Dec 7, 2007
Despite its psychedelic density and abuse of looping techniques and reverb, Person pitch rarely sounds willfuly complex or menacing and is ultimately a frothy and gorgeous pop record that keeps on revealing the more you dive into it. Noah Lennox has achieved something magical with this album and it’s truly worthy of every accolade heaped upon it.
It would be unfair to place this album up here without a disclaimer: I’m an old school Radiohead fan and I’m clearly biased towards this recording. I really cant remember the last time I was this excited for an album release and I’m even ashamed to admit that once I finished hearing it for the first time, I started calling friends from around the world just to tell them that I had just heard the most gorgeous album of 2007. I could have even placed it on my top albums of the year just for allowing me those 10 perfect days of dewy-eyed fanboy anticipation, but fortunately In Rainbows contains some of the most sincere and cathartic songs Radiohead have ever crafted. All that and the whole issue of distribution as a reflection on the value of music in the digital age.
After releasing earlier this year the avant-pop masterpiece of Totemo Aimasho (wrapped up in which I’d consider my favorite sleeve of the year), Tokyo’s Tenniscoats teamed up with folktronica pioneers, Tape, to record Tan-tan therapy, picking up the drift where Totemo Aimasho leaves off, this time exchanging the intimate and subtle soundscapes of the former for fuller dynamics and a richer use of instrumentation. Tenniscoats are responsible for two of the most welcoming and enjoyable releases I came across this year.
Probably one of the most controversial records of the year, From here we go sublime is a collection of 10 deceptively simple, kinetic four-to-the-floor techno tracks. Axel Willner proves to be one of the most talented ears on the electronic scene by tossing in a masterful matter, layers of corrosively beautiful soundscapes on top of an ever-present heart-pounding beat and blending them all like an eiderdown comforter wafting down.
Untrue is an album which gives me mixed feelings. Burial proves that he can dazzle with the most minimal tools as long as he rides good samples and melodies, but the problem in here is that he rides the same sort of samples and musical palette throughout, giving the album a somewhat tiresome and homogenous emotional range after several listens, and yet, I find my ears contradicting my thought as there has yet to be a day since its release that I haven’t heard at least part of this record. Untrue is a landmark for electronic and british music of 2007, a record responsible for pushing the boundaries of an otherwise restrictive genre and for sowing the seeds for a new generation of musicians to draw inspiration from.
“You can’t win” is a convincing collection of wise, world-weary observations on the vulnerable aspects of human nature set to exquisite folk-rock arrangements. Simultaneously sad and uplifting yet never self-pitying nor artificially cheerful.
7. Fursaxa – Alone in the dark wood (Eclipse)
MP3: Birds inspire epic bairds
MP3: Clé Elum
Working on different levels of symbols and allegory, Fursaxa’s music is like being allowed to gaze into someone else’s narcotic dream, abstract and enchanted yet scornfully aggressive and haunting. A timeless and unsettling psych-folk masterpiece.
James Blackshaw, a young 12-string guitarist from London, is a true talent capable of evoking a traditional sound while retaining an uncompromised exploration of his instrument and this album is perhaps his most inspired and radiant work yet. Coming from an artist that has not yet peaked, The cloud of unknowing is a stunningly mature piece of work and if this album is any indication, there are great things still waiting in his path.
With Chromophobia, Gui Boratto presents us an unusual & colorful pop approach to the minimal techno meanderings for which the german Kompakt label is well-known. As good an entry point into the genre as anyone could ask.
A very interesting document of the guitar style called “Touareg guitar” which is seemingly inspired by rebellious movements in Nigeria and Sunny King Ade’s meshed guitar riffs. Group Inerane’s songs all smoothly drive on infectious electric guitars, ecstatic voices and all kinds of percussions echoing one another’s tone and pulse so as to become indistinguishable. The wailing, reverberant mix of oddly tuned electric guitars and the under-produced and unashamed sound gives Guitars from Agadez an affecting charm, one that can be related to some hazy, distant dream of a family-like gathering, singing and dancing along.
One of my favorite places to listen to music is bed. Sitting on the doorstep of sleep with a good album is one of the greatest luxuries for me, the sun always shines on that country. And this album continuously provided the ideal soundtrack for this late night astral projections. The honest reason I like “As as” so much is, simply put, because it happens to be heavily inspired by some of my favorite music genres: Krautrock, shoegaze, dreamy space pop and droning ambient. All there, represented in such cohesive and pleasant ways, you wont even notice when the whole thing is over.
12. Mirt – oh! you are so naive (Monotype)
MP3: Helo / robert!2
Despite the horrendous artwork and the fact that the record seems to have been under-promoted by the label, there is a certain beauty in every track from “oh! you are so naive”. Mirt coaxes incredibly warm and intricate drones from several instruments to creat pure sonambulant bliss. One of the most refreshing ambient albums I’ve heard in quite some time.