Year of the Rooster: Årets album og låter 2017

Mitt lyttemønster preges i stor og økende grad av enkeltlåter framfor konsentrerte dypdykk ned i enkeltalbum. Noe skyldes et relativt stort musikalsk konsum hver dag og uke, som ikke gir altfor store rom for grundig fordypning over tid, et luksusproblem som også sier noe om det enorme berget av god musikk som kontinuerlig kommer ut (mest middelmådig, men hvem har vel tid til å bry seg om denslags). Det er derfor kanskje litt bråkjekt å si det, men 2017 har ikke vært preget av dette ene opplagte albumet – det som virkelig har klistret seg fast til den digitale eller fysiske platespilleren i uke etter uke, men snarerer denne jevne strømmen som legger seg til det evig voksende lasset som venter på å bli hørt i den kontekstuelle helheten de fortjener.

Her er lista over albumene og låtene jeg har gledet meg mest over i år, så langt, og jeg tror alle følger med over til 2018 uten å miste altfor mye glans.

Årets album 2017

Kendrick Lamar: Damn
(Top Dawg/Interscope)


– … fordi Hot DAMN. Så bra at han like gjerne ga den ut både framlengs og baklengs. Kunne gitt den ut sidelengs for min del.

Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked At Me
(P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)


… fordi dette er den av årets plater jeg har hørt mest på som jeg har hørt minst på – og som jeg egentlig ikke vil høre på. Ikke fordi den er dårlig, på langt nær, men fordi det gjør vondt og det er tungt å gå inn i entreen sammen med Phil Elverum denne gangen. Han åpner døra for oss inn til sitt hjem og hjerte, dunkelt belyst er det, leier oss liksom inn, inn i et hus fylt av minner og lukter og savn og sorg etter kona, og han viser oss dette med alt av menneskelig styrke og svakhet som det er mulig å stable på plass i en skjelven favn. Jeg er glad for at han gjorde det. Og lei meg for at han måtte det.

Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
(Southern Lord)

… fordi ingen tar skade av en porsjon mettal for å røske opp litt i ny og ne. Jeg har alltid likt Southern Lord og hatt sans for deres mørke og seige doom-ting, men dette er pur party fra start til slutt, det vil si snaue halvtimen. Jeg har så vidt begynt å olje en litt rusten kjærligheten for vintage thrash, og denne har bare trigget interessen ytterligere. Nightmare Logic har noen av de feteste riffene du vil høre i år, og det i selskap med særs mange sterke metall-utgivelser (Pallbearer, Bell Witch, Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Wolves in the Throne Room, Elder, Converge…) står denne igjen som årets favoritt – og årets tøffeste råkkeskive.

Tyler the Creator: Flower Boy
(Columbia)


… fordi selv om Tyler the Creator har med seg et fett stjernelag på gjestelisten, inkludert Frank Ocean, Kali Uchis, A$ap Rocky, Jaden Smith, “vår egen” Anna of the North og mange andre, er dette først og fremst blomsterguttens eget mesterverk. På sitt fjerde soloalbum fortsetter Tyler the Creator å tøye musikalske grenser og brette ut sjela si på et vis som er sterkt imponerende.

Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway
(Nonesuch)

… fordi Americana-genren aldri har stått sterkere, med en lang rekke artister, nye og gamle, som alle har levert noen av årets beste og mest relevante plater, som Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Zephaniah Ohora, Rodney Crowell, Hurray For the Riff Raff, Angaleena Presley og en lang rekke andre. Rhiannon Giddens stikker seg likevel ut litt ekstra som en kraftfull og klar stemme i et betent politisk klima. Vandrende langs den sølete frihetsveien har frontfiguren fra Carolina Chocolate Drops laget en plate som med røtter dypt ned i bakken og langt tilbake i tid belyser Amerika av i dag.

