The Six Best Boring Albums Of 2012
4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Don't Bend, Ascend!
The fact that the always cryptic Godspeed You! Black Emperor even made an album in 2012 is a surprise. The timing of Don't Bend, Ascend! couldn't be better, since the instrumental, dramatic sound the band helped pioneer ten years ago is experiencing either a revival or (in fitting post-rock fashion) the climax of a long, ten-year build. Today's post-rockers are rarely as extreme as on the Sonic Youth raga of opener "Miladic" or as patient as the ambient "Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable." Don't Bend is more of a reintroduction than a reinvention, giving listeners the opportunity to distinguish between the myth of Godspeed and its actual music - and to listen to the band's back catalog with a fresh perspective.
3. Earth - Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light Pt. II
If you've heard of but never heard doom-metal legend Earth, the Seattle band's Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light Part II will not be the introduction you expect. This is not an album of slowed-down Sabbath riffs or distorted dirges; Angels' closest comparison is the desolate spaghetti-Western pseudo jazz of guitarist Bill Frisell. As a hyperfocusing experience, listening to Angels reveals a wealth of sonic joys, like the subtle clanking in the background of "His Teeth Old Brightly Shone" or how far behind the beat drummer Adrienne Davies lands her snare throughout "A Multiplicity Of Doors." As background music, Angels makes everything you do feel incredibly significant.
2. Four Tet - Pink
Kieran Hebden consistently makes interesting electronic music under the name Four Tet, frequently combining the organic and synthetic. Pink is a collection of various 12" singles Hebden released of more traditional, longform, repetitive dance tracks. Unlike usual Four Tet tracks, there are fewer dramatic mid-song changes. The rewards are linear, like the gradual speed up of "Locked" or the way "Peace For Earth" morphs from an ambient Eno track to a bleepy Terry Riley track. Some electronic music fanatics have expressed skepticism of Hebden, as if he snuck into the scene through a back door of indie rock. Pink comes off as his way of proving just how well he can play the EDM game too.