Posts Tagged ‘Warp Records’

RSTB Best of 2018

So, it seems that 2018 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a hell of a year by most standards, but musically its been damn entertaining. Perhaps its fair that there’s some bright spot in all the chaos. Not to diminish the chaos, but when the negativity is at an all-pervasive fever pitch, its feels good to have something to hold onto. I’ll choose to remember 2018 as a banner year for music and for the birth of my second daughter rather than the year that page refresh politics threatened to give me an ulcer any day. Below are my favorite albums of the year, taking care to highlight some that might otherwise get forgotten. They’re in (quasi) alphabetical order with no other particular weight on the list. Keep your eyes out for a few more year-end features this week before I reset for the new year. As always, thanks for sticking with RSTB for these 12-odd years or so.

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Children of Alice

Working together as a post-Broadcast transition, Children of Alice is comprised of the band’s James Cargill and longtime keyboardist Roj Stevens alongside Julian House (The Focus Group, Ghost Box Records). The album acts essentially as an extension of the work that was done on the final Broadcast album proper, Investigate Witch Cults of The Radio Age, an album on which they also found inspiration through collaboration with House. Following the tragic passing of Broadcast’s Trish Keenan, both Stevens and Cargill joined House on The Focus Group’s 2013 album, Elektrik Carousel. Clearly the three found solace in each others’ explorations of a Radiophonic universe populated by wonder, ingenuity and a quivering sense of menace.

The band itself is named for the late Keenan’s love of Jonathan Miller’s adaptation of Alice In Wonderland and it does maintain that sensibility of dropping into a world that seems to operate on different principles from our own and yet sparkle with strange delights. The record buzzes with a clockwork hum, feeling every bit a diorama of childhood wonder on opener “The Harbinger of Spring.” As the record progresses it slips down it’s slope of pent up menace, disorienting and stripping away some of the innocence that the opener unfolds. The deeper into the world of Children of Alice you go, the more it seems like you might just wind up lost there. It’s a headphone record of the highest order and closing your eyes allows a flickering 8mm world to burn behind the eyelids. The three have pretty deep catalogs but it’s clear that in each other they’ve found something essential, unusual and riveting.

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