Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movies 2011

So it's that time a year again. Time to run down the list of movies I've seen during the year, and yes, it really is just a list. Haven't really been a great movie year if you ask me, but I've seen some good movies (and quite a few bad ones). I think my favourite movies this year was The King's Speech, The Fighter and Snowtown. Worst movie? Too many to even mention I'm afraid, but let's all agree that Knight and Day was really crappy. I will end here with a bit of news. Beginning tomorrow, all movie and tv posts will be on a separate blog. strictly moving pictures is the name, and it will be just that. Hope you will like it.

Adjustment Bureau, The
Adulthood
Another Year 
Art & Copy 
Arthur 
Attack the Block
Battle for Haditha
Battle: Los Angeles
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
Beginners
Brighton Rock
Bright Young Things
Burke and Hare
Bunraku
Captain America: The First Avenger
Company Men, The
Conan the Barbarian
Contagion
Cornelis
Cyrus
Day of the Trippids, The
Drive
Dubfiles
Due Date 
El Espinazo del Diablo
50/50  
Fighter, The
Freakonomics 
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Get Low 
Greatest Movie Ever Sold, The
Green Hornet, The
Gränsen
Hanna
Happy-Go-Lucky
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
He Died with a Felafel in His Hand 
Hesher
Hævnen 
Hobo with a Shotgun
Holy Rollers
I Am Number Four
Ides of March, The
Infamy
Inside Job
In Time
Into Eternity 
Ironclad 
I rymden finns inga känslor
It's All Gone Pete Tong
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Kidulthood
Killing Bono
Kill the Irishman
King's Speech, The
Knight and Day
Κυνόδοντας
La Horde
Le Hérisson
Lemmy 
Limitless
Lincoln Lawyer, The
Maestro 
Margin Call
Megamind 
Mega Python vs Gatoroid
Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus
Midnight in Paris
Mr. Nice
Never Let Me Go
127 Hours 
180° South
Our Idiot Brother
Paul
Poolboy
Priest
Red Riding Hood
Red State
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Shanghai Knights
Somewhere
Snowtown
Sorcerer's Apprentice, The
Source Code
Stone
Stuart: A Life Backwards 
Submarine
Suicide Girls Must Die!
Super 
Super 8
Surfwise
Take Me Home Tonight
13 
This Must Be the Place
Thor
Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story
Tree of Life, The
Trip, The
Trolljegeren
True Grit 
Tucker & Dale vs Evil 
Waiting for Superman 
Way Back, The
Welcome to the Rileys  
Wilde 
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2  
Worried About the Boy 
X-Men: First Class

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in 2 Videos

My attempt to capture my 2011 with just 2 videos. You have already seen them posted either here on this blog or on my Facebook page. It might not necessarily be the 2 best songs of the year since such a task would be impossible for me, but it is 2 songs that have become really good friends of mine during the year, and I hope to be able to hang out with them for quite some time.

                              Kodacrome - Robbery


                    A Band of Buriers - Stuffing a Chest with Twigs                           

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two Reviews of Hectic Zeniths - Hectic Zeniths


Jessika's review:

I was out on a walk when I started to give this a proper listening. And a good one it was, for sure. It took me to places in my mind, long forgotten ones, and to shiny new ones. Isn’t that was good music should do, take you to familiar places, where you feel comfy, and make you want to hear more and maybe explore further? I’m quite sure most of us can agree on that one.

Unfortunately the music also took me to places I wish I never had to experience again. It took me back almost 20 years ago only by putting sampled voices on top of the already beautiful music. Do we have to pass through the whole Enigma business again? It wasn’t any good then and I´m quite positive it never will be. Is it an age thing? Would I like it if I was twenty years old today? No probably not, but then again, it´s a matter of personal taste.

All in all, this entire musical trip made me smile and gave me loads of positive vibes and if it hadn’t been for the Enigma/Era flashbacks, it would have been graded much higher.


Michael's review: 

This album couldn't have come at a better time for me. It's the perfect companion on my walks to work everyday. During those 20 minutes, Hectic Zentiths paints the soundscapes that fit the world that I see around me. Snowy, icey and cold. Not that the music is without soul or warmth, far from it. This multi-instrumentalist keep playing up new scenes in my head every single time I listen to it.

