Today marks 5:4‘s fifth anniversary, & so i’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who regularly read, share & respond to the articles & music explored here. Since 2008, the blog has grown from being an occasional hobby (reading the earliest articles, that fact is rather painfully obvious) to something that now receives significantly more time & attention. i very much hope that 5:4 can grow & become even more interesting & useful in the next five years; all comments, criticisms, suggestions & other feedback is always very warmly encouraged.
But to return to the present, & to continue our annual tradition, here is a new mix tape featuring one track from each of the forty entries on my Best Albums of the Year list. The mix includes more extreme dynamic variety than in previous years, so while i’ve done a little to mitigate that, be warned that at times the music veers between extremely soft & very loud indeed. As ever, if you like what you hear in the mix, please support the artists & buy the music; links are included on the last two days’ posts.
i’ve remarked in the past on the provisional nature of all ‘Best of’ lists, & so to keep things current, i’ve updated the summaries of the Best Albums/EPs of the Years, to reflect further listening than had been possible at the time; the revised lists can be found under The Lists on the main menu.
The mix tape lasts a little under 3½ hours; here’s the tracklisting in full: Read more
This is a list surrounded by other lists leading to other lists, lists … that explain everything by being gateways into worlds of sound, feeling and information…
…the love of making lists is an attempt to remind us of what it is that has happened, and what is happening, all at once, as time and humanity collapses into itself. …
The list is a collage of hopes and wishes, of knowledge and exhibitionism. (Paul Morley, Words and Music)
So we move on to the list of lists, the forty albums that have made the greatest impact over the last twelve months. Here are the first twenty to have made the cut.
Having spent several weeks focussing on music of an introspective & ascetic nature, it’s time to let off some steam, & to that end let me flag up the latest release from Lindstrøm, titled Six Cups of Rebel. In nearly 10 years of music-making, this is only Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s third album (which is not to suggest his output is small; he’s put out over twenty 12″ singles over the years), but the large-scale format clearly suits him. Six Cups of Rebel is a somewhat strange entity to try to define, opening in dazzling fashion with a cascading piece of organ minimalism (‘No Release’), its static, Steve Reich-like epicentre chasing itself in circles over a glowering pedal part of rising Shepard tones. None of which really suggests the full-on party atmosphere that’s about to ensue, with multitudinous but astutely-judged throwbacks to an earlier time; but Lindstrøm’s not just another statistic in the endless parade of latter-day retrophiliacs; he’s far more subtle, opting – for the most part – for whiffs of suggestion rather than a faceful of the past. Lindstrøm has assimilated his influences, & when they appear—funk & house gestures in ‘De Javu’; ’80s synth arpeggios & power chords in ‘Quiet Place to Live’—they’re merely elements in an experiment that’s very much bigger & more original.
Six Cups of Rebel is a diptych, & the transition between its panels is heralded by an amusing, faux-naïf fanfare (‘Call Me Anytime’), bringing to mind Franz Zappa’s more primitive synclavier pieces. The last three tracks pull the party in a new direction, disrupted by guitar riffs & breakbeats, culminating (with perhaps a wink to Luke Vibert) in an episode splashing around in the muddy squelch of the TB-303. That effectively brings proceedings to an end, as the closing track, ‘Hina’, mirrors the opener in similarly minimalistic fashion, dropping the straightforward beats & luxuriating in a rich palette of shifting timbres over unrelenting ostinatos.
It’s a strange album, no doubt, & i’ll admit to misgivings about certain aspects, but as a whole it’s so joyous & infectiously playful that the moments of mishap are easily forgotten.
5:4 rating: 4.71/5
The album can be streamed in its entirety below (courtesy of Grooveshark), & the CD can be ordered very cheaply from Juno Records, here.