STAFF 2012 WRAP UPS: JONATHAN
Posted by Jonathan Abramson
Is it okay to go through life being untouchable? If you want life to be easy, sure. If you want to avoid learning more about yourself and others you love, sure. Living infallibly is a misguided façade – confidence on the outside, total insecurity on the inside. It means you’re devoid of responsibility. It means you’re selfish. It means you’re perpetually alone. This year, I felt a lot of releases fell pray to these sentiments – a bunch of self-aggrandized, self-absorbed, hyped up loads of crap. Very bleak, I know. I’m usually a really optimistic person when it comes to new music, but this year honestly didn’t excite me. As a result, a lot of my year was spent listening to older records. Before I get to that though, there are two releases from this year that unquestionably hailed over all the others in my eyes.
Hundred Waters blew me away this year partly because they’re one of the only emerging acts that don’t rely on button pushing. They went from being this tiny Gainesville, FL band to getting signed to Skrillex’s label. I’ve gotten to know a few of the members personally over the past year, and they have been a delight to watch and from whom to learn. Combining unique composition and clearly refined musicianship, they will reach higher levels of success thanks to their distinct breed of elegant folk. “Boreal” is my favorite track off their self-titled record.
My favorite record this year was Shigeto’s Lineage. This man is in a league of his own. Just ask anyone who has seen him live. He transforms the jazz genre into something fresh, perplexing, and repetitive. That’s what’s nuts to me. Jazz is not a repetitive genre. It’s based on improvisation, but despite Shigeto’s loops, each bar has a distinct quality. “Huron River Drive” is my favorite track off of Lineage, and my favorite song of the year.
For those of you in the know, the first line of this piece will have tipped you off to the old record I attached to this year. Elite Gymnastics’ Ruin is a flat out masterpiece of harmonic noise pop. I had heard of James before from perusing the general indie musicsphere, but none of it caught my attention until I saw him perform live towards the end of the summer. His set was enchanting and dancey, yet I found myself focusing on his lyrics that were projected on the wall behind him while gently swaying and nodding along to the beat. I even found myself at times shocked by how perfect and emotional his writing is. He’s an incredibly thoughtful and deep individual. His lyrics paint pictures of deceit and love that can only originate from the darkest of circumstances. We can all relate. “Here In Heaven 2” is probably my favorite example of James’ unique songwriting.
I hope 2013 brings less untouchable personalities to music than this past year, but I’m not too worried because there’s still a plethora of great “old” stuff that I have yet to encounter. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay… I didn’t mean what I said.