2016 Music Rewind

For much of this year I felt as though I was not able to keep abreast of music releas­es well enough to even pick favorites. Then sud­den­ly towards the end of the year I came across sev­er­al real­ly great releas­es and A Tribe Called Quest dropped their first album in years which turned out to be amaz­ing. Who knows, anoth­er great album might get released in the few remain­ing days of 2016…

The Body — No One Deserves Hap­pi­ness
Start­ing off qui­et and dark like Miran­da Sex Gar­den, this album soon gives way to slow-crush­ing heavy gui­tar glac­i­ers. Almost like Swans in the 90s turn­ing back into Swans in the 80s.
[band­camp width=100% height=120 album=4203169008 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]
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2015 Music Rewind

Here’s my list of favorite releas­es for this past year, pre­sent­ed in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

Lucre­cia Dalt — Ou
This is filmic, cin­e­mat­ic music. Sounds creep in and out of view with the seam­less rhythm of the best film edi­tors. Tex­ture and grit are key ingre­di­ents but har­monies do some­times emerge to lend a famil­iar emo­tion­al anchor to the abstrac­tion. There’s a radio­phon­ic woozi­ness that bathes the whole affair in nos­tal­gia.


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2014 Music Rewind

There were so many inter­est­ing album releas­es in 2014 I felt I could bare­ly keep up. In fact, I was still adding titles to my Best of 2014 con­tenders list late into Decem­ber. Here are some of my favorites, in alpha­bet­i­cal order:

The Bug — Angels & Dev­ils
Kevin Mar­tin returns to his The Bug alias for a full length LP and sev­er­al EPs worth of mutant bass music in 2014. More than any oth­er elec­tron­ic music pro­duc­er, Kevin under­stands the equal impor­tance of mass/weight and tex­ture. Both aspects are deployed extreme­ly effec­tive­ly whether the track is an atmos­pher­ic snarling dub-wise bass mantra or a neck-snap­ping mutant-dance­hall-cum-grime firestarter.

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2013 Music Rewind

Time, once again, to review some of my favorite music releas­es from the past year (pret­ty much the only reg­u­lar fea­ture of this “blog”). 2013 was a very fruit­ful year for alt-R&B/future-R&B as well as for Chica­go-Lon­don bass hybrids. All the usu­al caveats apply. There is always too much music to hear all the great releas­es in a year but these grabbed me more than the rest. I look for­ward to read­ing all the oth­er lists to catch up on what I missed.

Chants — I Feel Like I Feel It
If mem­o­ry serves, I heard about this release via dj /rupture’s Mudd Up blog. The most obvi­ous sign­posts are Shlohmo or Origa­mi Sound’s post-Bur­ial sound­scapes but Chants man­ages to make an elec­tron­ic music album that sounds extreme­ly per­son­al and expres­sive. There is a strong enough iden­ti­ty to shrug off easy com­par­isons.

And the pric­ing starts at zero dol­lars: http://hushhushrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-feel-like-i-feel-it
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My Favorite Music of 2012

There are still some great albums and sin­gles being released mid-Decem­ber, includ­ing a new 12-inch from Bur­ial, which could eas­i­ly be includ­ed here if I had had more time with them before com­pil­ing this year’s list. As always, this is my small con­tri­bu­tion to the mass of music nerd list-mak­ing that hap­pens at the end of each cal­en­dar year. I’m sure I’ve missed some of your favorites and I will like­ly read a lot of oth­er lists to sat­is­fy my curios­i­ty over missed items and unjust dis­missals. I hope you find some­thing to enjoy!

Selections in alphabetical order

Burial — Kindred

Hyper­dub have released two 12-inch records from Bur­ial in 2012. If you like Bur­ial you like­ly know what to expect. No sur­pris­es here: crack­ly atmos­phere, meta-rave son­ic vocab­u­lary, skit­tery per­cus­sion… All the things I always love about Bur­ial, no mat­ter how same-y it’s start­ing to get. The only sur­prise, then, could be that I’m still not tired of Bur­ial music.

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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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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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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

XXThe XX — XX
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: [audio:songs/bestof2009/XX_Islands.mp3]
The XX — Night Time: [audio:songs/bestof2009/XX_NightTime.mp3]
The XXVCR: [audio:songs/bestof2009/XX_VCR.mp3]
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Ed’s Music Picks for 2008 (where did the year go?)

It is hard to believe that it is Decem­ber already almost Jan­u­ary. It is even hard­er to believe that I had to scrape sleet off my wind­shield today last week in the mid­dle of Texas.

This year saw some big changes:
1. I now live in TX.
2. I now have a reg­u­lar job. I am not self employed so I have to wear pants and talk to peo­ple.
3. I ditched that hor­ri­ble razr. iPhone, baby!
4. I bought a house.

OK, enough chitchat. On to the music… my favorites from this past year in no par­tic­u­lar order:
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2007 Music Rewind

Ah, it’s that time of the year again. “Best of” list time. While 2007 has been a pret­ty active year for new releas­es, I found that I kept going back to the same albums — which were not nec­es­sar­i­ly the ones whose releas­es I antic­i­pat­ed the most.

By the way, a lot of the music I’ve enjoyed the most this year deploy obscene amounts of bass. If you don’t have a sub­woofer, you hear only half of the music…
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