Sunday, 11 January 2009

20:08 (IMP 41, December 2008)

20:08 (IMP 41, December 2008)


Disc One
20. Iron Pirate – Abominable Iron Steamship Of Death (Iron Pirate)
19. Woodpigeon - Knock Knock (Treasury Library Canada)
18. Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! (Hold On Now Youngster)
17. Pyha - Hyungga Is A Tangled Story Pt. 1 (The Haunted House)
16. Krallice – Forgiveness In Rot (Krallice)
15. Prussia – Lady Lady (Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly)
14. WOLD – The Frozen Field (Stratification)
13. Frightened Rabbit – I Feel Better (The Midnight Organ Fight)
12. Women – Upstairs (Women)
11. Fuck Buttons - Colours Move (Street Horrsing)

Disc Two
10. Times New Viking - Drop-Out (Rip It Off)
09. Action Beat - Justice Yeldman (1977 - 2007: 30 Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded)
08. Urfaust - ‘Untitled’ (Drei Rituale Jenseits Des Kosmos)
07. U.S. Christmas - Uktena (Eat The Low Dogs)
06. Horna - Liekki Ja Voima (Sanojesi Äärelle)
05. Rudi Arapahoe - Conversation Piece (Echoes From One To Another)
04. Caïna - Temporary Antennae (Temporary Antennae)
03. Brown Jenkins - Forever Funerals (Angel Eyes)
02. Late Of The Pier - Heartbeat (Fantasy Black Channel)
01. Paavoharju - Tyttö Tanssii (Laulu Laakson Kukista)

For my December IMP I always make it my top twenty tracks from my top twenty albums of the year and this year is no different. 2008 has been an incredibly interesting year for music. Again. Making this list really did feel like an impossible task, much moreso than other years – and it is not because this year has been lacking in greatness; quite the opposite as far as I am concerned. My end of year list has also been a pretty tough challenge because I have listened to so much music this year and have struggled to take it all in. This was the year when I felt dwarfed by the enormity of scale in the range and sheer volume of music in the world and I started really asking myself a lot of questions about what I wanted my relationship with music to be. It can never be a casual affair, but I have lifted the lid off something so large that trying to get to know every recess of it intimately would futile. I have no idea how I am going to tackle 2009, but I am sure I’ll think of something.

I have also been questioning the channels through which people have traditionally come to hear about artists. This was the year I fell totally out of thrall with music journalism. There are still writers I can read who inspire me who are extremely talented, perceptive, and have their own vision as much as the artists they choose to write about, but they are now very few and far between. Over the last 12 months I have got so tired of people writing to make themselves look good, or trying to place themselves in some kind of involved role of importance amongst the groups they are writing about. Far too much is written that comes across like attempts to write the cleverest sentence that the author could be writing about anything, the net result being so worthless and far removed from the task in hand. But I still continue to buy the magazines and read the websites (after all, I am on their side), but I still get angered at narrow minded editorial policy, at the limitations in both knowledge and writing and at the hapless delusions of grandeur.

Of course, I include myself in this, my limitations show themselves every time I hit a key or speak a word; one reason why I have written so little this year and another catalyst to my feelings of bleakness.

But yeah, I still read, and I notice that no two lists of the year have really been that similar, even across the mainstream. It seems this was a year when people’s listening habits became more fragmented than ever. More labels, publications/websites, blogs, social networks, P2P, Web2.0……yet, there seems to be a general consensus across many magazines that this year was pretty dull and lacked any really major classic albums or Big Events like Arctic Monkeys. Whenever anyone says that to me I always reply “You don’t listen to enough music” – which is almost always true. Those people who say this, who ignore word of mouth successes like MGMT or Bon Iver, have simply not been paying attention. But that is not the point. If they are looking for greatness they are looking in the wrong place. For me, this year was not the year of the difficult third album, but of the ever more limited tenth CDr, the swansong label and artist releases, split tour 7”s, free download net labels, sharity blogs, debuts and demos (always always more and more demos).

Apparently the record industry is in trouble and there is some kind of economic crisis crunching everything up. If that were true, why is it so many releases on so many labels have all sold out? Why are all the gigs still selling out? Why are people still making music?

My record industry is not in trouble.

My record industry thrives because the people involved love their music and art and create every part of it themselves. It is created by people, for people who actually care about every detail, right down to the kind of stamps on the envelope they send the records out in. It is this natural spirit of independence that makes the music individual, makes each record an almost incomparable entity to another, gives each artist their identity and a reason for existing.

This is what my top twenty represents and this is what it sounds like.


Schnack said...

Hear! Hear! I agree that the 2008 EOY lists (even from the "hip" record shops) were so mainstream and predictable that they created a cause for concern. Are Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes really what everyone is listening to? I guess so. Ick.
And, yeah, the music business is in trouble... but let's interpret that as THINGS ARE CHANGING... and the Industry hasn't caught up yet. At least for now.

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