Very often I tend to feel that instrumental music feels very empty and without any body to it. Here we however get well thought through productions that keeps it interesting all the way. I love hearing artists that I never heard about before and then end up liking as much as with Hectic Zeniths. It feels personal and intimate at the same time as it at times could work perfectly in a club setting.

This is one of the albums that I have listened to the most lately and,  apart from the hideous guitar infected track Who Shot Debris About It? [Interlude 1], it will stay in my headphones for quite some time.

Jessika's rating: 3/5
Michael's rating: 4/5

Dug Yuck - Disembowelment of None's

Tape noise
Distortion
Punk
Hip hop
Field recordings
DIY
Psychedelic
Lo-fi
Folk music
Drone
Metal

These are just of the few things that you get from Dug Yuck's latest tape Disembowelment of None's. It's not everyone's cup of tea, it might not even be mine from time to time. But it's pure, it's personal and it's all good.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Celsius 7 - Life Well Spent

I remember the first time I heard Celsius 7. It was when his track Manners was featured on Bomb Hip Hop Compilation vol 2. I had never heard of him before but that track soon became one of my favourites that year and I remember making sure that it got played on a show dedicated to the best of the year on a local radio show I was part of at the time. After that I didn't hear anything more until Life Well Spent dropped, and the news of it got my quite excited. Don't know what to say about the album though to be honest. The album is filled with so many different styles that it's kind of hard to get a grip on who Celsius 7 really is. You get the b-boy tracks, the songs celebrating the 80's, some Biz Markie flavored stuff, some SD50's sounding tracks, some metal stuff and some classic Cali stuff. It feels like he's trying a bit too much and don't really know which way to go and that makes the whole album feel unfocused. It's a shame since I have the feeling that he could deliver something stronger if he just decided which path to follow.

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Soundtrack to Week 51


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Interview #13 - babelfishh

Absorbing Unconscious Frequencies

Babel fish - "is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe." He might be a bit out of the norm, but that description don't fit in on Texas finest emcee and producer. After releasing some mindblowing material these last few years, I felt it was time to catch up with him, and ask him some questions about music and life.


