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  • Albums of the year 2009

    Dez 23 2009, 16h54

    Another year eh? A pretty good year none the less. Infact I feel a little bothered that I've not listened to the albums enough just because there has been a huge quantity of amazing releases from all area's and it's hard to keep track. There's definately a shedload of records that I like that haven't grabbed me immediately and probably will when I go back to them but oh well. Here's my top 25 for 2009!

    25

    Converge
    Axe to Fall
    Still smashing it after 20 years. Probably their most accessable work and their best since Jane Doe.

    24

    Nosaj Thing
    Drift
    Impressive Debut drawn from many influences. Coat of Arms is one the best tracks of 2009.

    23

    Few Nolder
    New Folder
    Winner of best artist name & album! Who thought Lithuanian techno could be so involved and tuneful. Best record from Planet Mu for a long while.

    22

    Mistabishi
    Drop
    Possibly the weirdest drum n bass album ever, and the best of the year although its been a particularly quiet one in the scene. Printer Jam is another crazy, amazing track

    21

    Kiki
    Kaiku
    Great discovery thanks to the Milkman's site. This one gets better and better throughout and contains several tracks perfect for the dance floor.

    20

    The Horrors
    Primary Colours
    Suprise of the year. Never even thought I'd listen to them after their debut but this is a brilliant sophomore record thanks largely to a host of 80's influences, most notably Echo & the Bunneymen.

    19

    Black Jazz Consortium
    Structure
    Great year for Deep House which I wasn't too familiar with before I must admit. This records got heaps of soul and kept me nodding late into the night in the Summer.

    18

    Shackleton
    Three LP's
    Shackleton's debut full length consolidates his position as one of the most creative and unpredictable figures in bass orientated music. I get lost in the middle of this album every time (In the best way).

    17

    DJ Sprinkles
    Midtown 120 Blues
    Whilst BJC has the tracks, Sprinkles has a vivid personality embodied in the tracks on Midtown 120 Blues and skews the listener into some brilliantly worked Deep House.

    16

    Andrés
    Andrés II
    Must admit I know little about this record but absolutely adore it. Contains a hell of a lot of samples including a Door's re-work of Alabama Song. Only gripe is the short length of the record.

    15

    Manuel Tur
    0201
    Another debut and new discovery. Pretty much a great all round dance record which doesn't stick to the same beaten path for too long. His Resident Advisor mix is also well worth a listen. One for the future I hope.


    14

    Kona Triangle
    Sing a New Sapling into Existence
    Collaboration between Lone and Keaver & Brause. The collaboration works especially well managing to melt their own sounds into this fantastic record.

    13

    Pendle Coven
    Self Assessment
    Dark brooding progressive techno from the ever improving Modern Love label and one of the techno picks of the year.

    12

    Bibio
    Vignetting The Compost
    Its been a hell of a year for Bibio but I do love this album a lot more than his inconsistent Warp debut. Spring wouldn't be spring without a bit of Bibio playing in the background.

    11

    Tim Hecker
    An Imaginery Country
    I'm no fan generally of pure Ambient, modern classical, drone, whatever you want to call the sounds that people like to litter Hecker's music with but I am a massive fan of this record. Brilliant.

    10

    The Black Dog
    Further Vexations
    While AFX isn't releasing anything, BoC have disappeared, Squarepusher seems content on peddling his bass noodlings and Warp generally move away from the sound that made them what they are today you'd be forgiven for stating that Braindance (or whatever you like to call it) has had it's day. Whilst this is probably true, The Black Dog's Ken Downie is still going strong 20 years later and releases Further Vexations which ticks all the right boxes the aforementioned artists used to do years ago. One of the best Braindance/IDM records of the last 5 years.

    9

    Tortoise
    Beacons Of Ancestorship
    The prospect of the first Tortoise album in 5 years got me anticipating excitedly for the first half of the year and at first I was very disappointed. Where many Tortoise fans love their earlier work I always preffered "Its all around You" and couldn't at first grasp the next turnaround the band had done with this album. After forcing myself a little I managed to grasp the album fully and love the shift changes in tracks, the totally different sound from one track to the other and the fact that this is probably Tortoise at their best.

    8

    Martyn
    Great Lengths
    A lot of my friends love dubstep. They'll download and play me tracks with throbbing wub wub basslines dancing up and down and getting giddy with excitement at the same old bassline and the fact the tracks are generally very fast and upbeat. I play them something from Great Lengths and they hate it, say its boring and don't bother with my (pretty poor!) arguments for Martyn, and against their general stereotyped Rusko-esque tracks. We go see the 2 mentioned artists amongst others live in a Warehouse and that all changes and they understand finally. Whilst its hard to capture the sound of a live mix within a record Great Lengths doesn't compare too badly and manages in a day where bass music is in danger of killing itself with the same old to distinguish itself from the pack, even from electronic music altogether.

