2016 was in many ways a strange year that will most likely become a marker of big changes, like 1989. We were facing severe geopolitical and sociological changes and lost a whole series of inspiring people like David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Greg Lake and Pete Burns.
But there were also moments of light in 2016. Considering new music it was, actually, great. Like every year I compiled a list of extraordinary songs for you – in no particular order.
Caron Dimonio, a post-punk duo from Bologna, Italy, created the stunning song ‘Imago Mortis’ early this year. It is so good that we decided to make it the title song of our documentary on the Northern Italian post-punk scene. Recently Caron Dimonio released another great video clip for ‘Dentro il buco‘, directed by our friend Mario d’Anelli from European Ghost and The Black Veils.
Zoe Zanias released her first post-Keluar EP ‘To the Core’ this year. Of the four stunning tracks my favourite is ‘Through This Collapse’, which comes with an awesome video clip.
Greek synth-wavers Selofan delivered a great new album with intriguing songs such as ‘Να φεύγεις / Learn how to leave’. This song is so unique that I can’t find words to describe it. Definitely watch the video clip while listening!
In July I first met the three guys from Ascetic in Berlin, where we became friends. On their official tour in October they completed our Kaschau Industrial Gathering in Košice, Slovakia, as headliners, where we could enjoy the songs off their new record Everything is Becoming live. ‘Atheism’ is a perfect track, the video clip is in their usual manner disturbing.
European Ghost from Bologna are a phenomenon – firstly, they have a very unique sound which makes it hard to put them into a category, and, secondly, they had a quickstart from their foundation to their first release to critical success.
Pleasure Symbols – Underneath Your Skin
After a long period of waiting Australian synth duo Pleasure Symbols made us happy with a new 4-track-release called Pleasure Symbols – not to be confused with the 2014 release Pleasure Symbols, which already contained two of the four songs. That makes at least two new songs. Here is one of them for which they made a nice video clip.
I Tpame I Tvrame (“Killing someone with a look”) is a shoegaze/dark electro project from Tirana, Albania, a country where I least expected music of such kind. The duo released several videos this year.
During my holidays I had the pleasure to meet one half of the darkwave-duo Monowelt, Marta from Poland. The other half is Daria from Russia. They live in Berlin and, in spite of their origin, choose to sing mostly in German.
2016 saw the birth of a great cooperation between Eleven Pond‘s Jeff Gallea and German synth legend Beta Evers. Two EPs were released in 2016. I had the honour to be the first to ever carry out an interview with Black Pond, in which Jeff revealed why it is all about the pond. As a Christmas present from Beta I received the vinyl of their second EP Deepest Chasms.
In July we spent an unbelievably nice day with the trio Dade City Days in their home town Bologna, due to the documentary we made about the Northern Italian wave-scene. They also took us to their rehearsal room, where we could enjoy a private concert featuring songs like ‘Lurex’ and ‘Fernweh’ live!
Velvet Kills is a synth-punk duo from Portugal. They entered the musical stage with the EP Memory with four promising songs on it. ‘Rain’ is my favourite, not least because of the well-made video.
Italian post-punks Ash Code returned with the album Posthuman. The title song of this record came with a fantastic video clip – captivating story, interesting character and beautiful landscapes. And the song is a blast! This year I saw them live for the first time at the Wrocław Industrial Festival.
Paradox Obscur from Rhodes, Greece, definitely have the potential of becoming a big thing in synth wave. They use only real hardware synthesizers and drum machines. This year they released the EP Ατραπός, consisting of three great songs.
Polish synth-wave duo Sexy Suicide, an ingenious blend of Blondie, Cyndi Lauper and The Frozen Autumn, released the video clip for ‘Never Forget’. It is well-shot, provocative and disturbing. And the song is a blast!
One of my all-time favourite bands, Silence from Slovenia, returned to their synthpop roots with their social critic song ‘Strange in a Strange Way’.
Tetrolugosi – All the Monsters
Crazy horrorwave duo Tetrolugosi from Italy returned with their second full-length album Tetrolugosi II. The songs on this album are more diverse than on the first one. We met them in Gradara castle in July and had a great time.
Have I ever compiled a best-of-the-year list without Rome? I don’t think so. Jerôme was busy again this year and presented his new master-piece The Hyperion Machine. Impatiently I was waiting for this album the whole summer, then I got the perfect soundtrack for autumn.
Two Moons’ new album Cognitive Dissonance is about to be released in early 2017. The single ‘Numbers’ came out two weeks ago and is, therefore, the freshest song on this list. And the best thing is: There will be more of them soon!
Perhaps the best song of this year was ‘Kultura’ by industrial band Alles from Łódź, Poland. Or maybe it is rather a performance than a song. Judge for yourself.
pg.lost are a post-rock band from Sweden and released a new album named Versus this year. They joined MONO and Alcest on their recent tour where I also had the pleasure to enjoy them live.
Some songs I have also recorded this year. For my track ‘Reclusion’ I have created a video clip from old WWI footages.
There is a playlist with all the songs here.
Hope you enjoyed the list and see you soon!