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13.12.2018 | Words by: Luc Mastenbroek

When I first discovered the album end of year lists in newspapers and magazines I liked it more than Christmas and New Year's together. I'd write endless lists in my notebook: best raps songs of the year, best remixes, best use of music in film etc. Early high school, a major part of my notebooks and agenda would just contain the preparations for my definitive end of year lists. I probably still enjoy diving into these lists more than spending long Christmas evenings at the dinner table, but as much as I love lists, I don't like competition. However, there were many albums that I loved and listened to a lot this year, here's a bunch presented in a non-hierarchial end of year sentence.

Cardi B, Travis Scott, Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey gave the world some great Big Pop Music, not as big but at least as beautiful were the pop albums of Julia Holter, Eiko Ishibashi and Serpentwithfeet, whose combo of rhythm and blues can be found too in Tirzah's great second LP, in great teamwork with Mica Levi, who composed a marvelous piano album with Eliza McCarthy and a song for Dean Blunt's powerful free Soul on Fire EP too, Mica also sung on Ben Vince's powerful saxophone record that's almost entirely beatless but still contains rave energy, the same that goes for Barker's EP on Ostgut - raving without kicks - while on Mattheis' pretty LP for sedentary listening the kick-less rave sounds more dreamy, drifting further from the dance floor, the dance floor that is completely absent in Pariah's wonderful debut album, being some of this year's most beautiful ambient music, along Lucrecia Dalt, Laurel Halo and Caterina Barbieri, though the latter could work at a rave I think, a break in between Skee Mask, Blawan, E-Saggila and Marie Davidson, who were responsible for four high-energy dancefloor albums, where especially Marie Davidson's live versions of her techno synth-wave songs were pure fire, a fire that was also burning in the psychedelic synth jams on Niagara's album for Príncipe, although psychedelic synth music might not be the category that fits their music best, while categorizing Eartheater (performative noise folk?) and Ikonika's (library trap?) albums might be even harder really, but it might be these rare blends that made their music so magical.   

Thinking back of the last twelve months at De School I hear Spinvis singing, Parrish Smith screaming, Tzusing banging, Oceanic's live record spinning, Jane Fitz playing a Sunday afternoon, Josey Rebelle on Sunday night, DJ Sprinkles during sunset. And I'm sure tomorrow I'd hear a different chaotic harmony.

In the first month of next year, DJ Sprinkles will return to the basement, playing the final Saturday along Aurora Halal. In summer two years ago, DJ Sprinkles headlined Aurora's festival in NYC (Sustain-Release, organized together with Relaxer), a nice connection to go with in January. For the first date of the new year we invite Bjarki for a debut with fellow трип member Deniro. On Saturday Stellar Om Source will play her second live set at the club (third if we also count her great set at School Generation in Berlin), in between Identified Patient and Ancient Methods. The week after Cinnaman invites schooly favorites Resom and Bruce, a day later it's the closing night to Lucy's curated series with Efdemin and Shifted live.

On Saturday January 19th the DJ's now known as Indigo Aera invite Eduardo de la Calle, who was absolutely wild at Waking Life festival in Portugal last summer. Phase Fatale returns the day before and he has invited REKA from his BITE label. Finally, there's one night we can't yet uncover, more news early in the new year. Furthermore, Subbacultcha hosts an ambient meets mulled wine night by Working Titles in their cozy S105 venue behind our restaurant, and together with Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ we invite Jerusalem in my Heart to the same room on the final day of the month. And right in time for Christmas - upcoming weekend we organize a record fair with Rush Hour, entry is free for everyone. For the final days of this year and the start of the next, warm hugs from De School office!

Tickets for January are now on sale
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