2014 Favorite Records & Tunes

A the year comes to a close, there is a group of likeminded music enthusiasts that puts together their favs for the year.  This year is no different–although like always I tend to stretch the rules and this year is no different! 🙂  Some of these releases are vinyl re-releases that came out long ago; and some of these releases are not from 2014 but I learned about them and picked them up in 2014.  Finally, some of these releases are not albums but rather singles–likely found on Soundcloud.

Would love to hear your opinions and comment on your favorites of the year; or perhaps give me some tips on releases I should have heard but didn’t!

First, some local artists…

Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots (Pesanta Urfolk 032-1)

Bummed that I didn’t get the colored vinyl version (I even pre-ordered), it would be amazing with the gatefold artwork of this double vinyl release.  Heavy 200g vinyls to boot!  This is classic Munly, not really country but definitely a rural vibe.  Munly’s unique vocals (sometimes high, sometimes low) and various stringed instruments in the composition give this record a very unique feel.

Reighnbeau x Sister Grotto – Highways

Remix by New Mexico artist Reighnbeau, this is a classic shoegaze pop track featuring Denver’s Sister Grotto.  I first saw Sister Grotto open for Mark McGuire earlier in the year and really enjoyed her ambient/melancholy set.  Soon thereafter she released this track and I have been enjoying it on my commute for the rest of the year!  Definitely worth checking out!

Obsolete Future’s House of Mutes Vol.1

Coming from around the world, Denver/Austin based Obsolete Future describes this compilation of electronic music / techno tunes precisely.  Beautiful artwork on this cassette release (think ANALOG) and overall great presentation of local and global artists.  In the electronic high rotation bin for sure!  A must listen!

Carpe Sonum’s Veni Vidi Audivi

This was just released at the end of the year and already is in high rotation.  For those unfamiliar with this label, it is a tribute label to the late Pete Namlook (think FAX – the pioneering electronic music label out of Germany).  This is an excellent lineup of ambient artists and look forward to what 2015 has to bring from this label!

SYM TRN

Symbols & Translations?  This is banned media from some Austin freak.  This track is solid techno and makes you yearn for the next release.  I happened to find a bootleg of the upcoming Austin show and that track is amazing.  Clubs, beware!

 Now some not so local artists…

Trentemøller – Lost

I’m a big fan of Trentemøller; his latest couple of albums have been more listening albums than his earlier dancefloor style.  This album is great; excellent female vocals throughout; some really mellow tracks while others are seriously rockin’.  Several tracks remind me of older The Cure, especially in the guitars!  Got to see him on this tour at the Gothic and was a stellar show!  Full band…he’s a very talented individual!

Hank III – Long Gone Daddy

This is a great record of probably mixed timeframe of tracks on Curb Records.  Hank III has departed ways with Curb (seems pretty nasty relationship) but they must have a wonderful archive of his stuff.  I liked this better than his Brothers of 4×4 and punk albums he came out in 2014 as well.  Classic country, as only Hank 3 can pull off!


Terranova – Hotel Amour (Kompakt)

I’ve been a big fan of this German producer and this album took me by surprise.  Vocal electronic tech house music, but a little more soulful than I typically listen to.  The album has grown on me and I listen to it often.  I recommend all his releases!

Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)

Ok, the gimmick lured me into this album, but after the first listen I loved it.  Kid Koala mashes up old blues tunes as only he can.  The best part, though, is on the CD there is a small turntable you put together (cardboard) with a flexi record you can listen to!  Now this I couldn’t turn down.

 

Bonobo – Cirrus (Ninja Tune)

What a cool picture disk.  This is a zeotrope with a cardboard zoetrope viewer.  The limited picture disk was made available only to fans with a voucher (from the fan club I think).  The track is really nice, and the picture disk and its Zoetrope video is incredible.  Super sweet!

 Blawan – His He She & She EP (Hinge Finger)

Love this straight up techno track.  Why they hide bodies under my garage?  Don’t know, but it definitely inspired an amazing track.  The other 3 tracks on the EP are killer tracks too.  Mostly dancefloor techno tracks, one is an amazing “anxiety” track ala Demdike Stares.  Highly recommended!  Oh, and the video is amazing; again Zoetrope!  Took 2 years to track this bad boy down; but acquired the single in 2014 so it made the list!

