Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

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algroth
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Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby algroth » 29 Oct 2018, 22:02

So this Friday saw the release of Julia Holter's latest record, and I reckoned it was worth discussing in a thread separate from NP. Back when I saw The Tree of Life in theatres I felt it was a film that, warts and all, felt like a very special and monumental experience, the chance encounter between a artist with wild, possibly unwieldy ambitions and the resources to bring their idea to fruition in all its grandiloquent, unfiltered glory. To my ears Aviary is feeling very similar in these regards, and the kind of experience it seems to be delivering as well. It's grand, it's difficult and abstract, it's possibly overlong and overblown, like Malick's preference for sweeping and vertiginous vistas magnified through wide-angle lenses every track here seems almost designed to be as sweeping and massive as they possibly can, through classic wall of sound techniques, grand orchestral arrangements and Sanders-like clusters of winds, electronic textures that lend an often oneiric and cosmic feel to the music, dissonant choirs and else; all this to arrive to something that feels utterly transcendent, utterly lush and moving in all manner of ways. Like the Malick film I have no doubt this will be rather divisive, and it's also not perfect - there's tracks through the first half which do seem to meander and not always land on the mark. But it all seems to congeal for what is ultimately a very unique and fascinating thing. It's my album of the year, and possibly of the decade thus far.



I feel like Aviary is the culmination of what's also been a pretty damn strong year for music, and what I like is also that it's proven remarkably easy this year to land on new interesting and worthwhile albums, relative to several of the past years - I honestly haven't felt this good listening to music of the same year since roughly 2007/8. It's not that there haven't been very strong years since (2014 and 2016 certainly give this year a run for its money) but it's often been the case for me that I'd only really land on the 'right' albums a couple of years after the fact, whilst wading through a lot of fairly mediocre and often overhyped stuff (pretty sure there's a joke somewhere in here about me overhyping Aviary but, eh :P ). It used to be a rather tiresome affair, I felt, but not this year.

Other albums that have so far impressed me this year would be:

Koenjihyakkei - Dhorimviskha
Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is a Reptile
Tropical Fuck Storm - A Laughing Death in Meatspace
Niño de Elche - Antología del cante flamenco heterodoxo
Kali Uchis - Isolation
Kink Gong - Dian Long: Soundscape China / Destruction of Chinese Pop
Anna von Hausswolff - Dead Magic
Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance

What about you guys? Any discoveries you've made or personal favorites you have?

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Jeemo » 29 Oct 2018, 22:11

New Snow Patrol album is a belter.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby PENK » 30 Oct 2018, 12:18

I picked Aviary up the other day but haven't had time to listen to it yet. The kids are going away to their grandparents' for a few nights tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to giving it a spin then. She's one of the few current artists whose new releases really excite me and feel significant.

On which note, Friday sees the release of the second album from another I follow closely, Objekt, although he's not to most BCBers' tastes I imagine seeing as he is a) modern and b) electronic.

In general I haven't really got that much out of this year, although there are a bunch of things on my "2018" Spotify playlist I have liked a song or so from but not investigated further yet.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby algroth » 30 Oct 2018, 16:58

PENK wrote:I picked Aviary up the other day but haven't had time to listen to it yet. The kids are going away to their grandparents' for a few nights tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to giving it a spin then. She's one of the few current artists whose new releases really excite me and feel significant.

On which note, Friday sees the release of the second album from another I follow closely, Objekt, although he's not to most BCBers' tastes I imagine seeing as he is a) modern and b) electronic.


Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it, PENK! Will also keep an eye out for Objekt.

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Goat Boy » 30 Oct 2018, 17:16

Not got round to it yet but I'm seeing her in December. I thought Wilderness was one of the better albums of recent years but this sounds like a bit of a curveball

I've been enjoying the John Grant recently. Quite like the Parquet Courts and Jim james ones too.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby driftin » 30 Oct 2018, 17:34

It's excessive and overlong but it's also partly why it's good. There's so much detail and passion in every moment. In that aspect it reminds me of Vespertine and Homogenic which I love, and it obviously shares the same sonic palette as those two with lots of breathy vocals, lush strings, choral arrangements, delicate electronic shimmering and so on.

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby algroth » 30 Oct 2018, 18:35

Goat Boy wrote:I've been enjoying the John Grant recently. Quite like the Parquet Courts and Jim james ones too.


I saw him live last year myself, enjoyed the synthier and more rhythmic tracks a fair bit though he prioritized the piano ballads a lot more, which I cared less for. It was in a festival and hadn't heard him prior aside from a song or two. I'll give him a go.

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby LeBaron » 30 Oct 2018, 18:39

I’m stoked to hear Aviary. I might have blown it off for a few months but this is a good push to pick it up!
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 30 Oct 2018, 19:29

I have some Holter and a von Haussenwolff.

They're good but don't set me completely on fire.

The rest I don't even know who they are. But that's alright. I lived through the 60's.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby algroth » 30 Oct 2018, 20:06

Walk In My Shadow wrote:I have some Holter and a von Haussenwolff.

They're good but don't set me completely on fire.

The rest I don't even know who they are. But that's alright. I lived through the 60's.


