The Best Of 2006 - Part.2
The 150 Best Records Of 2006 - Part 2
10 ELECTRONIC ALBUMS & SINGLES FOR 2006 PART 2
01. zero dB - Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines (Ninja Tune)
02. Lost Idol - Utters From A Cluttered Mind (Cookshop)
03. Yppah - You Are Beautiful At All Times (Ninja Tune)
04. Doctor L - Forgotten Tracks From Da Hard Drive (Mind)
05. TM Juke - Forward (Tru Thoughts)
06. Thunderball - Cinescope (ESL)
07. Squarepusher - Hello Everything (Warp)
08. Herbert - Scale (!K7)
09. Kerrier District - Kerrier District 2 (Rephlex)
10. Koop - Koop Islands (!K7)
The "Electronic" selection was the hardest to build this year. There are so many new "electronic", "techno", house" or whatever, nowdays, that it's getting kinda hard to follow. One of our main sources of information was the Bleep website from Warp Records, but with nearly every "electronic" label going for some experimental pop/rock things now it's also hard to keep on getting informed. If you got some records that could fit in there which we missed don't hesitate to leave a comment! Meanwhile, we'll do with our own selection of "electronic" producers [even though everybody records with a computer today and most of the music produced can so be qualified as "electronic" - but that's for another debate...].
The smash of the year is undoubtly zero dB's album, with its heavy dancefloor action of grinning electro-rock techno-latin mashing-up. At least there's someone else than Amon Tobin trying to get things forward at Ninja Tune... Their new signing Yppah is also in our selection, it's a Joe Corrales guy from Texas mixing all kind of influences into a solid and beautiful electronic-low-fi-hip-hop-indie whole, and it's a real discovery.
We also loved Lost Idol's album, marketed as some kind of "Beck meets DJ Shadow", at the crossroads of categorizing with its electronic production and psychedelic sounds. Hard to describe, the album is at the same time cinematic and catchy, we could not classify it and could not put it out of the CD player. It's the new thing and comes from Brighton, as most UK treats this year. Take for example Alice Russell's producer TM Juke, who released his second album this year. You can call him "Catchy" cos' the guy knows how to write a song: at least two major BOMBS are hidden on his album ("Skin" & "So Good"), which should see the light as 12 inch singles with loads of remixes in 2007... Yummy!
If you like your cinematic beats to go trough the roof, big beat-stylee, infused with spices of Latin, Funk, Afro, Bollywood, Reggae & Soul sounds, check the new album from Thunderball, alias Steve Raskin with Sid Barcelona (from Fort Knox Five fame). For something more for the mind, Doctor L's new CD of electronic acid grooves, slams and vibes might be just what you're be looking for.
It's no surprise but we still love what we call here "the masters", among which come Herbert, Squarepusher or Luke Vibert (under his Kerrier District pseudo), which all released solid albums this year, keeping on being the best at what they do. The selection ends with some airy niceness from Swedish duo Koop and their sweet swinging Caribbiean melodies. Is it jazz??
13 FOLK ROCK POP ALBUMS FOR 2006 PART 2
01. Brian Mitchell, Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Mike Dillon - Rhythm & Poetry (Self released)
The Benevento/Russo Duo feat. Mike Gordon - Live From Bonnaroo 2005 (Phih Downloads)
The Benevento/Russo Duo - Instant Live: Paradise - Boston, MA, 12/2/05 (Instant Live)
The Benevento/Russo Duo - Play Pause Stop (Reincarnate)
02. Phish - Colorado '88 (Phish Dry Goods)
Phish - Live In Brooklyn (Rhino)
03. The Pnuma Trio - Live from Out There (Harmonized)
04. The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic - The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic (Relix)
09. The Slip - Eisenhower (Bar None)
06. Particle - Transformation Live For The People (Shout Factory)
07. Weird Al Yankovic - Straight Outta Lynwood (Volcano)
08. RAQ - Ton These (Harmonized)
09. The Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams (Bubbles)
10. Tea Leaf Green - Rock and Roll Band (Sci Fidelity)
Undoubtly, our "rock" artists of the year are keyboard player Marco Benevento and drummer Joe Russo. We found FOUR major releases for them just this year, starting with the SPLENDID album from Brian Mitchell (guitarist for The Yards, Carlos Washington's Giant People and Amayo's Fu Arkestra), an instrumental jazz guitar thing mixed with some rocking spirit of heavy psychedelic jams, to be classified as "Phish meets Blue Note" or something THAT big. The album is 100% independant, self-released, but it's easily findable on the internet... and if you liked the joyful inventiveness of the Benevento/Russo duo, don't miss their jam/jazz live album featuring Mike Gordon, their rocking Instant Live release or their new album "Play Pause Stop". Those guys are The White Stripes of the american jammy scene, soon to be as famous as Phish or John Medeski - don't say we didn't warn ya.
