Conduitry // About // Music Nerd

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Greetings fellow entity.

This is an attempt by Conduitry to give a broad and representational list of important artists and albums. Rather than things I'm listening to right now, I'll try to make this lean more toward things that have stood the relative test of time.

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The Mars Volta. In particular Frances the Mute (2005) and Amputechture (2006). One of the big names in modern experimental progressive rock, and rightfully so. These two albums are fairly different experiences and I love them both dearly.

Joanna Newsom. In particular Ys (2006). Perhaps the defining artist doing whatever it is she's doing. Ys is an absolutely beautiful and gripping album.

Porcupine Tree. In particular Up the Downstair (1993) and Fear of a Blank Planet (2007). Porcupine Tree moved through several phases over the course of its existence, including psychedelic pastiche, progressive rock, and progressive metal. The aforementioned two albums are to me the best examples of Old Tree and New Tree.

John Frusciante. In particular The Empyrean (2009). You may know him as the Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist, but John Frusciante has had one heck of a solo career as well. This album was my entry point, and is probably still my favorite. It's about death, but it's about death being okay.

Cardiacs. In particular A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window (1988), On Land and in the Sea (1989), and Sing to God (1996). Cardiacs are their whole own thing. That's all.

Van der Graaf Generator. In particular Pawn Hearts (1971), Godbluff (1975), Still Life (1976), and In Real Time (2007). Progressive rock, I suppose, but led from a different direction, and with something unusual at its heart. The band's leader, Peter Hammill, is probably my favorite vocalist in music.

Thinking Plague. In particular In This Life (1989). Avant prog, with a bit of a folk tinge on this one album, although folk really is a bad word to describe it. The band has seen a number of people pass through it over the decades, some of whom have done a lot of other great stuff.

Silver Mt. Zion. In particular 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons (2008). Semi-reductively describable as a Godspeed You! Black Emperor side project with vocals. The singing can be off-putting, but it's really part of the whole deal. This is music about being angry about good things.

Hella. In particular There's No 666 in Outer Space (2007). Formerly the most well-known project of Zach Hill, now of Death Grips. On No 666, Hella briefly expanded from a two-man guitar-and-drums lineup to a full-band lineup with astounding results. Good things happen.

Car Seat Headrest. In particular Twin Fantasy (2011). This is the most intensely and impressively personal album I've ever heard. One-man bedroom rock about being confused but articulate but confused.

Gösta Berlings Saga. In particular Detta Har Hänt (2009). Instrumental progressive rock. So many textures. I like texture. There can be value in knowing exactly what the next note has to be, and there is value in being surprised.

U Totem. In particular U Totem (1990). This is challenging avant- stuff, but sounds nice. Complex rock music mixed with complex classical music, for real this time.

Melt-Banana. In particular Cell-Scape (2003) and Fetch (2013). A japanoise band formed in the early 90s, and quite well known within those peculiar circles. Exuberant cacophony with mangled guitars and yelping vocals.

Swans. In particular White Light from the Mouth of Infinity (1991), The Great Annihilator (1995), and Soundtracks for the Blind (1996). After several years of making oppressive soul-crushing sound, phase two of Swans emerged. Post-rock, post-punk, drone, noise.

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Many of these are not for the faint of heart — but then how else am I supposed to know that I am alive?

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For something a lot less structured and curated, you can also check out my Bandcamp fan profile.

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