The Graveyear 2013 - The Year in Music

I like music. In 2012 I listed my favourite albums of the year and a playlist of my favourite tracks. However, in 2013 I have changed the way I do things - firstly, of course, I have my five favourite albums (as I don't want to ruin that) but I've split out my music into several playlists.

The first, Anything, is a playlist of rock/electronic tracks from any genre that I really enjoyed. The second, Eclectic, is anything that doesn't fit in the "Anything" playlist, and is more electronic and ambient. The third, for my radio show, is the Monday Graveyear, which is my favourite ambient and electroninc tracks that fit into the remit of my radio show.

Albums of the Year
  1. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
  2. Local Natives - Hummingbird
  3. The Field - Cupid's Head
  4. Tim Hecker - Virgins
  5. Appelscal - Dreaming in Key
You can play all of the albums in Spotify using the below:

Honourable Mentions
- Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City 
- Queens of the Stoneage - ...Like Clockwork 
- High Highs - Open Season 
- Emancipator - Dusk to Dawn 
- Jon Hopkins - Immunity 
- Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

- Arctic Monkeys - AM
- Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends
- Crash of Rhinos - Knots
- Mountains - Centralia
- Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe

Tracks of the Year: Anything

Tracks of the Year: Eclectic

Monday Graveyear 2013

Once again, 2013 was a brilliant brilliant year for music. Can't wait to see what 2014 brings.

Announcement: The Wednesday Graveyard is now the Monday Graveyard

A long time ago I used Spotify to start making "weekly" playlists of music that I had been listening to. Just this past week the seventy-fourth playlist was posted (and that's just in the weekly playlists, don't forget all the special playlists) and the Almanac playlist has hit over 1000 tracks and 3 days of continuous music from all those playlists.

Then, in 2012, I started the Wednesday Graveyard: "Live", a Mixcloud hosted podcast style radio show. I managed two full series and two episodes of series three before a previously unexplained hiatus - the reason for the gap of months and months between episode 3.2 and the probably still to come episode 3.3 is partly down to the wedding (I couldn't find a free four hours of concentration) and the fact that I no longer have a MacBook on which to record the show. Instead I redoubled the Wednesday Graveyard weekly playlists.

A few months ago I spoke to my sister in a slightly jokey way about her getting me a show on Pulse 98.4 FM, a community radio station based in Barrhead. She was then made head of production and said she'd look into it, but nothing really came of that. However, a few weeks ago she pointed out that Neil of the wonderful Scottish Fiction blog and podcast, posted a listing for new presenters on Pulse and I pitched a show - originally planned to be entitled the Long Drawn Out Soul but later I thought that the Monday Graveyard worked best - partly because it was a spin-off of the Wednesday Graveyard, but also it's slot 11pm to 12am on a Monday night.

And so, I can now announce that I will be on Pulse 98.4 starting in December.

The show is focused on a few key areas - mostly electronic music, but focused on IDM, ambient, bleep, neo-classical, drone and the occasional minimal techno. Basically, if you've listened to either my Turquoise Hexagon Sun, Long Drawn Out Soul, or Wednesday Graveyard: X series of playlists you'll know what you're in for, but for those that don't you'll be hearing a range of new and old ambient electronic music from artists all the way from John Cage, the pioneer of the genre, through classics such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Brian Eno, to the more recent Tim Hecker, Loscil, Nathan Fake and others. Along the way I'll be seeking out Scottish artists to be showcased on the show as well as many other artists from all over the world.

I have yet to have a first show (my first show will be prerecorded and probably air on the 2nd December) - still a few things to sort out before that, but I'll keep you all in the loop and you can tune in weekly on Mondays using the Pulse website, the Tunein Radio App, or if you're in south Glasgow, tune in to 98.4 FM. I'd love you to.

Wednesday Graveyard: "Live" 3.1

Series three is here! After a 10 month hiatus it's time to listen again! I have a plan of six episodes, so have a listen here and comment. I have a range of themes for the next five episodes, including some brand spanking new artists, so have a listen below!

