on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 28 Nov

ijb’s favorite CDs & LPs of 2017

von: ijb Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  1 Comment



01  Algiers The Underside of Power
02  Sevdaliza  Ison
03  François Couturier / Tarkovsky Quartet  Nuit blanche
04  Belief Defect  Decadent Yet Depraved
05  Anouar Brahem  Blue Maqams
06  Hope  [untitled debut lp] 
07  Kelela  Take me apart 
08  Kendrick Lamar  Damn.
09  Father John Misty  Pure Comedy
10  LCD Soundsystem  American Dream 


„[Belief Defect] reveal themselves as an artist deeply involved in the disruption and malaise of our society–and era—through shuddering, broken soundscapes and provocative confusion. If at times the acceleration is too much, I only ended up wondering if my own ear (trained to expect harmony, to reject dissolution) was the problem. BD explodes capacities and challenges musical norms, while also creating a sound which is intensely listenable. “Too eccentric to dance to” were Mark Fisher’s words of Burial, but he meant it as a remarkable and good thing to say. Belief Defect achieves a similar magic; to work in the tools of electronic music, and to push them beyond their capacities.“ (full review)


11  Valerie June  The Order of Time

12  Erlend Apneseth Trio  Åra
13  The xx  I see you
14  Wolf Alice  Visions of a Life
15  Noga Erez  Off The Radar

16  The War On Drugs  A Deeper Understanding 

17  Diagrams  Dorothy
18  Björk  Utopia
19  Lorde  Melodrama
20  Kangding Ray  Hyper Opal Mantis


21  The National and many, many others  Day of the Dead*
22  Zola Jesus  Okovi
23  David Virelles  Gnosis
24  Gas  Narkopop
25  Porter Ricks  Anguilla Electrica
26  Trio Mediæval & Arve Henriksen  Rímur
27  Phase Fatale  Redeemer
28  Tinariwen  Elwan
29  Protomartyr  Relatives in Descent
30  Jay-Z  4:44


   * 5 cd box with 57 interpretations of Grateful Dead songs

Mika Vainio (photograph courtesy of Ariel Martini)

honorary mentions


Mika Vainio († April 12th)  Reat
John Abercrombie († August 22nd)  Up and Coming 
Marcus Fjellström († September 3rd)  Skelektikon


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1 Comment

  1. ijb:

    At the top of the insert for ISON, the debut full-length from Iranian-born Netherlands-based singer and multi-platform artist Sevdaliza, there’s a modified quote from a love letter that author Franz Kafka wrote to Czech journalist Milena Jesenská: ‚In this life, you are the knife with which I explore myself.‘ Though not Sevdaliza’s own words (and Kafka originally wrote ‚love‘ not ‚life‘), the quote encapsulates the artist’s way of being both grandiose and explosive with simple, compact phrases. And while Kafka’s tortured correspondence certainly makes for an appropriate window into the mindset of ISON, a more fitting manifesto for Sevdaliza’s work might be: ‚I am the knife by which you explore life’—the ‚you‘ being us, the audience.

    Some artists, it seems, have an irrepressible drive to ride the razor’s edge, to go places the world isn’t necessarily ready or willing to explore. […] ISON establishes Sevdaliza as an artist-provocateur with a sense of global mission. Provocative in the most generous sense, ISON’s messages both jar and invite. […] it’s clear that music represents just one dimension of her creative being, as she guides its visual and filmic presentations. And when you watch the lavish videos for ISON songs like ‚Human,‘ ‚Marilyn Monroe,‘ and ‚That Other Girl,‘ you might get the impression that the music doesn’t stand up quite as well without the visuals. On ISON, though, Sevdaliza and co-producer Mucky create an aural world so rich in detail and ambience that the music almost functions as a film set all on its own.

    […] At the center of it all is Sevdaliza’s voice. As an entirely self-taught vocalist, she shows a startling level of agility and command as she switches between the stately inflection of a classic jazz singer backed by strings and the brassy nerve of a digital-age R&B artist flexing and cooing over the beat.

    Impressively, she provokes thought and discomfort more with the emotion in her voice than through the stories her songs tell, like an actor emphasizing facial expressions over lines. In her videos, Sevdaliza tends to spell out her central themes (i.e: the conflicted interplay between womanhood and the constraints of motherhood, societal expectations, the male gaze, etc). Search for those subjects in the actual music, however, and they prove to be somewhat elusive, if ever-present. ISON is fraught with the push-pull dynamic between vulnerability and power, confidence and grace—dichotomies that Sevdaliza seeks to challenge.

    There are too many eye-popping turns of phrase to list, but for Sevdaliza, even the simple, deadpan phrasing of the line ‚I am human‘ bursts with meaning. […] ISON is an album that gets under your skin and lingers in your thoughts. As warm and inviting as it gets at times, Sevdaliza was right not to make it too easy on the listener.

    (Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on Pitchfork)

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