December, 2023

"How Did It Get So Late So Soon?"

If Justin and I had our way, we'd probably spend half the day combing through music. Speaking for myself, it's a default relaxation technique. Scrolling through social media, Bandcamp, store charts, and, increasingly, streamers. The lo-fi Library Of Alexandria is at our fingertips, a pleasant, comparatively-edifying version of Pavlovian clicking.

During the pandemic, Justin and I started pumping out weekly dispatches on our recent discoveries on a blog called Common Time. This was well-timed. I just counted 300+ 2020 releases on my Discogs wantlist, massive production issues notwithstanding. As the world shut down, musicians and micro-labels got to work. 10,000 pandemic records were records, semi-decent demos excavated, millions more langour on some decrepit hard drive.

And labels and artists flourished! The stimmy or work-from-home checks were hitting, direct support was en vogue, an abundance of time and music stavedoff the darkness. We hit up friends, artists, labels we love for lists of recent discoveries. Who was driving this boom? How to sift through it?

Soon enough, we'd emerge into even- more-extortionate cities. Bandcamp was sold, then sold again. Discogs fucked it. DSPs triumphed in their ease-of-use and opacity. Still, the idealism of this underground wave persists. Here are some records that stuck with us over the first few years of running this Common Time blog.

Justin, a prolific musician on his own and as one-half of Georgia, selects 25 of the best records he mined in the rush, described in a no-nonsense "Hard Wax- ian" style. There's plenty more where that comes from. His monthly Dublab show is a repository of truly fwd music, as is the recent Music Perspective compilation he put out in collaboration with Simon Greenberg of the dearly-departed 2 Bridges shop.

I've been working for a label lately and helping out some artists in various ways, but my background is in music journalism, which perhaps describes my listing method, some loose and emotional categories these ears sussed out over the past few years.

What's next? Who fucking knows. Shout out to all the artists, labels and shops pushing in these exhilarating and difficult times! Buy and dig for music everyday you can.

(Click images to buy/listen.)

Via J.Tripp:

Lolina: Nothing In This World Is Free (C-)

Mid-aughts couture soundtracks from Lanvin cut-up and made essential.

William Parker: A Great Day To Be Dead (AUM Fidelity)

Timeless vocal jazz from stalwart of the last important generation of downtown NYC jazz.

Junior Loves: Yantlet Grain (5 Gate Temple)

Perfect-form 5 Gate steppers.

Skullkid: s/t (Tax Free)

Primo Tax Free wankery.

Mr. Mitch: Patrimony

Mellow, dripping dancehall nods from UK chameloen.

Grischa Lichtenberger: KAMILHAN, il y a péril en la demeure (raster)

Rhythmic glitch masterclass.

Scratcha DVA: Interludes, Intro's & Outro's (DVA Music)

UK bass music survey inna Scratcha-style.

Employee: Wutai (OK Spirit)

Ramshackle dubby business from the Tax free boss.

Cio D'Or: Fluidum III (Semantica)

Deep, gurgling techno minimalism from a master.

Gavsborg: Jamaican Drum Machine (Equiknoxx Music)

Sharp, jaunty riddims from one of this eras foremost dancehall experimentalists.

Blacksea Não Maya: Máquina de Vénus (Príncipe)

High-class bass explorations from the wilder regions of the Principe universe.

Ustad Saami: Pakistan Is for the Peaceful (Glitterbeat)

Microtonal vocal masterwork from Pakistan’s last living Surti master.


Floating techno drifters from one of the best.

OL: Number One Record

Illbient sludge from the shining light of Eastern electronica.

Mica Levi: Ruff Dog & Blue Alibi

1-2 punch of melodic, obscured guitar albums from Mica Levi - instant classics.

ENA: One Draw (Nullpunkt)

Experimental but highly listenable rhythm figures from Japan.

Lutto Lento: Legendo (Haunter)

Grab-bag of medieval-leaning future music explorations from Polish polymath.

M. Azanyah: Blood Money (Path of Light Records)

Unreal example of 21st century Afro-futurism from unsung UK producer.

Sons of Simeon: Goliath Brothers (Riddim Chango)

Heavyweight dub dread from new Lord Tusk alias.

Wojciech Bąkowski: VOYAGER (Temple)

Latest collection of unclassifibale, lounge creepers from Polish fine artist.

Ibrahim Alfa Jnr: Sirius A (Mille Plateaux)

Exceptional rhythm explorations from Nigerian, ‘90s UK-techno outlier.

Giorgi Koberidze/Luka Nakashidze: AWWWARA (awwwara recordings)

Live folk futurism from Tbilsi, Georgia.

4LSPO: Price of Yen (Triest Editions)

Quality downtempo moods from unknown producer.

Lovetta Pippen: Picture (His Name Is Alive)

Beautiful ,lilting jazz in a Bley/Kuhn mode from the His Name Is Alive camp.

boli group: The Jutlandia Quartets (Haunter)

Bizarro, engaging classical compositions from 5 Gate-adjacent experimentalist.

Via Matt McDermott:


Maxine Funke: Seance (A Colourful Storm)

Anna Savage: Queens Rd./Saturn Again 7" (Altered States Tapes)

Bridget Hayden: Soil And Song


Priori: Oyl (DJ Python Remix) (NAFF)

SnP 500: Honeydoo (Doo)

URA: Blue (NAFF)

Emeka Ogboh: 6°30’33.372”N 3°22’0.66”E (Danfotronics)

Trevor Mathison: Signal to Decay (


Eyes Of Amyrillis: Every Year (Horn Of Plenty)

Laure Boer: Les cités englouties (Kashual Plastik)

Clarissa Connelly: The Voyager (Not On Label)

ssabæ: azurescens (Few Crackles)

Man Rei - Cusp (Crash Symbols)

Merula: Sleep (Men Scryfa)


Sam Dunscombe: Outside Ludlow / Desert Disco (Black Truffle)

The Gerogerigegege: > (decrescendo) (The Trilogy Tapes)

Antonina Nowacka: Lamunan (Mondoj)


Loopsel: Loopsel EP (Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox)

Gyeongsu: SLIT (Association Fatale)

Cindy Lee: What's Tonight To Eternity (Superior Viaduct)

Discount Heaven House Band: Discount Heaven House Band (Goaty Tapes)


Merope: Salos (STROOM)

Läuten der Seele: Ertrunken Im Seichtesten Gewässer (World Of Echo)

FUJI||||||||||TA: Iki (Hallow Ground)


Arthur Russell: Home Away From Home (Andy Stott Refix) (Modern Love)

Instupendo – Love Power A-to-Z (Second City Prints)

Eiko Ishibashi: Drive My Car (OST) (Black Truffle)