2014 In A Listen Or Two; A State Of Imperative Dissipation

"The work of genius may be music, philosophy, painting, or poetry; it is nothing for use or profit. To be useless and unprofitable is one of the characteristics of the works of genius; it is their patent of nobility."  -Arthur Schopenhauer ("The World As Will And Representation", Volume 1)

Cinema is dead. So said Peter Greenaway, and so we've seen that in recent years. People have been trying too hard to think different (or just to make money), making all sorts of irrelevant, absurd comparisons to compromise for the decline, but in the end it's just a pathetic thing to witness; that is to say, what could possibly be similar between the work of Fincher and Lynch, Jonathan Glazer and Freud, and even so, Alain Guiraudie and that of Genet? Nothing. The case of music happens to be different, though not as ideal as what Steve Albini or Henry Rollins describe it. And by that I mean it isn't what Zappa wanted it to be and at the same time the very thing Zappa wanted it to be. It is what Zappa wanted it to be, because of the list I'm about to present to you, and it isn't what Zappa wanted it to be, because the average musician today doesn't make much money out of his or her music to begin with. One might blacklist Zappa as an idealist, talking of musicians making good money out of what they do, but the question is; to what extent Schopenhauer's saying about the work of genius can be regarded as truth, when one's living within a capitalist society?

The rhetoric here is a complicated one. For starters, let's see why the case of music is different from that of cinema. Ever wondered why Jodorowsky didn't direct a movie for the past twenty years when you were so cheerfully watching "Jodorowsky's Dune" or "The Dance of Reality"? Money of course. It isn't as though he ran out of ideas. So, Albini is right on that one: it's because today, producing an album is hell of a lot more cheaper than what it was like, twenty years ago. But, have the channels and the ways of reaching the audience changed as drastically as that, compared to the same 'twenty years ago'? Negative. We still don't get to hear music on the radio, still bullshit's all over the media, and still only the bullshit is handed to the mass of people; only with a difference, that people of today are used to these kinds of contradictions, precisely in the way Marx spoke of. And there is even more; there is also the claim that "well, all the other 'good' music you speak of are also on the iTunes", as if people were going to search for Phill Niblock or Expo '70 all by themselves. It is this fake, pseudo-democracy that makes a mess of the whole situation we are in. People tend to think they're really making choices when the choices are all made for them. And this is by no means Orwellian, not even in the slightest sense of the adjective.

Getting back to the difference between the state of music and cinema, it wouldn't be far from our discussion to mention that by saying "producing an album is hell of a lot more cheaper than what it was like, twenty years ago" and relating that to the sprightliness of music, one has already rejected the Schopenhauer saying; in the sense that with associating money with the creation of art, and moreover, considering it a condition, it is suggested that music, cinema, or any art form, is to a certain point bounded by the concept of industry, no matter how rebellious. I remember I was re-watching the Rush documentary, "Beyond the Lighted Stage", a while ago, and when it came to the "Caress Of Steel"-era and the whole dilemma about their popularity, with Mercury Records wanting to drop them and so on, right before the documentary was to go on with "then they released 2112, not trying to compromise their work" and so on, Lifeson mentioned something marginal and cliche at first look, but something extremely important and relevant to this debate as well. "We all decided that we would rather go back to our jobs, working on a farm, or working as a plumber's mate for my dad or whatever than give in and just be something that everybody else wants us to be." He said.

So what does that point out to us? That a man can do it if he wants? Indeed not. We all know Rush eventually gave in, with "Moving Pictures", but if that statement proves one thing, it has to be the fact that being a musician in a capitalist economy, it would also mean the music is only valued by the wage it brings. One more thing -- I would like to close this with a note from Céline, who, when asked about the reason for writing, answered "To earn a living... I want to earn a living in a certain way. I don't want to make a living as a hooker... I want to make a living, as you can see, in an honest way... So I'm at my workbench, and I do it. But gosh, if I was dispensed of it, by some sudden fortune, I'll be delighted."

The list below features selections made out of a total of 327 records released in 2014 that I spent time listening to, throughout the year; and which has been arranged at random, same as before.

Univers Zero - Phosphorescent Dreams

A far cry from early Universe Zero, "Phosphorescent Dreams" shows once and for all Daniel Denis can take the helm, come what may. And ravishing it comes.

