Posts Tagged ‘warp records’

INAUDIBLE’S BEST OF 2020

January 2, 2021

Damn, what a year. I have so much to say but zero energy to say it.

Above everything else this nutso year, music kept me sane.

There was a glut of good stuff, but here are my faves, in no particular order.

And I love you all, in no particular order.

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Freddie Gibbs/ The Alchemist – Alfredo (ESGN)

Another year, another Freddie Gibbs album on my list. Am I that predictable? Or is Gangsta Gibbs that goddamn consistent? You decide. In my opinion, this is absolutely his best collab since Pinata, as he and The Alchemist find some beautiful chemistry. Whereas last year’s Bandana with Madlib was a bit inconsistent, here Gibbs’ flow and Al’s soulful beats just click. Future classic right here.

Pro tip: Alchemist’s collab with Boldy James, The Price of Tea in China, is also a great record from 2020 worthy of many listens too.

Fave track: “Something to Rap About” with Tyler, the Creator

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Auscultation – III (100% Silk)

Joel Shanahan aka Auscultation has put out an album of beautiful 90’s inspired ambient techno, and it took about ten seconds of the opening track for me to be quickly swept into its eerie soothe.

Smooth synths, pulsing basslines, deep house rhythms with “up in dem cloud” soundscapes. This was my morning album for the entire covid spring, and I keep returning to it again and again. Hype.

Check out: “Glowing Hearts in the Rainbow Room

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Caribou – Suddenly (Merge Records)

Dan Snaith’s first Caribou record since 2015 finds him working with all his various strengths and writing a more subdued yet arguably stronger album than Our Love, with the warm and ear-wormy Suddenly.

Flirting with hip-hop, soul, techno, folk, psych and R&B, some critics have said it lacks cohesion, but even so, every song has something about it that makes it special or stand out or subtly get lodged in your head.

Worthy of repeat listens with great songwriting from beginning to end.

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Pure X – Pure X (Fire Talk)

Pure X are rock and roll. They take their sweet time, and they write beautiful songs. Check “Middle America” and/or “Slip Away” for exemplars.

The Austin-based band made their name writing reverb-soaked druggy slow jams, and ten years in they’re still writing those same slow jams — but it seems like maybe now they’re waiting until after they record before they get super stoned, because this is their clearest most focused collection of songs yet.

Great guitars, always solid bass lines, and smooth af vocal melodies. To be honest, I was just happy to see a new album by them, since 2014’s Angel has been a constant play in my living room for 6 years now.

And I hope I’ll get to see them play live again, once the world shifts back to a place where I can actually sway shoulder to shoulder with strangers in a sweaty venue.

I can’t wait to not have to wait for that…sheeit.

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Oddissee – Odd Cure (Outer Note Label)

The humble and always underrated Oddissee released my favourite quarantine album of this most fucked up year.

Oddissee deftly captured the helplessness and hopefulness of our 2020 Quarantine Lyfe with Odd Cure.

And throughout the album, he uniquely displays our anxiety and fears living through a pandemic, as well as, the opportunities we all had to rest, reflect, and reconnect with loved ones during the slow-pace imposed on us by covid. The phone calls to his fam spliced in between tracks are heart-warming and really capture the feel of those initial first wave lockdown days.

The whole album is chock full of soulful beats, flawless production, and some of Odd’s most thoughtful rhymes yet.

PG County represent!

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Ulla – Tumbling Towards a Wall (Experiences Ltd.)

Ulla Straus has recorded in the past under her full name, but here she needs only her prénom with the enchanting Tumbling Towards a Wall — an album that straddles the line of blissful ambient with touches of experimental composition. 

Ulla’s music is sonically diverse, oscillating between piano, strings, field recordings and hazy, soft pads.

Usually I’m one to say that I think most albums sound better through a good pair of headphones, but with Tumbling, I like hearing it on big speakers in an open room, it sounds completely different that way, and more alluring somehow.

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Shinichi Atobe – YES (DDS)

The man, the enigma, the legend, Shinichi Atobe returns with his first batch of songs since 2018’s stellar Heat.

Shinichi serves his techno straight-up, no fuckery, and builds his songs from the bottom up until they are bursting with subtle melody, and with YES he’s at his warmest, overflowing with rich grooves, head-bobbing bass, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those goddamn beautiful handclaps. He’s also a pro at dropping a heavy piano lick deep into the mix when you least expect it, and it’s always pure class.

I think if I had to pick one absolute fave from 2020, it would have to be YES, as this album accompanied me on many “newborn needs to sleep” walks throughout the summer, and even when I was so goddamn tired I could barely go on, it kept a shimmy in my step, and kept lil Simon a dozin’ on my chest.

YES, INDEED.

Check out: “Lake 2” and (my personal humdinger) “Ocean 1

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Adrienne Lenker – songs/instrumentals (4AD)

The first time I listened to “anything” off this album, I was on (yet another) walk with Simon. It was a chilly, grey October morning, and I couldn’t even make it halfway through before I started to cry. But it felt good, so I put it on repeat, pushing the heavy stroller down the sidewalk and bawling. On the third listen one of my contacts popped out of my eyes, and I thought I should probably stop after that. So I put on the new Deftones to cleanse the palette.