    7

    Harmonic 313
    WHEN MACHINES EXCEED HUMAN INTELLIGENCE
    For all the hype and promotion that Warp usually give new albums when they are released the Harmonic album, slipped through the cracks a little. Sure they did mention it in mailouts alongside lists and lists of other names, and yeah they made a video for one of the (weaker) tracks on the album which is actually a remix and doesn't really do the original much justice, never mind the album itself. Yeah I'm a little bitter that most people will be talking about Grizzly Bear or the new Bibio album when Mark Pritchards best work to date goes ignored on the shelf. I'm aware a lot of people have heard or enjoy the record and it would never be a massive sell but it really should be. Pritchards managed to get the cross between Detroit sound and hip hop/bass influences nigh on perfect with Machines and the album deserves a lot more acclaim than its likely to get.

    6

    Tristeza
    Fate Unfolds
    Tristeza have to be the most consistent band in my opinion. 6 albums & 3 EP's later they are still releasing solid instrumental post rock music that manages to sway and differentiate between itself quite admirably. Whilst they may not be as prolific lately as they were in earlier years Fate Unfolds is no less an album than any before, and they have managed to entwine their darker electronic sounds with their previously more upbeat guitar based work. Luckily for me this was only released at the start of the month alongside a 26 track cassette I am awaiting from the USA with studio tracks from the last 3 years to keep me going until the next release, which is hopefully sooner than it has taken for Fate Unfolds.

    5

    The Field
    Yesterday & Today
    Whilst From here to Sublime was lauded generally by the alternative media and filled up more end of year lists than that Twilight crap fills kids christmas lists nowadays, Yesterday & Today has been glaringly absent this time around I have noticed. Axel's second offering thinks much more outside of the box than his previous work and the tracks whilst long and few manage to venture so much further than before and by the time the tracks have peaked they have a lot more purpose than the general repitition that I was used to. The use of instruments also distinguish the sound much better and as much as I adore this album it also leads me to be excited to where his sound will develop to next.

    4

    Ben Klock
    One
    I wish I could go to the Berghain in Berlin, infact its on my short list of places I must go. Between Shed's amazing debut last year, Marcel Dettmann's continual 12" output and the Planetary Assault System album you already have an idea of the groundbreaking techno music being played but all of those pale in comparison to Berghain resident Klock's debut album "One" which is quite simply the best techno album I've heard in quite some time. It definately was not an easy album to get into but once you're there you are rewarded by good flowing tracks, emotion, ambience and suspense. The album doesn't rock itself too hard at any point really but it doesn't need to, the sound is deep and the tracks all stand out. Phenomenal

    3

    Keaver & Brause
    The Middle Way
    I didn't have a clue who Keaver & Brause were at the start of the year and I'm still a bit in the shadows as different reports lead to different analysis. I think its one guy called Tom Keaver, or Tom Brause, or Tom completely different name. I'll just call him Tom. Tom's first album, a hip hop influenced beats instrumental beats album on littleknown dealmaker records is a little hard for me to some up into words especially. Hip hop has skewed over into electronic territory more and more over the years with artists influenced by Dilla doing new things and taking the sound further. I don't have much knowledge on hip hop as a whole, or even if its accurate describing Keaver in such a way but the influence is there, along with those such as BoC et all. The Middle Way is laden with samples too, and while the whole thing is a bit mish mash at first it does come more cohesive and always fun and enjoyable.

    2

    Clark
    Totems Flare
    Chris Clark has probably been my favorite artist for a few years now. Body Riddle is my favorite work of music, I've seen him live several times and even met him in a state of ecstasy (literally, poor guy) so I was waiting for this album for a long time and it didn't disappoint. Apprehensive of vocals, it manages to work a lot better than for example Tim Exile's newer work and doesn't take away any of the charm from the music. The most noticeable thing for me with Totems Flare was the amount going on in each track. Every time you listen you find new layers of sounds you hadn't quite noticed before and the purpose of certain parts, the upheavel of a track to quickly shimmy into something totally different without ever going overboard. Clark's clearly spent a lot of time taking his music further forward although if you compare this album to say Clarence Park you can still see similarities. I'm not sure what he'll do next but I'll be waiting with baited breath.

    1

    Fever Ray
    Fever Ray
    And I don't even like the Knife so much! Well they're ok but none of their work comes close to this. Quite suprised to see media as diverse as Pitchfork, the Guardian, RA & more to list this album so high in their lists but it obviously goes to show what a record this is, probably timeless. I don't remember at any point where I fell hopelessly in love but I do know that I probably listen to this album more than I do any other this year still. I'm still taken aback by how powerful the vocals are, and they are really something else which the live record also shows. While the vocals are so incredibly diverse and haunting the sombre instrumentation that goes with it never oversteers tracks or controls them, her voice manages to capture the moods perfectly and the music follows. I hate describing music, if you haven't heard this album get it sorted. Again, Timeless.

    Apologies for the incoherency towards the end but I've been writing this over the course of 3 hours and cannot be arsed any longer. I'll edit it further more later!
  • Albums of the year 2008

    Dez 27 2008, 13h04

    After much painful thinking, especially with over saturation of new music in the last few weeks I bring you my top 25 albums of 2008. I did think for most of the year that it was heading to be a rather tame year for music but after discovering an almost endless supply of new music in the last month I think its been rather fantastic.

    For me 2008 will probably spell Dubstep. I've been listening to it for a few years now ever since Benga's "Newstep" compilation was released but never with the intensity and passion that I discovered thanks to his first proper full length at the start of the year. This spawned a much deeper love for the genre which is branching in so many different directions at the moment I cannot imagine it killing itself, as so many suggest.