David Rosenboom / William Winant - Zones Of Influence

Malkovich was considered by Charlie Kaufman for "Being John Malkovich", even before the project had found any producer, and similarly "Zones Of Influence" was written for William Winant, as well as the obsolete computer instrument -- Touché. Anyone familiar with Rosenboom, however, would be likely to know about the demiurgic aspects of his works, and so his choosing of Winant as the percussionist couldn't have been a result of his oracular individuality as a performer only, but to further impact the technique he calls 'morphological transformations', by the use of which, manipulation of sounds -- in this case, those realized by Winant's performance -- would be practical on a corresponding level. Heard on "Zones Of Influence" is one hour and thirty minutes of Nancarrowian im/possible expedition into the alien; the remote. Some ears are also likely to taste Pierre Schaeffer now and then.

Pierre De Bethmann Medium Ensemble - Sisyphe

In Pasolini's "Teorema", there are not many dialogues, and the movie itself advances through the happenings, yet those few dialogues are singular. In one scene, Pietro, the son (also a desperate artist) says: "We must try to invent new techniques, unrecognizable...which are unlike any previous method...to avoid childishness, ridicule...make our world unlike any other...where previous standards don't apply...which must be new, like the technique. Nobody must realize that the artist is worthless...that he's an abnormal, inferior being...who squirms and twists like a worm to survive. Nobody must ever catch him out as naive. Everything must be presented as perfect...based on unknown, unquestionable rules...like an madman, that's it." 
...Wait, that was meant for the previous entry. Silly me.

Zebulon Pike - Nostalgia For The Unreal

John Edwards / Mark Sanders / John Tilbury - A Field Perpetually At The Edge Of Disorder

Music to get wracked, wrecked, and wreaked by.

Sonny Vincent - Cyanide Consommé

To call him Jerry Lee Lewis of punk wouldn't do the justice to his work, because, well, given the echelon of this webzine; and in a Hegelian view of the world, which also happens to be by far the onliest view that works, it'd be of no effect in the end.

Robin Hayward - Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse: Elegy To A Failed Instrument

Microtonal music may not be popular, but my ears feast on it, and this list contains two of the kind.

Child Abuse - Trouble In Paradise

Sickness from outer space.

Fu Manchu - Gigantoid

In the same year that Greenleaf, Monobrow, Lo-Pan, and a handful of the better stoner bands of the past century (not to count John Garcia's godawful solo release) let me down, and one year after the mediocre Kyuss Lives! record (excuse me, Vista Chino), Fu Manchu released this monster of an album.

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky - String Quartet

Kris Davis Trio - Waiting For You To Grow

The cover art to the Kris Davis record, "Waiting For You To Grow", is at best irrelevant, regardless of being good or bad.

Richard Pinhas / Oren Ambarchi - Tikkun

Krautrock dose of the year.

Pere Ubu - Carnival Of Souls

Poetic or not, "Carnival Of Souls" does indeed make use of language, that is to say, literature. And it is not necessarily pataphysical, either -- since there's always been more Beefheart to Pere Ubu than Jarry, to be particular.

Bill Orcutt - VDSQ - Solo Acoustic Volume Ten

Good grief, nine other volumes to catch up on!

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Peter Evans - The Freedom Principle

Foucault's reading of Humanism as "imprisonment of man inside certain types", and "fabrication of human being according to those types" comes strikingly close to truth, if there were one; but does that count to the end to man's liberation? It is to my belief that the answer would depend on the 'man' in question. And you can rest assured my dear paleo-Jack Londons that I'm not essentially talking Uebermensch/Letzte Mensch.

Anne Guthrie - Codiaeum Variegatum

Designed to both re-narcotize and re-galvanize the élan vital.

Nashville Pussy - Up The Dosage

At the top of their game.

The Quash Wagon Reclusion - Deconstructive Rock

Distancing themselves from the stoner rock sound heard on their debut EP, with "Deconstructive Rock", the Quash Wagon Reclusion have fleshed out sonic agoraphobia; the Minutemen-meets-Hans-Reichel-James-Chance-and-Neu! type.

Dave Rempis - Joshua Abrams - Avreeayl Ra - Aphelion

The same; different every time.

Ha-Yang Kim - Threadsuns

Drawing inspiration from Paul Celan's 'Fadensonnen' -- and to know this wasn't even part of the "Radical Jewish Culture" series... I'm beginning to think Zorn's gradually transforming into a black metaller waving Norway's flag as he's getting older, or these are merely matters of chance -- the thespian "Threadsuns" wouldn't have been on my list, if it didn't sound halfway Górecki, Gavin Bryars, and Henry Flynt. Call it epic, but the use of the word 'epic' remains, as of this day, an ironic one, at least when it comes to music journalism or daily conversations or advertisements or.

