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2017 Retrospective

My mini-posts about my favour­ite 2017 music, gathered for your con­veni­ence.


Today, look­ing back on the year. 100% per­sonal, no par­tic­u­lar order. Enjoy!

Keep thine eyes peeled & on this here thread.

United Bible Stud­ies always deliv­ers, and they have been since 2016 in shift­ing line-ups, as befits a col­lect­ive. This track, from one of the great A Year In The Coun­try Com­pil­a­tions, rep­res­ents one side of them.

But their massive rework of the pre­vi­ously unre­leased “The Archae­olo­gists Hands” on the water char­ity com­pil­a­tion Water, Water takes the cake:

New York duo ARIADNE fuse vis­ion­ary reli­gious vocal work with noisy elec­tron­ics. This one deserves a thor­ough approach over a longer period as their mul­ti­me­dial release unfolds.

2017 was a big vapor­wave year for me; a strange meta-genre that draws in vari­ous musical aes­thet­ics. It’s best known for chees­ing nos­tal­gia through retro synths and/or samples, but has since come to encom­pass a wider range of (elec­tronic) styles. Some of my years favour­ite releases come from these vari­ous musical ter­rit­or­ies.

Fin­lii was one of them. Mys­tic Rhythms & Blue Even­ing Glass is shim­mer­ing, careen­ing set of synth songs that exist some­where just out­side famili­ar­ity.

While Avant­garde Music puts out a ton of solid metal every year, Wode’s second album was one of the high­lights of 2017. Black metal with a dol­lop of old school heavy metal in terms of riff­age. See if you can res­ist…

When it comes to (post-)vapor elec­tron­ics, Dream Cata­logue occu­pies a cent­ral place. Besides vari­ous album releases, this year saw the com­ing of the massive CHAOS tet­ra­logy. Four com­pil­a­tions fea­tur­ing a ton of excel­lent mater­ial. PWYW!

Full Spec­trum had another good year. One very fine album is Gol­conda’s 25 to 40, ten sum­mery, glit­ter­ing tracks pair­ing gui­tar with synths, Rhodes, etc.

Adhes­ive Sounds’ sum­mer com­pil­a­tion was the gate­way to some of the vapor­wave artists I’ve come to enjoy: i.a. b o d y l i n e, TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL, and Trade­marks & Copy­rights. Maybe this
nice col­lec­tion can serve a sim­ilar func­tion for you. It’s free!

Speak­ing of, EXOSPHERE is another great con­cep­tual vapor comp that shows the breadth of the scene. Tracks by fin­lii, 猫 シ Corp., et al. Pay close atten­tion to this superb Yoshimi track that fea­tured in an earlier Cloud­scape.

From the very start of the year, Ocoeur’s Reversed remix EP was an early high­light. Beau­ti­ful ambi­ent works, par­tic­u­larly the Julien Machal piano rework.

I anti­cip­ated this one since the teas­ing of its second track months before release. The whole self-titled Tchornobog album does not dis­ap­point. Lush, cereb­ral, oneiric, doom-laden, bru­tal death metal.

Stay­ing in the extreme metal zone for a bit, Battle Dagorath impressed once more with their latest album. Surge into the darkest depths of outer space on waves black metal riffs and synths­capes.

Goth­ing it up is essen­tial, too. This year, we had that amply covered by Hante. with her lovely latest darkwave/synthpop album Between Hope & Danger.

Some more vapors, then. Trade­marks & Copy­rights put out some juicy babewave this year. Are you liv­ing in a life of lux­ury?

Can you make the twist?

Ambi­ent should­n’t go miss­ing from this over­view. First of all, Jason van Wyk’s two gor­geous albums on Home Nor­mal, of which I’m high­light­ing ‘Opa­city’ here. The per­fect bal­ance between piano and elec­tron­ica.

And on Winter-Light, the sooth­ing and superb ‘The Radi­ant Sea’ by Bridge To Imla, explor­ing the eco- and psy­cho­lo­gical depths of the Pacific.

And an hon­or­able men­tion for Tobias Hellk­v­ist’s divine ‘Kaskelot’, strictly an older EP, but reis­sued this year with great new remixes by lovely people like Porya Hatami and Chi­hei Hatakeyama. Again on Home Nor­mal.

A late dis­cov­ery, men­tioned earlier this week, is Legendry’s ‘Dun­geon Crawler’: mod­ern day chan­nel­ing of the epic fantasy cur­rent in heavy metal. Say no more! Plus it’s got a drum solo; those are rare nowadays.

After all these years, I’m still a doom­head as well. Bell Witch’s latest was emo­tion­ally drain­ing but sin­cerely beau­ti­ful. My review: http://​www​.even​in​gof​light​.nl/​2​0​1​7​/​1​0​/​2​0​/​m​i​r​r​o​r​-​r​e​a​p​er/

And per­haps an obvi­ous addi­tion, but I *did* enjoy Pall­bear­er’s latest a whole bunch as well. It is, for lack of a bet­ter word, mature. And ends on what is one of the band’s finest tracks to date: “A Plea for Under­stand­ing”.

Head­ing into the dark­ness. Yoshim­i’s ‘Atav­ism’ on Dream Cata­logue was delect­able, but don’t for­get about the second instal­ment of ‘Japan­ese Ghosts’. It’s heavy, it’s noisy, it’s got beats, and those tit­u­lar ghosts are *present*.

raison d’être & Troum prove once more that they’re a match made in heaven. XIBIPIIO fuses the best of both their typ­ical sounds: drones, waves, and rhythms from the deep­est reaches of the mind.

Mor­gen Wurde took his craft to the next level with an album that can only be described as a detect­ive thriller through the medium of dark jazzy sound­scapes. There’s a body, a motive, a murder weapon. Can you piece together what happened?

Lov­ers of ori­ginal com­pos­i­tions can always count on poly­math Cosmo D. The soundtrack for his latest game The Nor­wood Suite is another crit­ical hit. Check into the hotel, where the music is jazz through an elec­tronic look­ing glass.

The final metal men­tion for today is Sleep White Win­ter’s heart­felt and ori­ginal dis­sec­tion of nos­tal­gia. It’s superbly mel­an­cholic nineties and aughties dark metal, but with today’s self-aware­ness. My review: http://​www​.even​in​gof​light​.nl/​2​0​1​7​/​1​1​/​2​9​/​d​e​g​e​n​e​r​a​c​y​-​o​f​-​n​o​s​t​a​l​g​ia/

When unlikely influ­ences merge in one mind, the res­ult can be breath­tak­ing. Joonatan Aaltonen merges his trade­mark Finnish acous­tic neo­folk with synth melod­ies hark­en­ing back to fantasy game soundtracks. Right up my alley.

And finally, Andrew Weath­ers wrote what is prob­ably my favour­ite song of the year: I Am Left Bur­ied Where I’ve Been. It’s been a source of solace con­stantly since I first heard it, and the high­light of an already lovely album. <3

That’s it for 2017 as far as I can see right now. The year was rough on me, but these are some of the things that pulled me through. Thanks for shar­ing it with me.