For most readers of this blog you're probably a familiar name, but for those who don’t already know, could you please indulge us.
Babelfishh (S.Huber) – decorative stamp ditch digger – Texas chew union representative – country music consultant to the knertz collective – outside artist for divergent series and the final church, etc. I sleep where I fall and beat myself up too much. No meat, no form of oppression, a pack of smokes a day; just generally fighting the good fight until the frontier implodes.
What was it that drove you into making music? What triggered your creative vain?
I think in my youth I told myself that art and music was not the thing for me. At some point I realized that my own personal preference was more important that actual talent. In the same way that a multitude of artists will put it: once I figured out that I could create pieces that I personally enjoyed, the downpour of ideas and creativity flourished. The ever-astonishing guild that surrounds me has made me what I am and they will continue to round off these corners and mold me solid.
How would you describe your music and could you briefly tell us about the music-making process?   -Influences? Techniques?  Purpose?  Lyrical inspiration? Etc.
Oh brother; train wreck. I sacrifice a lot to get the needed annoyances out of me. Craft my life around the needed free time to toot the remedy flute. I write what I see and print the moments I can’t help but to juggle about, no matter how many fucked up cords I’m using or how much background noise litters the air. Ignore the phone and the doorbell. The nerve to be wildly unkempt on a 4 track or the same dying software I’ve used for over a decade now.
You seem to have been quite productive lately with your releases on I Had an AccidentRecords and Mism Records as well as a couple of releases last year. Can you tell us about your current and upcoming projects and what's the reason that a lot of your records have ended up on many different labels?
If I had not been so productive over the last ten years I think I would have lost it by now. My endless gratitude for the friends that believe in me and help me release music is uncharted.
As always, there’s a slew of things on the working wheel: new record with oskar ohlson, 2 goats gloom(FRKSE, dug yuck, myself) releases to hit the turf next year, just produced an album for papervehicle’s The Beastmaster, and slowly skinning the Evak1&babelfishh skeletons. I’m sure there is others…..
When I think of Texas and hip hop I have to admit that the kind of names that pop up in my head are the likes of Geto Boys and DJ Screw. I think it's quite safe to say that your style differs a lot from them. How has your music been greated locally?
An interesting subject that I rarely ponder.
As of the last 8 months or so, I’ve played every local show as part of a tandem performance with the mighty Evak1. The two of us have similar ways or digesting the rigors of a workweek and we’re constantly on the prowl for platforms to release the fumes in our veins. With that being said, we take on a lot of shows that turn out to be wonderful and others that are a borderline waste of time. The raging release of bustling workday misanthropy has always been important to us; we have no idea how we are truly received out here.
Do you feel like you're a part of the regular hip hop scene or do you feel like the odd one out
I don’t believe that the seam of music listening ears we fall into can be chalked up into one seam. People who make interesting music attract interesting and rather indefinable listeners. At least I like to believe that; I think it’s fairly accurate.
Ever since your first release your music has had a very lo-fi and rough sound to it. I get the feeling that you, in many ways, have more in common with punk aesthetics than with hip hop. Has this type of music had a great impact on you growing up?
I’ve always been on some Minor Threat to Mobb Deep to Gehenna to Swordplay to Tommy Wright III to Infest type shit. Switching the musical styles up but keeping it similar in some odd blend. I’d say the ideas that engulf the punk sub-culture have always resonated with me more deeply though. It took me years to fully grasp it and it’s stronger than ever at this point rather than when I was growing up.
Do you have any musical memories that you’d like to share with us that has meant a lot to you?
On tour in Portland Oregon I saw the ghost of Jim Croce in a pirate themed strip club. This event took place years after he died. The following morning I awoke in a crowded hotel room next to Lewee Regal--half-naked with a freshly cut head of wounds and hideously wild hair. He was just lying on the covers as I was resting underneath…bodies scattered everywhere….as he climbed under the covers in total slumber…I climbed out of them. This was just a mere amount of hours after I first heard that Rodney Dangerfield died. I’m not really sure how much this random stretch of events meant to me. Haha, it all gets catalogued somewhere though.


What are you up to when you're not living your rap life?
The daily blue-collar work whistle in a small cowboy meth town. Showering metal sparks and the birth of a lot of my writing steam. I just plow through the day(s) with hopes of coming home and working on the things that keep my half-sane throughout the slim amount of energy left.

As we're getting near the end of yet another year, what have been your favourite records of 2011?
This year I really did not listen to many new albums, mostly older stuff and unreleased songs from the homies  I can think of a few newer things though.

Everything FRKSE did
Everything Tenshun did
Everything James P. Honey did
Everything edison did
Everything Walter Gross did
Everything psychopop did
Evak & edison - Six Pack O’ Death
Mism 10” with Ancient Mith, son kas, and woolgatherers
ironfilings and sellotapeAmidst the Grease and Chaos
Son of a BricklayerMoose with Antlers 
Anything else you would want to share with us?
Obsessed with raccoons and baseball. Stay home until the walls wear me thin. Do what I feel and keep the majority of strong opinions to myself. Sit by the trains with a few cans instead of going to work on occasion. Four hours of sleep, coffee, and busy hands.  I’ll keep you in close word until the bookshelf tips forward on itself. Lots of shouts to a lot people…all my friends slay shit.
Oh, I’m submitting a song I wrote and recorded during the same time I was mulling over these questions. I think it hatched out of all of this. It’s random and exclusive to this blog for now. I might drop it on a tape at some point, fuck, who knows. Thank you very very much for inviting me to do this.

667. babelfishh. Spring, Texas. 2011

http://www.babelfishh.bigcartel.com/
http://ravenouswashbear.tumblr.com/
http://babelfishh.bandcamp.com/


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#1 A Band of Buriers - A Band of Buriers

Album of the year. Not always easy to pick out one specific record from the immense amount of music released during the course of a whole year. But this year the decision was an easy one for me. Ever since I first heard it back in April I've been in love with it. A Band of Buriers consists of James P Honey and Jamie Romain and they are creating some of the most beautiful music that I ever heard. The closest way to describe the sound is alternative folk rap and it is simply the soundtrack of my year. The mix of styles work perfectly together, and no matter if James is singing or rapping, his voice and lyrics hit my heart every time. And this is a really unique album in that sense that even if I could just listen to the vocals, or just the beautiful music created on guitar and cello by James and Jamie, I would be more than satisfied because it all speaks to me on so many levels. And them coming together is a true match made in heaven and I will follow these guys wherever they go in the future. Another great example how decorative stamp killed it in 2011!

