Aigner’s Inventory: January & February 2023

Happy New Aigner’s Inventory, everybody! In the new year, our columnist decides to clear the meta-waste to one side first and finds some new »gems« underneath. One’s that life has tempered differently, and even one with stucco on the ceiling. What is meant here is Ryuichi Sakamoto’s new album, of course, which is discussed here alongside new works by Haftbefehl, Carla Dal Forno and RS Produções in the usual in the usual compartmentalised mood-driven manner.
Mainpark Baby
Urban • 2022 • from 33.99€

I was already musing on the feeling of having completely lost touch with German rap two years ago.  The occasion then, as it is now, was a new Haftbefehl album.  And because I was so ready and willing to accept the narrative that both Haft and his listeners had grown old and tired, »Mainpark Baby« is all the more surprising.  Needless to say, this is a best-of attempt, all the way from Bazzazian's still immensely oppressive production to Hafti's confident declination of all his previous flows.  Unpardonable lines can also be found again between all the FFM ebonics, of course, above all from Azad, who almost destroyed the furious »Dann Mit Der Pumpgun 2.0« with his homophobic boomer pun.  To be sure, the staged departure as a responsible family man is first and foremost meme fodder.  Nevertheless, I haven't listened as closely as I did here since the last OG Keemo album.  

Florian Aigner
Glass Lit Dream
O___o? • 2022 • from 32.99€

At least when we talk about classic rap albums.  Because there is no album I listened to more last autumn than Dawuna's »Glass Lit Dream«, an album that ventured so close to the abyss as only perhaps D'Angelo dared to do so in the R&B context.  In autumn, »Glass Lit Dream« was completely sold out in physical format. Now, a much-needed repress of the best R&B album since at least »House Of Balloons« is on its way.  

Florian Aigner
HBK Vol 1 - Na God
All The Rest Have Died • 2023 •

The identity of the people behind HONOUR and their two mix-tapes on Pan has still not been finally resolved.  Speculation is still rife about the involvement of Mica Levi, Dean Blunt and John T. Gast on this boisterous mix-tape, on which Billo-Boombap, Just Blaze Bombast, tattered pop songs, Bristolisms and Basinski loops come together to form a tripolar Mo'Wax demo tape that is compatible neither with 1998 nor with 2023 and that is precisely why it is so good.  

Florian Aigner
Very Dark Past
3XL • 2023 •

In contrast, Special Request DJ and Pontiac Streator have been confirmed as being behind the new cringe moniker Crimeboys.  As on the also excellent »Napping Under God« album, this collaboration on 3XL also serves a diffuse romanticism, where the label-umbrella ambient of the protagonists dissolves in rough breaks, but without pushing too vehemently from the couch into the club, as long as the Playstation controller still has enough battery life.  

Florian Aigner
Yao Bobby & Simon Grab
Lavalava • 2022 • from 34.99€

»Wum« by Yao Bobby & Simon Grab, on the other hand, takes the sonic assault of their previous collaborations to such an extreme that it's best to chop it up into pieces. Grab's productions are a whopper in their own right. Following less of the Dembow logic of the previous »Diamonds« EP here, in places they sound like El-P secretly made a Push Button Objects remix record in 2012. Combined with Yao Bobby's voluminous vocals, this then coalesces into an updated Bomb Squad logic that's best digested in half-hour chunks.

Florian Aigner
RS Produções
Saude Em 1° Lugar
Principe • 2022 • from 27.99€

After highly productive previous years, Principe 2022 surprised mainly through scarcity.  This might also be one of the reasons why the all-star collaboration RS Produções is hitting especially hard now.  The almost balladic »Valentine's Day 2K17« stands out on »Saude Em 1° Lugar«, thanks to a prominent sample and, as usual, unrivalled drum programming. The way bridges are built here between Lisbon and Detroit in a more clubby context is absolutely unique though.  One of, if not the dance music record of last year.  

Sebastian Hinz Florian Aigner
Rian Treanor + Ocen James
Nyege Nyege Tapes • 2023 • from 24.99€

Rian Treanor pretty much got on my nerves 80 per cent of the time until now with his supersonic cutting edge gimmickry and all that.  However, his collaboration with Ocen James during his 2018 Nyege Nyege residency is arguably the best album he will ever make.  Saccades also benefits from contemplative phases in which Treanor withdraws his notoriously rushed polyrhythms in favour of almost jazzy improvisation and Ocen James' »Rigi Rigi« takes the central role.  The »Farmers Manual Remix« goes too far at the end, though. But overall this is a fantastic album and can only be compared to the even more incredible »Kakuhan« album, where cello played a comparable role to the violin on this album.  

Florian Aigner
Noda & Wolfers
Tascam Space Season
L.I.E.S. • 2022 • from 24.99€

I must admit that I checked out Danny Wolfers seven or eight years ago due to quantitative, but not qualitative reasons.  Consequently, the reference to his collaboration with Taka Noda (aka Mystica Tribe) comes much too late at this point.  Wolfer's synths complement Noda's classic harmonica dubs so naturally on »Tascam Space Season« that, unlike many new dub records with a classic set-up, it doesn't feel like you can have all of this in reissue form in any great fashion.  

