Thursday, February 20, 2020

top electronic 2000 (Sonicnet)

my picks for top electronic music albums of 2000, for Sonicnet webzine
1. Isolee, Rest (Playhouse). Multi-tiered rhythms, snaking pulse-riffs and headphone-friendly production riddled with wormhole-y details made for this year's most eminently listenable house album.

2. Ananda Project, Release (Nitegroove). Wamdue's Chris Brann returns with spacious deep house shimmerscapes fueled by bittersweet epiphanies (especially "Cascades of Colour") and spiritual yearning.

3. Herbert, Let's All Make Mistakes (Tresor). The English doyen of quirky-but-gorgeous house, Matthew Herbert drops his first mix-CD, a flawless mosaic of abrasive minimalism and succulent sensuality.

4. Pole, 3 (Matador). Stefan Betke's most rootsical and skankadelic avant-dub foray thus far sounds as warped and fuzzy as a lost King Tubby master tape dropped in a puddle, left to dry in the sun, then forgotten for 24 years.

5. Various Artists, Clicks+Cuts (Mille Plateaux). A showcase for "glitch," the new skool of electronica made from digital distortion and the snap-crackle-pops of molested machinery, this double-disc comp is always stimulating and often surprisingly "musical."

6. Green Velvet, Green Velvet (F-111/Warner Bros.). Curtis Jones' genius is his knack for writing and singing story-ditties that not only don't detract from the harsh, pounding, mechanistic house he purveys in his "tracky" Green Velvet persona, but actually make the experience even more alien and tripped-out.

7. Kid 606, Down With the Scene (Ipecac). Mashing up DSP-addled breakbeats, gabba noise, glitchy electronix, emo-core passion and Riot Boy petulance, Michael Depredo brings mischief, humor and sheer character to the overly scientific IDM world.

8. Various Artists, Lily of the Valley (Schematic). The missing link between 2 Live Crew and Autechre, booty and brain, the Miami-bassed Schematic crew showcases its roster's flair for rhythmic convolution, texturological research and low-end boom.

9. Various Artists, Pure Garage: Mixed Live by E-Z (Warner ESP). This series, now up to its third volume, offers the best introduction to two-step garage, the UK's freshest sound since jungle emerged back in '94.

10. Hellfish & Producer, Constant Mutation (Planet Mu). Industrial-strength hardcore enlivened with mad breakbeats and turntablist mayhem, this mix-CD — assembled entirely out of the duo's own oeuvre — suggests that gabba's distorted kick-drum aesthetic may be the next frontier for IDM.

pazz and jop votes 2003

ALBUMS

Dizzee Rascal, Boy In Da Corner (Dirty Stank/XL) -- 30
Animal Collective, Here Comes The Indian (Paw Tracks) -- 15
Cabaret Voltaire, Methodology '74/'78. Attic Tapes; (Mute) -- 10
Villalobos, Alcachofa (Playhouse) --10
Ward 21, U Know How We Roll (Greensleeves) -- 10
Michael Mayer, Fabric13 (Fabric) --5
Vybz Kartel, Up 2 Di Time (Greensleeves) --5
Soundmurderer, Wired for Sound (Violent Turd) --5
LFO, Sheath (Warp) --5
David Banner, Mississippi: The Screwed and Chopped Album -- 5

SINGLES
1/ Junior Boys, Birthday EP (Kin)
2/ Kano, "Boys Love Girls"  (white label)
3/ Vybz Kartel, "Sweet to the Belly" (Greensleeves)
4/ Dizzee Rascal, "I Luv U/Vexed" (Dirty Stank/XL)
5/ Wiley, "Ice Rink" (white label)
6/ OutKast, "The Way You Move"
7/ Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring the Ying Yang Twins, "Get Low" (TVT)
8/ Bigga-Man, "Trump/Funny Song” (white label)
9/ Ricardo Villalobos, "Dexter" (Playhouse)
10/ Kelis, "Milkshake"

Completely forgotten about the existence of that Bigga-Man track - a most peculiar grimestrumental if I recall right. It is not to be found on YouTube.

