Netherlands (Timo Ellis)
1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2020? (In order 1-5)
1) Bob Dylan - Murder Most Foul (single)
At this point, IMO Bob has basically become a full on oracle. This epic poem feels effortless in its delivery: brutal, heartbreaking, and feels like a eulogy for humanity. A masterpiece.
2) Oneotrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
The range of invention, dynamics, varying/textures and moods on this record is just staggering to me -- and even at its darkest still feels good natured, to me anyway. Next level amazing.
3) Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
Another cinematic, adventurous exploration of their unique mood. Relentless, hypnotic...and IMO oddly understated, considering how gnarly they are.
4) Pat Metheny - From This Place
This record is super dense, imaginative, dynamic, and to me sometimes genuinely weird; I find it kind of incredible that music this virtuosic/ masterful can still feel so heartful and unpretentious. IMO bears repeating listening to even get anywhere near the scope of what Pat and his crew are saying here.
5) Horse Lords - The Common Task
Simultaneously ultra-sophisticated, yet also deceptively simple and playful feeling polyrhythmic Kraut/ minimalist rock from the incredible Horse Lords -- evocative, mesmerizing, and satisfying.
2. What band did you discover in 2020 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
I was turned on to, and then obsessively immersed myself in Frank Sinatra’s amazing 1955 In The Wee Small Hours LP. Without being super familiar with the rest of Frank’s catalog (other than the big hits, etc) his performances on this record all seem so personal, poignant, and humble, relative to what usually comes to mind about Frank (plus, Nelson Riddle’s string arrangements are absolutely sublime on this! Nelson Riddle was a fucking boss)
3. How will you remember 2020? (In terms of music)
Eddie Van Halen, Neil Peart, Little Richard, Genesis P-Orrige, Peter Green, Ennio Morricone, Bill Withers, Vern Rumsey...
And this song by Lil’ Baby:
4. What can we look forward to from you in 2021?
@nethrock recorded a full LP with Converge’s Kurt Ballou right before the lockdown, which came out amazing, and which we’ll probably roll out next summer sometime. And during the lockdown, we recorded a blistering new five song no wave-ish @nethrock EP, which within the next month will be mixed and mastered by multiple Grammy-winning producer/ audio ninja Joel Hamilton; I also, over the summer started developing 11 tracks for a full on old-school hip-hop/weirdo funk/ electro solo record, that will feature vocal and instrumental performances by a host of my all-star friends- and of course (hopefully?!)...PLAYING LIVE AGAIN! In other words, 2021 is going to SLAP.
5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2021?
This list could be incredibly long but I’ll just say anything new from Aphex Twin, the Johan Johansson estate, Mica Levi, Punch Brothers, Wormrot, Eno, Kill Alters and Ellen Allien.
6. Trying to put a positive spin on things, what is your favorite development from the global pandemic this year? (Is there a new medium you enjoy, a specific song or collaboration, personal news, etc. that was a bright spot?)
Although I feel like I obviously understand the intent/ spirit of this question, I am also generally wary of what appears to be our culture’s mania for hope/ an almost mandatory injunction to, always “put a positive spin on things”; frankly I am profoundly disturbed and terrified by what appears to be a catastrophic disconnect/ ignorance (on both “sides”) of the real world impact of the ongoing, murderous US imperial project, along with the gravity of the already well underway, environmental mega-catastrophe. I personally have so much to be thankful for, but I still consider it of paramount importance to never forget how dangerously precarious everything is, in this context. IMO these have to remain, “top of mind“ for all of us...for literally the rest of our lives ?? anyway, merry fucking Christmas!! I love you. -TE