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Music Round-up January 2009

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Music Round-up January 2009

Monthly round-ups will now be slightly shorter than usual, as I've been so busy recently

Guy J - Esperanza (+ Remixes)

Released in September 2009, this is the first of six albums I decided to buy in reaction to various end-of-year 'best of' lists. Esperanza is the debut release from Israeli DJ and producer Guy Judah and it throbs, very pleasingly. A double album comprising twelve shorter tracks (that make up the core of the album) and eight longer tracks (the longer tracks forming a type of 'bonus' CD with some remixes off the main set alongside some new tunes). Well worth investigating if you're unfamiliar.

Disc 1 - 9/10 | 11 listens
Disc 2 - 7/10 | 6 listens

Lykke Li - Youth Novels

Another one from the 'best of' lists. Lykke Li is Lykke Zachrisson, a Swedish singer with a penchant for breathy whispered vocals and sugary melodies. I like it.

6/10 | 6 listens

Loco Dice - 7 Dunham Place

Another from the best-of lists. A decent album of laidback grooves, quite striking in their lack of surprise or punch (except perhaps the Pimp Jackson track which stands out for all the wrong reasons). Most tracks are quite formulaic in the use of a repetitive sample or beat, like the Nina Simone vocal on Breakfast at Nina's or the manipulated piano sound on Black Truffles In The Snow, which is just the way I like it. It's all tastefully done too. Ideal home listening.

7/10 | 9 listens

The Mole - As High As The Sky

From the 'best of' lists. It took a few listens to fully appreciate this album, always a good sign. As a whole it's got this just-contained urgency, threatening to explode at any moment, which might make it sound a bit flirty or a tease but it works. Fuller review to come.

8/10 | 11 listens

The Orb - Resident Advisor podcast

This The Orb podcast has to be one of the best chill-out podcasts from RA since Murmur's. A heady, beatless mix with flashes of recognisable melody interspersed with textural elements. Perfect late night music.

10/10 | 5 listens

Luomo - Convivial

Another one from the best-of lists. Luomo was a new artist to me, so I actually picked up his first album, Vocalcity as well as Convivial. It turns out the two albums are strikingly different in terms of style. Convivial is completely song-based while the debut is fully instrumental.

7/10 | 7 listens

Shed - Shedding the Past

From a best-of list somewhere. Only in the context of the album title do we appreciate the name Shed, which I thought was a misleading name at first. And to be honest the music proves to be no easier to understand. It's complex, off-kilter beats prevalent throughout coupled with minimal melody make it a challenging listen.

6/10 | 5 listens

Circlesquare - Flavour mix (2+3)

There seems to be two version of this mix kicking around; they're very similar overall in terms of tracks but are different lengths. Either way, these mixes are great. A recurring This Mortal Coil track ties together some top tunes, including one of my all-time favourites Let Me Be Me by The Other People's Place. Circlesquare's own Dancers fits in nicely.

9/10 | 20 listens

Jim Byrne - On These Dark Nights

Debut solo album from Glaswegian singer / songwriter Jim Byrne is a ray of sunshine to warm your cockles on these dark nights. Reminiscent in places of Kurt Wagner (Lambchop), Elliott Smith and Will Oldham. Fuller review to come.

9/10 | 13 listens

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