Most of the rest of the singles seem indelible, but I would probably shove "Sweet to the Belly" up to number one.

Cannot remember a thing about the Ward 21, Michael Mayer, and David Banner albums. Or really the Soundmurderer either.

Top Ten Alternative (1995)



My picks for The Spin Alternative Record Guide. Unlike many of the contributors, I actually restricted my selection to alternative rock and its ancestors / pantheon of influences.

If I was to do it now, following the same self-restrictions, there would be a lot more postpunk and a bit less "years of exile" - and not that much from the 25 years since the book was assembled.

                                                                 Image result for the spin guide to alternative music

fave albums of all time (1995 version)

Asked to vote in Mojo's Greatest Albums of All Time, here is what I decided then

Needless to say the list would be different in marked ways today, first with inclusions from the last 22 years but also rethinkings and refeelings of 60s / 70s / 80s. More postpunk, more glam (mystified by the non-appearance of Low for instance), more prog / post-psychedelic (where's Rock Bottom?)-  more electronica / rave and post-rave .... more electronic concrete avant-garde experimental...  more Jamaica...  . more non-West music (King Sunny Ade would figure for instance)... more ambient, more cosmic synth .... more hard/heavy rock. There are also reissue packages and compilations that have subsequently come to exist or I've encountered that would figure e.g. the MBV EPs comp, or King Tubby's Special.

That said everything on here is incontestable and would make a Top 100, possibly in slightly demoted or elevated positions. .

1/ THE STOOGES-- FUNHOUSE
2/ VAN MORRISON -- ASTRAL WEEKS
3/ THE SEX PISTOLS --- NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS
4/ CAN --- SOON OVER BABALUMA
5/ MY BLOODY VALENTINE -- ISN'T ANYTHING
6/ LOVE --- FOREVER CHANGES
7/ PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED --- METAL BOX
8/ MILES DAVIS --- BITCHES BREW
9/ ROLLING STONES --- LET IT BLEED (mainly for 'Gimme Shelter')
10/ THE SLITS --- CUT
11/ THE SMITHS -- THE SMITHS
12/ HUSKER DU --- ZEN ARCADE
13/ FAUST -- FAUST IV
14/ THE BYRDS --- YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY
15/ CAN --- TAGO MAGO
16/ JIMI HENDRIX --- ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
17/ THE BIRTHDAY PARTY --- PRAYERS ON FIRE
18/ THROWING MUSES -- IST LP
19/ PRINCE --- SIGN O' THE TIMES
20/ ROXY MUSIC --- FOR YOUR PLEASURE
21/ A.R. KANE --- 69
22/ LED ZEPPELIN --- IV
23/ APHEX TWIN --- SELECTED AMBIENT WORKS 1985-92
24/ PUBLIC ENEMY---FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET
25/ MEAT PUPPETS --- MEAT PUPPETS II
26/ JOHN MARTYN--- SOLID AIR
27/ SONIC YOUTH --- DAYDREAM NATION
28/ NEU! --- NEU! '75
29/ THE BAND --- THE BAND
30/ TRICKY ---MAXINQUAYE

Monday, May 6, 2019

pazz and jop votes and comments 1995

ALBUMS
Tricky: Maxinquaye --- 30
Omni Trio: Music For the Next Millenium (Sm:)e Communications) --- 10
Techno-Animal: Re-Entry (Caroline) --- 10
Various Artists: Macro Dub Infection (Caroline) ---- 10
Wagon Christ: Throbbing Pouch (Rising High USA)--- 10
Mouse On Mars -- Iahora Tahiti (Too Pure/American) ... 10
Stereolab: Music for the Amorphous Body Study Center (Duophonic) --- 5
Pram: Sargasso Sea (Too Pure/American) --- 5
The 6ths: Wasps' Nests (London) --- 5
Labradford: A Stable Perspective (kranky) --- 5