    Of course you cannot define any year with one particular genre of music and without jabbering on too much here is my end of year list. Please note I have a playlist with around 100 albums I feel I haven't listened to enough that haven't made the cut and I don't think I could ever be satisfied with the list, but I know many others share my pain (we are sad bastards, after all).


    25. the sea & cake - Car Alarm
    The Sea & Cake aren't renowned for their exciting original idea's but if they really did scrap the band's formula there would be a lot of upset listeners. "Car Alarm" manages to step up the songwriting skills and has much more of a replay factor than previous albums which could feel stale midway through.


    24. 2562 - Aerial
    Unfortunately I think Headhunter's similar and superior album has outshone this release a little but it still did warrant plenty of listens in its own right. Absolutely fantastic use of bass and a gentle monster of an album.


    23. Atmosphere - When Life Gives You a Lemon You Paint That Shit Gold
    Incredibly personal hip hop album and has a great use of stripped down instrumentation which you don't find too often. Thankfully doesn't absorb itself before the end, which has been a gripe of mine with a lot of similar releases this year.


    22. Shearwater - Rook
    An album that I found a big suprise. I had no idea who they or Okkervil River were until a few months ago, and this is definately the better of the two. Great strong songs that burst with energy when necessary and not before. "You were rolling your eyes like a horse" is also one of my favorite lyrics of the year, yet I'm not quite sure why..


    21. Rex The Dog - The Rex The Dog Show
    Possibly the most fun in one record from 2008, Rex the Dog manages to bring out an synthy electro dance album that makes you grin almost as much as it makes you want to get up and move. The remixes don't do it much of a favour but the original tracks on here are more than worthy


    20. Meshuggah - ObZen
    Admittedly I was disappointed with this release after the near legendary "Catch 33" but that by no means makes this a poor album. When it comes to metal, while some may try there is absolutely no one than can touch Meshuggah. The opening of "Bleed" simply confirms this.


    19. Helios - Caesura
    Again a little disappointment here as I thought Helios might have switched the formula a bit, but do you need to when it works so well? Not many albums come close on a cold wintery night.


    18. Leila - Blood, Looms & Blooms
    Its a struggle for continuity when you have a different vocalist on almost every track but Leila's latest album sounds like an adventure or a book with different narrators as you venture deeper rather than jumbled. "Deflect" is one of my favorite tracks of 2008.



    17. Chase & Status - More Than Alot
    Personally I've found it an absolutely dire year for Drum N Bass with very few album releases, and those that come out being incredibly stale. Thank god for Chase & Status who have worked hard at making an inspired album full of variety, genre crossing and most importantly, energetic songs that make you want to hit the dancefloor instantly. Must state however that the Kano & Plan B tracks are pretty pish.


    16. Shed - Shedding the Past
    Subtle, mesmerising & straight to the point. By the time we get to the monologue at the end of "Waved Mind" you feel a strong alliegence to what Shed's doing and what he stands for. Its just a little upsetting there isn't anyone else in the techno scene who comes close.


    15. Peter Broderick - Home
    After reading his biography and a short description of the album before listening I wasn't exactly sure I would enjoy this album but thankfully I was totally wrong. Peter seems to have incredible song writing skills and thankfully a lovely warm voice which works with his melodys beautifully. I think there's big things to come for this young man.


    14. Clutchy Hopkins - Walking Backwards
    No one seems to have a clue who the man behind Clutchy Hopkins and I don't really mind as long as there's some more high quality music coming from the mysterious monicker. This album focuses on jazz instrumentation rather than the safe sampling method which makes this album an astounding listen.


    13. Ital Tek - Cyclical
    I've enjoyed previous productions from iTAL tEK but was still a bit shocked by the sharp improvement he made for his debut album on Planet Mu. Full to the brim with fresh idea's you can't predict which makes this one of the best and most under rated bass heavy albums of the year.


    12. Deerhunter - Microcastle
    I fell in love with this album straight away but can't really describe exactly why. Where Cryptograms would lose itself a bit too often I feel Microcastle goes right where their previous work would go wrong. Some absolutely great subtle pop songs on this record.


    11.
    Zomby - Where Were You In '92?
    I'm aggrieved that this doesn't make the top 10 cut as it is an absolutely fantastic album looking back to the old skool rave scene with fond memories. I was only 7 years old back in 1992 but I can remember listening to my Uncle & cousin's mix cassettes they made for me with awe. Listening to this album brings back the exact same feelings.


    10. Port O' Brien - All we could do was sing
    Another new discovery for 2008 from a man who seems a little too obsessed with the ocean and the fish it contains. Absolutely crucial release to check out for anyone who enjoys Indie rock. Unfortunately managed to avoid any critical praise despite ticking the boxes that would usually make a webby like pitchfork purr.


    9. Balmorhea - Rivers Arms
    An album that manages to capture a large array of moods with beautiful delicate ambience without losing its structure or dragging the tracks out inside out. Despite many attempts I've felt at a loss with this years ambient/classical releases but this is everything I want in a record.


