Sunday, June 6, 2010

my top albums for 2010 (so far)

summer is upon us, so i think it's a good time to look back and consider the musical output of the last half-year. there's plenty to keep your ears busy, but of the stuff that i've heard so far in 2010, i keep returning to these albums:

the black dog - music for real airports
i blogged about this a few months ago, mostly intrigued by the idea of a response to brian eno's 1978 album music for airports. honestly, i have little knowledge of the black dog's music, but this album is simply brilliant, no matter the context of its creation. there's 14 tracks here with cryptic air travel references as titles, but most of them blend together to create a seamless hour-long journey that literally floats, soaring through clouds of softly pressurized but nevertheless foreboding drones. the album weaves between ambient passages and rhythmic tracks filled with sputtered, broken drumbeats, with sampled vocal clutter of airport activity sparingly applied throughout. tense, delicate, at times frightening, and always achingly deep: a captivating listen, and my current pick for album of the year.

tin man - scared
a vinyl-only release, i got my copy just last week and i've been slowly succumbing to its charms. scared showcases tin man's growing maturity as a producer and songwriter. you have more of his slow, minimal drum and 303 programming, but i see such an improvement in the delivery of lyric, melody, and ambiance as tin man continues to glide through retro and futuristic thoughts of love and isolation. my favorites tracks reveal enhancements to tin man's unique voice that i find especially gorgeous, such as 'space case' and 'self help'; there's also 'zone unknown', which features a sort of vocal melody that unexpectedly and beautifully soars skyward. if there is a weak spot among these 8 songs, i'd say it has to be 'stand by me,' a song whose relatively conventional approach sorta turns me off. otherwise, scared is full of hazy, experimental pop abstractions. disturbingly blissful, darkly romantic, but always with a sense of cozy warmth... frankly, i can't wait to see what tin man comes up with next.

pawel - pawel
paul kominek has been around dial since the beginning; after a handful of EPs, here is his first LP effort released on the hamburg-based record label. if you're familiar with the alternately playful and melancholic depth of dial's other output, this should be a welcome addition to that sound; if you're not familiar, i still recommend this as an excellent album of shimmering, summery house music. while it's not in any way mind-blowing, it doesn't have to be: there's definitely enough going on inside these tracks to warrant repeat listens. in terms of dancefloor-ready albums, i think this is the best so far this year.

so, those are my favorite albums of the early part of this year. i want to note that there have been some hugely anticipated albums, such as marcel dettmann's eponymous full-length, scuba's triangulation, and peter van hoesen's entropic city, which have felt a bit underwhelming to me so far. but with upcoming full-length releases by mathew jonson, pan sonic, donato dozzy, and niederflur, among many others, there's tons of interesting music to look forward to as we move into the second half of 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment