Top 5 records of 2012
1) Autumn of commmunion is a collaboration between Mick Chillage and Lee Anthony Norris aka Norken. A dazzling and mesmerizing trip into lush ambient music and ethereal soundscapes. A kaleidoscope of deeply atmospheric drones, lush synthwork and emotive melody with environmental touches and intricate rhythmic details which reflect a hint of classic 90’s ambient/electronica but displays a strong unique identity. Sadly this record will go down as the last published on the mighty FAX records label…Limited to 300 copies. Worth buying for sure, a volume 2 is already in the works. I must say I loved it from the 1st notes I heard on Soundcloud but ever since I’ve purchased the CD through Pete Namlook (RIP) it grew and grew on me…It is a real album à la Black dog circa Bytes, i.e. all tracks are connected to each other…it flows well and has an uncanny touch of still sounding fresh after repeated listenings…Spoil yourself and buy this little gem from Mick and Lee. It’s that good !
2) Lone : Galaxy garden / R&S Records
Matt Cutler aka Lone makes daydream music, you can’t listen to it without going off somewhere. Personally, I slip into the daydream of being sucked into the 80s arcade game ‘Outrun’ and tearing around a looped pixellated parallel to Miami or some other palm-tree-avenued sea front…This record is so trippy, it’s like falling into the white rabbit’s hole but instead of making it to wonderland, you get into another forest, an upside down one, with the sky just bellow your naked feet, full of planets that seem more like giant lollipops and where everything is made of mirrors, of warm glass, that reflect all the colours that exist. You can hear water flowing in every single track, but it’s not a river. It’s flowing throughout and inside the branches, tangling all the threes to an infinite vegetable Venice. A unique trip!
3) The Orb featuring Lee ”Scratch” Perry : The observer in the star house
A nice one from The Orb and Lee Scratch Perry! Honestly, we’re not at all surprised at how strong the record is – The Orb have long transcended genres and expectations in the electronic realm – and Scratch has long proven to be one of the most adaptable and unique voices reggae. They go great together! The Orb deliver some spacey, dubby and deeply atmopsheric sounds – and Lee’s charismatic voice sounds great floating over it. Includes Golden clouds a remake of Little fluffy clouds ! This collaboration between The Orb and Lee Scratch Perry really works. The Orb tried before to create songs on Cydonia and the Dream albums, but the voices were sometimes really cheesy. Not this time. Mr Perry doesn’t really sing, but his voice is unique and melts perfectly with the tracks. Golden Clouds is like a Little Fluffy Clouds for the 10’s. And there’s also a Police and Thieves cover. This is not the ambient Orb, but the dub Orb. The tracks are not very long, but that’s fine with us !
4) Claro intelecto : Reform club / Delsin records
Forget Legowelt praised by Resident advisor (dumb ass geeks stuck with house music from the 90’s) and XLR8R…This is the album of the year in techno music. Minimal, hypnotic, groovy but also filled with nice melodies à la Detroit techno. This was released early in the year and is much better than the overrated Voice from the lake. Why ? Because it’s a mixture of dub techno, deep house and straight up minimal techno. There is surprisingly more melody here than one might think. With just the right enough tech. Going into this you know the depth and baselines will win you over. But it’s done subliminally, creatively and it’s done at a tempo that either a house or techno fan can enjoy. Still Here and Second Blood have to be the majority favorites on here. My only gripe is no filler tracks to bridge them. But this plays more like a 2×12 then a LP. The album does run out of steam after the first four tracks besides Second Blood. A few more winners and a better album theme and we could have had the best techno album in a long time…Still for those 9 tracks, this album is still ranked 5/5 for me
5) Symmetry : Themes from an imaginary film
Two hours of music that slots in perfectly with the Drive – OST and Chromatics as it was released on the great label Italians do it better, this soundtrack was rumored to be an unused scored for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Johnny Jewel (Glass Candy, Desire, Chromatics) began production for many of the tracks on Themes For An Imaginary Film in 2008. Jewel had been approached by Refn after seeing him perform to compose the score for the movie. However, due to miss-communications and the Hollywood machine the project fell through. Nevertheless Jewel and Nat Walker (Desire, Chromatics) had written a few songs that were intended for the soundtrack, four of which have found their way on to the debut release from their project, Symmetry, along with a myriad of other material. The 37 tracks that make up the album seem to stand apart from whatever imaginary film they were truly for. Obviously and expressly inspired by the film soundtracks and composers of the 1970s, the music evokes many moods and emotional overtones over its two hour running time. Jewel and Walker avoid the pitfalls of making an outright disco soundtrack like Goblin or going the John Carpenter route. Instead they have crafted an album that is uniquely their own with or without the film that never was. Brilliant score and amazing production values.