My Top 10 new music 2012
1. Terry Callier and Massive Attack: The Windmill Hill Sessions
I love Terry Callier and I love Massive Attack. Blue Lines and What Color is Love are two of my favourite albums of all time. I didn’t feel the last Massive Attack album at all but their Soundcloud page is well worth keeping an eye on. This mixtape was compiled from the sessions that produced the beautiful songs they did together for Callier’s 2009 album Hidden Conversations.
Massive’s 3D told NME: “We created a mixtape of the pieces I worked on with Neil [Davidge] and Terry. I also took the liberty of stripping them back to a more personal space and cut in alternative vocals and chuckles, in an attempt to share a little of the spirit of the great man.”
It was released shortly after Callier’s death earlier in 2012 at the age of 67. It’s all very elegaic and poignant as these posthumous releases often are. It is also absolutely fucking beautiful.
2. MA_DOOM: Son of Yvonne
There is a lot of hip hop about these days. If you ask Passion of the Weiss, they might tell you it has been the best year for hip hop since 2006….or something. I have tried desperately to get with this cloud rap thang. In theory, mixing dreamy ambient beats with rap should be my ultimate music. But in practice, I don’t really think any of these dudes really cut it. Whether it’s Main Attrakionz, Lil B, Spaceghostpurpp or Clams Casino, I just don’t think any of it is that well executed. My best mate reckons I’m just getting old and don’t get the kids’ music. But I’d like to hear more groove and less aggression: De La Soul vs Boards of Canada, for example.
Whatever. The hip hop I did listen to this year was mostly old school or this, which kinda is old school but isn’t. It was my most listened-to album of the year and perfectly married my recent 70s soul fetish with classic hip hop.
3. Andrew Weatherall: Masterpiece
Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnstone’s A Love from Outerspace is on every third Thursday of the month. It is one of the best club nights you will ever go to. It will be full of ecstatic music lovers, many of whom are so devoted to this gig they will follow the duo’s travels around the UK. For me, Weatherall is a godlike genius and I’m glad he’s playing the sort of music that made me fall in love with him, when he DJed after Primal Scream’s shambolic but awesome Screamadelica show at Manchester’s International 2 back in 1992. If that makes this sound old-fashioned, maybe it is, but this is not a mix of oldies. The similarity with 1992 is the huge crescendos that rise out of nowhere in this 3CD mix of chugging, trancey tracks. The last few years has seen Weatherall DJing a lot of rockabilly and pursuing a very grimy post-punk sound with Two Lone Swordsmen. That wasn’t my thing. This is.
4. Burial: Kindred
This really should be top of the list. It is astonishing music. The three records placed higher than this are probably there for sentimental reasons. And we have got used to Burial producing astonishing music. This does not stray far from the Burial template of excellence but Ashtray Wasp is perhaps his most ecstatic song yet. I must remember to play it next time I’m feeling particularly ecstatic…
5. Four Tet: Pink
Somebody at FACT once asked whether anyone truly loves Four Tet. This provoked a furious response from his many fans, who did indeed love him very much. I loved Fridge’s Happiness LP and have intermittently liked much of his solo stuff, so I knew what the FACT guy meant. One of my friends memorably described his music as like listening to a tap drip. This collection of 12 inch singles is music aimed at the dance floor and all the better for it. I’m still not sure Four Tet has produced the masterpiece he is capable of but this will do for now.
6. De La Soul’s Plug 1 and Plug 2 present… First Serve
Spring was busting into summer and De La Soul unleashed this ray of sunshine. It’s the best thing De La Soul have done since Stakes is High. It’s proper party music. What’s not to like?
7. dBridge – Various EPs, mixes etc
dBridge is surprisingly underrated. Call it slowmo jungle, trip hop or ambient electro, it’s the sort of music that Timbaland would be making if he was born into the UK junglist massive. dBridge has an LP coming out in 2013 and I’m hoping it will feature more singers and rappers. His Fabric 50 mix with compadre Intra:Mental is well worth checking.
8. Lau – Arc Light
I discovered Lau because they were playing at Shambala. This album was made in 2011 and the Race the Loser album was released in 2012. Lau are a British folk trio, whose music often builds to a Spiritualized or Sigur Ros-esque crescendo. It’s great on record, it’s fantastic live. Lau made me think that perhaps there is more folk music out there that I am not appreciating. After further exploration, I’m not sure there is. Lau, though, are magical.
9. Various artists – Duke Bloggin Meets The Congos in Midtown
I really wanted to love the Sun Araw collaboration with The Congos but I couldn’t. Somehow, the grooves just didn’t work for me. But this mix, courtesy of Passion of the Weiss, mixes the best of it with some of the best reggae of all time. Listen up for Dadawah, Rhythm & Sound and more.
10. Daphni – Jiaolong
This and the Four Tet album reawakened my love of house music. A bit like Four Tet, I appreciated the effort that Caribou went into his psychedelic explorations, although I didn’t really like the proggy outcome. However, the boy got skills and when applied to the dancefloor it works.
Plus one: Global Communication – Back in the Box
Sooooo good to have these guys back together. Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard are good for each other. This mix is no classic but the songs contained on it really are. Proper old school techno…the music of my dreams.
My Top 10 old music 2012
1. Baby Huey – The Baby Huey Story
2. Goodie Mobb – Soul Food & Still Standing
3. Timbaland & Organized Noize – Best of Tim and ON mixtape
4. The Meters – Rejuvenation
5. Bullwackies Allstars – Black World Dub
6. Love Joys – Reggae Vibes
7. Baaba Maal – Baayo
8. Yabby You – Jesus Dread 1972 – 1977
9. Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo – The Vodoun Effect 1972 – 1975
10. Witchdoctor – A.S.W.A.T. Healin’ Ritual