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

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Super Galactic Giveaway by Jayson
June 22, 2010, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Contest | Tags: , ,

We’re havin’ a contest.

Matt reviewed Super Galactic Expansive’s Supersensible Science and found it to be entirely worthwhile. Since then he’s gone ahead and got us four copies to give away here.

Even though this album is a free download, the To Eleven crew believes in the value of the physical medium and financially supporting music and artists we like.

To give away the first copy, we’re going to make it easy. You see we have a Facebook page now. Go there, like us and post something on the wall about how you are down with Super Galactic Expansive and we will pick someone to get a CD.

Rules: There is one basic rule for this contest, friends are disqualified.We love you, but that wouldn’t be fair. We’re gonna be running this one for two weeks, then we’re going to switch it up for the next one.

– Us



Review: Super Galactic Expansive – Supersensible Science by ymatto
June 15, 2010, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Review | Tags: , ,

So my guilty daily indulgence these days is glitch-hop records.  I just turn Pandora loose with Glitch Mob and Eskmo and I get down to business. One day, as the story goes, I heard a song there by Kilowatts and it was good.  I ran that lead to ground and found out this guy, Jamie Watts, has been quietly making completely solid electronic music for years as Kilowatt, as well as exploring other avenues in various collaboration projects. I’ve been sleeping.

One of these projects, working with Anand Petigara on MC duties, is Super Galactic Expansive, and I’m going to boldly state that these dudes have something. It’s been a while since I’ve heard an album where I can hit play on any track and receive this kind of head-nodding mental stimulation. Take the funkier “Tip-Hop” end of Tipper’s dense glitchy production, add a little Plaid-like melodic sensibility, and then lay on some vocals that Jayson pointed out heavily displays Deltron3030-like flow — this is not a bad thing in the least.

King James is an outstanding example of the thing, with a lot going on, but nothing that’s not in the service of a tight tight rhythm and flow — this music has momentum.

The album is available free of charge on 1320records.com, but the dudes in question have just gotten in CDs and I must encourage you to support this enterprise because I want some more. Email them at kilowatts@gmail.com and they’ll give you a paypal address to use (nice actually being able to give my money entirely to the people making it happen for once).

– Matt