Roy Orbison, "One of the Lonely Ones" (Roy Orbison Records). This heart-wrenching 1969 album lay dormant for 46 years. Recorded a few months after Orbison lost two of his sons in a car crash, "One of the Lonely Ones" got lost amid Orbison's busy recording schedule and landed in a vault somewhere. The few who knew he'd recorded it seemed to forget.
FOR THE RECORD:
Roy Orbison's sons: The Jan. 10 Essential Tracks column said two of Roy Orbison's sons died in a car crash. They died in a house fire.
Recently rediscovered by the estate, "One of the Lonely Ones" features Orbison's trademark weepers but mixed in are late-1960s psychedelic flourishes that add a certain mystical weirdness to the proceedings. This is an essential document.
Anenon, "Mouth" (Friends of Friends). The composer and instrumentalist Brian Allen Simon earned his reputation as the founder of the influential Non Projects Records, where he and kindred spirits have explored the collision of electronics, acoustic instruments and improvisation. On "Petrol," the first track from Simon's forthcoming album (March 4) as Anenon, he and drummer and collaborator Jon-Kyle Mohr employ modular synthesizers, percussion and Simon's primary instrument, saxophone, to craft a work that connects humming new-age tones with tense saxophone blurts and melodies.
It's shaping up to be a busy year. Starting on Jan. 21 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Simon and artist Nick Malkin (Afterhours) will curate "Monument," a yearlong series that pairs musicians with artwork and galleries as a way to connect sound and visual art. Inspired by the work of Dan Flavin, the series will open with performances by Simon and sound artist Celia Rae Hollander (who performs as $3.33). Anenon's "Petrol" draws on his experiences living in Los Angeles, focusing on what Simon describes as its citizens' ability to "understand the beauty of distance and the consistencies of irregularity."
Soft Pink Truth, "Why Pay More?" (Vague Terrain). For his newest project as Soft Pink Truth, Drew Daniel cracks open old YouTube clips to explore the birth of the medium. As on much of his work as co-founder of Baltimore electronic team Matmos, Daniel works with microsamples, found sound and beat culture to craft his work. But Soft Pink Truth harnesses his skill in service of house music.
Each of the eight tracks on "Why Pay More?" has its own theme, but all were built, according to the notes, "out of audio from YouTube files tagged with the words 'Step' and 'Looking.'" The track "Party Pills" samples an intimate recording of a giddy someone looking for some fun. At the center of "Awesome" is a clip of some dudes blowing up a microwave. After the explosion, the track ups the energy while the sound of a fly buzzes through the mix. Awesome indeed.
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