That definitely wasn’t the first (or last) time I could be seen crying while walking around my neighbourhood with my newborn son this year (hey man, second baby + pandemic + sleep deprivation = crying Papa, aight?), but good lord and goddamn, that track is a sure fire doozy.

The rest of the album floats a similar melancholy vibe of pitch-perfect simple break-up songs. Just a woman and her guitar, a few chirping birds, and the creaks of the old wood floor of the cottage she recorded in. So good.

The companion piece, instrumentals, is two songs featuring soft finger-picking, more birdsong, light rainfall, and lots of wind chimes. The second track “mostly chimes“, really feels like you’re sitting on the porch of a weekend cottage, up early with a coffee, and listening to the birds and gentle chimes in the breeze.

Side note: I had also never really listened to Big Thief until this year, but U.F.O.F is also an absolutely amazing record and I highly recommend it.

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KMRU – Peel (Editions Mego)

Kenya based sound artist Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU put out several albums this year, my favourite one being Peel. It was conceived as a time-restricted experiment in texture, influenced by “experiences travelling in Montreal, as well as being back in Nairobi just before lockdown.” 

The album was recorded in just 48 hours, but its heavy drones feel almost timeless. Kamaru said he is “always happy to have limitations while making music, and Peel is a good example of this.” He gives the impression that more time wouldn’t have yielded any better results. 

The second KMRU album of 2020, landed three weeks after Peel. If you want to hear the breadth of Kamaru’s talents, check out Opaquer. If you want to hear his ability to laser in on a very focused idea and extract from it 75 minutes of special music, choose Peel.

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nthng – hypnotherapy (Lobster Theremin)

Elusive Dutch producer, nthng, released his second album for the great Lobster Theremin imprint, and goes far beyond the deep house he made his name on. Hypnotherapy is a trippy and dark record that spans dub techno, heavy 4/4 beats, hazy ambient and mind-bending trance.

Tracks like “I Just Am” and “Heitt” hit hard with the after midnight dancefloor in mind, while other tracks like “Beautiful Love” and “With You” will veer you more towards the couch, but this album is one that keeps on giving and sounding better the more you listen.

The first time I heard “I Just Am”, I was (you guessed it) on a walk with Simon, and when the beat cracks in at the 3 and a 1/2 minute mark it was so thrilling that I just pushed his stroller into oncoming traffic and started dancing.

I pictured all the Muteks and music festivals and countless special dancefloor and live music moments that did not happen this year and I cursed covid and cussed out corona, and then slowly picked Simon’s mangled stroller up off the curb. Luckily, he was completely unharmed. He smiled at me, blew a raspberry, and we kept on a-walkin the year away…

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Yves Tumor – Heaven To a Tortured Mind (Warp)

In the days before the big covid shift, I bought tickets to see Yves Tumor in April 2020, and was totally stoked to see this new glam version of the artist. I had tickets to see one show a month up until June when lil Si Guy was set to arrive and throw a wrench in our routine. But instead, the ‘rona came and tossed in the whole rusty tool box.

So Heaven To a Tortured Mind became my go to jogging album for all of spring. And while it perhaps doesn’t quite hit the heights that Hands of Love did for me in 2018, I still totally dig Yves’ move from noise freak to weirdo pop star.

It seems like he can get away with anything now.

Like the guitar solo on “Kerosene!”, for example. If you had told me 10 years ago that the best song Warp Records would release in 2020 would have a full-on wank shred of a guitar solo in it, I would have belly laughed and probably farted. But here we are. 2020. You tricky asshole.

Haha, but yeah, I seriously love that song and the video is pretty great too.

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HONORABLE AUDIBLES (click album to sample a track)

Soela – Genuine Silk (Dial Records)

(Dial kicks off their 20th anniversary true to form with Soela’s buttery debut full-length)

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Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED (Loma Vista)

(8 tracks, 18 minutes, hits hard working that classic boom bap throwback style)

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Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide (Rhymesayers)

(Aesop’s most ambitious and joyous clusterfuck of an album, lots to love here)

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White Poppy – Paradise Gardens (Not Not Fun)

(Dreamy, hazy, afternoon daze pop, done right)

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Oneohtrix Point Never – Magic OPN (Warp Records)

(Daniel Lopatin’s most accessible OPN record yet)

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Earth Boys – Earth Tones (Shall Not Fade)

(Dub techno & deep house with tongue-in-cheek vocals and plenty of sax-a-ma-phone)

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Bibio – Sleep On The Wing (Warp Records)

(Bibio keeps up his hot streak and folk tendencies with another lovely collection)

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Sam Prekop – Comma (Thrill Jockey)

(Sea and Cake frontman ventures into techno for this solo album, beautiful rich synths)

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DJ Lostboi and Torus – The Flash (Queeste)

(Float away on DJ Lostboi’s soundclouds, inspiring morning music)

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The Phantasy – Ibiza Pt.I

(Goddamn, this makes me miss the dancefloor! Killer techno and house tunes from the Prince)

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Why Bonnie – Voice Box EP (Fat Possum)

(Indie pop that sounds like 1992 and Tusk era Fleetwood Mac, no complaints here)

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Route 8 – Rewind The Days of Youth (Lobster Theremin)

(Route 8 just keeps on getting better at writing classic house and techno jams)

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Mac Miller – Circles (Warner)

(An artist that was clearly still coming into his own, RIP)

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And an unfortunate last minute RIP to Viktor Vaughn aka MF DOOM aka King Geedorah aka Metal Face Terrorist

Well, shit, here we are. Welcome to 2021 y’all, let’s move on and cautiously, carefully put all the shit piles in the rearview.

Fingers optimistically crossed.

Cheers and love,

ml

INAUDIBLE’S TOP 15 of 2019

December 18, 2019
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Another year, another big fat list! Hello to all, and welcome to INAUDIBLE’s 11th annual end of year list extravaganza!

Without further ado, in stunning alphabetical order!

INAUDIBLE’S FAVE RECORDS OF 2019

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Bibio – Ribbons (Warp Records)

Stephen Wilkinson’s Bibio project has been shape-shifting for a decade now – from folktronica to glitch hop to yacht rock to ambient drone with many other deviations in between. But with Ribbons, Wilkinson leans heavily on the pastoral folk stylings of his earliest work, while somehow combining almost every genre he’s tipped his hat to in the past ten years. The result is a standout album from an already strong discography.

Some tracks even have an almost Celtic feel to them with subtle fiddles amongst his relaxed finger-picking. While listening to this record, my daughter Sylvia would do an almost mournful jig to “It’s Your Bones” and “Patchouli May”, swaying back and forth to a rhythm she didn’t even know she had yet.

Ribbons is a record that has continually made me wistful throughout 2019, and Bibio has appeared on 5 of 11 of INAUDIBLE’s lists. More please!

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Diiv – Deceiver (Captured Tracks)

Goddamn, when the first three new Diiv singles came out ahead of the full album I could not get enough of them. Zachary Cole Smith et al. had done it again! But this time instead of leeching inspiration from The Cure, mbv, and dream pop jangle, they expertly mined the post-rock underground heroes that ceaselessly played in my 1990’s Shockwave Discman. Versus, Polvo, Seam, Eric’s Trip, June of 44! Even some Sonic Youth and Gish-era Pumpkins thrown in for good measure.

Deceiver hit my nostalgia button harder than any album possibly ever has, and the guitars are perfectly recorded.

Have a listen to “Blankenship” here.

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DJ Python – Derretirse EP (Dekmantel)

Brian Piñeyro aka DJ Python released the excellent Derretirse this year on Dekmantel. I don’t really know what deep reggaeton means, but that’s what everyone is calling this set of lush 110 bpm, Artificial Intelligence era electronica.

Piñeyro skillfully taps into the vibe of so many early IDM records, and creates a mix of beauty, nostalgia, and melancholy. A little Boards of Canada here, a dash of Speedy J, and Autechre to match, yet it still feels very fresh and new, and the bass, oh yeah, it’s deep and heady.

Check it out here!

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Fennesz – Agora (Touch Records)

If I had to pick my overall favourite record in 2019, I think it would have to be Agora. It is by far my most listened to album of the year. It was the soundtrack to my early morning commutes all of last spring and still gets steady rotation.

It’s 4 tracks, all of them about 10 minutes each, and all of them creating their own perfect little sonic mindfucks — but they’re gentle and pleasing. Often when people think of Fennesz, they may think harsh, grating, too experimental, but Agora is smooth, calm, and blissful, featuring rich synthsizers and great guitar distortion.

And guess what? Rich synths and processed guitars is a combination that truly works for this guy right here! One reviewer likened the guitars in “We Trigger The Sun” to the moody chords found on The Cure’s Disintegration — and Agora definitely creates a similar vibe.

I was lucky enough to see Fennesz play during Montreal’s excellent noise festival, Suoni Per Il Popolo, and he had my entire body vibrating and floating around the venue for the duration of his set. It was amazing and intense and the work of a real master of the genre.

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Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana (Keep Cool)

This’ll make it 5 times on INAUDIBLE’s list for Gangsta Gibbs. He and Madlib rejoin forces to try and outdo the heights they set with their 2014 collab, Piñata, and pretty much make good on it. While it may not have the instant classic feel of their first album, Bandana still offers up a one-two punch from the duo.

Madlib is at his most sonically gritty and Gibbs at his most lyrically introspective here. Guest turns from Pusha T, Killer Mike, Yasiin Bey, Anderson .Paak, and Black Thought help add a little extra flow to the album, but the best part is that they all sound like they’re having a damn good time making damn good music. Crime Pays!

