Niels Van Tomme (Update Contributor)

  • Best of 2014

    By far the most thought-provoking and brutal piece of audio of 2014, Farewell to Language is a hallucinatory meditation on the disentanglement of image and sound. The 84-year-old Swiss filmmaker Jean Luc Godard’s 3D-film deconstructs our (in)ability to communicate anything meaningful through language and of moving images to develop new ways of seeing. Political, humorous, philosophical, at times irritable and scatological, Godard makes the soundtrack of his film (consisting of cut-up dialogue, concrete sound, snippets of music, and occasional harsh noise) revolve dizzyingly within the stereo spectrum, making fully use of the sculptural and vector-like possibilities of sound. The effect is a riveting audio statement, which very much sounds like a radical update of musique concrète. It is a testament to its maker’s ability to simultaneously shock and engage, using the most basic elements of sonic production.

    As for the most memorable moment of 2014: it was thrilling to see Omar S on a Sunday afternoon at Berghain in Berlin, entering the club when it had already gone through its habitual 36 hrs. of non-stop partying. The moment the blinds of Panorama Bar opened during the highlight of his DJ-set (“Here’s Your Trance Now You Dance”) by way of a nature-induced lightshow, the German club’s vampire clientele turned swiftly into ecstatic worshippers of the Sun, as the master smiled deviously.

    To conclude, I was absolutely enthralled by the work of artists as diverse as Charlotte Moorman, Wadada Leo Smith, Michael Pisaro, Shabazz Palaces, Barnt, Aki Onda, Loren Connors, Joey Anderson, Shackleton, Lawrence English, Kevin Drumm, Moiré, Fatima Al Qadiri, Big Strick, Moodymann, Andy Haas, Objekt, Jone Takamäki, Jay Daniel, Mo Kolours, Bernard Szajner, Luigi Nono, Bing & Ruth, Andy Stott, William Basinski, Steve Roach, K. Leimer, Vessel, Lawrence, Reagenz, Lee Gamble, Alice Coltrane, Tinariwen, Donato Dozzy & Nuel, Francis Bebey, and most likely some other stuff I still need to explore. But, duty calls, so here are my lists, each consists of 15 releases, with no hierarchy whatsoever:

    THEO PARRISH “American Intelligence” (Sound Signature)
    THE DURUTTI COLUMN “Chronicle XL” (Kookydisc)
    JURG FREY “Pianist, Alone” (Irritable Hedgehog)
    APHEX TWIN “Syro” (Warp)
    SHINICHI ATOBE “Butterfly Effect” (DDS)
    THOMAS ANKERSMIT “Figueroa Terrace” (Touch)
    SEBASTIAN MULLAERT & EITAN REITER “Reflections of Nothingness” (Mule Musiq)
    BOONLORM “String Figures” (Wilde Calm)
    PHILIP CORNER “Satie Slowly” (Unseen Worlds)
    VLADISLAV DELAY “Visa” (Ripatti)
    KASSEM MOSSE “Workshop 19” (Workshop)
    POPULATION ONE “Theater of a Confused Mind” (Rush Hour)
    NEEL “Phobos” (Spectrum Spools)
    HIEROGLYPHIC BEING “The Seer of Cosmic Visions” (Planet Mu)
    SCOTT WALKER + SUNN  O))) “Soused” (4AD)

    THE SPACE LADY “Greatest Hits” (Night School)
    CECIL TAYLOR “The Complete Collection 1956 – 1962” (Enlightenment)
    CHARLES COHEN “A Retrospective” (Morphine)
    DREXCIYA “Neptune’s Lair” (Tresor)
    THE GROUP “The Feed-Back” (Schema)
    BO ANDERS PERSSON “Love Is Here to Stay” (Subliminal Sounds)
    JOHN HASSEL “City: Works of Fiction” (All Saints)
    HARALD GROSSKOPF “Synthesist” (Bureau B)
    PAULINE OLIVEROS “The Wanderer” (Important)
    INGRAM MARSHALL “Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem” (Arc Light Editions)
    SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA “In the Orbit of Ra” (Strut)
    ARIEL KALMA “An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972-1979)” (RVNG Intl.)
    KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA “Rosemary’s Baby” (Waxwork)
    LEWIS “L’Amour” (Light in the Attic)
    DJ SPRINKLES “Midtown 120 Blues” (Comatonse)

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