December 27, 2011

Essentially Eclectic’s Albums of 2011: Numbers 10-1

Posted in Albums of 2011 tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:49 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Following on from 20-11, here be the top 10…

10. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

Beautifully languid Americana from Philly’s finest.

The War on Drugs – Brothers (Slave Ambient)

9. Evenings – Lately

Some ambient instrumental genius discovered over at Evening’s Bandcamp page.

Evenings – [Lately] See You Soon (Lately)

8. James Blake – James Blake

The much-lauded, self-titled debut from Blake deserved its plaudits.

James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (James Blake)

Soft Powers – Outlandish Scandals

Brilliantly creative and esoteric rock from the outlandishly productive Soft Powers

Soft Powers – 1,300 Decibels (Outlandish Scandals)

6. Emika – Emika

One-woman producer/singer Emika created one of the year’s most forward-thinking bass music albums.

Emika – Count Backwards (Emika)

5. Summer Camp – Welcome to Condale

London duo combine pastiche with a sixth sense for melody, while proving themselves pretty handy live too

Summer Camp – Down (Welcome to Condale)

4. Pinch & Shackleton – Pinch & Shackleton

Some exquisitely composed and ambitious bass music from the two masters of the genre.

Pinch & Shackleton – Boracay Drift (Pinch & Shackleton)

3. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

By far the best hip-hop album of the year, Black Up is dark, brooding and oozing effortless originality.

Shabazz Palaces – Recollections of the Wraith (Black Up)

2. Balam Acab – Wander/Wonder

Ethereal, ice-cold and majestic stuff from the Tri-Angle Records man with the visual nature.

Balam Acab – Apart (Wander/Wonder)

1. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for my Halo

Essentially Eclectic’s love affair with Kurt Vile is no secret, from tumbling superlatives about live performances to a more than positive review for Smoke Ring for my Halo. It’s no surprise then that the long-haired Philadelphia man tops the tree in our round-up of 2011.

Kurt Vile – Runner Ups (Smoke Ring for my Halo)

Kurt Vile – Society Is My Friend (Smoke Ring for my Halo)

December 21, 2011

Essentially Eclectic Albums of 2011: Numbers 20-11

Posted in Albums of 2011, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:15 pm by essentiallyeclectic

It’s list time all over the world once again, and Essentially Eclectic neither sees itself above them nor can resist the chance to share its own. Last year we went for an ambitious top 40 songs of 2010, so this year we’re concentrating on the long players – 20 of them to be precise. Here’s numbers 20-11 (with a track from each). The top ten to follow over the coming week…

20. Jonti – Twirligig

Some delightfully bizarre production trickery from the Stones Throw man. Colourful, playful, delightful.

Jonti – Cyclic Love (Twirligig)

19. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Scott-Heron’s sad passing this year was marked poignantly by this Jamie xx reworking of his final word, I’m New Here. Also check out a Gil Scott-Heron minimix we did back in May…

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – The Crutch (We’re New Here)

18. Teebs – Collections 01

The former Flying Lotus apprentice moves out from behind his master’s shadow with this fine collection of neck-snapping beats.

Teebs – LSP featuring Austin Peralta (Collections 01)

17. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise

Elements of trip-hop, electronica and a healthy dose of musique concrete went into Jaar’s impressive full length debut.

Also check out this video/short film for the track ‘Keep me There’, directed by Lucas Duchemin…

Nicolas Jaar – Colomb (Space is Only Noise)

16. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

Merrill Garbus’ wonderfully weird world is given album form on the bizarre and incredibly creative w h o k i l l.

tUnE-yArDs – Es-So (w h o k i l l)

15. Tycho – Dive

Scott Hansen’s warming Boards of Canada-esque synth textures are put to good use on Dive, his latest full length as Tycho. Also check out Hansen’s immaculately kept photo and music blog.

Tycho – Elegy (Dive)

14. Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa

Santa Barbara group Gardens & Villa arrived in the summer with a unique sound and a handful of great songs that make up their self-titled debut.

Gardens & Villa – Black Hills (Gardens & Villa)

13. Bjork – Biophilia

Essentially Eclectic’s tendency for a bit of Bjork love is no secret, so it’s no surprise that her adventurous latest Biophilia makes the list. The album came complete with a set of apps for each track based on the scientific content, but it’s the music itself that interests us.

Bjork – Thunderbolt (Biophilia)

12. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

Obaro Ejimiwe delivered a refreshing take on UK hip-hop with his Ghostpoet debut.

Ghostpoet – Us Against Whatever Ever (Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam)

11. Cults – Cults

Mixing Spector girl-group aesthetics with incessantly catchy tunes (and an almost unhealthy amount of glockenspiel), Cults’ debut produced the (cringe) “feel good hit of the summer” (cringe) with ‘Go Outside’.

Cults – Go Outside (Cults)