Thursday, December 29, 2011

My favorite songs of 2011

Hey everyone. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Oliver James Harpe. I've been alive since August 9th. Wow, what a crazy world, huh? Don't you love toys? And things that jut outwards from surfaces? And cats? I'll tell you what else is great: songs. These are some of my favorite songs of this year (my only year ha ha am I right?).

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Stained Glass Body

This song is great for calming down and sleeping. I mostly liked this song when I was younger. My tastes have matured since then.

Lonely Old Man

This is the next song that I really loved. My parents and I think it's hilarious.


This song has great hand motions. My dad does them really well.

Alphabet Song/Shapes Song

These songs are the work of A. J. Jenkins, who's pretty much my favorite artist right now. His songs are so great, and are accompanied by shapes and letters which have faces, just like people do! I feel like he really gets me. No matter what mood I'm in, these tunes set me right.

Well, that's it. These are pretty much the top songs out there. Bye for now. I've got to go practice this new high-pitched squeal that I now use to express every human emotion.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Hot Shots of 2011

New real lists coming as soon as vaca starts. But for now, PING PONG!

List her? I hardly know her.

Wow, what an unexpected boon to my household! List season is here again. What a year, huh guys? My faith-based craft business took off in a big way. I was elected to Congress. I finally killed that sonofabitch Andy. And it was a great year for music too!

In the past these lists have gotten way out of hand, so I'm going to limit it to a quick and dirty top 15 this year. If you'd like to hear more of my top picks, you can go to hell.

15. Federico Durand - El Extasis de las Flores Pequenas

Piano and field recordings. Very beautiful and sleepy. Supposedly it's about his childhood. I'll buy that.

14. Balam Acab - Wander/Wonder

Previously I've always hated those annoying chipmunk sounding voices that are in hip hop sometimes. You guys know what I mean, right? Well, now I love them thanks to this.

13. M. Ostermeier - The Rules of Another Small World

This is another album of piano and field recordings. I guess I'm a sucker for stuff like this. This one is a bit more minimalistic. Very gentle.

12. Mountains - Air Museum

I feel like Mountains aren't very highly regarded by some, but they're a personal favorite of mine. This is their most consistent release to date, I think. Saw these bros at Neon Marshmallow Fest.

11. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

A new direction for ole Danny. Way more samples and way less drones. When Andy and I saw him at NMF, his set fell about halfway between this and Returnal. I'd like to see him put that down on paper, so to speak.

10. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

So many layers of beautiful voice pouring into your ears. It doesn't get any better than that.

9. Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere

Some great melancholy piano compositions from this modern classical dog. I've listened to the song "Fragile N. 4" about a million times this year.

8. The Field - Looping State of Mind

Awesome beats and sounds repeating over and over again. I'm not sure why this isn't boring like most house music, but it's not. I love it.

7. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

Andy suggested that Tim Hecker's music has always sounded wintry. I, however, have always felt his music to be notable for the incredible warmth of its noise. In any case, this album is clearly some chilly stuff. Definitely more aggressive than some of his previous releases.

6. Ford & Lopatin - Channel Pressure

There's not a dull moment on this album! It's overflowing with delicious sounds. So many good ideas.

5. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

M83 is about the best thing going, despite the fact that he continues to use that dumb talking girl all the time. It makes me feel like he could make the best album ever by simply not doing that.

4. Rene Hell - The Terminal Symphony

Here's another awesome friend we saw at the fest. Jeff Witscher's latest is definitely his most accessible, but it's not without a lot of abrasive moments. A real synth master.

3. Steve Hauschildt - Tragedy and Geometry

Speaking of synth masters...I always thought of Steve Hauschildt as the most abstract and conceptual artist in the Emeralds gang, so this is totally not what I was expecting. I bet some people (Paco?) were disappointed with it. Granted, there is a lot of stuff that kind of sounds like this, but I think this is totally the best.

2. Lee Noble - Horrorism

I wasn't a fan of some of his previous drone releases, but I'm in love with this album. Great songs awash in so much beautiful noise and sound. "Horrorism" is supposed to refer a fake art movement that he invented. Don't worry, it's not scary.

1. Sean McCann - The Capital

Sean's been putting out top quality releases at an insane pace over the last few years. I feel like this is kind of the culmination of that whole period. There's a lot of really different sounding stuff here, but it all seems to draw from the best of what he's been doing lately. I can't recommend this enough!

