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Journal sielwolf's Journal: Year in Music (2006) 5

(Probably want to go here for the actual Youtube et al)

Better late than never? I don't know. I've been waiting to get my copy of Black Devil Disco Club for about five weeks now so I've been putting this off... and putting it off... and putting it off until I realized "Shit, it's almost 2008. Better get this out the door." So... thoughts on this year: well, for about the first half I was damn sure that every album I liked that came out this year would actually be collections of material from previous year. Shit, we could do a Top Albums in 2006 of Rereleases:

AFX - Chosen Lords

Ricardo Villalobos - Salvador

Broadcast - Future Crayon

razor x productions - Killing Sound

And that list could probably be reems bigger. If those count as 2006 albums because they are collections of things only releases as singles or on vinyl previously, or that they contain some material never yet seen before the album release (or the tracks have been slightly modified from their original version as per the onus of Mr RDJ)... well, I leave that to the jury to decide. But it is still somewhat odd. For the longest time I thought I was better left to filling in my catalog with older stuff... and then I felt really fucking old. That's what you do when you have no more taste; when popular culture has passed you by. When you've gone to rot. Anarchronism. But then folks started dropping some real gems and the year turned around. So, in no real order-

  • Favorites from 2006:
    • Arpanet - Inertial Frame - I was half convinced this was never going to come out as it's release date kept on slipping. But then it finally came and renewed my faith. This came with the byline of being a Dataphysix Labs release, finally, with several sung tracks! HORJ! That spoke more to the most recent direction of Gerald Donald nee Heinrich Mueller as Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus and Arpanet: he'd gone from the boom thunk of classic Detroit into the realm of space minimalism. Yes, it was a new artistic direction and, yes, he had earned it and ,yes, it was pretty good but it still wasn't what brought the punters to the kiosk. Folks wanted to hear about sex with mannequins and the like. And with Inertial Frame folks were going to get what they wanted. Thankfully that wasn't the case. This release seems to split the difference between early and later Dataphysix by combining the disorientation of the later work with the casual unseriousness of the the early stuff. Arpanet – Zero Volume is the perfect example as it consists mostly of rumbling bass ticks and emphyreal chorus. A chant of "Sin-gu-lar-it-y" pops up now and then with a kind of shattering crystal entropy. It's difficult to tell what face the track is trying to show you and forms a disquieting force beyond its components. Same with the similarly weird slowed vocals of [track artist=Arpanet]großvater paradoxon[track]. Just enough to get me excited for Dopplereffekt - Calabi-Yau Spaces and Black Replica.
    • Boxcutter - Oneric - This album grew on me this year. More and more as I heard other dubstep releases and found how either stuck to their scene or lacking in skill they were (say, Skream's release which both underwhelmed by under-using Warrior Queen, and actually regressed to generic house-isms at it's end), the more I came to appreciate this. From the AFX ambient of "Chlorophyll" to the smart junglism of "Sunshine VIP" to the terrorizing bootstraps of "Brood" this album is a wonderfully verbose journey through the whole family of sub-ska styles. It's smart, it's clever and it's good both blowing out of speakers and in headphones. Of course the two biggest songs off of here were the original 05 'plate that got the kid signed...
    • Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Towards the Red Sun - There is a good reason why I've never picked up a Red Sparowes disc. It is a side project of guys from Isis and Neurosis, doing what Pelican does. Well, I thought it was a good reason until I actually sat down and listened to this: a sharp turning opera of post-metal. It's one of the strengths of metal that it is unself-conscious enough to take something like The Great Chinese Sparrow War of 1958 and turn it into an album. One of the benefits of the post-metal construction is that when it comes to grinding on power cords, the album usually has earned it with studied contemplation up to that point. There is nothing shallow, cheap and masturbatory about this release. Instead it builds up a huge vision of a thing that never sells itself out with schlock.
    • The Knife - Silent Shout - I feel bad for The Knife. I fear for their flame burning so brightly that it snuffs itself out unduely as the hungry mobs suffocate it. It's quite possible in two years everyone will have so gorged themselves that they might never touch their albums again and that would be a damn shame. And so much surrounding this band feels like back-handed compliments: how their earlier releases are treated as naive fumbling when the reviews could easily be described as "Reviewers have to come up with some reason why they didn't listen to them before this one or our scene credibility will be shot forever", the overproclaimations of genius (for probably the same reasons), the declarations on how unbelievably dark this album is when a good bit of it is goofy and fun (shit, they even say so. In that interview the kids seem pretty much good folks and have a good sense of humor. Why can't the reviewers recognize that?), how its a unique sonic masterpiece (when you can find that The Knife comes from a fairly well established geneology of Euro house duos. If anyone can listen to their work and not think of Björk they are lying). Why is all of this a problem? Because the scenesters will tire of the charade they started and it will come down as backlash against the band. Their next album will either be measured against the high false praise of this one or have it's hype held against it. The hard uncaring love of the scene. And its a problem because you can spend an entire paragraph (like I just did) talking about everything but the music. All of this noise turns off any techno/house/electronics fans out there (because the fauning cherry-picking by outsiders is fucking insulting) while at the same time the indie kids might just cast them off like they did their 2001 Electroclash phase. I hope Karin and Olof tell them to fuck off: throw on more damn guitar and sax. Make an acapella track. Stick a finger in their eye. Folks with ears will recognize the fact they've put out 3+1 albums of quality material.
