EOY list season is upon us, which means that many will be scrambling to put together lists that are both cohesive and, objectively, correct. Although I knew that 2022 might not be able to compete with 2021’s sheer musical quantity, 2022 had more quality releases. It’s gotten to the point where I now have an entire separate list of albums just to catch up with.
It’s also one of the many reasons why I have decided to expand the honorable mentions list, as I found myself with 28 albums that I had enjoyed but didn’t know what to do with them. After somewhat coming to terms with the 20 I want to officially present in my planned EOY list, I decided that these eight deserved some words from me, as I, once again, have a lot to say.
It’s time to touch the painting sitting in Anor Londo.
Solo projects are interesting vehicles for creative and sonic exploration, especially if the main project is known for creating extreme (metal) music. Exploring this so-called “side content” is a treat and something that allows a deeper dive into understanding how various musical influences come together in the mainline band album. In the case of FERN, the solo project of The Ocean’s drummer Paul Seidel, their debut album Intersubjective oscillates between art pop, industrial, and ambient electronica, pulling the already established fans into this intimate and heady atmosphere that offers a huge look under the hood.
After years of seeing that cassette logo at the top of every edition of the Nine Circles Playlist (brought to you now for the 245th time) I finally caved and bought a cassette deck for my stereo system. I have a few tapes lying around from niche labels filled with strange and discordant sounds, so why not? Maybe I’ll even find those old mix tapes I used to have in college and see if they’re still in a playable condition…music as archeology, you know?
I don’t know if anything in this week’s playlist is available on cassette, but I can provide definitive proof you can find it on YouTube. The gang brings in tracks from Sarattma, the return of Toxik, as well as new music from Clutch, Revocation, Conan, Conjurer, Lathe, Ripped to Shreds and An Abstract Illusion. We throw in some shoegaze and indie from My Bloody Valentine and Broken Social Scene to break up the extremity (although I still think MBV’s Loveless is one of the most extreme albums to ever come out) before wrapping it all up with some classic tracks, including a live cut from Opeth, some Testament, Merauder, and Watchtower, among others.