Tag Archives: 2010

Favourite Album of 2010: T-Polar – ‘Zero’

4 Feb

Zero coverT-Polar – ‘Zero’

(Acroplane Recordings)

2010 saw numerous releases for Belfast’s Gary Spence, otherwise known as T-Polar. An artist whose production abilities allow him to effortlessly skip through the vast range of electronic genres, dipping in and out of each as he pleases, but doing so like each one of them had been his staple output for many a year. The most exciting of those releases came in the form of a seven track EP entitled ‘Zero’, a melodic and diverse adventure into soulful electronica.

Zero comes from the globally celebrated net-label Acroplane Recordings and both the artist and label head confirm that this is easily their favourite release from the desk of Mr. Polar since the two started collaborating musically over 7 years ago.

The EP commences with its title track, a haunting piece of music with a beat structure that seemingly has a mind of its own and bass lines that move slowly but powerfully from bar to bar, bordering on the subversive.

Edited, twisted vocal samples that seem to come from another world are something of a signature for T-Polar and you can hear them interspersed throughout the whole of the EP. As you listen through you will feel the focus shift between various beat patterns including slower two-step and hip-hop like rhythms and faster break beats, the latter making an appearance in form of the track ‘Hot Butter Interlude’. My favourite track would have to be the delirious ‘Fontaine’, one that truly demonstrates the depth of T-Polar’s talents and his ability to layer his music so skilfully.

Having mentioned the diversity in sounds on this release I think it is important to point out how well all of these elements are tied together to create a series of tracks that compliment each other and build a very strong overall feeling. This EP is a pleasure to listen to and is almost hypnotic in places. Listen on a good set of headphones for an even closer experience…

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Track of the Day: 02.02.11

2 Feb

Deadmau5 – ‘Raise Your Weapon’

J.T Zimmerman has been masquerading as Deadmau5 for 5 or 6 years now. In that time he has poured all kinds of audible gravy all over our earholes. From electro house and progressive house to bear in the big blue house and all other houses in between. He has flexed his new wave muscles, spread his neo-trance wings and flown. Basically, he’s not that averse to mixing it up from time to time.

This track from 2010’s ‘4×4=12’ sits comfortably in the album but also thanks to Greta Svabo Bech’s vocals it shines like a beacon, guiding us into the new year and the new light.

Turn it up to 11. Roll the windows down. Light one if you have to. But above all else….Enjoy.

p.s. This track isn’t as long as you’d think. We dare you to listen to the first 4 minutes and 2 seconds and then NOT listen to the rest to see how it pans out. Go on. We dare you!

Favourite Album of 2010: Tame Impala – ‘Innerspeaker’

2 Feb

"The tracks individually are little pop-fuzz rock gems..."

Tame Impala – ‘Innerspeaker’

(Modular Recordings)

Being a self-indulgent person with little to no music knowledge in a technical sense, I often find that my favourite albums are ones that stick with me because of our history and experiences together, rather than impressive musicianship.

For 2010 it was Australia’s psyc fuzz rock band Tame Impala’s debut ‘Innerspeaker’ that stole my heart and memories.

Our time together began in Autumn (around April) while I was visiting the old record store where I used to work, I instantly became mesmerised by Innerspeaker’s other-worldly landscape cover by Melbourne artist Leif Podhajsky.

I had listened to Tame Impala’s 2009 EP a little earlier, but didn’t really ‘get it,’ the drawling fuzzy guitar, stoner vocals and relaxed tempo didn’t capture my tiny generation Y attention span.

Nevertheless I thought I’d give Tame Impala another chance, bought ‘Innerspeaker’ and rediscovered the art of appreciating an ‘album’.

The tracks individually are little pop-fuzz rock gems that could be mistaken as lost tracks from an undiscovered 60s psyc-rock band with Lennon-like vocals.

As a complete package however, Innerspeaker reminds you of what an ‘album’ is supposed to sound like, and how an album is meant to make you feel. Tame Impala main-man Kevin Parker takes the listener on a journey where you find yourself sitting by a dusty turntable, air hazy with pot, immersed with the feeling of carelessness.

This album was also the soundtrack to me meeting my partner, our first night together on a tiny broken mattress on the floor of a friend’s kitchen, our awkward text message courting and our nervous dates. Their discovery of my copy of ‘Innerspeaker’ on the bookshelf gave us something to bond over and introduced me to a whole new world of psychedelic music, which has improved my attention span immensely.

Listening to this album is like feeling high, without the greening out (and in my case the occasional vomit) or attack of the munchies. So basically that’s probably why it’s my pick from 2010.

Favourite Album of 2010: John Legend and The Root’s – ‘Wake Up!’

2 Feb

"...‘Wake Up’ is a talent infused social, political and most importantly, musical awakening!"

John Legend & The Roots – ‘Wake Up!’

(Good Music/Sony)

To any of my fellow soul lovers out there let me first and foremost congratulate you on your good taste, bravo I say, bravo!  So, that’s the pleasantries out of the way now let’s get down to the funky music!  Early last year, John Legend & The Roots were left alone in a recording studio, some months later the product of their mutual love was born and delivered straight onto our shelves. They named it ‘Wake Up!’ This 12 tracked masterpiece is John and Root’s take on various tracks from the 60’s and 70’s, all with underlying themes of political activism and awareness… BUT that’s just a bonus.  For us, the most dominant theme, the one that’s really worth writing home (or indeed, a review) about, is one of undisputed talent!

John Legend’s expressive soulful vocal range is normally show cased with just the backup of a piano, now it takes on the jazzy funk sound that is The Root’s and still inspires a spine tingle…or six. The Root’s, although renowned simply as a live hip-hop band take this opportunity to explore the outer reaches off their sound and leave us with an explosive blend of rap, jazz and funk!

All twelve tracks covered were originally written by noted soul musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone and Donny Hathaway. Their purpose was to question the then highly questionable American status quo. Some got the credit they deserved, other’s didn’t. John and Root’s combine their talents and revitalize each and every one these tracks, giving the platform they should have had the first time around.

‘Wake Up’ is a talent infused social, political and most importantly, musical awakening! So, as ‘Ronseal’ would say “It does exactly what it say’s on the tin!” Enjoy!

Favourite Album of 2010: The Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’

31 Jan

"...the album enthralls a listener such as myself, through its capabilities in being chilling, vibrant, stunning but yet so simple."

The Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’

(Transgressive)

A band with a fierce knack for writing a good song returned in 2010 to fill your ear holes with bliss. After firing, and publicly slating the producer of their first album ‘Antidotes’, the band set off to the bright lights and very showbiz city of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The album they returned with showcases their ability to make original, ever changing and somewhat claustrophobic songs. They described the sound themselves as “the dream of an eagle dying”. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as I find it equally hard to strap down and define their sound.

I can however describe how the album enthralls a listener such as myself, through its capabilities in being chilling, vibrant, stunning but yet so simple. Yannis Philippakis’s voice through the record stretches from creepy and vulnerable to powerful and commanding. The music varies so much throughout the record that you are really left stumped as to what is coming next. I will use the well known cliché and banal word ‘journey’ to describe this attractive bundle of songs, because that is exactly what it is. In summary, I love the very bones of ‘Total Life Forever’.

There was no surprise when the album was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Music Prize. It features in nearly every 2010 top album list and is hailed by many critics to be the album of the year.
The Foals are the future of the presently struggling indie scene. Yes they are pretentious, and yes NME think they are great. But these are just trivial matters that will not (I hope) affect Yannis and his buddy’s from making an even more impressive album next time round. I look forward to it with immense anticipation.