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ario's favorite albums of 2007

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Jan. 2nd, 2008 | 01:00 am
music: gatekeeper - tomb

The end of my '07 got crazy busy and I haven't found time to post on LJ much as you may have noticed, but I did want to get my albums of the year post out. Overall, another amazing year for music so without further adieu...

01. burial - untrue

Not sure I can say much more about this album than what's already been said. His music works on so many different levels... it's great background music, it's great foreground music... it has elements of ambient, hip-hop, drum n' bass, and satisfying "oooos and ahhhs" as the sister of one friend recently described. I just hope he can keep pace for album #3. Long live saudade!

02. studio - west coast

I had a tough time not making this album my #1 choice for the year. While Burial is great, "Untrue" isn't really a new sound or terribly fresh. This album however is completely something unique to 2007. Like an LCD Soundsystem on downers, it's funky, laid back, and catchy as all hell. Hope they go on tour in '08! (thx to mikebee on this one)

03. underworld - oblivion with bells

I must admit, after "100 Days Off," I had almost thrown in the towel on these guys (funny enough, I actually like that record now too). "Beautiful Burnout" is probably my favorite song of the year... the synths kill me and I adore the transition from "Crocodile." One sour note however is "Ring Road" which gets my vote as the absolute worst song they've ever recorded... but other than that, I really dig this album and it's great to see them still thriving post-Emerson departure.

04. sally shapiro - disco romance

I love it when an album has a specific association to an event in my life and this one has a doozy... my first marathon. I listened to this record on repeat while I was training. It's so amazingly catchy and fun to sing along with. The producer, Johan Agebjorn, is a genius at taking Italo disco and modernizing it. I hope to hear more from the duo in the future!

05. radiohead - in rainbows

True masters... really, what else is there to say about this band? I can't wait to pick up the box set tomorrow which is currently sitting on my desk at work. They've certainly got the midas touch at the moment as underscored by this great NYE performance and this interview between Yorke and David Byrne.

06. low - guns and drums

Another great album from what has to be the most consistent band in current rock music. Saw them again live this year for what has to be like the 8th time... awesome show as usual. I love that they're using electronic elements more, but still retaining their trademark sound.

07. tracey thorn - out of the woods

I haven't seen this album on anyone's top 10 list which is a shame since I think it's really good. It is uneven in terms of track order (acoustic songs paired with techno ones), but overall, there are some wonderful songs on here. Then again, Tracey has one of those voices that I could just listen to no matter what she was singing.

08. paul wall w/ dj michael watts - get money, stay true (screwed n' chopped)

Ok, I'm probably losing a few of you with this one, but I gotta stay true as Paul says and be honest about what I listened to the most this year. Hearing the original non-screwed version of this album is a huge mistake. Honsetly, I don't even know why Houston rappers even bother releasing normal speed versions when you have the awesome DJ'ing skills of Michael Watts which can spruce up even the most by the numbers hip-hop track. This one was also another "in the gym" favorite and makes me feel like I'm in touch with my hometown even though I haven't lived there for several years now.

09. skull disco - soundboy punishments (comp)

I was afraid when I first heard dubstep that it would be a fad genre, sorta like 2-step/garage was, but I think albums like Burial's and Skull Disco show that it truly has something substantial to offer and in multiple flavors. This comp mixes some interesting middle eastern sounds (a la Muslimgauze) to the dubstep soundz and provided a great sinister listen from start to finish.

10. commix - commix

Speaking of forgotten genres, many have decried drum n' bass to be dead for awhile now, but then you have someone like Commix come along proving otherwise. As an album, this one doesn't have the timelessness of the early Logical Progress comps, but each song taken individually is pretty kick ass and would sound amazing on any dn'b mix. (thx to the D for introducing me to this one)


A few more noteworthy finds below...

Runner's up for #11:

air - pocket symphony

I sorta forgot about this record, but recently started listening to it again and quite like it.

nine inch nails - year zero

This album had by far the most creative marketing strategy I've ever seen and I did enjoy it way more than "With Teeth," but NIN still doesn't hold the same appeal to me as they did during "The Downward Spiral" and "Fragile" days (the latter still being my favorite and sorely under appreciated... even by Trent himself). I do applaud Trent though for continually trying out new things and innovating in the music industry.

ulrich schnauss - goodbye

I know some of you really hated this record, but not I. The Cocteau Twins fan in me is too large to not give props to this obvious tip of the hat at their sound. The track "Goodbye" is a close second to "Beautiful Burnout" for my song of the year.

feist - the reminder

IPod commercial overload and Starbucks fame aside, this is a great record. She's a super song writer plain n' simple and she deserves all the success she's received this year.

Best dance mixes:

-- This live set by Dixon from '06

I missed this when it originally came out, but boy did I play the hell out of it in '07. It is my mission to see this guy DJ live at some point... he mixes techno and house together seamlessly into a consistently ass shaking concoction.

-- Daft Punk - Alive 2007

They could've taken the easy route by just playing their songs unaltered into a dj mix for their tour, but no... they went back to the drawing board and totally created something new that blends together the best bits from their entire career. I'd love to see more big name artists do this sort of thing in the future. Can you imagine a Board of Canada version of this approach? My head would explode. But back to Daft Punk... in terms of fun factor, I still say they put on the best show I've ever been to and this mix is an awesome document for revisiting those fond memories.