Brockhampton: Saturation II
(Question Everything)


… fordi dette Texas/Los Angeles baserte hiphop-kollektivet (unnskyld, boybandet) er årets suverene nykommer, som i år like gjerne fullførte hele sin Saturation-trilogi. Anført av ekstremt kreative Kevin Abstract preges Brockhampton av et vitalt musikalsk overskudd som går på tvers av genre og der alle involverte løfter hverandre opp og fram.

Jane Weaver: Modern Kosmology
(Fire)


… fordi Jane Weaver på sitt sjette album har funnet den perfekte kombinasjonen av deilige krautbeats, rastløs psykedelia og flørtende electronica. Modern Kosmology er som tittelen indikerer en speisa trip ut i kosmos, men det er en plate som heller aldri mister bakkekontakten. Jane Weaver synger med sval og sober stemme, litt sånn Nico-drømmeaktig, og som en sirene lokker hun oss inn i sitt Wicker Man’ske eventyrrike som vi aldri har lyst til å komme ut av.

Peter Perrett: How the West Was Won
(Domino)

…fordi denne tidligere tidligere frontmannen i The Only Ones (de med “Another Girl, Another Planet” og en drøss andre klassikere) har levd flere liv enn de fleste av oss, kommet ut av rennesteinen på mirakuløst vis og minner om at egenskapene som låtskriver ikke har blitt borte på veien. Snarere tvert i mot. Peter Perrett (65) skriver med hjertet bankende utenpå skjorta. Lakonisk og hjertevarm, mørk og morsom lirer han ut av seg smått briljante låter med et blikk og en penn skarpere og mer presis enn de fleste kan drømme om å nærme seg. Hjerteskjærende bra.

Gun Outfit: Out of Range
(Paradise Of Bachelors)


… fordi jeg er en sucker for slackers. Det har kommet mye fint i denne gata i år, Kevin Morby, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile og Michael Nau kunne alle vært med her. Men jeg går for denne. Gun Outfit hangler avgårde sånn akkurat passe vindskeivt og fint, men på finurlig vis får de det til å henge sammen. Liker du den slentrende vokalstilen til David Berman (Silver Jews) og de skakke melodilinjene til Pavement koplet med den rastløse energien til The Feelies er dette akkurat den dosen med Cosmic American Indie du trenger i år.

Curtis Harding: Face Your Fear
(Anti-)


… fordi Curtis Harding har en av disse uimotståelige varme soul-stemmene, og han forvalter arven etter de store (Marvin, Curtis et al) bedre enn de fleste – uten egentlig å bryte ny grunn. Han imponerte med debuten Soul Power i 2014, og fortsetter den fine stilen med Face Your Fear. Jeg hadde ikke tenkt at denne skulle havnet på Topp 20, dette er ikke en plate som nødvendigvis avdekker nye hemmeligheter for hver gjennomhøring, men den sitter veldig godt på øret til de fleste sammenhenger og har hengt med gjennom hele året. Og alle trenger vi en god dose soul i hverdagen.

***

Valerie June: The Order of Time
(Caroline)

Posse: Horse Blanket
(Self-released)

The Feelies: In Between
(Bar/None)

Couch Slut: Contempt
(Gilead Media)

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams
(ECM)

Ruby Rushton: Trudi’s Songbook: Volume One & Two
(22a)

Kaleema: Nómada
(Tropical Twista)

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan
(World Circuit)

Dean Hurley: Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△
(Sacred Bones)

Zara McFarlane: Arise
(Brownswood Recordings)

Howe Gelb & Lonna Kelly: Further Standards
(Fire)

gelb.jpg

~ ~ ~ bobbling below ~ ~ ~
//JAY Z: 4:44//Susanne Sundfør: Music For People In Trouble//Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up//Thundercat: Drunk//Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins//Michael Nau: Some Twist//This is the Kit: Moonlight Freeze//The Dream Syndicate: How Did I Find Myself Here//Sannhet: So Numb//Gas: Narkopop//Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness//The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding//Slowdive: s/t//Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent//Laura Marling: Semper Femina//Aimee Mann: Mental Illness//Waxahatchee: Out in the Storm//Big Thief: Capacity//Joan Shelley: s/t//Aldous Harding: Party//Father John Misty: Pure Comedy//Tara Jane O’Neil: s/t//Rodney Crowell: Close Ties//Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound//Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Navigator//Angaleena Presley: Wrangled//Erlend Ropstad: Alt som har hendt//Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps//Matttis Kleppen: Bassgitar//Spoon: Hot Thoughts//Zephania Ohora: This Highway//Tønes: Sesong 4//Esmerine: Mechanics of Dominion//King Krule: The Ooz//