    8. Deadbeat - Roots & Wire
    The last addition to my list, infact I only heard this album for the first time less than two weeks ago but having it sit any lower would be criminal. Dub Influenced techno has been around for quite sometime now but never have the two melted together quite as well as they have on Deadbeat's latest album. The tracks have a lot of personality to them and the drums sound almost perfect. The worst thing is maybe I haven't had enough time to place it higher.


    7. Clark - Turning Dragon
    I find it quite unbelievable that Clark managed to work on this album and Body Riddle at the same time. The tracks are quite some contrast to one another and Clark has managed to show yet another side to his work that was hidden before. Insane Breaks, Hard as hell beats and a unique use of compression in his production makes this probably his most danceable work to date which witnessed live is some experience. Apparantly these tracks weren't quite right for his next project which he's been working on some time which is probably my most anticipated release in the future.


    6. Man Man - Rabbit Habits
    An insane album for all the right reasons. It's quite outstanding to listen to how the songs progress from so many different angles to blend into really well written songs touching subjects from Prostitutes to Wrestlers. Infact maybe the songs aren't aiming at that at all and thats where the magic of Rabbit Habits is, you can't pin it down, work it out or know what its all about but you can still bloody enjoy it.


    5. Headhunter - Nomad
    Quite simply pushing forward the boundaries of Electronic music like no other. Warning: Requires repeat listens.


    4. Q Tip - The Renaissance
    By far and away the best hip hop album of the year, and perhaps year/s. I'm not a huge A Tribe Called Quest fan, or of Q Tips solo work from before, infact I've not even heard any of it still but the Renaissance is definately one of the best arranged albums of the year. Tip's voice is like butter and the production has no flaws either. Quite a staggering record.


    3. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
    Yeah Lotus has been tipped by pretty much everyone, everywhere, hipster or hippy its been a record that no one has ignored. I managed to do quite well at ignoring the fuss for most of the year, infact I couldn't grasp why anyone would praise the album at all until I had heard LA about 10 times. Tracks that had mashed together and sounded just the same suddenly seemed full of life and unique, and all of a sudden I couldn't turn it off. Lotus has managed to take his style of abstract hip hop a step further and created a body of work which is sure to get replicated many times again. Sure his influences arent hard to see but there isn't anything thats as rewarding as this. This will one day be viewed as some sort of milestone.


    2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    I'm not really sure what more can be said of this album since you'd have a muchy harder job finding end of year list's that its not featured in than those that do. Its just an album that when you hear it for the first time you have to stop what you're doing. Its an album that can be enjoyed by an extremely wide audience because it features 11 top class songs no less. Its an album that can be enjoyed because the foxes know exactly where their strengths lay and aren't afraid to commit it to tape. Its an album that cannot be hated in any way. It is a classic and worthy of all the praise it has got, and will get for many years to come.

    ......



    1. Benga - Diary of an Afro Warrior
    I must admit I do hate writing reviews personally for the records I enjoy, this you may be able to tell from the dodgy short descriptions you've had to put up with to get to this point and for that I am sorry. I find it hard to put it into words how I feel the music, and it does come out a bit shuffled and repititive but it must be done to avoid looking at a list of names and pictures. So how do I put into words an album that has been the soundtrack to 2008 for me? Well I could use thousands of different adjectives to describe the album but I'd be wasting my time and a little of yours before you got bored and closed the page. I'm not a musician or a writer so I cannot put it eloquently but I am a massive music fan, and when it come's to Benga's production skills I do not think there are many people better, and I don't think there's anyone better when it comes to bass influenced music. The man has (obviously not single handedly) made dubstep a daytime radio regularity, has filled the clubs with people baying for bass heavy dubplates. He has spread his music across the globe at a feverous rate and there is nothing else that has been released this year that has bettered this for me. Ever since I first heard it back in February its been my album of the year, and it has also as previously suggested been involved with shaping many nights with me and my friends. This album will always be close to me and the fact he has another one out in another few months, well it makes me go all fanboy again. Cheers Benga, this year has been yours mate.

    If you made it this far congratulations! And thank you so much for having a read of my favorites. As always please feel free to add comments, missing albums or any opinions you may have and also add me as a friend if you require (I do love shoutboxes and musical arguments, who doesnt?).

    Be on the lookout for another entry in a week or so that will pretty much draw 2008 to a conclusion.

    Thanks Again.

    Graham
  • New Music October 3rd

    Out 6 2008, 15h49

    In an effort to actually listen to a lot of the music I seem to amass I have decided it would be a rather good idea to make a somewhat regular playlist with new music I have stumbled upon in the hope that it doesn't get lost in the abyss. I'm not sure how regular it shall be, and if I shall make any further journals in reference to it but it seems a good idea at the moment, even if it is due to boredom somewhat.

    The tracks are picked from my recently added fairly randomly from albums, and will include mainly artists who are new to me, along with old artists I enjoy who have a new release/new release to my new ears.

    Statements follow with the tracks or albums that have some relevance and those without any comments haven't really sunk in so it would be unfair to judge them.

    1. Secret Machines - I Never Thought To Ask

    A band that I fell in love with a few years ago that I've not really listened to much in the past year. The album doesn't sound too bad from a first listen, but I think I've become a bit bored of them unfortunately. This track's not really got too much going for it compared to the thumper that is Daddy's in the Doldrums but I think the album itself needs repeated listens.

