Faithless – All Blessed

Honestly I don’t follow Faithless that closely so I’m not sure how much this record fits the overall body of work, but personally it checks all my boxes that I expected and wanted from a new Faithless album. Not exactly the uptempo party hits but rather the midtempo electronica, which has this vibe of landing somewhere on the Booka Shade-Bonobo axis. I can also see how the new collaborators bring new colors and that’s pretty good, like the voices of Suli Breaks and Nathan Hall.

Hugo Kant – Far From Home

Nu jazz with a trip hop headspace, some dub, some cinematic vibe. Feels like all the classics but not a replay.

This is the kind of record where I feel sorry for having the lack of meaningful words because I’d think I’m just repeating myself, having my same old references, usual phrases, although it really is a refreshing and fantastic album. This is why I started this blog in the first place after 10+ years of music journalism: to be a memory keeper without feeling the pressure to write much, or anything specific for that matter. But sometimes it just feels unworthy not to write some words of praise and how something is really that good. Writing’s a bitch when you feel you’ve written a lot and there’s not much else to say it’s hard to write something new or articulate differently.

And there’s also the why: why say it differently? Just so that I can say the same thing again and I can trick myself or others into thinking that it’s something new? I could perhaps have this mission to spread info about new music that’s good, and there might be new people all the time who get the message. So that could be a why. But then what’s real tough is that you need to keep your references updated for that. I cannot keep comparing a new trip hop record to Massive Attack forever, even if that’s the best point of reference I can think of, younger people just won’t know what’s that.

I guess this was the point in the evolution of this thought when I gave up writing about music “professionally”. I ralized after a while that I didn’t want to change anyone’s opinion, I’m fine with just listening to good music myself. My idea of myself being an educator of taste became something that I started viewing as obnoxious and arrogant. Working to change other people’s thinking would mean that I’m so perfect myself that I can spare my time and energy to educate others instead of improving my own self. So even if it’s just about music, I should spend more time listening to more music and learning more about music myself rather than trying to tell others what to think or listen to.

I know a music journalist can not only be this educator but they can simply be a reporter of current events, a chronicler of what’s happening. Adding an opinion of value but not for the sake of ultimately grading things but for acting as a curator of content, filtering the vast amount of music being created (more so since Internets), and telling stories that would otherwise be hidden. This very last bit is why I think music journalism is still relevant and I respect the people who work for this. I like to think that I did this, to some extent. Still, burning energy and effort into this means that you think this is where your efforst are best placed. And I think there are way more talented and dedicated people in this area than me.

So, at the end of the day my lack of words to express myself in a way that I feel keeps being fresh and relevant is because I just don’t find doing this expression is my calling to the extent that I work on improving myself. Once I had this realization that music journalism is dead, because in the world of aggregated data, user reviews and all that it’s just not important anymore. And here’s the rundown on why I was wrong about that. Music journalism is as relevant as ever, I just don’t think that it’s me who needs to do it. And that’s why I just need to be okay with not being able to add much more to Hugo Kant’s music other than it’s really-really good.

Deftones – Ohms

I’ve been having a scattered attention for Deftones since the early 2000s. They were an essential, integral, and coming of age part of my teen years, and they hold that extremely precious place in my soul and memories. And even though I wouldn’t miss any live show when I have the chance to see them, Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan passed by me with maybe a handful of listens, and I might have listened to Gore just this one time. Now Ohms landed a powerful punch and I’m not sure why that is. Maybe after two decades I can rediscover them in a very different time of my life. In any case I go back to this album about once a week since late fall, early winter last year, and it takes me to that usual sorrowful mood of Deftones, but also feels powerful and… a part of me. I don’t feel that it brings me down because it just feels self-identifying, it cannot be anything negative because it just feels like being myself. Thank you for this record Deftones, and welcome back.

Jupiter Jax – No Such Thing

Half moody jazzy tunes, half mid-tempo mellow house beats, nice and relaxing. The title track and Moral Dilemmas are the peak points, the previous reminding me of Miles Davis’ electronic explorations.

Cristoph – Consequence of Society, Vol. X

All I can think of while listening to this is how much I miss live music. I understand there are way more severe consequences of the pandemic in the world out there, but what makes me go nuts in my little world of my own is that I cannot go to live music events. Jump around at a concert with bodies smashing into one another. Barely hear a friend over screamning guitars and snearing drums with a beer in hand just to cut the sentence when the chorus hits us and shout the words from the top of our lungs. Dance in a barely lit dancefloor with beautiful techno thumping in my ears taking me on so well know but still unexpected journeys. Close my eyes and see what the music paints in the darkness while cosmic peace melts with ecstatic bursts of joy, and open my eyes slowly to let the faint blinking of the neon through and carve illuminating runes in my retina. I miss the people sharing the moment, breathing the sweaty steam of everyone moving at the same time to the same rhythm. I miss these moments, and I miss the people that we share it with so much.

Reigns – The Walled Garden

As the first notes started playing on this record I thought Reigns turned to a lighter mood since I fell in love with them with The House on the Causeway. I starts that way. Then they quickly delve into their home territory of eerie land where rock and electronic holds no real meanings—this music is not defined by its instruments but its super heavy atmosphere. It’s a beautiful wondering in a haunted garden with dark crimson roses, piercing thorns, and an ominous yet not at all depressing constant dusk.

Haken – Virus

This is an album that I’ve been replaying for such a long time that I started resuggesting to friends because I’ve forgotten about the first time. Well, it was released in July so that’s about half a year, not sure if that’s a while or I’m just forgetful. Anyhow point is that every time I listen to it again I feel that rush of hearing something really noteworthy. Some tracks are more light, some are more heavy, some keep a steady pace, some are slower, but they are all moons orbiting around the same progressitve metal planet. I had this idea of comparing it to Tool, although it is not at all in the same vein but I’m thinking about the sophistication of it’s own prog metal sound. And in that sense Haken became one of my new favorite metal bands in 2020.

Enslaved – Utgard

It is a fantastic nordic metal record with prog, heavy, and black elements mixed in. But whatever it is, the one track Urjotun is one mind blowing single track that is right there amonst the top 3 of 2020 for sure. Right as the synth beat and drum groove starts (and just by typing this it’s clear how non-typical this song is on the album) I get goosebumps, and then it goes into a black metal march just to go clean after a minute and get back to the synth and groove again. It is not at all a nordic metal thing, much rather some industrial rock thing on par with the best of Killing Joke, but then melts it with Enslave’s burning voice making it their own. This song is just epic.