LISTEN: Russell Cuzner’s Rum Music Best Of 2015 Mix

Listen in to to this year’s celebrations at the borderlands of music and sound with a specially recorded mix. Over the course of an hour we present an overview of 2015’s wide and varied audio interrogations from the stranger end of the sonic spectrum

The Rum Music Library Xmas Party Mix 2015 by The Quietus on Mixcloud

The Rum Music Library Xmas Party Mix 2015

The annual Christmas Party here at the Rum Music Library is always a, well, rum affair. The musty, wood-paneled ballroom is dusted down, often for the first time each year, and dressed with abstract anti-decorations while an assortment of chairs, bean bags, mattresses and sofas are arranged on which the revellers will sit to absorb the sounds selected for the largely sedentary affair. This year, temporary partitions have also been installed at one end to create a space for the few who prefer to ingest their sonics aided by expressive, non-idiomatic dancing, following last year’s complaints from the seated spectators that the idiosyncratic gyrations of our more movement-inclined colleagues were intruding on their attempts at immersion.

For the music itself, staff nominate the pieces they would like as their soundtrack to their avant-sherry and post-modern-mince pie, and then the predictable arguments ensue. The most common ones being the over-abundance of options obscuring and confusing the selection process and then how to edit those selected works of a long duration to avoid them taking up the whole evening all by themselves.

Despite such difficulties, this year’s mix, presented below, gives an overview of some of the stronger currents found across the many tributaries stemming spiritedly away from the increasingly stagnant genre pools: non-musical matter, particularly that of field recordings, has become increasingly accepted as phenomena worth wallowing in; its incorporation with the more regular sounds of conventional instruments continues to sow new, fertile playing fields. Similarly, the joinery of ancient acoustic instrumentation with modern electronics is becoming planed into ever more elegant ornaments. Meanwhile, complex contexts, particularly those found in psychogeographical studies and the apocalyptic auras of the Anthropocene, continue to influence not just our comprehension of mysterious or dystopian soundworks, but also the process by which they are achieved as the context becomes the score. And then there’s the archest of audio that doesn’t need craft nor context, knitted from neither the warp of words or the weft of Western musical styles, but instead stitches solely according to the sensations of its sounds; as ever, employing improvisation, experimentation and a good pair of ears to produce new forms, textures, tones and dynamics.

While inspiring neither photocopier abuse nor regretful interpersonal relationships, the Rum Music Library Christmas Party Mix 2015 in just one hour foolishly attempted to represent all the above and more, and highlighted, if nothing else, that, far from the depletion of natural creativity consistently evidenced across mainstream media, the infinite possibilities of sound are still well within our grasp.

As someone once said around this time of year, "…look to the future now, it’s only just begun".


00:00 Intro

00:10 Irr. App. (Ext.) – ‘Several Displacements’

from Matériaux Déplacés (Readymade Tapes)

“…an asylum of delirious voices, some human, some not, hungrily laughing, fervently gobbling, helplessly wheezing.” Rum Music, June 2015

02:54 Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson – ‘The Trip’

from So Long (Helen Scarsdale Agency)

“…domestic machinery influences elusive memories of musical themes before turbulence rudely intrudes on the drift.” Rum Music, April 2015

06:15 Maja S. K. Ratkje, Jon Wesseltoft, Camille Norment, Per Gisle Galåen – ‘Afterglow’

from Celadon (Important Record)

“…lengthy, droning tones go beyond their hitherto mysterious, cool charm to become unnervingly fervent, while Ratkje sounds at her most possessed…” Rum Music, September 2015

08:23 Dream Weapon Ritual – ‘A2’

from Ebb & Flow (Boring Machines)

“…tones fill the space like vapours, gradually building to a crescendo involving a shockingly deep kick (which I’m guessing is the "horseskull")…” Rum Music, April 2015

12:17 Russell Haswell – ‘Wholly Unaware’

from As Sure As Night Follows Day (Diagonal)

“By treating techno’s timbres as raw material Haswell has once again provided a series of tenacious terrains to traipse, climb over and sink into…” Rum Music, November 2015

15:48 Mika Vainio & Franck Vigroux – ‘Man’

from Peau Froide, Léger Soleil (Cosmo Rhythmatic)

“With authorship of so much technology-driven music arguably belonging to the machine (or at least its programmers) Vainio and Franck provide an exciting, emotional ride that can’t be artificially generated (yet).” Rum Music, November 2015

19:01 Chra – ‘Contaminated Landscape’

from Empty Airport (Editions Mego)

“…built from resonant ruins of rhythmic structure on which a monochromatic debris field grows possessing … bleak, perverse beauty…” Rum Music, June 2015

23:16 Simon Scott – ‘Swanbark’

from Insomni (Ash International)

“…the richest recordings of 6 and 12 string passages … Their striking iridescence is perhaps a consequence of Scott’s openness to all sounds…” Rum Music, September 2015

27:23 Beatriz Ferreyra & Christine Groult – ‘Nahash part 2’

from Nahash (Trace)

“…a somewhat literal embodiment of para-normal or super-natural where normality and nature are examined in a new light and found to be far beyond our understanding.” Rum Music, April 2015

30:29 Colin Potter – ‘A Wider Shale of Pail’

from Rank Sonata (Hallow Ground)

“Like an arcane gathering, the parade’s complexities are deftly shrouded in a sustained tempo, its polyrhythms sometimes inseparable as they rise and sink in tidal tones of static wash and fizzing waveforms.” Rum Music, November 2015

34:52 Drew McDowall – ‘Hypnotic Congress’

from Collapse (Dais)

“…beautiful analog textures … that shrink and loom ominously before accelerating into a suspenseful chase theme.” Rum Music, September 2015

39:31 Emmanuel Mieville – ‘Island Ferrysm’

from Ethers (Baskaru)

“in Mieville’s studied hands the everyday violence of the elements is presented as abstract sonic expressions with constantly changing densities and trajectories.” Rum Music, November 2015

43:51 Hawthonn – ‘Foxglove’

from Hawthonn (Larkfall)

“…the melancholic song of a black bird subjected to increasingly unnatural levels of reverb, a metamorphic manoeuvre that amplifies some of its natural nuances to hallucinatory effect.” Rum Music, November 2015

49:01 Hilde Marie Holsen – ‘Plagioklas’

from Ask (Hubro)

“…not as much geologic as alchemical, there’s an uncanny dimension Holsen somehow sculpts … kind of blue, but kind of other – that tenderly and masterfully attends to both melodic and textural dimensions to form a sublime sensual sound.” Rum Music, June 2015

53:34 alva.noto – ‘Helm Transphaser’

from xerrox vol. 3 (Raster Noton)

“…plays with scale by comparing a spacecraft monitoring a star to a moth’s equally curious and dangerous fascination for a candle flame.” Rum Music, June 2015

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