Plastikman – EX (Novamute)

Richie Hawtin was commissioned to perform at the Guggenheim Museum and this is the set he put together for it.  Classic Plastikman minimal acid techno, I really like the album.  Lots of work on the EFX and straight up 303 and beats like only Richie can pull off!

Luke Vibert – Ridmik (Hypercolor)

Luke Vibert is one of the kings of acid music, and this is a great expedition down that classic acid sound like no one but Luke can do.  FUNKY beats and soulful techno acid.  Super sweet!

 

Bjork – Bastards (One Little Indian)

This was a record store day special from several years ago, Angelos had it for 1/2 price. Great album full of limited edition remixes from the album Crystalline.  Bjork remixes are typically more fun and I like them better than album versions.  Bjork was ahead of the game (image that) creating an interactive iPad app for this album.  For fans of Bjork; even includes a Daniel Bell remix, who passed this year; his Dancer In the Dark soundtrack was amazing!

Kline Coma Xero (Medical Records)

Tony Williams I first heard on Soundcloud, the Left Behind track.  I’ve been following him since.  This is his first album and it is absolutely classic EBM.  Very talented, can’t wait for future releases from him!

 

Happy New Year S/T

I bought this on a whim; the discogs seller had it cheap and it was free shipping; sometimes you have to take a chance to get something new.  This would fit perfectly at The Road House opening for Julee Cruise!  Sometimes you get lucky.  Also on pretty white vinyl!

 And finally some classic reissues on vinyl…

  • Lassigue Bendthaus – Atom Heart’s first project, essential EBM, an absolute classic!  Comes with a 12″ and 7″.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – Songs from the Void.  The earliest Siouxsie recordings available, on incredible orange marbled vinyl (my favorite color and rare color for vinyl).  Amazing bootleg!
  • Psyche – Re-membering Dwayne.  Tribute album of Skinny Puppy band member Dwayne Goettel.  He was in Psyche and crushed the band to join up as a permanent member of Skinny Puppy until his overdose prior to The Process album.  I am a big fan of Psyche after Dwayne left; and this album doesn’t disappoint; much more aggro–all the stuff Dwayne recorded with the band including his diary/notebook as an insert!
  • Skinny Puppy – The Greater Wrong of the Right.  Classic re-issue of this album when they started their comeback in my opinion.  Only available on DVD/CD combo (concert) and Metropolis released this super packaging gatefold release.  Classic “new” album in the Skinny Puppy catalog.
  • Xymox – Subsequent Pleasures.  This album has been impossible to find over the years, and recently repressed in high quality vinyl with a remaster.  This is the first Xymox single before they signed to 4AD Records as Clan of Xymox.  If you like early Clan of Xymox, this is a must!

Singles – Soundcloud playlists

Finally, I have been finding a bunch of music on Soundcloud.  As you probably know, you have to dig to find gems; and many times you come up empty handed; but as prospecting for gems in the real world; when you hit a pocket you are treated with many incredible finds.  That’s Soundcloud for me.  I have been interested in 140/Dungeon style of Dubstep…very slow funky beats with cinematic backdrops and just amazing bass.  Check out some of these tracks…

 

2014 Orionids Meteorite Shower

Orionids shooter - this one had a nice tail that lasted for about a second.

Orionids shooter – this one had a nice tail that lasted for about a second.

The morning of October 21st was the peak of the 2014 Orionids Meteorite shower and as always I try to witness these celestial events!  This night was very little moon (none actually) and clear which made for great viewing.  We are viewing dust from Halley’s Comet.

I set the alarm for 1:30am and saw 7 in about 45 minutes.  The shower was not as active as I remember the Orionids being; so I will probably head out tomorrow morning and check out the other side of the peak.  Here are a couple of meteorites I caught on camera.

Orionids Meteoriteaa

Orionids Meteorite – This one had no tail and was bluish to the eye, but was rather large; definitely without the tail it is harder to photograph!

Orionids Meteoriteaa

Orionids Meteorite Interesting color on this smaller one.

Blood Red Moon – October 8, 2014

For the second time this year we have the opportunity to view a full lunar eclipse, the Blood Red moon.  I watched the other 2014 full lunar eclipse as well and it was spectacular.  On the Palmer Divide where I live there was a slight haze due to an upper level thin cloud deck, but you could see the moon throughout the night, for the most part, so it was worth getting up and watching.

