Friday, 23 December 2011

2011- end of year review

As the year draws to a close i've been pondering my fave(ourite) albums of the year and books too. It was a great year for some excellent music and thankfully far too much to list here. Music is such a great blessing!

So below are my favourites, but what are yours?! Be great to know what music has inspired you or that you would put in your end of year lists!

Top albums of 2011 (in no order)


Oddisee- Rock Creek Park
Inspired entirely by nature and Gods creation! The hiphop producer fell in love with Rock Creek park in Washington and dedicated an album to it, soundtracking the different areas within the nature reserve. Funky and filled with vinyl crackle in all the right places this instrumental ode has stayed on the stereo and been revisited often.

Charles Bradley- No Time For Dreaming
With a voice that sounds world weary and weathered it'd be fair to say Bradley hasn't lived the easy life. With his voice drawing close to the great James Brown at times, this is an excellent stateside debut. Backed by the impressive Menahan Street band this includes the song 'why is it so hard to make it in America', modern funk at it's best.

Dangermouse- Rome

Featuring an all star cast including Jack White and Norah Jones, this album is something akin to a modern Ennio Morricone soundtrack, but without the film.

Tigran Hamasyan- A Fable
Delicate in places this undulates excites and saddens in equal measures as the 24 year old piano virtuoso took folk songs from his native Armenia and spins them to an american style. Without doubt my favourite jazz album of the year.

Gardens & Villa- S/T

Mixing slow, cosmic boogie with 80's influences such as Talking Heads this is a perfect post 9pm album to segue Autumn nights into Winter.

Real Estate- Days
Melancholic but dreamy and melodious the New Jersey acts second album is indie rock brilliant..

Samiyam- Sam Bakers Album

Funny thing is i used to know someone called Sam Baker at school, but this is a different Sam Baker. On FlyLo's Brainfeeder imprint this is geared towards after-hours listening, or post-club (if you 'club'), soft, vibey keys blur with looped vocals, film samples and various beats, flittering between hip-hop, broken beat and dubstep!

The Kramford Look- 1970
Flying so far below the radar it could easily have been missed or overlooked, but the Manchester duo have literally hopped into a time machine, gone back to 1970-80, watched a heap of blaxploitation and action films and then put pen to stansa. Thanks to Gaz in the office for putting me onto this one!

Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin'
All prepped and ready to dislike this but Saadiq who crazily is nearly 50 now, has come up with the goods as he looks towards prairey house folk, chunk funk and the odd slice of honeyed R&B. The cover art reminds me of Cassius' 1999 too.

Glen Campbell- Ghost On The Canvas
Sadly due to his terminal illness, this is the country star's final album but fittingly it's heartfelt with a touch of nostalgia and thankfulness and is as catchy in places as some of his hits.

Best of the rest:
Venice Dawn- Something About April
Dawes- Nothing Is Wrong
Austra- Beat And The Pulse
Dennis Coffey- D.E.T
Seapony- Go With Me
Beastie Boys- Hot Sauce Committee Volume II
Common- The Dreamer, The Believer (rel: 19th Dec)

Listen to all of these albums here: BristolFunk- Approved Albums of 2011

I managed to read about 6 books this year, most of which are included below, in 2012 i'm going to try and read some more music biographies too..

A. Dom Joly- The Dark Tourist
Disturbing but hilarious Joly journals his visits to some of the least likely tourist destinations including Iran, North Korea and Chernobyl

B. Canon Andrew White, The Vicar of Baghdad- Faith Under Fire
C. Michael Baughen- One Big Question (why does a God of love allow suffering)
D. Chris Evans Autobiography part 2
E. Malcolm Duncan- Kingdom Come, The Local Church as a Catalyst for Social Change

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous 2012

Friday, 16 December 2011

Playlist: Every Sample from Showbiz & AG's Runaway Slave album

Listening to Show & AG's seminal hiphop debut Runaway Slave on the way into work last week, I noticed lots of crate digging samples that the likes of DJ Shadow and Kanye would have been pretty chuffed with,

So here's a little playlist, including every available, original, sample from their 1992 opus!

Showbiz & AG - Samples from Runaway Slave

(please subscribe and pass on!)

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Fable

Armenian born piano virtuoso Tigran Hamasyan releases his first album via the Verve imprint and impresses with the perfect winter album.

Having heard of this album and Tigran's American upbringing via Giles Petersons producer @cushtilla , I set about discovering more and was instantly hooked by the dramatic bounce of 'What The Waves Brought' and the pensive tinkering of 'Legend of The Moon', both just from watching on youtube.

Amongst several other moments of genius on the album are the scatty title track and 'The Spinners' where melancholy meets hope, originally an arrangement of the philosopher George Ivanovich.

When he plays live, hunched double over the keys, it's with such intensely that at times he mutters to himself like he's absorbed in another world. You can even hear his jitter on this concept album, where folk songs from his native Armenia are reworked to American jazz.

With jazz great Herbie Hancock calling him 'amazing', i'd definitely recommend checking this album out over Christmas :)

**** 4/5