Jul 21st, 2008, 10:46 PM
wrote this elsewhere. i have a feeling my tastes dont run parallel to much of i-mock but if you get anything out of it that's cool.
2008 rules. got into a lot of new bands and different things than my usual.
1. Jacaszek - Treny
it's a weird start, but a spectacular one, i practically got hit by a train on this no-name guy that i wandered into on a whim. Second album by the Polish composer titled after the nationally famous series of poems mourning the loss of a young daughter (look it up on Wikipedia, it's actually pretty interesting), Boomkat went completely nuts off the hype train (like they would) for this one, and i previewed a copy expecting its melancholy bent to be endless, repetitive, dragging, and far too advanced to appreciate on any level lower than post-everything. what i got was one of the most beautiful albums i've ever heard. violin, cello, static, and soft electronics a-la-burial make up his songs about lament and loss and i sat there alternately transfixed and involuntary mumbling amazement by it all. put out by Miasmah label, which i thought was too small for me to get a copy without paying stupid money, but it's still available through amazon. if you've had any interest in burial, polmo polpo, arvo part, or amute, you need need need to hear this.
2. Bruno Pronsato - Why Cant We Be Like Us
Minimal is such a strong word, because it implies mostly boring things, like hawtin's purposefully sterile strain, but here's how this is different: Steven Ford (his real name and a portland native) is primarily a percussionist and even used to drum for a heavy metal band, so when he took two years to make this, he wasnt making a german club smorgasborg, but a sort of throttled techno with surprising blood and interplay between his beats, the live percussion, snatches of vocals, and piano. thats not to say he's completely unconventional, he does take his time to get to where he is, and it can miss, but he is talented in that the build is not the placeholder. aside from a couple of flubs, his tracks maintain interest from the get go and only get more exciting as time goes on. despite the missteps, this album is number 2 because what works does so staggeringly well. precise, lethal, and tense in sound, it's surprisingly human and erratic in execution. clips and samples get cut off shorter... they misstep and stumble, and develop problems as they go on, or at least appear to. they rarely start as they end, and cant be predicted. one of the most exciting and visually inspirational techno albums i've heard.
3. Sigur Ros - Meš suš ķ eyrum viš spilum endalaust
4. Portishead - Third
5. Autechre - Quaristice
i wrote sometime terminally, almost embarassingly long about this one soewhere else, and i only say that because this one had me reeling in excitement enough to do it, but i'll spare you. if we know autechre we know where we stand on them, but i am really loving how a group has lasted 15 years with surprisingly few dents in relevance, originality, and quality.
6. Clark - Turning Dragon
7. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
i've made three people listen to this album so far and they've all been reminded of madvillain at some point. dont let the "hiphop instrumentals on warp" make you think this is a parallel prefuse. he may go there for brief moments, but this is thicker, less digitized, and frankly a lot more beautiful. hard to think of anyone as "ignored" when it's someones debut album and it's getting decent attention, but it's certainly flying under a few radars.
8. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
9. Onur Ozer - Kasimir
(this one is for that one guy who downloaded half hawaii about a year ago on this board and liked it... i think it was esuohlim, not sure)
this is one of those "technically 2007" records that few seemed to know about until 2008 rolled around, so it's here. i always wondered what he hell happened to Half Hawaii. i was talking about "throttled techno" earlier but in comparison this would make Bruno sound positively liberated. stoic but not sterile, his gaping silences and abbreviated samples stalked anyone listening. now he's Onur Ozer, and things haven't changed so much as things have been added. taking a cue from Villalobos' "Fizheuer Zieheuer", there's horns and wind instruments aplenty to give it a strong eastern vibe, but not overridingly, annoyingly, "world groov"ingly so. he and pronsato often got mentioned in the same breath and fittingly so.
10. M83 - Saturadays = Youth
Pink Floyd's "Momentary Lapse of Reason" made me hate the 80s at an unfortunately VERY early age. i wont get into it but every 80s album was seen through those glasses and subsequently had to crawl out of a very big hole to be anything but contemptible.yet this album somehow corrals all those sentiments and other nuances i've felt about the time and puts in the parallel of growing pains with new technology mirroring the growing pains of being a teenager, and all of a sudden the messy enthusiasm and overzealousness becomes instantly charming and i embrace it more than i could have predicted after being warned in advance of an un-ironic 80s album from M83. an album that goes big, gets naive, and reaches desperately for transcendent connections, understood as being the only meaningful sensation, by being as emotionally exposed and shameless as possible. it comes complete with especially terrible spoken 'poetry' of prematurely jaded youth thats as understandable as it is painful to hear, and i feel i have to cheer it on so it can grow up and cobble the raw beginnings into something complete and brilliant.
except that anthony gonzalez is 27 now, so while he *can* look back and reflect that frustrated passion to the last synth, he can also write songs that comes from four studio albums of experience, restraint (being a funny idea for M83 but it's there), and knowing what works and what doesnt, so what results is expertly controlled nostalgia that plays like a reissue of the greatest album of its time.
11. Jamie Lidell - Jim
12. Our Sleepless Forest - Our Sleepless Forest
i'm not even sure where these guys are on the map. they could be a myspace band or have a small label... i dont know. i was just given this and over the course of a couple weeks slowly got into their super-infused-with-everything instrumentals that never pushed too hard or drowned itself out. there was rhythm in the noise and melody hanging on. check out a track called "white bird" it's a highlight and also gives a great idea of what they do.
13. Ellen Allien - Sool
while ellen's been doing whatever the hell she wants for awhile, i think thrills was the first fumbling step towards a clean sound with lush implications that sool is getting ever closer to, and it's starting to sound really great. "caress" and "zauber" are big highlights for me.
14. Benga - Diary of an Afro Warrior
has a unique sound that's clean and achingly sharp. i've been inadvertently blurting out how amazing it feels lots of times while playing it. it's just bliss for the ears on a proper system.
15. James Blackshaw - Litany of Echoes
bookended by two rambling and pointless piano excursions, that same rambling doesnt seem nearly as directionless when done over multiple acoustic guitars. an understated complexity that slowly burns its way into consciousness, this album got into regular rotation after being vaguely confused about it for two weeks
16. Claro Intelecto - Metanarrative
17. Sonny J - Disastro
if i still believed in guilty pleasures this would be reasonably close to being it. i was 11 and it was 1996 when i got my first boombox. i got into electronic music. i dont think i can be blamed too badly if astralwerks was my drug of choice at the time. there was a point where i would guess that everyone but the optimists saw where big beat and fatboy slim was going with his parade of obnoxious frat-party-isms. SO I GUESS this is that "coulda-been" direction the optimists were seeing instead. big dumb fatboy beats of old with go team's modern sugar high. it's a nostalgic trip i wasnt expecting and wouldnt think could be pulled off very well but this is pretty infectious
18. Klive - Sweaty Psalms
19. Frakkur - Songs for the Little Boy
20. Anja Schneider - Beyond The Valley
Syclops - I've Got My Eye on You
Ratatat - LP3
Gnarls Barkley - Odd Couple
2562 - Aerial
Dday One - Heavy Migration
Loco Dice - 7 Dunham Place
NIN - The Slip
Beck - Modern Guilt