Topp 100 Låter

Hele spillelista hører du her

Father John Misty: Pure Comedy

JAY-Z: The Story of O.J.

Kendrick Lamar: HUMBLE.

Shabazz Palaces: Shine a Light (feat. Thaddillac)

Grizzly Bear: Four Cypresses

Drake: Passionfruit

Ezra Furman: Driving Down to L.A.

Hurray For the Riff Raff: Pa’lante

Harry Styles: Sign of the Times

Thundercat feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins: Show You the Way

~~~Bubbling below~~~
Frank Ocean: Chanel
Cende: What I Want
Ariel Pink: Another Weekend
Fleet Foxes: -Naiads, Cassadies
Girl Ray: Stupid Things
Posse: Keep Me Awake
Washed Out: Get Lost
Kevin Morby: City Music
Phoebe Bridgers: Funeral
The Dream Syndicate: How Did I Find Myself Here

Kendrick Lamar: The Heart Part 4
Faux Ferocious: Me and Johnny
Peter Perrett: Living in My Head
This is the Kit: Bullet Proof
Michael Nau: Big Wind No Sail
Future feat. Kendrick Lamar: Mask Off (Remix)
Valerie June: The Front Door
Zephaniah O’Hora: High Class City Girl From the Country
King Krule: Dum Surfer
Thurston Moore: Turn On

The Feelies: Turn Back Time
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: If We Were Vampires
QTY: Michael
Laura Marling: Soothing
Sudan Archives: Come Meh Way
Linda Vidala, KingSkurkOne, OnklP, Kamelen: Bængshot (Remix)
Vic Mensa: Say I Didn’t
Bedouine: One of These Days
Beach Fossils: Down the Line
Gun Outfit: Strange Insistence

Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber: Despacito (Remix)
J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A: Letter to Falon
Andrew Combs: Rose Colored Blues
Big Sean: Bounce Back
Sampha: (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano
Michael Nau: Big Wind No Sail
The War On Drugs: Thinking of a Place
Manchester Orchestra: The Alien
Miley Cyrus: Malibu
Steven Wilson w/ Ninet Tayeb: Pariah

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Tezeta
Gold Star: Come With Me
Kamasi Washington: Truth
Real Estate: Darling
Afghan Whigs: Arabian Heights
Otis Taylor: Walk on Water
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: French Press
Curtis Harding: On and On
Karen Elson: Distant Shores
Mount Eerie: Real Death

Big Thief: Mary
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Rattlesnake
Floating Points: Silurian Blue
Jay Som: The Bus Song
Lizzo: Water Me
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Over Everything
Rodney Crowell: It Ain’t Over Yet
Erlend Ropstad: Det Store Blå
David Ramirez: Twins
Tara Jane O’Neil: Flutter

Milk Music: Crying Wand
Mashrou’Leila: Roman
Mary Epworth: Me Swimming
Kacy & Clayton: Just Like a Summer Cloud
Bing & Ruth: The How of It Sped
Protomartyr: My Children
Saba Abraha: Wicked Ways
Ought: These 3 Things
Pinegrove: Intrepid
Woods: Spring Is in the Air

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton: Fatal Gift
Selena Gomez: Bad Liar
Vince Staples: BagBak
Algiers: The Underside of Power
Kevin Morby: Baltimore (Sky at Night)
Leikeli47: 2nd Fiddle
Brockhampton: SWEET
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Ring-a-Ring O’ Roses
St. Vincent: New York
Lilly Hiatt: The Night David Bowie Died

Slowdive: Sugar For the Pill
Everything Is Recorded feat. SYD, Sampha: Show Love
Kaleema: Sierra Leona
Colter Wall: Kate McCannon
Tønes: Våkna ny
Jeb Loy Nichols: Come See Me
Sam Gellaitry: Jungle Waters
Julien Baker: Appointments
Sufjan Stevens: Tony Harding (in D Major)
Lambert: In the Dust of Our Days

Reklamer

Jane Weaver: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

When BBC Radio 6, the British channel for cutting edge music, recently celebrated the best music of 2017 so far by showcasing 20 essential albums, it was no surprise to see Jane Weaver’s Modern Kosmology prominently placed on the list. Described as an album that “masterfully darts from avant-pop to euphoric kraut via what can be best described as psychy party music,” the listing is just another addition to what has become one of this year’s universally critically lauded albums, and will more than likely appear on numerous year-end lists in six months’ time.