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Helado Negro – This Is How You Smile (RVNG Intl)

Robert Carlos Lange has been recording as Helado Negro for close to a decade, but This Is How You Smile is the first record of his I’ve ever listened to. Leaving his experimental predilections behind, Smile is a modern day folk record, echoing Devendra Banhart’s Mala, yet with a uniqueness all its own.

Songs alternate seamlessly from English to Spanish and there’s a playfulness to the whole album that’s had me returning to again and again all year. Tracks like “Fantasma Vega” and “Running” showcase Lange’s strengths as a songwriter, while penultimate track “Two Lucky” shows how a simple guitar lick and great vocals can make a song so meaningful.

I missed him at this year’s Mile Ex End Music Fest, but hope he comes back to town in 2020. Great record!

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Jai Paul – He/Do You Love Her Now (XL Recordings)

These two songs were mined from Jai Paul‘s infamously leaked recording sessions of 2013. They were never heard until now and may be the best songs he’s ever written. It’s hard to compare to the fantastic leaked record now that so much time has passed, but these two songs are sensual slowburn jams that you can play over and over and over.

In fact, my good friend Stew has played “He” over 400 times this year! Give it a listen and decide whether Stew is insane or just has wicked taste in music!

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Kanye West – Jesus is King (Def Jam)

I dunno, maybe it’s because I grew up on Jesus Christ Superstar and going to Midnight mass every Christmas or something, because I think Jesus is King is fire.

Kanye’s whole second baptism might be weirdly dogmatic and a bit ridiculous, and of course, there’s still some cringe-worthy lyrics here — “Chick Fil-A” anyone? But I can dig this new side of Yeezy. Which is surprising since I was oh sooo ready to leave him in the dust after the woefully depressing and disappointing Ye.

Now send me some free Yeezy crocs and let’s walk on water together in 2020.

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Loscil – Equivalents (Kranky)

I’ve seen Scott Morgan perform as Loscil four times now, but nothing could compare to his set at Place-des-Arts as part of this year’s Mutek festival. Huge theatre, huge visuals, massive sound.

Playing tracks off Equivalents, Morgan had the packed crowd in an uneasy meditative trance. The monochromatic visuals pulsed in perfect sync to the music, and the concert effortlessly showed us why he is so critically adored.

This is Loscil’s fourth time on an INAUDIBLE list. And in case Equivalents isn’t enough for 2019, he also just released Lifelike, which is the soundtrack to an Austrian video game, and as with all his music, is just as easy to get lost in.

Loscil is prolific and humble. A true talent. Go buy all of his records right now please.

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Pan American – A Son (Kranky)

Mark Nelson has been making music for 25 years now, both with his revered post-rock group Labradford, and under his Pan American moniker.

As Pan American, Nelson has flirted with ambience, drone, dub and minimal techno, but with his first release in six years, he brings it back full-circle using the guitar as the album’s languid centrepiece, book-ended with a little dulcimer, and featuring his muted yet haunting voice. The result is an emotionally powerful album that creates a quietly somber mood that completely washes over you.

It is definitely his most mature album to date. Songs about trains, family, and fading memories are delivered in Nelson’s whisper-sing style, amidst a spare assembly of unfussy guitar and muted electronics. It’s an album that is sure to be overlooked, but one that should be essential.

Perfect for snowy candlelit nights, lying on the floor with a glass of Scotch. Check it out here.

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Project Pablo – Sofware EP (VMP)

2019 for Patrick Holland aka Project Pablo was one heck of a breakout year! He released three stellar records – Low Wings and Sofware on his own imprint, Verdicchio Music, as well as, the excellent Inside Unsolved on the revered Ghostly label. And if that wasn’t enough, he just dropped his live set from this year’s edition of Mutek. Any one of these releases could be on this list all by itself.

Project Pablo has truly developed a sound all his own, and is making a name for himself as one of Montreal’s finest electronic artists! Go see him live in your city!

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Skee Mask – 808BB and ISS004 (Ilian Tape)

Last year’s excellent Compro is still on rotation over here, and Skee Mask has dropped two excellent EP’s this year to boot.

Ending the 2010’s on a high note, Skee Mask’s two records, 808BB and ISS004 are both victory laps, and subtle showcases that Bryan Müller is just getting fired up.

These tunes show us that he’s ready to start the 2020’s on the dancefloor. “Trackheadz” is a bona fide club banger, while “RZZ” is like a classic Burial track at 140 bpm. But he hasn’t lost any of that heady spliffed-out goodness here either, so if you want you can sink into your couch, close your eyes, and imagine yourself on the dancefloor instead. Both options will work jusssst fine.

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Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace (Carpark Records)

It’s true, I have a man crush on Chaz Bear. How could I not? His smile is just so darn infectious. Almost as infectious as the bass line on “Ordinary Pleasure”.

Toro Y Moi’s discography, like Bibio’s, is restless in its varied style. Chaz has been the harbinger of chillwave, he’s tried out disco, crunchy guitar rock, deep ambience, and more. But with Outer Peace he returns to the lo-fi funk of 2011’s Underneath the Pine, adds a little steady 4/4, and has crafted his sunniest and most fun album to date.

