Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paco's Top 56 Albums of 2008: 13-1!!!!!

Here they are! The Final 13! Lucky 13! I recommend these to you without any reservation. Sorry this took so long, I was in the middle of moving to Bloomington, IN, and don't have constant internet access yet. Also sorry some of the descriptions are lame because I just wanted to get this done. Which is too bad because all of these releases are magical and deserve the best language available to any language hosting brains. Enough with the apologies on with the jams!

13. Burning Star Core - Challenger (Hospital) : Yes! Cincinnati's BCR is back again! BCR is mostly C. Spencer Yeh. Always releasing jams of interest, Challenger is even better than last year’s great "Blood Lightening 2007." While there are still the signature moments of noisy louditude, this one contains its fair share of gentleness. While most BCR is improvised, apparently most or all of this release was "composed." Many interesting sounds and tones and patterns here. Probably one of the most creative and impressive releases of the year. Experimental Noise Rock/Non-rock has never sounded better.

12. Original Silence - The Second Original Silence (Smalltown Superjazzz) : Check this line-up out: Jim O'Rourke, Massimo Pupillo, Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love, Terrie Ex, Thurston Moore. Yeah. That's right. Most of my list was dominated by quiet gentleness but Some times dudes gotta flex their huge chops and smash some shit up with sick, very modern free jazz improv. And this is even better than the thier first release. Phrases like "balls out" and "booyah" just pour out of this bad boy. Normally I am a little bit shy of music that might be identified as, "masculine.". But not this. I bet they would destroy live. I don’t think most of you will like this. But who evan cars! Also, this was actually recorded live in 2005 but it just came out this year so it counts! Count it!

11. Sigur Rós - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust (XL/EMI) : Well, aside from the false start of the first two tracks (although very excellent false starts), this was a regular Ros release, although for my money perhaps their best in a while. I don’t think I really need to talk about this. Bonus points because my girlfriend loved it, although it is still an awesome album even without that.

10. Emeralds - Solar Bridge (Hanson)/Steve Hauschildt - The Summit (Gniess Things) and Rapt for Liquid Minister (Arbor)/Mark McGuire - Off in the Distance (Chondritic Sound) and Amethsyt Waves (Wagon)/Lilypad – Capacitor (Wagon) : I know that is a lot of albums listed right there so let me straigten you out on it. Emeralds is made of three guys: Steve Hauschildt, Mark McGuire (not that one) and John Elliot. Said fellows also have a number of side projects, Lilypad being one of John Elliot's. Now that you are all clear on that, let me tell you, 2008 was the year of Emeralds et al. Or should I say Emer-lads!? According to, together, solo and in other groups these folks put out at least 33 releases!! I've got not even close to most of them. But the ones I have are incredible. These guys ruled the range and roamed the roms. If I were making a bands of year list they would be toppers. So where to start? Start at the source, Emeralds - Solar Bridge! Probably the top dog here. Lastly what do they even sound like? Good time, sometimes noisy, psych-drone. Bits of krautrock. Or as one of thier earlier album's titled, "Bullshit Boring Drone Band." And if that doesn't get you going, then get outta town.

9. Barn Owl - From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light (Not Not Fun) : Why just last year these fellows where pleasant, but not particularly remarkable freak folk (or insert whatever annoying word you used most). Then suddenly what is this all of a suddens? They release an album with a deer/wolf/shiva/sage on the front and within is contained incredible jems of sloooooooooo doom ambient/rock/folk? Thank you indeed. From our mouths a perpetual sweet darkness more like it. And guess who is going to see them in march at the Not Not Fun Showcase at SXSW? Yes! Tis I! But seriously, get this. And don’t be scared off by words like “doom.” Its not warlord, nor is it evil. Its mostly just sparse and dark and slow.

8. Fennesz - Black Sea (Touch) : Ol' Fenny slips a doozy in at the end of year. This almost didn’t go on my list because I barely had time to listen to it. Good thing I did though because it is incredible. If you don’t know Fennesz or even if you do but think he is kinda noisy/weird, then this is a good introduction/reintroduction. Probably his most accessible album. It's not really all that noisy, mostly just beautiful. I don’t know where it ranks among Venice and Endless Summer, but It’s No. 8 of 2008!

7. Andrew Chalk - Time of Hayfield (Faraway) : I downloaded this at random right before I went back to Afghanistan in January. Little did I know what and who this was. Apparent ambient legend, Andrew Chalk has been cranking this kind of sublimeitudinous stuff out since the 80s And I just found out now! I lose and win simultaneously. Well, in any case this is beautiful and kind, floating, soaring, top of your heart, above the roof tops, kind of ambient. In other words, the best kind. And the good news is he’s got an insane back catalogue to try and dig through. Yes!!

