Zenevloed wraps up 2020: amazing releases that restored faith in music and humanity

….Picks gives the chance to an artist/collective to showcase sounds which have inspired a certain moment.

Zenevloed wraps up 2020: amazing releases that restored faith in music and humanity

Another year ties up the rounds for the world. A tumultuous year, where the importance to serve truth, radical solidarity, and to invoke more-left-than-“left” activism became more apparent than ever. Meanwhile in 2021, the virus rages on in the US, Iran, India, South Africa, Brazil, and many other countries stricken by death, poverty, and injustice under failing regimes. To add to the paralyzing circumstances, tactical moves towards total war in the Middle East have not halted, merely accelerated in stupors of failing autocratic and apartheid regimes. In the Netherlands and Germany, anti-vaxxers and right wing aficionados protested against the physical distancing rules and the struggle to eradicate racial injustices from our political ranks persists.

What a time to be alive! But let’s not despair: we had and still have amazing music by amazing people, carrying on in a time where the cultural industries are being capitalized upon by citymarketing schemes but not fully recognized as important actors in the city fabric.

Again, in this edition of picks we find music released in times of societal struggle, music to listen and remain hopeful, music to start organizing community and rebel against going back to ‘normal’. We need a better than normal! Support the artists and labels if you can; and don’t forget to support Black Lives Matter, Lebanon relief funds, COVID relief funds or any other local collective/activist that organizes protests/bail outs/care packages/… in these times when we need it most!

enmossed August batch: Nazanin Noori – FARCE and Chaperone – Jazz From the Shelter

A double entendre, again from beloved enmossed. This time Berlin-based Iranian artist, composer, and theater director Nazanin Noori presents FARCE a longform spread out over two tape sides, eloquently painting the discomfort of mutual misunderstanding. The A-side IMAGINE ALL THAT FALL IN A POTHOLE ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY eludes calmly the impending terror, constructed by the synths, through ethereal landscapes continuously unravelling in the background. The light follows those who fall, the tragedy of uncertainty. The B-side IMAGINE ALL IN A HALL sets the stage for a grand display of disparity, spiked with nostalgia; the longing for an oasis of love in the midst of fear.

Ridgewood, Queens-based Chaperone offers balm on the wounds with his Jazz from the Shelter. We are beckoned in by the sound of wind chimes, promising change, a respite, a well-deserved yoga treatment in this pandemic; chimes blended, doubled by fractal thoughts, making the simple infinitely more complex. The A-side carries on, whisks the listener away to hazy destinations for some leisure capitalism, places of Serge Gainsbourg’s sea, sex, and sun, where the temperatures are too high to think clearly. Luckily, there is an infinity paddle pool at our all-inclusive hotel; far away from the rumble of accumulation heard dropping in the background. Side B opens with a cracky muzak heard in the lobby, a fine satire on the meme house/beats to chill to – wave we had to endure on YouTube. Chaperone makes no mistake in his aim to blend beats, field recordings, asymmetric synths, and paranoid hi hats into a warm critique, somewhere between the armchair in the shelter and the riots on the block.

Buy via: https://enmossed.bandcamp.com/

SAINT ABDULLAH – IN GOD’S IMAGE [Psychic Liberation]

Fresh demented music flying straight in from Tehran via New York. In God’s Image is a daring blend of genres, political critiques, and arrhythmics reflecting the confusion when ideologies meet. The 20-track album is an Herculean effort, a blunt statement on the status quo, layered with delicious noisy drums, strangled saxophones, and frantic beats. Among the collaborators we have Jordan Reyes (American Dreams/American Decline, and a favorite go to for zenevloed) and Moor Mother (who needs no further introduction), delivering on point spoken word ‘on Western imperialists who rain missiles on hospitals, grieves the bodies piling up as capital gets sucked from the Earth’.

Buy via: https://psychicliberation.bandcamp.com/album/in-gods-image

Music for Sleep – Conference Of Morning Birds At The Happiness Research Center [ROHS! RECORDS]

Feather-like caresses in the light of dawn. Waking up, but staying in bed to savor the morning sun breaking through clouds. Looking at your lover, while they’re still in nocturn realms far beyond Sun’s reach. A little treasure for these times.