Talking about Phish, the band doesn't exist anymore but their live recordings are still the best out there. A 1988 triple CD set has surfaced, and you just can't believe its tracklist. Pure bliss. Their 2004 show from Brooklyn is also available, in DVD or 3xCD releases, and it's another essential buy for fans. If you're reading this site you might be one of them and will know what I'm talking about there... But the jamming action didn't stop with Phish calling it quits and bands from the next generation are kicking hard, with solid releases from The Slip, The Pnuma Trio, Particle, RAQ, Tea Leaf Green or John Popper (singer for Blues Traveler) with his new project featuring DJ Logic. The american underground "rock" scene is still bursting with sensational new talents and nearly a hundred excellent recordings each year if you include the more jazzy or funk ones (read below), but no medium is talking about them in Europe, djouls.com excepted. You'll just have to trust our selection!
Even though pop/rock is the mainstream now, and most releases tainted with major companies business direction (as opposed to "artistic direction"), we managed to fit a couple of favorites in the list, with a new album from the funniest composer alive on the planet, MISTER 'Weird Al' Yankovic, who brings the parody to another level with a DualDisc of songs and videos to laugh hysterically to (I must admit he's a genius in my France), and a nice electronic poppy one from Kings Of Convenience founder Elrlend Oye and his band The Whitest Boy Alive. We'd had loved to add more pop/rock albums here but... which ones?
10 HIP HOP ALBUMS FOR 2006 PART 2
01. Freddie Cruger - Soul Search (Tru Thoughts)
02. The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon (Epitaph)
03. Kid Koala - Your Mom's Favorite DJ (Ninja Tune)
04. Braintax - Panorama (Low Life)
05. Madlib - The Beat Konducta Vol.1-2 (Stones Throw)
06. The Procussions - 5 Sparrows For 2 Cents (Rawkus)
07. Mayday - Mayday! (Southbeat)
08. Pigeon John - And The Summertime Pool Party (Quannum)
09. Hydroponic Sound System - Mixtape Mentality (Swedish Brandy)
10. DJ Yoda - The Amazing Adventures Of DJ Yoda (Antidote)
While we were still listening to Freddie Cruger's The 3 Foot People album "3 Feet High & Rising", REALLY one of this year best hip hop vibes of this year, Mr Cruger released another over-the-top flawless album, this time on Tru Thoughts Recordings. He comes from Sweden and is the hip hop artist of the year in our book. How strange is that??
Less surprising is the presence of The Coup duo here, with their "Pick A Bigger Weapon" drenched in p-funk influences. You might consider passing on the new Outkast soundtrack and get this opus instead...
Turntablism lovers will have jumped on the new Kid Koala release - as mind-blowing as ever, don't miss the Kid if he plays in your town tonight!! If more into lyrics, check the Braintax album, he's just one of the best British rappers out there words-wise (beats are good too - don't worry). If lyrics ain't your thing, you could put your ears on the new Madlib album/compilation of eccentric hip hop instrumentals...
More "classic old school hip hop" can be found on The Procussions new album on Rawkus Records, or the Pigeon John one on Quannum Projects. Not new, but fresh, don't hesitate. The mixtape from Hydroponics Sound System is more adventurous, rather dancefloor-oriented, mixing lotsa other influences in their hip hop.
To conclude this selection on a lighter note, we've chosen DJ Yoda's first album. After so many funny mixtapes, he's finally released his own thing with loads of guests, and it's one winner of a groovy hip hop humor thang.