I asked James about his personal musical highlight of the year, and here's what he haid to say:
My musical event of the year has been and ongoing one... to watch the label that Reindeer and I started innocently back in 2008 grow and continue to grow. The releases this year have been sensational and their is so much more to come. Reindeer has taken the rudder and steered the ship in to golden sun kissed waters... Decorative Stamp is smashing it...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#2 Brad Hamers - Post No Dreams

I am well aware that the official release of this album was at the end of 2010, but honestly, I don't care. I got my hands on it at the beginning of the year so that's why it ends up on this year's list. And just so you know, it would easily have fitted on last year's list too. Hell, if you had put both years lists together it would still have been at the absolute top. But enough of that now.  
Hearing Brad Hamers rap is always a treat for my ears. If I would make a top 5 list of my all time favourite lyricists Brad would be one of them without a doubt. Ever since I first heard him as a part of Phlegm I've been a big fan of his music. Since then he has released music together with Big Pauper under the name Two Ton Sloth (who early readers of this blog might remember from the compilation Du Ska Inte Tro Det Blir Sommar which I put together back in 2007) and two great solo albums. His last one Ligature came out in 2007. 
This follow up to that album has been a long time in the waiting, but it has been worth the wait. His melancholy lo-fi productions create images in front of my eyes and take me on a ride to another place. And on top of that we have his amazing lyrics. Brad Hamers is one of the few artists that I like to have the lyrics in front of me at the same time as I listen. In that way I don't risk missing out on any of the beautiful poetry that he layers upon the tracks.  
Post No Dreams is a wonderful piece of art, plain and simple.


When asked about his own musical reflections of the past year, this is what he had to say:

To be honest with you…I feel pretty disconnected from what’s been happening in music this year…I guess I’ve just been busy working on my own projects…and unfortunately haven’t had the time to discover much…
But let’s see..as far as what I have heard this year…I am digging on:
the new Tom WaitsBad As Me (as well as Big Pauper’s remix tape..Broke As Me)
of course Big Pauper’s long awaited – Beyond My Means LP ..(and Big Pauper has also been doing a lot of amazing things with video this year: http://bigpauper.virb.com/)
Bill CallahanApocalypse (especially the track: Riding For The Feeling)
the new 13&GodOwn Your Ghost
I love the song Virus off the new Bjork LP
I’m also loving the solo tracks by Nick Zamutto (of The Books) that I’ve heard…particularly: YAY and Idiom Wind…can’t wait to hear the full-length..
I’m really digging on everything Walter Gross is doing…(his video work is dope too!)..and his ectoplasmic podcasts get a lot of play over here while I’m collaging...especially #2…which is where I discovered another new artist I’m really feeling: The Savage Young Taterbug…dope shit! …hmm what else…well I know this record dropped last year..but I’ve gotten into it a lot more as of late..Xiu XiuDead God I Hate Myself…(Xiu Xiu is still my favorite ish I think)….I’m also looking forward to hearing the new Kate Bush record.. I think it just dropped…
I recently got my hands on some live recordings of Godspeed! You Black Emperor’s last tour..with some new songs!.....
I was feeling Death Grips a bit…
And Beck’s Record ClubSongs Of Leonard Cohen.
...I feel like I’m missing some stuff…but there’s a taste…



