Seer cover artAs this year comes to a close, and I spent more time than ever having to watch movies, as a newly inducted member into the Florida Film Critics Circle (including Hollywood fare! Blech), I felt a bit slack about my longtime experience covering music. So I wanted some help with a survey of some of the best albums 2012. I asked musicians, DJs and general local music scenesters of South Florida (current and past) to share their top 10 albums of 2012.

The tastes represented here are eclectic, and, as inspired by my first contributor, Emile Milgrim of Other Electricitiesand Sweat Records, include no music journalists who are pandered and marketed to by music labels. I therefore, humbly put my lists and thoughts at the end of these 12 notable personalities. Yet, I was pleased to find that within these varied lists, the one album I dared to call a masterpiece in 2012 appeared six times, far more than any other album (and the guy behind it laughed at me!)– hence the headline image.

I had attempted for a moment to survey a top 10 ranked list, but these people are not ones who follow rules easily, hence you can expect many albums ranked in no particular order and even albums from years outside 2012 and lists that did not care to limit themselves to 10 choices. I believe these are all genuinely beloved releases and should provide many intriguing discoveries for adventurous music-types.

Those included in this informal survey are all random people I know who responded to my request mostly via Facebook. I know plenty more people who could have provided intriguing lists, so if you feel left out… never fear, there is always next year.

Without further ado, on to the lists:

Emile Milgrim
Owner at Other Electricities

Ten 2012 albums listened to most (in no particular order):

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch vinyl

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
Lee Fields – Faithful Man
Aesop Rock – Skelethon
Loscil – Sketches From New Brighton
Micachu & The Shapes – Never
Bat For Lashes – Haunted Man
Open Mike Eagle – 4NML HSPTL
Doseone – G is for Deep
Jeans Wilder – Totally
Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourist

Honorable Mentions (note: my record label released some of these)

holly hunt year one cover

Holly Hunt – Year One
Bacanal Intruder – Do While, If Else
Motèl Mari – Eternal Peasant
Chelsea Wolfe – Unknown Rooms
Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
Giulio Aldinucci – Tarsia
Dan Deacon – America
Serengeti – C.A.R.
Black Marble – A Different Arrangement
Orcas – Orcas

Reissues of Aphex Twin, Massive Attack, Stereolab, Califone, Sea & Cake, Tortoise, Crass, Codeine, Wendy Rene, Alvarius B., Destroyer, Blur, Sugar.

Sleeper hit of the year: Pepe Deluxé – Queen Of The Wave

I’m sure I’m forgetting something… It should also be noted that I probably listened to Belle & Sebastian more than anything. They’re my Beatles.

Richard Vergez
Member of the instrumental band Möthersky

Agent Side Grinder – Hardware

Agent Side Grinder – Hardware
Excellent post-punk from Sweden. The aesthetics of Cabaret Voltaire, the fury of Swans, and the precision of Kraftwerk. Saw them live in Berlin this year, fantastic energy.

Raime – Quarter Turns Over a Living Line
A complete deconstruction of electronic music. Terrifyingly beautiful.

Fabulous Diamonds – Commercial Music
Zoned out super heavy minimalism from this Australian duo. Loads of atmosphere and droning mantras disguised as rock. Sounds like drugs.

Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mill Tapes
A collection of original analog tapes brought back to life on this double LP from UK label Type. Dark and desolate soundscapes built from vintage synths and drum machines.

Swans – The Seer
Another amazing full-length from one of the world’s most uncompromising and prolific bands. Hypnotic, cathartic and dynamic. Although I can do without the Karen O track.

Slug Guts – Playin’ in Time with the Deadbeat

Slug Guts – Playin’ in Time with the Deadbeat
Another Aussie release. Nasty and dirgey rock ‘n’ roll a la Birthday Party. As if they dug up the bones of Roland S. Howard himself and slapped six strings on him.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Everything you would expect from a Godspeed record. Weird tape loops, slowly building phrases, crescendos, Middle Eastern flourishes, and tons of despair. Even some spacey Hawkwind moments.

Cult of Youth – Love Will Prevail
Dark folk with a good post-punk energy. See also Death in June.

Tamaryn – Tender New Signs
Lush, swoony, reverby shoegaze stuff. Tamaryn stays consistent.

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
This made the list only because it is the worst thing I’ve heard all year and Scott is a genius for convincing the public to spend a shit on this record. Unlistenable. Piss taker of the year award goes to Scott Walker.

