As this year comes to a close, I am also going to bring this blog to a close. It’s basically been closed for a while, since I’ve not posted much here over the past few years. But now I’m making it official: this is it. If you want to find out what I’m up to in the future, then follow @hauntedink on Twitter or visit https://hauntedink.bandcamp.com (which is the name I’m using from here on out for music) or soundcloud.com/mheumann. Of course, everything I have posted here–along with everything in The Library and the other sites connected to hauntedink.com–will be around as long as I’m around.
I started writing online back in 1995–20 years ago. Back then, there were (relatively) few web sites and fewer voices focusing on music. I created the first web site devoted to Tricky; I spent years writing music reviews both here and for a few different online journals. As the years have gone on, and as my life has gotten busier and busier, I have found that both do not have the time to post here nor the inclination. There are so many different outlets for musical discussion and analysis now, and I don’t really think my voice alone warrants its own site. So I will continue to write, but I will seek to post this information elsewhere (again, check @hauntedink for future details).
Now, I didn’t want to end this blog with just a good-bye, so here are a few thoughts about 2015:
- Pye Corner Audio. Damn, that guy just keeps on making wonderful music. He released Prowler towards the end of the year, after many publications had already created their “best of” lists. I’m sick of lists, so I don’t want to make one, so I’ll just say that Prowler is the best music I heard this year. It might be PCA’s best work–which is saying something. It’s much more groove oriented than his Black Mill Tapes works or his work for Ghost Box, and that’s a change that seems entirely appropriate.
- Other great music I heard this year (in no order whatsoever): Joanna Newsom’s Divers (yet another amazing work from this essential artist), The Orb’s Moonbuilding 2703 AD, Chemical Brothers’ Born in the Echoes, Thundercat’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, Pole’s Wald, the Ghost Box compilation, A Seance at Syd’s, Kode9’s Nothing, and everything created by fellow Bandcamp artists Chonyid, The Hatcliff House Tapes, and The Owl Service.
- My favorite musical event this year was watching Glastonbury on the BBC’s iPlayer (thanks to a handy proxy-server app). There was some great music performed there this year, but (oddly) my favorite performance was Belle & Sebastian, who were adorable in their happiness (something that was in short supply this year).
- The thought that we in the US have to endure 11 more months of a presidential election after spending all of 2015 listening to some of the most deranged and idiotic people every to walk the earth profess their qualifications for the job, makes me want to just build a time machine and go forward to November 2016 to see Hillary win (I’m assuming; if you’re reading this during the Trump presidency, then please find me and shoot me).
- My world outside my career in education was focused on reading tons of science fiction and wiggling around with my modular synth. At year’s end, my synth is dominated by Harvestman modules. I’m aiming to get back to my ultimate task of channeling (as best I can) the musical legacy of Pan Sonic.
- Science fiction I would definitely recommend you read: Neil Stephenson’s Seveneves. I was an early fan of his work; I loved Snow Crash and The Diamond Age as a grad student. By the time he got to Cryptonomicon, though, I felt that he needed to get a better editor. He hasn’t changed in his verbosity and detail, but the more I read his stuff, the more I appreciate the detail for what it is: a complete and thorough account of the world he is creating. Anathem was just wonderful in its detail and complexity; its connection to the Long Now project was a plus (I’m a member). But Seveneves is something altogether different–a story that spans both the end of life on earth and the creation of a new life. I can’t spoil it for you; read it. It’s the best novel of the year, and it’s the one I’m voting for when I vote for the Hugos in 2016.
- Other wonderful, wonderful novels I read this year: everything by Peter F. Hamilton, the Ancillary trilogy by Ann Leckie, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem and The Dark Forest, and Ernest Cline’s Armada. During my nice, long break from teaching, I plan to read a whole host of novels by James Corey, Stephen Baxter, and Raoul Peter Mongilardi (damn, there’s so much good stuff out there…).
- Great science fiction on TV, too: Syfy decided to actually make science fiction again, and I really like their shows Defiance, Killjoys, and Dark Matter. The Expanse is really promising; I am eager to see more of it. I LOVE Agents of Shield, even though it’s cheesy and uneven. It’s just damn fun (and I’m a huge fan of Daisy Johnson from the comics, so seeing her come to life on the screen is a blast, too).
My final note to all 3 of you who might actually read this: our world 2015 saw the rapid rise of intolerance, racism, and fascism. Fight these things with empathy, intelligence, and courtesy. Think before you speak, consider your audience’s perspective, avoid personal attacks and other fallacies, and be polite.
Thank you all,
Haunted Ink (aka Michael Heumann)