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Showing posts from January, 2011

10 favorite albums of 2010 - #6: The Way Out by The Books

Hello, greetings and welcome. Welcome to a new beginning, for this tape will serve you as a new beginning. That's right, a new beginning, as we're about ready to begin. On this recording, music specifically created for its pleasurable effects upon your mind, body and emotions is mixed with a warm, orange-colored liquid.So begins this bizarre, baffling, beautiful album by The Books. Just listen to it. Set aside a quiet 50 minutes some day and just listen to the entire thing, from beginning to end.

This album will float around in your head for weeks afterward. Songs like, "A Cold, Freezing Night" will disturb you while you walk down the street. In a moment of meditation, words from one of the "Group Autogenics" will take you by surprise.

The catchy, flinging, "I Didn't Know That" will inevitably work it's way into your everyday thinking.

But this album exists not only in your mind. There are genuinely human moments on this album, like the ether…

10 favorite albums of 2010 - #7: Small Craft on a Milk Sea by Brian Eno

What's that? You haven't yet discovered the music of Brian Eno? I hate to break it to you, pal, but you're about 40 years late. Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno (actual name) has been making great music since the 70s, and his latest album is just beautiful. 

Small Craft on a Milk Sea is an album you feel. "What does it make you feel, Deric?" I hear your question, but I've not any good response. The opening track, "Emerald and Lime," for example, makes me feel a strange mix of nostalgia and adventure, as if I'm catching the faintest trace of a scent from my childhood.

"Complex Heaven," makes me feel both sad and stealthy.

Realize that this album is open to myriad emotional interpretations. For me, a strange intense excitement underlies almost every track. Every listener might agree that, whatever this album makes you feel, it's sure to be complex.

Don't let the brevity of the first four tracks fool you. They p…

10 favorite albums of 2010 - #8: Condors by Nedry

Continuing the avian theme, Condors comes in at number 8 in my list. To be honest, this album contains some of my favorite musical ideas of any album in the top 10. If every track were as freaking awesome as "Squid Cat Battle" or as freaky-tribe-tastic as "Condors," the album could have easily landed at number 4. Condors, as it is, is a stunning debut for these three musicians. Ayu Okakita, the vocalist, has a wonderful voice - smeary, dream-inducing, soaring, chilling.

Condors mixes electronica and dubstep with some pretty straightforward rock ideas and drills right through the center with Okakita's haunting, beautiful voice. The end result is an album that is completely unexpected, and yet its sound is never forced, its form never seems out-of-place.

If you want a taste of the album, try one of the two previously-mentioned tracks. But if you listen to "Squid Cat Battle," I strongly encourage you to listen to it after its predecessor, "Four Layers…

A Major Commitment to Fitness

Friends, I have decided to make a major lifestyle change beginning tomorrow morning. As many of you may know already, I have been trying to introduce new positive habits into my lifestyle a little at a time. Due to the success I have been having in several small things (daily flossing, push-ups, more focused reading sessions, learning geography), I have decided to add a pretty major routine to the beginning of my days: It is know by its creator, J.P. Muller, as "My System." Muller's system was once very popular throughout Euroupe.

Anybody want to do this with me?
Oh, for those of you who are interested, here is a nice article in Slate that introduces it (and from which I pulled the media).

I completely forgot - you can view the entirety of "My System" for free on the interwebs.

10 favorite albums of 2010 - #9: Going Places by Yellow Swans

This album is not for everyone. There, I felt that would be an important preface to my acclaim for this album. Going Places isn't so much an album of music as it is an album of sonic ideas. It is ambient noise that wants attention. It washes over you in undulations of sound.

This is noise music. There is a lot of atonality, a lot of fuzz, a lot of dissonance, and lots and lots of subtle shifts in the noise-scape. It's this subtlety that immediately turned me on to the album.

I knew I was truly in love with it one night as I was listening to it while going to bed. I had let myself become fully immersed in the music and I felt as if I were being carried away by something.

Each track is a unique experience; listened to properly, I'd say that is what Going Places really is - a collection of little experiences. Noise music is something to be experienced, after all. 

Noise music has, until Going Places, carried a negative association in my mind. I couldn't feel a great deal of a…

10 favorite albums of 2010 - #10: Mines by Menomena

An old college acquaintance recently sent me a link to his blog over facebook, and his most recent post was his Top 5 Albums of 2010. This inspired me to create my own list, but while thinking it through, I could not bear to limit it to 5 albums. Beginning with #10, here are my top picks for 2010:

I cannot emphasize enough how difficult it was to settle on #10. In fact, I started writing this post for a different album, but I didn't feel right about it. Menomena just managed to make it into my top 10, inching past LCD Soundsystem. 

From their track, "Tithe:"

Beneath the door frame, 
waiting for earthquakes,
after the rapture comes and goes,
the saints went marching, 

the trumpets salving, 
the chosen ones are phoning home.

And nothing sounds appealing.

Kansas City has been pretty icy these last few days. Sometimes when I'm driving, I can feel my truck loose traction. I'm still heading the same direction (usually and for the most part), but I know that I'm no longer mas…

Scattered Thoughts

I feel as though since Christmas break, I have been turning over a new leaf in my life. I once again take great pleasure in walking through town. Why, just tonight I watched a group of youth having a snowball fight down in the parking lot a hundred feet below. What delight it brought me, seeing this innocence at play!

This is a small and trivial example, so let me explain in a little greater detail.

From my previous posts, you might have been able to tell that I had been going through some depressive stages. I carried these brooding thoughts with me back to Kansas, but, through a tightly-budgeted schedule, kept myself too busy to have many negative thoughts.

I especially enjoyed seeing my old professor, Tash. Around him, I feel as though someone really takes an interest in the things I take interest in. I feel like he "gets" me.

I also visited my second mother, Marci, and several of her offspring. What a delightful visit! I even just laughed when they began making their silly jo…