    2. Seasick Steve - St. Louis Slim

    Saw him on the Jools Holland show which sounded great. Blues is never something I can see myself listen to as a young man too often but I do like him. I think I like his name more though.

    3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Moonland

    I had tried Nick Cave a few times on friends recommendations and found it horrid but gave it another go with the recent album Dig, Lazarus, Dig and my, was I wrong. Infact I can't believe I neglected it before. I think time has given my tastes a little maturing, and I'm going to try and get hold of some more acclaimed older work of his/theirs.

    4. Bruno Pronsato - What We Wish

    5. Bon Iver - Lump Sum

    6. Bomb the Bass - Black River

    Saw rave reviews for this release and although I don't see much special in the record as a whole, I love Lanegan's unique voice in his guest appearences and think this track is pretty special.

    7. Deerhoof - Snoopy Waves

    Deerhoof are so fun, I really liked Friend Oppurtunity but have barely listened to the new stuff aside from this. I have to be in the mood for it which would be perfectly themed by when I sledge down the stairs at home.

    8. Morgan Geist - Nocebo

    I always hope his solo stuff will be as good as the self titled Metro Area stuff but it never is. I think both records I've heard of his are nothing more than average, and the vocals on the latest record don't do much for it but its alright. Really looking forward to the Metro Area fabric mix however.

    9. Jeff Mills - The Bells

    Been a fan of Jeff Mills for a few years now and I can't believe I'd never listened to his most famous song, which I got hold of through the Purpose Maker compilation and I've played it quite a lot since because it is a massive tune. With the recent listening of the Wizard I decided I can't miss a chance to see him at the Warehouse Project next month and cannot wait.

    10. Geskia - We Are

    11. The Dust Brothers - This Is Your Life

    Fight Club is my favorite ever film, and I'd lost this album for some reason when I was reminded of their production skills through the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique and it doesn't sound as good as I thought it was on its own. I think the tracks perfectly fit into Fight Club though, really adding to the atmosphere of the film. Definately one of the weaker tracks on the soundtrack this, although I do like Tyler's monologues.

    12. Brightblack Morning Light - hologram buffalo

    13. Andy Stott - Hostile

    Absolutely smashing tune

    14. Nomo - Round The Way

    15. Aleksi Perälä - Path

    I was looking for this album for months and finally got hold of it and Rephlex have gone and done it again. One of the few decent releases from the last 2 years.

    16. Syclops - I've Got My Eye On You

    Saw this on a few year best lists over on rateyourmusic.com along with the tag (which I disagree with) and absolutely adore the album as a whole. Looked into it a bit further and discovered its actually on DFA which really suprised me. They seem to be really diversifying the artists and getting a lot of good records out. The Fly is one of my favorite tunes of 2008.

    17. Prosumer and Murat Tepeli - Lov Feat. Elif Bicer Live at Panorama Bar

    18. Hiromi Uehara - Time Difference

    Jazz Fusion from a pretty Japanese lady. I don't really know what Jazz fusion is to be quite honest, but I like the album this is taken from. Some of the tracks remind me of Nobuo Uematsu's more frantic Final Fantasy tracks.

    19. Anders Ilar - Icarus & Pegasus

    20. One Day as a Lion - Wild International

    I'm not a massive Rage Against the Machine fan or anything but I do love their debut and last album (the latter more so). The EP this is taken from doesn't sound any different to what you'd expect though and I must admit I was expecting a different sound. I understand it is basically Zack and the old The Mars Volta drummer but they didn't need to mix the drums so loud. Disappointing really.

    21. Shed - Flat Axe

    I cheated with this last one as I've had the album for about a month but it is the best techno record of 2008 so far and this track is great.

    ------

    Comments and Suggestions welecomed and appreciated as always.
  • Music in 2008

    Jul 9 2008, 10h33

    Where is it going? I tend to find that years in music always seem to be better on an odd year and skip past the evens. Last year was an absolutely fabulous year for music but this year hasn't really produced anything special.

    What has been notable for me is the rise in certain genre's, well the genre I really want to go into is which has ballooned this year so far after a steady rise from the last few years. I first got into it in the summer of 2006 when I heard Benga's first compilation album Newstep which I really enjoyed. It took a long time for me to get into the genre as a whole as I really didn't have a clue where to go from there. Burial's success didn't help either as I don't rate the first album and that got very much over appreciated I reckon. Anyway, after hearing more from Skream, Mala and others I have finally forced myself fully into it. What really changed me full throttle was the release of Benga's second album, Diary of an Afro Warrior. Both releases of the album (CD & Vinyl have totally different tracklistings and only a few shared songs) have been far and beyond the best releases this year, and made me crave more music in the genre, which I have done really enjoying artists such as Ramadanman, Headhunter & Toasty.

    I have cut all types of drugs out of my life for a few months and have noticed the enjoyment of electronic based music toning down and my original love of Indie & Rock coming back. Especially repeated listens to of Montreal have highlighted this to a degree and I do think their new album could be a big one of 2008. Anyway I'm ranting about fuck all know and I'm going to make a little top 5 of the start of 2008. On a whole though I think its been a majorly shit year for music thusfar.