Best techno albums:

I enjoyed all of the albums below, but none were strong enough to break into my top 10...

The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
Pantha Du Prince - This Bliss
Hug - Heroes
Gui Boratto - Like You
Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!
Efdemin - Efdemin
thomas fehlmann - honigpumpe
Uusitalo - Karhunainen
Swayzak - Some Other Country


Best reissues:

Klaus Schulze - Cyborg
young marble giants - colossal youth


Best ambient/experimental albums:

Wow, there were so many good ones this year... this is just a sampling I culled together from a quick perusal of my hard drive...

expo '70 - audio archive 001 / audio archive 002
various artists - pop ambient 2008
aus - curveland
l. pierre - dip
murcof - cosmos
nest - nest
swod - sekunden
oren ambarchi - grapes from the estate
jasper tx - in a cool monsoon
merrell baker and jordan - nagual


Much of this came from sifting through several records every few weeks at Aquarius... that place is both a godsend and a curse (monetarily) for someone with my musical leanings.

Best random find:

Vangelis - Blade Runner (Gongo soundtrack)

I haven't seen the Final Cut yet, but finding this version of the soundtrack was definitely a musical highlight of my year.

Albums i need to listen to more:

These are all albums I procured in '07 that other friends/blogs have praised, but which haven't received my 100% attention yet.

Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline
beirut - The Flying Club Cup
bass clef - the opera EP
deerhunter - Cryptograms
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
jens lekman - night falls over kortedala
ghastly city sleep - self-titled
4 Hero - Play With the Changes
Amon Tobin - Foley Room
peverelist - roll with the punches
Apparat - Walls
tim hecker - norberg
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered


And that's it for '07! Check out my favs from last year here.

Let me know what moved you in '07... what you agreed/disagreed with, and here's to another kick ass year for good choonz in '08!

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Comments {12}

Naomi

(no subject)

from: nomi
date: Jan. 2nd, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
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Been loving the Studio, definitely a top one on my list too. I can't remember where I came across it now, maybe from you? Ironically this is the first year that I've kept an accurate list of what I've been listening to and I don't even feel like posting it for some reason. I don't find Skull Disco to be sinister at all, dark and beautiful maybe, but dark doesn't always equate sinister in my mind. Stars of the Lid and Panda Bear are definitely worth some repeated listens, I found they grew on me more and more over the year.. SotL albums always need some quiet reflection time, but I can understand if that's hard to come by.

Something I think you'll like, two mixes I've been enjoying immensely lately by Christine Vaccine:

Mix for BBC Radio 1 Experimental

Download here: http://www.cov-ops.co.uk/lbp/Vaccine-Intex-Radio1mix.mp3 (better version than the Mary Anne Hobbs live one)

&

Electronic Explorations - 004

Reply | Thread

ario

(no subject)

from: interimlover
date: Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the links!

I think Studio came from me... I posted about it earlier in the year...

I wanna see your list!

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you are...NOT the father

(no subject)

from: mikebee
date: Jan. 2nd, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
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i'll be posting my charts this week to both my LJ and amoeba blogs (the latter sadly neglected)

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ario

(no subject)

from: interimlover
date: Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
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sweet, can't wait!

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Maarten

thanks!

from: maarten
date: Jan. 2nd, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
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I took a quick look on Rhapsody to see what I could find there and am listening to some of this now. Thanks. I think I found The Fields through you, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Is there a meta search engine anywhere for online music, searching Rhapsody, Napster, AmazonMP3, iTunes, and indie music labels all at once?

For others who want to taste, I found these on Rhapsody:

Burial - Untrue
Sally Shapiro - Disco Romance
Paul Wall - Get Money...
Air - Pocket Symphony
Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye
NIN - Year Zero
Swayzak - Some Other Country

Reply | Thread

ario

Re: thanks!

from: interimlover
date: Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
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not that I know of... would be nice to have though!

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gaijinrunner

(no subject)

from: gaijinrunner
date: Jan. 2nd, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
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i love the burial release. daft punk alive album is my current favorite music while running.

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josh

(no subject)

from: joshc
date: Jan. 2nd, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
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somehow I completely forgot about Drums & Guns. I just picked up Untrue the other day though.

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(Deleted comment)

ario

(no subject)

from: interimlover
date: Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
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werd! what were you bumpin' last year?

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r命

lj_mattholland pointed me here

from: animate
date: Jan. 4th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
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Nice list. You've heard a bunch of shit that I needed to hear before making my own list (which you're free to look at). How's that Pantha Du Prince? I hear good things.

I feel you on the screwed/chopped idea, too. I absolutely hated Mike Jones until I heard Who is...? chopped/screwed.

Reply | Thread

ario

Re: lj_mattholland pointed me here

from: interimlover
date: Jan. 7th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
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The Pantha is good... some tracks are standouts ("Saturn Strobe" in particular).

Glad to meet someone who likes this kind of stuff and can appreciate screw! :)

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r命

(no subject)

from: animate
date: Jan. 8th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
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I'm definitely down for screw. Mostly original screw tapes, but once or twice a year, a new release captures me. This past years choice was definitely BTNH's Greatest Hits chopped/screwed. Hell, some of their songs are better this way.

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