Alex Caso
a.k.a. Musician/DJ Alx Czo

Top 10:

Tame Impala – LonerismTame Impala – Lonerism
Peaking Lights – Lucifer
Soft moon – Zeros
Swans – Seer
Sad Souls – Apeiron
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourists
Laurel Halo – Quarantine
The KVB – Always Then
Echo Lake – Wild Peace
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes

Notable 5 I couldn’t fit:

Brian Eno – Lux
Grimes – Visions
Gary War – Jared’s Lot
Mirroring – Foreign Body
Lust For Youth – Growing Seeds

Mikey Ramirez
Operations manager at Radio-Active Records

In no particular order:

Cult Of Youth – Love Will PrevailCult Of Youth – Love Will Prevail
Swans – The Seer
The Wake – Here Comes Everybody (reissue)
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Ceremony – Zoo
Chromatics – Kill For Love
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Moritz Von Oswald – Fetch
Gaslamp Killer – Breakthrough

Steven Toth
a.k.a. Mr. Entertainment of the band Mr. Entertainment and the Pookie Smackers

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light1. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
2. Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat The Factory
3. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben
4. Earth – Angels of Darkness Demons of Light II
5. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral
6. Ian Hunter – When I’m President
7. Kramer – Brill Building
8. Holly Hunt – Year One
9. Swans – The Seer
10. ZZZ’s – Prescription

re-issues:

Michael Chapman – Rainmaker
Captain Beefheart – Bat Chain Puller
The Reactions

Music-related film:

Waiting for Sugarman – Rodriguez

Alex Gimeno
a.k.a. Musician/DJ Ursula 1000

Poolside – Pacific Standard TimePoolside – Pacific Standard Time
Seahawks – Aquadisco
Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams (Psychemagik Remix)”
The Fangs – Vampire Vamp
Toy – Toy
Purson – Rocking Horse
Temples – Shelter Song
Boston Bun – Housecall
The Three Degrees – Maybe (reissue)
The Primitives – Echoes and Rhymes

Pocket of Lollipops
a.k.a. musicians Maite Urrechaga and Tony Kapel

The-Kills-The-Last-Goodbye-single-2012The Kills – “The Last Goodbye” EP
Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Crystal Castles – III
Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels – “Join My Militia”
Unrest – Perfect Teeth (reissue)
Grizzly Bear – Shields
Animal Collective – Centipede HZ
Jack White – Blunderbuss
The Ting Tings – Sounds From Nowheresville
Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Santigold – Santigold (2008)

On heavy rotation at the couple’s home this year:

Sonic Youth – Destroyed RoomSonic Youth – Destroyed Room
Versus – Deep Red
Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Modest Mouse – Building Nothing Out of Something
Pink Floyd – Umma Gumma or Obscured by Clouds
Bat for Lashes – Fur & Gold
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
Efterklang – Tripper
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free

Aramís Lorié
Managing Partner & Co-Founder Grand Central

Listed in no particular order:

The XX - CoexistThe XX – Coexist
Grizzly Bear – Shields
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (2010)
Crystal Castles – III
Beck – Song Reader ( I haven’t heard it or attempted to play it yet, but concept alone is immensely brilliant)
Lower Dens – Nootropics
Tanlines – Mixed Emotions
Hundred Waters – Hundred Waters
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (great fabrication of an artist)

John Physioc
Assistant Manager at Miami Beach Cinematheque

Listed in no particular order:

Brian-Jonestown-Massacre-AufhebenThe Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben
The Soft Moon – Zeros
Peaking Lights – Lucifer
Swans – The Seer
Tropic of Cancer – The End of All Things
Tales of Murder and Dust – Hallucination of Beauty
The Limiñanas – Crystal Anis
Matthew Dear – Beams
The Blondes – Blondes
Starred – “Prison to Prison” EP

Jsin Jimenez
“Doer of Jobs” at (((SHAKE)))

Grimes – VisionsGrimes – Visions
Beach House – Bloom
Holly Hunt – Year One
Traxman – Da Mind Of Traxman
Tnght – Tnght
Swans – The Seer
Mala – Mala In Cuba
Ryan Hemsworth – Last Words
Metro Zu – Mink Rug
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Juan Montoya
Guitarist (currently member of Atlanta-based MonstrO, but formerly of Miami greats Torche, Floor and Ed Matus’ Struggle)

Manray – TournamentManray – Tournament (2011)
Order Of The Owl – In the Noon of the After Day
Kavinsky – Drive Movie Soundtrack (Even though it’s from 2011, I spent the whole year listening to this)
Melvins – The Bulls and the Bees
Biters – “Last of a Dying Breed” EP