I set the alarm for 2:45 and the sky looked mostly clear.  I set up the digital SLR camera on the tripod with a 70-200 mm lens.  As with all nighttime photography, it is a bit of a trick to get the settings correct for the camera.  I focused the camera on the moon when it was still full and un-eclipsed while it was nice and bright using the auto-focus feature.  This is much easier to focus than when it is eclipsed and you have to guess.  Note that all the way out with focus does not mean infinity and will be very out of focus.

Once focused, I turned off the lens auto-focus and image stabilization (which will vibrate the camera making it a little out of focus i.e. fuzzy).  With the moon full it is very bright, I used a f/stop around 7 and 1/100th of a second exposure with an ISO at 200 or 400. Once the moon was eclipsed it was very dim and I needed a lower f/stop (lowest possible for the lens to let the most light in as possible) and I used an 800 ISO and cranked up the exposure to several seconds.  With more expensive faster glass you can get away with less noisy values, hopefully someday I’ll have this option!

I took these first few pictures in the late evening well before the eclipse with a Meade ETX-125 telescope.  I didn’t have the T-adapter to the telescope so I used the normal eye piece connector, which worked but I had to hold the telescope steady; which obviously won’t work in low light situations so I didn’t get any close up shots of the Blood Red Moon during the eclipse with the telescope.  Due to the magnification, I couldn’t get the entire moon in the field of view.

Full Moon rising about 8 hours before the eclipse started

The other side of the Full Moon rising about 8 hours before the eclipse started

Full Moon rising about 8 hours before the eclipse started

Full Moon rising about 8 hours before the eclipse started

I started viewing the moon about 2:45 am and about 3:15 the eclipse started.  I watched until about 5 am when the moon started to set behind the forest canopy.

The hazy cloud deck made viewing by eye difficult, and with the camera I still was able to see the eclipse but the definition was poor.   As the morning progressed, the cloud deck started to evaporate and the moon, for a little while, was more defined.

Moon heading into eclipse

Moon heading into eclipse

Moon nearly fully eclipsed, blood starting to take over

Moon nearly fully eclipsed, blood starting to take over

Blood Red Moon during total eclipse

Blood Red Moon during total eclipse

Blood Red moon coming out of total eclipse

Blood Red moon coming out of total eclipse

Eclipse ending as the moon set behind the forest of trees

Eclipse ending as the moon set behind the forest of trees

Was a wonderful evening and a rare event to see the Blood Red Moon!

Supermoon & Geminids August 2014

It’s a couple days before the peak of the Geminids, one of my favorite meteorite showers I watch each year.  Fortunately and unfortunately the supermoon is full and setting right after dawn each morning, so the sky and ground is filled with lunar light!  I saw a couple of shooters but they were not as brilliant as usual due to the lunar light.

As I watched the sky, I realized the amount of nighttime light was probably how most folks in the suburbs see the sky on a good night!  I’m reminded how spoiled I am to live where I do on the Palmer Divide at nearly 7000 feet above sea level, in the forest far away from the city!

Perseids

2014 Perseids Shooting Star

Perseids shooting star

Perseids shooter over Cassiopeia. Very bright, about 1+ second.

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon August 11, 2014

Colorful Colorado Tornadic Supercell – May 21, 2014

Finally spring has arrived!  I swept off the dust on the old Baron Mobile Threat Net unit and reactivated my subscription and tuned up the technology in my chase vehicle…now I’m ready to chase!  Anticipating that May 21, 2014 would be a Denver Cyclone Regime I planned ahead and was ready to head out early for a fun first chase of 2014.  Adam Boggs was also up for heading out and so we planned the rendezvous at Brighton. Adam, a fellow chaser, is an incredible navigator and can keep an eye on the sky while I drive which is so much better than chasing alone!

I anticipated due to the higher dewpoints that it would be a hazy day and likely that the supercell modes would be HP.  This is somewhat dangerous to chase as often any tornadoes are rain wrapped and you have to be right there to witness them.  So our strategy for the day was to get directly in front of the storm and let it chase us, getting a great view of the structure and possibly seeing any tornado that was not rain wrapped.

