Digital/Divide And Deaf Forever Picks For January’s Store

On January 17th 2017

Our metal columnist Andy O’Connor and our electronic columnist Gary Suarez pick titles for our store (which opens today!) and tell you why.

Deaf Forever Pick

Kreator are one of the originators of German thrash, which eschewed some of the melodic and progressive leanings of their American contemporaries in favor of speed, intensity, and more fucking speed. Three decades on, they’re still on top with Gods of Violence. A band of their stature should be more concerned with consistency than outright innovation, and they’ve retained the savagery of their ‘80s work, while adding more grandiose leads to the mix. That bombast will do them well come metal festival season in the summer, and Kreator have managed to find a small revitalization that many of their peers haven’t. It’s more sophisticated, more mature, but not in the way that Megadeth or Metallica attempted to be such in the 90s. “Satan Is Real” is not a Louvin Brothers cover, but it may just be their most anthemic song since “Tormentor,” their classic from their debut Endless Pain. Amidst their formidable barrage, “Satan” cracks a little grin, a nod to the over-the-top, deliberate or not, sensibilities of classic metal. Whether you’re a Kreator diehard or, somehow, not blessed enough to have listened to a German thrash album, Violence is needed in your collection.

Digital/Divide Pick

Since it was first popularized with Brian Eno’s pioneering 1978 album Music For Airports, the term ambient has been bastardized and reclaimed, cheapened and salvaged in jagged cycles. In recent years, we thankfully appear to operate rather firmly in a period of exciting exploration for the genre, with both new and archival recordings emerging from artists like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Tim Hecker, and erstwhile Eno collaborator Laraaji.

After decades as producer for seminal works by Talking Heads and U2 as well as a renowned artist in his own right, Eno remains an auditory visionary perpetually fascinated with sound. An essential new work, Reflection reflects the latest and perhaps most compelling release in his current multi-record run for Warp Records, a label whose earliest artists remain in the electronic music pioneer’s debt.

Even if grappling with the academic underpinnings of generative music that motivate Eno here recall the stress of cramming for an exam, his ability to convert theoretical principles into the expansive, even meditative soundscapes of Reflection dissolves any such negative energy. Sumptuous and alien, the music here depends on software yet operates in a decidedly more ethereal realm. There is repetition and motif, but also by design ceaseless change and overlapping mutation that both reinforce and challenge our sense of familiarity with these pinging tones and sweeping drones. By its end, Repetition will leave listeners struck with the sense they have been somewhere else while standing or sitting in place, a remarkable feat in our perpetually multi-tasked times.

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