Modern Kosmology is Jane Weaver’s eight full-length as a solo artist, but despite her voluminous creative output and strong critical standing, she’s still considered mostly as an unknown star outside of a circle of devoted music lovers. Weaver’s career is actually traceable back to the early 1990s to indie/folktronica bands Kill Laura and Misty Dixon. When the former demised towards the end of the decade, Weaver began working under her own name, quickly establishing her identity and unique voice (as heard when Coldplay sampled her on their “Another’s Arms” for Ghost Stories), but she never kept in one particular direction. Rather, she’s always been eager to experiment with new sounds, including psychedelic folk, synth-pop, library music, experimental avant-garde and beyond, finding a near perfect balance between pastoral bliss and retro-futuristic electronica on more recent albums like The Silver Globe (2014) and this year’s Modern Kosmology.

Modern Kosmology is a mesmerizing listening experience. Rarely can an album capture such a musical breadth and emotional depth. Mojo magazine compared her kraut-ish repetition, analogue synths and beguiling vocal melodies to Hawkwind, Sandy Denny, Neu! and Velvet Underground, but added that “in lesser hands, such building-blocks might suggest hipster tedium of the kind that now clogs up so many record racks. Weaver is light years beyond that, using motorik rhythms and ancient technology to create music that brims with urgency, and originality.”

We asked Jane Weaver to write about five albums that touched her life and music. It’s wonderful read that helps fills the puzzle that is the musical enigma of Jane Weaver.

* * *

Kate Bush: The Kick Inside
I was 5 or 6 when I first saw Kate Bush on TV. I’d never been so captivated by a singer before; her originality struck me like a bolt of lightning and it was at this precise moment I said to myself, “This is what I want to do! I want to be her!” I spent a lot of time dancing around the living room with Kate Bush on TV, and my parents bought me The Kick Inside for Christmas on tape. It’s such a strange record: mystical, mature and musically expansive in sound. I would listen to pop music primarily, and disco (around that time I was also in love with the Bee Gees), but this was different, more other worldly; a mixture of fairy tale and melody. I love the whole story of the record, it’s such a joy to me that David Gilmour from Pink Floyd was instrumental in her success and gave her a chance, and that serendipity played a part in her music being heard, because he was on downtime between albums and tours, which led to her being signed by EMI. The string arrangements and production is pretty sublime, the words are evocative and sensual, although I didn’t obviously understand what she was alluding to at the time. I can barely believe she was so young.

Hawkwind: Church of Hawkwind
I grew up in a small industrial town between Liverpool and Manchester. As a teenager my friends and I started hanging around with bikers and hippies, anyone who looked a bit different and was into music and counterculture. This record for me represents this time… me as a 17-year-old hanging around in someones flat, having fun, spending time listening to lots of rock albums and psychedelic stuff I’d never heard of, like Gong and The Pink Fairies. There was also the [Windsor] Free Festival scene, which Hawkwind were pioneers of. I knew Hawkwind’s more popular stuff, but this record represents a musical awakening, not only because of some of the expansive sound, production-wise – its the perfect three-way marriage of rock, krautrock and electronic – but there’s also TV commentary of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald – so it’s a rich soup!

I think Dave Brock is an absolute legend. as a songwriter and producer. I think this record shows how good he is. It’s really experimental, but melodic too. I sampled “Star Cannibal” as the backing for “Electric Mountain” on my last album. I was able to forge a new pop melody on top of it; the music is such a great loop, I had to ring Dave and ask him for permission. He was cool about it, which I was glad about because it was important for me to have his blessing. I think most artists who have historical record deals and publishing are flexible about sampling, but the red tape involved can be ludicrous. Publishers are sometimes renowned for wanting to charge ridiculous “corporate” usage fees, even on an indie release, so it was a nerve wracking time. If I can share some of the joy that Church of Hawkwind gives me to other people then I’m happy.

