Context is all, part 547653 — so over the weekend I reviewed the new Staubgold compilation Tempo Technik Teamwork and Pig Destroyer’s new album Terrifyer for the AMG, and my further thoughts on them both will run there in a couple of weeks or so. But I did enjoy both very much indeed, though in both cases I wondered exactly where they both ‘placed’ in the respective boxes the label and/or band have found themselves in (IDM in the former’s case, metal in the latter’s).

It’s been a while since I’ve done that, on a conscious level at least — given my unswerving belief in the benevolent tyranny of personal taste, anyone who has a problem with my liking either of them has too much time on their hands. Yet, especially if one is a ‘critic’ as formally conceived, there is nonetheless a perceived requirement that you have to know everything and anything in the field to be able to comment accurately. This has come under question in recent years, though, due to the sheer volume of music out there and the relatively little time to be spent on sampling any of them if one wants to have a life. Personally I think that’s very healthy myself, in letting go obsessive universality in favor of particular passions one can relieve oneself of the duty of having to be a social reporter on top of things.

So why these two albums in particular, to spark up thoughts along those lines I hinted at above? Not sure, really — probably simply because both are new, both I had little to no preconceptions about, and both were extremely pleasant surprises that will warrant relistening from me soon (a rarity this year, to be honest — usually I know what my album or albums of the year are based on replay and rehearing, but there’s only one album so far, Fennesz’s exquisite Venice, which fills that brief). I’ve read the occasional dismissal of Staubgold’s label work on the one hand and Pig Destroyer’s music on the other, but rather than thinking that there’s expertise per se at work in any of our judgments, I’ve never felt more part of a common ‘hey, we’re all in this together talking about ’em’ thread. It’s a nice step up from radical subjectivity in its own way.