Buy and listen via: https://mforsleep.bandcamp.com/album/conference-of-morning-birds-at-the-happiness-research-center

VA – Travels To Sadness, Hate & Depression Vol. 2 [Voidance Records]

The second Various Artists signed on Berlin-based Voidance is all killer, no filler. With its sharp curation, the artists (ranging from Stave to Meer) all eloquently express their own particular pocket of dystopia. Personal favorite indeed is Stave’s Dead End, a repeated decline into Earth’s echo chamber.

Buy via: https://voidancerecords.bandcamp.com/album/travels-to-sadness-hate-depression-vol-2

Various Artists “Folded Expressions” [Infinite Waves]

In 2020, we had the continued support by befriended artists and labels – even more important in a time where the fast pace of the industry became a fallacy and the hype around persons, collectives, and genres momentary. Infinite Waves among other Copenhagen based endeavours warmed our hearts and provided more gorgeous ambiances for your kitchen stereo (and home office laptop speakers). This release is dear to zenevloed, premiered in full, entrusted to our platform, containing interpretations of Grøn’s work by amazing musicians.

Buy via: http://infinitewaves.net/products/671038-various-artists-folded-expressions

V.A. – 20​/​20 ELEPHANT V​.​7​.​7​.​7 [Clan Destine]

Audio terror meets millennial anarchism, 20/20 Elephant warps us right into illegal pre-COVID forest raves (somewhere in Belgium). Taking jungle warpers on a full-force deconstruction hike, zero (0) f’s are given. Bless up!

Buy via: https://clandestinerecords.bandcamp.com/album/20-20-elephant-v-777

krāllār – big sad [Amek Collective] (cover photo)

Straight for the feels, krāllār hunts down our most intimate concerns and channels a visceral experience of longing, loss, and apathy. Soundtrack for catatonia, sleep deprived agony.

Buy via: https://amekcollective.bandcamp.com/album/big-sad

Years of Denial – Human Tragedy [Modular Mind]

Modular Mind persisted in 2020 and released with Years of Denial one of its most comprehensive works to date, solidifying a connection sparked during zenevloed’s event with Koichi Shimizu, Meer, and Kujo.

Buy via: https://modularmind.bandcamp.com/album/human-tragedy

Valerinne – A Ghost Year [Amek Collective]

A Ghost Year resembles the deserted microtonal lands of The Caretakers last works; even more demented, suspended in a vacuum of isolation. The longform work guides through subtleties of suppressed memories, like a cool winter rain slowly freezing to stillness.

Buy via: https://amekcollective.bandcamp.com/album/a-ghost-year

J. Carter – Rejoice! [A Sunken Mall]

In the past years, we have seen Jeremiah Carter blossom in his commitment to explore the depths and affects of encounters, milestones (like moving to another state), and the journey of growing into a whole self. Privileged to witness this, Rejoice! aims to narrate these transformations in yet another chapter of an arresting story, on a new Vaagner sublabel ‘A Sunken Mall’.

Digital album via: https://vaagner.bandcamp.com/album/rejoice

IOM – Izkuturik ziren hitzak eztabaiden artean aurkitu ditut, baino soinurik ez dute egiten [Hedonic Reversal]

Vitoria-born (Basque region), London-based producer IOM was a great last-minute discovery in our inbox. The new release on Hedonic Reversal, too a quality output, refreshingly revists concepts of industrial music, EBM, and dub – in ways Eomac or Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement do.

Buy via: https://hedonicreversal.bandcamp.com/album/izkuturik-ziren-hitzak-eztabaiden-artean-aurkitu-ditut-baino-soinurik-ez-dute-egiten

Johan Carøe – Lovesongs [No Technique]

Lovesongs is an artefact raised out of a postmodern concern for truth, the dialectic of ceaseless deconstruction, for the better and in order to create new entanglements. Given to us as a premiere this year, aside from Pauline Hogstrands The Enterer, by Danish label No Technique – we would like to take the time to highlight this collaborative masterpiece again.

Buy via: https://www.notechnique.org/

Sequences – Woven Empty [Audio.Visuals.Atmosphere]

Many times, we mentally revisit the beautiful event in Antwerp – featuring representatives of AVA and Infinite Waves, a moment where the patterns that ordered our musical existence amid the chaos of life appeared. Woven Empty is in itself too a milestone: Sequences’ first vinyl release and hallmark for Niels Geybels’ search for sounds that appear on the borderline of restricted, contemplative emotion, reflections of empty spaces, and vivid, untamed outbursts of life – as is, as it comes.

Buy via: https://audiovisualsatmosphere.bigcartel.com/product/sequences-woven-empty-lp