22 SOUL JAZZ FUNK ALBUMS & SINGLES FOR 2006 PART 2
01. Eyal Maoz with John Medeski - Edom (Tzadik)
Scotty Hard John Medeski, Matthew Shipp's Radical Reconstructive Surgery - Scotty Hard's Radical Reconstructive Surgery (Thirsty Ear)
Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood - Out Louder (Indirecto)
02. DJ Logic - Zen of Logic (Ropeadope)
03. Bonobo - Days To Come (Ninja Tune)
04. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - Keep Reachin' Up (Timmion)
05. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - What's Going On (Shout Factory)
06. Baby Loves Jazz Band - Baby Loves Jazz (Verve)
Sex Mob - Sexotica - Sex Mob - Sexotica (Thirsty Ear)
Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra - MTO Volume 1 (Sunny Side)
07. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I'm Thankful (Tru Thoughts)
08. Stanton Moore - III (Telarc)
Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet - Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet - Husky (Ropeadope)
09. Nostalgia 77 Octet – Borderland - Borderlands (Tru Thoughts)
Nostalgia 77 Octet - Nostalgia 77 Octet - The Impossible Equatio (Tru Thoughts)
10. Cadillac Jones - The Big Takedown (ATF)
11. Alice Russell - Under The Munka Moon 2 (Tru Thoughts)
12. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey - Sameness Of Difference (Hyena)
Jacod Fred Jazz Odyssey - Tomorrow We'll Know Today (Music Force Media Group)
13. Tommy Guerrero - From The Soil To The Soul (Quannum)
14. Club d'Elf - Now I Understand (Accurate)
15. The Baker Brothers - Bakers Dozen (Peddler)
Jazz, Funk & Soul were the new thing this year in music. So many good and solid records were released that we opted to select more than 20 references for the last 6 months alone!
Things start kicking with our man of the year (again!), John Medeski. We've already told ya he was "the Jimi Hendrix of keyboards", as a matter of fact we've started telling you this in 1998 in this website... you should start to believe. His collaboration with guitarist Eyal Maoz was released on Tzadik last year but it's still the best Medeski thing we've heard this year, that's why it tops our selection. But the Scotty Hard album with John Medeski and Matthew Ship is a solid contender. Scotty Hard is the sound engineer/producer for Medeski Martin & Wood and many others, up to the Wu-Tang Clan. His new album is as psychedelic as you'd want a Medeski Martin & Wood one to sound like. So, you know what to do: get those two albums fast!!
The Medeski Martin Scofield & Wood album (with John Scofield, you'd have understood) isn't as essential but quite cool nonetheless. The band is finally free of their Blue Note/EMI contract which had them releasing copy-controlled "discs" for too many years (which I don't buy cos you'll never know where it won't play, in your new CD player, in your car...), this is a totally independant release which implies new Medeski stuff coming our way very soon... You'll also find this John Medeski guy featured on the DJ Logic, Baby Loves Jazz, Trey anastasio and Club d'Elf releases this year, all selected on this page. He's just the musician of the year, so please John, keep on keeping on!
Scotty Hard can also be heard producing the DJ Logic album, a masterpiece of afro-funk-hip-hop-jazz. It starts to sound as if all those incredible jazz albums of this year were all recorded by the same bunch of people. Take for example trumpetist Steven Bernstein, who masterminded the Baby Loves Jazz release (grooving for kids and adults), a new Sex Mob album and another one for his Milenial Territory Orchestra.... Or take saxophonist Skerik, who can be heard on Stanton Moore's new opus (the drummer from New Orleans n°1 band Galactic) or with his Syncopated Taint Septet... We just can't get enough of these artists who grace our best-of selection every year and they all know each other. Is it a mafia thing or just an assembly of talent?
Unsurprinsing selections also comes from New Orleans and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, with their inspired cover of the "What's Going On" Marvin Gaye album, and Brighton with the new Spanky Wilson soul thing produced by Quantic (with his full orchestra), jazz cats the Nostalgia 77 Octet (who also launched a new label), or new soul queen Alice Russell. New Orleans, Brighton... hum... one can wonder when will those two groove scenes collide?
On the deep funk front, we've selected the Nicole Willis album, with Finnish funksters The Soul Investigators, an essential purchase finally distributed in France; from the UK The Baker Brothers, who's simply the best intrumental funk trio playing today; and from the US Cadillac Jones, who after a disappointing first album have released here their magnum opus in the form of a blaxploitation soundtrack that will rock your boat.
