As the year draws to a close, we picked our favourite Albums of 2020.
2020 will end on a high with the freshly announced collaborative album that pairs two of our favourite musicians: marvelous composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan and wonderful and inimitable multi-instrumentalist and improviser Richard Youngs. Entitled Twelve of Hearts, the upcoming album marks their first collaboration and was in the works for several months, with O’Sullivan based in London and Youngs based in Glasgow. The two experimental songwriters followed specific rules to compose a cycle of 12 songs based on one chord progression, that came to be called Twelve of Hearts. As Youngs pointed out, “Each song has four chords. No more. No less. They cycle without variation. They never change key“. O’Sullivan had this to say about it:
“The writing process had a geometric quality. Not too much fuss. Just a simple adherence to this method. It’s basically a grid-like structure – concrete pillars in square formation, consonant and unbending and always in a supporting role to these liquified poems and suspended songs. It’s hard and soft at the same time.”
Youngs also stated:
“We did all of the album remotely. It started when Daniel sent me a sprawling improvisation and there was a short section crying out for these four chords. Before we could help ourselves, we had stumbled on the formula – something that seemed to take us from song to song. The same four chords, harmony vocals, some ornamentation, and a lead vocal. We became really focused on it – anything that deviated got rejected. Finding variation in the predictability became quite surprising. I think it shifted some of my ideas on songwriting.”
Twelve of Hearts is set for release on December 1st through O Genesis Recordings but we can already hear the first celestial single, ‘Don’t Hang with Angels’. It comes with an accompanying video directed by Harry Miller.
There’s less than a month to go before Le Guess Who? takes over Utrecht. With over 150 artists set to perform, how do we make sense of such a monumental line-up? We made a list of the artists we’re most excited to see and asked them for their recommendations.
Performing Friday 8th November at Theater Kikker, curated by Jenny Hval
The wonderful and inimitable multi-instrumentalist and improviser Richard Youngs has stolen our hearts a while back. A restless and prolific sonic adventurer, his music catalogue boasts over a hundred solo and collaborative releases, from folk to drone and electronic and last year’s Belief was one of our 15 Album Picks of 2018. Youngs had already dazzled us with an unforgettable a cappella show at Le Guess Who? in 2017 and we are immensely excited to see what he has in store for us this time. Read on for a list of three acts he’s looking forward to.
Performing Saturday 9th November at Stadsschouwburg, curated by Jenny Hval
“I’ve heard so many of his records over such a long period of time, but have never caught him performing live. I am really curious about what he will do.”
Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paradiso U.F.O.
Performing Saturday 9th November at De Nijverheid
“Makoto and I have been friends for a very long time. We have performed and recorded together, I have visited him in Japan. Acid Mothers are always a joyful experience.”
Performing Thursday 9th November at TivoliVredenburg, curated by The Bug
“I love their early stuff, and I have to be honest I haven’t heard where they have gone since then. I understand they are quite different and I am intrigued to hear what direction they’ve taken.”
Le Guess Who? will take place 7-10 November. For the full line-up, tickets and more info visit leguesswho.com. And take a look at other artists we’re excited about picking their own Le Guess Who?’s Who.
As the year draws to a close, we picked our favourite Albums of 2018.
Eric Chenaux and Richard Youngs have crossed paths many a time. And it’s no surprise that the latest marvellous track to emerge from Chenaux, ‘3 Stars On Mountain of Doom’, serves as a tribute to Youngs. Chenaux explains:
“‘3 Stars On Mountain of Doom’ was recorded for Richard Youngs’ 50th Birthday for a limited edition of 1 compilation CD entitled 50 Years Of Youngs, curated by Madeleine Hynes. This recording is a montage-set inspired by Richard’s 3 Stars CDR and his wonderful song ‘Mountain of Doom.'”
Take a listen now.
It may be hard to find a more prolific musical polymath than the wonderful and inimitable multi-instrumentalist and improviser Richard Youngs. A restless sonic adventurer and highly versatile musician, his extensive and influential body of work encompasses well over a hundred solo and collaborative releases, on labels big and small, including his own No Fans. We're ecstatic he found the time to put together this month's mixtape, which is a unique insight into his myriad influences, or in Youngs' own words "All over the shop".
- Cocteau Twins – Blind Dumb Deaf
- Donald MacPherson – Lord Lovat’s Lament
- Kazuki Tomokawa – Storms in the Dead of Night
- Derek Bailey w/ DJ Ninj – N/JZ/BM (re-mix)
- Rosalia – Si tu supieras companero
- Sun Ra & His Arkestra – Disco 2100
[Strut / Art Yard]
- Religious Overdose – Control Addicts
- Armin Mieth: VI – Raum 1 (extract)
- Franco Battiato – Aria di rivoluzione
- Guillaume de Machaut – Ballade 33 Nes qu’on porroit (performed by Oxford Camerata)
- Van Der Graaf Generator – Refugees
[Charisma / Probe]