Shrine to Domestic Heroes, 2016
Personal favourite music this year
Here's a playlist of my favourite songs this year, in what I hope will be a yearly selection that I have decided to call "Shrine to Domestic Heroes".
Let me say this is not a selection of what I consider to be the best new music of 2016. You have tons of blogs force-feeding that to anyone willing and able.
Rather, it is a collection of music, in no particular order, that has been dear to me this year, regardless of genre or release date. Music that -led by circumstance, luck, a friendly source or my own browsing- has fallen into my hands and has stayed with me on repeat.
Below is my selection with added commentary, as well as a Spotify playlist.
“Journey in Satchidananda”, Alice Coltrane
I can never listen to this track just once. Hypnotic, hypnotic, hypnotic. Such openness in the inclusion of instruments, such sonic beauty.
“four ethers”, serpentwithfeet
An absolutely mesmerising voice on top of a very sensibly sampled “March to the Scaffold” by Berlioz.
“Juwa Toka”, Bi Kidude
I discovered her music while touring in Tanzania. The cuasi-mythical queen of Tarab music from Zanzibar. Lived to the age of 103, or so they say, exact date of birth unknown. Arab-influenced music with an African timbre. Very interesting. Watch her perform live.
“Threads: I. Prelude”, Paul Lanksy performed by So Percussion
Creative and lively use of a whole percussion ensemble. A masterclass in making the most out of very few elements.
“On The Regular”, Shamir
One of the most fun and party-inducing tracks around. Wish I had this bubbly music in my early twenties. I just love the genderless vocals of Shamir. And those detuned synths!
“Baby”, Donnie & Joe Emerson
I don't understand how this obscure track was never a classic in its day. Recorded by two brothers from rural Fruitland, Washington, whose father sold most of his land to build them a top-notch studio, its adolescent purity and innocence just seeps through the airwaves directly into your heart.
“Sama Yai”, Karantamba
I woke to this every morning during my hugely inspiring 10 day sojourn in Dakar, Senegal (trip of my life). Performed in the mid eighties by Bai Janha's last group, Karantamba, a school for young musicians. Personally, I think it's the best African music has to offer. Let's not forget that the way the live performance was captured is a true work of art. It sounds like it were recorded just yesterday.
“The Curtain”, Snarky Puppy
Opened for them 5 years ago in London. They have definitely gone where not many musicians dare to go. Badass music of the future. A MUST SEE!
“Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (adagio)”, Bela Bartok performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Unnerving and always on edge, the dark colours disemboweled by Bartok exude a mysterious beauty in the way only Bartok could arrange.
“NO WAY”, Young Fathers
I don't what this Scottish trio have (on top of the 2014 Mercury Prize) but they really make my heart beat. They have something intangible, something fresh that makes me want to hug them. I can't wait to hear what they come up with in the future.
“The Four Seasons: Spring 1”, Vivaldi recomposed by Max Richter
It's hard to make affected music without inducing a listener to cringe. This is an exception. Max Richter's takes a tune we have all grown bored of listening to in shopping malls, lifts and dentist's waiting rooms and has given it a new, contemporary sheen that is brimming with emotion. If you don't shed a tear, you're not human.
“It's Choade My Dear”, Connan Mockasin
Although psychedelic music is not my favourite, Connan, from my beloved New Zealand, is an exception. Behind all the tongue-in-cheek and the colourful sounds hides a great arranger. This music has a story-telling theatricality that I personally envy a lot. Never get bored of listening to the Mockasin.
“A Fool in Love”, Frankie Miller
Bumped into this heartfelt song while watching “Diary of a Teenage Girl”. It just oozes with earnest yearning and the loose swing of some of the best recordings of the 70s. Rod Stewart said Frankie Miller was the only white singer he liked listening to. Wise words.
“Le goudron”, Brigitte Fontaine
Lo-fi recording that immediately kidnapped my attention the first time I heard it as a soundtrack to a surf video, of all places. That compressed guitar sound is full of character and Brigitte Fontaine's delivery iin between singing and reciting is a favourite. I was amazed to hear it was recorded in 1969...
“Excavation (Part 1)”, The Haxan Cloak
It's not very common to describe music as scary, but this piece certainly makes me shit in my pants.
“Dead Format”, Blanck Mass
Full on, noise friendly, hard rocking dance music to bite your dance partner's head to.
“Baltimore”, Nina Simone
My favourite piano player of all time. She could do classical, pop, swing, reggae... Miles Davis, of all people, couldn't believe his ears when he heard her play one song while singing another with absolute ease. A heart-wrenching song from a troubled but immensely talented musician. I love her dearly.
“Ghost Rider”, Suicide
Apparently simple, but so is Picasso. Straight rock n roll churned by a machine run by a clever pair of brains. This song is older than I am but sounds as if it could have been made today.
“New York is Killing Me”, Gil Scott-Heron
One of the most creative examples of spoken word to have ever blurted from my speakers. This is a tough genre and Scott-Heron just makes it sound so easy. What a f*cker...
“Oay Lahy E (O! Dear Friend)”, Hiran'ny Tanoran'ny Ntao Lo
Straight from 1930s Madagascar, I've never heard music like this before. Everything about it -time signature, timbre, vocal performance, language- is totally foreign to me and that's the way I like it. So much so, that I'd rather not x-ray it to death via google et al.Go back to Blog