarded good, whereas Oval built a mythology for themselves by making music by attacking compact discs with Sharpies and X-Acto knives. But really, I just listened to the albums to block out competing sounds during work.
But what about, you know, postpunk music? I haven’t had much recently. My most significant discovery this year has been Big Dipper. Their 2008 three-disc Supercluster reissue is tight, catchy, brainy indie rock. (If you know the Embarrassment, then know that BD features Bill Goffrier of the Embos on guitar/vocals). The first disc is masterful, opening with wiry rockers like “Faith Healer” “What in Sam Hill…?” and developing into smart, ringing power pop on “She’s Fetching”, “Humason” and the infectious “Man o’War”. Required listening, at least for the first two discs.
Two quick hits: Porter Ricks’ reissue Biokinetics (1996) is nothing short of perfect when it comes to aquatic ambient house music. It’s been my default “work music” for a few weeks. Also, I like Real Estate a little more after reading this defense of their “easy” music.