The Best of 2013 – Instruments and Effects

So another year is nearly over, and the time has come for making lists. We asked Fwonk* regulars about their 2013. Here’s the results.

What was your favourite instrument of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
Does Logic Pro X count as an instrument? If it does, it works like a dream, the included instruments and effects are brilliant. There’s some really clever stuff going on behind the simple interface of Drummer. I’ve never really used an arppegiator before, but this works like a dream.

echosonic
Gibson ES339

Quiggers
Doepfer Dark Energy 2, bought this year but not of this year.

Aneruin
Software: Tidal. Hardware: Traktor Kontrol S4 (though not sure if this does constitute an instrument!)

Iain M. Spillane
Ibanez S420 Guitar – it does everything.

Nemmo
Ableton Push! I thought many times of buying a hardware sampler, and you know what? Screw hardware samplers ! We all have computers right now, and the computer + controller + sequencer + effects combo rocks.

Jim
My three stringed Hagstrom guitar with the really rattly neck has been fun, plus I love my Novation Drumstation.

Eivind Fivelsdal
My favorite is still my hand-built DIY organ console.

Bachelor Machines
My Art Lutherie acoustic guitar

Gross Prophet
Another toss-up. Either my home-made Stepped Tone Generator, or Bleep Drum Midi.

Vasko the Pig
My new 12 string acoustic that I bought with money my granddad left me when he died this year. I’ve been bumped up from bassist to guitarist since our band’s move over to an acoustic set up and this has been lovely to play. (Also, behind closed doors, it sounds great pumped though a valve distortion pedal and a tremolo pedal).

Per Byhring
I’m happy that I managed to get my 350 kg piano up four floors of narrow staircases and into my new apartment undamaged.

Turtuga Blanku
Electric guitar.

Katarrhaktes
An old piano which is steadily losing its ability to hold its tune.

What was your favourite effect of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
D16’s Toraverb reverb plugin. Utterly epic, and difficult to not slap it on everything twice.

echosonic
Boscomac – Stellar

Quiggers
TC Helicon VoiceLive synth, again bought this year not of this year but jolly good fun.

Iain M. Spillane
Glitch VSTi

Nemmo
Line 6 Pod. I know it’s not 2013, but I keep using it with my guitar. Non-stop.

Jim
Digitech Grunge pedal, probably.

Eivind Fivelsdal
Steinberg Reverence

Vasko the Pig
Devi Ever Rocket Dual Fuzz/oscillator/trem pedal

Turtuga Blanku
VSTs and such on my computer, I don’t really have a favorite.

Katarrhaktes
iZotope Ozone is a wonderful tool that I don’t think I could do without. Otherwise, it would be the seemingly unending stream of weird VSTs only found in the darkest corners of the net.

What was your most lusted after instrument or effect of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
I’d love a Fender Cabronita Telecaster, though the space-saving techy part of me would really like a James Tyler / Line6 Variax.

echosonic
I always want a Rickenbacker 360-12.

Quiggers
Moog – Sub Phatty, really struggling not to financially cripple myself.

Iain M. Spillane
Ibanez TAM100 Tosin Abasi Signature 8-String

Nemmo
Ah, so many analogue synths are coming out, by Arturia, Dave Smith Instruments, Korg ! I’d buy the whole set of Korg Volca synths, but I can’t justify it to myself. I don’t have space for more hardware in my house, I can do anything with the synths I already own, but the idea of those little units is pretty endearing for a live set – but I don’t do live sets these days ! Ah, If I had time….

Jim
Korg Volcas. They will be mine.

Eivind Fivelsdal
Sorry again. They didn’t release anything I want more than older and very expensive stuff. I thought I wanted the new Prophet, but I do not want it anymore.

Bachelor Machines
Paia 9700s modular synthesizer

Gross Prophet
Arturia Mini Brute… or Microbrute. I’d have a threesome with them both if that’s what it took.

Vasko the Pig
Moog – Sub Phatty. One day I will own a Moog.

Per Byhring
A hang drum and a reel to reel tape recorder.

