Welcome to my end of year list. In actual fact it is less of a list and more of a self indulgent ramble through 2013, a sort of huge thanks list with occasional detours.
This year has been phenomenal for me. For one thing seeing my young family grow has been amazing, terrifying and rewarding – a constant surprise and joy. The support that my beautiful wife has given my various projects has never ever faltered and for that I am eternally grateful. Steph you are my muse.
I play my 6yr old son a lot of my music and getting a thumbs up from him is perhaps one of the most valuable critiques I could possibly attain so that is cherished.
Creatively 2013 has been unbelievably fruitful and that is down to the labels, artists and supporters I have been lucky enough to work with and make the acquaintance of.
Mark Barton, Black Classical, Sebastien Colombat (Lapin Radin), Gareth Courage, Craig Earp, Dave Fleet (Laica), Maxim Peter Griffin, Andrew Guthrie (Chapel Yard), Hacker Farm, Michael Holland (Ears for Eyes), Steve Dewhurst (Jehu& Chinaman), Ian Larsen, April Larson, Joshua Levesque, Andrea Marutti, Simon McCorry (Amonism), Paul McIntyre, people-eaters, Evan Poll (Auditory Field Theory), Rano, Gareth E. Rees (The Hackneymarshman), Roadside Picnic, Ben Sadler (Them Use Them, Juneau Projects), J. Simpson (Forest Punk), Rob Spencer (The Geography Trip), Joseph Stannard (The Outer Church), Stuart Tonge (papa November, Swoomp Theeng), Matteo Uggeri (Sparkle In Grey), Leigh Wright (The Ephemeral Man, Wyrd Daze) and all of my followers on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.
Now for some specifics:
Mark Barton a music writer equal parts Thompson and Burroughs has supported Wizards Tell Lies since the very beginning. When I uploaded the very first WTL track (an early demo version of) ‘Who Is Mr. Broom?’ back in 2007 (ish) I really didn’t expect anyone to take note but Mark did and has energetically championed WTL ever since.
Black Classical is a recent acquaintance and he has done an unbelievable amount in support of my various projects. He has included tracks from across my projects in his various mixes for The Numbers Broadcast and Invader FM and is also a really decent chap. His album ‘Zm∆’ is one of the best records this year. A truly deep listening experience that builds worlds populated by long abandoned architecture, zombies and unutterable dark things that loom in the periphery. Sadly that album is no longer available but its sequel is:
I was also lucky enough to be asked to remix some of the music from ‘Zm∆’ which I did in my The Revenant Sea guise.
And talking of remixes, Laica asked me to remix his ‘Environs’ album for a project called ‘Environmental Engineering‘. Laica has been a long standing supporter of my various projects (thanks!) and his ‘Environs’ album is one of this years best.
And here is my remix:
Gareth Courage & Craig Earp have created some astounding artwork for my Revenant Sea releases this year.
Gareth Courage created the artwork for my collaboration with the high class and prolific Roadside Picnic. Gareth’s work is deft and delicate and yet holds a subtle power and sinister quality that makes it mesmerising.
The album ‘Their Words are Lost in the Din of Jets’ came out on the incredible Jehu& Chinaman Records and garnered support from, amongst others, Hacker Farm and Laica. It is now sold out making it my first ever sell-out release! Very happy. There will be more from WTL coming out on Jehu& Chinaman in 2014.
Craig Earp created the art for my debut as The Revenant Sea – Craig is a creative power house and he designed the stunning Moth Mother that adorns the cassette case. This was released on the exceptional Auditory Field Theory label, who are based in Canada, and I hope to work with them again at some point.
Talking of art, UK illustrator and ex-stonemason Maxim Peter Griffin has designed the artwork for the new WTL album which is due out in 2014 on Rano. I came across his work via Twitter and it is supremely eloquent and wonderful. A gorgeous celebration of Old Albion, Maxim’s pictures depict ancient sites and heroes from Britain’s past. He also creates ‘probable film posters’ and god-like pylons hell bent on destroying mankind. Often comic but always celebratory his work is an absolute joy and he is one of the world’s most talented and friendly people.
April Larson is a humble and impeccably smart artist who I have the luck and the pleasure of working with on our Isobel Ccircle~ project. April is incredibly straightforward to work with and also a really nice person and this has been, by far, one of the most satisfying music projects I have been involved in and it will hopefully continue long into the future. With a debut EP out now on Chapel Yard and an album due on Exotic Pylon Records next year we are extremely proud of what this project has achieved so far. Huge thanks to April for collaborating on this.
