psontis’ top picks for 2012

After a very long hiatus we are back and we’re planning to get this place up and running again. And what better place to reboot than a sequence of posts of our favourite releases for 2012. It has been an awesome year for the industry and it took some effort to cherry-pick the following twenty:

01. Oren Ambarchi – Audience of One (Touch)

Legend in his own right Oren Ambarchi returns to Touch with a behemoth of an album especially due to the backbone of the album, Knots, a thirtyfive minute long workout with the help of various well established artists (Kang, Talia, Boothby)

02. Touch. 30 Years And Counting (Touch)

This is the perfect showcase for one of the most important and consistent labels when it comes to experimental music. Spanning 30 years of reaching out of the norm to deliver releases that were hailed as masterpieces, time and time again, only to add this beautiful collage to the list.

03. Fire! & Ambarchi – In The Mouth A Hand (Rune Grammofon)

The extreme jazz superband doesn’t seem to get tired and keeps hitting back harder and harder. This time they recruit Oren Ambarchi on guitar and set out on an intense journey into noisy jazz improvs.

04. Raime – Quarter Turns Over A Living Line (Blackest Ever Black)

Hype or no hype, Raime are on of the best acts to emerge in recent years and after a series of essential 12s they take their sound to a different level with this gloomy, depressing yet very rewording forty minutes.

05. Jason Lescalleet – Songs About Nothing (Erstwhile Records)

Noise virtuoso Jason Lescalleet delivers an album very hard to pin down. With sounds ranging from distant echoes of psalms to extreme noise and distorted beats to high pitched passes just a few Hz short of frying your brain. The pack is even spiced up by an amazing disc long session of Lescalleet stretching the dynamics of the first cd even further.

06. N.Racker – Flock Toxicant (Pre-Cert Home Entertainment)

Pre-Cert’s strongest release to date (including the ones that followed) merging horror, witch-hunts, drones, humour and a fair dose of theatrics, whoever this N.Racker is, he’s one to watch, judging from bits and pieces of his work popping up in cassetes all over the misty hilltops of the british countryside.

07. Fenn O’Berg – In Hell (Editions Mego)

The trio of Fennezs, Jim O’Rourke and Peter Rehberg returns with recordings of their 2010 tour in Japan, bringing back all the familiar and very much beloved Fenn O’Berg magic. Balancing on a fine line between cheekiness and meditation.

08. Cut Hands – Black Mamba (Very Friendly)

William Bennet’s latest guise feels like an over the top, frantic, intense and aggressive Muslimgauze on speed, with his second album as Cut Hands being less chaotic but still as elaborate and sophisticated as Afro Noise

09. Carter Tutti Void – Transverse (Mute)

The result of a sold out, over-booked concert in London back in May 2011, stories  from which still echo in blogs and forums all over the internet. Former Throbbing Ghristle members and legends of the Industrial scene Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti meet with young blood Nik Colk Void for a dysfunctional showcase of perv’d up vocals, beats and electronics.

10. Lorn – Ask the Dust (Ninja Tune)

In a boring and predictable post-dubstep, scene where most of the releases are reworked ideas from the past and irrelevant terms like uk-bass, are tossed around to describe pretty much anything Lorn comes in and brings a technoid, futuristic vision of CNC precision beat constructing, keeping it dirty and aimed at the dancefloor, only to demolish it!

11. Quakers – Quakers (Stones Throw)

It has been a very long time since a proper hip-hop album dropped that I could put on repeat and never grow tired of. A collaboration by the scene’s most talented, more than half of which I had to look up, gives us no less than 41 tunes to get our groove on. As a bonus second disc comes equipped with the 41 instrumentals.

12. Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (Deutsche Grammofon)

The great idea by Deutche Grammophon of making Classical pieces more accessible by having modern age artists recompose them couldn’t find a better candidate for its latest addition. Max Richter takes what is arguably the most recognizable piece of music and refurbishes it without spoiling any of its original magic and grandeur.

13. Joshua Bonnetta – American Colour (Senufo Editions)

Bonnetta’s road trip on the great american outback documented on video and backed with a vinyl release of the soundtrack, piecing together a nostalgic and rather romantic swan song to Kodakchrome (a legendary amongst enthusiasts discontinued Kodak product) fusing together instruments, electronics and field recordings.

14. Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generators (Editions Mego)

KFW’s composition for both digital & analogue modular synthesis gets the vinyl treatment and from the versions selected for this release, the High Zero Generator grasps the essence of all previous ‘Generator’ material out there perfectly.

15. Perispirit – Spiritual Church Movement (Digitalis)

Ricardo Donoso and Luke Moldof go toe-to-toe in an epic battle of analogue vs digital only to prove throughout the process that the harder they go up against each other, the more they compliment each other feeding of each other’s energy.

16. Jim O’Rourke – Old News No. 7 (Old News/Editions Mego)

Another installment to the solid archival works from the vaults of Jim O’Rourke’s vast library. Analogue synth explorations done by a master of the craft. Essential release of an essential series.

17. Various Artists – Traces One (Recollection GRM/Editions Mego)

The second buy-on-site imprint eMego is running (along Old News) is set on the task of  re-releasing the previously unavailable on vinyl INA-GRM archive material by the very first pioneers of electronic music. As this is a repress item maybe it doesnt fit on this list, but unlike the rest of the series (showcasing established names like Schaeffer, Ferrari, Xenakis, Parmegiani) this is a compilation by relatively unknown composers whose work is magnificent.

18. Duane Pitre – Feel Free (Important Records)

Duane Pitre’s lullaby like composition and installment is the intimate and embracing release that had to be included on the list. On the verge of being too easy to digest, the delicate melodies and minimal approach work perfectly for a late nite cool down.

19. Eleh – Weight of Accumulation (Important Records)

There’s not that much to be added, with eleh each release is what you’d expect from him yet it always surprises you. Again doing what he does best just raise the volume and let the physical presence of sound overtake you.

20. Kreng – Works for Abattoir Fermé 2007 – 2011 (Miasmah Recordings)

Kreng’s magnum opus for a series of theatrical plays of the Abattoir Fermé. Drones, chilling ambience and powerful narrative make the extensive material in this box set a stand alone experience and not just the musical feature of a theatrical play.

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