Recent Listening, February 2011

22:53 Thu 24 Feb 2011
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I’m in a phase of appreciating music a lot right now, and thought I’d share some of what’s been looping through my playlists.

The most recent album is Treat, by Sleigh Bells (thanks Aaron!). Noise pop that reminded me a little of M.I.A. at first, it’s pretty heavy in my estimation and strikes me as good for dancing—although my tastes on that subject may be a little unusual. “Riot Rhythm” is probably my favorite track, followed by “Tell ’Em”. The only real complaint I have with this album is that it, and the individual songs, are too short; I’d probably like any of the songs stretched out into some kind of seven-minute dance remix… A note here is that if not for internet resources, I would have no idea whatsoever what the lyrics are (I’m often not great at parsing songs).

While not really new to me, I’ve continued to listen to Beat Bizarre, all of their albums that I can get. I find them to be excellent for coding, driving, and writing. I’d categorize them as heavy electronica; the phrase “semi-industrial cyberpunk” is in my head when I think of them, but for all I know that means something only to me—or is a genre that I don’t know that’s out there already with defined borders which exclude Beat Bizarre.

In the electronica vein but significantly lighter are Star Sounds Orchestra, a German trance duo. I also like them for coding, driving, and writing, but they’re not quite as good as steady background—on the other hand, I absolutely love “Sunrise of the Third Millenium”, from Music for Qigong Dancing. I’m wary of the fact that it’s clearly using Arabic (lyrics and influences), and as such may represent cultural appropriation (although my views on just how bad that is aren’t set); I’m also wary of being so into a song the meaning of whose lyrics I’m entirely clueless about. Nevertheless, I still love it, and in particular think it’s a great song for starting your day (or evening, or whenever you want to get started).

I keep returning to Death Magnetic, which is clearly the best Metallica album in a long time. “All Nightmare Long” is a classic.

I’ve been listening to a little Negativland, specifically Dispepsi, which is hilarious. “Drink It Up” is fantastic. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to do anything requiring focus while I’m listening to Negativland, possibly because I want to pay attention to the lyrics.

Veering back to the industrial, I’ve also returned over and over to Deutsch Nepal’s Deflagration of Hell. I have to be in the right mood for it, but it’s pretty much what it says on the box. Writing this reminds me that I should download some more albums. “Deflagration of Hell” and “The Hierophants of Light” are my favorite tracks, followed closely by “Excursioner Angel”.

Apart from the Sleigh Bells and Metallica, I think I’ve discovered all of these on the following internet radio stations: SomaFM’s Space Station Soma and Doomed, and Digitally Imported’s Goa-Psy Trance.

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