2017, in retrospect

2017 is almost over and what a blast it was. I'm going to give all of the readers and fine people that come here every now and then, a long status update containing the following: discreet anonymized data about my lovely little online record store https://www.discogs.com/seller/LorikeetRecords, ofcourse a top 10 of the records that came out this year, new years wishes, thank you notes and the plans for comming year.

Gigs / Radio

First off: this year was my Red Light Radio debut. It was a great one hour with the good as always, great DJ and buddy: Eindbaas. You can check it out on my Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/lorikeet/ (they misspelled my name as Lori Keet but hey, that's how the cookie crumbles). Of course I've fond memories of the Arribada night, Tropicalismo and Woodstock69 and hopefully we'll see a return next year?

Mixtapes

This year was also the year of expanding on the 7 existing mixtapes. I created 5 in total, ranging from New-age music to Bollywood funk, Telugu synths, to Turkish psych to even Halloween music. One of which is an actual physical mixtape called 'Soundcraft'. It's a very, very limited edition of just 1 cassette. Wait till Discogs picks up on that item when I'm famous. All of them are to be found on my Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/lorikeet/.

Discogs

I burned through a shit load of tape, bubble wrap and vinyl boxes, because my little mini baby online record store this year had a whopping 98 orders. This is nothing compared to a regular record store but still worth mentioning. I also submitted 109 https://www.discogs.com/contributions?user=LorikeetRecords new releases to the Discogs database and will probably continue to be adding releases in the next year

Top 10 of 2017

Now without further ado I'd like to present the best records that crossed my nose, eyes and ears in 2017. This means either released in 2017, found in 2017 or re-released in 2017. This list is really, really hard (that's why there are so many honorable mentions). There has been so much amazing music that crossed my ears this year that it's really hard to make a good list, but here goes nothing:

  1. Don Cherry - Brown Rice (1976, EMI)

    I actually discovered the title-track of this record due to a mixtape that was released by the one and only Elijah Wood (yes, the one from Lord Of The Rings) and Zach Cowie https://www.mixcloud.com/TheVinylFactory/vf-mix-08-elijah-wood-zach-cowie-aka-wooden-wisdom/. I knew Don Cherry from name, but never took the chance to listen to his music. Then, along came 'Brown Rice', a track which I find to be the greatest combination of psychedelic music, spoken word and jazz one can find. What a piece of art. You'll also hear more and more detail, the more you listen to it.

    • jazz
    • psychedelic
  2. Lino Capra Vaccina - Antico Adagio (2017, Reissue, Die Schachtel Records)

    This is a record of which I had a single mp3 track floating around of on my hard disk. The track being 'Voce in XY' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d32LfEZaIs which I got from a compilation of music from the blog "Microphone In The Trees" http://calmintrees.blogspot.nl/. It sounded relatively modern to my ears, the minimal composition, the melody which could be put straight into any TV-show / movie, the amount of detail and little panning effects. The thing is that it was made in 1978 but sounds like it is from today. Originals are selling for huge numbers on Discogs so I'm glad Die Schachtel re-released this so I can enjoy it for a relatively normal price.

    • new-age
    • xylophone
    • ambient
  3. Nahid Akhtar - I Am Black Beauty (2017, Compilation, Reissue, Finders Keepers Records)

    My personal heroes - Finders Keepers - doing what they do well, which is compiling amazing music. "I Am Black Beauty" is a compilation of Pakistani singer Nahid Akhtar. It features tracks from composers such as M. Ashraf, Nazir Ali, Tafo Brothers which are a few of the households names if you're looking for any odd, psychedelic Pakistani music. The opening track for this record "Badami Nainon Wale" has such a badass fuzz guitar and that siren sound that whirls around throughout the song makes it almost sample-worthy for hip-hop artists https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4EIC1fyLcs. Other favorites are tracks like "Karye Par" and "Sheeshe Ki Botal" which was already featured on the "Life Is Dance" compilation from the same label, but it was a nice addition to this compilation.

    • lollywood
    • psychedelic
    • fuzz
  4. Various Artists - Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes From The Horn Of Africa (2017, Compilation, Reissue, Ostinato Records)

    This record got me really excited this year. After the TED talk by Ostinato Records founder Vik Sohonie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EaZXFEaeI4 and the amazing mixtape on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/ostinatorecords/somali-sounds-from-mogadishu-to-djibouti-selected-by-nicolas-sheikholeslami-vik-sohonie> that accompanied the hype surrounding this release, I went straight to the record store once it hit the shelves. I find it amazing to hear that there's such great music to be found in a country of which relatively, at least music wise, not much is known about. I used two tracks from this compilation (Dur-Dur Band with Gorof (Elixir) and 4 Mars with Na Daadihi (Guide Us)) on the Red Light Radio show https://www.mixcloud.com/RedLightRadio/eindbaas-lori-keet-red-light-radio-11-09-2017/ I did with Eindbaas.

