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Quimper Sound's Top 10 Staff picks for 2003

Michael T.

Mike O.

Steve’s Top 10 Albums of 2003

1) Tommy Guerrero: Soul Food Taqueria - This album doesn’t warrant the top stop by virtue of anything other than its sheer listenability. Have you ever stared at your CD collection and just been paralyzed by indecision? If you have this album you will always have a fallback – it’s always what the doctor ordered (at least until you can decided which Coltrane/Cheap Trick/Run DMC record you want to put on). Seriously, this is the best “second choice” record I’ve ever heard.

2) Matthew Shipp: Equilibrium - I can’t seem to get enough of Thirsty Ear’s ‘Blue Series’. Last year two titles made my top 10 and I’m gonna be doing the same this year. Matthew Shipp might be getting a little overexposed lately – but I’m not complaining. This album has the requisite dosage of ecstatic-jazz meets illbient soundscapes with the added bonus of some truly funky bass playing by William Parker (believe it).

3) Dufus: 1:3:1 - As Carla Bley once commented famously (re the Shaggs) “They bring my mind to a complete halt”. This record is not like the others. Pigeon-holed as part of the “anti-folk” movement, Dufus are perhaps the most joyous “outsider” music to be heard in these jaded times. More Girl Cops!

4) Lifesavas: Spirit In Stone - From Portland! Oregon! Just the kind of conscious, groovy, relevant, left-coast hip-hop that I love. I would expect no less from the Quaanum crew.

5) Portastatic: Summer Of The Shark/Autumn Was A Lark - For my money, the best combination of songwriting and sophisticated hooks to be had this year.

6) David S. Ware: Threads - My second “Blue Series” pick. This album marks David S. Ware’s breakthrough as a top tier avant-garde composer. Sometimes firebreathing, sometimes contemplative, always intense. So good I don’t even mind Matthew Shipps use of a string synthesizer.

7) Miles Davis: The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions - Long overlooked and perpetually underrated, Miles’ ‘Tribute To Jack Johnson’ has been an underdog waiting for it’s big break for too long. It’s finally given its due in this beautifully packaged and finely annotated 5-disc set. Definitely worth the price if you’re a fan of late 60’s/early 70’s electric-era Miles.

8) Marc Ribot: Scelsi Morning – Like David S. Ware’s entry above, this album would seem to be Ribot’s notice that he’s ready to be taken seriously as a composer. While the mood isn’t consistent and sometimes the virtuosic playing overshadows the compositions, this is an impressive record that rewards those with the patience to give it its due.

9) Rhys Chatham: An Angel Moves To Fast To See – Long overdue retrospective of this hugely influential (and largely unknown) composer. The music is difficult to describe but one might start with “Classical minimalism meets Punk Rock” (read the bottom of the box). Once was Glenn Gould’s piano tuner.

10) Martin/Weston/DJ Logic: For No One In Particular - A beautiful mess of a live record. Three excellent improvisers struggling to communicate with each other and the audience, this performance succeeds where so many other “free” jams fail because of the supreme musicianship of its participants.

Michael T’s Favorite Music of 2003

La Revencha del Tango – Gotan Project, from France, creates a seamless blend of authentic tango sounds and subtle turntable beats.

Unclassified – Robert Randolph & the Family Band are a rockin’ rhythm & blues outfit with wailing pedal steel guitar. They evolved out of the "sacred steel" tradition of Florida Pentecostal churches and their spirited soul music has the vibe of a revival meeting.

Rezos – Bobi Cespedes combines Afro-Cuban roots (she is a Santeria priestess) with the street beats of her native Oakland for a style best described as "funkloric". The songs are warm and inviting.

News – Prince’s new all-instrumental record is small ensemble funk with sax and keys. Think Booker T & the MGs for a new millennium.

Hour of Two Lights – Terry Hall & Mushtaq. Two pioneers of multicultural British pop have collaborated on the world music album of the year. With contributions from Syrian, Turkish, Egyptian, Hebrew, Lebanese, Algerian and Eastern European Gypsy musicians, the mix is sometimes menacing, sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.

Center: Level:Roar - The Youngblood Brass Band is the funkiest street parade horns you’ve ever heard, with razor-sharp charts and a hip-hop sensibility.

