I was recently looking at the list of albums I wanted to write about, and there were so many on there that I didn’t know where to start. As I went down I noticed that there were a significant number from Rocket Recordings, and a plan started to hatch about maybe doings a week on just the one label… it would significantly reduce my list and, given how eclectic Rocket’s output is, would enable me to write about music from a number of different perspectives.
…and so, armed with sound files kindly supplied by the label I set out on a listening journey that has been quite fascinating. I chose the order as I went along… very much writing about the album I most felt able to on any one day, and using the excellent sleeve notes as a guide into each album.
The results are, I think, seven very different posts which, when I include the Moundabout album that I also recently looked at, provide a good cross-section of Rocket’s output (see below for a full list with links to the reviews).
But, I was thinking over the weekend, were there any common denominators that link these extremely disparate albums together. After a time I came to the conclusion that all these records require a significant number of plays before you to really start to appreciate them. They all have some sort of hinterland to them that you can explore as a part of coming to appreciate the album: whether it be the love of rubber, the appreciation of North East folk history, bleak near-future dystopias, Irish burial mounds, or happenings in a Yorkshire valley.
What ties these together is a deep understanding of the importance of process… that the journey is far more important than the destination within that process and, for me, the most important bit… that each album requires you to somehow shift your perception to some degree to fully appreciate what is going on. That can be challenging, and each of these is challenging in its own way, but when they click in and you get it… that is a fulfilling moment.
Part way through the week I had a bit of an email conversation with the guys at the label about the diversity of the music on offer here… and how I could write about it. I suggested that we were perhaps similarly ’neurodivergent’ to be able to appreciate such a disparate collection of sounds and atmospheres… so I guess these posts may appeal to those who are similarly inclined…
Either way I hope that you enjoy reading them and, more to the point, listening to the music… it’s out there, it’s challenging… but ultimately, and more importantly, it’s hugely rewarding.
The albums are:
‘Flowers Rot, Bring Me Stones’ by Moundabout
‘International Treasure’ by The Utopia Strong
‘Pö om pö’ by OCH
‘The Portrait You Painted of Me’ by Alison Cotton
‘Strange Desires’ by Holy Scum
‘Del Aire’ by J Zunz’
‘Strange Craft’ by Rubber Oh
’Hexen Valley’ by GNOD
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