    • somali
    • funk
    • reggae
    • soul
    • jazz
  5. Fleet Foxes - Crack Up (2017, Nonsuch Records)

    This record was gifted to me on my birthday. As a bit of a Fleet Foxes fan I honestly think that Fleet Foxes has taken a step further in their music with this newest record. Again Robert Pecknold manages to deliver those really amazing, typical vocals and this definitely feels like a step forward, musically, compared to their previous record Helplessness Blues. I also feel that they really think intensely about what they're making and why they're making it (which is probably why it takes so long for them to make a record). All in all, go listen to it if you haven't already.

    • folk
  6. Colin Stetson - All This I Do For Glory (2017, 52Hz)

    'All This I Do For Glory' is the 8th Colin Stetson album and he is pushing the boundaries of saxophone/horn playing again. When seeing him play live, together with Sarah Neufield, in 2015 for the first time I was initially skeptical. I was skeptical in the sense of: 'How can a saxophone player keep a whole show interesting?' Turns out, he can. If you see his energy, the way his cheeks swell up during playing, how his oxygen almost runs out and the intensity which with he performs, it makes you doubt for a moment if this guy is even human. One thing I didn't doubt about was that I became a fan after that performance. With this new release, he recorded the tracks in single takes with no overdubs, much like his previous 'New History Warfare'-series. But one thing is clear: that I love this record. It features everything I liked on previous records: the hard-hitting Saxophone percussion, the 'throat-mic' screaming sound - which sounds like a dying alien creature, his breathing in the background and an amazing diversity and mastery of his instrument.

    • jazz
    • saxophone
    • experimental
  7. The Caretaker - Everywhere At The End Of Time - Stage 2 (2017, History Always Favours The Winners)

    This year brought forth 2 of the 6 part series 'Everywhere At The End Of Time' which brings the total to 3 for now. It's The Caretaker's final project before James Leyland Kirby will be putting an end to it's alias The Caretaker. Last year I reviewed the first stage very positively /2016/09/30/the-caretaker-everywhere-at-the-end-of-time.html and it was actually the first article on the Lorikeet blog. With this project sound-designer and artist The Caretaker uses these series to explain dementia through sound, in a 6 part series. The music of which is actually deteriorating over time. You can definitely hear that happening between Stage 2 and Stage 3. On Stage 2 the music is grasping back to compositions of Stage 1. Stage 3 is even so bold to go back to one of The Caretaker's previous releases and take samples from much appraised: 'An Empty Bliss Beyond This World'. Probably as a musical metaphor to some long lost recall to something in the past. The fact that I picked Stage 2 and not Stage 3 is the fact that Stage 2 is a little more accessible. The skips aren't that abrupt or the noise to overwhelming over the beautiful, slowed down and manipulated ballroom jazz samples.

    • sound-collage
    • ballroom jazz
    • ambient
  8. Ammar El Sheriyi - Music From The Songs Of Abdel Halim Hafez Played By Ammar El Sheriyi In His Own Style (1978, Soutelphan Records)

    All credits go to Tutu Atrash in this matter, for posting one of the most electronic, yet psychedelic renditions of the music from Abdel Halim Hafez. The track is called 'Asmar Ya Asmarani' https://soundcloud.com/tutuatrash/omar-el-shairy-asmar-el-asmaran. What I like about it, is that it's almost an ideal fusion between traditional Arabic music, but keeping it hard and heavy with layers of electronics and weird effects. Above all I managed to find this on vinyl during the Utrecht record fair from my now favorite Belgian record dealers Radio Martiko.

    • arabic
    • belly-dance
    • psychedelic
  9. Ilaiyaraaja - Stuvartupuram Police Station (1991, Echo Records)

    The maestro, the one-and-only, the man of 900 soundtracks: Ilaiyaraaja. This year I came across a lot of this guy's music while collecting South-Indian soundtracks. Of course my introduction to this man came from the Solla-Solla release by Finders Keepers back in 2015. This release can be seen as a compilation of his most crazy, out-there music. Unfortunately I think Finders Keepers have to admit that they forgot about some of the crazy tracks. On this particular release are two tracks which blew me away. The first track being: Zindabaad, sung by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam & Chitra - which features this amazing, driving electronic beat. The other track being - one of my current favorites of Ilaiyaraaja: Iddarathivala by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Chitra & S. Janaki. This track has such an amazing build-up, this great upbeat tempo, great production and all of a sudden turns into 'Focus - Hocus Pocus'-type-crazy in a break.

