Reflections on 2009 : Rafael Anton Irisarri, Richard Chartier and Ian Hawgood

Here comes another excellent installment of Reflections on 2009. Today I host thoughts on the year in music from the elusive Rafael Anton Irisarri, a list of favorite releases from the curator of 12k’s Line division, none other than Richard Chartier, and the owner of Home Normal records, Ian Hawgood. I must admit, it’s always interesting for me to see what the musicians listen to, and it’s especially nice to see that these three share very similar tastes in music. Enjoy!

Rafael Anton Irisarri / The Sight Below [Miasmah, Ghostly International]
This was quite the year, so many things happened, visited so many great places, watched great films, listened to lovely music and witness amazing performances. I had the privilege to share the stage with some of my favorite artists and collaborate in so many different ways. A big THANK YOU to each one of you who made this year such a special one for me.

Cities visited this year:

paris fr, berlin de, barcelona es, stockholm se, bergen no, oslo no, prague cz, montreal ca, milan it, modena it, carpi it, torun pl, leipzig de, new york usa, portland usa, seattle usa, san francisco usa, los angeles usa, detroit usa, ann arbor usa, boston usa, providence usa, baltimore usa, washington d.c. usa, chicago usa, ghent be, antwerp be, dordrecht nl, genova it, halle de, bydgoszcz pl, manchester uk, leeds uk, birmingham uk, cambridge uk, london uk, vancouver bc.

Memorable shows I saw this year:

My Bloody Valentine (Seattle, WA)
Spectrum/Sonic Boom (Seattle, WA)
Morton Subotnick (Seattle, WA)
Telefon Tel Aviv (Detroit, MI)
GAS (MUTEK 10 – Montreal, CA)
Morrissey (Stockholm, SE)
Deaf Center w/visuals by Claudio Sinatti (Torun, PL)
Fennesz (Modena, IT)
Grouper (NYC, NY)
Tiny Vipers (Seattle, WA)
Lawrence English (Torun, PL)
Alva Noto, Ritchie Hawtin + Byetone “Container” (Berlin, DE)

and of course: Decibel Festival 2009 (Seattle, WA)

Repeated album listening in 2009 (in no particular order):

The Caretaker – Persistent Repetition of Phrases
Yagya – Ringing
Heather Woods Broderick – From The Ground
Tiny Vipers – Life On Earth
Simon Scott – Navigare
Ben Frost – By The Throat
Svarte Greiner – Kappe
Zelienople – Give it Up
Nils Frahm – Wintermusik
The Cure – Disintegration (20 Anniversary Reissue)
Lawrence English – The Colour of Autumn
Mokira – Persona
Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol.2
Kreng – L’Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu
Sylvain Chauveau – Touching Down Lightly


Richard Chartier [12k, LINE, Raster-Noton, Room40, Spekk, 3particles]
HTRK – Marry Me Tonight
Lokai – Transition
Mika Vainio – Black Telephone of Matter
William Fowler Collins – perdition hill radio
AGF – einzelkaempfer
Eric Malmberg – Den GatFulla Manniskan
Fever Ray – Fever Ray
Harmonia + Eno – tracks and traces
Bleaks – haste, error
Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds – dracula boots
Lawrence English – kiri no oto
snd – atavism
Stephan Mathieu + Taylor Deupree – Transcriptions
Telefon Tel Aviv – immolate yourself
The Mattachine Machine – Shoots Sparks
tu m’ – monochrome tapes vol 1
Oneohtrix Point Never – Rifts
Asmus Tietchens – Flächen mit Figuren
Robert Hampson – Vectors


Ian Hawgood / Koen Park [Home Normal, Tokyo Droning]
For me 2009 has been a pretty incredible year. I haven’t been in a position to listen to as much music as I would like, but a great deal of what I have been sent or bought has been very influential. Its been a year for new labels for sure, apart from my own, Hibernate did a super job kicking off this year, and labels like Slow Flow, Experimedia, Dragon’s Eye, thelandof, Mobeer, Lacie’s, Sonicpieces, Students of Decay, Under The Spire, Low Point, SRA, KESH, Dead Pilot and Humming Conch (to name a very few) have really broken ground. I think its fair to say that with the so called ‘minimal / ambient’ field of work, some of the older labels still hold sway and rightly so. But maybe in time people will realize that these newer labels really are quietly making headroom in so many ways.

However, whilst it has been a great year, its also fair to say that, whilst I have always loved ‘drone’ work, its become far too saturated. A lot of the drone work I have heard this year, both as demo and releases on other labels, for the most part I think lacks poetry, creativity and direction. It feels rather aimless to me, but still, it does highlight how incredible the work of artists like Celer and Anduin really is. Maybe my end of year list, as limited as it is (and not including my label’s releases of course), reflects this…the work which really stuck out for me was that which tried to be a little different, a little more poetic, a little more in tune with the self than trying to sound like everyone else…

1.) Lucky Dragons – Rara Speaks (Moamoo)
2.) Celer – Close Proximity and the Unhindered Care-all (SRA)
3.) Anduin – Abandoned In Sleep (SMTG)
4..) Nils Frahm – Wintermusik (Sonicpieces)
5.) Danny Norbury – Light In August (Lacies)
6.) Color Cassette – Forever Sparrow (Autres Directions in Music)
7.) Slaraffenland – We’re On Your Side (Hometapes)
8.) P Jørgensen – To (Low Point)
9.) Autistici – Complex Test Tone (Kesh)
10.) Chubby Wolf – L’ Histoire (Gears of Sand)
11.) Hannu – Hintergarten (Kesh)
12.) Tim Catlin and Machinefabriek – Glisten (Low Point)
13.) Simon Scott – Navigare (Miasmah)
14.) Ten and Tracer – Tsotsitaal (Acre)
15.) New North Wales – New North Wales (Mobeer)
16..) Ryonkt – Small Conversations (Experimedia)
17.) Mountains – Choral (Thrill Jockey)
18.) The Green Kingdom – Twig and Twine (Own Records)
19.) Cuushe – Red Rocket Telepathy (Flau)
20.) Ryonkt – Sunlight and Water (thelandof)

Ian Hawgood,
Home Normal