Before doing the 2013 round-up, it is always good to remind ourselves how everything changes with time. As someone who puts my thoughts out there on a blog, I’m painfully aware of how my opinions on music change over time. I imagine there are probably people out there that don’t grow or don’t spend enough time with music to come to a better appreciation of things that will have no idea what I’m talking about in this post.
I’ll start with my two biggest errors of last year. The first is Behold…The Arctopus’ album Horrorscension. This didn’t make my top 10. Now that I know what I know (namely that it is one of the only albums that still gets some listens this late into the next year) I feel ashamed. That album has the greatest re-listen value out of anything I reviewed last year. The complexity and brilliance of the writing still blows my mind.
Behold…The Arctopus actually writes their music out. They don’t just jam together and hope something cool will happen. They really sit down and carefully construct what they are doing. I wish I could get my hands on that sheet music (OK, just googled it to make sure it wasn’t sitting out there for me to look at). As a lover of music theory, I’d be ecstatic. Heck. I’d even put in the time to do some hardcore analysis and post it here for you all to read. As it stands now I can only get bits and pieces through listening alone. This might be why I didn’t think it was great last year. It was just too much for my puny brain to handle.
My second is Spawn of Possession’s Incurso. I only found this album because it appeared on so many people’s top 10 lists. It actually appeared as number one on most that I read. I really didn’t want to like it for this reason alone. It is silly, but I felt like I liked it just because everyone else did. Spawn of Possession is a little bit like Behold…The Arctopus in the following sense. If BTA is a metal band that plays early-mid 20th century art music (Boulez, Xenakis, etc) then SOP plays neo-classical music as a metal band.
There is something bizzarely amazing about it. If you look at the tonal structure, scalar patterns, and even articulation patterns it looks theoretically like some type of classical music. There are certainly very modern twists, but at it’s core it almost sounds and feels this way. It is very technical and dense like BTA as well, and for this same reason is rewarding upon many, many listens. I often find myself craving it, and pull it out for a listen. Again, this is quite strange that it has lasted this long into the next year because it didn’t make my year end list. More importantly, I didn’t even like it that much at first.
So those are my two big errors of what should have made my best albums of last year but didn’t. On the other side, I was quite wrong about whether or not the top 5 would have a lasting effect. I should know this by now. Essentially nothing is going to last very long in rotation. That’s just the way it goes when you listen to tons of stuff, and continually listen to new things to review. Albums barely come back into rotation when I’ve started the next album, so it would be absurd to think it would still be around six months or more down the line.
Suffice it to say, the only album of my top 5 that I still occasionally listen to is T.R.A.M.’s Lingua Franca. Darn that thing is one heck of a good album. I really hope that wasn’t just a once thing. I can’t find anything like it. Straight-up great standard jazz playing with a hard, metal edge to it. As for the honorable mentions, I have returned to the Meshuggah, 22, and Eagle Twin, so I’d say my top 5 should almost be swapped with the honorable mentions but add in those two mistakes above.
Just remember this when I do my halfway through 2013 post. I am quite aware that my opinions on these things will greatly change with time, so they should be thought of as temporary nonsense that you can take or leave.