Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007 Tops

(Chuck Fenda, 4hero, Burial and Luz Mob made my 2007 tops)

Without much ado let me present the
Forward Ever Top 10 Albums of 2007

1. Luz Mob – Luz Interpretations (Crystal Top)
2. Chuck Fenda – The Living Fire (Greensleeves)
3. Burial –Untrue (Hyperdub)
4. 4hero – Play With The Changes (Milan)
5. Various Space & Time Hot Flush
6. Ulrich Schnauss–Goodbye (Domino)
7. Aereogramme–My Heart Has a Wish...(Sonic Unyon)
8. Mavado – Gangsta For Life (VP)
9. Tiklah –Tiklah vs. Victor Axelrod (Easy Star)
10.Various – Studio One Rub A Dub (Soul Jazz)

As I reflect on these favorite releases, I'm listening to one of the UK's best electronic music producers, Zed Bias, spin a DJ set on Rinse FM pirate radio station. That's representative of where my head was at this year -- dubstep'ed out. You can read my reflections on the year in SF Dubstep, or check my monthly Bass Reaction columns for more on the subject.

But back to the list above, I consider any recording that made the final Top Ten to be as equally as good as each other, but to add a contextual criteria, I've listed these ten in order of how long the album spent in my listening device, DJ set or radio broadcast.

Brooklyn -by-way-of-SF Latin-dub artist Luz Mob made it to number one easily for his Latinized cover of 2-Tone act The Selector's "The Selector" -- a favorite in my sets to this day. But the rest of Luz Interpretations is filled with unexpected gems -- most all covers (hence the title) or derivations. Luz manages to cover everything from Jackie Mittoo to JT Tha Bigga Figga -- that's range!

Chucka Fenda
's The Living Fire scored highest for reggae albums due to its high production aesthetics and moral conviction. The album is heat from the first track to the last. 4hero made another criminally under-recognized album, and I think this may be their absolute best song writing to date. If you slept on it -- shame!

Not much to add on the other entries -- they're wicked selections from multiple genres including numetal/grunge (Aereogramme), rocksteady, IDM-dubsetp (Burial) and hardcore dancehall (Mavado).

While year-best lists are often a trite critic's exercise to legitimize their subjective tastes, I feel it is occasionally important to officially catalog art to highlight special, possibly overlooked items. I see no point in top-tens that extol Timbaland or Timberlake's virtues -- as dope as they may to some critics/fans. "Indie till death" is my mantra, I guess, in an age of further media corpo-consolidation. Watch me backtrack on this next time I like a major label release... And with that, I give you:

30 More That Mattered:
Vieux Farka Toure—Vieux—WorldVillage
Eluvium—Copia—Temporary Residence
Wailing Souls—Classic Cuts78-84—Greensleeves
Marcia Griffiths—Anthology—VP
Zeb—Stop The Earth—Wonderwheel
Pantha Du Prince–This Bliss—Dial
SA-RA—The Hollywood Recording—Babygrande
Kathy Diamond—Ms Diamond To You—Permanent
Various—Soul Sides 2: The Covers—Zealous
Big City—The City Never Sleeps—Nature
Kush Arora—From Brooklyn-SF—KAP
The Revolutionaries—Drum Sound—Pressure Sounds
Culture—Two Sevens Clash—Shanachie
Various—12" Rulers: Gusssie Clarke—Greensleeves
Zeep—Zeep—Far Out
The Politik (deCliveLowe)—The Politik—Milan
Echospace—The Coldest Season—Modern Love
Songs Green Pheasant—Gyllyng Street—Fat Cat
TBA—The Other—MaxErnst
Various—Roots of Chicha—Barbes
Zap Pow—Zap Pow—17N Parade
Chezidek—Inna Di Road—Greensleeves
Bassekou Kouyate—Segu Blue—Out Here
Trentemoller—Trentemoller Chronicles—Audiomatique
Take—Earthtones—Inner Current
Various—Biggest One-Drop 07—Greensleeves
Jazz Addixx—Oxygen Refreshed—Domination
The Dynamics—Version Excursions—Big Single