Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012 pt. 2 - ambient version

As I said in my previous post, I spent more time listening to "normal" music than usual this year.  But hat's not to say there weren't some fine ambient recordings released in 2012. 

Back in October I did a mix of my favorite ambient artists of all time and three of those artists appear on the 2012 best of list.  Topping that list is Kyle Bobby Dunn.  He continues to put out absolutely perfect ambient music.  Very much like 2010's "A Young Person's guide...", the new album, "Bring Me The Head Of Kyle Bobby Dunn", creates waves of sound & drones that calm & transport.

Here's the entire list of the best ambient/electronic/whatever of 2012, with audio samples when available...

1) Kyle Bobby Dunn - Bring Me The Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn(low point)

2) Bersarin Quartett - II(Denovali Records)

3) Mohn - Mohn(Kompakt)

4) 36 - Lithea(3six Recordings)

5) Taylow Deupree - Faint(12k)

6) Forrest Fang - Animism(Projekt)

7) Loops of Your Heart - And Never Ending Nights(Magazine)

8) Loscil - Sketches from New Brighton(Kranky)

9) Sonmi451 - Four Peaks(Time Released Sound)

10) Steve Roach & Dirk Serries -  low volume music(Projekt)

11) Spheruleus - Cyanometry(Tessellate)

12) V.A. - lost in the humming air (music inspired by harold budd) (Oktaf)

13) Willamette - Always in Postscript(Own Records)

14) Marconi Union - Different Colours(Just Music)

15) Eivind Aarset - Dream Logic(ECM)
dream logic player

16) Nils Frahm - Screws(Erased Tapes)

17) John Adams - Harmonielehre - Short Ride in a Fast Machine(SFS Media)

18) VA - Air Texture Volume II(Air Texture)

19) Andy Stott - Luxury Problems(Modern Love)

20) Peter James - Landfall(Relaxed Machinery)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of 2012, part 1

Over the last couple of years, I've been listening to more & more "normal" music.  By "normal" I mean music that is not ambient or electronic.  Most of it I guess would qualify as indie music.  

I think my changing taste is due to the influence of my daughter & a few coworkers.  Maybe it's also due to accumulating such huge amounts of ambient music over the years that it all starts to blend together after awhile.  I still listen to a lot of ambient & electronic music and I'll have a list of my favorite ambient/electronic records of the year soon.  I will definitely keep making ambient mixes with some beat driven & vocal mixes sprinkled in.

My son is trying to turn me on to electronic dance/trance/dubstep/club music and even some hip hop.  As a matter of fact one of my top albums is a hip hop record from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "The Heist".  It's a ton of fun and has one of my favorite songs of year on it - "Same Love"That tune will be on another list of great songs from 2012.

For my top album of the year I kind of cheated.  Andrew Bird released two fabulous albums this year, "Break It Yourself" and "Hands of Glory".  "Hands" is sort of a companion piece to the first album so I combined them together as my favorite of the year(they are sold together as a set now).

Recorded in a weeklong session at his barn outside of Chicago, the songs were performed essentially live.  That approach gives the music an intimate feel.  I had always been aware of Bird's music but was never really sucked into his world.  But these deceptively simple folk songs combined with his beautiful violin playing absolutely blew me away.  I am now on a mission to listen to his entire back catalog.

An album that I really liked but am surprised to not see it on more end of the year lists is "History Speaks" by Deep Sea Diver.  Front-woman Jessica Dobson has played bass and keys with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, guitar for the Shins and Beck.  Just one great song after another.  Check out the link below for an excellent video from Sound on Sound.

Deep Sea Diver : In Black & White 

 One of several surprises this year was the album "Home Again" by Michael Kiwanuka.  It's possibly the most "normal" album I've listened to in years.  It has the wonderful retro, soulful feel to it.  The recording obviously is trying to sound like it's 40 years old but it doesn't feel forced, the music is completely natural.  It sounds like something I've been listening to my whole life.

 Another surprise was Neil Young's "Psychedelic Pill".  Some epic tunes that go on forever and are all the more awesome for it.  Here's a short version of "Walk Like a Giant"(long version is much better)...

