Gabriel Szatan

Actually really, really nice

Blurbs: Top Albums of 2008-13

BPM5-albums

“For a record that doubts our morals, proclaims our worthlessness and rattles against the futility of basic affection, it seems wholly content with allowing us to at least chant along in unison, following in lockstep (lol fascism) as they trudge forward to the militaristic snares. “Wounded Hearts” especially clearly shows that lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has been burnt since New Brigade dropped a couple of years back, and so his natural reaction is to torch everything around him. It goes some way to explain the chokingly thick atmosphere, the smouldering remains as they adopt a scorched earth policy.”

Iceage – You’re Nothing, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Given that even high-calibre electronic releases from top level artists are often collections of disparate EPs and 12″s as opposed to being taken as albums proper – from Pink right back to Incunabula – it’s commendable that Hopkins keeps it varied but not disjointed. The edges are rounded off the eye-popping agitation as the record fades to a gentle ambiance. Even in mastering, the volume dramatically dips. There’s a delicious irony in an album ending on the faintest of whimpers blowing his career wide open.”

Jon Hopkins – Immunity, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“2010 was a standout year, with an array of talent surfacing from the nether regions – Walls, Sun Araw and Actress all entered the public conscience, while Oneohtrix Point Never’s Returnal and Emeralds’ Does It Look Like I’m Here crossed over proper, settling into regular rotation for plenty who had never veered so far left before. People were hardly lacking in choice for hypnotic drones, glossy ambience and buzzy low-end, but the latter pair cemented Editions Mego as the flagbearing label of the loosely connected scene.”

Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Caught in between boundless exuberance and matured refinement, this is the sound of a band aware of its own prowess, tactically constructing a narrative arc and, in doing so, proving that taking bronze in an extraordinarily strong field is no bad thing.”

Vampire Weekend – Contra, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Reverb’d to heaven/hell (depending on preference), the music Youth Lagoon put out on his debut is unquestionably of a fashion, but trades on an astute knowledge of song construction instead of letting the effects do the talking: drums shuffle forward with determination, brisk snares shaking the morning dew; the yearning wails never feel forced; the additional ivory-tickling and xylophone-tinkling compliment the hopeful nature of the songs.”

Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Drawling about his couch could be misconstrued by some as stoner flippancy, were it not for Kurt’s innately relatable personality. Much like Odelay and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot before it, this is a sumptuous late afternoon record, wise beyond its years; restrained but powerful, gently carrying on its shoulders the weight of everything and nothing at once.”

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo, published 15/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Here we find everything that makes the Cali loon so captivating bundled into one – the white-knuckle intensity, the demented left-turns into curdled psychedelia, the penchant for classic songwriting, the penchant for reworking actual historical examples of classic songwriting, the Elephantine riffs (that’s in both the traditional and White Stripesian sense). Really the only one of his multiple personalities not given airtime is the softer side, but when hurtling through 10 tracks in 29 minutes – plus the Muk-core drudgery of “Fuzz War” – why make concessions?”

Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse, published 16/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Taken as a 40m package it rarely deviates from the formula — 1: Make A Near-Flawless Record, 2: Chill. — but there are some real capital-M Moments nestled away too: “It’s Real” bearing down and kicking into fifth gear, the bent notes on “Kinder Blumen”, “All The Same”‘s closing coda (a track I’d gladly let stretch out for hours), the rotund bass plodding along next to the shimmering riff on “Municipality” before the playful piano slopes in and out of view. It is a serious accomplishment…every bit as good as On Fire or Murmur; a classic, whichever way you spin it.”

Real Estate – Days, published 17/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Simultaneously intimate but vast, the molasses-thick, druggy techno proves quietly devastating too: when the weight of folded-over loops resting atop of “Numb” becomes too heavy and tectonic shifts begin, the hairs on the back of my neck still prickle; the operatic warbling finding its way through a dense fog on “Lost and Found” is even more haunting than when The Caretaker pulls similar tricks from century-old vinyls, as it plays out seemingly in real time.”

Andy Stott – Luxury Problems, published 17/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Given that even the weariest of bearded men who exit the tab over at the slightest mention of “soaring” or “crescendo” are losing their shit, it seems I’m not the only one overcome with pie-eyed wonderment, affirming that this is truly something special. Even the vocals are buried deep enough that only the occasional howl or growl rises, sinking the sticking point that puts most off quote unquote black metal.”

Deafheaven – Sunbather, published 18/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Is it apparent how, one year removed, the stature of this album continues to grow exponentially? Does it not scare you how easy they make it look? Ever considered that they might have a better one in them yet? Or two? Or three? Do you realise how fucking great Lonerism is? Do you realise how fucking great this band is?”

Tame Impala – Lonerism, published 18/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“Despite buzzing with fleet-footed hyperactivity and coiled tightly with broken, warped samples – the usual signifiers that give people credence to slap a ‘challenging’ tag on something and leave it – it’s a record people continue to hold dear to their chests, one that refuses to give up all the goods even after countless listens. Completely unspooling the intricate tapestry is a futile exercise. It’s considerably easier to wrap the album around your head space and sink into the deeply immersive smorgasbord of soul food.”

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma, published 18/10/13 on Beats Per Minute

“That he comfortably nestles shoulder-to-shoulder with the best to ever do it is not down to personality alone; in a similar vein to the globestraddlers of decades gone by, Kanye is acutely aware that unbridled ambition, when properly harnessed, can procure the best results. Zeppelin IV, Bitches Brew, Disintegration, Rumours, Siamese Dream, Sign ☮ The Times, and countless others would not be in the pantheon were it not for bloat, pomp and excess. Dark Fantasy stands amongst them. It is, bluntly, one of the finest works of pop of all time.”

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, published 18/10/13 on Beats Per Minute >> the full essay always available to read here.

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2 comments on “Blurbs: Top Albums of 2008-13

  1. Pingback: Essay / Think Piece: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy | Gabriel Szatan

  2. Pingback: Blurbs: Beats Per Minute’s Best of 2008-13 | Gabriel Szatan

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