Best of 2009: Wixel and his “a year in albums” diary-project

Things I was excited about in 2009 pt.6

This summer, browsing thru a well-known torrent tracker, I accidentally stumbled upon a curiosity – an album of Sonic Youth covers by unknown to me project called Wixel. I downloaded and… was shocked by the freshness, originality of the music, and easiness with which it seemed to emit the hands and the minds of the player(s). After quick googling I found out that Wixel is the one-man project (with support by long-time collaborators when performing live) by a Belgian guy Wim Maesschalck, who released several albums, plays/ed in a few bands, runs a label Slaapwel Records (which translates as Sleep Well Records) and a blog or even a few. Further reading is revealed that the guy is very intelligent, full of ideas, energy, very generous on words (reading his elaborate and inventive musings written in a good language is serious, er, fun) and as it turned out – also on the music.

Because his latest Awesome Stupid Project (one of many! Check musical soup or alphabetical listening for example) is a kind of diary/self-imposed vow – to release 12 albums in the year 2009. He set himself a few rules in hope that self-restrictions only reinforce creativity. Albums, not EPs or singles, and not just MP3s, but physical albums with real packaging (albeit handmade), with mail-order and stuff. But at the same time each album can be freely downloaded in 320 kbps! Pay only if you really want to. I rushed to download... I must confess that I also downloaded virtually everything else created by Wim, and, what can I say... I was astonished again – almost everything was really, really good – original and fresh music with soul, ideas, warm sound, and with feet in very diverse waters – post-rock, acoustic or electronic ambient/sound-design, loopery, field recordings, lo-fi quiet and loud pop songs, and even a few gentle intelligent dubstep/downtempo beats...

The process of creation of each album was described on Wim’s multiple online presence places, inconstant as his music – myspace, blogs, the personal website that’s now down, bandcamp/twitter/tumbler etc... He sincerely confessed that as the year and the project moves on he became quite tired of it, almost out of ideas, close to ditching the project, but still found the energy to continue (and the November record seems to find him having a second breath). I think this makes the whole story even more interesting – going thru hard times and surviving. I bow down low to the dedication, the energy, the artistical taste and musical craftsmanship of Wim Maesschalck, and wish him all the best and good luck in completing this and starting more Awesome Stupid Projects next year :)

So, I cordially recommend y'all to check any or all of the monthly albums from 

– I especially like An Empty Canvas, Slaapliedjes [which translates as Lullabies], Clouds (actuallty the whole 1st half of the year is immense), Somewhere between The Sun & The Moon pt 2, but principially they’re all good.


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