The Electric Prunes: Release of an Oath
I didn’t really know much about this album, other than hearing “Holy Are You” as the lead track, and being a fan of David Axelrod. I love “Earth Rot” and the tape echo female vocal on the warnings, for instance. I love the sleeve and it’s been in the house for years.

This record gives me the shivers and makes my feel like crying (in a good way). It’s as if it’s so evocative it belongs to some higher astral plane. It’s connective and spiritual in equal measure; it’s almost not enough but when you hear some of the string arrangements it makes you want to burst. I have no idea about Axelrod’s spiritual beliefs but as a raised Catholic it has the powerful nostalgia and presence of choraled church vocals and brooding emotive passages like the crescendo of a hymn.

My string reference points are normally Axelrod and [French composer] Jean Claude Vannier; I think those are probably the best. Production-wise this has clarity, but also seems unstructured – for instance if you listen to the drums, they sound like the patterns change within the song like someone is still working it out – and yet it’s totally perfect. The fuzz guitar lines and bass sound; sonically there’s a definite link for me when it comes to Vannier and Axelrod. Maybe it’s because it’s got everything I love about the beginnings of symphonic rock, and I never tire of it.

Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire de Melody Nelson
It’s a record that everyone nods to as a masterpiece. When it was initially released it took a while to gain momentum, but it’s now regarded as a cult classic. Although the subject matter is provocative and uncomfortable (in the book Melody Nelson by Gainsbourg he is obsessed with an underage girl, played by his then-girlfriend Jane Birkin) music-wise it’s Jean Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg at their best. Gainsbourg’s reputation outside of France was based on his pop hits, not much was known about his artistic genius as an innovative songwriter and lyricist. His delivery always so matter of fact… part narration, part melody.

The beauty of “Ah Melody” when it starts and then the groove of the bass and drums, and then later “En Melody” is so original, there’s almost too many good points. My only complaint is that, its all just not long enough. It’s like these amazing snippets of perfection that make you sad when they finish, but maybe that’s why its so good.

Some years ago now, I was lucky enough to see Jean Claude Vannier perform these songs with some of the original and associated library musicians at The Barbican in the UK and The Hollywood Bowl. It was an emotional experience, a testament to its genius.

Broadcast: Work and Non-work
Even though this is a compilation of early singles, it was the first Broadcast “album” I heard and loved. Its a mixture of melancholy and joy for me. When I first heard it I was going through a breakup and then realized that my newfound freedom was to be short-lived, as I fell for someone else. It’s funny, when you are emotionally charged, how you interpret lyrics, and I was lucky that [singer Trish Keenan’s] poetry found me.

Initially I didn’t realize it was a modern record because the instrumentation sounded to me like Silver Apples or 50 Foot Hose. The drum pattern rolls and electronics but vocal-wise always so melodic. Even when Trish is sounding sad it’s uplifting because she has the gift of drawing you into her voice and story.

I was pretty devastated when she passed away; such a tragedy. Broadcast’s music still gives me so much joy, and later albums prove the weight of their artistry and writing, how they were flourishing sonically and becoming more expansive, but this is the one that initially stopped me in my tracks.

Bjørn Hammershaug