Also, I have updated the identity of the Wednesday Graveyard: "Live", with a new logo and series of photographs.

Much love


PS: Anyone wanting to hear Uncle Frank's radio debut should listen in...

Ghostly International

When I discover a new band or artist these days it’s far easier to devour their back catalogue than it used to be – before the internet you’d have to actively seek out and buy their music, one by one (or in a credit card busting go). Then, once Napster came along and ruined it for everyone, you could type the artist name into the search and hope someone was sharing their back catalogue. This was rather hit and miss (and it would take a long time for all the tracks to download, natch – 56k modems were never meant for artists with more than one album). With the advent of broadband and then Bittorrent, you could package up all the albums in one torrent file and download them over a few hours (or days).

This meant one thing though; you had it all for free. And the times I did this, I felt very dirty. I did it with a few bands that are now staples of my musical diet when I was at university, and have since compensated for it by buying at least one or two of their albums (or in the case of Boards of Canada, buying everything by them that I can find). How though, as you might have guessed, I am a proponent of Spotify and love it. When I find something new I can regularly just make a playlist of their work, sit back and enjoy.

One strange thing that it also allows is the linking of random tracks from various sources, like compilations and other albums, as well as remixes and one off releases. And it is something that a singular label, Ghostly International, appear to have worked out down to a T. But that is getting ahead of myself.

I am uncertain how I found Ghostly International initially, but my first release by them might be the Tycho single series that started back in 2008. The split release Adrift/From Home was recommended to me by eMusic, and I picked it up. I then found out that two further releases were coming – The Daydream/The Disconnect and Coastal Brake, and I started to find out more about the artist. I forgot about him a bit for a while, before stumbling across the apparently unlinked Ghostly Discover application for my iPhone. This app is probably the neatest way a label could stream their music – by a taste based app that let’s me decided what I want to listen to and then it feeds me artists. It was whilst listening to a selection of Ghostly artists that I came across Tycho again, and realised that there was a link – the label.

Once I looked into it, I suddenly realised that Ghostly were releasing the exact type of music I wanted to listen to. Tycho, despite being my most loved artist on the label, was a gateway into the world of several more.

Tycho’s Dive is my album of the past ten years. I can’t listen to it without feeling warmth and love washing over me. I know it’s not very exciting or unique, but it just feels perfect to my ears – a wonderful mixture of ambient and slowcore mixed with tinges of Boards of Canada. And his earlier work, Past is Prologue, is amazing.

Shigeto’s first few EPs weren’t released on Ghostly, but his Semi-Circle and Full Circle releases were, and they’re up there with some of the coolest hip-hop styled instrumentals you can find out there. There’s a strange kind of beat going in them and they make me really want to dance, strangely, or just act cool. You know?

Canadian ambient artist Scott Morgan, Loscil has recently released material on Kranky (another fucking brilliant label, and maybe one I should write about too) but he released some material on Ghostly before and it just gives an excuse to include him in this list. Playing Glasgow and London in March, his Sketches from New Brighton album is one of my favourites from 2012.

Michna’s Magic Monday was suggested to me by a friend on Twitter and despite it being a little different from the others in this list (being slightly more organic than some others) it deserves to be here because it’s just brilliant. Difficult to get into, maybe, but entirely worth listening to.

Com Truise
Com Truise is one of those artists I have been listening to for a long time and to see him within the Ghostly canon is exciting – he releases a lot of material online for free, but his Galactic Melt LP is stunning. I wrote about him for Opionehted a while ago – and I am still seriously enthusiactic about his material.

Also worth listening to are Aeroc, Lusine, Matthew Dear, Cepia, Midwest Product and Mux Mool.

Handily, I’ve made a Wednesday Graveyard for this – listen below or click here.

And, bringing it back to the start of this post, the reason I have found all of these is via Spotify, and the numerous Ghostly compilations that are on there. Here is a selection you should listen to: