Best Music of 2011

2011 has been a remark­able year. It has seen vol­canic erup­tions dis­rupt glob­al trav­el, polit­i­cal upris­ings in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, an offi­cial end to the US occu­pa­tion of Iraq, the emer­gence of a gen­uine polit­i­cal protest move­ment in Occu­py Wall Street, incred­i­ble flood­ing in South Asia and South­east Asia, the end of the sec­ond Steve Jobs era at Apple, the return of The Mup­pets and a con­tin­u­ing effort in the US to dis­man­tle due process and replace the “will of the peo­ple” with the prof­it motives of cor­po­ra­tions.

It has also been full of inter­est­ing musi­cal activ­i­ty — intrigu­ing new releas­es prac­ti­cal­ly every week of the year. So much music that it would be impos­si­ble to spend the time to give each a fair shake. So here I have gath­ered my favorite releas­es of 2011 which had attract­ed my con­tin­ued or repeat­ed atten­tion. There are many omis­sions, to be sure, but that is why I read oth­ers’ lists.

Selections in alphabetical order (mostly)

Burial — Street Halo

Bur­ial returned this year with a stel­lar 12-inch and sev­er­al choice col­lab­o­ra­tions. Expand­ing on his strengths as a pro­duc­er of atmos­pher­ic and emo­tion­al sound design, Bur­ial also played with some dif­fer­ent tem­pos on Street Halo.

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New Release: détournement

Just post­ed a col­lec­tion of old mate­r­i­al on band­camp. Sam­ple-based pro­duc­tions that have been hang­ing around on my com­put­ers for the last 10 years or so. Please enjoy and share.

Favorite Music from 2010

Anoth­er list. I look for­ward to skim­ming through oth­ers’ lists to see what I missed or dis­missed too eas­i­ly in 2010 or what nev­er made it to my ears.

My picks, in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

Aki­ra Rabelais — Caduceus
The lat­est from Aki­ra Rabelais delves fur­ther into his fine­ly tex­tured sound­world. Hav­ing built a del­i­cate and detailed son­ic vocab­u­lary since the 1990s, this com­pos­er con­tin­ues to impress me with his skilled dig­i­tal manip­u­la­tions. Fine­ly tuned grit.

Arcade Fire — The Sub­urbs
Still liv­ing with this one… I imme­di­ate­ly liked about half of the album while the rest took time to grow on me.
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Hip Hop is Read presents The Beat Tape, Volume #1

The Beat Tape, Volume #1 I am hap­py to announce that two of my beats have been select­ed for inclu­sion on The Beat Tape, Vol­ume #1.

Big thanks to Ivan for putting the effort into solic­it­ing and com­pil­ing the mate­r­i­al from his read­er­ship. And thanks, espe­cial­ly, for pick­ing my stuff for vol­ume one. Con­grat­u­la­tion to all the oth­er pro­duc­ers, too.

More info and down­load:

Music faves from 2009

It seems that 2009 is the year when I shift­ed my atten­tion back to rock and pop music. Dub­step still holds my atten­tion but not to the extent that it did back in 2006 when it took over my brain. Here are the things I enjoyed most in 2009, in no par­tic­u­lar order.

Best Albums

Thanks to my friend, Tony, who first men­tioned this band to me. The XX are a young bunch who make lean pop music con­sist­ing of boy/girl vocals, hand-played drum machines and per­fect­ly placed gui­tar lines. This album quick­ly became a habit.

The XX — Islands:

The XX — Night Time:
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Found it!

I love when I find some­thing that I for­got that I was look­ing for…

I used to search for this song at every record store I vis­it­ed from around 1996–2000. It was not a new song at the time, but I real­ly want­ed it on 7-inch. Amoe­ba Records in San Fran­cis­co had a cor­ner filled with shelves which were filled with long box­es of Jamaican sin­gles and I would flip blind­ly through those records, not real­ly know­ing much about most of them.

I nev­er found the record.

But today I stum­bled on the song again in mp3 form! An old old itch has final­ly been scratched.

Sim­ple­ton — Coca Cola Shape

dj mumbler on-the-air

logomain11Start­ing this Sun­day, I will be host­ing a radio show on KANM — “the col­lege sta­tion of Col­lege Sta­tion.” It is an AM sta­tion, as well as cable FM on Sud­den­link Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. There is a stream avail­able at, which seems like the most nor­mal way to access the show (what is cable FM?).

The show will be free-form.

I will be shar­ing music I like, and maybe some stuff the sta­tion makes me include. The major­i­ty of pro­gram­ming on the sta­tion is indie rock-cen­tered, so if I do pull from their library I should be able to find some good music. My focus will be dub­step, roots/dub reg­gae and oth­er musics of the Jamaican dias­po­ra, hip-hop, pos­si­bly grime, Bollywood/filmi songs and maybe even some experimental/modern clas­si­cal music.

Sun­days 12–2pm
KANM, Col­lege Sta­tion
1580 AM
cam­pus cable TV chan­nel 88