It’s pure summer driving music. Windows down, arm hanging out the window like the tounge of a thirsty dog, sunglasses and infectious smile of your own, as you head bob to them grooooooves. Love it.

Oh and check out the filmed in Montreal video for “New House”.

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Tyler, the Creator – IGOR (Columbia)

Tyler, the Creator showed us he was more than a punk ass kid with 2017’s Flower Boy and he has only continued to grow with IGOR, his strongest collection of music to date. While Tyler has always been chameleonic, on IGOR his restlessness feels like a conscious choice, not merely the jittering impatience of a young star looking to explore new sounds.

This confidence allows him to resist being tied down to any one identity, be it musically or sexually. Young T has grown up and has caused a quiet “Earfquake” with the kaleidoscopic IGOR. Let’s keep it rollin’.

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William Basinski – On Time Out Of Time (Temp Res)

The last song on William Basinski’s cosmic new album, “4(E+D)4(ER=EPR)”, is my most listened to song of 2019, according to the music streaming data makers. And William Basinski’s music has been playing out as a soundtrack to my life for many a moon now.

He’s been on INAUDIBLE’s list 5 times in a decade and will most likely only continue to find his way there. It’s so odd to think that these works are simply just tape looping and decaying, with textures added over top, but this seemingly simple art form has the power to bring you to tears, think deeply on the past, and excitedly about the future.

Yes! Made it! Check out these other fine releases below as well!

Love you and thanks for reading (all three of you)!

2020 comin’ y’all! Let’s fly.

HONORABLE AUDIBLES

Danny Brown – U Know What I’m Sayin? (Warp)
Corridor – Junior (Sub Pop)
CFCF – Liquid Colours (BGM Solutions)
Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything…? (4AD)  

JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes… (Universal)
Malibu – One Life (Joyful Noise)
Sandro Perri – Soft Landing (Constellation Records)
Andre Bratten – Pax Americana (Smalltown Supersound)

R.I.P. David Berman (1967-2019)

INAUDIBLE’S BEST OF 2018

December 18, 2018

Hello everyone and welcome to the 10th edition of INAUDIBLE’s end of year to-do list!

For a limited time, check it out in stunning alphabetical order!

INAUDIBLE’s TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2018

1. Amen Dunes – Freedom (Sacred Bones)

I saw Amen Dunes live at Le Ritz in Montreal and the show made me love the album even more. It sounds like the sum of its numerous rock and roll influences, but Freedom, is still unassumingly a style all its own.

Such a great record! “Believe” is one of my favourite songs of the year.

2. Aphex Twin – Collapse EP (Warp Records)

It’s nice to know that even after 100 years, Richard D. James is still an innovator. These songs sound fresh and joyful, and mang oh mang, do they bump in dem headphones.

Check out the “Collapse” video here.

3. bblisss – Various Artists (bblisss records)

Although technically not a 2018 release, this gem was released as a cassette in 2016, and finally pressed to vinyl this year. This is the best ambient compilation I have heard in a long time.

It features gorgeous tracks from Pendant (aka Huerco S.), DJ Paradise (aka uon), and Naemi. It easily rivals the very finest of Kompakt’s long-running Pop Ambient series. This album will be on rotation for years to come.

4. Benoit Pioulard – Slow Spark, Soft Spoke (Dauw Records)

Again, not a 2018 release (it came out in ’17), however, this was the album I played at the hospital while my girlfriend was in labour. It will be forever connected with the birth of my daughter Sylvia, and that absolutely incredible and surreal night (and day! and year!).

Slow Spark is calming and drony and beautiful. Pioulard seems to be able to make lo-fi ambient music with ease and grace, as he also released the equally as chill, Lignin Poise in 2017 too.

5. bvdub – Drowning in Daylight (Apollo Records)

This album is Brock Van Wey‘s 31st full-length! He is beyond prolific. I can’t say I’ve listened to even 1/3 of his output, but Drowining in Daylight has been on consistent rotation since it was released in September. The addition of beats to his ambient soundscapes brings his music to a whole new level.

6. The Internet – Hive Mind (Columbia Records)

Even after a Grammy win, I still think they have one of the worst band names around. Nevertheless, Syd and her crew have re-purposed funk and R&B slow-jams for the kids. I saw them play live at Metropolis in December and the band brought it — Syd smiling and hamming it up for the crowd, and Steve and Patrick were tight as hell on guitar and bass. Really fun show and a great album with some next level low-end bass lines.

Check out da funk right here.

7. The Sea and Cake – Any Day (Thrill Jockey Records)

As I said earlier with AFX, it’s amazing that after 100 years, The Sea and Cake are still releasing consistently fine records. Yes, you definitely know what you’re gonna get with a Sea and Cake record, but it’s surprising how enjoyable their albums always seem (at least to me).

