Laica (aka Dave Fleet) released the excellent 'Environs' earlier this year, an album which Ears For Eyes deemed to be "intelligent, mature and engaging", a belief that hasn't changed at all with several listens since then. Here is Dave's look back at 2013.
I'm starting to find end of year album lists a bit of a strange thing as a lot of people talk about the same albums which is good for those people that made those albums, then you get a lot of albums you have never come across, again a good thing, you read a list that has 5 or 6 albums you liked and then see something new and go check it out, if you like it and buy it its a win win situation.
Taking all of this into account I decided that I would try and present you with something different, the way that people buy music has changed, the way that people listen back to that music has changed but also since the dawn of the digital age I think that the way people present their physical or digital releases has changed and that's where I come in, what follows is a list of albums/Eps, all great musically but presented here because I like how they look (The fact that not all of these recordings came out in 2013 is to be ignored)
Francisco Meirino - An Extended Meaning For Something Meaningless (Auditory Field Theory)
This CD was sent to a month or so back, I have long been a supporter of Auditory Field Theory and had listened to the clips for this album on soundcloud, as soon as I said its was a very interesting listen I was promised a copy, sound-wise it does not disappoint, but also visually it is really nice album, simply printed on embossed card the minimalism of the cover really sets you up for an album made up of 3 extended pieces or really well constructed noise, there is no other way to put it, but its a really composed noise, it has very distinct movements within it, I keep coming back to it
Production Unit - There Are No Shortcuts In A Grid System (Broken20)
I reviewed this album at the end of 2012 for Darkfloor, Its an album I fell for straight away, Its a really clever album and it is paced perfectly for home listening but its inclusion here is because of the brilliant way it was packaged, Dave Fyans who does all of the artwork for Broken20 went looking for the future and found it, the album comes on an engraved USB stick in a bespoke black box with many inserts that ask as many questions as the music contained within do
Ujif_Notfound - Aneuch (Electroton)
I am a recent convert to the Electroton label that is run by Martin Weis they deliver sparse glitch electronics that will be familiar to those who have enjoyed the Clicks and Cuts albums or the early Raster Noton releases, some of it is more avant-garde than purely rhythm driven but all beautiful regardless, This album and indeed all 8 of the albums in this series are included here because they are presented as 3" cdrs in clear miniature DVD cases with minimal info typed across the front
Uschi-No-Michi - Ameratsu (Phatic Musk)
7" Singles fit inside 8" floppy disks, who knew? its such a simple thing but its a thing of beauty, each of these limited edition singles is different as these disks have all had a real life beforehand added to Uschi's voice this makes up to a beautiful package all round
Laica - Puls (Rano)
Including myself in this list is wrong I'm sure except for the fact that I didn't design the package for Puls, It had already been designed, also I honestly like all of the releases on Rano and thought putting my own up would stop it looking like I have a favourite, the part of the packaging I like isn't the design of the J Cards or tapes themselves but the simple addition of a banded and hand stamped box to contain everything, its the little things that really make it
Q U B E - Hacker Farm (hackerfarm.net)
This has to be one of the strangest musical objects I have ever bought, Q U B E is a Rubik's cube with each of the faces making up a QR code that you then scan to get to the content (musical or otherwise) contained within?
Madden / Dylewski - Works On Foil (Exotic Pylon)
This release takes things in a slightly different direction, this in an audio visual album that comes on an sd card in a foil bag, plenty of glitchwares contained within (glitchwares is my word but you can have it)
Sculpture - CD DVD (tapebox.co.uk)
The list so far, although being about music has all been focussed on the look of or the packaging of music, this is actually a DVD full of mind bending visuals from Sculpture, they could have filled this list themselves as they really do think outside the box as people say, but this DVD really is a joy to watch and it was free when I got mine, all you have to do is ask
Rave Wars - Various (Balkan Vinyl)
Originally pressed and sold out in 2010, this and Rave Wars II were both repressed early this year on coloured vinyl, each 7" comes with a cover mounted and randomly chosen Star Wars figure and as a life long fan i had to have them, bass, breaks the hoover sound and Star Wars figures, what could go wrong
OH/EX/OH - Extant (The Geography Trip)
Again I reviewed this album for Darkfloor but it is included here for an entirely different reason, it looks so good, as I said at the start, music is delivered in an entirely different way now to the way it was delivered when I first started to collect records, but when this record arrived it took me straight back to my youth, this album demands to be taken out of its protective sleeve looked at, studied and loved, this is what people used to do with records and a bit of me hopes that people continue to do so, Thank you