Shellac - Dude Incredible

Shellac's most tender moment is also one that catches your ears in its sonic webs. Kiss of death it is called.

Shoes This High - Straight To Hell

Haunted. Unhaunted. Dead. Undead.

Incantation - Dirges Of Elysium

Incantation's sovereignty over death metal is quite similar to Slayer's; thrash metal, with the sole difference that they produced the same number of records as Slayer, in a span of twenty years.

Tellusian - Collision

Blending mathcore and death metal with a pairing fix of sludge, "Collision" detonates as absorbing as a fancied Botch-Hella-Atheist combo, all through.

Peeter Uuskyla - Daydreaming Nerves

In a parallel universe, François Tusques composes four solo pieces for Jim Capaldi. Andrew Hill joins as a second performer in the first song.

Kapali Carsi ‎- Spider / Feed Bag

An hour and a half of bombinating solo bass drone.

Dismemberment - Embrace The Dark

Dismemberment's music lurks somewhere between the ominous thrash of "Dreamweaver"-era Sabbat; Holocaust ("The Sound Of Souls", "Primal"), and Sodom's "Persecution Mania"; some 90's brutal death metal, and a taste of black metal -- all with proper disregard for the hardcore punk element in any of the mentioned bands/records.

Omertá - This Fire Burns

Q. Do you read Rolling Stone? A. No. Q. Do you give a flying fuck about their lists? A. No. Q. What is this? A. Sludge metal of the year.

Fred Frith / Michel Doneda - Fred Frith / Michel Doneda

Evilly underrated.

Towers - II

Early Om bellying up to GY!BE, Porn, and Fear Of God.

John Lurie National Orchestra - The Invention Of Animals

Records featuring previously-unreleased-music don't have to be by Hendrix or Grateful Dead to be worth a shot.

Nate Wooley / Hugo Antunes / Chris Corsano - Malus

Varying from a wholly emotional -- almost noir -- brand of jazz, at times reminding me of an early Gato Barbieri; to plain freeform fantasticality, "Malus" is certainly a high point in the three improvisers' career.

Bongripper - Miserable

Simon Magus - Carl Jung Is My Mother

Cybernoise straight from the 'horse''s mouth.

Agustí Fernández / Don Malfon - Fortress

Beckett's "Act Without Words I" is set in a desert, whereas "Fortress" appears to be set in an industrial landscape.

Reactory - High On Radiation

Sonic refection for lovers of Sodom, Onslaught, Voivod, and crossover thrash. Especially for that last group, who can't get over that dreadful last Prong record.

King Buzzo - This Machine Kills Artists

For some reason the solo record that Buzz put out this year beats the shit out of "Hold It In".


Lovecraftian doomjazz for y'all.

Sabbatory - Endless Asphyxiating Gloom

Regardless of the tedious pop-market bullshit ("The Satanist"? There are other worse examples), 2014 offered an overwhelming amount of death metal, and almost in any variation and for any taste. The Sabbatory record goes for the death-metal-with-Dave-Lombardo-on-drums category. And if you don't know what that means, just think of a faster version of Gorefest, Pungent Stench, or Benediction.

Hark - Crystalline

The International Nothing - The Dark Side Of Success

Contains highly clever sociopolitical messages. What? Do I sound like Harold Bloom? Well, he's been right about a number of things, including Doris Lessing.

Circle - Leviatan


Iron Mind - Iron Mind

Metallic hardcore as good as early Integrity is fucking hard to find, if you get my meaning, and Iron Mind deliver sheer mayhem to say the least.

Martin Iddon - Pneuma

Although I myself do not use Wikipedia so often, I used to consider the project more or less a reliable source of information, until recently that a friend of mine noted it lists Muhammad (and interestingly enough, not any other prophets of Abrahamic religions, such as Christ) along with Alain Badiou; Carl Schmitt, Thomas Hobbes, Thoreau, and Gramsci; as a social/political philosopher... And it was only last year that I said I despise Greek mythology.

The Blunder Of A Horse - Mystery Manta

Contrary to the Robin Hayward record, "Mystery Manta" is one maximal, Partchian microtonal album, with occasional whispers of Max Eastley, Pärson Sound, Johannes Fritsch and the kind.

Collapsed Arc Split W/ Justin Marc Lloyd - Time Pretzel Logic

Love cassettes? What about Dada and harsh noise?