Okay okay, here's some stuff that would've made a longer list. It's all great.

Golden Retriever - Light Cones (side one is amazing!)
Lunar Miasma - The Gateway
Niggas With Guitars - Ethnic Frenzy
Deaf Center - Owl Splinters
Aerial Jungle - Tales of Acoustic Levitation
Grouper - A | A
The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
Belong - Common Era
EUS - Trans El Horizonte
Higuma - Pacific Fog Dreams
Julia Kent - Green and Grey
Juv - Juv
Mandelbrot & Skyy - OD-Axis
Mist - House
Polymer Slug - Cloud Types
Panabrite - Nordsee
Noveller - Glacial Glow
Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Luminaries and Synastry
M. Geddas Grengas - This Could Be the Last Time
Father - Return of Father
Deep Magic - Sky Haze
Sundrips - Just a Glimpse
Sky Stadium - Palmae
Pure X - Pleasure
Quiet Evenings - Transcending Spheres
Cliffsides - Liquid Mirrors

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sup dopes; i mean teds and carlas. do you know what time it is? it is time. my god what a year right. as most of you know i really got a promotion this year big. now i have nothing to worry about in this world except for lists. and one can make many lists, but i can make only one. so that's what i'm about to do. make list.

but first:
this year was a good year. but even in good years bad disasters befall good computers. this year was no exception for disasters or computers. Once, there was this bad drought, and our computer got so thirsty and then it died. the doctors tried to make it alive again, and they did, but not before it forgot all that it once knew, including known pictures and songs, and that stuff;
like the english patient, i think, i haven't seen that movie.

it forgot it all.
and in the process i learned a very valuable lesson which is this: my mind isn't good at knowing what it likes and knowing what's important. it's so hard. but i have tried my damndest and i have gave it my all. starting from scratch we have been rebuilding our music library and collection selection. and from that and my recollection(seuss) i present you with:

have split my one big list into four sub-lists. they aren't the most coherent but they are the best that i could manage, what with the economy and all.

section 1: for the people (pop/indie rock kinda stuff)
i figure i will start things off nice and easy. just dip our toes in kinda stuff. anybody other than my dad could pick up these boys and say "wow, those boys are great for my ears and good for my spirit and attitude."

M83 "hurry up we're dreaming"

you guys know these guys. here we have a double album that rocks you to the socks. man i can't get enough of most of these songs. i just wanna hear them. especially steve mcqueen and that song
with the cute little girl about magic frogs. ONG Also, only minimal occurrences of that whiny girl talking in the middle of songs, which is always a plus for M83. (She should keep those feelings in her diary and out of my music).

James Blake "james blake"

this guy. ha. im not really sure. part of me feels like this is a guilty pleasure; part of me feels like i could listen to him openly in public and feel bad-ass; im torn. either way some real good maple syrup. any song that talks about kestrels is winning in my book.

Bon Iver "bon iver"

Duh. Bon Iver. I mean any dude whose voice sounds like 10,000 angels has to make the list. don't matter one bit about the autotune. sorry.

Ford & Lopatin "channel pressure"

Who's feeling risky? You? Pink shirt, third row? Yeah, way to go! Ok so this one is so good, but also made from ancient keyboards and weird old synthesizers, not your modern guitars and justin biebers. but shoot the shit and give it a try.

Right? Told yah.

section 2: Oh my God, no way!/sounds for chillin

things now begin to unravel a little bit. these songs are a little less normal, but in many cases 15 or 52% more beautiful than those above. this is one of the sections that doesn't really coalesce as much, but who cares. maybe it does.

Alexander Turnquist "hallway of mirrors"

for starters, i heard of this instrument called a guitar. man what cool sounds! but if you take this guy, and you give him one of those, man oh man oh man. i just found this gem not so long ago, but it is sooo good and sooo pretty. you should all listen to it when you are in need of sweet sounds. i recommend for use in the car, at home, the office, quiet dinner parties, the study, or to give to the barber to put on while he is trimming the ole neck-line (i prefer mine rounded). you'll be surprised.