    1. Benga - Diary of an Afro Warrior
    2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    3. Robert Hood - Fabric 37
    4. Clark - Turning Dragon
    5. M83 - Saturdays = Youth

    Special Mention to Noisia fabric mix as well which narrowly misses out. I've been subscribed to the fabricfirst membership scheme for a while now where you pay £7 a month and get the newest CD each month plus back catalogues for £7 inc postage. A lot of extra bonuses and mixes, both studio and live come into the fray as well, well worth it if you have a broad minded electronic dance music mindset.
  • A quick summary of 2007 personally.

    Dez 19 2007, 16h26

    Sometimes my journals are too time specific in regards to the way they apply to the music I'm feeling at that exact moment, or that week and can never really represent what I feel about the year as a whole. I really don't think I can avoid this though to be fair and the top 25 albums I did last week was a pretty accurate stamp on the albums released in 2007 that I enjoyed. Even if I did remember a few albums I'd missed straight after (D'Arcangelo) for example.

    So for 2007 I think it's affirmed my love for a few artists. Aphex Twin, Clark & Luke Vibert have become major artists in the music I listen to, all year round too which is much more than can be said for other acts who come alive in certain seasons. I've also discovered Dance music in a way aside from the more experimental side and have grasped a basic understanding of in regards to & and also researched a lot of the sound to discover who inspired the artists who inspired me. Sure I don't enjoy it half as much as the artists who mean the most to me but I see it as fundamentally important to see the roots of all music which interests you if possible. I could list all the other acts and genre's I've dipped into but I'd be boring myself, never mind the reader.

    I'm also interested at how quitting cannabis will affect what I listen to in 2008. Its getting close to a month now and it hasn't had the effect I assumed it would, although the minimal & hip hop listening is non existant so maybe it has. Time will tell. I predict a resurge in general rock & Indie bands. I was listening to Cave In & Oceansize the other day who were 2 bands I really were in love with 3 years ago and felt the music a lot more on that day than I ever really did for 3 years. We shall see.

    Best gigs of the year:
    Aphex Twin & Luke Vibert - Manchester Warehouse Project in December
    Pendulum, London Elektricity, Dillinja, Lemon D & Noisia Valvesoundsystem - Leeds Stylus in May
    LCD Soundsystem - Leeds Wireless Festival in June
    Daft Punk - Leeds Wireless Festival in June
    Clark - Leeds Library in February
    Deftones - Leeds Uni in February

    Top 5 Tracks of the Year:
    1. Ace of Clubs - Patriotic Acid
    2. The Tuss - Rushup I Bank 12
    3. Luke Vibert - Rotting Flesh Bags
    4. Kings of Leon - Charmer
    5. Simian Mobile Disco - Sleep Deprivation

    Looking forward to albums next year from:
    Clark
    Countless More Luke Vibert projects no doubt.
    Mogwai & the new Genghis Tron

    I can't think of no others right now, possibly none that will amaze yet, but they will upon hearing.
  • Clark - Throttle Promoter

    Dez 7 2007, 18h30

    New Suprise Clark EP from Warp just been mailed out to those on the mail list. Sounds awesome on first listen and can be found on the link below

    http://bleep.com/?bleep=WAP238D

    New album "Turning Dragon" out January 28th and will have much more of a playful rave sound to it which this EP shows off perfectly. Cannot wait!
  • TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2007!

    Dez 2 2007, 22h43

    So this year thanks to rateyourmusic.com I've decided to scrap the usual 10 albums I do at the end of the year and extend, as there's been a lot more good albums than just 10 and I don't want to leave them out. I also feel I've listened to these albums a considerable amount more than any from previous lists.

    25

    Blonde Redhead - 23
    Only really discovered them this year and whilst not a superb album, I really like the first half & the mix of male/female vocals. Forgetable but fun.

    24


    Surkin - Action Replay
    French Electro has really taken off and Surkin has proved not all of it is coming from Ed Bangor records. He's only 22 so the best is still to come.

    23

    Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
    This album makes me smile. Probably wouldn't be on my list if it wasn't for the track "Kidz are so Small" though. Brilliant Track!

    22

    Justice -
    Overrated? Yes. Have they been listening to a lot of Daft Punk? Yes. Is this album still really good? Yes.

    21

    Klute - The Emperor's New Clothes
    My favorite Drum n Bass album of the year. 2CD's makes it a bit long but a really nice approach to chillout D & B. "We Control the Verticle" is up there with my favorite D & B tracks of all time.

    20

    The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
    Another Overhyped album of 2007 and he hasn't got many ideas but I can listen to this album over & over again so thats gotta be good right?

    19

    Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert - Moog Acid
    The first of 3 Vibert albums in this list. Vibert has sampled Perrey's very well and kept it all very jolly. Doesn't take itself very seriously and I like that.

    18

    The Tuss - Rushup Edge
    I love the commotion The Tuss has caused over the IDM community this year although I'm not a massive fan of the Analord series, which I don't feel this has strayed too far from. Still "Rushup I Bank 12" is one of the best songs of the year.

    17

    Supermayer - Save The World
    I really like Kompakt as a record album but still I've always preferred Micheal Mayer's stuff & his mixes. This is a really well balanced lite-techno album. Infact calling it techno makes it sound wrong, its very... Kompakt.

