Things winding down...

I'll try this again. Feel free to talk about anything and everything and hopefully the spam doesn't get out of control again. Only 4 weeks left for 2008!

Commenting has been closed on this article.

anyone heard "Azeda Booth"s album 'In Flesh Tones'?

one of my favourite of the year, for sure. intensely original sound.

some absolutely brilliant electronica releases this year:

arc lab - the goodbye radio

kangding ray - automne fold

WELL worth checking out.

yup we can expect an "O" album and a "F" album soon from murcof.

hopefully he doesn't stop there.


And on the topic progress, this comes from the facilitation of individual thought and the exchanging of new ideas through dialog. Stagnation is what happens when collective ignorance prevails. Exchanging opinions gets you nowhere.

As I said, I really do appreciate the dialogue found on this website, and some other blogs. I also read Almost Cools reviews every week without fail, and enjoy what he has to say. I'm merely stating that, these days, I don't depend on them, I don't need to be fed any kind of "score", and I certainly won't act on, or disregard an artist, based the opinion of a reviewer.
In fact, Simon, you couldn't be more wrong about ones powers of perception. Each and every individuals perception of music is in fact the ONLY one that matters. I wouldn't trust anyone more than myself when it comes to deciding if I like a certain piece of music or not! And, as we're able to listen to almost anything through the internet medium, the perception of anyone else is pretty much redundant.

Dave - But you might not be able to immediately see the worth of something, or everything that's going on in the music, and thus miss out on something great. It feels like hubris to disregard a critic's opinion, to think that your powers of perception are all-powerful. Isn't the dialog reviews create interesting to you? Do you not think exploring music by talking about it, exchanging opinions, is only the true way to progress? There NEEDS to be dialog, I think it's essential. If there isn't any everything stagnates.

I certainly agree with some of the comments below regarding the importance of websites such as this - from an informative persepective. But when I said reviews are becoming more obsolete I was referring to the old ritual of giving a "score" or even opinionating on the music. I appreciate the opportunity to read about a new release, objectively, but I just don't need to be told what someone else thinks about the music anymore - I can investigate this for myself, without shelling out $15 for a cd.

he he
hadnt noticed this pattern until now --> "his M-U-R-C-O-F series of albums. ie (M-artes, U-topia, R-emembranza, and C-osmos"..

AC - any thoughts on Flying Lotus. Didnt see any reviews on this years release. Whats the reason for that?

Dang, Josh, I never realized that with the name of the Murcof albums... Nice catch.

I think The Versailles Sessions is definitely in line with where he's been moving lately, although certainly the source material is a little different than what you'd expect. Speaking of expectations, I guess his next album is going to start with an "O," right? :)

This is my first post. I just wanted to say that I have been reading here for years, and AC has been a big influence on the music I buy. One example is Murcof: I never would have hear of him otherwise, and he's now one of my favorite artists.

Thank you!

i enjoyed murcof's 'versailles sessions', but it was a one-off deal for the event at the location.

i don't expect it is too indicative of his M-U-R-C-O-F series of albums. ie (M-artes, U-topia, R-emembranza, and C-osmos) and i admit, for that i am glad. i personally felt Cosmos was his best work to date. loved the neo-dark sci-fi feel to the opening track.

versailles sessions was good, but i think cosmos was absolutely brilliant.

Really enjoying the comments. I have realized recently, I have a good taste in music because I know there are so many more people with better taste. I love evolving my ear by keeping it as open as possible. Reading compassion filled reviews and posts such as this site or finding what the person next to me likes in something, and then finding something in myself is now a passion

Looking for a few forums and or websites off the beaten track that may add to a love of music. I have a few sites that are standard and check up on them daily but I would like to find places that expand on to what I have. Im having a hard time summing that up in a google search so need some help. I know sites to people can be personal and you may not want to give em up. But if anyone(almostcool included) have any suggestions they are willing to give up, I would be very appreciative. thanks

Cheers to Almostcool! I've really stopped looking at most other review sites I used to frequent as I started to notice that their "top pics" or recommended titles were differing more and more from what I was liking. Anyway, your site has been super consistent and I've really found out about a lot of new stuff through here, which I'm very thankful for (burial being one of those, which I really haven't stopped listening to since this time last year).

All that being said, I would like to say that the music review is obviously quite important; perhaps more important is the specialized review as all these even smaller niches form, you know? Not as if you only cover one genre / etc, as that's obviously not the case. I like to think you cover the "real" music genre, since I think you actually cover things that are actually pushing boundaries as opposed to what's being pushed as the next cool thing...but yeah, as the musical seas get more and more open and you're free to go wherever you want (and there are simply tons of more things to hear, of course) having some kind of compass is really really helpful...

And, this forum is another source of discovery I might add, which I feel I've benefited musically quite a bit from. Hope other threads spark this kind of back-and-forth in the future!

Thanks for the defense. As I mentioned below, I do try to be factually accurate, so it was good to hear that I had something wrong. I'm certainly not the authority, just another opinion...

Speaking of opinions, I'd have to disagree on reviews becoming obsolete. If anything, I'd say that in this day and age they're even more important. If you can find a reviewer (or site) whose opinion you trust on music, it only helps to sort through the absolutely huge amount of music that's out there in the world. I know that everything is readily available through file-sharing, P2P, and even myspace/virb/etc, but you still have to actually discover a resource for distilling things down into manageable listens. I can't even imagine trying to get on myspace and simply start clicking around while trying to find new music. It would drive me insane from a user standpoint.