One last sound sample I couldn't resist posting because they are a local band from Milwaukee.  They are Vic and Gab, a songwriting sister duo playing indie pop/rock with nice harmonies.


 I think that's probably enough babbling on for now.  I'll post a list of ambient favs soon.  And a list of favorite songs, some of which I've been playing on continuous loop for weeks now.  Wow, it was a good year for music!  I haven't had this much fun discovering, playing & really getting into new music for years.  Anyone who says there is no more good music out there is either an idiot, not really trying or both.

Here's the list...

Best of 2012:
1) Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself & Hands of Glory
2) Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
3) Neil Young - Psychedelic pill
4) Deep Sea Diver - History Speaks
5) Of Monsters & Men - My Head is an Animal
6) Father John Misty – Fear Fun
7) The Lumineers - The Lumineers
8) Michael Kiwanuka  - Home Again
9) Best Coast - The Only Place
10) The Avett Brothers - The Once and Future Carpenter
11) Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here
12) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
13) Arrange - New Memory
14) Grizzly Bear - Shields
15) The xx - Coexist
16) Elbow - Dead in the Boot
17) Patrick Watson - Adventures in Your Own Backyard
18) DIIV - Oshin
19) Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves
20) Tallest Man on Earth - There’s No Leaving Now
21) David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
22) Vic and Gab - Bridges and Guns
23) Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile
24) Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
25) Alt-J - An Awesome Wave 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Headphone Commute...and darkness came

The awesome folks over at Headphone Commute asked me to do a special mix for them and of course I could not refuse.

The mix is special because it is helping promote a fantastic new compilation they have put together.  It's called "...and darkness came" and you can find out about it here...
Headphone Commute ...and darkness came.

The compilation features 80 tracks(yes, 80 tracks!) from great artists in ambient, modern classical and experimental music.  Artists like Max Richter, Clint Mansell, offthesky, Julien Neto, Ólafur Arnalds, Dakota Suite, Christopher Willits, Loscil, Lawrence English, Maps And Diagrams, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nils Frahm, Talvihorros, Bersarin Quartett, Antonymes, Simon Scott, Dustin O’Halloran, Machinefabriek, :papercutz, and many, many, more.

100% of the proceeds are donated to two charitable organizations, Doctors Without Borders and The Humane Society, to help all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Please head over to Headphone Commute and think about picking up this excellent compilation.

[ s t r e a m ]  [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ] 

T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Yuki Murata - Prologue
  • 04:34    James Murray - Still Waters Rise
  • 08:55    Monolyth & Cobalt + Évo Lüthi - Dust Off
  • 13:25    riverrun - Maallinen Kuu
  • 16:00    Antonymes - Elegy IV
  • 20:05    Julien Neto - Los Cien Enamorados
  • 23:15    M.Cadoo - a.m.
  • 26:45    Jóhann Jóhannsson - Melodia (iv) (Live at Ancienne Belgique)
  • 28:15    Brambles - Reflected Consciousness
  • 30:45    Tomoyoshi Date, Corey Fuller, Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott - Quartet(intro)
  • 33:20    Simon Scott - For Betty
  • 35:15    offthesky - Still Breathing
  • 38:50    Dakota Suite - Now I Am Lost
  • 44:20    Christoph Berg - Silence
  • 46:56    Erik K Skodvin - Amber & Glass
  • 49:05    Honig + Templeton - Reginald Cousins
  • 52:10    Takahiro Kido - Sweet Silince
  • 55:45    Minus Pilots - Illuminating The Dark Fields
  • 58:30    Dustin O'Halloran - Fragile #2
  • 1:01:15    end

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Mixcloud vote

This post is just a blatant plea for votes.

Mixcloud is having their annual end of the year voting for best Cloudcast.  So if anyone is so inclined please click below to go to my Mixcloud page then there will be a vote button to click on.  Unfortunately, just like last year, in order to vote you have to share on Facebook.  I hate that.  So if you don't want to share to vote I totally get that.  It's obvious that Mixcloud doesn't really care about the votes they just want the free facebook pub & linkage.  Grrrrr.

Anyway thanks for another great year of music & mixes.  Hopefully I can squueze in one or two more mixes before the end of December.