    16

    Battles - Mirrored
    Warp finally get it right with a guitar based act (Shame the !!! records very average). They sound so unique, great example of how guitars should make you dance.

    15

    Melt Banana - Bambi's Dilemma
    I was a little disappointed with this at first as I thought they would have explored their sound further from Cellscape but there's not many better things than manically hand drumming & singing along to a Melt Banana record.

    14

    Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
    I couldn't believe I enjoyed this album so much when it came out. Best of the bunch of Nu-Rave bands some of which are really quite shocking but Klaxons seem to have good song writing skills. Shame they're not a great live act to support it (maybe it was an off night).

    13

    Stephan Bodzin - Liebe Ist...
    I still can't remember how I came across this album but thank god I did. The problem with Minimal techno is that the majority of it lacks feeling but not in this case. This record has a really dark & deep atmosphere to it which suprised me upon first listen.

    12

    Calvin Harris - I Created Disco
    First time my Sister recommended me an album that really struck in my head. Calvin Harris did not create Disco, but he did create a really good fun dancey album on an old Amiga which soundtracked the summer quite nicely.

    11

    Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release
    I hated Simian. This meant I avoided this album for months but what a regret. Full of brilliant 21st century dance songs & "Sleep Deprivation" is one of my favorites now. I feel bad this doesn't quite make the cut for the top 10.

    10

    Efdemin - Efdemin
    Another big suprise on first listen for me. Sounds so amazingly lush and the way the songs build up is beautiful. One of my favorite techno/minimal albums ever almost immediately.

    9

    Radiohead - In Rainbows
    Radiohead re-invent themselves again, not only with the music but with the method of releasing it. This album got the world talking about how music will be released in the future and you've got to have respect for that. They haven't lost their form either although I really don't like the first song much, I usually start on track 2.

    8

    Digitalism - Idealism
    It bothers me that people compare this album to others all the time as I think they're one of very few bands to make an album that is as much a dance record as it is an indie record. And they don't sound directly like anyone to my ears, and it's really bloody good!

    7

    Amon Tobin - Foley Room
    Although its instinctively an Amon Tobin record it is quite a departure from his previous work. The best album to make use of Field recordings that I've heard. The tracks are really complex and I still hear new parts almost 12 months after the first listen.

    6

    Dalek - Abandoned Language
    The best and only Hip Hop album I've enjoyed in 2007. I did only listen to this at first because it was released on Ipecac recordings which kind of explains why it sounds nothing like any other Hip Hop record. The use of Industrial sounds is impressive and the lyrics are very well written.

    5

    Luke Vibert - Chicago, Detroit, Redruth
    Possibly the only Luke Vibert release that took me a while to get my head round and get used to but its full of brilliant, fun & quirky songs. "Clikik" & "Rotting Flesh Bags" are so nutty and so damn good. Great album from start to finish.

    4

    LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
    Probably the best live band I've gone to see this year (although I got Aphex Twin still) which really made me listen to the album and fall in love with it. I love cowbells, I love the intricate drumming but most of all I love the way James Murphy uses his voice to make the songs shine.

    3

    Gabriel Ananda - Bambusbeats
    This album made me realise that Techno still has a lot to offer. The best use of drums on any album this year. Ananda has produced a really fresh sound in a very stale scene from constantly re-inventing his songs at every level. A brilliant album for any occasion whether in a club or about to put your head on a pillow.

    2

    Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
    I Didn't like Kings of Leon in January of this year. I thought they were a band of hairy generic Indie kids. I didn't expect they were going to write and release the best guitar album for years. I didn't expect that an album could be so tuneful & enjoyable even when you've heard the songs everywhere you go albeit TV, Radio & Commercially-Stuck Friends. I am fully converted.

    1

    The Ace of Clubs - Benefist
    The EP that proceeded this was the first digital purchase I ever made. This is the only album that I've had on constant rotation again & again & again as I hate musical repitition but I couldn't help myself. Luke Vibert has outdone himself with Benefist and this doesn't sound anything like his other Acid releases or infact the first Ace of Clubs EP back in 2002. For me It's upthere on a par with the classics like Richard D. James & Music has a right for children. Maybe not as atmospheric but I'll be damned if every track isn't absolutely amazing. "Patriotic Acid" is my favorite track of 2007 too.

    ---

    All in all I think 2007 has been a great year for music. We've seen a major change in how music is released, and also shared especially with the impact that the oink shutdown caused. I couldn't really comment on the medias perception of how music is moving forward as whenever I have radio 1 on I shake my head and turn it off. We've seen the further rise of Dubstep (which i'm not much of a fan) and seen more & more successful acts incorporate electronics and in particular dance elements to their sound. Song writing has also altered greatly in most modern music due to this.

