Πέμπτη, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

50 FAVORITE 2011 ALBUMS


50. Stare Case – “Lose Today”
Wolf Eyes ex-patriots lethargic take on avant blues sounded like a slowed down version of later day Smegma with extra Jandek-like vocalizing that made the whole murky thing sound even creepier.


49. Bill Orcutt – “How The Thing Sings”
Blues never again sounded like a physical struggle on a detuned guitar. The improvisation, the randomness, the passion this album has, re-examines this whole music era. Orcutt has created his own musical universe – tense and violent, but also, beautiful.


48. Thymolphthalein – “Ni Maître, Ni Marteau”
Advanced percussive techniques clash with non-intrusive live electronics to produce always shifting rhythmic patterns – such a pleasurable headache.


47. Battles – “Gloss Drop”
Metronomic synth rock, poppy Technicolor, carefully placed avant-gardisms, the Rush influence and Yamatsuka Eye singing sooo high it sounds like reggae – a glossy blob we loved.


46. Burzum – “Fallen”
Beyond impressionistic blackmetal riffing, “Fallen” was an outstanding vocal performance by Mr. Vikernes. Fascist pig, a crying wolf or a fallen angel? All in all a great Norse artist.


45. Nettle – “El Resplandor: The Shining in Dubai”
The soundtrack for an imaginary remake of Kubrick's “The Shining” set in a luxury hotel in Dubai. Dj/Rupture mixes cello, violin, guembri, guitar, and voice with a subtle lightness, creating a creepy atmosphere. Beware of the visions and the ghosts.


44. Christoph Heeman – “The Rings Of Saturn”
Focusing on everyday rural sounds, Heeman carefully builts up a fictional sound world that resonates with haunting memories of another, more pastoral and peaceful life setting. Daydreamgaugic music.


43. Woods – “Sun And Shade”
They left the moisture at their underground cave, for a sunnier and dry forest. They found there grapes of lo-fi, folk, krautrock, hidden in the shadows. They don’t have to squeak anymore - they have tasted wisdom and they have made a great album.


42. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – “Lose Today”
Bittersweet melodies, emotionally tensed atmosphere, great lyrics – the charming impact of the simplicity and straightforwardness. They have unearthed a fragile, aged diamond.


41. Peterlicker – “Nicht”
Exceptional industrial / noise rock / electronic project that tilted its Teutonic barbarism / deutsche intellectualism axis towards the last. And this the voice of our favorite tyrant Schäuble being tortured to death by merciless laptops on the first track? Or is it me flippin’?


40. Jenny Hval – “Viscera”
A cerebral journey of somatic dimensions reconceptializes norse folk in a more elastic, free form and liberates femine poetic instincts in us all.


39. High Places – “Original Colors”
Catchy pop melodies scattered in an electronic carpet with rhythmic drums, dub elements, indie music, dreamy vocals. Danceable? Yes. Colorful? Of course. Cohesive? Absolutely.


38. Rhys Chatham – “Outdoor Spell”
In one of his most experimental and satisfying works, Chatham orchestrates a flock of blowing horns to built layers of free moving sounds that posses magickal qualities indeed.


37. Carol Anne McGowan – “Songs From The Cellar”
A hair-rising, warm and gentle voice accompanied by simple, delicate melodies in acoustic guitar. Unbelievable lyrical the 7 folk songs captures the vibe of the 400-year-old wine cellar, where they were recorded.


36. The Doomed Bird Of Providence – “Pray”
Slow moving, rotten doom folk ballads portray a series dreadful incidents on a ship quest to Australian 2 centuries ago that somehow match perfectly with our own everyday greek crisis hell. Oh! And that sick way Mark Kluzek spits out those disgustingly miserable lyrics.


35. D Charles Speer – “Arghiledes”
Rebetika found a safe shelter under the psych and imrpov wings of the member of No Neck Blues Bland. And, as a Greek believe me, very few have rediscovered the power of this underground music of 20th century as good as him.


34. The Feelies – “Here Before”
A much welcome return of NJ indie geniuses. No one makes tingling guitar rock sound so sempterberish.


33. Jasmina Maschina – “Alphabet Dream Noise”
Field recordings, noise, whisperings, pop tunes, folk guitars, subtle rhythms, woozy drones, nostalgic atmosphere, dreamy and haunting texture. You surely got the picture for this appealing album.


32. Dan Haywood's New Hawks – “s/t”
Our spirit is always flying high when listening to the earthly folk songs of struggle, loss, and love of nature by this talented lad. A new folk prophet in the making.