Can we finish it off with albums I wished would of come out? I can even title them:

My Bloody Valentine – Eternal Wait
Aphex Twin – Beyond Babylon
Trans Am – Fluid To It
Melt Banana – Nude Mood
Danzig – Sangre Nuestro

Carl Ferrari
Guiatarist of Gypsy Cat

Kurt Rosenwinke – Star of JupiterKurt Rosenwinke – Star of Jupiter
Elisa Weilerstein with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle – Elgar and Carter Cello Concertos
Dead Can dance – Anastasis
Lenacay – Ryma
Esperanza Spalding – Radiomusic Society
Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
Lupe Fiasco – Food and Liquor II
Bomba Estereo – Elegancia Tropical
Brooklyn Rider – Seven Steps
Earth – Angels of Darkness Demons of Light II
My Bloody Valentine’s long awaited follow-up to Loveless

Hans Morgenstern
writer of this blog

Jazzy cover art designed by Bert Rodriguez. Image courtesy of Spielberger.comFinally, my top 10 albums of 2012 (and I really feared I wasn’t going to be able to come up with one based on all the film reviewing I did this year [that list will be out tomorrow, by the way]. Another note, as you can tell by the contacts above, I am too partial and precious to my local music scene to pick out local artists, for fear of leaving someone out, but let my coverage this year of Holly Hunt, Boxwood and Spielberger stand for itself.):

Swans – The Seer
I declared it a masterpiece to the creator’s face, and I am happy to own up to it here. It’s a difficult one to listen to from start to finish, from it’s near 2-hour runtime to its sweeping range of emotions, and its dynamics between noisy indulgence and soaring symphonic qualities. I doubt most modern musicians have the kind of talent Michael Gira has and know how to use it as well.

Beach House - Bloom cover art. Image courtesy of Sub Pop RecordsBeach House – Bloom
Another album of bold declaration to the songwriter’s face. I told singer Victoria Legrand that no album has grabbed me with such immediacy since the album that topped my 2010 list. I feel obliged to own up to that and place it after the masterpiece of 2012. Though I interviewed several other musicians, as the coverage of Swans and Beach House on this blog shows, I feel genuinely lucky to have been able to talk to the artists behind some of the greatest albums of the year. To hear these two as much as I did and study them as deep as I did and not get tired of them, either, stands as testament to that.

Grizzly Bear – Shields
I wished I could have written as extensively about and talked to the artists behind this album, but no tour down here made it hard. I was skeptical about this release, as Grizzly Bear has only turned further and further away from its brilliant moody, abstract and atmospheric debut, Horn of Plenty with each release. However, Shields, it’s fourth full-length, had so much genuine soul, it swept away all doubts with each song.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature ThemesAriel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
I had heard this man’s prior work, but was never blown away … until Mature Themes. It jumps genres with a glee I have not seen since I first heard Ween, 20 years ago. It even had progressive rock elements that remind me of very early Brian Eno. Anyone who can do that deserves props.

Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance
So, lead singer/guitarist Bradford Cox of Deerhunter often gets all the attention for the work in the brilliantly noisy Deerhunter, but I am partial to the band’s shy guitarist Lockett Pundt. His contributions are the band’s catchiest and most indulgent. It’s all on display here, his second solo album under the moniker of Lotus Plaza.

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
It’s been a long time since a Spiritualized album took ecstatic turns into blissful, noisy jams. This album has several of these moments.

Faust - 10 handmade artFaust – 10
It may seem hardly fair to include an unreleased album on my list, but Faust is one legendary group, and it is damn sad that legal issues has kept 10 unreleased. A resourceful bootlegger manufactured two runs on vinyl, and I was lucky to have been led to a copy. The works on here are some of the best I have heard featuring founding members Jean Hervé Péron and Werner “Zappi” Diermaier since the original line-up’s masterwork Faust IV.

Diiv – OshinDiiv – Oshin
I was drawn to the wit and atmosphere of the album cover, something that has not happened to me in years. The contents did not disappoint! By tuns Krautrock-inspired droney to as catchy as the Cure, Oshin was one of the best blind-buy album surprises of my life.

Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
It’s a sad shame that gossip rags/blogs seem attracted to hounding Apple. She is one of the most talented performers I have ever seen, and a brilliant songwriter, as well. Her raw delivery and energy are an impressive thing to capture on vinyl, and this was definitely one of the year’s highlights. Between her soulful growls and her resonating piano are brilliant, human insights few pop artists know how to tune into.

