Have you ever trudged through the internet and found an album that was just so unbelievably beautiful, you couldn’t believe the band doesn’t have a shrine in every capital city that people worship and pray to?
If you’re anything like me, finding good music is a must because half the music on commercial radio stations make me want gouge out my eyes with a rusty blunt metal ruler.
Well this is a list from me to you, compiling albums that have kept the rusty ruler at bay, with music so dreamy, mainstream radio stations are silly not to play it.
1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
People either know this mysterious instrumental band, or they don’t. For those who do, they are either infatuated with them (myself guilty) or don’t have time for them, as each song usually clocks in at over 20 minutes.Adding to their mysteriousness is their apathy towards interviews, their politically charged voice, and how they have been known to release albums unknowingly without any promotion.
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven in particular is unanimously considered their most accessible, while also being their longest. The album consists of four tracks, split into a further 19 movements, that slowly swell from tiny breaths that eventually reach the outer atmosphere of Earth and finally collapse into walls of noise that peter out back to nothingness. Each song is carefully constructed with organic instrumental pulses and vocal samples that paint the landscape of a world in immense pain, but still clinging onto some kind of hope.
Top Track: “Storm”
2. Bohren and der Club of Gore – Piano Nights
This album truly lives up to its name—it’s the perfect album to listen to after a few red wines post-midnight, when you’re hoping the night never ends because tomorrow’s light will evaporate your current mood of perfect inebriation. Another slow instrumental album where beauty lies between each kneaded piano chord, and saxophone solo.
Top Track: “Im Rauch”
3. Damien Jurado – Brother and Sisters of the Eternal Son
All of Damien Jurado’s albums harbour an assumed melancholy, primarily explored through a tango of vocals and acoustic, but this album also calls on the help of a full band ensemble that gives his music some extra oomph. It’s as if every note hollered by an instrument was given a dose of liquid LSD, while Jurado’s voice weaves between the vibrant sounds, holding everything together.
Top Track: “Silver Timothy”
4. David Lynch – The Big Dream
Most people know Lynch for his film and TV exploits (such as Twin Peaks), but he’s also a talented musician in his own right. The Big Dream is reminiscent of the Twin Peaks universe, with its sparse lonely echoes that seem to have come from directly from Lynch’s surreal underworld. Lynch’s signature drawl-y vocal pronunciations sound as if they have been warped by some dark force and everything is slow and hypnotic and sure to put you in a Lynchian trance.
Top Track: “The Big Dream”
5. Esmerine – Dalmak
Recorded in Istanbul, Turkey (the Montreal band was awarded a residency in the city), Dalmak has a very apparent Eurasian slant in comparison to their previous albums. In many tracks you can hear the mournful whispers of the woodwind mey, and the sharp metallic twangs of the baglama. Each song is in a minor key, a characteristic of Arabesque music. Be prepared for melancholic songs that will transport you to a wild, and unrestrained place with complex poly-rhythms your heart could only wish to beat to.
Top Track: “Translator’s Clos I”
6. John Martyn – Solid Air
If a full body massage by a professional masseuse had a sound, it would be this album. I don’t know how Martyn plays with such technique, while singing with the same precision. His voice can morph into any sound from a soft whisper that just brushes past the ear, to a thick bass string that wraps around your body, hitting all the good spots. His voice often sounds like another instrument rather than a voice, and I think this just shows his dedication to become the music, rather than just the performer.
Top Track: “Solid Air”
7. Adult Jazz – Gist Is
This album is experimental pop at its finest. The lead vocalist, Harry Burgess’ voice is reminiscent of vocal extraordinaire Jeff Buckley. The way Burgess is able to dig from the depth of his diaphragm and climb to falsetto heights makes you think he has to watch out for commercial aeroplanes. If you enjoyed Bon Iver’s latest album 22, A Million, with its experimental tendencies and vocal processing, you will surely love this too. When I listen to this album, I imagine atoms that have been smashed apart circling around in my ear in chaotic accuracy much like a Cirque du Soleil performance.
Top Track: “Springful”
Enjoy these albums. All I have left to say is: