It was about three in the morning, me banjaxed on the floorboards surrounded by discarded album sleeves, and with possibly but a finger of especially-imported sharp-as-nails Baiła Dama vodka remaining, that I arrived at the obvious conclusion. The only right and proper course of action, it’s to exclusively devote the next three months of Lazer Guided Melody gibberish to Norwegian Death Metal. The particularly abrasive type; songs to firebomb churches to. A soundtrack that enhances that savage murder of your guitarist, because – well, because Satan made me do it. One hell-for-leather Hey Beelzebub, look at me proclamation.
I’ve long held the opinion that this is a weird time to be a music fan. Little of any interest is ever released. Instead, the few remaining record stores are packed by people who’ve never purchased a record in their life – always one of the signs that, as a species we’re rushing headlong towards the lowest common denominator. Embracing an aural void where Paul McCartney’s ‘Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time’ is always the very next record on the radio; where even the musical mainstream would – were it June or August – bemoan the ubiquitous aura of naff. Everyone is jumping online to post their list of the year’s top albums (mine will be online in a few days or so). Hipsters shout about the zen-like soft jazz magnificence of the Vince Guaraldi Trio and their A Charlie Brown Christmas album. People whose musical standpoint I’d usually value (if not respect) are bouncing around town, buying authentic, oversized bars of stollen from faux-German street markets, a vinyl copy of Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You stuffed in their clammy grip.
Put it another way – you know that, when even the most esoteric of specialist radio DJs find room for Greg Lake’s ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ in the playlist, then we’ve reached some kind of cultural endgame. I’m doing my bit – headphones on in the liquor store, on the train, at work, in the bath – wall-to-wall angry aural dissonance, just in case a certain record by Slade or Wizzard or fucking Shakin’ Stevens rips across the heavens like a Second Coming of Shit… but I fear my valiant attempts to uphold all that is right and stereo-decent may well be in vain.
Meanwhile; extremely pleased with this musical epiphany, and loaded with enthusiasm for both more vodka and reams of Norwegian Death Metal-flavoured prose, I passed out.
This link will take you a list of the fifty best albums of 2011, as judged by the deaf / stoned / Situationist geniuses that represent the hive mind at The Quietus (a website that gets almost as many visitors as this blog). Having spent an evening listening to tracks from every single album of their best in show (with the except of PJ Harvey – their album of the year; I’m alas allergic to National Treasure Polly, and had to gratefully decline a spin), I can only conclude that a more wilfully obtuse mob of musical psueds you’ll struggle to find. Ravendeath, 1972 by Tim Hecker is #3 on their countdown. Unfortunately he hasn’t made my rather more modest Top Ten. Merry Christmas and better luck next year, as they say – I need a drink.
Tim Hecker / Hatred of Music 1