The very first compilation to land on SCQ’s Top Twenty of any given year fell into my hands purely by luck. The gifted composer Kyle Bobby Dunn, who released the gorgeously understated Ways Of Meaning in March, introduced me to the project headed up by Jeff Owens of Ghostly International, but I had no idea the effect it would have on my coming year.
When a longstanding streak of writer’s block ended this Spring and I began writing poetry again, SMM: Context extended its post-review shelf-life by worming its way into the background of those daily sessions. My gravitating towards the compilation began with Dunn’s ‘Runge’s Last Stand’, then expanded to Goldmund’s ‘Motion’ and Peter Broderick’s ‘Pause’ and Jacaszek’s ‘Elegia’. Overplaying those favourites always led to the accidental spins of surrounding tracks – like Manual’s ‘Three Parts’ and Rafael Anton Irisarri’s ‘Moments Descend On My Windowpane’ – which soon became irresistible mood pieces as well.
As seasons changed and my habit birthed the beginnings of a full-on manuscript, SMM: Context grew from a reliable tapestry of ambience, post-classical and electro-acoustic soundscapes into a one-of-a-kind project that saw each subgenre absorbed seamlessly into a greater whole. Despite the talent attached to SMM: Context, the roster never outshines the material submitted. Ghostly International completely outdid itself in 2011 and as if the plethora of excellent records they released of late weren’t proof enough, my anticipation for a second helping of SMM: Context – a compliation, for god’s sake – should say it all.