    • Final - FINAL3 - This could fall into that above list of rereleases, if it wasn't for the fact that no one had ever heard this stuff. But then you could call the whole Analords set as Richard D James releasing a making-of documentary for his next album. It's all kind of a wash. But this album got an incredible amount of spins from me. At some point I decided that it could be the Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 of the post-metal scene: an off-considered-secondary album that was listened to by all the right people in the scene. It has small and large places. A track like "Northpole" is as carefully considered as "Sorry". This album is good for the people, Justin Broadrick especially. As folks start building up the harsh and painful expectations for Jesu that helped kill Godflesh he at least find welcoming warm respect for folks who have an adult sense of taste. This album is an arctic landscape: easily mistaken as uncharacteristic flatness that is in reality shifting always beneath your feet.
  • For Some Reason or Another...
    • Various Production - World is Gone - PFM was wrong: this isn't the Portishead - Dummy. it's dubstep's Tricky - Angels with Dirty Faces: a production team with some vocals who's female companion provides the strongest vocals to the singles. This is a great disc... but who the hell threw on the neo-folk tracks? And coming off of "Thunnk" with "Circle of Sorrow" is the aural equivalent of premature ejaculation. Just a simple reordering would save this one from the weird shifts in tone and pitch. But that first one is enough to make you think you accidentally picked up something else. Is "Circle of Sorrow" not good? No. But it just makes for an odd release. Also the deliniations between the songs and the CD track listing seems to be fucked up on mine. Starting somewhere around track 4 the songs start on the previous track... which sucks.
    • Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury - No, this album isn't as good as Clipse - Lord Willin'. For all the talk of how grimey it is, it could be described as something else: monotone. There's nothing to break this up, nothing to give you the sense that this is anything but a collection of singles. Of course if this means they avoided the dreaded hip-hop skit, then I don't think it's a loss. This album is in definite need of a shift in gears. For how awesome "Trill" is, there is no "When the Last Time" And how the fuck is "Zen" not on here? That's a fucking insult. That song is genius. This album wasn't the hip hop savior that folks wanted it to be. In a year folks will come back to their senses.
    • Cat Power - The Greatest - Chan's best album but still lacking in something to string together the strongest tracks: the titular track, "Willie" and "Love and Communication". It feels a bit noodly. This album's greatness is just outside of it's grasp.
    • Grizzly Bear - Yellow House - Let's say you burnt a mixtape for somebody and had "The Knife" and "Colorado" on there. Folks would think these guys were the second coming of Broadcast right? And what happens then when they listen to the rest of this? *sound of a squealing wheels and a car going off the road and into a tree. Gasoline explosion* Even the other kind-of-ok tracks ("Little Brother", "On a neck, on a spit") still make you think "Damn... why couldn't they let the guy who wrote those two good songs have a couple more on here?" The other stuff is undefined, unforgettable. Such are the Olympian heights, Bellerophon.
  • EPs
    • Jesu - Silver - A good little disc. I had hoped by setting such wide posts between this, the debut LP and Heart ache that Justin would finally get folks off of his ass with what they expected from him. Sadly it doesn't seem to be the case. Memo to elitist metal jerkoffs: this is why folks leave the scene and never come back. There's a whole wide world out there beyond your mom's basement that folks want to partake in. Do us all a favor and fall face first into a mountain of hard dick. This EP? Great. From the pop of "Star" to the guitar weirdness of "Dead Eyes". The man is having a good time and making music. More power to him.
    • Line - Snowstorm in a Globe - I liked this much more than I should. I stumbled on *this* Line while looking for more stuff by Dairmont Dalton's (of Jesu) Line. Sadly, that one was limited to the fucking genius "Hollow". But the synth-pop of Neil Wells hit me much more than I thought it would. He's got a great command of the low end (everyone seems to these days). He builds these catchy shoe-gazy singles that are worth endless spins. Yeah, folks will probably give it one sniff, mumble something about Pulp and shuffle elsewhere. They'd miss out on something here. You could work this into a mix and get the kids moving.
    • Boards of Canada - Trans-Canada Highway - Folks will complain about the rehash of "Dayvan Cowboy" and ignore the fact that "Skyliner" and the rest are some more wonderously crafted IDM-scapes from the bros. If you listen you can hear how this fits into their current thinking. You could sandwich this stuff around "'84 Pontiac Dream". But it didn't fit with what they wanted on Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase, so they put this out. Maybe it should have been a freebie EP second disc. Still, this will probably go overlooked for years.
  • Singles
    • Rich Boy – Throw Some D's - Labels must be stupid by not putting this gem out (with full video support) until autumn. How can you avoid such easy money with such a readymade windows down car anthem? Sounds big coming out of your '98 Civic hatchback. Polow has that great "For my dogs/hustlers/gangsters/busters/wanksters... waitaminutemuthafucker." Classic. Get money- new money.


