For the last two weeks of 2011 we’re going to be bringing you lists of our favorite albums, songs, and concerts from all of the staff here at LPR.
Forrest Wu, Blogger
Top 10 Albums of 2011
Music that impacted me and the people I love this year
In semi-particular order:
10. Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile: The Goat Rodeo Sessions
My friend Parker recommended this. This album redefines collaboration- the four superpowers involved in this recording interact in a way that I can only describe by suggesting you just go find a video.
9. M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Perhaps the most approachable release to date, without any of the sepia-toned Urban Outfitters aesthetic that I heard in Saturdays = Youth. M83 is getting back to the masculine, rowdy electronic language that Anthony Gonzalez seems most fluent in.
8. Saintseneca: Last
My sister Gillian’s favorite. Bitter torch songs for a brokenhearted Midwest. Says sis, “It’s plaintive but jangly. This album is probably the best-produced so far, but they hold on to a sort of rough-hewn, DIY feel.”
7. Ambrose Akinmusire: When the Heart Emerges Glistening
Akinmusire’s virtuosity aside, says my buddy Dustin, the magic in this album comes from the band’s ability to listen and react at a very high level. Says Dustin, “I think the fact that it has such emotional depth makes it appealing even to those who aren’t regular jazz listeners.”
6. Deerhoof: Deerhoof Vs. Evil
If for no other reason than that Satomi Matsuzaki is just too cute. My friend Eric suggested this and it’s proven to be the ultimate angry driving music, for some reason.
5. Araabmusik: Electronic Dream
An MPC is a real instrument, and Abraham Orellana proves it. While all these tracks are good (my favorite is “Feelin’ so Hood”) the meat of Araabmuzik’s mystique comes in his near-virtuosic manipulation of the drum machine.
4. Micachu & The Shapes & the London Sinfonietta: Chopped & Screwed
A good choice for those who like ampersands. But seriously, this departure from Mica Levi’s timbre-oriented process into the world of traditional strings and woodwinds yields some truly innovative sound. Naysayers note the relatively slow pace of the album, especially in comparison with Jewellery, but any faster and my brain would probably give up on understanding.
3. Bibio: Mind Bokeh
Pitchfork didn’t like ‘Take Off Your Shirt,’ but that hasn’t stopped me. The album is a logical next step in the group’s evolution. As always, each song is completely different and completely rad- sort of like if elevator music was really, really excellent.
2. Peaking Lights: 936
My boyfriend Nathan’s pick. Says he: “I can imagine Ari Up, King Tubby, and Trish Keenan sharing a spliff while listening to this record in heaven. This is a busted yet beautiful, dub-inflected interpretation of pop that continues to reveal its layers of sonic complexity over repeated listens.”
1. Brooklyn Rider: Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass
Face-melting. Technical perfection and intonation so fine you’d think you were listening to a synthesizer, except for how much better this sounds. I love Kronos, of course, but I have to say that Brooklyn Rider blows their recordings of these quartets out of the water (particularly the last movement of the fifth- they just pound on those low open string chords and the resonance is incredible.)
Forrest Wu’s Top Albums of 2011