Tim Daisy & Mikołaj Trzaska - In This Moment

Everything from Fede Penalva's artwork to the music on "In This Moment" is vintage; top-notch.

Game Over - Burst Into The Quiet

Somebody call Dan Lilker to sue these fellas. No, not because of the logo or the name -- cause they're killing it, even better than NA themselves. H.R.I.Y.L.: Dark Angel, (early) Testament, Exhorder.

John Zorn - Myth And Mythopoeia

When you're into Zorn, making a list is always easier said than done. During 2014, I got about eleven records of his, that is besides two collaborative ones ("The Dream Membrane", "Sonic Rivers"); most of which I took joy listening to. That said, even so "Myth And Mythopoeia" has been chosen for the list, there are at least three other records that are each a match for it, including "In The Hall Of Mirrors", "Psychomagia", and "Transmigration Of The Magus". However, there is still something discrete about "Myth And Mythopoeia", which made me single it out, and that being the rather unusual decision of Zorn to use the vibes/harp/bells combination he routinely uses for the Gnostic Trio pieces ("The Testament Of Solomon", "In Lambeth", "The Mysteries"), and the serialist piano work ("Madness, Love And Mysticism", "Chimeras") for overall contemporary classical compositions (e.g. "On The Torment Of Saints, The Casting Of Spells And The Evocation Of Spirits", "Angelus Novus", "Fragmentations, Prayers And Interjections").

Hans Joachim Irmler / Jaki Liebezeit - Flut

With an artwork reminiscing the works of Victor Vasarely, "Flut" can be spelled out as Skeleton Crew plus John Cale, This Heat, and a great amount of acid.

Szilárd Mezei International Improvisers Ensemble - Karszt

It's nothing but the mystique of big band being gently unriddled.

Qualeaceans - Capture Of Ziz

Electrocution - Metaphysincarnation

The return of death metal veterans Electrocution was conquering only on the sonic side, as it was hardly met with public acclaim. In any case, "Metaphysincarnation" is a record fundamentally as baleful as "Left Hand Path"-era Entombed; and technically as trenchant as Pestilence of "Testimony Of The Ancients".

Jeremiah Cymerman / Evan Parker / Nate Wooley - World Of Objects

Despite having no collective name, the trio of Parker/Cymerman/Wooley is in many ways comparable to Sonore, maybe only a bit more abstract sounding -- as the artwork might suggest -- with Cymerman favoring the electronics to the clarinet once in a while.

Hong Chulki, Tetuzi Akiyama, Jin Sangtae - Hong Chulki, Tetuzi Akiyama, Jin Sangtae

There's something altogether sinister about Sangtae's eclipsed method of making noise out of exposed hard drives, something that, when heard parallel to Chulki's turntables and Akiyama's guitar, has the potential to obliterate the entire natural world.

C.W. Stoneking - Gon' Boogaloo

By the fireside, the blues set fire to the roseate.

Tortorum - Katabasis

Imagine Nunfuckritual on one hand and Immortal on the other. Now, mold a third hand; Avichi, what do you see with your third eye? The answer's Tortorum.

Knit Prism - Pace

Field recordings; blinded, blocked, and concealed.

Vintage Cucumber - Sing Sang Sung

You're an avid reader of the 'Avant Anomalies of the Month' series? No shit, cause I thought it was still way over the average metal listener's head and abandoned it months ago. Anyway, if that is the case, then you already know about VC.

OFF! - Wasted Years

Morris must have got Dimitri Coats at least one Vitus record prior to the recording of "Waster Years".

Paul Shapiro - Shofarot Verses

Jazz thru surf rock, klezmer, and funk -- absolutely essential for every living individual.

Today Is The Day - Animal Mother

Read the review.

Les Claypool's Duo De Twang - Four Foot Shack

Remember there was no Ministry on the 2012 list and then there was this Buck Satan/666 Shooters record, instead?

Tetuzi Akiyama & Anla Courtis - Naranja Songs

More reasons for you to regret the demise of AAOTM.

Death Blues - Non-Fiction

Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell - Parallel Moments


Narcosatanicos - Narcosatanicos

Dubbed drug rock, Narcosatanicos' selftitled debut is a record somewhere stuck between Spaceship Landing, the Stooges, and early Yakuza.

Eyehategod - Eyehategod

Oddly resembling "Lillie F-65", in at least two ways (1. The record lasts for just about 30 minutes -- frankly speaking, 'Medicine Noose' and 'The Age of Bootcamp' don't count. 2. Joey LaCaze/Armando Acosta), the self-titled LP Eyehategod put out this year was just as good, and just as painfully short.