31. Matana Roberts – “Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres”
A powerful African-American improv jazz album, that slides unsurprisingly from poetical expression, to brutal maximalist, from epic instrumentation to sentimental silences. This is a strong musical statement that contains not hate, but cleansing.


30. Causa Sui – “Pewt'r Sessions 2”
Kratrock extravaganza. A limitless drive of endless guitar improvisations, of heavy drum rhythms, of motorik stubborn bass. An electric phoenix that will blow up your mind. Hear it at maximum volume: this beauty is the best way to get a sweet headache.


29. Call Back the Giants – “The Rising”
Cozy pseudo-amateurish drones, analog synth banalities, paranoid voices and childlike naiveté form a typically British hauntological soundscape that refuses to unveil the more hidden aspects of its mystic formula.


28. A Hawk and a Hacksaw – “Cervantine”
This technically perfect yet ultra – passionate take on traditional Balkan folk music got us –almost- dancing in front of our laptop screens. How much do you charge for a wedding party?


27. Deerhoof – “Deerhoof vs. Evil”
On their 7th album, this crazy crew reached for new peaks of avant pop intentness and ended with a marvel of an album full of tricky sounds and sticky hooks!


26. The Necks – “Mindset”
The cosmos of this band is unique. How the themes are changing as the time is passing by, how the compositions are being build, how this affects on you is solid and outstanding. “Mindset” is their most aggressive, their most rough piece of art to date – it attacks you as a vicious lizard.


25. Tape – “Revelationes”
There are some moments, as the night turns to day, that everything is set silent and still. Those moments are very tense, but also calm. That silence and stillness applies to this ambient folktronica. A superb close-up to gentleness.


24. Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano – “Under a Double Moon” much anticipated clash between the old guard and the new school of free jazz that swayed from crying lyricism, when McPhee’s sax took the lead, to dynamic improvisational crescendos propelled by a restless Corsano. Kept the fire in our hearts & minds for this music burning…


23. Grouper – “A I A Alien Observer”
This is a typical grower. Repeated listening lifts the hazy, thick reverb drone to unveil a cosmos of folksy outdoors tranquility and ambient pop charm.


22. Alex Monk – “The Safety Machine”
Ambient psychedelic is delivered with progressive electronics, reverbs, hypnotic drones and subsequent mixing. Monk’s music world is abstract, dark, inconvenient and almost old-fashion. But at the same time is experimental, pleasant and capture you with its distant charm.


21. Haunted House – “Blue Ghost Blues”
A heavy and electrified haze floats over this album. The drums are magically makes the pathway, like ritualistic percussions in African jungle. The music, naked and truthful, slaps you with its power. And then the voice of Langille’s – the screams, the murmurs, the quiet speaking, just finishes the job. You’ll need a lot of days to recover from this masterpiece.


20. Torlesse Super Group – “s/t”
The music is slowly reveals here, with a lot of feedbacks, loops and drones. It has a natural breathing, but it’s frozen, yet distant and occult. It really acts upon you. This one is a typical New Zealand album. Strange, great, mind tripping.


19. Thurston Moore – “Demolished Thoughts”
Unapologetically, Thurston Moore’s pristine acoustic guitar style turned lavishing romantic on this splendid viola and violin trio session and provided a perfect late summer afternoon soundtrack for sonic heads and folk freaks alike.


18. Eternal Tapestry & Sun Araw – “Night Gallery”
One of the best psychedelic-space-rock groups nowadays, meets one of the most efficient guitarists of the last five years. Of course the combination is burst into a kraut explosion, a mouth dropping galaxy of abstract electrified heaven. Yeah!


17. The Sea and Cake – “The Moonlight Butterfly”
In an experimental turn, for their own terms at least, their austere post – pop music was fundamentally refreshed by electro and krautrock moves and Prekop’s re-energized delivery. Perfect minimal pop triumph.


16. Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells – “Everything's Getting Older”
Heartwarming melodies flourish from the heavy, gloomed piano. They are surrounded by beats and loops, strings and bass. The lyrics are bold; they are actually great stories with existential themes: Love, life, sex, death. I devoted many days of this year to listen repeatedly this tremendous whirlpool of musical poetry.


15. Peter Evans Quintet – “Ghosts”
Injecting electronic elements into a massive modal to free jazz structure, Evans and his skilful quintet came up with a astonishing post-jazz work that enlightens the imagination of the common free jazz lover as few others did before…


14. Richard Youngs – “Long White Cloud”
The third of the year and most straight-to-the-heart release by our beloved Youngs, unfolds a wonderful, partly guitar-strummed, saga for the inner and outer space. We join yet another mindtrip with joy.