Monday, December 19, 2011

#3 AbSUrd - Close to Distantly

When it comes to hip hop, the best is usually when both the emcee and the producer deliver and together creates something special. Remove the lyricist and the pressure upon the producer at once gets bigger. Without lyrics he has to paint soundscapes and create moods that tells the stories the emcee usually help out with. Very often it doesn't quite work out and the music just sounds flat and one dimensional. But whenever the producer manages to to everything right, many times the result is better than the majority of rhyme filled music out there. Few people master this better than AbSUrd. His debut album Close to Distantly manages to paint so many beautiful pictures that you just want to come back to it time after time. The record is about 50 percent instrumental and it's perfect music all the way through it. Never ones do I miss hearing vocals on those tracks. And when he brings in guests to rhyme on them he has picked some of the finest out there. Ceschi, bleubird, babelfishh and James P Honey are just a few of them, and they all come up with some amazing stuff. And if mattr. was my favourite producer of 2010, that title this year goes to AbSUrd. I've also heard that he's currently working on a new album with one of my favourite emcees, and I can't wait to hear it!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Soundtrack to Week 50


#4 Astronautalis - This is Our Science

Astronautalis. After releasing some good records throughout the years, 2011 became the year when he took that extra step up the ladder when he released This is Our Science on Fake Four Inc. And I'm really happy for the extra attention that he got this year because he deserves it. This album is a perfect showcase of the width of his talent. There is a mixed bag of styles and themes on it, but it all fits perfectly together and it's one of those albums that I listen to on a weekly basis ever since its release. This is Our Science is without a doubt the finest album released on Fake Four Inc. this year, and that is no mean feat.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

#5 iron filings and sellotape - Amidst the Grease and Chaos

Sometimes when you review a record you quite easily find the words to explain what you think of the album. Sometimes you just more or less get overwhelmed by the pure beauty of the music you're listening to, and all words in the world just feels like it will cheapen the experience that you just had. Amidst the Grease and Chaos is such an album. Ever since it came out I've been in love with it, and the crazy geniuses behind iron filings and sellotape have definitely made 2011 a much better year just by creating this album. So I will leave it like this and let the music speak for itself. Do yourself a favour. Listen to it from the beginning to the end in one go. It'll blow you away.


Friday, December 16, 2011

#6 Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

This was probably one of the biggest surprises for me this year. I used to really like Digable Planets back in the days, but that group and it's members disappeared to the back of my mind and I haven't thought the least bit about what they are up to nowadays. And then this album popped up. Butterfly from Digable Planets returns as Shabazz Palaces and give us one of the most interesting hip hop records in quite a while. I admit that I totally missed out on the two EP's he'd previously released so I was really taken by surprise. Take one part Dead Prez and one part Flying Lotus and you're coming quite close to the sound of Black Up. It's one of those records that actually manages to feel futuristic and classic at the same time. Jazz for the space age.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

#7 13&God - Own Your Ghost

I first heard this album back in April and knew as soon as I'd listened to it that I would get to return to it now for the countdown of the best albums of 2011. There is something quite magical about the combination of doseone, Jel, Marcus Acher and Dax Pierson. It's like putting together some of the best indie pop out there with one of the finest emcees out there and the result is 13&God. Their debut album 13&God came out 6 years ago. I just hope we don't have to wait 6 more years to hear the follow up to Own Your Ghost. Music don't really get much better than this.


13&God : Armored Scarves from Alien Transistor on Vimeo.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Little Eskimo Jesus - Too Beautiful for This World

Brand new video from Little Eskimo Jesus. Amazing music once again from mattr. and Ira Lee, and I can't wait for the follow up to last year's Never Trust the People.


Little Eskimo Jesus - 'Too Beautiful for this World' from ira lee on Vimeo.

#8 Serengeti - Family and Friends

This was one album that really blew me away with it's simplicity. I have liked what Serengeti have done earlier with Polyphonic, but this is one another level all together. With help from Yoni Wolf and Advance Base, we are served an album filled with strange characters, dark humour, great melodies and a broad variety of stories. The thing however that I like the most about this album is how good it makes me feel everytime I listen. Whenever the opening song Tracks starts playing in my headphone I smile. Because then I know that I'm in for a 31 minutes of the best music around at the moment. Yet another feather in the hat this year for anticon.

