A few words on the year about to end. Highlight of the year: my book on Peter Hammill was published to good reviews.
Old music: it was a great year for archival box sets – Xenakis’ Electroacoustic Works, :zoviet*france:’s Châsse 3, Albert Ayler’s Revelations, The Beatles’ Revolver. I also loved the reissue of Savage Republic’s Tragic Figures and the ultra-limited handmade packages from Finders Keepers Records – Graeme Miller’s Comet In Moominland, Bruno Spoerri’s Der Würger vom Tower.
New music: Shearwater’s The Great Awakening was comfortably my album of the year. Other fine releases: Beth Orton’s Weather Alive, Richard Dawson’s The Ruby Cord, Will Sheff’s Nothing Special, Breathless’ See Those Colours Fly.
Concerts: this was the year live music took off again. Highlights: Van der Graaf Generator in London and Paris. The Young Gods, Kraftwerk, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Buttercup Metal Polish and Kollaps in Geneva. Tindersticks in Lille. Einstürzende Neubauten in Lausanne. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Montreux.
Reading: Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads. Paul Morley’s A Sound Mind. Markus Müller’s monumental FMP: The Living Music. Rob Young’s The Magic Box. Andy Beckett’s When The Lights Went Out. Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman.
TV: another great year for drama. For All Mankind, The White Lotus, My Brilliant Friend, We Own This City, Severance, Sherwood, Bad Sisters, A Friend of the Family. I watched folk horror classics Children of the Stones and The Owl Service with my daughter, but I enjoyed them a lot more than she did.
Deaths: I mourn the passing of Hermann Nitsch, Bill Bryden, Norma Waterson, Albin Julius, Mimi Parker and Harrison Birtwistle.
I’m currently reading your excellent book on the solo albums of Peter Hammill. It’s nice to see such an authoritative work from someone of my age, who got into PH’s music around about the same time as me (I first saw him at London’s QEH on Feb 14th 1988, which was the night after you had your ear pressed to the door of the auditorium at Sussex University). Back then, as a newcomer into the inner sanctum of PH music, many of the older fans, who’d been with him and VdGG since the early days, loved to tell me how his 80s work wasn’t a patch on the 70s stuff. I’m glad that you appear to be of the same mind as me that Hammill has continued to make excellent music throughout the entirety of his career to date. My reading the book has been accompanied by me listening to the solo albums again. It’s interesting and enlightening to revisit them with a fresh perspective, as I read your insights (some of which I agree with; others, less so). It’s a fine piece of work, of which you should be justifiably proud and which Peter’s brilliant body of work deserves. Many thanks for writing it.
Hello, many thanks for your comment and for the kind words about my book – much appreciated. Sorry, your comment got caught by this website’s spam filter, from which I’ve only just rescued it. All the best, Richard