They’ve been one of my fave bands for close to 75 years, so I’m able to just slip into their familiar sound instantaneously. Still, I’d argue that Any Day is their strongest album in a cool decade.

8. Shinichi Atobe – Heat (DDS Records)

Cult legend, Shinichi Atobe does indeed bring the mafuckin’ heat with this collection of stripped down, bare-bones techno. Like Omar S, Atobe serves his techno straight-up, no fuckery, and builds his songs from the bottom up until they are bursting with subtle grooves. This is my fave record to date from this mysterious producer. More hand claps please!

Listen: “So Good So Right 2

9. Skee Mask – Compro (Ilian Tape)

The music nerds are calling this one a future classic, and I think they are absolutely right. Compro’s sound is already timeless and it’s real easy to get swept into its world of beats, glitches, grooves, and low-end bass.

Listen: “50 Euro to Break Boost

10. Yves Tumor – Safe In The Hands Of Love (Warp Records)

No album felt as thrilling upon first few listens, than Yves Tumor’s Safe In The Hands Of Love. I called it emo-thrash-tronica at one point, and think it’s fitting.

It’s punk rock in a world where rock and roll is long dead. It can be gentle and moving at one moment, and then chaotic and challenging the next. “Licking an Orchid” and “Lifetime” are two incredible songs that grow with each listen, and the entire record is chock full of earworms and an (un)healthy wall of fuzzzz.

HONOURABLE AUDIBLES (click album titles to sample a track)

Freddie GibbsFreddie (ESGN Records)
Theory of MovementTheory of Movement (Duke’s)
Anthony NaplesTake Me With You (ANS Records)
LoidisA Parade, In the Place I Sit… (anno Records)
Steve HauschildtDissolvi (Ghostly International)
Galcher Lustwerk200% (Lustwerk Music)

Quick and to the point. Happy 2019 tout le monde! Cheers, ml.

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest

April 30, 2013

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Yep it’s finally happening: Boards of Canada have announced they will release their fourth full-length album courtesy of Warp Records – eight long years after the wistful The Campfire Headphase in 2005. After spending the last week transmitting codes on special 12″s, YouTube videos, warped audio clips, and even on TV, Michael Sandison’s and Marcus Eoin’s cryptic message ended up being a grainy clip of VHS static and synth drones, which arrived the same day as the details of its 17-track Tomorrow’s Harvest LP. The forthcoming album is now available for pre-order via Bleep, and official release date is June 10th.

Judging by the music on the clip and the names of the tracks, this looks like it’s going to be a dark and foreboding album. Anticipation begins…

TRACKLIST
01 Gemini
02 Reach For The Dead
03 White Cyclosa
04 Jacquard Causeway
05 Telepath
06 Cold Earth
07 Transmisiones Ferox
08 Sick Times
09 Collapse
10 Palace Posy
11 Split Your Infinities
12 Uritual
13 Nothing Is Real
14 Sundown
15 New Seeds
16 Come To Dust
17 Semena Mertvykh

Grizzly Bear at L’Olympia in Montreal

September 29, 2012

23 September 2012

Warp Records recording artist and indie-rock darlings Grizzly Bear, returned to Montreal after five years to close out the POP Montreal Festival in style, and played to a jam-crammed and delighted crowd at The Olympia Theatre. Showcasing tracks from their brand new album Shields, interspersed with hits from their acclaimed earlier work, the Brooklyn quartet revealed why they are one of the most revered bands in the “indie” world – playing their challenging compositions with ease, switching instruments mid-song when needed, and delivering strong and near pitch-perfect vocal performances throughout.

Their stage show was simple yet effective – the band set up in a line on stage and with the help of excellent lighting as a backdrop (18 jellyfish-like lanterns flashing and moving in sync with the music), they created a fitting mood for the duration of their hour-long set.

As they began with “Speak in Rounds” from Shields, I was immediately pulled in, but started having a strange sensation that it sounded almost too good, that there would be no variation from recorded material to live performance, and that I could simply close my eyes and not be able to tell the difference between the two. However, as the lanterns slowly rose from the subterranean depths of the murky sea, and they played Shields opener “Sleeping Ute”, varying the tempo a bit and adding an extra vocal hook I began to truly get sucked in, and by the time they started “Yet Again”, I was one of the converts, not caring that I was a little too far back from the stage than I liked and couldn’t quite feel the sound reverberating through my body. It didn’t matter, Grizzly Bear came to perform and did so like true professionals.

Highlights for me included “Shift”, which was perfectly rendered live, “Foreground”, which with the help of sombre lighting was incredibly powerful, “While You Wait For The Others”, and “Ready, Able”, which are two of my faves from “Veckatimest”, “Gun-Shy”, which the more I listen to is becoming a fave on Shields, and of course the closing track “Sun in Your Eyes“, an eight-minute opus that has hints of theatre and prog and is arguably the band’s best example to date of their overall sound. Just great.

As I’ve said before here on INAUDIBLE, any time a Warp Records artist comes to play in your town, you are wise not to miss them, because you can be assured it’s gonna be tops. Check out Shields if you haven’t yet, as it will surely be on countless end of year lists, including mine. Peace.