I'm a reviewer, and even I have sites that I read on a regular basis to help me find out about things. I also try to pay attention to comments and suggestions from my readers (as much as my wallet will allow, anyway), as I've discovered some great things that way as well.

I've been reading this site for years now and Almostcool has never claimed to be anything other than a music lover, with a passion for sharing his finds with other people.

Quotes such as 'It doesn't seem like you're familiar enough with the band's members and subsequent releases to be as critical as you are' are spiteful for absolutely no reason.

I think reviews are still relevant, just because anyone can download anything they want, doesn't mean they're always going to come up with a considered and though out opinion. You get people who have given an album just one listen on some crappy computer speakers then pass judgment on it, which is completely ridiculous. If a reviewer does their job, they give the music respect and chances to make an impact, and they can offer a reliable and considered view on something, rather than some half-cocked, half-arsed rambling. Also, everyone has a different point of view from everyone else, reviewers and reviews can illuminate things in a piece of music the reader might have missed or never even considered.

In defense of reviews: I feel like I listen to heck a lot of music, more than almost anyone I know. But I don't have enough time or money to listen to as much as I'd like, and don't want to end up stealing lots of music, so sites like this (indeed this one above nearly all) are invaluable in helping guide me towards new areas, labels, artists etc.

Just reading well-informed, well-reasoned and passionately felt opinions can be a pleasure in itself.

On another note, I second (third?) the recommendation for the Jacaszek - a truly beautiful album that, in its glitchy take on classical music, reminds me a lot of the first Murcof record but is perhaps even more haunting.

The thing I'm finding with music reviews is that they are becoming more and more obsolete. In years gone by, an avid music follower, such as myself, would depend on them for an insight into new music which may or may not be to their liking. I have had my fingers burnt many a time after reading a such reviews. Nowadays, in this age of myspace and rapidshare etc., we can listen to just about all the music we want and make our own minds up without anybodys help.
Having said that, I still enjoy this kind of website for the ongoing input and recommendations of the readers. This kind of forum is more useful.

Aha. I did some more snooping and found that Lotus Plaza is actually the work of Deerhunter member Lockett Pundt.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I know my opinions probably don't always make sense, but I do try to be factually accurate in my reviews.

Apologies if I got that incorrect. From reading Cox's blog (which is subtitled "Deerhunter / Atlas Sound / Lotus Plaza"), I assumed that he was behind that project as well. When he posted songs by Lotus Plaza, it was even written in first person such as, "here is a song a did last night in hamburg while waitng to fall asleep.
hope you like it."

I'm confused. Maybe you can help me out.

Lotus Plaza isn't Bradford's album. It doesn't seem like you're familiar enough with the band's members and subsequent releases to be as critical as you are..

where's your contact email, cant see it for toffee?

Headphone Commute
Jacaszek is at the top of my list for best of 08... Also Olafur Arnalds, which I believe was already reviewed on here.

Finally getting Scott Tuma's soon, keep hearing amazing things about it!

Also, some others I haven't heard mentioned yet:

Jacaszek - really good mix of live strings, sub-sonic beats and really sparse electronics and voice. Surprisingly fluid and really creeps up and under your skin I'd say. Just came out with an album called "Treny" that I'm going to try to grab pretty quick...

Minus Pilots - Tape delay & bass, and that's about it. You wouldn't think it though, super textured and engaging, and only in a 200 run of 180g vinyl...

...really looking forward to this new Murcof! Really liked "Cosmos", though there were a couple of point that just took me out of the mood, but it sounds like this one is maybe more consistent? Guess I'll have to find out ;)

Oh yeah...and if anyone was a fan Raccoo-oo-oon just broke up, but released one last LP before, which is supposed to be quite good I hear.

Looking forward to the year-end list(s)!

I've never listened to Murcof either. Thanks to this website and the people here I tried it; a track from Remembrenza stood out as a perfect song for the upcoming winter season. Will be listening to it more this week.

I'm also still very excited about The Milk-eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom. May be old news, but I'm only getting the cd in a week hopefully.

Luke A
Why?'s "Alopecia" is a exceptionally solid album, sometimes downright amazing. These guys could have a masterpiece of some sort on their hands if they went for a pop album. This album is catchy, and funny, and depressing, and touching. Not my favorite of 2008, but this is one is definitely worth scoping out.

Headphone Commute
Very nice post this week... All of my favorites!!! Did you see, Type re-released Sylvain Chauveau's "The Black Book of Capitalism"??? I never heard it before, but this 2000 remastered reprint is something else... Highly recommended!

I think this is Murcof's best since Martes. I found Remembrenza a little boring, and Cosmos was great but a litte cheesy in its spaciness. But this one is something else!

Wow, I've never listened to Murcof before - that album is fantastic!

I like The Versailles Sessions too, despite feeling a little distanced by the subject matter, by which I mean it's hard to visualize Versailles and how these pieces relate to the place and it's history. But context isn't everything, I suppose!

Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one! I think it's a good move for him to promote the electronic side of his music more. Programmed beats have been around for a long time, and will be used long into the future. I suppose only time will tell how this sounds years from now, but my guess is it'll still sound fresh and vibrant.

I may have not been clear enough in my review, but what I meant by using that particular word "dated" is that when Johannsson uses the more overt electronics (as he does the programmed beats during different tracks), it instantly locks his music into a certain time period, as opposed to when he doesn't.

That's not to say that he shouldn't do it, because there are plenty of places on the album where he uses electronics to great effect. To my ears, though, there are also places where Fordlandia just doesn't have the subtle grace of his previous releases.

A disappointing review of Fordlandia. How you can descibe Johann Johannssons music as "dated" is beyond me...