Benjamin Levitt, aka Megalophobe. Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Though it came out in mid-December, too late to make most “best of 2020” lists, Megalophobe’s Music for Resistance Fantasies (Nefarious Industries) deserves to be remembered as one of the most iconic and painfully lovely summations of the year. Megalophobe is the New York-based solo project of Benjamin Levitt, and he recorded the album to accompany a dance performance choreographed by Marion Storm for the 2019 Brooklyn Exponential Festival. But released on its own more than a year later—without the dancers’ bodies to watch, and with many more bodies buried—Music for Resistance Fantasies feels like an overwhelming, droning eulogy. Its pulsing seems to flow into and out of time and mind, as if amplifiers have been installed in your forebrain. Levitt manipulates accordion sounds and his own chanting through delay and other effects, sometimes adding guitar, keyboard, or field recordings, and he clearly owes a debt to Pauline Oliveros’s ideas of deep listening—his compositions don’t so much develop as ooze in glacial flows. The political message here, at least to my ears and heart, isn’t a martial call to arms or even a simple plea for persistence. Instead, the music creates an ambient, oceanic sensation of grief that penetrates and obliterates the entire self at once. After a year of so many lies and so many haranguing demands for false toughness, music that provides no refuge from sadness is a gift—and yes, a form of resistance too.   v