PRINT December 2006




1 Scott Walker, The Drift (4AD) Harsh, aesthetically conservative times call for strong medicine, and Walker’s ghostly, epic return to the studio offers a thick and sticky ichor indeed. Demanding and “untimely” in the best possible way.

2 Always‚ Cruising and Gross Bodily Odour (Chapter Music) This Australian one-man band’s percussive chanting (with delay effects) on fun topics like bear pride and toilet sex will get you off in a hurry.

3 Brightblack Morning Light, Brightblack Morning Light (Matador Records) A psychedelic riverside tepee that binds together solid planks of harmony singing, Rhodes piano lines, and shuffling drums. Dreamy and drop-dead funky, this is great American music.

4 Comebacks This was the year in which we saw Nurse with Wound in San Francisco, Emperor in Los Angeles, and Os Mutantes in Chicago, living legends of noise, black metal, and psych, respectively. Each of them played with total conviction and fearsome stamina.

5 Kurt Weisman, More Is More (Mad Monk Records) Weisman’s solo seven-inch is a portable vortex of helium-voiced psych-folk laced with deeply disorienting electronic editing. Super fucked up and great.

6 Planningtorock, Have It All (Chicks on Speed) Boasting Brecht/Weill-esque arrangements largely built from her multitracked voice, Janine Rostron’s songs are gravelly, brave, and sparse yet huge in a way that could call up a Laurie Anderson/Jennifer Herrema mind meld—except that she is doing her own thing.

7 Wasteland, All Versus All (Transparent) Frosty sheets of digital noise stretched taut across a fathoms-deep dubstep skeleton—this is face-melting, industrial-strength sound design from London’s DJ Scud and New York’s I-Sound. The cure for timid electronic music.

8 The Creel Pone reissue label Pieter Christophssen and Keith Fullerton Whitman’s cottage industry rereleases ultraobscure musique concrète and electronic oddities from the ’60s in teensy handmade editions. This Wunderkammer of bygone freak-outs awaits the curious.

9 YouTube YouTube sidled up and ruined all productive activity forever by making it possible to snack endlessly on analog-synth demonstration videos, that James Brown/Prince/MJ ’80s superjam footage, last night’s Deerhoof show, you name it.

10 Zeena Parkins, Necklace (Tzadik) Long associated with howling distortion on her trademark electric harp, Parkins offers a pair of poised, ravishing string quartets and new pieces for acoustic harp, demonstrating her considerable compositional firepower.

Matmos is Drew Daniel and M. C. Schmidt. They make electronic music and live in San Francisco, where Schmidt teaches video art at the San Francisco Art Institute. Their most recent recording, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast, was released in 2006 by Matador Records.