Even those of us dedicated to a musical life were surprised by the extent to which it sustained us this year. Long days of restricted travel and companionship demanded that we turn inward. And so what home sounded like had a lot to do with what it felt like. What we felt like.
The music we love – produced by independent artists with whom we can build friendships – wasn’t simply decoration in 2020. It offered lines of communication. It facilitated connection between artists and their admirers.
It is true that difficult circumstances sometimes make great art possible. Perhaps more than any other form, contemporary music captured what it was to live through 2020.
Ten of my favourites from the year, unranked:
- Marja Ahti – The Current Inside
- Babe, Terror – Horizogon
- The Corrupting Sea – The Healing House of Light
- Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq – The Indestructibility of the Already Felled
- Forest Robots – After Geography
- Grotta Veterano – Talbot Bells
- KMRU – Peel
- Tomotsugu Nakamura – Literature
- Offthesky & The Humble Bee – We Were the Hum of Dreams
- Aisha Orazbayeva – Music for Violin Alone
There’s so much more. The Home Diaries series, for example. Lovingly curated by Harry Towell at Whitelabrecs, it features 30 albums and EPs produced in lockdown. In a similar vein, La Petite Chambre Records gave us the At Home With … series and Trestle Records produced its From Isolation series. All of it wonderful, and a remarkable documentation of 2020.
I’ll have a more complete listen for you on this Sunday’s edition of The Moderns. Look for ep. 138.