When asked what his personal best musical moment of the year was, Serengeti said:
"Going on the WHY? tour. Great venues, great folk to travel with and great fans. It was special to play with Doug McDiarmid."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#9 Alias - Fever Dream

These last few years I have noticed that I have started to listen to more and more instrumental records. Not only because I getting growingly tired of listen to the same old kind of rhymes time after time, but also because as long as people like Alias is out there, you don't really need emcees. Ever since the beginnings of anticon he has constantly shined. I know a lot of people miss the good old days when he didn't just produce amazing songs but also was a first class emcee. I can agree with that, some of that label's finest moments are the early stuff from him. But the thing that makes me feel satisfied and content is that he has gone from strength to strength ever since. No matter if he's producing beats for people like Sage Francis, bleubird or B. Dolan, or releasing superb albums together with his brother Ehren or Tarsier, he constantly keeps evolving. And his latest release Fever Dream is just yet another example that when it comes to producing, few people can even come close to Brendon Whitney.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Reviews of A Loud Heart's A Loud Heart

Time again then for a double review. Haven't heard of it? Well, simply put me and my friend Jessika picks a record to review. We listen to the music and write our reviews independently of each other in order to get two opinions about the same album. 

Michael's review: 

A Loud Heart is the collaboration between the emcee and poet Guante and singer/songwriter Claire Taubenhaus. Right at once it's obvious that we're dealing with a very talented emcee in Guante. Confident on the mic, relevant lyrics and a nice flow. He reminds me quite a lot of Kristoff Krane, but not in a copycat way. He definitely have own thing going, and I like it. I have to say thay I really like the voice of Claire too. Strong, clear and and the same time warm. The five track EP deals with very personal and strong subjects with love as its foundation. I personally keep coming back to Ember, a track about the struggle against alcohol abuse. It's lyrics is very straight on and honest, and I like it. There is however something about all this that don't quite work for me. Like I said I really like listening to both artists, and I will make sure to keep my eyes open for them in the future. They do not however work well together if you ask me. It's difficult to say exactly what it is, but it clashes too much to be good in my ears. I like the idea behind it, but probably this was a project that looked better on paper than in reality. It might also be nice live, but on record it falls kind of flat. With that being said, I'm very happy that there are people out there who dares to try something a bit different, and it was really nice to hear a record without a single beat on it.

Jessika's review:  
 
The very first thing that strikes me when I start my listening is the fact that these two people really know what they are doing. A Loud Heart's Claire Taubenhaus voice is very good. She has a refreshingly clean voice and it is so nice to hear a girl sing without any wailing or making other strange noises in an attempt to be different. In my opinion there is a lack of simplicity nowadays.  
Guante made me happy when I realized that I could actually hear what he was on about. What surprises me when I´m introduced to hip hop is that it is rare that you hear clearly what they have to  say, which surprises me because I thought that what they had to say, was as important as the music or even more. Being a Swede and English not being my native tongue, might have something to do with it. Anyway, thanks Guante for thinking about us less fortunate. 
Ok, back to the serious business. I like these two talents as I said, but I´m not so sure about them two working together. I think the reason why I don´t like it so much is that they are way too sweet in this constellation and that makes it boring after a while. On a whole they seem like a cute couple singing about love and life struggles in general. We have heard this before haven´t we?? Without ever have heard them before I think I`d prefer listening to them on their own. So, too much sweetness is the reason why I only give them a 2, 5 out of 5.    

Michael's rating: 2.5/5
Jessika's rating: 2.5/5


A Loud Heart -- The Illusion of Movement from Unique Techniques on Vimeo.



#10 Virtue & DJ Emoh Betta - Following Wild

This album was a real surprise to me when it came out. I had heard a bit of both Virtue and DJ Emoh Betta before, but the main reason I decided to pick it up was that the album got released on Milled Pavement. And boy was I glad that I did! What is really surprising is how they got the album to feel so focused considering that the production task was handed out to a bunch of different producer. But they really managed to make something that I would like to call a emo head nodder that I keep coming back to all the time. People keep saying that hip hop is dead. Well, not as long as these guys are around.



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Henry Bowers vs. Dizaster

Henry Bowers once again shows that he can hold is own against the world's finest, in this case Dizaster.