Just to off-set things, too, number 11 is an obscure honorable mention:

Birthmark - AntibodiesBirthmark – Antibodies
One of the great but little recognized albums I have heard this year comes from Birthmark. This is the on-going side-project of Nate Kinsella, formerly of Joan of Arc and Make Believe. It features the familiar deconstructive, yet still catchy approach of songwriting that defined his earlier bands. However, Kinsella brings together elements of classical instruments and electronics, and mixes them together to compliment and contrast each other to brilliant effect.

Off-setting things some more: Music documentary of the year goes to: LCD Soundsystem – Shut Up and Play the Hits

OK, so I haven’t seen the buzzy Searching for Sugarman or Marley documentaries, but I cried a tear the moment Murphy sang the lyric “this will be the last time” during “All My Friends.” So this is the way LCD ends, with a bang and a whimper. The documentary is brilliantly mixed by James Murphy himself featuring bombastic performances of the band’s final show at a sold-out Madison Square Garden interspersed among Murphy’s contemplative musings of why he ended it. The blu-ray release features the ultimate  bonus feature, as it includes the entire three-and-a-half-hour MSG show spread across two blu-ray discs. LCD Soundsystem was indeed one of the most amazing bands of the turn of the millennium. They will also go down as one of the best live experiences of my life, which makes the dissolution of the band all the more tragic.

P1000579

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2012 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

If one misconception has plagued the man behind the expressionistic, retro-infused handle Ursula 1000 over his 10-plus-years of recording original music and spinning records as a club DJ it may be the notion that he cannot play an instrument. After all, he plays all the instruments on Mondo Beyondo, the latest record by his alter ego Ursula 1000, released on ESL Music, including drums, guitar, bass, organs and synthesizers. I first met him as a drummer in the Miami band 23. His life as a DJ and Ursula 1000 would come years later. Speaking via phone from his Williamsburg home in New York, he notes that for the first time in 10 years, he is working to put together a band for a small summer or fall US tour. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” he says. “Having played in 23 and stuff in Miami. I miss performing live.”

Though the Ursula 1000 band remains in the planning stages, it seems a longtime coming. He has released five albums under the alias, which pays tribute to iconic sixties actress Ursula Andress (she of the famed bikini in Dr. No) while also acknowledging the futuristic optimism of her heyday era in the quadruple digit tag. He has led a jet-setting lifestyle that has seen him touring the world as a DJ with appearances at giant music festivals and hip nightclubs since the late nineties.* His albums have a style that sounds like a pastiche of sixties pop music run through an electro-dance blender, leading to the notion that he is a sample-based DJ. “I think for me it would be a personal victory,” he says about performing live music, “so people would see that, yeah, this guy can actually play this stuff. There’s still people that see me touring as a DJ, but they know I have albums out. It’s hard for them to connect the dots, and they say, ‘So what is it that you do exactly?’”

What he does is weave together nostalgic sounds from the sixties, be it swinging, jazzy pop or psychedelic rock with modern sounds and some crazy dance beats. He walks me through a quick overview of his oeuvre. “The First two albums were the first two albums,” he says of 1999′s The Now Sound of Ursula 1000 and 2002′s Kinda’ Kinky. “Those were the ones that were very sixties-influenced, and there was some fifties, kind of Latin Cha-cha, mambo kind of elements.”

He followed them up with 2005′s Here Comes Tomorrow and 2009′s Mystics. “Then I started bringing in new wave influences that I loved and post punk and glam rock from the seventies and even sounds that were inspired by my DJ sets,” he says. “So I was very much making a record that was kind of listenable at home but also kind of DJ-friendly, too.”

Mondo Beyondo came out in August of last year. It seems to bring together the past and the present in the most organic way possible for an Ursula 1000 record. “With this one, I tried avoiding things like dub step and any flavor-of-the-month kind of rhythms,” he says. “I had been going back to some of my sixties roots, listening to garage rock and mod soul and all this kind of stuff. I was like, I’m just going to put something out that I want to hear. It wasn’t influenced by current trends, and I thought I may get total shit for this coz people may be thinking, ‘Oh, God, this guy is kinda living in the past,’ or kind of treading old ground, but surprisingly, reviews were very positive. It was nice to see that because I was expecting reviews to really rip me with it. With things like Pitchfork and these kind of trendsetter, taste-maker kind of people, if you’re not like this flavor-of-the-month kind of thing, like chillwave or something, or whatever the hell it’s called, then it’s [not cool] … I just want to do something that I really like and I really dig.”