    • The Horrors – Sheena Is A Parasite - The song? Meh. Sort of generic. But this video! Chris Cunningham + Samatha Morton = awesome.Stuff blowing out of a woman's crotch like a Francis Bacon painting is the stuff of greatness. And the way he shoots the band? Sorry guys, we are laughing at you. Raccoon eyeliner- HAHAHAHAH!


    • The Black Keys – Your Touch - Obvious pandering for the hometown (of course now Black Keys shows in NE OH are full of white ballcap frat jerkoffs, which is a sad and depressing thing. Still, get money, right?) But a great slight at normal video conventions. The Jay-Z spoof of all the squibs. The great "At least I died doing what I love- lipsyncing. I love that shit." The song is pretty boss too.
    • Susanna and the Magic Orchestra - It's A Long Way To The Top - Fuck, I can only find their "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which suffers from the lethergy that curses their disc. But their cover of AC/DC is so fucking great. A bit faster (though far slower than the actual song) it is every bit as true as the original. How often could you find a Bon Scott song considered sweet and poignant?
    • The Pack – Vans - If someone told you the Neptunes produced this you'd believe them: skater hip-hop on a minimal tick beat? How did Pharrell not do this? It's disposable Scooby Doo hip-hop but that doesn't mean it isn't good. Some music doesn't need a chin stroked to it. .

