PRINT December 2012

Music: Best of 2012

Liz Wendelbo

Cover of Peter Ivers’s “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)” (Sacred Bones, 2012).

1 Peter Ivers, “In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song)” (Sacred Bones) I saw David Lynch’s Eraserhead for the first time when I was sixteen. Listening to the industrial-noise score is alienating yet comforting, like putting your ear against a wall and hearing your own internal hum. Besides rereleasing the entire sound track, Sacred Bones has put out Peter Ivers’s classic “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)” as a seven-inch single.

2 Umrijeti Za Strojem, “Mini-Suknja I Psihoanaliza” (Aufnahme + Wiedergabe) Inspired by Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, this song’s Croatian title translates as “Miniskirt and Psychoanalysis.” The track is one of many treats on Forward + Rewind: The Future Echo Tapes, a compilation of cold, seductive music by brand-new bands from all over the world.

3 Borghesia, “Zmr” (Dark Entries) A rare, risqué favorite off the group’s second album, Clones, originally released on cassette in 1984, this track brings to mind the darker side of desire. In the beautifully low-budget music video, a nude woman wanders amid phallic architecture, exposing that darkness to the sun.

4 Led Er Est, “Kaiyo Maru” (Sacred Bones) The rigorously composed “Kaiyo Maru” is named for a Japanese battleship that was powered by both sails and steam—a chimeric symbol of modernity, might, and style.

Led Er Est performing at Elysium, Austin, March 14, 2012. From left: Shawn O’Sullivan, Owen Hutchinson, and Samuel Kk. Photo: Andrew Parks.

5 Glenn Winter, “Herrens Svar” (Minimal Wave) I’ve been listening to this classic in the car for years—on cassette. The track, off the newly rereleased 1986 compilation Orgelvärk, showcases Winter’s infectious sense of humor: His manic, busy beats are scattered with comic-strip thought bubbles and pitch-shifted cartoon voices.

6 Survive When this super synth group performed at the Chaos in Tejas festival in Austin this past summer, their setup was impressive: four musicians, a wall of amplifiers, and a sea of analog synths. The music sounded warm and suited the arid desert air around us.

7 Neud Photo, “Dimensions” (Kraftjerkz) Reminiscent of early video games and home-movie sound tracks from the 1980s, the beats and bass line in this instrumental charm with their self-conscious naïveté. A Xerox of a silk screen serves as the cover for Kraftjerkz 012, the EP it kicks off, echoing the pleasing, handmade feel of the track.

8 Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui, “Pacific House” (L.I.E.S.) I am tickled by the warped imaginary world this song conjures, a playful alternate universe filled with computer-game monsters and sexy avatars.

9 Void Vision, “Everything Is Fine” (FlexiWave) Minimal synth lends itself well to solo projects, and the dedicated Shari Wallin—a synth trooper—shows us why. This track appears on Swedish comp Flexi 005, which was released as a hot-pink K7.

10 Nao Katafuchi, “Yumegoto” (WT Records) Nao Katafuchi told me that yumegoto is an invented Japanese word, something from a dream, the kind of word you wake up saying without knowing why. I can imagine playing this song while driving through Tokyo at night: neon lights, mannequins in shopwindows, and empty streets

A Brooklyn-based artist and musician, Liz Wendelbo collaborates with Sean McBride as Xeno & Oaklander. The duo have released tracks on artist Pieter Schoolwerth’s Wierd Records, as well as on the their own label, Xanten, and performed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, Art Basel Miami Beach, Kunsthalle Zürich, and the New Museum, New York.