READER BEST OF 2011: JConda
by Winston "Stone" Ford
SBTRKT – SBTRKT
It’s very difficult to find “electronic” music that is honest, emotional and not overly formulaic. That’s why I love the official debut release from SBTRKT. True, there are the familiar ‘post dub-step’ (you guys and your labels…) trappings of skittering beats and heavy bass drops, but all that plays second fiddle to cleverly written songs and strong vocal performances. And, of course, anything involving Yukimi Nagano is guaranteed “FIRE”, as the kids say these days…
Lianne La Havas – Lost & Found EP
If I could ever fall in love with someone solely based on their voice, it would be Lianne La Havas. Hearing her forces me to close my eyes and drink in each nuance. Her songwriting is honest and clever without trying too hard. You get the feeling that the way she sings is the way she speaks in daily life. Everything about her is beautiful.
Saturn Never Sleeps – Yesterday’s Machine
I’ve wanted to like King Britt’s music for a number of years. Really. I dig his thought process and have listened to all of his projects and DJ mixes. Although he seems to be a well connected and really cool dude, from a musical standpoint, I couldn’t get down. That is until he joined forces with vocalist/graphic artist Rucyl and released Yesterday’s Machine. Britt’s production is full of subtle detail – he seem to be a true king of soulful electronica and Rucyl’s vocal delivery is hypnotic. This is one of those “yo, who’s that??” albums to break out during dinner parties.
J*Davey – New Designer Drug
J*Davey doing what only they can do and what they do best. Electro/punk/soul/electronica, haha…yeah, that’s it. Jack pulls the listener right in with the first track, “Listen”, a crazy realistic emotional plea from a strong woman who’s walking the fine line between strength and vulnerability. From then on you’re on the ride that ends too soon when the album closes.
The Roots – Undun
The reviews of The Roots “Undun” album kill me. We expect so much from these guys while we let everyone else get away with audio murder. Forget what you heard, this album is beautiful. It’s so far beyond hip-hop. I commend The Roots for continuing to explore the musical potential of the art-form. This is music that can’t be made by a teenager in his bedroom with FLStudio (not that there’s anything wrong with that…I like fruityloops). But this sound is mature, both in musical context and content. Maybe one day everyone’ll catch up to what these guys have known all along. Then they’ll label it “post hip-hop”