Here’s the title track’s official video:

When it comes to music that he listens to, it runs a wide range of styles. But a lot of it moves forward while still acknowledging the past. He notes an appreciation for Seahawks, who he says, sound like yacht rock while also incorporating a dub influence, like the Orb. He has an affection for the work of Tame Impala, who he says have a warm, psychedelic soft rock sound. He also lauds Toy, a young band from England influenced by shoegaze music.

Though Gimeno counted himself a fan of shoegaze back in the early nineties (in fact he and his mates in 23 produced music that easily fit into that genre of dreamy, swirly music), he has recently fallen back in love with many of those bands. Just last month he compiled a mix of obscure shoegaze on his Soundcloud:

In fact, Gimeno says, he is on the way to completing an EP of original music that pays some respect to the genre and should see release this summer. He says the music is so far removed from an Ursula 1000 record, he has decided to release it under another alias: Impossible Objects. “I have this mini-LP almost done,” he says. “It’s not as eclectic as an Ursula 1000 record. This definitely sounds like it’s this one band playing this thing … I just love the droney guitar kind of stuff. It’s kind of a shoegazy, droney, space-rock guitar sort of thing, but there’s also heavy synthesizer work in it. So there’s also a Giorgio Moroder [influence], almost like John Carpenter, seventies horror soundtrack stuff,” he says with a laugh.

It marks an almost logical step for Gimeno, who just produced his most organic and flowing Ursula 1000 record to date. In fact, he says, this album originated from a more melodic instrument than the beats he is more accustomed to beginning a song with. “Since I’ve been playing a lot more guitar lately it’s been actually starting, in some cases, from riffs,” he says. “In the beginning, since drums were my main instrument, I used to start with rhythms, and now things have gotten a lot more melodic. I’ve been more confident with my playing, so now I can actually pick up a bass or guitar and actually work out a riff like a traditional band would.”

One guitar riff that stands out in Mondo Beyondo is the one that drives “Don’t Get Your Panties in a Bunch.” He says, “That lock grove, Krautrock-inspired, whatever you want to call it, I’ve always loved that. It’s funny because I didn’t get into Can or any of that stuff until way after the fact. I got into people like Stereolab, you know, like people who were emulating that stuff after the fact.”

Speaking of Stereolab, who happen to feature a French vocalist, another track on Mondo Beyond of note is “Repetez Le Repertoire,” which features another kind of Krautrock influence: the incongruous electronic rhythmic pulses of Kraftwerk. It also features the sensual voice of Isabelle Antena, who primarily reigned in the post punk/art rock, samba-influenced band from France called Antena, during the early eighties. Gimeno says he did a remix for her and always talked about collaborating. “I was re-listening to the first Deee-Light album, which is such a big record and a huge influence also for me too, just the way they were kind of handling samples, so I had this very bubbling kind of electronic track, and I thought it has this kind of French thing, and I asked her and she was down for it.”

Probably the biggest name who collaborated on Mondo Beyondo is Fred Schneider of the B-52s. He sings on the second track, “Hey You.” Gimeno says they both had a mutual friend who wanted the two to meet. It never happened but, during one fateful airplane trip from a gig in the Midwest, Gimeno noticed him on board. Gimeno says he gathered the courage to approach him in baggage claim after landing in New York, and he introduced himself dropping their mutual friend’s name. When Schneider asked Gimeno what he did, Gimeno told him about Ursula 1000. “Oh, I think I have all your albums!” Schneider responded.

Gimeno could not believe it. “I was shocked. How crazy. So we just swapped info,” he says, “He has this side project called the Superions, which is him and two guys from Orlando. They do this weird kind of electro-pop stuff, and I did a remix of one of their tracks, and that’s kind of how we broke the ice.”

Schneider happens to live in Manhattan, and Gimeno offered him a track of instrumental music that needed vocals. He came over to record it in Gimeno’s home studio. “It was great,” Gimeno says. “It was real super easy to work with him. He had this great book of lyrics. It was all so super quick, just right in the pocket.”

Gimeno says he and Schneider continue to work together. “I’ll be producing some tracks for the upcoming Superions album,” he says.

Collaborating on projects beyond his own albums is nothing new for Gimeno. He also will be producing music for the Japanese pop singer Izumi’s forthcoming album, and he recently finished a remix for an an upcoming compilation from Waxploitation called Future Sounds of Buenos Aires.”

