Operation Manatee: Chris’ Top 5 Albums of 2012

1. Victor Wooten – Sword And Stone / Words And Tones
2. Christine Leakey – Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Full Of Treasure
3. Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
4. Deerhoof – Breakup Song
5. ΞLə☪ŧrɹ¡ᑦ ∑gビᑭ⏄ – Exotica

Victor Wooten - Sword And Stone / Words And Tones
Victor Wooten – Sword And Stone / Words And Tones

When I heard Victor Wooten had a new album, I didn’t hesitate in purchasing. There were actually two new albums – Sword And Stone and Words And Tones, each complimenting each other. Sword And Stone is instrumental and features some terrifying musicianship from Wooten and co. Words And Tones is equally impressive, containing different arrangements of the same tunes and featuring a range of all-female lead vocalists. Wooten never ceases to impress me with exciting new ideas and even though I bought these two discs as separate albums, I’m counting it as one, because you really can’t have one without the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Leakey - Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Full Of Treasure
Christine Leakey – Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Full Of Treasure

This album was a fortunate stumble for me. I was madly clicking around on BandCamp.com, tags like “dreamy”, “imaginative”, and other vague terms when I noticed the title of this album in search results. I quickly discovered she’s Canadian (always bonus points in my books for finding new CanCon) and after a quick listen I was brought into this wonderful dream-like strange, yet fully comfortable world. What a sweet find!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
Scott Walker – Bish Bosch

Dark, insane, vulgar, gentle, beautiful, symphonic, electronic, experimental, rambling, shouting: Scott Walker’s new album is at least all of these. This complicated project, filled with strong prose, odd rhythms, songs without time signatures, powerhouse vocals, long tracks (one is over 21 minutes) and a full symphony on some tracks, is one of the coolest experiments in popular music I have heard. There are times when you know you’re listening to a rock song, but there are times when you don’t know if what you’re listening to even qualifies as music – and maybe he doesn’t know either. This album is hardly for the casual music listener, but irresistible for collectors of avant-garde or progressive styles. By the way, if you liked the Walker Brothers in the ’60s, this does not guarantee you will like Scott’s latest work. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.

 

 

 

 

 

Deerhoof - Breakup Song
Deerhoof – Breakup Song

Within the first 15 loud, distorted seconds of the first track, I knew I needed this album. I’d liked the little bit of previous Deerhoof work that I’d heard in the past and just decided to get this on a whim. What a great idea! This album is huge fun. It’s synth/guitar/drums pop music that’s weird enough to be interesting and normal enough not to be mistaken for Scott Walker’s new album. The music is really good. Most of the time you can’t understand the lyrics and I think that’s a result of the singer’s accent (she’s from Tokyo) and how the vocals are mixed into the music, but you never really mind. It’s presented so smoothly and it’s just so damned good, that you can’t help but be drawn into it. This album is a great addition to their large discography. You should probably buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

ΞLə☪ŧrɹ¡ᑦ ∑gビᑭ⏄ - Exotica
ΞLə☪ŧrɹ¡ᑦ ∑gビᑭ⏄ – Exotica

At times reminiscent of great trip hop groups like Morcheeba and Tricky and at other times giving you an idea of what it would be like if computers lived in an alien jungle and played with birds made of recycled hard drives, Exotica is not the type of recording most people are putting forth in the world today. Borderlining on pretentious, using recurring transcendental themes and styling the artist name as “ΞLə☪ŧrɹ¡ᑦ ∑gビᑭ⏄” (Electric Egypt), you sometimes forget that you’re listening to a really good album. If you can get past the weirdness (or better, embrace it as totally honest), you can really enjoy this obscure but very cool music!

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