Friday, December 19, 2014

My Favorite 50 Albums of 2014



Each year I write a Top 25 list and sometimes it's difficult to compile that many albums I'm actually excited about. This year, the only problem was that there were so many albums I was ecstatic about, I had to do a list of my Top 50. It was a great and very refreshing 52 Tuesdays. I'll also add that it might just be my most diverse list ever. So without further adieu...

50. Call Super - Suzi Ecto (Five Easy Pieces)



49. Xosar - Immured (Valcrond Video)



48. Karen Gwyer - New Roof (No Pain in Pop)



47. Tinariwen - Emmar (ANTI-)



46. Perc - The Power and the Glory (Perc Trax)



45. Oake - Auferstehung (Downwards)



44. Kemper Norton - Loor (Front and Follow)



43. Klara Lewis - Ett (Editions Mego)



42. D'Angelo & The Vanguard - Black Messiah (RCA)



41. Theo Parrish - American Intelligence (Sound Signature)



40. Dalhous - The Will to be Well (Blackest Ever Black)



39. Russell Haswell - 37 Minute Workout (Diagonal)



38. Merkabah - Moloch (Instant Classic)



37. Lawrence English - Wilderness of Mirrors (Room 40)



36. Shinichi Atobe - Butterfly Effect (Demdike Stare)



35. The Soft Pink Truth - Why Do the Heathen Rage (Thrill Jockey)



34. The Body - I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl)



33. Kangding Ray - Solens Arc (Raster Noton)



32. Cut Hands - Festival of the Dead (Blackest Ever Black)


CUT HANDS from URSSS on Vimeo.

31. Akkord - HTH020 (Houndstooth)



30. Positive Centre - In Silent Series (Our Circula Sound)



29. A Winged Victory for the Sullen (Kranky)



28. Puce Mary - Persona (Posh Isolation)



27. Neneh Cherry - Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)



26. Caribou - Our Love (MERGE)



25. Actress - Ghettoville (Werkdiscs / Ninja Tune)



24. Leyland Kirby Presents V/VM - The Death of a Rave: Partial Flashback (History Always Favors         the Winners)



23. Pharmakon - Bestial Burden (Sacred Bones)



22. Lussuria - Industrial Illuminato (Hospital Productions)



21. Jessie Ware - Tough Love (Island Records)



20. Martial Cantarel - Gyors, Lassu (Dais)



19. Lee Gamble - Koch (Pan)



18. Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Piano Nights (PIAS)



17. Einsturzende Neubauten - Lament (BMG)



16. Shabazz Palaces - Lesse Majesty (Sub Pop)



15. Cooly G - Wait 'Til Night (Hyperdub)



14. Woods of Desolation - As the Stars (Northern Silence Productions)



13. Kerridge - A Fallen Empire (Downwards)



12. Kall - S/T (Self-released)



11. Kassem Mosse - Workshop 19 (Workshop)



10. The Inward Circles AKA Richard Skelton - Nimrod Is Lost In Orion And Osyris In The         Doggestarre (Self-released)



09. Wrekmeister Harmonies - Then It All Came Down (Thrill Jockey)



08. Fennesz - Becs (Editions Mego)



07. Ben Frost - AURORA (Bedroom Community)


06. Dean Blunt - Black Metal (Rough Trade)



05. Death Blues - Ensemble (Rhythmplex)



04. Black Rain - Dark Pool (Blackest Ever Black)



03. Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers (Modern Love)



02. Ekoplekz - Unfidelity (Planet Mu)



01. Mica Levi - Under the Skin OST (Rough Trade)

This lady is blowing my mind lately. Not only is this the most wonderfully creepy soundtrack I've heard in ages, but her cassette that just came out on Demdike Stare's label is absolutely brilliant. She seems to be blowing up and I wish her all the success.


Sidenotes:

Label of the year:

Blackest Ever Black

Concert of the year:

Tim Hecker at Big Ears March 28



Thank you for reading. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have to offer.

XO,

Christopher

Monday, October 13, 2014

R.I.P. Mark Bell



I'm really sad to announce that Mark Bell has passed away due to complications from surgery. An electronic pioneer with his work as one half of LFO, his genre bending of house with techno was ahead of the game, and he was one of my favorite album producers of the 90's. Bjork has kept him aboard since he produced her "Homogenic" album. He will be soreley missed.

And...well, Fucking LFO, y'all!!!

















Friday, October 3, 2014

R.I.P. Stephen Samuel Gordon AKA The Spaceape



Unfortunately, many of you reading my blog may not be familiar with this name. However, his monolithic voice has appeared on many tracks from the London based Hyperdub label, a massively relevant voice in modern electronic music.