On a more laidback vibe, you shouldn't miss the new Bonobo album, the guy used to produce some the best downtempo instrumentals from England, he's now recording and touring with a full soul jazz band, with rising voice Bajka on guest vocals. His "Days To Come" album could have gotten to the number one spot if we were sorting our selection with the number of times we played the record... Tommy Guerrero is playing it cool too, with a phat, jazzy and roots "From The Soil To The Soul". He's one of the most underrated artist we've always loved, and he keeps on getting better with each new record! This selection ends with some peaceful New York modern jazz from the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a keys/bass/drums trio which melts post-rock leanings and ambient electronica thingies into their improvisations.
Now you have a chance to know what jazz sounds like in 2006.
10 REGGAE DUB WORLD ALBUMS & SINGLES FOR 2006 PART 2
01. Various - Reckless Roots Rockers (Wackie's)
02. Grant Phabao - Remixed And Remixes vol.2 (T.I.M.E.C.)
03. Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band Present Egyptian Jazz - Ramadan In Space Time (Art Yard)
04. Various - Brazilian Beats Brooklyn (Mr Bongo)
05. Afrodizz - Froots (C4)
06. Paul St. Hilaire - A Divine State Of Mind (False Tuned)
07. Groundation - Upon the Bridge (Young Tree)
08. Forro In The Dark - Bonfires Of São João (Nublu)
09. Michael Rose - Warrior (Mrecords)
10. Various - Life Goes In Circles (Sounds from the Talent Corporation 1974-1979) (Pressure Sounds)
Even though Groundation and Grant Phabao are miles ahead of the rest of the world's reggae productions, it's been quite a good year for reggae music. A recent Wackie's reissue from the mid-70s tops our selection, it's pure instrumental roots reggae produced by King Tubby and played by the Soul Syndicate Band. Hear it and agree with us. On the reissue front we also enjoyed the "Life Goes In Circles" from Pressure Sounds... We didn't select any Soul Jazz or Blood & Fire record this year though cos' we never received any - ever : no support to those who don't support!
That's not the case with Max @ Nocturne who's been flooding us with more cool releases. Big Up Max! The new Paul St Hilaire (formerly Tikiman) album and the new Michael Rose one he passed on to us are among the best of today's reggae productions and should be hearable soon on a 21st Century Reggae mix on www.parisdjs.com... Don't miss this one, subscribe to the podcasts!
To conclude this reggae selection, let's go back to the 2006 reggae and dub masters, Groundation, with a solid new album in the vein of their previous efforts, proving that there have no competitors in today's roots reggae live scene, and Grant Phabao, who remixed reggae-wise everyone from Jon Kennedy to George Clinton, from Alice Russell to Ty, from The Procussions to Lee McDonald... while preparing 3 new reggae albums and a collaboration with Doctor L! Nobody sounds as good as he does. Nobody is even getting close to it, he's the Kenny Dope of reggae... don't say we didn't warned ya either! He's also been asked to mix the upcoming Seun Kuti album and remix an exclusive Khaled track too, among other upcoming projects. Expect a big 2007 year for Phabao.
The latest afrobeat stormer we could hear this year comes from Montreal with Afrodizz who released a future classic, and on the Latin front we couldn't miss the Brazilian Beats Brooklyn samba funk compilation or the Forro In The Dark spectacular eclectism. But what most stunned us at TIMEC and PARIS DJS headquarters are the 1968-1974 recordings from the Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band, mixing Ethiopian rhythms with latin, afro or free jazz influences. People talked about "the egyptian Sun Ra" which comes close to an absurd definition of what Salah Ragab is about, since there's a Sun Ra with Salah Ragab record out there too...
