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Zarko 10-27-2009 06:00 AM

Zarko & Bulldog's Trans-Hemispheric Review of the 2000's
Zarko & Bulldog's Trans-Hemispheric Review of the 2000's

The idea of this thread popped into my head when I realise I was sick of reading about stuff that came out of the 70’s and 80’s. Nothing wrong with the old days, but some days it gets a bit old. I decided to change my next point of focus to the decade that is currently on its last legs – the 00’s. Being the admirable fellow that he is, I invited one of the bastards from Britannia to the mix, our generous co-host in Bulldog.

Either way, it will probably be an ongoing project that should evolve with time. If anyone has any points of discussion, don’t feel worried about starting a conversation in the thread. Forum friedly is the aim.

Either way, I hope you enjoy a few of our favourites from a much maligned decade.

tore 10-27-2009 06:18 AM

I could definetly use some input on music from this decade. My tastes are for the most part horribly old fashioned, so I'll keep an eye on this thread. Looking forward to it! :)

Bulldog 10-27-2009 06:19 AM

What I'll also be including my end on occasion will be 00s albums from what a lot of people would consider 'classic' artists that, despite being among their best (in my opinion, of course), often get overlooked in favour of their better-known, earlier material. The onus of this thread is artists who released a debut much more recently though, so I'll be keeping such picks to a bare minimum.

Anyway, enjoy the thread and feel free to comment :) It's a day off tomorrow, so I'll at least draft my first review then.

Zarko 10-27-2009 07:02 AM

A little boring back information...

Born in 1989, it took me a while to develop a keen interest in music. Through the 90's of course being in my early years I was unlikely to actually understand half the **** that was happening around me, let along attempt to focus on something with such a wide scope like music does. Through those early years it was snatch and run really, find a genre that sounds cool, say you're a fan and Bob's your uncle. Rock and roll was an early favourite if I recall correctly.

Either way, I never had music obsessed parents like many people do. It wasn't like I was born and raised listening to the Beatles or other such nonsense. I caught the occasional listen of a favourite group of my mum's or dad's music but nothing really carried on from that. I knew mum was a fan of Queen because whenever his name would pop up mum would never fail to come up with 'No one can ever match Freddie'. I found out that dad was a BeeGee's fan the hard way, given a good tongue-lashing when I questioned the 'lifestyle choices' the group had made (Being the impressionable young kid I was ;)) which was followed by an oddly aggressive barrage of questions, 'Why?', 'What gave you that impression?' etc etc. Either way they were both classic rock-ists beyond these basic two groups.

We did the generic 'music' class through school (recorders etc) but I was never the adept performer and never took it up long term. I respected the skills that fellow classmates had developed but was never once to question why I couldn't do something like that. Through this time you are generally weaned on the radio in the car to and from school, which of course you cannot change because it would be changed back the second later.

Either way this was the routine until about mid 2006 when I just started to strike up some conversations with the musically minded minds of my year level. The people I normally hung around with were music fans, but more on the sports side of things. They knew what they liked no doubt but they never delved into the world. So I started talking more with muso's about general stuff, until I realise that I had nothing to talk about with them in regards to their passion. By now I was a classic rock bore, being sucked in the previous year by a Kiss concert, and proceeded to try and understand why the Beatles were popular after buying a best of... or listening to Led Zeppelin but in actuality finding it rather boring if not okay. Either way, I was in a lull. Finding that classic rock was possibly not my thing, I looked back even further, and found the genre that would actually give my future musical passion credence - Jazz.

It started out rather uninspringly after downloading the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, which was pretty bland but overall nice jazz mixed with other genres that wasn't really bebop at all. I was to find that out after buying some Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gilespie records. Either way, it was an opening, and I took it. Either way for a while I was sucked into the 'classics' mentality yet again, this time with jazz though. It wasn't until I was willing to experiment a bit with genre mixing that I really found out about so many of this decades best albums. First it was jazz-rock, then electronic jazz, then this then that, then realised I was missing out just looking for jazz, so I jumped into electronic, the contemporary classical, then ambient, all easily accessible at this time. I looked further back in past decades for just that match that satisfied what I had become accustomed to liking. I really found it difficult to find anything that did as such. So I came back to the 2000's, where everything was more widepsread/easier to find/more interestingly mixed and match, and in the end I really couldn't be happier. The thing that makes music worth so much is finding new and exciting music.

