23 December 2008

Best of 2008 Round Up (part 2)

My previous post covered the best albums but these were all very good too.

Quiet Village - Silent Movie

I was quick to dismiss this when it came out in the summer. I'd loved most of the tracks they had put out on 12" but on a first listen I found the album to be slow and dull. And so it sat in the overflowing 'UNSORTED' folder on my hard drive for months until I noticed a large number of people on the DJ History forums naming it as their album of the year. The beards over there aren't always right but I thought it was about time I checked out the album again with new ears. Turns out it was actually a really nice selection of downtempo grooves and psychedelic funk, albeit borrowed from somebody elses old record(s).

Stream selected tracks on the Quiet Village microsite

Q-Tip - The Renaissance

I've not had this long but it's clearly a great album. More time with it may have led to it being in the previous post of 2008's 'great' albums rather than this section of merely 'very good' ones. There are still a couple of tracks I've not fully warmed to yet but there is certainly no bad tracks to worry about. Q-Tip is sounding great as ever with that perfect combination of interesting, well delivered lyrics and funky, catchy beats. Looking forward to hearing it next summer already.

Stream the album on last.fm

Ezekiel Honig - Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band

This is some late night mood music, which for me works best at a low volume; heard only in the background. Everyday sounds are decontructed and reconstructed and mixed with organic and electronic instruments, overlaying the soft rhythmic patterns. Reminds me of Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records by Jan Jelinek and Le Fumeur de Ciel by Julien Neto; two of my favourite albums. Real minimal music, minus the techno.

Stream the album at Anticipate Recordings

Midnight Juggernauts - Dystopia

Probably the second best electro/indie mix-up of the year after Cut Copy. It opens with the big trio of Ending of an Era, Into the Galaxy and Shadows and doesn't tail off too badly. It's a track too long for my liking (Nine Lives would be the one I'd drop) but you can't argue with the quality of the production or the variety in the songs.

Stream the album on last.fm

Twilight Moose - Embrace The Loneliness

More old school electro/ambient/soundtrack stuff from Legowelt on his own Strange Life Records. Feels more like a collection of tracks than a proper album (it possibly is) and so although most of them are good it does drag a little. Still, nobody else is really putting out this kind of stuff as far as I know and it's nice to support the guy's doing their own (deep and hypnotic) thing.

Stream album clips from the Strange Life Shop

16 December 2008

Cosmic Gypsies

I was put onto this track earlier this week - some inspired UK Hip-Hop from Taskforce, Braintax & Jehst. Smooth beats, good flows, interesting lyrics and added bonus points for all the spacey shit! The video helps I think, some cool imagery. Taken from the Voices of the Great Outdoors EP (Lowlife Records 2000).

Buy it on Play.com

15 December 2008

Best of 2008 Round Up (part 1)

I'm not dead! Although my computer was for a while. Plus I'm busy with the festive season and I also got an Xbox recently! Anyway, here is part one of my round up for 2008. I listened to (and enjoyed) far more old music than new but it was still a good year I think. These are my choices for the 'Best Albums of 2008'. There will be more to follow, plus might have beens, top singles and other random tunes....

Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling

I thought this was amazing, listened to it so many times and never got bored of it. I loved his first album and so I was equally excited/nervous about how the second one would turn out. Much more weird and wonderful that his debut but it still sounds unique and so obviously Kelley Polar. Love it from the opening vocoder of 'A Feeling of the All-Thing' to the closing strings of 'In Paradisum' with so many great tracks and little moments in between.

Stream the album on Last.fm

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

Another I love from start to finish. A great mix of guitars, drums, synths, vocals and effects with catchy hooks, great melodies and spine tingling moments a-plenty. Numerous tracks slap a massive grin on my face with every listen. Stand-out tracks include 'Out There On The Ice', 'So Haunted', 'Far Away' and the best sax solo of 2008 award winning 'Hearts on Fire'.

Stream the album on Last.fm

Morgan Geist - Double Night Time

More synth based songs from the studio perfectionist Morgan Geist (of Metro Area) featuring vocals from Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan. Beautiful sounds, wonderfully arranged. Hard to pick highlights when all 9 tracks are great. Try the synth pop of 'The Shore', the disco of 'Most Of All', the lazy groove of 'Ruthless City' and the cosmic instrumental 'Palace Life'.

Stream the album on Last.fm

Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too

Epic. Progressive. Cosmic. Synth! WYGIGT sounds like nothing anybody else has put out recently. It probably has more in common with the music of old to be honest - the early synth pioneers, krautrock and the more electronic end of the disco spectrum. But Lindstrom takes these ideas and rather than ripping them off or poorly imitating them, he expands them; weaving their influences into his own unique style of music. The mid section of 'The Long Way Home' is just pure bliss.

Stream 'The Long Way Home (Prins Thomas Edit) on RCRD LBL

Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

Yet more excellently produced synth-pop stuff. Sexy and sleazy; and often cheesey. I dare you not to love the thick synth funk of 'Kilometer'. Other highlights include the slow grind of 'Pomme' and 'Une Heure' and the epic layers of arpeggio's on 'Sexual Sportswear' and the almost annoyingly catchy 'Manty'.

Jamie Lidell - Jim
I enjoyed about half of his previous album but felt that it was spoilt by the inclusion of some really weak tracks. 'Jim' rectifies this with a whole album of goodness. The guy's got a great voice and a soulful sound that I really dig. How about this for a feel good album opener: 'Another Day' - if that doesn't put you in a good mood you must be dead inside! My other two favourite tracks are 'Figured Me Out', which makes me wanna dance across the room every time I hear it - funky beat, great chord progressions, a swinging chorus and even a sweet little synth solo! Things are a bit smoother on 'Green Light' but again, lovely chords and little melody hooks and a great vocal delivery.