6. Bracken - Eno about the Need (Ears Hoping) : When artists do different or interesting things, many people call that a “gimmick.” I kinda hate that, but if those things are really gimmicks, then I love a good gimmick. How’s this for one? Bracken record a probably sweet album of tape loops, ambient music, field recordings, etc…, and release it in addition of exactly 1 LP. This record they then send through the mail, around the world, to fans and whoever else, who are instructed to scratch, damage, alter, do whatever to the record and its album art. Eventually, the thing actually makes it back to the Bracken fellows, albeit broken (but not destroyed). Then they take this “new” music and art and release it regular like on LP and CD. So sweet idea, but how does it sound? Son! It’s sounds Great! Scratchy, mysterious, crackly, silent, lost, and great. Check it out bad, you’ll need better words where your ears are going.

5. Pete Fosco - Dust, American Dust (Digitalis) : Hey, its not all Europe around here. Ol’ Pete hails from regular old Ohio. Of course, we know that Ohio, whatever else it may be, is for some reason one of the best states to write songs about, or at least mention in a song. Which makes you wonder why Sufjan hasn’t done it yet, if that liar is ever going to finish what he started. In anycase, do you love warpy, warbly guitar tapes? Welcome to Pete’s house then. From the sound of this recording I’d say his house is buried in at least 4-5 ft of American dust. Nice job Pete! Wow!

4. Paavoharju - Laula Laakson Kukista (Fonal) : Finland rules. Finland is the new Iceland. Finland is the new Japan. Finland is the new heart of the earth. I have been meaning to make a list of sweet Finnish music for like 3 years now. Who knows if I will ever get around to it. But in the meantime, at least listen to Paavoharju. Because they are incredible. While at first listen, I didn’t feel that this album was quite as stunning as their self-titled debut, I eventually came to realize that this was quite a bad boy beast of a bad boys kind hearts. I also heard tell that member, Joose (hopefully pronounced juice) had a solo album out this year, but I only have heard 1 song. I need to find it with my Joose finding feelers! Paavoharju = the best!!!!! ohhhhhhhhhyeeeeeaaaaah!!!

3. V. Sjöberg New Jazz Ensemble - Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me (Ideal) : Speaking of very loose (or Joose!) definitions of jazz, Don’t be fooled by the name here. Despite actually being made of some jazz artists (and weirdly, in the tour band for Jens Leckman) this is definetly an ambient/experimental album, although perhaps it was improvised. In other words, the first track is probably the longest (28 mins!) version of the jazz standard, “Do Nothing “Til You Hear From Me.” Maybe its just really stretched out. Viktor Sjöberg probably hated that Original Silence album. I don’t blame him if he can pull this kind of stuff out of his body. I can’t actually find much information about this album or about these guys. But this is slow, patient, and so so beautiful and kind.

2. Machinefabriek - Music For Intermittent Movements: Soundtracks For Films by Jon Price (Non Label)/Mort Aux Vaches (Mort Aux Vaches)/Ranonkel (Burning World)/& Soccer Commitee - Drawn (Digitalis)/Freiband & - Oahu (Low Point)/Fabriek Bakker Fabriek - S/T 3" (Non-Label) : Oh Yes!!!!!!! If we were making that Artists of the year list Rutger Zuydervelt would be right up there too! Dude cranks it out as much as all the Emeralds combined and often on absurd formats like hand pressed 3” CDs. I have all of those releases listed above and those aren’t even all of them!! What!? Machinefabriek is mostly hilariously good sound and the manipulation and processing there of. Ambient, Field Recordings, Noisy sounds, f-ed up instruments scrambled around. Sometimes involving computers, but mostly on machines. I don't know what it means, but If Machinefabriek means what it looks like it does then that is a perfect description of what he does and why he rules. If there is one thing you need to know about me, its that I love sound as texture as a fabric, which is why the recording process is so much more important than just throwing down some tracks, its about all the sounds surrounding your music its about the texture of your sounds with those in the machine and the earth around you. And in my favorite music, like machinefabriek its only about the texture of the earth in contest/in unison/in resolve with the machine. Sound!

1. Janek Schaefer - Alone at Last (Sirr)+ Extended Play [Triptych For The Child Survivors Of War And Conflict] (Line) : Oh man, finally done with this list!!!!! Janek Schaefer, yet another awesome genius of sound I just found out about this year, is the boss of the roost here. If you were to search for some information about him the first thing that might come up is that he created a turntable with three styluses. In other words it plays three points on a record at the same time. This is of course awesome. But that does not star on this release. The main donny here is the first album mentioned which is alone at last which is just awesome field recordings and ambient and sometimes noisy but mosty just awesome and quietude and crackly sometimes. The second is good but who cares? I do though. So go to it. Get with it. Get with the now. This list is done and I hate it! I love did you know that?

Well sorry this took so long hopefully soon I will try to put up my list of sources so that jonnny can download everything and more! wow what do you think of all this? do you even hate it?

1 comment:

  1. oh boysus, the end of the end. i'm disappointed with pfeiffer. i expected a list from him, too. i guess your secret blogs will be the finale though.

    btw, have you ever seen the movie "screamers?" i can't decide whether i loved it or loved it.


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