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Old 12-27-2018, 04:53 PM   #61 (permalink)
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7. R+R=Now - Collagically Speaking


Genre(s): Improvised Multi-Genre Jazz, Hip-Hop

Sounds Like: Weather Report, Return To Forever, Tomasz Stanko Quartet, Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper Experiment


A dreamy, difficult to describe jazz smorgasborg of great ideas and spontaneous eruptive power, completely improvised in studio by some of the most accomplished guys in the new jazz era. You've got Robert Glasper on piano, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, and a whole host of others who really bring their A-game. In some ways, this album is everything Kamasi Washington wants to be but can't quite get his grip around: some of the best players in the world coming together into a cosmic sort of synthesis with no pretensions.

But what's so interesting overall here is how good the songs ended up becoming once they got into studio. 'Change Of Tone' is a delicious opening vamp, featuring some of Glasper's best key exploration in conjunction with some Herbie Hancock-esque vocoder work from the masterful Terrace Martin, who also lends some nice lyrical flow to the smooth yet vibrant 'Reflect Reprise' on side 2. And those are just two great songs of many here!

Needless to say, this was my favorite jazz-anything experience of the year. Touches all the sweet spots (modal, fusion, nu-jazz, jazz rap) and somehow weaves it all together into something cohesive and spectacular all at once.






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Old 12-27-2018, 04:57 PM   #62 (permalink)
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A dreamy, difficult to describe jazz smorgasborg of great ideas and spontaneous eruptive power, completely improvised in studio by some of the most accomplished guys in the new jazz era.
*sprints to the nearest streaming service*
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:49 AM   #63 (permalink)
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R+R=Now - Collagically Speaking
Actually ****ing amazing.
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I don't want to rec you anything, I want you to stop posting actually
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:49 PM   #64 (permalink)
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VOLA - Applause Of A Distant Crowd
Fun record!
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:44 PM   #65 (permalink)
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^ Keep 'em coming boiz.


6. The Bad Dreamers - Songs About People Including Myself


Genre(s): Popwave/Retrowave

Sounds Like: Post Malone (the good songs), The Midnight, John Legend, GUNSHIP


David Schuler isn't a big name around here, but he's had a pretty good run so far, working with names like John Legend, Ke$ha and Pink as both producer and songwriter. 2018 marks the year where his independent synthwave project The Bad Dreamers made a splash with this debut record in the final quarter of the year, and as far as contemporary R&B / pop stuff goes it hits you square in the jaw. Nothing too deep in the lyrical deparment, but the arrangements are awesome and the hooks even better.

The variety is worth nothing too: 'Part Time God' has a stellar New Order meets Chemical Brothers industrial flair, but he can still bring in that yummy 80's soundtrack gorgonzola on cuts like 'How To Disappear' and the undulating sax-sampled hook that elevates 'Somewhere In This City' into a serious jam.

Synthwave as a genre is beginning to move past its most blatant 2012 Drive soundtrack roots and become something more varied yet contemporary. You hear hints of it in the mainstream, but this Bad Dreamers debut is one of the first major albums to blur the lines successfully between mainstream pop and synthwave to the point where it disappears completely. Super poppy, but it rules if your in the kinda mood.





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Old 12-28-2018, 09:46 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Wayfarer - World's Blood

Good record, but I had some listening fatigue after awhile. I was obsessed for a few months, then burned myself out entirely. I’m still happy to see it on your list, though.

Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temple

GREAT album. Insanely technical, creative psyche. It’s tropical and jazzy and lovely.

R+R=Now - Collagically Speaking

Maybe I should give this another chance. I tried it a few times but felt underwhelmed. In a year with some pretty groundbreaking, insanely great jazz, this just didn’t quite feel like it measured up to me... even if I love a lot of the artists on their own.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:15 AM   #67 (permalink)
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5. Kindo – Happy However After


Genre(s): Math Rock, Art Rock / Indie Rock

Sounds Like: The Reign Of Kindo, American Football, The Dear Hunter


The Reign Of Kindo (now just Kindo) have always stuck out of the musical landscape in a good way to me - ambitious, vocal-driven pop colliding head on with a technical, knotty math rock approach to composition. To that sense, they come off at times as a group with prog-rock chops who have listened to a lot of Jamiroquai and Keane, but leader Joseph Secchiaroli is such a powerhouse on guitar and vocals that it's easy to get caught up in the sheer joyousness that permeates their arrangements.

