THEOLOGIAN/ANNIHILVS POWER ELECTRONIX (Lee M. Bartow)
1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2018? (Preferably in order 1-5)
I think this is what I listened to most often this year:
- Jóhann Jóhannsson - MANDY soundtrack
- Jed Palmer - UPGRADE soundtrack
- Bonedust - FRUIT OF THE ASH
- Them are Us Too - AMENDS
- SRSQ - UNREALITY
2. What band did you discover in 2018 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
Although I'm friends with Ryan Martin of DAIS RECORDS, I'd never listened to THEM ARE US TOO, until their final release earlier this year. I found it to be an incredibly moving tribute to band member Cash Askew, whose life was lost in the Ghost Ship fire. The album was completed after this tragedy with input by Cash's friends and family. Singer Kennedy Ashlyn went on to release the debut of her solo project SRSQ on DAIS more recently, which is also beautiful. I can't claim that these albums had a *significant impact on my life per se, but they definitely made an impact.
3. How will you remember 2018? (In terms of music)
As with last year, unbelievably frustrating, but also pretty rewarding. As a label owner, my lack of resources were glaring this year, although I managed to release several albums by artists I admire. As THEOLOGIAN, I completed work on two Lovecraft vinyl projects for CADABRA RECORDS, headlined the DARKNESS DESCENDS festival in Cleveland in June, we performed in Denver with BRIGHTER DEATH NOW in September, and in October I produced a festival at a local arts center, for the second year in a row. I made some new music for my friend Nikki's project TELLADICTORIAN and we played our first show together a couple of weeks ago, which was well-received.
I'd had a hard time thinking about music that I bought or discovered this year, but it turns out that I actually have a nice little list of albums that I listened to on heavy rotation, on top of stuff that I released myself.
4. What can we look forward to from you in 2019?
THEOLOGIAN will be spending the winter months working on a massive triptych album that has been in progress for almost four years now, along with an accompanying short film, which my girlfriend and I shot together with friends in Iceland in August. We're talking about some potential tourdates later in the new year as well. ANNIHILVS has a pretty full slate of releases, some stuff that is still left unpublished from the past few years, as well as a couple of brand new things. I'm pretty excited to put out this full-length from Terence Hannum's BRUTALISM project.
5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2019?
Aside from things that I'm putting out myself, I can't really think of anything that I'm looking forward to. My music buying habits have become a shadow of what they once were, and my enthusiasm in general is at an all-time low. It's a hard balancing act these days.
6. Right now there are two primary types of digital services: subscription streaming and the bandcamp approach that's more individualized. Do you have a preference and what direction do you think future streaming/download services will move toward?
I'm not a fan of digital versus physical media. It's a problem I face constantly as I try to keep motivated with everything I do, and I feel like a dinosaur most of the time. The devaluation of art and music can be directly traced to the rise and ubiquity of streaming services and digital media. Bandcamp is definitely the superior model, with artists and labels having direct control of how their material is distributed. A lot of my own work is on Spotify and all the others, but I never put it there or given my express permission for it to be there, nor do I receive any financial compensation for any sales via those outlets. I mourn for the days when I would sit down with a record in my hands and become completely absorbed in the experience. I know a lot of people feel the same. Obviously this is still an option, but I'm not happy with the way I engage with music, and how it has changed so drastically from when I was younger.