2016 In Retrospect Part 1 – Mixed Blessings


Presented for your delectation, my now traditional (this is the third!) musical review of the departed year in mixtape form, featuring great big slabs of some of the amazing sounds that graced the Foggy turntable over the last 12 months. 2016 was an absolutely fantastic year for music of all genres, which is just as well, because it was a truly rotten year in just about every other respect. And in these straightened times, I’m convinced that it’s more necessary than ever to accentuate the positives and try and use the current rude health of our culture as a noisy way of blotting out all the crass, vulgar, wealthy, sneering, tax-avoiding faces that otherwise seem to have a complete monopoly on the media….

Tongues Of Light (not these faces, but you get the idea)

To whit, just have a look at some of the produce on offer here: From Kid Lib fusing my two great loves of Radiophonics and Jungle, Sculpture at the top of their game and new releases from old friends such as Brood Ma, Kemper Norton and Mark Vernon; to discovering artists such as Vanessa Amara, Tongues Of Light and even a new release from legendary electronic music pioneer Halim El Dabh! I could go on (and frequently do – incessantly, so I’m told), but it’s probably better just to let you dive in and the sample the delights first-hand. Strap on your ear-goggles and let’s roll:

Kid Lib
Brood Ma

Of course there were many tracks I didn’t have time to include, but honourable mentions must go in particular to Tom WhiteRothko with Johny Brown, Tetherdown, Puce Maryrkss and Monkeys In Love (for this adorable promo video alone – admit you wish these people were your friends). It’s amazing how quickly two hours vanishes when you have so much quality to choose from.

If forced to pick one musical highlight of 2016, I would say the biggest musical surprise was certainly the return of Aussie sample overlords The Avalanches – with apologies to those of you who apparently assumed it would be a recording of a squeaky gate or a radiator or something. If you had told me this time last year that they would be imminently releasing a follow-up to their much-loved Since I Left You after a sixteen year hiatus, I would never have believed you. Had you told me it would actually prove to be on a par with their debut (and in some ways eclipse it), I would have summoned you a nurse. But there you have it, sometimes the hype truly is justified. It should have been a sprawling, unfocused mess and in many ways it was, but complete with a gossamer light touch and the sense that it was all being flung together effortlessly in front of your ears. And, most crucially, in a year in very short supply of simple joy, Wildflower was an album completely stuffed with it. Bravo, gents. Just don’t keep us waiting so long for a third….

That tracklist in full (because it seems Mixcloud doesn’t do that any more):

  1. Tongues Of Light – Healing (Extract)
  2. Kid Lib – Falling
  3. Demdike Stare – Sourcer
  4. Lone – Triple Helix
  5. Sculpture – Zyprazol
  6. Brood Ma – Molten Brownian Motion 1
  7. Konx-om-Pax – Stay
  8. The Sprawl – Drowning In Binary
  9. Ordinate – OR21
  10. Matmos – Ultimate Care II (Extract)
  11. Graham Dunning – Fictional Toxins
  12. Cosmic Neighbourhood – Dragonfly
  13. Dan Hayhurst – Polyphase
  14. Cavern Of Anti Matter – Hi Hats Bring The Hiss
  15. Merz – Serene
  16. Assembled Minds – Through The Morris Light
  17. The Avalanches – If I Was A Folkstar
  18. Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux – A Different River Once (Extract)
  19. The Avalanches – Saturday Night Inside Out
  20. Tom Scott – Dewpoint
  21. Freeholm Wilson – House By The Sea
  22. The Dandelion Set – Judy Switched Off The TV
  23. Anohni – 4 Degrees
  24. Revbjelde – Strensham Chunt
  25. Ekoplekz – Working Man’s Dub
  26. Halim El Dabh & Ron Slabe – Cirrocumulus
  27. CukoO – Rain
  28. Drömloch – Beguine
  29. Sarah Angliss – Jellied Heel
  30. Kemper Norton – Seven Stones 2
  31. Tongues Of Light – Healing (Extract)
  32. Vanessa Amara – Untitled (From ‘You’re Welcome Here’)
  33. Mark Vernon – Cracked Shell (Tape Transplant)
  34. Mark Vernon – See You On The Other Side

Author: Robin The Fog

Sound Artist, Radio Producer, DJ, founder and chief strategist of tape-loop proejct Howlround. Devout Catalyst.

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