Either way, longer than anticipated, but it gives some sort background info.

Zarko 10-27-2009 09:12 AM

To celebrate the opening review/discussion by yours truly, the album I decided to first review was the first album that came up via Foobar of albums from the year 2000, and then sorted by artist name. So without further ado…

Amon Tobin – Supermodified (2000)

Whilst not being overly surprising due to his name that he would pop up first, it is fitting perhaps that the first album review belongs to one of my favourite artists whose majority of work comes from this decade. Unfortunate that he happens to produce the type of music that is hardest to review personally, but we will work though it either way. Despite being one of the more recognised artists from the 2000’s that will probably find its way in here, it’s still a name worth knowing.

Tobin’s first foray into the music scene was under the guise of ‘Cujo’ up until 1997 when he decided to work under his name. Signing with the now-prominent London independent record label Ninja Tune in 1996, he released Bricolage and Permutation in 1997 and 1998 respectively. These records carried a distinct down-tempo trip hop style with jazzy samples and just an all around friendly sound, with a spice of jungle electronics. Supermodified marked a change though. He carried a bit of the trip-hop style and jungle resonance, but injected some bigger beats that make Supermodified more accessible to the wider community.

The album kicks off with a collage of sounds in Get Your Snack On, filled with samples ranging from old school jazz and brass, which cut into synthed out beats with guitar riffs make the occasional entrance. The song simply spits out groovy beats, all the while the catchy drum’n’bass rhythm wallops you in the mouth. Four Ton Mantis doesn’t miss a beat, which always reminded me of following the footsteps of a plodding monster, Godzilla-style before he is about to wreck havoc in an album favourite. The drumming is intense, letting up slightly intermittently, but at the same time it’s just a funky tune.

Four Ton Mantis

The laid back vibes of the first two albums aren’t totally forgotten, as shown in Slowly. Introduced by a foreboding assortment of noises, the track is carried by a slow trotting beat, the best work done by a very nice brass section and some remarkable drumming. Melancholic and vague, Marine Machines has as many faces as one can recall, each more obscured than the last. A horn section blasts out before being muddled by a haunting quietness which subtlety turns into a soundscape of flutes, drumming and synths before disappearing in a puff of air. Golfer Vrs Boxer is another darker track, bastardising the rev of motorcycles into the harshest breakbeats on the album. The pace is frenetic, yet manages to maintain interest throughout.

Golfer Vrs Boxer

The slow-picking dark folk stylings of Deo opens up into a quiet, minimalist track that sits at a lower level, whilst threatening to detonate occasionally, still content it simply be what it is to begin with. In Precursor, Tobin teams up with aggressive beatbox artist, Quadraceptor in an electric performance. Featuring an assortment of quirky sounds and oddities, Precursor is one of the more fun tracks on the album. Possibly the grooviest track on the album comes with Saboteur however. Dirty bass lines and latin-esque percussion manage proceedings as elements such as disguised vocals and guitar picking, with the vexing DnB rhythm threatening to break down the wall and come crashing through.


Chocolate Lovely is a cinematic track of wonder, lush and wonderful in its warm fuzziness, yet ever straddling the line of falling off the edge. Some harsh beats break out at times, but they don’t break the stride – Rather they offer an interesting balance to the song to save it from becoming stagnant. On the other hand is its follow up, Rhino Jockey. The sound of callous electrical sounds slowly comes into fruition as an antagonistic streak presents itself, the track becoming a domineering wall of sound that manages to stave off the brink of all out violence. All the while, however, remains a sense of mystique, quiet periods that stick out as abnormal and the occasional sound used that raise the eyebrow in comparison to the surrounding noise.

