What’s happening in February? What’s going down? Many who are involved with thinking all seem to be searching for a word, a signifier, some definition for the moment we now find ourselves inhabiting. Forget the words and definitions for now. Ambiguity is funny in the way that we so often define it as a corrosive irritant, a constant grinding away of our sense of certainty and contentment. Someone sits down with a guitar or synthesizer and tries consciously or otherwise to translate these feelings into music. So much power is found in ambiguity. There is nothing better for creativity. Great things are happening in bedrooms and studios and basements. Just keep searching for that sound and I promise you’ll hear it coming from a passing car, bleeding through a girl’s set of cans on the subway, or as background static embedded in a novel disguised as a TV show. Just listen...
The thing about living in a post truth era is that that your house and the ambient atmosphere is filled with wifi-blutoothed-airdropped-4g radio waves, but your private space also swirls and eddies with a virtual maelstrom of highly crafted bits of information often described as "facts." For some there is a sense of ambient confusion and despair. Then again there is music, which does not rely either on facts or sometimes (not always)—words. Music has no part in the world of facts and information yet surfs on the incoming energies of the time. This is music for how it feels right now. We plough onward, one step at a time, hoping expectantly for constant surprises.
[Please join me in welcoming Joe Surdna, our new contributor on all things music. Ed.]
December is my favorite month for discovering great new music, mainly because so many Best of 2016 lists are published. I discover dozens of overlooked and previously unknown albums, and for me that is the real point of publishing lists like this; not to create a hierarchical ranking, but as a way of sharing great music that you might not have heard and will come to cherish and be inspired by in the months and years to come.