ACL 2014: Sound Propositions

caro diario closer listen

As has become my habit, I’m sitting down to reflect on the last year on New Years Day. I can’t reflect properly on the year until its actually over, and so I resist writing my End of Year list until then. (And didn’t Black Messiah prove that!?)  It was a big year in a lot of ways, not least in the music world.  I listen to a lot of new music since I’m always reviewing music, but as usual I tend to dig old records and revisiting old favorites, this year especially early Industrial/Noise music, musique conrete and hip hop.  Many of my favorite releases of this year, including records by Kate Carr, Kyle Bobby Dunn, and Valerio Tricoli, have already been featured on our end of the year list so below I’m just going to spotlight some of my favorite records that we haven’t covered. I did a lot of music writing outside of ACL, and on top of that started my PhD, so I feel more at a loss for words than usual, so I’ll leave it at that.   Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Lost Children mix series, to all the artists and labels who have generously sent me your releases this year, who’ve comped me on shows and engaged me in conversation. Thanks to Justinas at Secret Thirteen for inviting me to do a mix.  Thanks also to the great musicians who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a stage with this year: Esther B and co, Amir Amiri, Norman Nawrocki, A Sacred Cloud, JS Truchy, FDG, Guillaume Vallée, Le Berger, and Sam Shalabi.  I’m truly going to miss how inspiring and nurturing Montreal has been. Special thanks to Karoline Leblanc and Paulo J Ferreira Lopes for encouraging me to get out of the studio, and Stefan Christoff for following through with our Les Rumeurs project. And lastly, thanks to you all for reading. (Joseph Sannicandro)

My personal top 20 records not covered on ACL

Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers
Audopilots – Phoebastia Nigripes
Ben Frost – A U R O R A
Bob Ostertag – Plays the Serge 1978-1983
Dakim & Fumitake Tamura (BUN) – Mudai
DNMF (Dead Neanderthals & Machinefabriek) – DNMF
Enrico Malatesta & Lucciano Maggiore – talabalàcco
Giuseppe Ielasi – Stunt (Appendix)
Holly Herndon – Chorus
Janek Schaefer – Lay-by Lullaby
Jason Lescalleet – Much to My Demise (as well as  Popeth,another great collab with Aaron Dilloway, and his ongoing studio diary This Is What I do)
Michael Pisaro with Miguel Prado – White Metal
Nicola Ratti – Ossario (I + II)
Souls of Mischief – There Is Only Now
Sparkle in Grey – The Calendar
Sun Araw – Belomancie
Swans – To Be Kind
Theo Parrish – American Intelligence
Vladislav Delay – VISA (plus a number of interesting 12″s on his Ripatti label)

Personal Performance and Exhibition Highlights

Yan Jun performance during the Sight & Sound festival in Montreal!
-Pinhas/Merzbow/Yoshida/Haino, Meredith Monk, Jerusalem in my Heart and others at Victo
-The Sound Art installations at Victo
Richard Mosse‘s The Enclave at DHC ART
Ryoji Ikeda‘s superposition at the Walker Art Center
-Overall I found the fusion of Elektra and Mutek into EM15 to be unfocused compared to the curatorial rigor and specificity of their independent festivals. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal was an interesting HQ and hub but wasn’t adequate as a main stage, and several of my most anticipated performers fell a bit flat as a result.  Nonetheless,  the festival featured mesmerizing performances that continue to burn strong in my memory.  Tim Hecker sounding out in the diffused light of the fog, Le fruit vert‘s beautiful synthesis of sound and live visuals making the best use of the round screens in the MAC main stage, Ricardo Villalobos spinning all night, Nicolas Bernier and Martin Messier‘s brilliant performative sculptures, the first half of Robert Henke’s Lumière,  and more artworks than I can name, but especially Ryoichi Kurokawa‘s 5 Horizons.


I’ve casually mentioned my interest in comics before, so here are my favorite series of 2014 for any interested.

Alex + Ada
Black Science
Deadly Class
The Fade Out
High Crimes
The Massive
Moon Knight
Ms. Marvel
The Manhattan Projects
The Private Eye
Rocket Girl
Silver Surfer
Southern Bastards
The Wicked + The Divine


I’ll be away for the next two weeks, but once I return you can look forward to some of the following: the ACL Community Collage, an all-tape live mix, the latest installment of Sound Propositions featuring Kate Carr, and of course regular reviews.  Until then…


then silence

About Joseph Sannicandro

writer | traveler | sound organizer | contrarian | concerned citizen


  1. Pingback: ACL 2014: Sound Propositions, Tim Hecker music

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