Turtuga Blanku
I’m pretty happy with what I have. I do have my eye on a particular electric guitar (released some years ago, so no 2013-release), and I’d like to have a drum kit, at some point. Probably an electronic (easier to record, less annoying to others because of headphone option). I don’t have a particular model in mind right now.

Katarrhaktes
My practice is fairly insular, and as such I generally use whatever comes to hand when creating. With this in mind, the idea of actually buying expensive hardware confounds me.

The Best of 2013 – Music

So another year is nearly over, and the time has come for making lists. We asked Fwonk* regulars about their 2013. Here’s the results.

What was your favourite worthy / chin-stroking album of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest. Honourable mentions go to James Holden – The Inheritors and Anna Calvi – One Breath.

echosonic
Looking at playcounts it’s got to be Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest

Quiggers
James Blake – Over Grown, but Bonobo, Nightmares on Wax, Holy Ghost & Morcheeba deserve special mentions too.

Iain M. Spillane
James Holden – The Inheritors

Nemmo
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories. This has great dance tracks like “Get Lucky” (you can’t go to the internet without finding a cover version, my daughter who is 10 years old loves the song, I’m 40 and I love the song, everybody loves the song), but there are songs in there which are of absolute beauty and were clearly not meant for the dance floor: The Game of Love and Within come to my mind, and that fantastic tribute that is Giorgio by Moroder. That album takes you from introspection to full party mode in an hour, so my vote goes to Random Access Memory.

Jim
Skinny Puppy – The Weapon. Still doing interesting things after 25 odd years. I hear new things everytime I listen to them.

Eivind Fivelsdal
I have no favorites of 2013.

Bachelor Machines
I didn’t hear any new albums I liked in 2013. I didn’t like the new Daft Punk album.

Gross Prophet
This has to be a toss up between James Holden – The Inheritors and The Knife – Shaking The Habitual

Vasko the Pig
Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus. I’ve still not listened to the new My Bloody Valentine album which I suspect is a belter and I’m liking having the Pixies back but for me this year it was the new Fuck Buttons album. I only heard them for the first time this year so this years’ album kinda also means the previous two for me. They’re just so noisy.

Per Byhring
Owiny Sigoma Band – Power Punch and DJ Koze – Amygdala

Turtuga Blanku
I mostly listen to compilations, these days, most of them more of the piece of fun category than the chin stroking category. I would really love to discover a band/artists with a large discography of albums I would enjoy, just like in the “olden days”.

Katarrhaktes
Dir en grey – The Unraveling

What was your favourite fun album of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
The Lancashire Hotpots – Crust For Life. I have a soft spot for comic songs, and The Hotpots gave us their best album to date, full of songs that stand on the merit of their musicality more than the merit of their jokes. It’s probably a northern thing.

echosonic
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Quiggers
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Aneruin
I have to answer these albums of 2013 questions together as I have only bought a couple of albums actually released in 2013. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories seems to have disappointed a lot of fans, but is an excellent album in its own right. .mpegasus – Quixotica which is great fun if a bit short, Rai Kamishiro – Cor Leonis is funky and fresh and some excellent singles in Starlight Dance and Let’s Survive. Honorable mention for Scattle – Scrapped EP because Ooh Yeah is a wicked tune

Iain M. Spillane
Grateful Dead – May 1977 Box Set (it may be a reissue, but still new for 2013!)

Nemmo
Pet Shop Boys – Electric. My fanboyism could be tainting this choice, but the album is pure banging tunes, one after another. Well produced, danceable, and sounds great live. Probably their song Vocal encompasses the whole ethos of friday night clubbing.

Jim
Frontline Assembly – Echogenetic. They dropped the guitars, hinted at dubstep and still rocked and bounced. Was surprised. Played some when I dj’d at our local pub; it confused my students. Brilliant.

Eivind Fivelsdal
None here either.

Gross Prophet
I… I really don’t know.

Vasko the Pig
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal. Moshing to this with my wife and our buddy Pete as the last peeps standing at 2am on my birthday last month was a highlight of the year.