Heaven – Ron Miles on trumpet (with Bill Frisell on guitar) delivers a mellow set of tunes, ranging from jazz standards to songs by Bob Dylan and Hank Williams.

Masada Guitars – John Zorn wrote these lovely and evocative pieces for solo guitar. They are masterfully realized by the likes of Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Tim Sparks.

Africa / Music from the Nonesuch Explorer Series. The producers of this compilation have chosen the most striking and haunting cuts from their thirteen African albums. This is gnarly, honest folk music with no concession to pop trends.

Down in the Basement – Joe Bussard’s Treasure Trove of Vintage 78’s. String bands, blues, jazz, country, cajun and gospel music from Joe’s vast collection. Old timey jams have never sounded so fresh.

Chris’ Top Ten List 2003

1)Iron & Wine: Creek Drank The Cradle - More infectious than the common cold. Great songwriting, beautifully realized with banjo, acoustic guitar and hushed 2am vocals.

2)Eels: Shootenany – A ballad about a restraining order + a pop song about Saturday morning = a killer album.

3)Gillian Welch: Soul Journey – Spooky album book-ended by two of her freshest songs. So simple and understated it hurts.

4)Dirty Three: She Has No Strings Apollo – Guitar, violin & drum trio adds piano and bass… The perfect soundtrack to a lonely rainy afternoon.

5)M. Ward: Transfiguration Of Vincent - Blend of instrumental and vocal tracks. Killer David Bowie cover. Portland indie-folk at its finest.

6)Cat Power: You Are Free – Queen of freak-out writes and records her best batch of songs yet!

7)Six Parts Seven: Lost Notes From Forgotten Songs – Spacey disc features contributions from Iron & Wine, Carissa’s Weird, Black Heart Procession, Pedro the Lion, and Modest Mouse. Excellent!

8)Bonnie Prince Billy: Master & Everyone – Intimate Chamber-folk from the mind of Will Oldham.

9)Kid Koala: Some of my best friends are DJ’s – Two turntables and a wacky record collection equal one damn fine cd.

10)Stardust Superkill: Strange Stories of the Mad and Macabre – The soul of Circle of Fear sends out a ghost to haunt us all!!!

Top Ten Favorites of 2003
Immanuel Green a.k.a. D.j. Style “E”

Richard Dorfmeister – presents A Different Drummer Selection (Different Drummer) Richard Dorfmeister gets to together with long time British dub label D.D., to compile and continuously mix a great (best off) timeline of deep, funky dub cuts from the past decade that were released on the note worthy label.

Dj Icey- Different Day (Zone/ System Recordings) …for those of you who wonder why I put away my voice and guitar to play, or shall I say mix records. Well, this man is the reason. After hearing is hit “Big Ditch” (from Generate ’96 OOP) the very next day I bought my first dj set-up, of course all of this irrelevant to this album. Icey easily maintains his reign as “The King of Funky Breaks” by being more vocal, darker and electro funkier than ever.

Radiohead- Hail to the Thief (Capitol)…with every new Radiohead album they take us to explore many different realms and territories making it hard to place them in a specific genre, though we all know they are based from “rock”. This time around with “Thief” they are more electronic and emotionally space-aged sounding than ever. I was pretty skeptical about this one at first, but it grew on me with every listen.

Atmosphere - Seven’s Travels (Rhyme Sayers/ Epitaph) …Minnesota’s own “Slug” and “Ant” have basically been in control of the Underground Hip-Hop scene for the past two years. Originally these songs were recorded along with their first two LP’s the “Lucy Ep” and “God Loves Ugly”. After selling partial rights of “Rhyme Sayers” to Epitaph they got a debut on a major label.

Bent – Everlasting Blink (Guidance Recordings)… Guidance recordings have been rockin’ the clubs for years with deep groovy house music. What threw me off was a trip-hop duo on a house label. Simon Mills and Nail Tolliday (Bent) put together one of the most impressive pieces of the year. With “Everlasting Blink” we get cross between Mum and Yo La Tengo.

Marques Wyatt – United Dj’s of America Vol. 20, Deep where House lives... (DMC) The 17 year veteran Marques Wyatt is basically the reverend of the decks. He is known for his deep, jazzy soulful house, with layers of tribal drums, afrobeats and a really soothing gospel-tinged feel. This compilation was recorded live from one his bi-weekly, Sunday night residencies at “Deep” in L.A.

