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Top Best Albums of 2011 by Jayson

Out of the way. Quick & Dirty. Stuff I reviewed only. I think anyway. Order does not imply ranking. I didn’t want to re-review these here, if I had any additional thoughts, I’ve added them.

Full Lengths:

Batillus – Furnace

I spent the whole time from when the vocals where announced to when I got to listen to it worried that they’d screw it up. They didn’t. Not at all.

Matt Bauer – The Jessamine County Book of the Living

Emotionally devastating to listen to.

Letna – Adria

In this broad genre of ambient music, this was the brightest light in a year of fantastic stuff.

Wugazi – 13 Chambers

Mashups are art, 13 Chambers is proof.

We’ll Go Machete – Strong Drunk Hands

Noise rock is back, people.

naisian – Mammalian

Picking up where Isis left off.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage

Wolves’ Oceanic.

Harmondale – Spirit of 73

So one lady proves she understands country music with her first release better than any new artist I’ve heard this year.

SP-33 – Escape From Tha Carter

This is music from a real future that exists somewhere.

Mastodon – The Hunter

I was super hard on this, but honestly in the wake of a year of challenging releases, The Hunter is seriously my go to album to unwind with. Girlfriend/In the car metal for life!

Special Dispensation:

Hurray For The Riff Raff

Technically this came out in the USA, where I am in 2010, but we were actually contacted by the UK pr and reviewed the UK release of this album. I loved it, heartbreaking. I am cheating to put it in here, but I can do that.

Graf Orlock – Doombox

Yeah, the 10″ has new material, but it’s most about being a comp.


Soul Khan – Resolution

Soul Khan had an incredibly prolific year in 2011. Of all the stuff he did, Resolution is my favorite. Khan is now one of my top 5 living MCs, real talk. Also as a thing, this has Nine on it. Seriously any day I hear ‘Whutcha Want’ on the radio, I think it’ll be a good day.

Big’n – Spare the Horses

Noise rock is back. Seriously back.

Butterfly Trajectory – EP 2011

So looking forward to what this band does next.

Witch Mountain – South of Salem

I want to listen to this and make out with a girl that has slightly crooked teeth.

So anyway, musical year in review. I kinda came back to metal this year after near total burnout last. There was some good, enjoyable stuff out there and I was glad to listen to it. Noise rock coming back was the big thing. I don’t want to get into the ‘yeah, but has it musically progressed?’ argument. It’s being back is really enough for me. As you can see by the list, though, it didn’t quite dominate my listening. Nothing really did. I view that as a good thing. This is a pretty well rounded list of the kind of music I like to listen to and review. It was also really hard to pick the top out as it was a uniformly good year here. I don’t have any major disappointments either, because there was very little I had serious anticipation for. As I sit here writing this though, I am really at a loss to say anything other than 2011 musically was the year that was.


Review: Yann Novak – Presence by Jayson
November 2, 2011, 10:35 am
Filed under: Ambient, Electronic, Experimental, Review | Tags: , , , ,

Minimalism remains a concept that is easy to grasp but remains difficult to execute well.

Presence is the audio document of a larger project that included video and participatory elements. Composed of rounds recorded on cell phones, the album is the result of the interaction of Yann and other artists during the original performance, giving rise to unanticipated results. As a single 48-minute long track, Presence is a very subtle journey along a continuum of states and emotions; all while staying consistent with the overall quiet, delicate nature of the album.

There are old chestnuts of mine for a review of this kind of music rewards a careful and patient listen, but given the extremely meditative quality of Presence, they bear repeating. As quiet and subtle as the album is, I found it be a deeply engaging listen. There’s a prevailing quality across the album to listen more carefully, listen harder, differentiate the deeper layers of sound. That’s the quality that defines Presence as well executed minimalism.

Available through Hibernate Recordings.

Yann Novak

– Jayson

Review: Necro Deathmort – Music of Bleak Origin by Jayson

Ok. I apologize lads. You sent this to me quite a while back and it just kinda got tucked away and I forgot about it until recently. I feel bad, because this record is really good, a bit genius even, and I should have said something about that sooner.

Had I not listened to this, I would have believe the combination of metal and dub would have worked. Having listened to it, I am going to say the metal aspect is mostly in the spirit of the sound. Necro Deathmort isn’t as harsh sound as Demonologists or Theologian, for the most part. Some tracks of Music of Bleak Origin do enter that territory but for the most part the sound is evil electronic/dub. That is to the band’s credit though. Their music is actually kinda sexy, which isn’t something you can say about a lot of ‘evil’ music. I seriously enjoy the dynamic range on this album. Having said that, the heaviness here is exceptionally well done. This is a top notch record.