Katarrhaktes
Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy

TK
Kanye West – Yeezus. That is some quality comedy. I hate to say it though ‘cos that bitch knows how to troll people for the attention!

Which old album did you dust off and rediscover the most in 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
Nicely Out Of Tune – Lindisfarne. It is so utterly a record of it’s time, it now speaks to us from 40 years ago, as ghostly as any ancient wax cylinder. It speaks of soot, drizzle, smoky pubs and a northern Britain that seems closer to the Victorian era than the modern day.

echosonic
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless, but then again it is most years – or 21 years since Levitation’s Need For Not.

Quiggers
Sebastien Tellier – Sexuality.

Aneruin
If compilations count, Altered States – I’ve listened to this so many times this year. Extremely great, old-school beats I can’t get enough of. The 9 Acre Dust remix by the Chemical Bros, back when they were still the Dust Brothers, is particularly brilliant. If not, then these two albums probably: Mr. Oizo’s Moustache (Half A Scissor) which is a fabulous, fast-paced ride through some weird tunes interspersed with moments of genius; and the Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust which remains a stone cold classic.

Iain M. Spillane
Harmonia – Live 74.

Nemmo
Patrick Remy – Constellations from 1981. It’s beautiful.

Jim
VAST – Visual Audio Sensory Theater. I remember describing it when it came out as NIN mixed with Enigma. That kinda holds up.

Eivind Fivelsdal
Pink Floyd – Wish Your Were Here and Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Bachelor Machines
Matthew Sweet – 100% Fun

Gross Prophet
Easy! Regurgitator – Tu-Plang…Kon-Uauk

Vasko the Pig
The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion

Per Byhring
Bobby Hutcherson – Patterns

Turtuga Blanku
I did listen to a couple of old albums (Manu Chao live, Orishas, Frank Zappa, Aventura, etc..), but do not have a particular favorite.

Katarrhaktes
I discovered several old bands which have excited me greatly. Made Out of Babies – The Ruiner is especially chill-inducing.

TK
Little Dragon – Little Dragon

What was your favourite live music moment of 2013?

Heskin Radiophonic
Watching The Magic Band perform Owed T’Alex at The New Continental in Preston. That song was immense, it just built and built and built.

Quiggers
Chic! in limerick, special after show performance with a local band was also special.

Aneruin
Seeing Yaxu (Alex McLean) improvising with a code editor at The White Building. I had only just discovered “algorave” the very same week and this was practically around the corner from me. Two hours of a guy in socks sitting on the floor and projecting code onto the wall, which would be shit if the music wasn’t so interesting and occasionally sublime. It inspired me so much that I went out the weekend after, bought a laptop and put Linux on it, and have started learning to create music with the same software and slowly assimilate myself into the livecoding community

Iain M. Spillane
Jamming at Jim’s.

Nemmo
Electric Tour by the Pet Shop Boys. SO. MANY. LASER. LIGHTS.

Jim
Appart from jamming with Iain, FLA supported by Haujobb was pretty damn great.

Eivind Fivelsdal
None. And I really tried to enjoy them.

Bachelor Machines
Movement festival in Detroit, I saw Adult., I ate an elephant ear while watching cargo ships on the river, I got silly drunk and danced like an idiot to Dennis Ferrer by the light of the stars and the Ren Cen.

Gross Prophet
Harmonic 313 or Monster Zoku Onsomb

Vasko the Pig
Me and the band playing our guitarist’s 40th birthday party, massively under-rehearsed and horrific but still our first ‘gig’ in aaaages. I didn’t go and see any bands this year.

Per Byhring
A thing at a funeral. Didn’t go to any concerts this year, so that’s the only live music I saw this year, but it was good. A duo of violins in a big church. The reverb was incredible.

Turtuga Blanku
Not that much going on on my little island in the Caribbean, in terms of concerts. I guess it has to be one of the jam-sessions I attended, playing live yourself with a couple of others is better than watching other people do that.

Katarrhaktes
Standing outside venues hoping to get a ticket and being disappointed.