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
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
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
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
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:
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
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'
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
This record got me really excited this year. After the TED talk by Ostinato Records founder
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.
'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.
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
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'
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.
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
In no perticular order:
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.