It’s that time of the year again when music blogs worldwide take a few paragraphs to discuss their favourite albums of the year and make a comprehensive list out of it; who are we to break the trend, so without further ado I present to you the Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12. In no particular order and over the course of three parts, each of us will be taking four of the albums released this year that we are particularly fond of and devoting a few sentences to why you should check it out. If you are already familiar with them let us know what you think, why not take the time to let us know your top 12 albums of 2012? – Sam
While Flying Lotus prepares Until The Quiet Comes for launch in a little under a months time we’re yet again teased, this time visually, with the bizarre yet beautiful short film by director Kahlil Joseph. From the three Flying Lotus tracks on show here; See Thru To U (feat. Erykah Badu), Hunger (feat. Niki Randa) and Getting There (feat. Niki Randa), it appears Steven Ellison has taken Flying Lotus to a whole new level with a thoroughly cinematic feel throughout that may or may not be aided by Josephs exciting and thought provoking visuals. It’s exciting and at a mere three minutes and fifty seconds, all too short.
23 Los Angeles, CA, Hollywood Bowl (w/ Animal Collective)
07 New York, NY, Terminal 5
12 Montreal, QC, Neon
13 Toronto, ON, Danforth Music Hall
15 Detroit, MI, Majestic Theatre
16 Chicago, IL, Metro
18 Denver, CO, Ogden
19 Salt Lake City, UT, Urban Lounge
22 Vancouver, BC, Fortune Club
23 Seattle, WA, Neptune
25 Oakland, CA, Fox Theatre
04 Amsterdam, Netherlands, Paradiso
05 Leipzig, Germany, Conne Island
06 Paris, France, La Machine du Moulin Rouge
07 Fribourg, Switzerland, Fri-Son
08 Berlin, Germany, Gretchen
09 Manchester, UK, Manchester Warehouse Project
16 London, UK, The Troxy
23 Makuhari Messe, JP, electraglide festival
I Used To Be, Chris Stolz’s second album under the TiredEyes monicker, was one of my favourite and most played records of last year. Its jazzy beats and laid back feel made for fantastic summer listening with some infectious melodies that really stuck. Dusty analogue vibes, warm production and an unhurried pace set a bar that any musician would be hardpressed to top. And so, just over one year on, Constellations arrives in time for the last month or two of warm weather (here in the UK anyway).
Where I Used To Be arrived with a shot of energy on title track I Used To Be, Constellations takes a subtler route and opts to build slowly with the smokey Cosmic Echoes. It’s lazy, considered, and thoroughly cinematic. And this is what sets Constellations apart from debut There in the Shade and last years I Used To Be. It’s that experience from three albums under one project. A confidence and swagger that can only become apparent after the foundations have been laid and then tested.
Tracks build, vocal samples tease, beats reverberate; crackles, hissing and pops layer onto a wide selection of instruments. It’s a pleasure to listen to and if stuck with, will reveal a surprising level of detail that a quick listen might mask. The latter half of the album really shines with tracks like Nylon Trees and Stay Inside being stunning examples of what Stolz can do, the latter containing a great sample from Peggy Lees Johnny Guitar. It’s moody, sweeping and cinematic.
So how does Constellations stack up to I Used To Be? It effectively continues right where its predecessor left off, in fact it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were a side two – just a slower and more confident side two. That’s not to it’s detriment though, Constellations is still a superb record through and through and familiarity is as much as a good thing as a bad thing. Change for changes sake is not always a good thing and this is a perfect example when you’ve hit a great formula not to mess with it too much. As above, what is there however is a far more polished experience; further refined, cinematic and confident. Stolz’s beats sound just as organic, his sampling tighter and the details finer. This is what makes TiredEyes stand out from a large number of the other beatmakers at the moment, fine detailing. It’s exciting to put a pair of headphones and come out so rewarded and Constellations does not disappoint.
Constellations is available for download from TiredEyes bandcamp page for $10 (USD)
Tracklisting is as follows,
- Blast Off (00:51)
- Cosmic Echoes (03:26)
- Orbital (03:10)
- Golden (02:09)
- Pain (03:01)
- Imagery (01:48)
- Maydrum (01:53)
- Move Like This (02:41)
- Run Free (02:32)
- Such A Sky (01:36)
- Lean Back (02:27)
- Sit By The Door (02:56)
- Empty Chamber (01:15)
- We’re Not Home (01:49)
- Mellow Breeze (02:08)
- Space Bass (03:53)
- Nylon Trees (02:51)
- Stay Inside (03:31)
- Obedient Workers (01:54)
Just a few short snippets of interesting thing’s I’ve seen over the web this weekend.
This is a great little clip of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy presenting the news on Chicago TV station WGN’s morning news last week. Watching Jeff Tweedy report the weather was always going to be fun.
Solar Fields has a new album titled Until We Meet the Sky. The physical edition was out Friday and the digital version follows tomorrow (20th December). I’ve yet to receive my copy through the post but will most likely write some thoughts up after a listen or two.
You can hear samples and pre-order the digital version over at Ultimae records bandcamp page.
Yes, you read that headline right. Mumford & Sons have informed Rolling Stone that their new album, due in 2012, will be a more mature record and that it’s ‘doom folk’. In their words, Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake. I’m struggling to imagine that but definitely interested.
This is the new promotional video for UK hip-hop group The Four Owls – Burning Vapour, which is taken from their debut album Nature’s Greatest Mystery (Out now on High Focus Records – http://www.high-focus.com/home/ ).
Aside from the truly brilliant visuals (which are lifted from Blockheads video for ‘The Music Scene’) it’s a great track filled with jazzy samples and catchy melodies and well worth your time.