    This particular track actually started a lovely 'bonding' between me and Vintage Voudou records. I knew about 'Fire Star', a compilation which was made with more electronic music from Ilaiyaraaja which is compiled by the shop owner of Vintage Voudou and a few Telugu/Tamil-soundtrack mixtapes he made for Red Light Radio. A few emails later and listening to this song in his store, I somehow - a few weeks later - ended up in his working space, sifting through 100's of records by Ilaiyaraaja. Occasionally he let's me take a few home which results in some amazing finds and discoveries and the occasional funny cover-art on my Instragram profile.

    • telugu
    • synths
    • fusion
    • soundtrack
  10. Джазовый Ансамбль Игоря Бриля - Утро Земли (1980, Reissue, Мелодия)

    The USSR, the time of communism, the time where Мелодия (Melodiya) was one of the only labels where you could put your music out if you were a musician living in the area. When the USSR collapsed, this label became no longer state-owned. This now Russian non-state-owned label has put out everything actually: from classical music, to James Brown to The Beatles, to jazz, to experimental electronic music, you name it. This particular release is a fusion record called Утро Земли (which transliterates to Utro Zemli) by Джазовый Ансамбль Игоря Бриля (Igor Bril Jazz Ensemble). I discovered this release on the Youtube page of user Funked Up East https://www.youtube.com/user/mishapanfilov which is actually owned by Misha Panfilov. A guy who actually makes music himself under his alias 'Misha Panfilov Sound Combo' and plays in a jazz band called: Estrada Orchestra. This release is a bit of a weird beast, it features these really great, quite lengthy instrumental jazz-funk tracks in combination with classical-sounding piano music? The odd combination actually goes really well. I particularly like the tracks: 'Улица Без Конца' and 'Балканский Орнамент'.

    • jazz
    • funk
    • fusion
    • piano

Honorable mentions:

In no perticular order:

  • Matti Bye - This Forgotten Land (2017, Tona Serenad)
  • Revbjelde - Revbjelde (2017, Buried Treasure Records)
  • Various Artists - ANDINA: Huayno, Carnaval and Cumbia - The Sound of the Peruvian Andes 1968-1978 (2017, Compilation, Reissue, Tigers Milk Records)
  • Various Artists - Habibi Funk (An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World) (2017, Compilation, Reissue, Habibi Funk)
  • Sandwidi Pierre - Le Troubadour De La Savane (2017, Reissue, Soft Estate Records)
  • Duo Tsafri - Spices (תבלינים) (2015, Reissue, Koliphone Records)
  • Ilaiyaraaja - Chinna Vedu (1985, Echo Records)
  • Elektro-Dschungel - Kebab- Und Andere Träume (2017, Reissue, Edition Dschungel)
  • Rajkoti - Quidi No. 786 (1988, Leo Audio - Video Records)
  • Государственный Эстрадный Оркестр Армении - Государственный Эстрадный Оркестр Армении (1978, Мелодия)
  • Monster Rally - Flowering Jungle (2017, Gold Robot Recordings)
  • Abdou El Omari - Nuits de Printemps (2017, Radio Martiko Records)
  • Aquaserge - Laisse Ça Être (2017, Crammed Discs)
  • Cosmic Analog Ensemble - Les Sourdes Oreilles (2017, My Bags)
  • Modo - Devītais Vilnis (1978, Мелодия)
  • Gökçen Kaynatan - Gökçen Kaynatan (2017, Finders Keepers Records)
  • Maya Dread - Kaya Dub (2017, Jah Life Records)

Next up!

Next year is hopefully going to be even greater. I can already give away that I'll be playing Operator Radio in Rotterdam for 2 hours on the 20th of January between 12:00 and 14:00 with non other than mister Eindbaas himself! So go check that out. I'll also be the support act for The Mauskovic Dance Band in a small but nice local place. I'm also planning on making a mixtape with just Eastern European music or one with just South-American cumbia's? Maybe both? Who knows!

Releases in 2018!

There are also releases which I'm already looking forward to. Of course I'm looking forward to the next 2 stages of The Caretaker's Eveywhere At The End Of Time. I'm also looking forward to Ovular's new 10" release: Braz Gonsalves, Pam Crain - Devapriya - a collection of jazz singles released in the 70s in India. Radio Martiko is doing a re-release of Hany Mehanna's, The Miracle Of The Seven Dances, which I already pre-orderded as the exciting little kid I am. And hopefully 2018 will bring even more amazing music to the table.

Thanks to …

... DJ-wise: Eindbaas, Radikal Rupert, The Tropicalismo DJ Team, all the people I was involved with arranging gigs and what not.

... musically: Vintage Voudou in special, Discogs user grigory, all the record labels mentioned in the top 10 lists. And as always: all the crazy blogs which still, till this day, provide me with a lot of knowledge and insight into music which I never thought I would've heared.

Published on: Dec 26, 2017 by Gerard - list of changes