Since I Left You – The Avalanches (2000)

Since I Left You - The Avalanches (2000)

An impressive album – the best I discovered in 2014. I want to gush. I’m really tempted to gush. Made from around 3500 samples from vinyl records, this is a veritable epic of a record. Since I Left You boasts an extremely diverse palette of sounds that somehow fraternize into a single, cohesive unit. I’d argue it’s magic. A common, and somewhat warranted, criticism of electronic music is that it doesn’t sound “alive” or that it sounds “sterile.” This album is my rebuttal. It feels not just alive, but young and healthy. It’s genuine and familiar, and yet simultaneously exotic.

Choice Cut: Live at Dominoes

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Our Love – Caribou (2014)

Our Love - Caribou (2014)

You know those science fiction movies where people walk into the bar, and everyone is dancing really slow to slow music? That’s what One Love reminds me of.  The music slowly builds up and becomes more complex, just like a slow club dance style would. On top of this relaxing music, there’s also some nice smooth vocals to top it all off. If I could, I’d let these vocals take me home from the club  When these vocals and I got home, these vocals would make passionate love to me, just like it does on this album.

Choice Cut: Can’t Do Without

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Autobahn – Kraftwerk (1974)

Autobahn - Kraftwerk (1974)

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Season’s Greetings! For many of our readers, today is a very, very special day. Today, my gift to you is an album I really like, and you can listen to it regardless of whether or why you’re celebrating today.

Autobahn calmed me down in a time of great stress when nothing else could. I have a sentimental attachment to the album. Beautiful, clean, smooth, forward-thinking melodies. The bright, tinkling quality of the music seems more “Christmas” to me than hymns and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” or “Jingle Bell Rock”. Yet it’s so warm, too.

So, call your friends and family and tell them how much you appreciate them. Then go cuddle up with someone you love, grab some hot chocolate, and put on this album. And to all a good night!

Choice Cut: Kometenmelodie 2

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“Heroes” – David Bowie (1977)

Heroes - David Bowie (1977)

The crown of the Bowie/Eno Berlin trilogy and the most accessible entry point to Bowie’s work from his arty experimental rock period. The ambient sound collage that defined the second half of Low is a lot stronger and more fully realized here. Then there’s the album’s title track, which is unquestionably David’s greatest song, where he does something he hasn’t done since Life on Mars? way back on Hunky Dory – he takes every single one of his Bowie masks off and proves that he does have a real human heart in there somewhere. Not to mention, this album has excellent playing from Robert Fripp all over it.

Choice Cut: Heroes

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Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk (1977)

Trans-Europe Express - Kraftwerk (1977)

Although Autobahn was undoubtedly their most important work to the outside world, Trans-Europe Express was a massive album for Kraftwerk themselves. After the ill-received Radio-Activity, Kraftwerk must have known that their next album needed to be brilliant, lest the band become curious one-hit wonders.  So they went and made a brilliant album. Revisiting the transportation theme of Autobahn, Trans-Europe Express bridged the conceptualism of their earlier work with a new outlook – futuristic, robotic pop. With the delivery on every song so stiff and sharply angled and the only organic sounds being human voices with as little inflection as possible, it sounds like it was actually made by robots.

Choice Cut: Europe Endless
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Brandon’s Post Note: I’m partial to Hall of Mirrors.

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Ninety – 808 State (1989)

Ninety - 808 State (1989)

The late 80s and early 90s is a fun time period because electronic music was out of the “academics and experimenters” phase of the 70s and the “synth-pop” phase of the mid-80s but not yet in the “formulaic molly-popping” stage of the 90s and onward. That’s not to discredit these phases, which can be – and often are – awesome, but rather to drive my point about this time period being special. Ninety is a great example. It sounds aged and is clearly analog, but that adds to the charm. These hooks will be stuck in your head for weeks.

Choice Cut: 808080808
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Debut – Bjork (1993)

Debut - Bjork (1993)

Take a cup of clever lyrics, four tablespoons of vaguely rave-inspired beats, and pour on creative, lush ambiance and – boom – you’ve got a Bjork salad. This is my favorite album by this outlandish Icelandic singer-songwriter. Seriously, can you name an artist do you know that recorded part of their song in the restroom of a bar? (If you have a non-Bjork answer to that, comment below). Bjork has a knack for taking a different angle on concepts such as Human Behaviour (told from a non-human perspective) and Venus As A Boy, a rule 63-ish take on mythology.

Choice Cut: There’s More to Life Than This (Recorded Live at the Milk Bar Toilets)
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