Dec 28, 2010

Top ten best electronica albums of 2010: part two of four

This is part two. Please do read the other parts of this blog post: part one, part three and part four
To read last year's top ten best electronica albums, click here.

7 - Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

There's something about the great nephew of John and Alice Coltrane that enables him to kidnap heavyweight vocalists with Guru-like ease (Erykah Badu, Thom Yorke, Outkast, Laura Darlington) and yet still beguile the casual listener with the strangest cacophony of polymathic twiddling whilst provoking bemused reviewers into penning juxtapositional metaphors of space travel and smokey 1970s jazz clubs. That and his beats are well phat.

So, among the laidback hip hop of Zodiac Shit, the shuffling funk of Dance Of The Pseudo and the swirling headnodding of MmmHmm, we have a multitude of influences: jazz, garage, hip hop, techno, classical, folktronica and Enrique Iglesias. Despite all of this, I can't help feeling Cosmogramma is an album none of us can quite understand yet and perhaps it should be enjoyed more some time in the distant future, maybe in a smokey jazz club in space.

FlyLo isn't just a comedy airline created by Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Buy Cosmogramma at Bleep or Boomkat or Piccadilly.

6 - Autechre – Oversteps

The Wills and Kate of Manchester electronic music produced three records in 2010. 3 Telepathics Meh In-Sect Connection was a banana-themed collaboration by Sean from Autechre, Move Of Ten was technically an EP (although it's longer than the Flying Lotus album, above), while the release featured in my top ten, Oversteps, gave notoriety to Altered:Carbon who dressed their own LP as Autechre.

Listening to Oversteps is a bit like cuddling up to your favourite hedgehog: it's sharp and awkward, yet you're allured by the familiar scent. I don't get the detractors who write this off as difficult. known(1) has harpsichord, qplay is as delicate as my tummy after a night on the rohypnol, whilst see on see and Treale (oh NOW they use capital letters) are bonafide Autechre hits. Kind of. Warmer than Quaristice, this is music that spikes the bloodstream.

Buy Autechre's Oversteps at Bleep or Boomkat or Piccadilly.

5 - Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise

Arriving on Rough Trade Records like a supercharged Sosumu Yokota, Pantha Du Prince produced eleven minimal techno masterpieces that were so fluid, so organic, they could only have been harvested as they were literally dripping from the trees. Minimal techno often bores me, so why on earth is this several leagues above places six to ten on my list?

Maybe it's the snarling acid on Behind The Stars, the heavenly rave chords of Satellite Snyper, or the clanks and bells and feedback and heavenly choirs of synthdom that eddy and whirl around crisp beats that couldn't beat more crisply even if accompanied by a Walkers advert starring Gary Lineker being thumped to a pulp by sixteen heavily-armed packets of Seabrook. I'm not sure if Black Noise can be topped, but there are four albums on my list that have done just that. Stay tuned.

Bring the Noise: buy Pantha Du Prince's album from Bleep or Boomkat or Piccadilly.

Not quite in the top ten (part two)

I'm pleased with my top ten, although excluding any amazing album is a bit like shepherding your ten favourite sheep into the pen then shotgunning the rest into blasted pulps of smoking mutton. Here are more lambs that have been silenced.

Gold Panda's glitchy Lucky Shiner (pictured) probably got bumped because a couple of artists in my top ten are doing similar things. Massive Attack's Heligoland probably got bumped because, although the album was an improvement, it still sounded like veterans keeping the life support going. Also on a mainstream tip, I never quite connected with LCD Soundsystem's swansong This Is Happening.

A notable omission from my top ten is Squarepusher's Schobaleader One project, but I couldn't separate how he could make some tracks on d'Demonstrator sound like Royksopp and then not expect to be compared to Royksopp. He's excluded because he sounds like Royksopp. There, I said it. Squarepusher sounds like Royksopp. Royksopp's funnier the more you say it.

Actress' Splazsh is an essential album for 2010, and I feel pained to exclude it. Oneohtrix Point Never received major acclaim for Returnal and again was a close call. And Starkey's Ear Drums And Black Holes, bringing ballads and grime to Planet Mu Records, also just missed the cut.

This is part two. Please do read the other parts of this blog post: part one, part three and part four
To read last year's top ten best electronica albums, click here.


Section 27 said...

I'd agree with most of the entries on your list so far, Cosmogramma was a stellar album. However, it was Soulseek that dressed Altered:Carbon up as Oversteps... ;)

Fat Roland said...

Cheers. I hope I keep up the quality.

The A:C / Oversteps leak was put on Soulseek by Altered:Carbon themselves (or rather, as they told me, by "a friend of the band"). They only intended to leave it up one day, just to see if they got a reaction. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

TimD said...

I tried Move of Ten on Dave Gorman. Didn't go down well. I explained you needed to give it more time (and turn it up louder so you can hear the detail) but no one was having it.

Fat Roland said...

You played Autechre to Dave Gorman? And you didn't think to mention this? This is a whole new blog idea: playing Autechre to television personalities.