His spoken word appears on what I believe to be one of the most important releases of modern times, Burial's debut album in 2006. That eponymous track, like the rest of the album, does not age. It is timeless. It gets stuck in my head on a regular basis. This news is absolutely crushing. And just before the release of a new ep of his work with Kode9, just released this week.

This from Hyperdub's Facebook page:

We are devastated to announce that on Thursday 2nd October, Stephen Samuel Gordon aka The Spaceape, vocalist, poet and live performer, passed away peacefully after a 5 year struggle with a rare form of cancer. He leaves behind his wife Luciana and 6 year old daughter, Cleo. His first release was the 1st release on Hyperdub, 'Sine of the Dub' in 2004 with Kode9, with whom he also released 2 albums, Memories of the Future (2006) and Black Sun (2011). In 2012 he also self-released the Xorcism EP, appeared on the track 'Spaceape' on Burial's debut album in 2006, and also collaborated with The Bug, Martyn, Jerry Dammers, Redshape, Dub Gabriel, the Echologist and more. Last Monday he released his new EP with Kode9, 'Killing Season' including the video 'Devil is a Liar' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dtc4Y4Xyjo which was filmed in July 2014. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, and all who have been touched by his writings and performances. His Hyperdub family will always miss him.

Take a listen to this mind melting track. Eight years old and it still sounds like the future.




And this is the video from the upcoming release.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

John Coltrane - Offering: Live at Temple University,1966 (Resonance, 2014)



Today is my Holy Day, my only holy day. Sept. 23, 1926, my hero, John Coltrane,was born, and there is no better gift to the world than a never before released live concert. This show was unearthed in 2005 and sees its first proper christening today by (Resonance Records).

Recorded just months before his death, This Philly show saw Trane pushing all limits. His health was declining and he knew the end was nigh. Mind you, this is a year or so after McCoy Tyner told someone that Trane was playing so hard that blood was spewing from his mouth. At one point, he removes the sax and begins chanting, and changing vocalization by beating his chest. This was at the point where he felt he had pushed the instrument to its furthest extent, and the only maneuver beyond was to cut out the middle man and push from the depths of his diaphragm.

As far out as he gets here, with Alice Coltrane, Rashied Ali, Pharoah Sanders and a crew of Philly based percussionists, he returns to finish with his rendition of "My Favorite Things", a fan favorite. The drastic departure from the extremes to finish with this was FOR his fans. He never forgot that his spiritual quest could never have launched and finished without those people that loved him.

Trane's body was dying, and the end was soon. He didn't succeed or fail, because,as he would have told you, there is no beginning or end, just the journey.

Recorded November 11, 1966
Mitten Hall, Temple University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Featured Artists: John Coltrane – soprano & tenor saxophones, flute & vocals

Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone & piccolo

Alice Coltrane – piano Sonny Johnson – bass

Rashied Ali – drums

Additional musicians include: Steve Knoblauch, Arnold Joyner – alto saxophone Umar Ali, Algie DeWitt, Robert Kenyatta – percussion

Resonance Records, which is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation, will contribute a portion from every sale to the John Coltrane Home (www.thecoltranehome.org), an organization devoted to the preservation of Coltrane’s former home in Dix Hills, New York.

TRACK LIST:

DELUXE 2 CD DIGI-PACK
Disc One
01. Naima (16:28)
02. Crescent (26:11)

Disc Two
03. Leo (21:29)
04. Offering (4:19)
05. My Favorite Things (23:18)

DELUXE 2 LP GATEFOLD
Side A
Naima (16:28)

Side B
Crescent (26:11)

Side C
Leo (21:29)

Side D Offering (4:19) My Favorite Things (23:18)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nils Frahm - Screws (Erased Tapes, 2012)



I'm welcoming autumn with this wonderfully melancholy piano album from a very gifted composer. In fact, I've listened to it a dozen times today.

 Just before it was released, Nils Frahm had broken his thumb. In the despair and fear that naturally came from such an incident, he set off to record a piece each night, before bed. Over the course of nine nights, with nine fingers, and a single microphone, he overcame the seemingly monumental setback, resulting in an improvisational opus of extraordinary beauty. These sparse and intimate portraits, spanning a mere twenty-eight minutes, are powerful, combining the spirit of Satie with some of the best new age piano recordings in the modern compositional canon.

Though he initially released the recording as a free download, not thinking it was worth much at all, he couldn't have been more wrong. I'm deeply moved by this half hour of troubled and beautiful sketches. I hope you will be too.

Below, I've also included some of his other work, so as to showcase his versatility. Be sure to watch the last video, "All Melody" to appreciate his electronic sensibility as well. Enjoy.








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