1. In 2011 I was in Montréal enduring my coldest winter yet. I was working away at my annual list of the best releases I’d heard that year. At some point my computer caved in – and with it, my unfinished list. After a few requests I salvaged it, and above is the unfinished list in a newly annotated version.

    Maybe you can find something, you forgot that year.

    Yours, Sincerely.

     

  2. Now that’s a little presumptuous for a book.

     

  3. Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) as a barcode image. Each horizontal pixel is a still from the film taken every three seconds, adding up to a total of 1824 stills.

    A surprisingly colourful film by Guy Maddin, who is known for his nostalgia and affinity for textural qualities.

     


  4. Endings.

    For some reason, this reminds me of a French film I saw as a teenager. I haven’t seen the film again, and I have no idea what it’s called.


    In the last scene of the film, the two lead characters – the man and the woman – are sitting in a café. They’ve been through so much together. And now they’ve gotten each other in the end.

    It looks like a happy ending.


    The woman gets up. She’s going out to powder her nose. Or whatever it is that women in French films do in the bathroom. The man is left sitting alone at the table. He takes her napkin. He writes something on it and then he pushes it back to her side, and then he gets up and leaves. The woman returns from the bathroom. Through the window the camera catches the man who disappears around a corner, behind a shoulder. She looks at the napkin. Picks it up. And everyone can read what it says in her face.

    This is where the film ends. A real film ending. But nothing ends like this in real life. It’s impossible.

    In real life, she wants to know where he lives.

    In real life, she wants his mobile phone number. She wants to call and say; “where are you?!” … “there’s something we need to talk about here.”

    In real life, they will meet next weekend at a party with some mutual friends, and it will be awkward.

    In real life, the story continues.

    In real life, you never get the end to stories like these, because the train arrives and you need to get on it and because those kind of stories never end.

    This is freely translated from an excellent episode on endings of the Danish podcast Third Ear. The episode was the last in Third Ear’s first season, after they ran out of money, and were unsure about the future of the show. Third Ear

    Yours, Sincerely.

     


  5. Field of Reeds

    What’s so subtle about this album is how this nostalgia of the broken is not only conveyed through Jack’s whispered psychosis-like poetics. The broken is inherent in the music. Syncopation regressing into a lack of any discernible rhythm, words, instrumentation. Everything is in a state of unrest. It is collapsing, and that is why I understand. This is not a melodramatic musing on my part. I understand because I understand that things collapse. It’s nothing new. Freud, Schoenberg or Hofmannsthal could have told you in Vienna, more than a century ago. Mental, musical, verbal.

    Albums like this do not come about every year. Well-craften, ethereal, enigmatic.

    Graham Sutton has made sure that everything is kept at a mumble. As with so many of his own accomplishments, we’re not allowed to hear what’s really there. There is something there.


    Although Field of Reeds is mixed wonderfully low, it is not laden with silence. The textures are thick and the keys and occasional bass are thick and expansive. Even the vocals are murmured with a consistency that spreads itself across the spectrum. My current favourite is the second stand out track, Organ Eternal. The Glassian tubular organ and deep strings wraps around the track and suffocates my ears.
    Yesterday, I biked home in the dark and as Organ Eternal came on, and the screams of children (or falcons?) came from outside of my headphones. Sutton knows this. He takes no one by the hand, but pushes you in, head first.

    In between the Islands // where we used to swim //
    Not the suspect // not the victim // I am the reason //
    The things you leave behind // with an end // with a beginning //

    I cannot help but read this as yet another Suburbs, another Wee Small Hours of the Morning, another Blemish…

    Like Blemish, Field of Reeds is a play on sparsity. How little can be crammed into a song before it collapses out of pop music favour? For whatever reason, I want Field of Reeds to be an experiment in silence, but it isn’t.

    Jack pushes his songs to the point of rupture, but only to demonstrate where the borders of convention exist. This is not avant-garde – if such a term is still appropriate – but an outstretched hand to guide you through what popular music can be.

     

  6. Oh, y’know – some guy wrote it.

     

  7. Plans for bicycle trip around Scotland.

    • Edinburgh – Dundee (100 km)
    • Dundee – Aberdeen (100 km)
    • Aberdeen – Glenmore Forest Park (? km)
    • Glenmore Forest Park – Inverness (? km)
    • Inverness – Helmsdale (110 km)
    • Helmsdale – Thurso (67 km) Thurso – ?

    Yours, Sincerely.

     


  8. "The bedrooms of your friends used to be the best places in the world, where you’d go on the afternoons you had nothing to do and look around a room which was inherently more exciting than your own"
     

  9.  

  10. Today was a book day.

    Yours, Sincerely.