Julianna Barwick "the magic place"
so there is this girl. she sings these words that you can't make out. but she sings them and records them at one pitch, then does the same thing for like a hundred different pitches that all harmonize and blend perfectly like a host of heavenly angels and my god if it doesn't warrant a little reverence and maybe even some repentance. check it out (especially on sunday)

Geotic "mend"

i don't really know what to say about this one. i mean, i think you will like it, it's good.
you liked that Baths album last year, right? well this is by him, but under a different name. and totally different (no beats). but so good. maybe like the soundtrack to a dream where good things are happening, like lots of flying above cool cities or chocolate baseball diamonds. not sure.
you tell me.

section 3: dope beeps/ ughhh what? cool!
here we digress but in such a good way. this is where songs disintegrate into sounds, but wow guys, these sounds are so good and pretty. sheesh just give it a go.

Mountains "air museum"

i have loved these guys for so long; but then they put out this new album and then my friend and i saw them in chicago and BOOM. that was it. i mean talk about do it best. this is that. so much sounds, beeps, static, and delicious slowly changing tones. it's everything you ever.

p.s. it's okay, i admit, the album cover is totally lame.

Mist "house"

Whats that? aaaahhhhh!!! it's these sweet beeps and dops and sounds that make you want to succeed so hard. lets all run out and take the GRE and get these incredible scores, like in the top percentiles. lets go take IQ test and all become members of Mensa. WHAT? we are all universal donors? Blood Type O? Yes! this is what the world could accomplish if 7 billion people all listened to tack 1 of this album simultaneously. Success! world peace. good will and what not. we did it. global raise the roof. raise it to space and then some. gosh.

The Field "looping state of mind"

i know that most of you like to dance and shake your body all around the world. well then you should get this album. especially if you only have like two or three really good moves. then you can just do them over and over because that's what the album is like. it's like a sweet dancey/housey album that plays the same awesome beats over and over and over. but in the best possible non-boring way ever.

Rene Hell "the terminal symphony"

This is the least accessible album in this section. however, im pretty sure that everyone in the world could get on board with the fourth track E.S. Des Grauens In Fifths, so just give that one a try, love it, then slowly your love will bleed to all the surrounding tracks. probably not. for me it's a hit and a winner.

section 4: sounds for long winters

we have come to the last section, and thusly the last four albums i have loved over this past year. okay, let's see what we got! hold my hand.

Balam Acab "wander/wonder"

so i didn't really know where to put this one. Maybe it should have gone up in section 2 for chillin, but im sticking to my guns and keeping it here. This is an album that i could put on in winter and maybe i would forget about the cold and pretend that i was bobbing up and down in a comfortably ocean or something. i don't know. it has all these haunting beats and weird vocals. but it is super good and that's no joke. i mean you can still chill during the winter, right?

The Caretaker "an empty bliss beyond this world"

This is the soundtrack to the creepiest old haunted house ever, but in a very warm and inviting way, you know? probably not. so what we have here is these really vintage sounding snippets of music that repeat at length and then abruptly shift into a different old timey song segment. and im sure my description is crap, but thats all i got. just give it a hear. good stuff.

Bo Becker "Brecilian"

just some classic droney stuff, you know. again, to me this album feels cold, but in a warm way. i don't know how or why, maybe like it's 8 degrees outside, but i have on so many layers and 2 scarves and huge gloves and only 3% of my skin is visible. if you like droney stuff listen to it now, if not then you probably won't care and that is perfectly all right.

Tim Hecker "Ravedeath, 1972"

This album is the epitome of cold. it's like if ice got inside the bones in your ears (you know the three little ones) and froze em up so they barely moved. Tim Hecker takes these beautiful old organs and makes them so icy that sometimes you can't even tell they are organs at all. it's like your sitting in the middle of the frozen tundra and the snow is blowing so hard that you can't even see the polar bear running towards you so fast to eat you or hug you who knows. Ravedeath is so good and so cold that you don't really care whether you get eaten or hugged by a huge polar bear, it just don't make a difference one way or the other.

In Closing:
there you go. happy new year. it was a big year for music. i heard on the internet that 143 total albums came out during the year 2011. here are the fifteen that i loved a whole lot, probably the most. can't say which is the best, because i loved them all in different ways. i can love owls and also love skateboards!
i can love bats, but also want them to keep warm and snugly ! also i probably forgot some that i totally loved so hard, but then lost in the war. oh well. that's why you should all make lists as well and help me remember what my computer forgot.

Let's see who my friends really are: If you agree with this list, or the bats thing, or like owls, then copy this list and send it to fifteen people you love.