You might want to give the Sons of Kemet and Kali Uchis albums a spin, they might be of your interest. :)

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 30 Oct 2018, 20:12

yes, probably. Sons of Kemet I have heard some and that was really OK.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby joels344 » 31 Oct 2018, 00:46

Aviary is easily my AOTY right now, and I don't see it being topped by anything at the moment. It's such a dense, lush, and impressive artistic statement. You can hear elements of post-rock Talk Talk, Björk, David Sylvian, Kate Bush, and even late-Scott Walker on this album. Even the more atmospheric tracks add to the musical experience rather than pad the album with meaningless filler. I also like how she put the more experimental side first. That's a brave move, considering how it would've been tempting to place the more accessible art pop/progressive pop side first. But that side is not necessarily conventional pop by means. It's full of sonic and melodic surprise throughout.

I'm feeling a light to strong 9/10 here. :D

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Geezee » 31 Oct 2018, 13:29

Anna Calvi's Hunter on my side. I can hear a diverse array of elements of PiL, X-Ray Spex, Grace Jones, Hendrix, Scott Walker, Pink Floyd and more across the album, but it is all recognisably the voice and guitar of Calvi, and brought together by a very focused thematic lyrical exploration of gender. When artists come out with such a strong statement of intent like this it can sometimes be off-putting, but only if it becomes dogmatic and constrains the music, which is certainly not the case here - while Side 1 (Hunter, Don't Beat the Girl, Alpha, As a Man) is very much setting the tone and provides the singles, the album moves in so many directions and moods, explores different textures and styles, and Side 2 might be the most beautiful stream of music that I've come across in many years. She obviously gave a huge amount of thought into this album in the intervening years since her last album, and I like how it makes her two previous albums, as good as they are, almost sound dated and conservative by comparison, having removed all the traditional orchestration and focused on much more subtle sounds. God knows what she'll do next.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby algroth » 03 Nov 2018, 19:13

Geezee wrote:Anna Calvi's Hunter on my side. I can hear a diverse array of elements of PiL, X-Ray Spex, Grace Jones, Hendrix, Scott Walker, Pink Floyd and more across the album, but it is all recognisably the voice and guitar of Calvi, and brought together by a very focused thematic lyrical exploration of gender. When artists come out with such a strong statement of intent like this it can sometimes be off-putting, but only if it becomes dogmatic and constrains the music, which is certainly not the case here - while Side 1 (Hunter, Don't Beat the Girl, Alpha, As a Man) is very much setting the tone and provides the singles, the album moves in so many directions and moods, explores different textures and styles, and Side 2 might be the most beautiful stream of music that I've come across in many years. She obviously gave a huge amount of thought into this album in the intervening years since her last album, and I like how it makes her two previous albums, as good as they are, almost sound dated and conservative by comparison, having removed all the traditional orchestration and focused on much more subtle sounds. God knows what she'll do next.


Listening to it right now, it's pretty good so far. I think I'm enjoying it more than her debut, which I didn't care for that much. Cheers! :)

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby $P.Muff$ » 04 Nov 2018, 00:29

'Aviary' is the only album from this year I've listened to and I doubt I'll listen to another any time soon.

For all its sprawling madness the listening experience is so intimate & personal that writing about it is difficult - feels a bit pointless.

Really all I would like to say is that it's fucking beautiful and I love it.

Give it a listen. Proper setting is helpful.

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Graham Murakami » 04 Nov 2018, 10:10

algroth wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:I've been enjoying the John Grant recently. Quite like the Parquet Courts and Jim james ones too.


I saw him live last year myself, enjoyed the synthier and more rhythmic tracks a fair bit though he prioritized the piano ballads a lot more, which I cared less for. It was in a festival and hadn't heard him prior aside from a song or two. I'll give him a go.


We are like Jack Spratt and his wife on this one. When I have seen him, it is the ones without a tune that I like the least, and there seems to be more of these with each album, so I just didn't bother with the new one. Following somebody's career for more than three albums because they once wrote a good song about Winona Ryder seemed a bit excessive.

The best records this year
Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
The Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile
Ty Segall - Freedom's Goblin
In general it has been a year for comedy metal (Greta van Fleet is also good), new jazz (Kamasi Washington) and productive artists consistently coming up with great albums (Thee Oh Sees as well)

It has been a good year. I'm getting used to being able to stream albums for free, and keep on coming across albums that deserve a few more listens, such as Hell-On by Neko Case and Twentytwo in Blue by Sunflower Bean. I seem to have neglected them a bit as I didn't pay £20 to get them on vinyl (or £40 when it comes to Mitski).

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby pcqgod » 07 Nov 2018, 15:56

Have not heard the new Julia Holter album as of yet.

So far this year I've enjoyed new releases by Gwenno, Chvurches, and The Damned, but still haven't heard many of the major 2018 releases. Usually around December I start reading "best of the year" lists and sample from them. One of the out-of-left-field albums I've enjoyed is 'Dungeness' by Trembling Bells which is pretty much completely retro in that it sounds like an amalgam of every popular sound of 1973, but so much of what I like these days (even among new musical acts) tends to be retro.

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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2018, 15:57

Struggling with Aviary. Will keep trying but I’m not too hopeful at this moment
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby yomptepi » 07 Nov 2018, 16:09

Goat Boy wrote:Struggling with Aviary. Will keep trying but I’m not too hopeful at this moment


I have tried a couple of times, but it is very difficult. The opening song is impenetrable, and I kept thinking it would lighten up. but it just kept going. Full on. I will try disc two later on, but I cannot see it making any difference, even though I do find it interesting.
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Re: Aviary, and other top albums of 2018.

Postby $P.Muff$ » 08 Nov 2018, 00:56

Due to its length it's not an album I'll be playing all the way through often. The first time I listened I felt as though I was floating in a lovely sea of LSD. Since then I've been breaking it up in shorter segments.