10 COMPILATIONS FOR 2006 PART 2
01. Various - Paris Djs Mixes (Podcast) (Kraked/T.I.M.E.C.)
02. Various - Let The Groove Move You - 20 Modern Funk Anthems Compiled By Adrian Gibson (Freestyle)
03. Various - Shapes Compilation 2006 Vol.2 (Tru Thoughts)
04. Various - Party Keller Vol.2 - Sons And Daughters Of Funk, Boogie, Soulful Reggae and Afrobeat (Compost)
05. Various - Underground Hits And Exclusive Bits! (Wah Wah 45s)
06. Various - Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (Numero Group)
07. Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge - present Sunday Afternoon at Dingwalls (Ether)
08. Various - More MPM Sound (Melting Pot)
09. Hexstatic - Pick'n'Mix (Sanctuary)
10. Various - Secret Love 3 - Not A Secret Anymore - Compiled by Jazzanova and Resoul (Sonar Kollektiv)
I admit this might be perceived as self-loathing but the best compilations we could hear this year were the ones we did ourselves: a new 30 minutes thematic rare groove mix has been available for free on www.parisdjs.com nearly each week since October 2005! The selections are killer, including many very rare or exclusive recordings, mainly from vinyl, with a careful attention to the details (original artwork, credits, links, professional audio mastering by Grant Phabao), trying not to play tracks already available on current compilations... Subscribe to the podcasts (mixes and virtual 'releases') and don't miss this golden food for your iPod!
The rest of our selection concerns physical releases (mostly CDs), and stays on the groove, starting with the second volume of Adrian Gibson's choice of new Deep Funk gems. Hard to find in record stores but heavy value for your money... Seek it. For nearly half its price you might also want to get the new Tru Thoughts "Shapes" compilation, filled with hits and exclusives. It's a bargain AND a limited edition release so act fast.
Florian Keller's second mix of funk, soul, reggae and afrobeat in the "Party Keller" series is as perfect as the first volume, with rare vinyls tracks you might have missed this year if you were not harrassing record stores every week. The same reflexion goes for the Wah Wah records or the second Melting Pot compilations. We've been hunting those 21st century soul, funk & breakbeat for months and were more than happy to get our ears on these collections.
If you enjoyed the "Soul Gospel" compilations on Soul Jazz Records, we'd love a copy, cos' we've been told they're in the same vein as the Numero Group CD/double LP "Gospel Funk hymnal": top-notch quality godspell soul... Jazz Dance lovers will rather go for the new Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge glorious selection of 20 years of "Dingwalls" parties, while amateurs of eclectism will enjoy a new Hexstatic mix CD, "An Assortment To Suit All Tastes".
Ending this bi-annual "Best Of" selection is a 21st century folk selection by Jazzanova & Resoul, "Secret Love 3", a perfect end-of-nighter that makes us wish we had gotten our hands on the previous volumes...
10 ALBUMS WE WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HEAR THIS YEAR (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
01. Boca 45 - Vertigo Sounds (Unique)
02. Dr Rubberfunk - My Life At 33 (GPS)
03. Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydream (Lonely Astronaut)
04. Juggling Suns - Tranzmutation (Aeria)
05. Radio Citizen - Berlin Serengeti (Ubiquity)
06. Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band - Sharp Knives And Loaded Guns (EMI Norway)
07. The Breakfast - Moxie Epoxy (HMG)
08. The Motet - Instrumental Dissent (CageFree)
09. Trey Anastasio - Bar 17 (Red Int / Red Ink)
10. Vinyl - Fogshack Music Vol. 1 (In The Pocket)
All those records seem quite cool... but we haven't heard 'em. :/
Thanks to Max, Wendy & Stéphanie @ Nocturne; Elisabeth, Matthias, Lawkyz, Florent, Fred and the others @ Ping Pong; Diego, Clarisse & Dorothée @ Clarisseworks, Rob @ Tru Thoughts; Soulist & Freeworker @ 3ème Voie; Loik, Monte, Fourmy & Carine @ Kraked; Manu Boubli & Doctor L @ Mind; Erik Rug @ Les Disques du Telegraphe; Ness; Amaury & Mario @ Radio Latina; Aurélie @ No Fridge; Jessica @ Warm; Gregsky; Mr Moo; Paul @ Halbop; Guillaume @ Seven Dub; Professor Oz & Mag'; The Lone Ranger & Chester; Fatta @ Soul Stereo; Jeff de Paris; David°F; Captain Détendu, Jeanf & Grant Phabao @ T.I.M.E.C.; Theo @ Warp Records; Mafiagato & Mr Zam @ Ninja-Obsession.net... I must be forgetting a lot of people sorry.