It is now past Thanksgiving. The year is now officially coming to a close, which means that it is also album of the year and Spotify Wrapped season. You, the article reader, may not have realized this until now and are now panicking. You’ve been slacking on the new music. You don’t have something on your best-of topster that none of your friends have heard of. You don’t have the music guy clout, but you need it. You need it.
Worry not, reader: I’ve been looking for this stuff all year. Here’s a few cool releases that I’ve found and pretend you found yourself.
“Fake Opulent” by Asleep Country
Genre: Sound collage.
Listen. You, the theoretical reader looking for obscure music, wanted kind of pretentious. Here you go: a three hour long sound collage album.
Asleep Country is one of many aliases of the absurdly prolific Octa Möbius Sheffner, and here they demonstrate what it means to make an album as long as this in [find a source on the time] in the best possible way – “Fake Opulent” is absolutely hypnotic.
The notes for the album describe sound collage as a spiritual union, and the album lives up to it. There is no central genre the samples come from, and they go on for so long within each track that it ends up all blended into something best described as a musical sludge. It’s not the type of music that appeals to everyone, but to me at least, it’s fascinating – no matter your opinion, there’s nothing quite like it.
“SUPERNOVÆ” by dotnds
Genre: Vaporwave, drum & bass.
One of my personal favorite types of album is one with segments and interludes, and that is what “SUPERNOVÆ” is all about. It is broken into four sections, each with a “BOOTSEQUENCE” glitch track, two ambient/vaporwave tracks, and a “NOVÆ” drum & bass track.
The result feels like mostly interlude, but that’s honestly more of a positive in my opinion. The drum & bass tracks get more punch surrounded by a larger amount of ambient tracks, and the three genres unite to create a strong atmosphere that they couldn’t do if “SUPERNOVÆ” was just one of them. The next time someone claims that the album format is obsolete in the streaming era, this is what I’m going to make them listen to.
“Iris” by Me oh myriorama
Genre: Experimental hip hop.
Me oh myriorama is the latest alias of Chapel Hill artist Devyn Emmanuel Smith, also known as Coin locker kid, C’est la key, and Come look with me, and marks a shift to more straightforward hip hop. The most obvious point of comparison for his work on “Iris” is JPEGMAFIA, but a closer listen reveals Smith’s robust discography of experimental music.
The biggest example of this is the 6 minute long “Fanta seaworld,” which while starting as a synth-focused but still relatively standard hip hop track, shifts over time to be a bizarre, but more straight-up electronic track before ending in an ambient outro, a sample of a couple fighting, and buzzing monitors.
The rest of the album is more typical hip hop, but it’s still in a way that only Smith could do.
End of year list making is always a stressful time. If you’re looking for cool 2023 albums, I hope these suffice, and even if you already have a pretty robust list I hope you put these albums on there. I know I will, and I feel like the end of year season is a great way to find stuff I would otherwise overlook. Here’s to more awesome albums in 2024!