Chrome - Feel It Like A Scientist

Kong - Stern

The two terms industrial metal and progressive metal, for the most part, are applied to some utterly trite bands. For the most part, yes, because there are also bands like Kong.

Expo '70 - Frozen Living Elements

Swimmingly whipped up by Justin Wright, who, once again took his listeners on a magnetizing head-trip

Swans - To Be Kind

Marc Ribot Trio - Live At The Village Vanguard

A problem child on this list from two different point of views; one, that it's a live album and I rarely include live albums (not counting free improv. records); and two, that it's a cover album -- that I don't do either, as you don't see "Guitar In The Space Age!" anywhere on this list or "Not Here / Not Now" on previous year's list; nevertheless, "Live At The Village Vanguard" is a fantastic effort, from the word go.

Rabbits - Untoward

As Rabbits evolve, their audience get smaller and smaller. And that's just one reason why "Untoward" is their finest moment to date.

Stephen Gauci, Kirk Knuffke, Ken Filiano - Chasing Tales

Did anybody mention David Lynch?

Black Spirituals - Of Deconstruction

Wolfmother - New Crown

In a move so unforeseen, earlier in 2014, Wolfmother self-released their first record in five years, thru Bandcamp. I've always seen them as Mastodon's counterpart in rock -- perhaps along with the Mars Volta -- and so if that was their attempt to get rid of Modular Recordings (*ehem* Universal Music Australia), then, hats off to Wolfmother!

NunSlaughter - Angelic Dread

The name says it all.

Ian Nyquist - Variations

I often try not to associate works of art with political territories, but when it comes to Dublin, every single part of my body screams; JOYCE! Last year I encountered two Irish works; one, the movie "Calvary"; and two, the record "Variations". While the first one only managed to disappoint, the latter was a thrill from start to finish. A never-ending sonic puzzle, it can be randomized each time for a fresh episode, much like "Rabbit Run"; the 2001 Keith Rowe record, with Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler as collaborators. The music itself can best be described as a cut between dark ambient, sound art, and noise. Think Taku Sugimoto, Franck Vigroux, Robe., Steamboat Switzerland.

Hexis - Abalam

"Világvége" wasn't enough? Let's see how well you can put up with "Abalam".

Roscoe Mitchell - Conversations I

Autumn Porch - Confession To A Crow


Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara - Thumbscrew

The two Nels Cline records released last year were only alright, compared to the Thumbscrew record. Parenthetically, that happens to be a case of oranges and oranges.

Cripple Bastards - Nero In Metastasi

In the act of slowly moving away from noisegrind to pure grindcore, Cripple Bastard have shown much interest in plugging in a considerable volume of thrash, somewhat akin to Nausea. In that regard, "Nero In Metastasi" is their "South Of Heaven", and fucking wicked, too.

Tim Feeney - Caroline

Even more reasons. Also, the second percussive record on the list.

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, William Parker - Book Of Sound

Old-school as it may sound, "Book Of Sound" is a treat for anyone with the smallest interest in jazz.

Twinesuns - The Leaving

The new Earth was good, but then I heard Twinesuns' "The Leaving".

And now for the very first time -- the finest mini-releases, EPs, and split albums of the year:

Gets Worse Split W/Fissure - Gets Worse // Fissure

Powerviolence done the grind way.

Valeri Fabrikant - Potences

Visionary industrial soundscapes like this are the rarest.

Circle Shit - Circle Shit

If Batmobile were to suddenly go both instrumental and math rock, the result would have been Circle Shit's selftitled debut release. Master-criminally underrated.

Hooded Menace ‎- Labyrinth Of Carrion Breeze

You sure do remember Hooded Menace at least from 2012, don't you?

White Spot - Terms Of Venery

Ambitious, refreshing mathcore.

The Cutthroats 9 - Dissent

I'm a junkie.

Orphan - Grow​.​Shine​.​Wither​.​Die.


Inatroneegou - When Dread Forbids Dread

Blister metal.

Piglife - Eleven Songs

No band has come close to skillfully merging grind and crust punk since Magrudergrind but Piglife. And they do it their way, which is the slow, sludgy way.

Orphan Goggles - Puppet Master

Fatso Jetson meets the Boys Next Door

Child Bite & Phil Anselmo - Morbid Hits

Seth died for our sins, as did Nietzsche.