Albums of the year: #4

SHINING: Grindstone

Rune Grammofon would be my label of the year. It’s an extraordinary imprint that combines design elegance and, to a degree, uniformity with a musical breadth that would be dismissed as dilettantism if it wasn’t so consistent in quality.

Shining are pretty much the consumate Rune Grammofon group, if such a thing could possibly exist. Take the epic, menacing prog of Van Der Graaf Generator, the rock-jazz of Jaga Jazzist, the riffing metal of Metallica and the improv trailblazing of Supersilent and you might come up with something that resembles Grindstone. But you’d probably come up with an unlistenable mess. Shining gad about with atonal free jazz, burbling electrics and operatics rubbing shoulders with manic riffing, and quiet melancholy. But it all makes perfect sense when melded together. Listening to Grindstone is like being on a big dipper in the dark. You have no idea where you’re headed, but each twist, turn and sudden plummet is a thrill, and at the end you can’t wait to do it all over again!

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