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Brigette Herron’s Favorite Moments of 2011: A Meditation on Decay & Rebirth

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Winter Solstice

By Brigette Adair Herron

The end of the year is upon us. On this side of the world, everything is dying. It is getting colder and darker and emotions seem to ping-pong from nostalgia to despair in the span of a minute. Maybe it’s just me — maybe it’s the seasonal depression — but there is something sad and fulfilling about the end of the year. It’s comforting to take stock of what has happened and to ultimately say goodbye. Goodbye Old Year! Because we know that one day someone will be saying goodbye to us. We hope that they will remember the best of our lives and learn from the mistakes we made. It’s the price we pay for the betterment of the species. It’s a beautiful thing actually, to move on so that another may take our place, and so every year we reflect on what has come before. It’s important to do this so we can ensure a better future. Hello New Year! Because this season can be filled with mixed emotions about what it means to come to an end, put a warm cup of tea or coffee between your mittens and let music serve as the soundtrack for your meditation on what has come before, and what lies ahead.

If you are looking for: Something that will slowly reveal its genius
Remember: Planningtorock – W

“Don’t be surprised, if I’m ripping out my eyes. I’m on fire,” says one of the best albums of the year. Where has the time gone? What happened to the review I was supposed to write about Planningtorock? I must have about 10 first draft versions intermittently scribbled between grocery lists in my notebooks. I just couldn’t get it right, I’m afraid. I didn’t feel like I was doing this album justice. Every lukewarm review filled me with rage, and made it even more difficult to begin writing. Sure, Planningtorock has collaborated with The Knife, but this album deserves more than a superficial comparison to her collaborators. I don’t know anything about Janine Rostron’s academic history, but W is the kind of album that could only be made by a scientist. In fact, the spacious and clinical yet classical beauty of W is not unlike the electronic music of a computer scientist-turned-musician Doris Norton.

You might wonder if Planningtorock spent her adolescence locked in her room conducting electrical experiments, building tape loops and listening to Sparks, Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen and loads of classical music. I dunno, but this album did at one point convince me that the saxophone, viola and drum machine were the only essential musical instruments on earth. Plus the song ‘Manifesto’ will make you shake your booty and sing to imagined audiences on the other side of your mirror. Just buy the record God-dammit!  The WHOLE ALBUM IS AMAZING!

If you are looking for: Something to make you dance and remember how to flirt
Remember: AlunaGeorge – ‘You Know You Like It’

Oh, this pulls on the Kylie Minogue-loving strings of my heart. This song is like a big piece of pop candy. I don’t think I need to say anymore. You’re welcome!

If you are looking for: Something to mimic your own feelings of desperation
Remember: Tearist – Living 2009-Present

The honesty of Tearist’s LP, an album made up entirely of live performances, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. The screeches and the screams that plead with the gods of chaos are painful to listen to. In order to avoid the discomfort, many people will ridicule these voices. See also: Yoko Ono. Everyone knows what it feels like to be laughed at. When you remember this feeling, everything about Tearist will make perfect sense.

(continues overleaf)

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