Okay, the egg nog and mulled wine put us out of action for a few days as expected, so there’s a backlog of stuff to finish and get up, starting with the sort-of traditional megapost of the year’s best. As always when starting one of these, I think to myself “There’s not really been that much this year worth compiling, has there?”, but a swift look in the bulging box contradicts that pretty sharpish – It’s been a most excellent year for music, and what’s more, the main succeeders of the year (both for me, and in general) all seem to have come from left field, which is most pleasing.
Still, in a year dominated by Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Elbow, Portishead and the like, the three albums that got the most plays from me are as follows:
The Advisory Circle – “Other Channels” (Ghost Box) : Jim ATT100 tipped me to this on our now sadly defunct radio show, which was quite a surprise. I’d been keeping an eye and ear on Ghost Box’s releases, but had thought till now that they hadn’t quite found the sound to match their splendid eye for design (check their website to see) – “Other Channels” is the record to rectify that – a deranged collage of music concrete, lost 70s educational TV soundtracks and fragments of vintage Public Service films that blend into the perfect backing track to one of your strangest “Back To School” dreams/nightmares.
The Mountain Goats – “Heretic Pride” (4AD) : There’s almost nothing more satisfying than discovering a band and then finding they have a lengthy and impressive back catalogue to dig into – once you’ve got over the “how the hell did I miss this lot before?” stage, of course. John Darnielle has been recording as The Mountain Goats since 1991, and has gradually updated his sound and style from lo-fi cassette recordings to recent full blown studio experiences, courtesy of a 4AD bankroll. The sound may have got clearer and tighter, but there’s no denying the man’s exceptional ability to write fine tunes.
These New Puritans – “Beat Pyramid” (Angular) : I genuinely expected this to be a smash hit this year, but that shows you how much of a fashion barometer I am… Why not? I don’t know – Too arch and knowing? That chestplate? No marketing budget? All I know is this is the sound of two very current worlds colliding with excellent consequences – grime-y tech-step beats rub shoulders with Wire-y guitars and chanted vocals to fine effect. The frantic pace makes it a great “music to work to” album too which is probably why it got the most plays from me this year :)
So here’s part one of the five mixes. Five? Yes! Rather than bundle stuff into CD sized chunks, things seemed to sound nicer in smaller sections, so I’ve rolled with it. Hope that’s okay with you? Good.
Plenty fine stuff in part one, from Breakbot’s French House-meets-Hill Street Blues take on Pnau, DJ Downfall’s poptastic down-home distorted charm (and winner of the Mr Kleptone Award for best Genesis sample of the year) , Pearson & Usher’s symphonic deconstruction of Kelley Polar and yes, three Aeroplane remixes. It’s been another fine year for our cosmic Belgians, and my fingers are firmly crossed for their debut album, which should be landing sometime next year!
The Kleptones – Hectic City 8a – Best Of 2008 (Part One)
Pnau – Baby (Breakbot remix)
DJ Downfall ft. Gene Serene – Seven Dials
The Shortwave Set – Now Til’ 69 (Aeroplane remix)
Ricardo Villalobos – Enfants (Olin fix – Kleptones edit)
Samos – Alpha Storm (An-2 remix)
Lovelock – Maybe Tonight (Kleptones Quick Instrumental edit)
Lullabies In The Dark – Song For Marie & Elise (Aeroplane remix)
Kelley Polar – Entropy Reigns (Pearson & Usher’s Second Law instrumental)
Ajello & Daniele Baldelli – Magic Feet
Nomumbah – Like A Rainbow (Dub mix)
Kelpe – Yippee Space Ghost (SID version – Kleptones edit)
Grace Jones – Williams Blood (Aeroplane vocal remix)
Hope you enjoy! Next part to follow very, very, shortly!