READER BEST OF 2011: @stellaskid from Different Kitchen

  Name: Ian
Location: Toronto, Canada
Website: Different Kitchen
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Jose James – Coltrane (Dear Alice)

COLTRANE (DEAR ALICE) by josejamesworldwide

This quiet but flawlessly produced jazz track is the closest evidence for the existence of God I found within music all year. I don’t even feel worthy of being allowed to listen to it most of the time when I play it. Absolutely stunning….

Clear Soul Forces – The Departure EP

Maybe I’m out of touch but I feel like hip-hop ‘tastemakers’ haven’t been championing this new Detroit group the same way they have other new school hip hop acts, even fellow artists from their hometown. That that is the case is absolutely astounding to me. Stop sleeping and bear witness to the greatness.

Mount Kimbie – Before I Moved Off (Abbey Road Debuts recording)

Mount Kimbie – Before I Moved Off (Abbey Road Debuts recording) by Anorak London

One eerily simple idea repeated to devastating effect. I feel like this is the “Tried By 12” of electronic music. I never tire of listening to this. Fantastic!

aFRaKaRen – 11:11 EP

As I’ve said many time before, Saul Williams and bits of Jill Scott and Ursula Rucker’s oeuvre aside, the spoken word art-form has never really been my bag.

That being said, I really, really dig this EP by local Toronto spoken word performer (and full disclosure: friend), aFRaKaRen. The fact that it was not originally conceived as a musical whole (the beats were added to Ren’s acapella recordings after the fact by underrated and, by his own description, ‘Unknown’ T.Dot producer, Gigz) makes it even more impressive how well it turned out. Organic and soulful sounding with beats that still knock, this is a compelling listen even for those of you who, like me, fancy yourselves spoken word naysayers.

88 Days Of Fortune MIXTAPE

I have long been a fan of various artists (Spek Won, Wolf J, KJ and Brendan Philip etc.) in the Toronto-based, urban progressive oriented, 88 Days camp without realizing they were actually all a part of this collective until very recently. I’ve been championing their various releases over the past couple years since I discovered them upon my return to the T.Dot. This crew mixtape released over the Summer serves as a great introduction to the depth of production and songwriting talent this group of young artists possesses. Worth your time. Expecting big things from all these guys in the future…