In 2005 when Dead Can Dance reunited they recorded and released a series of shows as limited edition records. Now these got published on Spotify. Naturally it is beautiful material. But also, listening to live concert recordings in the times of lockdowns and cancelled events is a life saver. Part pain of absence but part breath of life.
On a completely side note, thinking about the ethics of republishing of previously limited material. I imagine you can say that the limited experience at his point is the physical copy anyone purchased in 2005. But that sounds kinda like an excuse. I’ve recently seen a sale where previously Kickstarted board games found in the publisher’s storage were being sold, with Kickstarter exclusives included. Makes me go hm.
The new show is fantastic. Today was the opening of the European leg of the tour and it was just great, so much Jim, such Jefferies. I only knew one routine from all the material and that’s only because I’m mostly up to date with watching the Jim Jefferies Show weekly, other than that all new stuff and all’s good. I felt like such a fanboy clapping and rubbing hands before anything was going on, but I truly think it’s not just fanboyism going on, I laughed my ass off.
So far my best stand-up comedy experience ever was at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last year. This one came right on par with that, but with the fan inside me added, it just jumped to the first spot.
Maybe I miss out some stuff especially on the music part but these are what my notebooks hold of what was good in 2015, based on some memories, this blog, Last.fm, and IMDb.
If I wanted to some up shortly, I would say this year quite sucked for movies but brought some unexpected and nice twists and turns for music.
Movies & TV
The movie and TV list speaks for itself: the year was full of mediocre shit and overrated mainstream blockbusters (or wannabes). The Martian was okayish, Sicario had some beautiful compositions, but as a whole I wouldn’t say flicks like this made any great difference in my inner movie universe. And please don’t tell me about Star Wars, just shut it.
As for music, I didn’t stumble upon a new best band, but there were some notable releases from some old favourites. IAMX created a stunning new record, and I was similarly satisfied with what DJ Krush or The Black Dog had to offer in 2015, plus a complete out of nowhere experience came from Amon Tobin in the form of a sci-fi ambient composition.
My best pleasantries included the absolutely incredible album of the Killing Joke, the totally unexpected but stunning record of Karyn Crisis, and something completely new for me in the form of the Thy Catafalque release. And things that I didn’t see coming to this list: a surprisingly mature and powerful single track by Apocalyptica, and my re-found fandom of Cradle of Filth.
Last year was definitely ruled by techno for me, where I found quite some new territories and depths. This year was not on that level of novelty but it was quite eclectic instead as the musical range shows in this list of names.
I haven’t been to many festivals and parties in 2015 so my live performances list is quite narrow. Although I could make it to Sónar Barcelona for the second time, which was nice, and surprises dominated there as well: Squarepusher’s live act was by far the most satisfying live music experience that I heard this year.
I wrote previously about the RGB|CMY Kinetic installation and now I stumbled upon a video of it on my phone. It is hard to describe and better to see.
A few final notes on Sónar Barcelona 2015.
I listened to my first live set of Chemical Brothers at the by Night sessions. And it was boring, thus disappointing. The whole show and visuals were bad-ass, some single tracks were great, but the whole experience as a complete set was dull and without much imagination. With this back catalog of sounds and also the great new tracks (like GO, which I am totally hooked on for a while now) this output was just way weak.
On the other hand FKA Twigs was cute as hell and professional, too. She has an amazing voice and was so adorably honest with her whole attitude on stage. She stood on that huge podium on her own but did not run around much to fill the space but mostly stood in the middle, moved with minimal but exciting choreography and poured her soul into the music. The whole thing was sincere.
Lastly there was one Flying Lotus who also put on a great set, looking back I am so sorry that I ditched this one soon to see the ChemBros. He had an interesting stage with one canvas pulled up and projected on at the front, and he wore glasses of yellow lights that glowed behind. It was creepy and trippy but looked super cool. And of course the music was just what I could have expected.
Finally I had the chance to listen to Mika Vainio in a live set and it was quite a rewarding experience. Deep, true experimental electronics, well played and engineered, and luckily pushed out on a brilliant sound system. It reorganized some guts in my body and listening equipment in my head at certain points but it was well worth it. Actually I was surprised by how harsh and beatless it was after his work in Pan Sonic and as Ø but then again there were some power noise pieces too with heavy rhythms.
Jimi Tenor & Juri Hulkkonen created a dadaist movie and played an experimental set along with it. It was a surrealist piece with something resembling a storyline but with quite some free associations as well.
Squarepusher delivered by far the most epic moments of Sónar Barcelona 2015 by the end of Friday’s Sónar by Day section. He put on a wicked power noise set with mind-blowing breakcore beats and experimental electronic madness. However it was not that harsh noise chaos that you might think of or I expected after listening to the recent album for that matter. It was much more rhythm-based and danceable even if in some crazy ways.
Then after the basic set was over he returned for an extra track, which turned out to be quite a performance. He started by jamming for a while on a bass guitar and after almost ten minutes of playing around he fired up drum beats and electronics and went on playing along with it. And oh boy. The whole set just twisted and turned much more like a psychedelic rock piece than anything of his signature style, something resembling Pink Floyd fucked up on acid. It was truly colossal, the definitive peak of the whole festival so far.
Thank you sir.
Update: I found an okayish recording of the bass guitar solo and following session on YouTube.
KTL, a duo of Peter Rehberg (Mego) and Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O))) ) played almost an hour of massive drone noise in the sophisticated auditorium of Sónar Barcelona 2015. It was rather relaxing although not a breakthrough experience.
RGB|CMY Kinetic is an audio-visual installation slash performace created by ART+COM with music by Ólafur Arnalds. It’s the marriage of the dance of light and beautiful ambient set in a dark room where you can comfortably sit or lay and feel completely relaxed and carried away for this 10-minute choreography.