So here we are with the final four albums of our twelve that make up the Universal Wax top 12 of ’12. This time it’s Toms selection which is as broad as ever and features some really fantastic records. I couldn’t agree more with the inclusion of the Journey OST which has been one of the most beautiful scores I’ve heard for a long time and as any long time readers may recall we’re already big Andrew Bird fans here at Universal Wax. This will be our final post of 2012, however we’ll be following this one up in the new year with our notable mentions (those that didn’t quite make our top twelve) and some upcoming artists to look out for in 2013. In the meantime, from all at Universal Wax, we hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and are about to have a fantastic New Year, enjoy our now complete Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12 and let us know what you think in the comments below! – Sam
Part Three: Tom
TV Girl – The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle (tvgirlmusic, May 2012)
The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle was released May this year. It was also the first time I heard Tv Girl’s stuff, this album instantly pushed me into checking out their older releases. This album is described by them as their ‘first full length mixtape of original songs.‘. It’s a sort of unofficial album as it contains sample songs they can’t licence legally - so lucky for us, it’s free.
For me this album is a joy from beginning to end. Nostalgic re-mapped hip-hop vibes induced with electronic pop circulates through the heart of each track which what makes them in my mind a great postmodern artist. They also give off the impression they’re having a good time while recording their stuff which adds to the playfulness. I’m desperately looking forward to seeing live sometime in the UK.
Journey - Official Soundtrack (Sony Music, October 2012)
I’ll do my best to keep myself focussed on the music here. When I first bought my Playstation 3, strangely a rather abstract and original game called Flower was one of the first games I wanted to play. Since its release fans and critics have eagerly awaited the creator’s (thatgamecompany) next game.
Journey is like nothing i’ve ever played, the concept, art and music are the three pillars that make this a truly extraordinary experience for the player. The composer, Austin Wintory has recently been nominated for a Grammy for Journey, and is going up against scores from the likes of John Williams, Howard Shore, and Hans Zimmer. If Journey wins, it will be the second game ever to win a Grammy for its soundtrack. Fingers crossed it does well.
American born composer, Austin Wintory had previously scored over 40 feature films, and was nominated for best score at Sundance for Captain Abu Raed (2007). The magic of his work in Journey transpires through the emotional energy that’s produced during gameplay. The music is deeply woven into the game, and doesn’t just add, but creates the experience. A magnificent triumph for both music and game lovers.
Evening Hymns – Spectral Dust (Shuffling Feet Records, August 2012)
This album was eagerly awaited, after Jonas’s much loved Spirit Guides in 2009. Since that album I’ve been kind of obsessed with his music. Like Spirit Guides, he conjured Spectral Dust in a remote cabin in a Canadian forest, and the beauty of this resonates through his unique sound. Spectral Dust was released this summer and I admit both Sam and I have been meaning to write about it, but never managed to get round to it. To put it simply, we weren’t let down.
Spectral Dust is a very well thought out album. Each track flows into the next with ease, and although the sound production has become clearer and more professional, the raw sound that Jonas brings to each song is the same as before. What I especially enjoyed from this album was the sincerity in the songwriting, there’s a personal journey that the listener is taken which despite its melancholic tones, creates a feeling of hope and positivity. The album was described as a medication on the time since the last album and Jonas explains that the sad passing of his father during this time contributes to this. I hope to see Jonas in Europe soon as his live performances are exhilarating.
Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself (Mom+Pop Records, March 2012)
Sam did a good write-up of this when it was released in March. Since then Andrew Bird released a companion album, Hands of Glory which was a collection of covers and reprisals of some of his previous songs. Break It Yourself still hasn’t tired me, Bird’s innate style in being able to change the tempo in the middle of a track, keeping it fresh and exciting each listen is one of his specialties.
Tracks such as Danse Caribe, and Orpheo Looks Back, are a good example of how well Andrew Bird can create such a feel-good energy in his songs. There’s a beautifully structured conversation within his lyrics that make them feel familiar. His genius level of playing the violin is something that never goes unnoticed. His ability to engage his audience with such acoustic beauty, and not forgetting his superb whistling that naturally brings on feelings of happiness encapsulates the world of Andrew Bird.