13. Kammerflimmer Kollektief – “Teufelskamin”
The Berlin collective by objecting post- rock banalities and embracing krautrock plus more a cosmopolitan post-jazz feel, made a sexy, mysterious sound that wetted our minds aplenty.


12. SYCH – “Lunar Roulette”
A free-jazz super group that launches an extreme improvisation. The deep multilayering of this sonic feast will take your head off. It’s a primal sound, an awkward bouquet of brute noises that demolishing any form, a piercing listening.


11. Mike Watt – “Hyphenated Man”
For his mid life crisis rock opera Watt took inspiration from his post punk roots in Minutemen: a super-technical trio, chop-chop jazzy fastness, signature stop-start rhythms, great leads etc. The result: his best album since “Double Nickels on a Dime”. If only it wasn’t so self-centered it could have wake the hypnagogic American indie kids from their synth slumber.


10. Ignatz – “I Hate This City”
Devens’ muddy alienating blues have come to perfection. The mysterious aesthetic, the blurry vocals, the idiosyncratic guitar playing, everything that sums to Ignatz dysfunctional music world are structuring here his precious magnum opus. Till now, of course.


09. Cut Hands – “Afro Noise I”
A dizzyingly machine that products noisy voodoo rhythms. A frenzy dark compelling mix of African percussions – offensive, aggressive, painstaking. Somebody must surely cut Bennett’s hands, cos if he makes another album like this, my neck will go loose from the headbagging.


08. Evangelista – “In Animal Tongue”
No melodies here. The instruments just making sounds, somewhere in the background. There is no climax, no intensity, no peaks and troughs. Everything focuses to Bozulich’s unbelievable and charismatic prose. The most dark, angry, toxic album of this year.


07. Tom Waits – “Bad As Me”
Uncle Tom we ought to thank you for this: “Chicago” is a 2-minute howlin’ blues gem, “Kiss Me” makes old couples feel like first starters, “Talking All The Same Time” is the absolute economic crisis threnody-ballad, “Bad As Me” resurrects the that old’ Beefheartian spirit, “Hell Broke Luce” is the US Army anti-anthem and “Satisfied” is best Rolling Stones song in ages. No one make the as Good As You.


06. Aethenor – “En Form for Blå”
Please hear this at night. And do it with headphones. Turn off the lights and close your eyes. The ambient, metal, kraut, improv elements this beauty contains, the amorphous atmosphere, the dystopian landscape that builds will reward you with maximum pleasure.


05. Fovea Hex – “Here is Where We Used to Sing”
Really there are few things to say about this album. Very few indeed. I can only stand speechless to the soporific melodies, to the strange tidal ambient sounds, to the warm and vivid vocals, to the stunning majestic and cohesive music that dominates the air. Epiphany, is the word I’m looking here?


04. The Scene Is Now – “Magpie Alarm”
Can’t begin to say how much I adore this album. May sound too idiosyncratic and laid back at times, but honestly it contains the most poetic lyrics I‘ve listened to the previous year, the most sentimentally potent avant / pop moves and the lushest jug band ever. My love for American indie judged in the late ‘00s by lame releases, is again restored.


03. Alvarius B – “Baroque Primitiva”
Let’s say that covering a song is something that has never happen before. And let’s just say that to play a song that already exists is an idea that a guy has in Seattle, after smoking 2 packets of cigarettes. And then he makes an album that explores a new musical era. Yes, hearing Alan Bishop’s album you get the feeling that cover songs were never made in the past. That’s how strongly he conquers the infamous tracks he is playing with his only weapon a detuned guitar.


02. Group Doueh – “Zayna Jumma”
Salmou Baamar benefited heavily from clean production, beautiful tuareg singing, African trance rhythms and skeletal drumming by the Group, to unleash pure psychedelic desert rock guitar licks that sprayed on our minds like golden rain. “Zayna Jumma” celebrates the rebirth of the primal rock n roll urge in its own Arabic ways!


01. Elle Osborne – “So Slowly Slowly She Got Up”
As you might have already realized, this blog loves British folk. And here we have a keenly and expressive voice, yet tender and fragile. Also we have an all-star cast, we have stirring melodies, magnificent instrumentation, a colorful patchwork of emotions array through the tracks. So, isn’t an obvious no1?

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