Keepin’ It Steel summons an assortment of samples that would be common place in various metal works and fuses it with a heavy handed dose of some Brazilian-styled jazz beats, as well as some occasional slow and seductive jazz lines. Tobin reaches back to some old ballroom styled jazz sounds too, all the while the track remains at its deliberate rate. The album comes to completion with Natureland, the title referring amply to the style adopted for the finale. Calm and whimsical, the track leaves a bit wanting, though perhaps this is how Tobin intended, to continue the tracks through to his next album.

Supermodified manages to simply become another stepping stone in Tobin’s amazing repertoire. Symbolic of the experimentation that a lot of electronic genres need (In my opinion) to hold up against time, Tobin manages to spit out an album that is aggressive with its approach, yet remains all the more infections because of it. Though it isn’t perfect (The album tends to tail off at times, struggling through nearly 70 minutes of music) it is still an essential listen. The album stands up, and with a swagger embraces its differences, rather than attempts to shy away back into its predecessors style.

Essential Listening

Although anywhere is good to start with Tobin, you can’t go wrong with Supermodified.

Schizotypic 10-27-2009 09:52 AM

Artists that started before the 00's are going to be the easy, but I suppose they deserve recognition too. Can't wait for you two to show MB what the 00's are all about!

Zarko 10-27-2009 07:00 PM


Originally Posted by Schizotypic (Post 759041)
Artists that started before the 00's are going to be the easy, but I suppose they deserve recognition too. Can't wait for you two to show MB what the 00's are all about!

I think its dependent on the artist. Personally, Tobin is defined by his post 90's work, and I would very much consider his style to be relevent in defining this decade. This is partially because his other work came so late to the party 90's wise, but also because he changes his face often enough to make his 2000 work pretty incomparable to his 90s stuff and vice versa.

jackhammer 10-27-2009 08:03 PM

Al mentioned this last week. Looking forward to this thread a lot.

debaserr 10-28-2009 02:28 AM

eagerly awaiting more!

Bulldog 10-28-2009 06:30 AM

A little bit of laborious background info from me as well before I get down to the nitty gritty.

Born in 1988, I can honestly say I didn't develop a real interest in music 'til I was 9 years old, and even that wasn't really a very passionate one. Like Zarko, my parents weren't exactly hooked on music either. My Mum's a fan of all sorts of corny corn like Rod Stewart and Neil Diamond (bless her), while my Dad listens almost exclusively to classical. I did catch a glimpse of an ELO 12" of his in the attic once (don't ask me which one it was), and he's partial to a bit of good old rock 'n' roll so, if I even thought about music enough to have a favourite area of it, that'd be it.

For all the bashing of mainstream radio that goes down around here, it was actually listening to stations like Capital FM, Heart FM and Virgin Radio that first started getting me to pay attention to the music around me a bit more. Needless to say, my tastes have gone leaps and bounds since all of 12 years ago, but early favourites were songs like Raincloud by the Lighthouse Family, I Believe In Miracles and various other late 90s pop-lite-shite I wouldn't touch with a bargepole today. A few years later I started making my own way, although that way would be a very misguided walk down Nu Metal avenue, featuring such tripe as Linkin Park, Papa Roach and so on. It wasn't 'til I was on the way back from school in the taxi with Virgin Radio on the go that I heard a couple of songs back-to-back that basically changed my way of thinking about music forever - David Bowie's Rebel Rebel and the Jam's That's Entertainment.

From there (the year 2000 if I remember correctly), without making this too long, my tastes just completely changed. Although I lulled a bit for about a year and didn't listen to an awful lot of music, it's more or less been the same story since then - music being an incredibly important part of my life, basically. I used to have a tendency to look back into the 70s and 80s a lot more with the music I got myself, but there are plenty of albums I can think of now that represent the last 10 years of musical quality. I'd say a quick word or two about my taste in general, but I'm sure you'll get an idea of it as this thread continues. The crux of the whole thing is that I don't know many people at all, if anyone (except my brother of course, who's also been an influence on me musically to an extent), in the offline world who has what I'd call a genuinely good taste in music, which is pretty much the reason you find me logging in here so often!

So, yeah, on with the show!

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