|Liledman Does 2011
This is not late, I am perfectly on time. Maybe I will be a afforded a bit
more of your attention anyhow. Don't stress too much about the
rankings, I couldn't really be bothered agonising over 'x vs y' for each
spot. This is just a solid slab of tunes I enjoyed this year. Thanks for my
third year here Sputnik.
Old Raves End
You Stand Uncertain
|Crash of Rhinos
No Time for Dreaming
The Sum of All Fossils
|Lonberg-Holm / Brötzmann / Nilssen-Love
A nice eclectic approach, but there's just a bit too much material here. A good
10 minutes could have easily been cut.
|Pinch and Shackleton
Pinch and Shackleton
Free improv with very interesting results. A kind of abstract that leans away
from the electroacoustic idiom and noise based styles, but doesn't really
approach free jazz.
Space Is Only Noise
Very minimal and introspective. Certainly has a greater effect when you are in
the right headspace.
Solid release featuring members of Iron Lung, Walls, Solution and No Comment.
Coin Coin Chapter One - Gens de couleur libres
The most hyped jazz album of the year (how is that even a thing?) stretches
back in time and provides a strong concept, the likes of which aren't too often
seen in jazz.
Another bludgeoning from these Canadians is just what the doctor ordered.
They cut out some of the more melodic sections found in previous material, and
added a little dark ambient (one track), but the riffs still kill.
First time exposed to this guy, and I'm pretty impressed. Nice variety on display
Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Hoarse yelling over pretty indie tunes probably didn't sound good on paper, but
hey, it works.
Noisy Love Songs
It's an odd sort of improvised chamber music Lee explores, but it's certainly
A short and sweet cassette of heavy and metallic grind.
I had a strange reaction to this. I was incredibly excited to hear it of course,
after liking the demos and hearing about the accompanying book, but for some
reason the album just didn't hit me like I thought it would. If I were to compare
it to Deathconsciousness, as it's always in the back of my mind anyway, I would
say this is way more personal, both musically and lyrically. Strange though, that
I feel more distant to this album. I really like this, but there's something about
it that just bugs me (more so than the annoying logic instruments used for
Passed Me By
Sinister beats with some light peeking through every now and then. Love this
The 'holy grail' of IDM? Perhaps it doesn't quite live up to the reputation, but
this early example of the genius shared by Sean Booth and Rob Brown is a more
than worthy addition to anybody's collection. Fans of anything Richard D. James
and Autechre related will eat this up.
The Men have done it again. They have cleaned up their sound a bit, and
brought in the heavy-surf kind of vibe explored on Captain Ahab / Wasted, with
a bit less of the punk-meets-shoegaze sound of Immaculada, which I still
slightly prefer to this. Let's hope they get the trifecta with their next release.
A nice solid slab of powerviolence. Nothing fancy, just good fun.
Wow. A great combination of nu-jazz and dubstep, and a live band too.
My favourite band from Singapore. Well I guess that doesn't mean an awful lot,
but these guys are pretty damn great. Relentless ferocity and pace, without the
bullshit, makes this one of the few grind albums in recent years to warrant
Looping State of Mind
The two longer tracks contained in the middle of this album are just stupidly
good. Minimal techno works best in these situations where the focus isn't on
how minimal and quiet you can be, but as with Steve Reich, how you put the
minimal materials to best use. The unfolding of these ideas is brilliant.
Bitches Brew Live
A couple of live performances, either side of the amazing studio album. The fire
of the live performances is something to behold, and something I think the
transition into the more tranquil/abstract fusion territory Miles headed after '68
unfortunately cuts out.
More greatness from these guys, and they seem to have refined their style.
Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
It's not Cuban Linx III, but it will do.
|Iron Lung/Mind Eraser/HS/Scapegoat
So, go ahead and name the best four bands in powerviolence right now. Yep,
they're all here, and ready to fuck shit up.
Garten der Unbewusstheit
A more melodic direction, but still devastatingly heavy.
We Stay Together
His earlier EP this year was great, but this is even better. A fantastically dark
sound, like some fucked up club in equatorial Africa where everybody is tripping
|Peter Evans Quintet
A modern, electronic infused interpretation of bop. Manages to avoid the
satirical, and provide an interesting experience to say the least.
The darling of the blogosphere, James Blake comes through with the goods after
mounting hype around his slew of EPs in 2010. The decision to feature his
vocals was a very wise move, though one wonders: how come it took this long?
Needed time to perfect his production skills, perhaps. In any case, he has
brought together his talents in each area, and provided an artistic summation.
What comes next, will be interesting.
The Destroyers of All
My love for these kiwis is no secret, and I was beyond excited to hear what they
had in store after being besotted by Everything Is Fire for the past couple of
years. Sure enough, it was great, but not the heights of greatness I was hoping
for. Refer to my sound off.
Some of the best material they or anyone else in this 'post-black metal' (ugh)
scene have released. This also confirmed that on the whole I prefer these guys
to the similarly great Ash Borer.
A I A
More abstract and drone-based compared to the fantastic Dragging a Dead Deer
Up a Hill, harking back to her older material. The other-worldly atmosphere is as
present as ever, and equally as powerful. Both sides to this release are great,
though I think I prefer Alien Observer.
I only got around to listening to Hecker's material just before this came out, and
I'm pretty damn pleased I did. His lush, soothing textures, that are just noisy
enough, are just what I have always wanted out of ambient.
|Massive Attack vs. Burial
Four Walls/Paradise Circus
Yeah it's probably not as good as either of them could do alone, but of course
these collaborations never are. The hype for this was always going to
overshadow the product, but now let us be thankful we have it at all (and extra
thankful that I could score a copy before they sold out in under 24 hours). It
still rules, and more importantly, shows that Bevan still has that ambient
inclination in spite of the fairly straight-forward (and house influenced) offering
The untouched vocals are a nice change in Burial's sound.
|David S. Ware, Cooper-Moore, William Parker and...
It seems as though the top releases were dream-team style collaborations, with
artists at the top of their respected fields.
Bringing together these four just had to happen eventually, I suppose, but we
are surely lucky to have the evidence recorded. The melodic inventiveness of
Ware (who it must be said, is on the other side of the free spectrum to
Brotzmann or Evan Parker), the angled expressionism of Cooper-Moore, Parker's
pliability, Ali's freely swung rhythms; it's all on display. The interplay is brilliant,
and yes, we are treated to a duet between Ware and Ali, echoing the incredible
Interstellar Space, which featured Coltrane and the other Ali brother, the great
Rahied Ali. This album carries the spiritual weight of a later Coltrane release,
though it's not all about the fire; it's searching, it can be intense, but it's never
caustic. It's explorative, as the best jazz always is.