SET LIST
1. Speak in Rounds
2. Adelma
3. Sleeping Ute
4. Cheerleader
5. Lullabye
6. Yet Again
7. Little Brother
8. Shift
9. Gun-Shy
10. Ready, Able
11. A Simple Answer
12. Foreground
13. While You Wait For The Others
14. Two Weeks
15. Half Gate
16. Sun In Your Eyes
–Encore–
17. Knife
18. On A Neck, On A Spit

* photo courtesy of Mateusz Garbulinski (from their show at Massey Hall in Toronto)

Bibio – Mind Bokeh (Warp)

April 6, 2011

For Juno Records

When Ambivalence Avenue came out in 2009, I quipped that this was a new and invigorated Bibio — Bibio 2.0 — an artist finally stepping out of the BoC meets folktronica shadow that both propelled and pigeonholed his sound. Ambivalence was exciting, fresh, and a solid leap forward for UK producer Steven Wilkinson.

Now, Wilkinson has returned, hot off the heels of his lauded breakout album on Warp, with Mind Bokeh. The new album carries much the same tone as Ambivalence, combining playful vintage melodies and summer-fuelled beats — but it also sees him venturing even further out of his folky-comfort zone and pushing into new sonic territory. Wilkinson’s vocals are more prominent in the mix this time around, and with “Take off your Shirt”, he tries his hand at Phoenix-style pop, using a chunky riff and cheesy lyrics with the hopes of creating a summer banger. And to be sure, it stands in stark contrast to the rest of the album, yet what may initially sound jarring ends up being a decent track after a few listens. “K for Kelson”, on the other hand, is a definite winner, seeing Wilkinson try his ear at “tropical robot pop”, and crafting an infectious poolside hit.

Other tracks see him revisiting the styles that became his trademark on Ambivalence Avenue. “Light Sleep” for example works the funk vibe in similar fashion to “Jealous of Roses”, and “More Excuses” sounds like an extension to “All the Flowers”. “Artists’ Valley”, works a crunchy Fly Lo beat and a smooth bass line outro, that’s perfect for bobbing your head during more ‘chilled out’ moments. The title track is a wandering blurry soundscape, reminiscent of BoC, and closer “Saint Christopher” may indeed be the album’s best track, featuring a light 4/4 beat and high-hat shuffle driving three interweaving guitar lines for six beautiful minutes. It’s brilliant production and a great outro to the album, and perhaps a sign of even further sonic evolutions.

The term ‘bokeh’ comes from the Japanese and has to do with staring at the out of focus areas in a photographic image; Wilkinson attempts to do this with your ears and mind, and for the most part, he succeeds. With Mind Bokeh we see Wilkinson reworking the best moments of Ambivalence Avenue and trying out a few new styles as well. It’s not a full leap forward, but Bibio 2.5 has got it going on.

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp Records)

May 3, 2010

For Juno Records

Warp Records genre-bending producer extraordinaire, Flying Lotus (née Steven Ellison), returns with the follow up to his highly successful and oft imitated Los Angeles with Cosmogramma — arguably the most anticipated electronic album of 2010. And from the opening seconds of first track “Clock Catcher”, it quickly becomes evident that Fly Lo is working on a whole new level of ‘next shit’ here. This may throw some listeners for a loop at first, however, after a couple of listens you’ll begin to understand exactly why Fly Lo has described the album as his “space opera”.

The obvious stylistic difference with Cosmogramma is that it adopts a jazzier feel to it, rather than the fragmented hip-hop of Los Angeles and 1983. Its closest reference point seems to be the stuff a later Miles and Trane would have made if they had access to the technology. The album is definitively out there, and will no doubt be just as railed against as highly lauded by the critics because of this. But for this listener, it’s a fantastically heady album with amazing beats, funked-out basslines (at times reminiscent of Squarepusher), and smooth jazz breaks, and overall it comes across as a much more personal recording for Ellison, as he attempts to tap into his family’s rich musical roots.

Fly Lo is nephew to Alice Coltrane, wife of John, and a highly accomplished jazz musician in her own right (check her out if you never have), and Auntie Alice’s influence is in the forefront here, as he samples her playing the harp, and her son Ravi playing the saxophone throughout. His collab with Thom Yorke is fine, and will no doubt be deemed a highlight, yet tracks like “Zodiac S**t”, “MmmHmm”, “Do The Astral Plane”, and “Recoiled” are major hitters on the record, and all so very different stylistically, you just gotta hear it to believe it. The album ends with “Galaxy in Janaki”, his most hip-hop track on the album, yet instead of it being a dark and ominous closer, it features a swirling symphony, frenetic bass, and seems charged with a bright optimism for the future evolution of his sound. Next shit indeed.

Check it.

