to eleven


Matt’s Top 5 by ymatto
December 24, 2010, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , , , ,

I figure I’m barely half a contributor here, so rather than the traditional top 10, I’m doing a demi.

The Roots – How I Got Over

I believe firmly that The Roots are one of the most talented and consistent musical groups living today.  That said, I have to admit that for me their albums of recent years, while strong, had a certain experimental focus that pushed aside the effortless depth that drew me in originally.  How I Got Over, much like Autechre’s Oversteps this year, seems to take everything they’ve learned in recent years, and pulls it together with more clarity — an album that, if I’m honest, is the first since about “Things Fall Apart” that reaches into my brain and pulls my levers.  Just fully brilliant hip-hop.

Red Sparowes – The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer

I’ve become a quick fan of the Red Sparowes, and their latest has a narrative maturity and emotional range that sets it apart even from their previous outstanding work.  On the post-rock front, I nearly had to give the year to Souvenir’s Young America on harmonica-based grounds, but in the end the Sparowes was one of a few albums that helped get me through a rough patch this year, so it’s going on the shelf of particular respect.

Super Galactic Expansive – Supersensible Science

I kind of went on about these guys this year, and it’s still an album I come back to over and over.  Momentum and flow, momentum and flow, tight tight electronic sounds, and momentum and flow.  Comparisons can be made, but really it doesn’t sound like anything else; no album got me as excited by its pure freshness this year.

Tipper – Broken Soul Jamboree

I meant to do a proper review for this, but events intervened.  The short version:  Tipper reminds me a bit of Photek from back in the day.  Photek came in at the height of drum’n’bass popularity and dropped a bunch of albums and singles that took this deconstructed, surgically precise approach to the formula.  It had obsessive attention to production quality while still creating atmosphere and raw power (see his Ni Ten Ichi Ryu).  Tipper has been doing very similar things with a range of electronic music, from IDM to breaks to glitch-hop.  His album “Surrounded” was, in turns, cinematic and squelchily electronic — experimental and cohesive — organic and so precise that he offered a DVD-Audio version that was, Dark Side of the Moon-style, mixed into discrete surround sound.  Broken Soul Jamboree picks up where Surrounded left off and truly takes it to eleven.  It’s lush, lush stuff.

Ninjatune XX Box Set

This has to be on my list for delivering the full package — music, art, and information packaged in a way that conveys real appreciation for you the listener.  This was the piece this year that made me feel like a music purchase was an event, not just a CD rip.

Special bonus, one album that was kind of a disappointment this year:  Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

I always like the Gorillaz and I was sure I’d like this.  I bought the special edition deal.  It caused me to discover Little Dragon, which I dig quite a bit.  It has an intro with Snoop Dogg, and Stylo is a properly great song.  But I just do not like this album.  Like, it’s all cool getting Bobby Womack and the National Orchestra for Arabic Music, but 90% of this sounds like the funky eclectic intro and outro tracks to what I hoped this album would be.  I do really like Stylo and Little Dragon though.

– Matt

Advertisements