Temple of Juno

Available on Distraction Records. 

– Jayson

Review: OFFTHESKY – Endless Yonder by Jayson
July 12, 2011, 10:48 am
Filed under: Ambient, Electronic, Experimental, Review | Tags: , ,

We actually received two albums by this artist, this and one put out on another label. I’m reviewing this one because I can support Offthesky and SEM at the same time.

I like this record a lot. It’s got a very peaceful, almost languid sound. It’s spacey, but there is enough going on that I don’t believe you’d need to be a really hardcore ambient music fan to appreciate this. I especially like the use of vocal elements, very restrained, but a nice touch.  It may be an awful cliché to say, but this really is a “put it on and float away” style record; very ethereal overall. I really do feel like I am cruising through the endless yonder while listening to this.

This is one of those “less written review = more listening pleasure” deals from me. Extremely enjoyable. Compositionally so solid you could use it to survive in space.

Wait, then wait

Go to SEM and get it. 

– Jayson

Review: Zweizz & Joey Hopkins – s/t by Jayson

Here is the deal. Since I write basically nothing but reviews, I feel like I’ve fallen into some kind of serious rut. I try to say things that are complimentary to the artist and describe the album, since if I’m reviewing it, there is a 99% chance I like the record.

So I am going to get this out of the way; I like this record. I think it’s good.

Now that we’re done there, I seriously don’t know what this record’s deal is. First of all calling this a black metal album is one of those things that is a brilliant bit of trolling, but actually makes sense if you’re divorcing black metal from all context except the level of noise, dissonance and kind of a porny “I know it when I see it” deal. For my tastes, there is a huge amount of pure concentrated genius on this. From titling a song “Eternal Puberty” to having glitch beats and a children’s chorus, to the Castlevania style synth.

What I can’t say is if this is a serious artistic statement, these guys were doing at least part of it for the lulz, or whether all this was just the organic result of collaboration. And you know what? I don’t want to know. Seriously. Don’t tell me. Just don’t care, enjoying the record. It’s stands on it’s own.

Eternal Puberty

Bimor Bibmoj

Available on Neuropa Records.

Review: Damn Robot! – Hunang Skrímsli by Jayson
June 1, 2011, 9:48 am
Filed under: Ambient, Electronic, Experimental, Review | Tags: , ,

I still haven’t fully come to grips with Hunang Skrímsli but a lot of time has passed since it was submitted and I don’t want those guys to think we passed on it. I like this album, it is one of the most oddly singular things I can remember having listened to.

It’s inconsistent, but not in a bad way. It’s not like it sounds as though they can’t make up their minds, or that it’s compilation. Rather, it sounds as though having decided on a basic framework of what their sound would be, they go and push out against that framework on each track by changing the prominence of the sounds on the tracks, respectively. At the core you have some electronic music. You’ve also got classical bits, samples, beats, ambient bits, acoustic guitar. You’ll hear at least 2 of those on each piece here, but what’s important to that particular song may change. Sometimes you have some real old school 90s sounding electronica, only to be followed by prominent guitar on the next track. Despite being a more quiet, mellow record, it’s very dynamic and engaging.

I recommend getting this and giving it the repeated listens it deserves. You’ll get a lot more out of it that way.

Errors Of The Pacifist

Available from Hawkmoon Records.  It’s ₤1 GBP. That’s a steal.

– Jayson

SP-33: Escape From Tha Carter – Review & Interview by Jayson

Not a mash-up, but a concept project. That’s how SP-33 described his Escape From The Carter album to us. I can dig it. Described in brief as the pop music of the kind of slow-burn dystopia that played out in movies like Blade Runner and Escape From New York, Escape From Tha Carter is one of the most interesting things I’ve heard this year. And you know what? I buy it. It is totally successful in doing what SP-33 set out to have it do. I love those movies too and have watched them all a bunch of times. When someone sets out a project with a goal like this, you have to say “Ok, so does it work, does it take me there?” It does. Escape sounds like the failed pictures of the future that inspired it.

This is an expert level mix. I kinda missed out on Lil Wayne, but man, I have to imagine that his stuff doesn’t sound anything like this. That is one of those “hallmarks of success” indicators for me. SP-33 manages to completely re-contextualize Lil Wayne in a way that, if I didn’t know the source, I’d just think this some original raps were happening. Dirty future. I love it.

Drop The World

SP-33 also graciously agreed to do an interview with us, check it out:

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