Opener 'Human Convention' serves as both a punchy mediation on the topic of permanence whilst becoming tighter and more technical as it proceeds over a 3 1/2 minute run, complete with a late 60's horn section breakdown about midway through and a conga solo. Beyond that, that album jumps between more technical, funk-oriented pieces and stuff that veers toward more a ballad-esque structure. Of the latter type of song, 'Catch The Gleam' has a cheesy but glorious melodic progression that comes straight out of mid 90's Disney soundtrack playbook (albeit with a lot more jazz elements at play). The best stuff was definitely saved for last though: 'Obsolete' is a cosmic sounding slow burner with a trip-hop twist and 'City Of Gods' is a 6+ minute freakout where they throw every sonic trick in their arsenal out in the open, culminating in some psychedelic guitar soling throughout the second half.

Happy However After endeared itself to me pretty early on but has only grown in esteem with repeated listens. Like a dessert with multiple layers, there's plenty to digest. And I'm always in the mood for seconds.





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Old 12-31-2018, 07:15 PM   #68 (permalink)
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4. 공중도둑 [Mid-Air Thief] – 무너지기 (Crumbling)


Genre(s): Psych Folk, Progressive Pop, Indietronica

Sounds Like: Teen Daze, Boredoms, Stereolab, Swing Out Sister (90's period), Kings Of Convenience


Achingly gorgeous and evocative beyond the lo-fi elements that constitute the core aesthetics, Mid-Air Thief released Crumbling after a year and a half of work and we know very little about him. Most of the vocals were handled by another South Korean artist, Summer Soul. The end result is a twinkling blaze of bossa nova with some acoustic alchemy to complete the spell. You'd think he was doing the soundtrack to an upscale coffee shop, but the end result is overwhelmingly beautiful...yet experimental in a vaguely pleasing Brian Wilson-esque fashion. Some kind of wizard? Genius? Your guess is as good as mine.

I love every second of the album, but those high points are euphoric: the first two minutes of opener 왜? (Why?), the late 60's mod pop of 감은 듯 (Gameun Deut) and the soaring, proggy 함께 무너지기 (Crumbling Together) that evokes groups like Mr. Sirius from the late 80's with a distinctly modern spin. The hype is definitely deserved, so go get it!



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Old 01-01-2019, 02:58 PM   #69 (permalink)
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^This is my AOTY.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:24 PM   #70 (permalink)
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^ It definitely is an AOTY candidate. So well put together.

3. Bart & The Bedazzled - Blue Motel


Genre(s): New Wave, Paisley Underground, Power Pop, Soft Rock

Sounds Like: Echo & the Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Rupert Holmes, Fleetwood Mac


Bart Davenport is one of indie rock's great unsung singer-songwriters, having done everything from R&B to post-punk to breezy psych pop with finesse across the last twenty years. Blue Motel is a rather intriguing work, the result of his new group The Bedazzled coming together to make something dynamic that crosses a few eras and then some.

Remarkably groovy at every opportunity, like early Echo & The Bunnymen but with a sophisti-pop bent and some Big Star / Badfinger flourishes, the overall sound is warm and nostalgic, but expertly created. Like the boys over at Young Gun Silver Fox, Bart has a compelling talent in regards to writing songs that sound timeless. Evidence of this is heard everywhere, but comes to a potent head on the delicious 'Your Sorrow' and the snappy, sounds-like-it-should-be-in-a-Tarantino-film 'The House That Built Itself'. There's nothing but great songwriting afoot here, even when they slow down a bit on 'Halloween By The Sea' or the mournful, near Canterbury Scene-flavored 'Life Under Water'. Lots of great lyrics too, including a few you can take to the bank with interest (Now when the sun goes down and moonlight starts / That’s when the amateurs begin breaking hearts).

A record of many sublime moods and ideas, here's to Bart in 2019 and beyond.







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