SINGLES
1/ Tricky -- Ponderosa (4th & Broadway)
2/ Tortoise -- Gamera/Cliff Dweller Society (Duophonic)
3/ Dionne Farris -- I Know (?)
4/ DJ Shadow --- What Does Your Soul Look Like (Mo Wax)
5/ Elastica --- Connection (DGC)
6/ Bjork --- Isobel (Elektra)
7/ Method Man feat Mary J. Blige -- You're All I Need To Get By
8/ Bjork --- Army of Me
9/ Scarface -- I Seen A Man Die (4 Hero Remixes) (Virgin)
10/ Method Man/Redman -- How High

VIDEOS
1/ Skeelo -- I Wish
2/ Bjork -- Isobel
3/ Bjork -- Army of Me
4/ Method Man/Mary J. Blige -- You're All I Need
5/ Junior Mafia -- Player's Anthem
6/ Rentals -- Friends of P
7/ Aphex Twin -- Ventolin
8/ Madonna -- pervy rubber bondage one
9/ Hole --- Violet
10/ Dionne Farris -- I Know

COMPILATONS
1/ Macro Dub Infection (Caroline)
2/ Routes From the Jungle (Caroline)
3/ Jungle Heat (Virgin)
4/ Total Science (MCA)
5/ Battlegrounds: A Collection of Hardcore CyberPunk (Mokum)

REISSUES/RETROSPECTIVES
1/ Neu! 75 (Germanophon)
2/ 2 Bad Mice: Kaotic Kemistry (Sm:)e Communications)
3/ Creation Rebel -- Historic Moments Vol 2 (On U)
4/ Neu - #1 (Germanophon)
5/ Kraftwerk #2 (Germanophon)



COMMENTARIES --- SIMON REYNOLDS

As glad as I am that America's critics have taken "Timeless" to their collective bosom, I'll be sadder if the encounter with  jungle stops at Goldie. C.f. Moby with techno--a single figure cannot be made to stand in for this ever-evolving music. As with most dance musics, jungle's creativity operates at the macro level of the entire genre (a syndrome Brian Eno dubbed 'scenius' as opposed to genius). Certain producers have a signature sound--Dillinja, Droppin Science, Aphrodite, Roni Size, Hype, to name just a few--but even these engineer-poets are ultimately subsumed within jungle's anonymous, inexhaustible currents of  collective innovation. Home-listening albums are no way to get a grip on this music, either. Jungle's 'meaning' is made on the dancefloor. At massive volume, knowledge is visceral, something your body feels as it's seduced and ensnared by the music's paradoxes: the way the breaks combine rollin' flow and disruptive instability, nonchalance and vigilance; the way the bass is at once immersive and aggressive, wombing and menacing. Simultaneously a sonic sanctuary and a martial art, jungle feels like the modern world.
Simon Reynolds, New York

In 1995 rock seemed to come to terms with the fact that it is now a fundamentally conservative genre. From Pearl Jam and Neil Young crossing a 20 year divide to find themselves in perfect agreement, to Rancid's Clash and 2-Tone xeroxes, to lo-fi's curatorial pride in the proto-punk/post-punk underground canon,  American guitar-based music was dominated by reverence and referentiality. The best anyone seemed to hope for was that rock would abide, carry on much the same as it was. But maybe people can't be blamed for clinging to the tried-and-trusted. For there's no denying that the most formally advanced musics around are also the most inhospitable and comfortless: the paranoiac hip hop of the post-Wu Tang LP's, jungle's tales from the dark side, the bad-dreamscapes of Tricky's "Maxinquaye", the disquiet and perplexity of avant-techno and post-rock. Music too expansive and unfamiliar to offer the shelter and consolation that people craved this year. Music that's not so much anti-populist (the RZA's productions sold by the half-million) as unpopulated; ghost-towns of the mind's eye, psychic landscapes of exile and dread. The trouble with frontier music is that it's no place like home.
Simon Reynolds, New York