People Under the Stairs – …Or Stay Tuned (Om Records)… San Francisco’s Double K and Thes One (P.U.T.S.) put out not only their fourth release, but probably the best “hip-hop” I’ve heard since J5’s “Quality Control” in ’98. Double K not only displays his Rappin’ skills, but as the Dj (as well) he produces some amazing jazzy, bluesy beats and rhythms without any computers, samplers, etc.

Jay-J & Miguel Migs – In the House pt. 1 (Defected)… Jay Hernandez (Jay-J) teams up with the ambassador of deep house music, Miguel Migs to bring us a double album compiled of essential house cuts. If you are looking for some deep, groovy, vocal house this is album is the place to start.

Tosca – Dehli9 (K7! / G-Stone)… Entering my top 10 a second time, Richard Dorfmeister teams of with classical pianist Rupert Huber for a beautiful (2cd/4 lp) piece of work. The first disc is definitely the Kruder & Dorfmeister sound of feel-good, chill out, down-tempo. The 2nd disc is based from Huber’s “12 easy to play piano pieces” that is perfect for background music.

Rithma – Music Fiction (Om Records) …If I had to pick out a single album this year, this would be it, simply because it satisfies all my different cravings of music at once. Rithma has been putting out singles for a number of years and he is known for his use of deep, driving, jazzy house beats, multi-layers of keys, and brain teasing melodies. With this debut Lp we get it all… jazz, blues, funk, trip-hop and house. Be sure not to miss this one.

Mike O’s Top Ten List 2003

1) Total Shutdown: The Album

2) Impaled: Mondo Medicale

3) Television: Marquee Moon / Adventure

4) Nile: In Their Darkened Shrines

5) Ludicra: Hollow Psalms

6) Lords Of Light: Lords Of Light

7) The Who: Who’s Next (Deluxe Edition)

8) The Locust: Plague Soundscapes

9) Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Altered States Of America

10) Iron Lung / Lana Dagales: Split CD

Corey’s Desperately Assembled Top 10 List for 2003

Ralph Carney – This Is! Overdubbing himself on saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, percussion, and more, Ralph Carney references traditional swing and folk music as well as avant-garde and sheer whack to produce a rich and humorous one man carnival ride.

Dave Douglas – Freak In Trumpeter Dave Douglas interjects fragments of techno, electronica, blues and Eastern tantric rhythms into the mix for an energetic trip into the cool.

Dufus – 1:3:1 Dufus’ punk orchestra displays a clear-eyed cohesion under the skin of their collective insanity, providing an unexpected and effective musical depth with hooks that’ll leave you reeling. I wet myself.

Dysrhythmia – Pretest Too smart to be labeled metal, too down-to-earth and edgy for the stodgy world of prog, Dysrhythmia’s energetic instrumental assault on your senses will keep you guessing and entertained time and time again.

Bill Frisell – The Intercontinentals Famed jazz guitarist Bill Frisell teams up with a collection of intercontinental musicians to produce one of his most beautiful albums to date; a delightful musical experience seasoned to taste with Mediterranean, Malian and American flavors.

Koby Israelite – Dance of the Idiots A wide array of musical genres, -klezmer, surf, free improvisation, death metal- mixed together with a healthy dose of humor, Dance of the Idiots provides for a complex and enjoyable musical ride that grows with each listening.

King Crimson – The Power To Believe Hard edged enough to compete with groups like Tool yet still dazzling listeners with the genius of their signature harmonic intricacy, King Crimson cranks out one of their best albums in years. The instrumental track ‘Level Five’ is worth the price of admission alone.

Jon Madof – Rashanim Startlingly dynamic, Jon Madof’s guitar trio produces a lush and complex array of classic and original Jewish jazz compositions with a degree of competent ease one does not expect to find on a debut recording. Not to be missed.

The Magic Band – Back To The Front John ‘Drumbo’ French brings alumni of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band back together for a stunning album of career wide retakes. You’ll not believe your ears.

John Zorn – Voices in the Wilderness A double disc collection of John Zorn’s Masada compositions as interpreted by some of the down-town scene’s most popular and creative artists. A wide array of sounds from rock to klezmer to jazz; there is something for everyone on this beautiful and amazing collection.


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