Florian Aigner
Maxime Denuc
Vlek • 2022 • from 20.99€

Meanwhile, Maxime Denuc's formula for »Night Horn« is gimmicky but undeniable. Trance and rave melodies via pipe organ, Barker via Kali Malone, an idea as simple as it is dangerous. Denuc almost consistently manages to capture the cheesy Ibiza harmonies with a statesmanlike gravitas in such a way that »Nachthorn« doesn't feel like a calculated TikTok stunt, even though conceptually, there's so much meta rubbish lying around here that it should all fail as crashingly in reality as »Everything Everywhere All At Once«.

Florian Aigner
Carla dal Forno
Come Around
Kallista • 2022 • from 26.99€

Carla Dal Forno, meanwhile, has reached the point in her career where new albums are no longer needed because the essence of Dal Forno as an artist is better represented by her radio shows than her own music. At the same time, »Come Around« is of course a thoroughly tasteful, shoegazy post-punk album, on which Carla Dal Forno opens a door for herself to solve the aforementioned quandary in the longer term with the instrumental »Highlight Deep Sleep«.

Florian Aigner
Nein Rodere
Catch Up With What Party +
Horn Of Plenty • 2022 • from 29.99€

Uh, a scurrilous transition as to why I just discovered Nein Rodere's album now, which was released almost a year ago, suggests itself from the album's title itself, but I'll spare you the dire details at this point. In any case, »Catch Up With What Party +« is a highlight in this guitar thingy, initiated by BEB/Low Company and confidently continued by Kashual Plastik, Horn Of Plenty and World Of Echo, which lives from perceiving song writing as an option rather than a compulsion and often says more in 2 minutes than in 4 as a result.  

Florian Aigner
Various Artists
Thorn Valley
World Of Echo • 2022 • from 33.99€

Speaking of World Of Echo:  at the end of last year, they released »Thorn Valley«, a fantastically curated compilation featuring introverted post-post-folk songs that alternate with raw ambient sketches and piano arrangements, all measured in such a way that nothing gets worn down style-wise. Following the still remarkable »Ballads« from Time Is Away it plays through perfectly.  

Florian Aigner
Rich Ruth
I Survived It's Over
Third Man • 2022 • from 27.99€

Another record from last year that we have forgotten here: the tellingly titled »I Survived, It's Over«, on which Rich Ruth at times slips into overly dull fusion improvisations, but places two herbaceously spiritual jazz pieces, Desensitization & Reprocessing and Doxology, both of which deserve to be canonised. 

Florian Aigner
Dylan Henner
You Will Always Be
AD93 • 2022 • from 21.99€

I've been highly predisposed towards music that documents and reflects life cycles in some way since 2020, making it very easy for Dylan Henner with »You Always Will Be«.  Henner says: »The piece tells the story of a single life, from birth to death.  I've been thinking about the passage of life a lot recently as I lost all four of my grandparents but celebrated the birth of my daughter all within a short period of time. The brevity and preciousness of being really hit me.” I gulp.  

Florian Aigner
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Masterworks • 2023 • from 33.99€

»12« also makes it difficult not to be overwhelmed by the cycle of life, with Ryuichi Sakamoto's well-documented cancer being all too present. Every note that Sakamoto plays or doesn't play here is too pregnant with meaning.  Stripped of context, »12« is a beautiful piano record filled with subtle synths and feather-light drones. Thinking along with the reality of Sakamoto's life, »12« becomes an almost unbearably beautiful elegy, elegant and composed, a »gem« with stucco on the ceiling.  

Florian Aigner
3XL • 2022 • from 33.99€

More artificial than Sakamoto, but also more artificial than her previous work, is »Foam«, on which Ulla picks up the choppy elements of »Tumbling Towards A Wall«, but puts them together in a much more sophisticated way.   It is clearly reminiscent of the golden era of Faitiche, but feels like alienated AI has taken over the arrangement instead of some hackneyed sampler.  

Florian Aigner
TLF Trio
Sweet Harmony
Latency • 2022 • from 26.99€

Piano again, again the cello from Arthur Russell.  On »Sweet Harmony«, the TLF Trio finds the magic formula made up of unapologetically neoclassical harmony addiction and a detached minimalist jazz coolness that makes this album endlessly re-listenable.  

Florian Aigner
Few Crackles • 2022 • from 24.99€

One of my records of last year was released in November in a ridiculously small pressing, but hopefully it will appear again in the coming months. Under the name Ssabae, lueke has gathered a group of musician friends around him who, with »Azurescens«, have carved out a monolith of an album for the Parisian scene that sneers at genres and is utterly untouchable, because it has nothing to prove to itself.  Every vocal passage, every saxophone line, every tempo shift feels completely improvised and at the same time only makes sense at that very moment.  Let's hope that Azurescens doesn't remain in the pressing plants for months buried the next strictly limited RSD picture disc.  

Florian Aigner

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