So, if you had told me at the start of 2012 that by the years end I’d have recorded 4 glacis EPs (released 3), secured a record label for Graveyard Tapes and released 4 records on mini50 – I’d have called you crazy.
It’s funny how a year pans out though. And as I sit here at the end of 2012 I can safely say this has been one of the most successful years I have experienced as a musician and in music.
glacis began as something small. Something to do on the side. I found myself writing some piano pieces, loving doing that and just taking it from there. Since the debut EP, that Fluid Audio released in 2011, I have found that out of all my musical projects glacis seems to be the one that is constantly moving in the right direction. Growing from nothing in early 2011 to something quite exciting as we approach 2013. glacis has exposed me to so many wonderful people from artists to music writers to labels and has allowed me to grow as a musician learning with each and every piece what it is I am trying to achieve in terms of progression and development. And the thing I love most about glacis is that it usually involves collaboration with other artistic disciplines and artists, which is something I really do love exploring. As I approach 2013 I am hopeful that what began as something to do for fun will turn into much more and take up an ever increasing amount of my time. This begins with work on my first long player as well as the completion of a long player with the wonderful and talented Ed Hamilton.
Graveyard Tapes has also surprised me greatly. I always knew that the record Matt and I produced was exciting and different. But if I am honest, I thought it too obscure and different to really get the interest of labels. And I had no idea where to start. Fortunately, the wonderful Fred Nolan from The Muse in Music/Fluid Radio knew exactly where to start and, thanks to him, Lost Tribe Sound heard our record and will release it in early 2013. It was an amazing experience creating that record with Matt and to have the support of Lost Tribe – well, it’s more than I ever expected. Hopefully people will embrace that record as much as those guys have. The time, resources and effort they have put in on it so far has been humbling and I’m excited to see what happens with that next year.
And then there is the second Kays record. It’s something I didn’t really expect to happen or plan. I guess it just felt right. And so the recording process began in November and hopefully the album will be ready by mid/late 2013 (though glacis is the priority). The art work is done. The track listing is known. All that’s left is to shape it and make it something special. Where it will end up in terms of a label – who knows, probably mini50. But I am proud of everything I have achieved in 2012 and am hopeful 2013 will be even bigger.
And then there is mini50. I had one release planned this year. Hiva Oa’s ep. This lead to the release of the album also and has been followed by eps by glacis, Guy Gelem and The Good Ship. Once again I feel there has been progress in the way we run the label and have grown. We have learnt and developed and I feel even more positive about 2013 with releases by Lozninger and Old Earth to start the year in an exciting fashion. And I’m getting serious about it too. Have met with some people, spoken about small business loans, started to look into seminars about various issues I need to understand more. 2013 is going to be when mini50 becomes more than something to simply help musicians I love. It’s going to get bigger and grow. I am determined about that. Just like I am about my own music. 2013 is when things get serious on all fronts. Let’s see where I am this time next year.
Thank you one and all for your support, readership and, in a lot of cases, friendship. It’s funny how many friends I have through the internet that I have never met. And how those friends have supported me more than those I thought were friends – but were not.
Best wishes to all for the festive period and indeed the New Year. I’m going to take a wee break from the blog now and will return in 2013 with a lot lot more as this year the blog has taken a back seat.
For those of you who follow what I do musically, I have a new EP out under my glacis guise. This is available to purchase from Soft Corridors website. They are a lovely Belgian label who have been so supportive of my work both as glacis and The Kays Lavelle and they have kindly released my new EP entitled ’22.16.04’ as a limited run of 55 copies. The wonderful artwork is by Jess Pauwels and I must thank both Jess and Julien for their support and belief in what I do. A massive thank you also to Matt Collings and Ed Hamilton for helping me write and produce the music, Ana Roman for recording me playing the piano and Fraser McGowan for mastering the whole thing.
Please, if you are a glacis fan, buy this EP and support Soft Corridor, a wonderful label in the early stages of their existence.
Following on from my top 10 of the year, here are some other albums worthy of mention in 2012:
Mount Eerie – Ocean Roar
Nils Frahm – Screws
Cock and Swan – Stash
Insa Donja Kai – Insomnie Joyeuse
Glissando – The World Without Us
Poppy Ackroyd – Escapement
Will Samson – Balance
Old Earth – A Low Place at the Old Place
The Unwinding Hours – Afterlives
Paul Corley – Disquiet
Joseph Mineado & Curt Brown – Wood Land
Atra Aeterna – Machinations
Bing and Ruth – City Lake
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopitan – Instrumental Tourist
Joe Evans – Affected Piano
And so here it is. The Steinberg Principle’s number one album of 2012. I have to caveat this announcement with the information that I consider Fraser McGowan to be one of my closest friends but this, in no way, is a reason for his record topping my list. Indeed, I’ve been listening to records by Fraser for many years now and I don’t think he’s even made my top 10 before now.
Without a shadow of a doubt this record is my favourite of 2012. There are so many reasons why this record deserves top spot and so many reasons why it deserves more attention and respect than it’s received – particularly in Scotland. You can read my review of the record here. And in the meantime, enjoy some music by the man himself. This award doesn’t mean much really, other than I know from my own experience that it’s a nice feeling when people acknowledge your hard work as a musician. Reviews are awesome but the feeling of making an end of year list is something different because you have outshone others. So, massive congratulations to Fraser. Not for being my number one album of 2012 but for creating a record of such real beauty that will endure and hopefully be discovered by more and more people in the future. You should check it out now.
Mount Eerie cannot do much wrong in my eyes. Winds Poem is just a stunning record and this follow up, the first of two this year, is no less brilliant. There is something extremely special about this artist. His song writing ability is pretty much up there and his album construction just perfect. I actually think I could spend hours writing about why this record and this artist are so special. But that would get boring. So instead, why not just enjoy a couple of tracks from Mount Eerie below.(one is from Ocean Roar though…)
Next up at number three is the quite simply brilliant return of Fieldhead with his wonderful album ‘A Correction’. A fitting follow up to his debut and a true example of artist development this record really should be high on everyone’s Christmas present list. Released by the ever reliable Gizeh Records one of the finest UK releases of 2012 without a shadow of a doubt. You can check out Fieldhead a little more here and read my recent review of the record here.
Dreamend were a strange find for me this year. Asked to potentially write for another online source I was sent this record and spend a huge amount of time with it. Absorbing it into my brain to try and write something better than I do on this blog. Trying to look professional I worked hard and fell head over heels with this story of a serial killer and his ultimate demise. You can read my review of the record here. A truly fine album worthy of much much more attention than it seems to have received.
Number five goes to the Uncut album of the year ‘Fear Fun’ by Father John Misty. Long time followers of The Steinberg Principle will know of my love for J Tillman. Albums such as ‘A Year in the Kingdom’ are just mind blowing. I stumbled upon this – his new alter ego – in the Sunday Times and was immediately off to the shops looking for the record. And it does not disappoint. A complete departure from his past work this is more flamboyant. More theatrical. More upbeat and adventurous. But, no less brilliant. I don’t want this to be the end of the J Tillman of old, but I certainly look forward with great eagerness to future Father John Misty records based on this offering. You can read my review of this record here.
Coming in at number Six in my top Ten of 2012 is this wonderful wonderful record by the legend Bill Fay. Hard to believe it’s been so long since his last record. He’s like the musicians musician and his music was returned to the spotlight through the likes of Wilco and NickCave. ‘Life Is People’ is a stunning piece of music that will leave you wanting to go back and check out his earlier work. There’s a great back story to this man which you can read, along with my thoughts on this record here.