We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Nathan McGlothlin, HSAL founder & part of both TLVS & honeybrandy, turned in:
#1 – St. Basil The Great, “On The Holy Spirit“: After spending a year reading through an orthodox daily planner, I decided to dig deeper into works written by the people who were influential as Christianity (in various strands) came into its own. As I read, I was continually fascinated by two things: 1) the logic that 4th century men used to explain the supernatural & 2) how much of the grammatical structure I had attributed to “English” was alive, well, & utilized by the learned in late antiquity.
#2 – “Mr. Robot (Season Two)”: There was quite a bit of engaging television released this year (“Stranger Things”, “Westworld”), but I found myself especially drawn to the continuation of this story. Even more so than the inaugural season, I was enamored with the way sounds & music were woven into the storytelling. Without giving too much away, the use of “story within a story” over the season’s arch may have been the best I’ve seen. Oh, & the episode where the lead character’s mind melds his world with an alternate universe based on the USA Network of the early-to-mid 90’s was fantastic.
#3 – Battle Trance, “Blade Of Love“ (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes): My connection with this album was unique in that I purchased the LP via pre-order, but saw the quartet perform it live before hearing the recorded version. Hyperbole aside, the live performance was something my soul needed. It was this incredible moment of release. Times that felt like directionless wandering were suddenly important because of their beauty in their moment. When I was able to spin the record for the first time & realize that everything I heard in the live setting was orchestrated to be that way, I was all the more impressed. It didn’t surprise me in the least to see this record show up on top of year-end lists.
#4 – Todd Webb, “Basic Forms“: In mid-October, honeybrandy was invited to play Webb’s gallery opening (this made sense b/c Webb’s “Oahu” project shared a split cassette with us earlier in the year). Having been a fan of his work for a while, I felt like I had an idea of what to expect. When we arrived at the gallery (“Thank You” in Norfolk VA), there was an immediate invitation to engage the art. Todd had prints of original drawings & was asking attendees to color them using pieces from the old-school 64-crayon Crayola box. He had comics that were begging to be thumbed through. He had over a dozen original drawings with different motivational or life-affirming statements. He uploaded twelve different color-coded audio files to an Instagram account & invited attendees to create their own mix of sounds by connecting their phones to a mixer & playing different files. A wonderful experience!
#5 – Tracking the honeybrandy record at BIG EGO: In November, Joey, Joanna & I made the trip out west to work with Chris Schlarb on what we hoped would become the first full length for honeybrandy. It was wonderful to step away from everyday life & focus on this project & southern California proved to be the PERFECT setting. Schlarb had arranged for some world class additions to the session – Phillip Greenlief on reeds & Kris Tiner on trumpet. We thought to ourselves “If we come away from the weekend with enough material for a full-length, we’ll call it a success”. After a day of tracking & a day of mixing, we headed back east with nearly two hours of spacey ambient jazz. 2017 will be a wild ride as we figure out how to share this one with you all!