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A Year & A Bit in Music - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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December 30th, 2014

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12:48 am - A Year & A Bit in Music
My year in music started with going to an absolutely first rate Vienna Teng concert for her latest album Aims. Shortly after that I learned from teaotter that someone on Dreamwidth was organizing people to create a vid for each song on Aims - this project stalled for quite a while, with no vids for several of my favorite songs, but I recently saw that it had been completed. The Hunger Games vid for In the 99 is especially good, but honestly all of them are worth watching.

At the very end of 2013, I was looking at RPG Kickstarters and part of my search for interesting RPGs included looking at Kickstarters various people in the RPG industry had backed. When I looked at the Kickstarters Rich Thomas (owner of Onyx Path publishing) had backed, I found that he'd backed on for a new album by 1970s prog-rock band Renaissance, who I really like. I lost track of them after loathing their 1981 album Camera Camera, and they broke up after another album that sounds to me equally uninteresting. However, I found out that they had done a 2012 Kickstarter for a new album Grandine il Vento (now called Symphony of Light), and I also discovered through the wonders of Wikipedia and Amazon that they released another album in 2001, Tuscany. Both albums are a return to their older sound – I like Symphony of Light, and Tuscany is excellent.

Sometime midway through 2014, I learned that Suzanne Vega had released a new album Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, which I quite like. So far, no new discoveries, and that was true for most of the rest of 2014, until I saw a post by Warren Ellis at the beginning of October, when he mentioned a fascinating web page (scroll both down and sideways to see it) by drone-folk musician EMA, where she talks about her encounter with fame in a raw and powerful way. After reading that, I was naturally curious about her music, especially her 2014 album The Future's Void, which had the same inspiration and a close kindship with the webpage. Here's my post about my reaction to her work, the short version is I loved it, and liked her previous album Past Lives Martyred Saints almost as much. More recently, I got a free $10 iTunes gift card from some promo with my ebay credit card and picked up the album Red State by The Gowns, the industrial-folk band EMA was with before she went solo, which I also love. Enjoying her music is odd, because while I am inclined to like anything within the wide and increasingly strange category called folk, I'm uninclined to like industrial music, and especially any such music with strongly dissonant bits, which some of her work has, and I love it.

Naturally, having discovered an entire sub-genre of music previously unknown to me, I looked for more. I tried a Pandora station based on her songs, and found absolutely nothing like EMA's work, but after a bit of liking and unliking, songs from the Album Fantasies by Canadian indie-pop band Metric kept coming up, so I acquired it, and love it, and also really like their most recent (2014) album Synthetica.

Further looking in a variety of other places turned up little else like EMA's work, but I did also discover British dream-pop band Fear of Men (don't blame me for the names, Wikipedia has lots of odd music sub-genres :) Their album Loom is also quite good. So, in the first half of the year+, I was mostly listening to new work by familiar artists, and now I'm diving off into a wonderful period of musical exploration where I'm delving out into unknown (to me) territory, which is fascinating and awesome. Also, oddly, I have gone from at the beginning of the year not being interested in Amanda Palmer's work to quite liking it – some of her songs kept showing up on the genius mixes I regularly have iTunes create for me, and I now really like her work.

Finally, in a recent episode of Welcome To Night Vale, the weather featured an artist and song that I absolutely loved (as opposed to most, which I am at best, indifferent to), Upside Down World by Paisley Rae, she is supposed to have an album out eventually, and I'd love to buy it, but sadly, this song is all I can get for now.

On a somewhat related note, after diving into realms of indie music unknown to me, I'm very much inclined to agree with this excellent article about how the internet and the decline of the control exerted by the major labels is very much helping both musicians and fans.
Current Music: Satellite Mind by Metric

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