      And the diss of the track is pretty good too. Funny isht

  • Crappiest Disappointing Album of 2006:

    Hecate - Brew Hideous - WTF? Who convinced Ms Kozak that her vocals were awesome? Even on her other albums she mostly did spoken word... which fit! Instead here we have growling sub-death metal crap. Knock it off- it's ANNOYING. Even her stuff as Raquel De Grimstone is fun. But this? DRRRRR! The switch to gloom dark elektro completely gets in the way of what we came for: beats and EFX. This disc is stupid. And it just supports the DJ-On-Album-Cover-Curse

    Appearing topless didn't save her (and did anybody request that? Eh, no.). Every choice made on this album is a mistake. Hecate has earned a second and third chance in my book. Let's hope she realizes something went wrong.

Summary of 2006 Music Purchases

46 Albums (Way down from last year when I bought 67)

45 hours 49 minutes and 45 seconds time elapsed (Down from 60 hours 11 minutes and 46 seconds from last year... but close to 2004).

Total Expediture: $657.90 which is over the estimation of $634.55. This is the first year when that's happened. I haven't bought as much stuff used. But I'm still only at $13.43 a disc, again way below the FUD of the Anti-RIAA (*cough*music thieving, even from non-RIAA labels*) community. I spent just under $800 last year so this is down too (thank god).

Final Music Index (As compared to 2005): Down. My average subjective album rating was up but most of my purchases were not from this year. This year was underwhelming. It took forever for anything good to come out and even then it was sporatic. And it didn't help that the old mainstays just sort of flopped around. Here's hoping that folks finally get back to making good quality noise. Of course there's a whole slew of new shit (maybe) coming out that should get people excited. Maybe in 2007 we'll actually have a universally great hip-hop album again. This was a year of too many excuses.

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Year in Music (2006)

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  • I'm really liking that album you hipped me to.

    Sweet and poignant Bon Scott? Try Mark Kozelek's "What's Next To The Moon" CD. The cover of "Love At First Feel" is amazing - taking a leering, lascivious song and making it tender.

    Maybe in 2007 we'll actually have a universally great hip-hop album again.

    What's universally great? I'm looking forward to buying the Lupe Fiasco album so I can enjoy me some hip-hop again. I really like what I've heard so far, and I have faith that I'll like even more. I think hip-ho
    • I try to help. If I can get off of my ass I can try to send you a sample of some of the stuff on that list. You might find something else to dig your teeth into.

      Universally Accepted... hmm. I always think of Outkast or classic era Wu-tang or ATCQ. The sort of stuff that people say "I don't usually listen to 'teh rap' but I really like this one..." It might not even be an instant classic. Just the sort of thing that gets spins and appears on everybody's year end list. I think Kanye's first disc or the
      • I'm hoping that Lupe (which I just ordered today - got the buy 1 get 4 free from BMG - that and the Cure special discs for Three Imaginary Boys, Head on the Door and Kiss Me3, and the DM 2 disc of Some Great Reward) will be that disc for me. I like rap, I'm okay with it, but I don't get down with it. It's gotta be the popular stuff, I find, which means more tuneful or clever.

        Have you not heard any of it, or not heard what you like? I admit I was pulled in by the skateboarding love story angle of "Kick Push"
        • Yeah, I've heard both of those by Lupe. Also recently he said in an interview that he had never heard any ATCQ which got a lot of people angry. Me? Meh. I dunno. I thought his music was nice but it also seemed to be unrepentently "retro" for no other reason than to be that way. There were/are a lot of indie hip-hop acts like that: Jurassic 5, People Under the Stairs. They all want to celebrate the Golden Age of Hip Hop but begin to feel recycled themselves after a while. I'm really looking for the
  • but i am old. sure i got some new music that came out in 2006, but it was the stuff i'm into anyway. i loved the latest from squarepusher, but that's not super new other than just being more mature (or perhaps just older). boxcutter isn't a big stretch for me although it is a little different. i'm too lazy to figure out what else i got this last year that wasn't old.

    and this year because i don't know any better i'm looking forward to new releases from old favorites. i think this will finally be the yea

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.