Tiago Duarte's Favourite Musical Moment of 2011

Tiago Duarte, the man behind Cooler than Cucumbers Records is the man responsible for the amazing compilations Salade de Concombres vol. 1. I asked him about his musical highlight of the year, and here's what he shared with us: 
 
My favorite musical moment of the year has to be the show by Gaspar Claus & Pedro Soler in late april at the french venue, La Gaieté Lyrique. I was impatient that day as Gaspar Claus is for me one of the most impressive musicians I know. He is a cello virtuoso and plays quite like nobody else does, his style ranges from very cinematico-dramatic moments to very experimental noisy sounds that get into you to never leave. The first time I heard about him was in mid-2010 when he played along Kazuki Tomokawa, the screaming philosopher, a japanese guitarist singer, for the Blogotheque video about Kazuki. I was very much impressed by the way Gaspar handled his instrument, lying on the ground he would reach heights of sonic madness alongside Kazuki, both battling for who will reach the highest music point.
So when I heard that Gaspar would play a show in Paris alongside his father, Pedro Soler, a famous flamenco player, I couldn't not resist going there. It certainly was one of the most beautiful shows I've seen in my life and I can only think of one that could top it : Portishead. Not only the music was beautiful, but the relationship between the two and how they look at each other before each mesure is something I hadn't since before. They would play the songs they had together and then play some solo parts, for his solo, Gaspar choose the more experimental aproach, he played for 5 minutes and seemed like he was somewhere else the whole time, as if he had given his body to a spirit, most of the time, he didn't even played with his cords, he played with the wood of his instrument. Everything was very sensual as he was holding is cello like a woman, caressing it, making it rumble and scream under his directions. Beautiful and at the end of his solo part, his father got up and went for a hug with him.

Then, there was love.
 

Soundtrack to Week 49


Compilation of the Year - Salade de Concombres Vol. 1

I've been having the discussion with a friend of mine whether or not a compilation album should count as a real album. I think it's a valid question. Most compilations out there are just rammed full of the latest hits from a bunch of artists and it's only goal is to cash in from people with no genuine interest in music. Luckily enough there is another approach to the concept of compilation. It's when you want to gather artists with a certain vision and outlook on the music industry and let them present their music to more people. Cooler than Cucumber Records from France have done just that. They got 34 of today's most interesting artists to present one exclusive track each. The artists span over large part of the world who all come together to give us an option to the mainstream music industry out there. 34 artists who are doing it for the love of music and the culture. I could easily mention a lot of the involved people here, but I think you should do like this instead. Go to Cooler than Cucumber Records Bandcamp page and download it for free. Yes, that's right. For absolutly nothing you get to enjoy some of the finest music out there. So don't miss this opportunity to not only get good songs for your speakers, but also to support the growing alternative music movement out there.



Saturday, December 10, 2011

jamesreindeer's Favourite Musical Moment[s] from 2011

Such a tricky proposition indeed. Attempting to highlight a single favourite musical moment from another long year filled with such amazing creative enterprise and artistic merit. I might be forced to cheat a little bit a drop in a few bits and pieces. But, after long consideration, I would have to describe perhaps the single greatest highlight of the year as being the 2nd Skribble Gebibble Birthday Party in Oberhausen, Germany back in March. If you are familiar with what the Skribble Gebibble folk do, then you will immediately know what I am driving at, but for the uninitiated, we are simply talking about the best possible party vibe married with the highest sense of independent creative endeavour under one roof. The Skribble folk have been throwing parties at the Druckluft venue in their little corner of sunny Germany to constantly staggering effect. Never have I stumbled upon such a group of people, so keen to invest so much time, energy and creative endeavour into creating the most spectacular live shows, parties and chill-out evenings one could ever hope to witness. The 2nd birthday party being the crowning glory thus far. No matter how far afield you are, would heartily recommend finding yourself in the vicinity for the 3rd birthday party next spring, as well as everything else besides.

Still, in detailing an answer more specifically relating to the musical part of the question, where to begin! I guess this year, for myself as well as Decorative Stamp, as well as a lot of other folk, it has undoubtedly been the year of AbSUrd. Most of my favourite musical moments of the year have revolved around being able to work alongside him on both the second Murmur Breeze record as well as his own solo début. It is so hard for me to put into words quite how amazing I find his work to be, but countless hours spent working on mixing albums rarely conclude with a strong desire to listen as much to the final product if at all, but not so in the case of these two releases. I have sweated blood working on both those records, but can still take no higher pleasure in sitting back and listening through to them as any regular listener would. They are so richly rewarding and so much more than the sum of their parts, I can scarcely await the next two planned album projects from his stable, not least since I am to play leading roles in both! Good times ahead for without doubt.

Also though, I feel I should make a concerted effort to draw attention to the vast host of other enterprises which have blown me away this year. In rapid succession I would make mention of the Evak & Edison EP arriving in my inbox back at the start of the year, a life-altering experience for sure. Finally getting my hands on a physical copy of Wild Dogs in Winter's  Homba CD, or finally getting my hands on the first Two Ton Sloth release. The Woolgatherers song on the Mism 10”, the Book of Marion vinyl release, the Babel Fishh & Tenshun double 7”, Getting to cross paths with so many old and new friends across cities across the year, getting to see so many amazing live performances; Moshe & Brzowski, Ancient Mith, Pierre the Motionless, zoën, Ceschi, 2econdclasscitizen, sole, Josiah & Liz Wolf, Th' Mole, Kay the Aquanaut, Noah23... Good times indeed.

Lastly, surely the biggest musical highlight of the year for me really must be the incredible growth and advancement of the very dear Decorative Stamp. From what began as captain James P Honey and I toying around with a few DIY bits and pieces, to being joined by a few friends, and then a few more, to becoming a fully-fledged operation has been something really wonderful for sure. I am so proud to be so deeply involved in such an enterprise, constantly blown away by the work that each of our members are producing, and so deeply honoured and lucky to be able to call each and every one of them such close friends. There can surely be no musical moment more special than hearing a favourite song of the year performed by the closest of friends. The musical world is surely a community of like-minded souls banding together to explore avenues of human experience through rhythm, melody and language, and long may it continue into many new years ahead.

jamesreindeer
Darmstadt, Germany
December, 2011

Label of the Year - decorative stamp

This year has been a good year for some of my favourite labels. Milled Pavement, anticon and Mism Records amongst other have all released really good records this year, and 2011 have been one of the best years in quite a while if you ask me. But none the less, there is only one label really that could win Label of the Year this year. London based decorative stamp have released an amazing array of records this year. They might not have relased many records 2011, but on the other hand none of them are bad. I would go even further and say if I were to make a top 20 of this year's best albums all of them would be on there. And that says a lot I think. And what makes decorative stamp even more interesting is that they do not only put a lot of efforts into the music that they release, but they also see the album as complete pieces of art with amazing handmade covers amongst other things. I admit, I totally love decorative stamp and I will continue to be one of their biggest supporters for many years to come. I asked jamereindeer what was his favourite musical moment of the year, and in return I got this long text that deserves it's own post for sure.






Friday, December 09, 2011

13&God - Armored Scarves

New video from 13&God's amazing album Own Your Ghost.

13&God : Armored Scarves from Alien Transistor on Vimeo.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

David Ramos - Together

Brand new video from David Ramos. Together is taken from his cassette-only album La Tua Mancanza.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Soundtrack to Week 48


Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Ides of March

The Ides of March

Review: I really liked this one. A terrific political drama that growls with low tension and the cynicism of the disillusioned. George Clooney have once again directed a great movie that has a good storyline, nice settings and an excellent cast. You should definitely check this one out.


50/50

50/50

Review: 50/50 is based on a true story. It tells the story of a guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who finds out that he has cancer and how he battles the illness. It's a quite warming darkish comedy with once again some good heartfelt acting from Gordon-Levitt. The thing that annoys me about this movie though is the casting of Seth Rogen as the best friend. Come on guys! Haven't we all had enough of his loud-mouthed crudeness? I know that I have at least. He more or less takes over movies, and destroys them with his one sided acting. But don't let that turn you away from the movie though. It's worth checking out if you want a warm quite cute comedy. I wasn't quite in the mood for it myself though.



Friday, December 02, 2011

DJ Krush Monthly Single Project

 To celebrate DJ Krush's 20th anniversary he is making a long term project where a single will be released online every month through next year. So far 3 songs have been released and they can be found on iTunes, or you can listen to them here.

    DJ Krush - Sleepless Horizon by Latitudinarian

  DJ Krush - Far and Away by Latitudinarian

  DJ Krush - Breathe Of Wings by Latitudinarian