2013 was certainly a weird year for me in terms of music. More and more I grew distant from the more "mainstream" crowd, but I didn't necessarily sink into the Bandcamp scene as well as I probably should have in the year. To be fair, I've mostly stuck around Breakbit, since it is my favorite place to go to for music. Even then, I suppose I don't truly represent what other Breakbit fans enjoy, so this list doesn't really represent a certain category of music enthuthiasts. No, rather, this list is simply what I enjoyed listening to the most from what I could get in the year. Without further ado, here's my picks in no particular order.
DR777 has constantly proved himself to be the most idiosyncratic among the most bizarre and experimental electronic music makers, and REAL is no exception. Here, he has managed to strengthen his sound, which is a weird combination of gritty hip-hop beats combined with relaxing sources. All the music sounds like they've been jolted with extra energy, as it progresses with a great sense of rhythm and style. You feel yourself moving to and fro' with each song, particularly the ones that have a calm opening. His choice of sources and the way he mangles with them is still as unique as ever, especially in songs like Real, Drop and Son. They just ooze with that feeling of being caught between having a good time and finding yourself stuck in a dream that's being controlled by someone else. This is probably the best album out there for people who want a YTP experience without those pesky visuals.
If there is one thing that I know for certain about Vaervaf is that he is nothing like I've ever seen before. His music certainly reflects that since it defies any sort of structure that one would expect from music. To say that Vaervaf is a Dadaist musician would both be accurate and completely crazy. For one, I'm not sure if one can really take his work so seriously to call it a subversion of standard music. And two, his music is not filled with hate against the medium. Rather, it is something that resembles a cult, lulling you into a sense of comfort, but also reaching itself under your skin. It is filled with love, but it's the kind of love that a victim gets for their captor once they've been with them for so long. The songs have an ability to possess you with it's violent glitch-like noises and it's soothing breaks that slowly slip into a cacophany of utter confusion. Also, the vocals just add to the cryptic nature that makes this such a fascinating listen. This album is simply a great example of the dissonance one feels when they see a work that makes no sense at all, yet manage to understand it with a great sense of depth.
Glue70's Points Of Interest
As I've said before, I owe a lot to glue70 when it comes to my tastes of music. What I failed to mention was that I also owe him a great deal of thanks for being something that I can look to when I feel as though I've lost faith in music. Points Of Interest shows me just how much passion can go into a single album, and just how much love a person can have for their craft. You can sense it in songs like Casin, Highway Broken and Quiet Mary Talking as they flow by with pinpoint accuracy. They simply sound like glue70 took his time to put all the pieces together properly. It's magnificent how he manages to combine older techniques with a newer flow, creating his own take on retro electronic music. The best part about this album is its simplicity. It's not trying to do anything extremely complicated, it is simply a well-made work that one can sit back and enjoy. With that, it succeeds because it doesn't distract itself and it strives to do its damn best to achieve its goal.
Eddache's Only Man
Now, this is an artist that I'm not really aware of...well not as much the previous three. I didn't really know what to think of this album considering Eddache's other works. On the one hand, it had promise since Bioshock is brimming with atmosphere. On the other, Eddache's mostly been associated with a more "upbeat" sort of attitude, especially considering what he works on. With that said, this album really does a great deal of justice to the game. He picks the right audio clips and the right times to play them, setting the mood properly. Masterpiece for example, shows the broken mind of Sander Cohen as well as his elaborate showmanship. The Bloody King is another great one, as it perfectly sums up the tour de force that is Andrew Ryan. The manipulation of the music is simply sublime, not only accentuating the emotions but also being able to create something of his own. Like glue70, it's a very basic concept, but the execution is done so well, it's a treat to hear.
chris†††'s frasierwave / Saint Pepsi's WORLD TOUR
Frasierwave and WORLD TOUR are a great summary of how my musical tastes were in 2013. That is to say, this was the year that I caught onto this movement called "vaporwave". I don't know why I got to this so late, but I'm glad it's still trucking through. It was incredibly hard to pick one or the other, so I decided to pick both of them because they captured different sides of the movement really well. I got into frasierwave earlier in the year, and I absolutely enjoyed chris†††'s style of glitchy edits and how he created an unreal setting with sources using such simple moves. It felt like there was something beyond the twisting of the music, something hidden, but I was too overwhelmed with the thoughts that came up that I ended up frozen, simply taking the work as if it were some elaborate painting. It really did feel like I was sitting in a nice, well-furbished psychologist's office with schizophrenia as the radio crooned by, with the development of the sound mirroring the analysis of one's psyche. Where frasierwave was more artistic, WORLD TOUR was able to feel more...I guess "mainstream". That is to say that it was more fitting to have this play for a crowd. SAINT PEPSI is able to make the elements of vaporwave work really well in a dance setting. Sometimes it feels like it's a new type of disco, since he's able to make the song bounce with the same groove. Other times, the slow and dragged out feeling of the music makes it play out like a modern slow dance. Both of them are two wonderful albums from two wonderful artists, and I thank them for introducing me to vaporwave.