What a year 2015 was! Not only did we wake up with the release of Ghost and Tape's amazing album 'Shift', we also organized two unforgettable labelnights at STUK in Leuven. Thanks again to Sonmi451, Simon Scott and Machinefabriek for their delicate sounds that made the audience sleepy, thanks to Sokkyo for waking them up again. Thank you to Dauw for joining forces, also many thanks to everybody who came and/or was somehow involved!
Thank you too for all the support and kind words we got last year - keep them coming :-)
It's also an inevitable tradition at this time of the year to have a look back. So, we asked a few Slaapwel-artists to tell us about their highlights of the past 12 months. Enjoy, and see you in 2016! (Yes, we're working on new releases!)
Heine Christensen (Ghost and Tape)
- Wil Bolton "Marram"
- Porya Hatami & Darren McClure - "In-between Spaces"
Most played artists:
- Federico Durand
Some random faves (of course by far not complete, tomorrow the list
might already be different). Anyway all things that for sure made a lasting
impression and still continue to do so:
- Boduf Songs, Stench of Exist, CD, The Flenser
- The Silence Set, Teeth Out, CD, Mini50Records
- Heather Broderick, Glider, CD, Western Vinyl
- Erik Grisworld, Pain Avoidance Machine, CD, Room40
- Vilod, CD, Perlon
- Luigi Archetti, Null I-VIII, 8x CD-Box, Die Schachtel
- Silvia Bächli, Brombeeren, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König
- Thomas Müllenbach, Originale, Edition Patrick Frey
- Überzeichnen, Von Basel aus, Edition Fink
- Hiroshi Sugimoto, Seascapes, Damiani
- Fischli/Weiss, Plötzlich diese Übersicht, Laurenz Stiftung
- Christian Marclay, Action, Aargauer Kunsthaus
- Ai Weiwei, Royal Academy of Arts, London
- Ryoji Ikeda, ZKM, Karlsruhe
- Future Present, Schaulager, Basel
- Quantum of Disorder, Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich
Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek)
- Devin Disanto / Nick Hofman - Three Exercises (Erstwhile)
I was impressed by Disanto’s first album, ‘Tracing a Boundary’, a mysterious record in which field recordings and an instrumental ensemble immerse in such a way that you don’t really know what is what. ‘There Exercises’ has a bit of that same sensation. The duo uses a gymnasium and spreads memo recorders (yes, an obvious inspiration for my recent Slaapwel gigs!) across the room, recites seemingly random numbers, bounces balls, rolling off tape and what not… It’s as if you’re listening to some strange ritual. There’s no video to be found of the session, which adds to the mystery. A unique album.
- Susan Stenger - Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland
This is a project for which sound artist Susan Stenger took a diagram of coastal geological formations from the River Tyne, and used it as a graphic score. Inspired by the areas the river runs through, the continuous drone is accompanied by rural folk tunes with fiddle and bagpipes. A unique and georgeous project. Unfortunatly I didn't see the installation itself, but the book+cd that documents the project is a beauty.
- Jürg Frey – Grizzana And Other Pieces / Circles and Landscapes (Another Timbre)
I’m cheating here… sorry. Actually, I could add a third one to this, Jürg Frey’s ‘String Quartet 3’. But let’s stick to the Another Timbre duo of ensemble pieces and solo piano pieces by Frey. Probably the most accessible composers of the Wandelweiser clan, it’s simply some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard, ever. It’s all deceptively simple and minimalistic, but ever note seems perfectly placed and pure. Phrases get repeated, with subtle changes, making some of the pieces quite hypnotic. ‘Extended Circular Music No.2’ (from the solo piano disc) is probably my favorite piece.
(this version is from a different release)
- The Necks - Vertigo (Fish of Milk)
What can I say… The Necks never do anything wrong. They seem to re-invent themselves with every new album, and this one is again incredible. Open, their previous album, was more ambient-like and beautiful. Vertigo is way more edgy and strange, and I may prefer it.
- Krallice - Ygg Huur (Krallice)
When I was a teenager, I was completely into death metal. And I never completely shook that of. I rarely buy metal albums these days, but sometimes one stands out, like this one by Krallice. People seem to call it black metal, but to me it sounds more like Neurosis playing very technical death metal. In any case, it’s extremely dense, perplexing and exhilarating. Love it.
Choosing 5 albums is not an easy thing. First off, I can never keep track of when an album was actually released, and a lot of the times I find myself adding albums that I just plain like, regardless of when they were released. And choosing just 5 albums period is basically impossible… So for this one I just went with things that immediately popped into mind, things that I have been listening to a lot over the last year. And I actually had to consult Discogs on more than one occasion to check which year the albums were actually released, but I think I got it right in the end. I’ve chosen to include Spotify links to all the albums here, but I would encourage everyone to buy the actual physical album. Support the artists, support the labels, support music!
Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Well, what can I say, I’m a hipster, so sue me. I loved Sunbather and I love New Bermuda and I don’t give a fuck what you choose to call this actually. I’ve seen terms like black gaze, post black metal and of course hipster black metal. But seriously, does it even matter? New Bermuda is a massive piece of work, and it is also a distinct step away from Sunbather in that it has far more classic metal influences with Slayer sounding riffs throughout the album. Simultaneously they move both towards a more thrash oriented output and shoegaze pop and it’s brilliant. Also a nice touch to include the lyrics, which shows that George Clarke (who I assume write the lyrics?) is no half assed lyricist either. Recently I saw a thread on Facebook about New Bermuda with a lot of demeaning comments on how not trve they are, one of the comments being “Do people still like them?”. And it made me smile when I saw the reply from a friend of mine: “Do people still hate them?”
Midaircondo – IV
Darker than ever before, more abstract and less accessible than any of their previous albums, IV is a beast of an album, spanning four packed sides of vinyl. It’s not easy to digest, far from it. But it’s definitely worth the effort because once you delve into it, you discover new things again and again. It also comes in an amazing box containing a set of different art prints. IV was released just a couple of months before they decided to call it quits after 12 years as a band. And if you go out with something like this, then you go out with your head held high. This is a must have, for a lot of reasons.
Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood
Technically, this may not be eligible for this, seeing as it’s a re-issue. But technically, I don’t give a fuck... In many ways this was my starting point into the ongoing journey into the world that is Neurosis. Still today, almost 20 years after its initial release it still stands out as one of their best albums, and that’s saying something when it comes to Neurosis. It has tenderness and beauty, rage and furiosity, darkness, light and heaviness all mixed up into one perfect whole. It is monumental, a monolith and a milestone in modern heavy music and an album I assume has been the starting point of many bands out there and for many bands to come. This album is definitely on my top ten all time favorites and it’s an album that I keep coming back to, over and over again and I expect I will so for the rest of my days.
Heather Woods Broderick - Glider
One of the most beautiful voices out there returns with an amazing album. When From The Ground came out in 2009 I was totally blown away. The directness and the tone of that entire album was just mind blowing. When Glider surfaced, six years later, I was at first not overwhelmed to be honest. The album took longer time to grow on me, and there are still elements that I’m not too fond of. But once the tracks had started to take root, it was an album that I just kept coming back to, that just kept growing and growing. Just try to listen to the track Wyoming without tearing up. Unbelievably beautiful, and possibly one of the sweetest cover images I’ve ever seen.
James Welburn – Hold
When Erik, who runs Miasmah, started talking about Hold he was telling me he had this album that he just knew I was going to like, an album that was almost like a “drone black metal, Neurosis, hardcore” kind of thing. Naturally I forced him to give me a preview link and the first time I heard it, in a hotel room in Berlin on the crappy (understatement of the year) laptop speakers, I knew I was gonna love it. When I got home and listened in my own stereo I was just floored. The preciseness of the drums paired with the massive drone-scapes is just absolutely genius. It’s a visceral album, stripped bare of all unnecessary elements and it’s just brilliant!