Despite his international exposure. Gimeno still comes across as the down-to-earth music and comic book geek I first met as the owner of Bam! Comics and Graphic Novels in North Miami, when he lived in South Florida, back in the early nineties. The cover art of Mondo Beyondo harkens back to his love of comic books, as the illustrations come from an obscure comic book called “Mod Love,” by French pop artist Michel Quarez (he was then uncredited) written by Michael Lutin. “I’ve always been a comic book nerd,” Gimeno says. “I love the genre and stuff, and there’s this comic book that I heard about called “Mod Love,” which came out in 1967 or something like that, and it was this very psychedelic, Peter Max, Yellow Submarine kind of groovy art thing. Totally impossible to find. It was like from some weird, small publisher. I finally found one on eBay last year, after years of hunting for this thing. When I got it, it was just page after page of really beautiful art. As I was working on the album, I kept thinking to myself, this is the artwork for the album, but how the hell am I going to license this stuff because I don’t think the publisher exists anymore. And then I finally tracked down the writer. He does astrology for ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine, and he must have done this comic book when he was like 20 or something. It turned out he had the rights for it.”

Gimeno approached Lutin and told him what he had planned for it, expressing his love for sixties mod culture and psychedelia. Lutin asked Gimeno for his astrology sign and then granted him the license to use it as cover art. “He saw that my intentions were true,” Gimeno says, “and he was super cool with it. It was nice to have something that wasn’t a fourth generation or fifth generation. It was like an artifact of that era.”

Though the album first came out on CD and MP3 back in August, it was not until December that a large format, double LP, gatefold vinyl release saw the light of day to do the art proper justice. “It’s so weird,” Gimeno says, “the physical world is kind of diminishing right now. To get CDs or vinyl pressed nowadays is like pulling teeth. I really wanted this out, even from a limited kind of standpoint.”

Only 500, hand-numbered vinyl copies saw release, and two months later only a few remain at select shops (Amazon seems to still have a few in stock, as of this posting). “It’s weird because 500 now is like 3,000 from like six years ago. When I first got on the label [ESL Music] vinyl was very healthy. To press like 2500 or 3,000 of a 12-inch single for me, it’s like not a problem at all. Now if you do that, it’s like ‘Wow!’”

Gimeno also notes that he recently heard of Neil Young’s rant regarding the loss of sound quality in the digital sound of MP3s, which seems to be the preferred format of the music industry nowadays. “He broke it down in a weird way,” he says of Young. “He had broken it down to decibels and how like even good quality mp3s are like some kind of weird decibel, and there’s this whole body of sound being lost because of it.”

As a DJ, Gimeno is very sensitive to vinyl, and he’s noticed audiences do not seem to care, especially in the clubs. “It’s almost like how loud can you go than the subtleties of the track,” he says. “It’s not even about sound quality anymore. It’s completely like who can be the loudest,” he says with a laugh, noting that it is all about rattling the speakers over the sound of the music. “It’s always like how far can I push this subsonic bass thing.”

But now he is concerning himself with how to recreate his recordings in the purest way possible: a live setting with a band. Besides only two “pseudo live shows” Gimeno has never performed the music of Ursula 1000 in a band. “One was at the World Trade Center,” he says, “at the Windows of the World that used to be at the very top of the building. There was this really cool party that was going on when we first moved here. It was kind of like playing a lot of that J-pop that was around at the time, like Pizzacato 5 and a lot of this lounge revival mixed with a lot of the clubbier [music]. It was interesting. Then Marissa [Gimeno, his wife, who also appears on Mondo Beyondo] and I did a live thing recently in Washington DC in October. But it was very stripped down: bass guitar and beats that were prerecorded, kind of like the Kills.”

If he is going to perform Ursula 1000 music in a band setting, Gimeno says he wants to do it right and also stage a proper show. “I just want to do something cool,” he says. “Like some visual revue thing … A lot of times when people do a live thing, especially when they are in the same boat as I am, they might be this one-man-band that’s electronically-based, sometimes they’ll do a live thing where it’s just them and a laptop, and I really don’t want to do that. I feel like it’s kind of cheating. I really want to do something where I’m stripping everything away and rebuilding it back live … It’s going to happen.”

So far, Ursula 1000 has the following DJ dates lined up, including some dates in Miami

Hans Morgenstern

*He only recently returned from the Green Plugged Red Festival in Seoul, Korea. It was his fourth appearance there over the years.

(Copyright 2012 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
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