    Now I'm away to go to bed, this list took far too long.
  • Grizz - Techno/Minimal Mix

    Nov 4 2007, 18h27

    First mix I've done I want to put on the internet really. Feedback & Comments appreciated. Not amazingly technical but a good selection of Techno/Minimal/Electro songs I put together a month back. Done another one this weekend that will also be on shortly

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=41RL6FZO

    Tracklist

    1. John Dahlback - express
    2. Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe (Switch Mix)
    3. Carl Cox - Spoon
    4. deadmau5 - Lai
    5. Error Error - Gompac
    6. Marc Houle - Techno Vocals
    7. Mikael Jonasson - Chlorophyll
    8. Pan-Pot - Charly
    9. Rex The Dog - Circulate
    10. Spektre - Dark Horse
    11. Stephan Bodzin - Liebe Ist
    12. Gui Boratto - BEAUTIFUL LIFE (GUI BORATTO remix)
    13. James Unk - Light Link
    14. Hugg & Pepp - Mongo Rehugged
    15. Juergen Paape - NORD-WEST
    16. Minilogue - Hitchhikers Choice
    17. Phil Keiran - Idiot's Game
    18. Simon Baker - Spinner
    19. Gabriel Ananda - Doppelwhipper (Rocco Branco & Tobias Becker Remix)
    20. Richie Hawtin - Visioning
    21. Sebo K & Pan Pot - Isolate and Black Dog
    22. Ricardo Villalobos - Bahaha Hahi
  • Music to watch the leaves fall

    Out 22 2007, 15h10

    This year more than ever I have realised how much the seasons have an effect on what you listen to and have found theres a definate pattern between what genre's are more popular to my ears.

    Last year around this time I had just discovered the beautiful ambient sounds of lesser known acts such as Milieu & Fieldtriqp thanks to a look into net labels and also more downtempo acts such as Fila Brazilia & Baby Mammoth. I was also heavily into IDM by that point and I had massively increased listens to acts such as Plaid & Wisp as I hadn't heard their work as much previously.

    This year I've taken Ambient music a little more seriously and have managed thanks to a new friend and a bit of research started to grasp the genre a bit more. The most solid releases I have found lately are below:
    Substrata
    Lifeforms
    Sakura
    76.14

    Biosphere has taken me about a year to get my head round. I simply couldn't grasp the album the first few listens and after seeing some recommendations I decided to go back and listen and my god, I have enjoyed it. Funny how the mind changes as I think this is a general rule with how I perceive music and how you evolve further with your music, I just didnt understand or enjoy the music before but after moving through artists you get to a point and it clicks.

    And I definately think that Susumu Yokota will be a growing obsession as I've only just discovered his music and it is beautiful. His latest more minimal albums are as good as the famed ambient releases he had at the turn of the century. Absolutely loving his music.

    Of Course my favorite 2 ambient releases are still the 2 Aphex Twin Ambient records and I don't think that'll be changing in the near future. Ambient Works II is the ultimate fall asleep album. Infact I don't think I can actually fall asleep willfully to any other record!

    Staying on the topic of musical tastes evolving I can say this about my listening to Squarepusher as I had tried so hard to listen to pre Hello Everything era Squarepusher and wasnt enjoying any of it but all of a sudden I can't get enough of his work. I understand it better to a degree and really appreciate it. Budakhan Microphone is such a good release I find it hard to think why I didn't appreciate it before.

    And of course the latest Radiohead album has sunk in and I love it. Not as much as Amnesiac or Kid A but I never expected it to and those albums are on a higher plain for the memories as much as the music. I'm really glad that the albums not been a disappointment and its funny seeing a lot of people jumping on the back of Hail to the Thief all of a sudden when there was a lot of praise for that 4 years ago and I do still enjoy that album thoroughly.

    Enough rambling whilst I'm at work anyway. I'm going to try and keep this blog more up to date even If its just for my own use. Comments/Recommendations appreciated :)

    edit: Just read through my old Journals and realised last autumn I said the exact same thing mentioning the artists I was looking back at...weird
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows

    Out 11 2007, 8h10

    So What does everyone think of the new Radiohead album and basically the whole process in which it has been released?

    Personally I have yet to give the band any funds for the transaction. Don't slay me so quick as I will definately be transferring some hard earned Cash (Straight?) into the Oxford lad's pockets but I have the same problems with the release that it seems a lot of people do.

    Firstly 160kbps is not enough in 2007. This might have been ideal 4-5 years ago when people were still using 56k Modems to download anything with. But those evil days of 20 minutes wait for a decent quality mp3 are over and I'm really suprised that it has been released in this way. It does seem to be the main problem with the release.

    Secondly there was a long wait for some of those who did pre-order or purchase the MP3's between payment and getting the link. Perhaps this is unavoidable as obviously Radiohead are one of the biggest bands in the world and this album is one of the most anticipated if not the most anticipated release of 2007. Still a wait for the mp3's is not a good one if this is a prototype to how releases may work in the future and should be instant. Instead of servers there should have been a better method setup for the people who have the album first to seed perhaps.

    And Thirdly I didnt want to pay money for the MP3'S when I'd be shelling out for the box set anyway which will be the release really worth getting.

    The albums brilliant too. Don't want to evaluate so much as it does take a while to digest a Radiohead album but I'm really enjoying thus far. And on the whole I think this release was a brilliant way of getting the album out there, ironing out the few problems aside I think this could be a great positive method for releasing music in the future and for the artists to get a fairer share of the sales.


    edit: Really interesting how the whole audiophile "argument" as it were has cropped up since the albums been released as well. Finding it really interesting seeing how different people listen to their music in general. I don't think theres obvious differences between a 160kbps file or 320kbps unless I've got my headphones/in-ear ear phones on or its on my stereo at a volume thats breaking the walls down!