April’s album ‘Tempête‘ is one of my favourite albums of 2013, an intensely subtle record of deep fog and deep space that really hooks into your brain and won’t let go. A wonderful aural adventure which puts you in the heart of the fog, disorientating and focussing in equal measure I can’t recommend this enough.
Joseph Stannard is a journalist, musician and events organiser. I owe him a considerable amount – he has been an incredible guiding light and unfaltering clarion sounder for my various projects for a few years now and a lot of the people (musicians and artists) I am now in contact with have come via him. Thank you Joseph!
He has had two great albums this year – one is the exceptional Outer Church compilation that came out on Front & Follow which features many of the artists that have performed live at his Outer Church live events over the years. A selection of weird, unsettling, intoxicating and wonderful music.
Joseph also released a uniquely odd and wonderful tape on Exotic Pylon Records. Appearing as his alter ego Canonbury he unleashed ‘The Knock of the Shoe’ perfectly described by Anna Freery:
You walk into the pounding din of a tent that hums with fresh rain and mud. There’s something behind you coiling in from the moors, by some feat of electronic alchemy the beat passes through but it’s trying to intone something that’s unclear.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to contribute a couple of times (using various alter-egos) to Leigh Wright’s Wyrd Daze online zine which is something very unique indeed. He gets a lot of quality in there and it is just this huge multimedia package with videos, music, art and writing – very eclectic, and that is all part of its allure. I think Leigh is trying to encourage more of a collective spirit across genres and disciplines and that is well worth applauding.
This year I collaborated with Joshua Levesque on a couple of WTL projects where he has lent his immeasurable vocal talents as a narrator. The forthcoming WTL on Rano features Joshua on a track called ‘The Call of the Maddening Machine’ and we recently collaborated on a track for an exciting project for Jehu & Chinaman Records. They are releasing a download only comp of nursery rhymes early next year and we’ve done a version of ‘Oh My Darling Clementine’ (renamed as ‘Clementine’). I really love this track, it was great fun to do and a favourite of my WTL output. Joshua is a genuinely lovely bloke, eloquent and thoughtful. The quality of his voice draws you right into the narrative as if he were telling you a personal story.
And so, a big thanks to all my collaborators this year:
Joshua Levesque, Simon McCorry, Paul McIntyre, Stuart Tonge, Ben Sadler, April Larson, Roadside Picnic – you all make the music sing!
And finally, the labels, of course, who put this stuff out in the first place!
Auditory Field Theory, Chapel Yard, Jehu& Chinaman, Rano
Thank you all so much for the support and spreading my music far and wide you really have made this year extremely satisfying and you will all be rewarded at the barbecue at the end of the universe.
Great records of the year (not forgetting the ones mentioned above):
Bird People ‘Terma’ (Jehu& Chinaman Records)
Man or Astro-man? – Defcon 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (Warm Electronic Recordings)
Keep Sheila on Acid ‘Erotic Theology’ (Auditory Field Theory)
Prada & Oregon ‘His Past of the Heaven-Floor Permanents…’ (Auditory Field Theory)
Solvogen/ Chaz Dolo – Split (Disco Insolence)
Russel M. Harmon ‘We Are Failed’ (Rano)
Maurice’s Hotel Death ‘Hot Jone’ (Rano)
Alela Diane ‘About Farewell’ (Rusted Blue)
The Duke St Workshop ‘Lexicon of the Pines’
oh/ex/oh ‘House in the Woods’
Synek ‘Kolysanka Do Gwiazd’ (Further Records)
Melvins ‘Everybody Loves Sausages’ (Ipecac)
Abul Mogard ‘Drifted Heaven’ (VCO Recordings)
Cloud Waste and the Calf ‘Shuttlewood’s Private Thoughts’
Papa November ‘She Is Transmitter’
Them Use Them ‘Mesh the Mute’
Raining Leaf ‘Adeptus Minor EP’ (Chapel Yard Label)
people-eaters ‘Imprecate’ (Aetheric Records)
Henry Mancini ‘Experiment In Terror’ (Trunk Records reissue)
Kemper Norton ‘Carn’ (Exotic Pylon Records)
Moon Zero ‘Tombs’ (Futuresequence)
Medroxy Progesterone Acetate ‘I Am An Empty House Longing to be Haunted’