Every so often I find a recording that is so comfortable, so interesting, that I can listen to it every day for years without it ever growing old or boring. I thought I’d list a few of those here. All of them are happy, relaxing places for me. In approximate order of first-listenings:
Carl Cox — FACT: In retrospect, I’m a little surprised by this one, but there it is. I bought this double-CD set from Brash’s Music in Woden Plaza, Canberra, not long after it was released. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about electronic music, except that I liked it. I distinctly recall being served by none other than DJ Archie and asking for an electronica recommendation. He very wisely recommended this set. It is a superb tour of techno, trance, house and probably other electronic music sub-genres. I’m still deeply in love with this recording, nearly a quarter-century later. Thanks, Archie!
Opeth — Morningrise: The aforementioned friend also introduced me to Opeth, probably surprising zero Opeth or Isis fans, as there seems to be a substantial intersection of those groups. I’d never really listened to proper growly death metal before, and Morningrise was an eye-opener. The dark, moody masterpiece that is Black Rose Immortal still unfailingly makes my hairs stand on end, and Advent always gets my head moving. I enjoy all of Opeth’s albums, but this one is particularly special. Looking forward to seeing them live again in December 2019.
Isis — Panopticon: My longest and closest friend played this one day when we were sharing a flat. It was so immediately relaxing and very quickly became one of my all-time favourite albums, and Isis simultaneously became one of my favourite artists. Panopticon is one of those recordings where several songs — the entire album, in this case — melds together into a single, seamless experience. Wouldn’t change a damned thing. The second track, Backlit, is my wake-up alarm tone. In particular I’ve found this album to be perfectly suited to train journeys.
Julianna Barwick — Will: This one is a relatively recent addition. A former girlfriend suggested we go along, and I have minus eleventy regrets. Barwick has absolutely mastered a particular model of Boss looping sampler, combining it with her wonderful voice to create layered, textured, entrancing sonic spaces. I did go to see her perform, and was utterly spellbound from start to finish. Incredible.
Julia Kent — Asperities: I’d never expected to be listening to an intersection of cello and electronic music, but there it is. Julia Kent’s works — all of them, really, but I had to pick one for this post — demonstrate how beautiful, brooding, dark, mellow, violent, soothing and bright this instrument can be, in the hands of the right musician. Julia Kent is that musician. Cannot recommend enough.
Opeth, Isis, Julianna Barwick and Julia Kent are all available on Spotify. Recommended. Some Carl Cox is on Spotify also, but not FACT. Those two CDs will remain one of my most precious treasures!