This post is more for my own benefit than anything else. I just think it would be fun to read this next year and see what is different.
In no particular order:
Aladdin Sane - David Bowie
Bowie’s effort from 1973 (the same year as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) is an absolute joy to listen to. The music is so innocent and carefree that it makes me wish I was 16 again, going to a drive-in movie.
Ambient 1: Music for Airports - Brian Eno
Another album from the 70’s, this piece of music shines in that it is interesting and forgettable all at the same time. It plays just as well through headphones as it does as background music for a room. And at only four tracks long, it is easily to keep track of which piece is playing.
Urban Mythology Vol. 1 - Free Form Funky Freqs
I literally cannot stop listening to this CD. This is Vernon Reid’s (of Living Color fame) latest effort, and it is essentially a jazz-rock fusion jam session. Very little of the music seems rehearsed, rather the album has the feel of three musicians who play together all the time taking some time out to record some of their jams. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give the album is that if would be an interesting listen even if it were just the bass and drums. Reid’s backing band is that good. The guitar sometimes seems like just the icing on the cake.
Invisible Touch - Genesis
I bought this CD at the same time as Aladdin Sane, and it has received equal if not greater rotation in my iTunes. This is just straight-up, feel good 80’s pop art-rock. At just eight songs, this album is short and sweet.
En=Trance - Klaus Schulze
This was my first taste of Schulze’s music, and it remains my favorite work of his so far. This CD is just four tracks long as well but, at eighteen minutes a track, listening to it is possibly the most blissful way to spend an hour. Complex synth arrangements and impossibly intricate rhythms intertwine to give the listener a beautiful taste of 80’s electronica.
Ocean Machine/Biomech - Devin Townsend
I first heard Devin on Steve Vai’s Sex and Religion record, and that led me to purchase his 1998 album Infinity. While Infinity is indeed brilliant, Biomech surpasses it in nearly every way, taking Townsend’s brand of metal to new heights. (It should be noted, however, that Ocean Machine/Biomech did come first). The album is produced using the wall-of-sound technique, which will sound harsh to most virgin listeners. Once you get used to it, though, it becomes an inseparable part of the aural experience of the CD. Biomech starts out slowly but solidly, and by the end of the track six, “Voices in the Fan,” the listener is primed for the superb, seamless second half of the CD. Indeed, I could say that the 13 tracks on the CD are only eight - the first seven including Voices and then everything after that.
Oxygéne - Jean-Michel Jarre
Another short album (only six tracks), but a beautifully innocent piece of music symbolic of the early exploration of analog synthesizers. The simplicity and playfulness of the music keep luring me back for more.
Perpetual Burn - Jason Becker
Jason Becker is somewhat of a hero of mine, and the guitar work on this, his solo debut shredfest, is absolutely mindblowing. He was 19 at the time of its release, and should he not have fallen ill to ALS at 21, might have become the greatest guitar god of the 90’s. Again, another short CD, with the eight tracks totaling to 55 minutes of metal.
Ultra Payloaded - Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party
The former frontman of Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros returned in 2007 with this CD, after coming to the conclusion that, despite his fame, if he didn’t continue to make music, no one would care about him. That being said, this album is absolutely rock solid, guys-night-out, party rock. Featuring Peter Hook from New Order as well as ‘Peppers bassist Flea on select tracks, the album is a non-stop showcase of what Perry Farrell is capable of doing when he decides that he wants to make music. Talented musicians flock to him, and he can use them craftily to produce a stunning piece of concept-rock. The guitar work of Nuno Bettencourt (formerly of the band Extreme), was something I had not heard before but greatly enjoyed.
Albums to Listen to More this Year:
Fortissimo - Virgin Black
1.Outside - David Bowie
Audentity - Klaus Schulze
Mirage - Klaus Schulze
Mistaken Identity - Vernon Reid
Zen Arcade - Hüsker Dü
Wired - Jeff Beck
Real Illusions: Reflections - Steve Vai
Mothership Connection - Parliament