Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Best of..." blurbs

Below, the blurbs I had originally planned for my best of 2006 list :

Burial - Burial
Easily takes record of the year. Highly recommended. While ignorance does not allow me to place this in its proper London dubstep context, or make appropriate reference to the "hauntology" debate, it has revived my interest in "electronic" music. See also Kode 9 & Space Ape's Memories of the Future. Amazing stuff happening in London.

Jeremy Enigk - World Waits
Enigk returns with a hauntingly beautiful solo album. Purists be damned, SDRE's later work was incredible, and this record retains/revives much of what made How it Feels... and The Rising Tide so beautiful and epic.

Scott Walker - The Drift
Disturbing and bleak...awesome. Not much to say. Has to be heard.

Jesu - Silver
Justin Broadrick has gone far beyond the confines of metal. The self titled debut revealed his new direction, and Silver proves his "shoegazer" credibility, reaching for the heights of melody and structure. Truly haunting music. Like speed, landscapes, distance...a North Shore beach in winter. Check out the Japanese version for the original cut of the title track. Much more synth heavy, different chord progressions, and missing the main guitars altogether.

Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
To be placed alongside Silver as the most emotionally evocative metal album of the year. While the label "shoegazer" has been thrown around too much this past year, the influences are definite, and undeniable. I am tangentially reminded of the most dreamy and atmospheric qualities of Siamese Dream. (By the way, stay cautiously tuned for a new Pumpkins record) Saturday Night Wrist proves the continued relevance of this band, in a climate where almost nothing is.

Sunn O))) & Boris - Altar
The charm is definitely receding, but the teaming up of of these two Southern Lord behemoths yields wondrous results. It is getting harder to imagine SunnO))) taking things any further. Hopefully this is not the last gasp of innovation from either band. This is an awesome record, the two bands blending together with drone, melody, ambience and quietude. "The Sinking Belle" is exemplary. Ex-Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil came out of hiding for the last track.

Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Click for my previous post on what Jesus Himself has called "video game music". Yorke's theoretical statement on active memetic digestion.

Napalm Death - Smear Campaign
Extreme metal album of the year. 25 years and counting, these guys will not quit. Silly liberal anti-establishment politics aside, still a killer band.

Isis - In The Absence of Truth
While it fails to top 2004's Panopticon, Isis remains on the razor's edge of what makes hipster rock/metal so very... lame? They push the envelope of acceptability, but retain their respectability. The final track alone is worth the price of admission. Don't miss the U.S. tour with Jesu winter '07.

Tool - 10,000 Days
Tool has abandoned the mysticism of Lateralus in favor of anger and nostalgia. Great album, despite the meanderings of interlude addiction. Takes a few listens to sink in. Traces of their early work surface in spots. Tool is clearly aging well.

Honorable mentions:

Pat 'O'Leary - 7 Demos
It is a shame nobody really gets to hear Pat's music. This man is a true talent.

The Devin Townsend Band - Synchestra
(these comments were part of a planned review of this album that was never completed) Glimpses of the hysterical re-surfaced on SYL's 2005 "Alien" record. This monolith of the bizarre was simply confounding and sublime. The massive guitar resonated with an urgency unmatched since well, "City". But to compare those two albums would be fruitless and sentimental. Townsend's latest release, "Synchestra" is a Devin Townsend Band record, the second under the current incarnation of his prog-rock brand name. The things to be expected from a Townsend record remain. It seems, as with all of his work, to be the logical continuation of a career that has not slowed down a bit (until the birth of his son). References/reflections of "Infinity" (1998) era bombast, and a return to the lush, organic heaviness which permeated "Terria"(2001) take his work to the next step in a brilliant trajectory.

In recent print, Townsend has openly acknowledged the tendency of some of the tracks to linger on riffs for some time before any launch into the song itself. It sounds as if he has applied a drone/doom aesthetic in some half-baked way. It works, sort of. Picture Townsend's signature production style of reverb-to-the-heavens mixed with slow, deep riffage. The use of female vocals on "Pixillate" is nice. Listening to this, I find myself questioning the limits of "progressive". I wish this album could have made the top ten, but ultimately it just doesnt do what I would need it to. It took two or three listens to arrive at the point of recognition. A false recall of something already there, or a remainder? What was left out last time? There is a strange kind of continuity from album to album, but nothing truly (r)evolutionary happening here. Devin has recently stated that he is recording a new solo album on his own, without the DTB, using Drumkit From Hell. Like the forthcoming Pumpkins release, I will cautiously await this one as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Free Web Site Counter