We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. For the past month, we have posted a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Our sixth & final entry is courtesy of Ben Mauch. Originally hailing from Virginia, Mauch now calls the other side of the world his home. We were honored to release a cassette EP & a live set in recent months. Here’s what inspired Ben’s creative output in 2015:
#1: Eleh, “Homage” – I found and listened to this LP on a whim, having seen the name online but never delving into the music. I am very glad I did; this is a great representation of much of what I have come to enjoy listening to lately- long form drone pieces that grow and evolve (or devolve) slowly over time, emphasizing restraint. It’s intense minimalism.
#2: Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie and Lowell” – This album is pure gold. I also got the chance to finally see Sufjan play for the first time in Richmond, and it was life affirming.
#3: Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Laos – This was near the end of an almost 2 month excursion throughout Southeast Asia, and even though I was a little jaded of traveling at the time, this place stood out and reinvigorated me. Motor biking along the Karst Mountains with the sun slowly dropping is an experience I will never forget.
#4: George Saunders & Lane Smith, “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” – A very fun read, and inspiring to boot. George Saunders is a great author, and this is a unique representation of his work.
#5: Steve Hauschildt, “Where All is Fled” – His first album “Tragedy and Geometry” in 2011 was one of my favorites, and this ones tops it. Spacey, ambient, whatever you want to call it, it’s something that I will listen to for a long time.