Several cells popped up over the high country but quickly merged into one large supercell southwest of Denver.  All the cells northwest of Denver were quickly vanishing as they came onto the front range, so there was only one play, the Denver Supercell.  Chasing in a city is simply dangerous, hence why we were waiting just NE of the city for it to come to us.  Adam and I intercepted this storm as it was “putting down tornadoes” in the Aurora area, we were north of DIA.

NOTE:  Click on any image for a larger view…on some photos I upped the brightness a bit because it was very dark under these storms.

Colorado Supercell SW of DIA

Here the Supercell went Tornado Warned for the first time

Adam taking a snapshot

Adam taking a snapshot

We repositioned getting closer.  With the sun behind the cell from our vantage point, the colors were really starting to “pop”.  The contrast with the newly green wheat fields were making this storm spectacular.  There were planes still landing at DIA as this storm encroached; eventually folks at the airport went to shelters and there was so much hail the snowplows had to clear the runways.

Supercell near DIA

Supercell near DIA

Mature supercell

Mature supercell

As with any chase, it is a game of get into position, take some pictures and take in the beauty of the storm, then reposition again, and so on.  The next tornado was reported in Watkins.  We were about 3 miles NE of there at this time and didn’t see any tornado, obviously it was rain wrapped.  However with our view directly in the path of the storm the colors were amazing!  If you’ve ever heard about the “clouds being green” when there is hail near; this is what they mean…

Supercell with tornado near Watkins

Supercell with tornado near Watkins

We were just mesmerized by the colors of the storm at this point in time.  It was likely the most beautiful supercell I’ve witnessed from a color perspective!  The pictures just don’t do it justice!

Fantastic colors of this tornadic supercell near Watkins

Fantastic colors of this tornadic supercell near Watkins

Gorgeous colored tornadic supercell

Gorgeous colored tornadic supercell

Once again we repositioned to keep the storm from pummeling us with big hail and potential tornadoes.    We figured since this beast kept putting down tornadoes (that we didn’t see even though we were “right there”); we’re bound to see one if we continue with our great position.  Unfortunately there was just too much moisture…

Supercell-2032

Tornadic supercell continues to put out some incredible colors

Nasty supercell

Wouldn’t want to be in this core…

For most of the chase thus far, and especially at this time, the clouds were churning and swirling but there was no tight visible rotation to call into the National Weather Service. Since we weren’t core punching and were ahead of the storm all day, we couldn’t report any hail events either.  There were enough chasers on the road and only one storm that we figured any severe event would be witnessed and called into NWS.

North of Bennett this lowering caught our eye; but again not enough visible rotation to call it a funnel.  This is about a mile or two away.

Fantastic feature although no visible tight rotation

Fantastic feature although no visible tight rotation

colorado supercell

Looking away from the core of the storm; incredible colored inflow!

Looking straight up.  Colors everywhere!

Looking straight up. Colors continued to be amazing!

Great looking structure

Great looking structure and interesting “finger”…

Simply said...WOW!

Simply stated…WOW!

Looking NE at the inflow Beaver Tail

Looking NE at the inflow Beaver Tail

As we were driving Adam suggested we stop to take some pictures as there was something behind us that wasn’t normal.  The rain band had taken on an eerie look.  It must have been due to lighting with the position of the sun and our position.  Anyway, the colors were still phenomenal and we got this unique rainband shadow thing next to the core of the storm!  Cool!

Weird but cool cloud shadow?

Weird but cool cloud shadow?

Wonderful contrast of this supercell!

Wonderful contrast of this supercell!

Excellent storm, excellent chase!

Excellent storm, excellent chase!

All in all, this was a fantastic chase.  Although we were in great position with this tornadic supercell all afternoon, we never did see any tornadoes even though 8 were reported.  I suspect they were rain wrapped and only visible if you were “right there”…but it is odd that going through a city that no pictures have turned up yet given nearly everyone has a camera.  We’ll wait and see what the final count ends up being later this year when the NWS finishes its analysis. We only got into the hail a couple of times with the largest being larger than quarter size…otherwise a perfect chase day!

This supercell was overtaken by a line of storms coming north and that is when we threw in the hat.  We ended up in Fort Morgan, had some dinner, and had a relaxing drive back to Brighton where we first met up.  Looking forward to more great chases this spring!