Trans Am at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto

April 22, 2010

21 April 2010

Thrill Jockey’s post-rock synth trio, Trans Am, played to a full house at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on Wednesday night, and goddamn it was LOUD. My ears they still be a buzzin’. Live shows at The Horseshoe always tend to be a bit on the louder side, but Trans Am had it right cranked — to the point where it’s so loud it makes no difference even if you have your ears plugged. But I guess a little aural degradation is the price you gotta pay to live like a rock star.

I love Trans Am. But I haven’t listened to any of their albums since Red Line came out in 2000. They’re one of those bands from my youth that hold a very special and revered place in my heart. However, over the years the trio started getting weird and inconsistent, and although I liked the robot and electronic angles they were embracing, there were just so many other musicians who were making similar sounds and doing it better, and so I abandoned Trans Am for close to a decade. But when I heard they were on tour, some friends and I decided to go for nostalgia’s sake, and as an excuse to drink on a Wednesday, so we bought tickets and showed up and were pretty much blown away by their show. It was deep, dark, moody, tight, heavy, trippy, aggressive, poppy, and 100 percent relevant. In short, Trans Am still kick ass.

Drummer Sebastian Thomson was an absolute machine, banging hell out of his kit, shirtless (as always) and spitting and swearing in between tracks. Best quote from him when the crowd requested “Futureworld”: “NO. We play what we want, when we want.” Haha. Fucking rock stars. And true to his word, they didn’t play it, but it didn’t matter, their set still rocked.

Philip Manley was stellar on guitar, effortlessly playing big fat riffs and soft delayed chords to the delight of the crowd. And frontman Nathan Means is always a large presence on stage, and not just because he’s 6 foot 5. He gets right into it, all smiles and occasional looks of innocent wonder, as if while he’s playing the song he’s surprised that it’s actually his band he’s hearing. Plus he loves him some vocoder and did a sweet job playing the part of the robot last night. ‘Twas a tight set and a great one. Go see Trans Am if they play in your town.

Warp Records up and comers Nice Nice was second on the bill and also played a fun and hectic, sample heavy set, that was pretty damn loud and awesome in its own right. Check out their debut album Extra Wow at your local record store. I missed the opener’s Jonas Reinhardt because I had to work late, but all in all it was a great midweek concert to help usher in the weekend.

Loved it.

Hudson Mohawke at Wrongbar in Toronto

March 27, 2010

25 March 2010

Ross Birchard aka Hud Mo played to a wild and packed house at Wrongbar Thursday night. Returning to Toronto after two years for his proper Hogtown ‘debut’, the young producer (who recently released his full-length Butter on Warp), had the crowd acting as if they were at a rock concert. People were crowd surfing, moshing, jumping up on stage, and just going ape shit as he ripped through tracks from his last few releases. It was a great vibe and Hud Mo seemed totally excited at the capacity crowd’s reaction as he threw down his bass heavy crunked beats and “wonky” sounds. To be honest, I find Butter hard to listen to all the way through. It’s a really eclectic mix of almost too many things slapped together, however, it totally worked live, and I was glad I was able to catch this upstart musician at a small venue, cuz he’s about to blow right the fuck up.

A big props has to go out to local promoter and DJ mymanhenri who has helped bring some great talent to Toronto: Flying Lotus, Falty DL, Nosaj Thing, Mayer Hawthorne, Joker, DâM-FunK, and Hudson Mo are just some of the artists he’s helped usher in over the last year. He’s becoming known as a tastemaker around town and deserves all the cred he can get. Please keep it up my man! Good times all around.

Peace.

AUTECHRE – OVERSTEPS (Warp)

March 22, 2010

 
Warp Records stalwarts Autechre return with their tenth, count ‘em, tenth album. Rob Brown and Sean Booth usher in the new decade with the complex and intriguing “Oversteps” — a melodic and strangely emotive record that emits far different sonic vibrations than the duo’s last three full-lengths.

There’s no conscious way one can fully understand the compositional mind of Autechre, you just put them on and know that patience will reward. But with this new album the duo’s vibe will immediately pull you in and have you convinced machines must feel love before opening track “r ess” is done. Their signature klings, klangs, and syncopated rhythms are in full effect here, and with repeated listens they become infectious, full of darkened corners strobed with light. Yet, one wouldn’t call this a beat heavy album at all, the tempo is more subdued and textured, which reveals a definite maturation of the duo’s sound and synthesis. All this to say for non-fans: this is Autechre’s most accessible album in over a decade, and for non-non fans: their most solid release since “LP5”.

Tracks “see on see” and “O=0″ are the most heartfelt electronic songs I’ve heard in quite some time. I have no specific explanation as to why, but they hit hard and true and feature those brief moments of light I was talking about amidst darker and more heady tracks like “ilanders”, “known(1)”, and the fantastic “Treale”. My cousin Chris said he was unsure what to make of “Oversteps” after his first playthrough, but after a few days and a couple more ‘relaxed’ listens he likened it to BOC meets Blade Runner. I find the comparison fitting, and highly recommend the album for all fans of more challenging electronic music.

Another win for Ae. Please play Toronto this year.

Peace.