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Richard Paul - The Quest writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2012 (Richard Paul)

CHIRP Radio Best of 2012

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2012. Our next list is from DJ Richard Paul of The Quest.





The only albums that make my list of favorites are those that are thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end. I'm talkin' zero filler tracks. Two albums on this list are not from 2012 but I fell in love with them this past year and I feel they deserve some recognition. Also, as it turns out, we're looking at six European artists, two Australian artists, one Japanese soundtrack and one American-via-Europe artist. Was the Patriot Act ever approved? I hope not. Apologies in advance, the top four albums kinda have long recaps.

  1. Peter Broderick - These Walls of Mine (Erased Tapes)Peter Broderick - These Walls of Mine (Erased Tapes)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    This is Peter Broderick's fourth album on the Erased Tapes label. The label states, "[These Walls of Mine is] held together by a dialogue of voices, this album reveals Peter's innermost thoughts in an intimate and playful way. An exploration from gospel and soul to spoken word, beatboxing, and rap -- this is Peter at his most natural." In Peter's own words: "I had recently been experimenting at home with a microphone and a laptop, recording and uploading new songs for free online, each one alongside a photo and some words, and open to comments from the outside world. At some point Robert (Erased Tapes label founder) started listening to the music and felt compelled to encourage me to compile an album with all this material. His reaction to 'These Walls of Mine' (the song, not the album) was exactly how I felt about the music. I wasn't sure if I loved it or hated it. But I loved the feeling of that uncertainty, of surprising myself and others around me. And in the end Robert got behind all the songs, which gave me the courage to finish the music for this release. These songs are best viewed as a collection of lyrical and vocal experiments. Of course the instruments and the music are important, but this album is held together by a dialogue of voices. Conversations with myself and with others. Several tracks contain lyrical contributions from friends and strangers, made possible with the help of the internet. And then I sang and sang and sang. I love singing. And I love cats."
  2. Nils Frahm - Screws (Erased Tapes)Nils Frahm - Screws (Erased Tapes)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    This year, Nils experienced an unfortunate accident which resulted in a broken thumb and four screws surgically implanted. He recounts, "As you can imagine, it is really bad news for a pianist when he gets diagnosed with a broken thumb. That day I was sitting in the emergency room, feeling rather dizzy while thinking of a zillion shows coming up and all the people involved around it. I realized in that moment how busy things have become. It is hard to turn down interesting projects and opportunities, since I surely love my work. It actually never felt like work. Playing piano and playing it for wonderful people is the greatest joy I can imagine. For a couple of days I felt like this all could be over. How pathetic. But hey – also feeling sorry for yourself has its place somewhere. All of a sudden I had so much time, an unexpected holiday. I cancelled most of my schedule and found myself being a little bored. Even though my doctor told me not to touch a piano for a while, I just couldn't resist. I started playing a silent song with 4 fingers on my left and the remaining 5 on my right hand. I set up one microphone and recorded another tune every other night before falling asleep. The day I got rid of my cast I had recorded 9 little tunes. They have helped me feel less annoyed about my accident and reminded me that any good is something I can only achieve, when I am making the most out of what I've got."
  3. Supertramp - Brother Where You Bound (A&M, 1985)Supertramp - Brother Where You Bound (A&M, 1985)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    Allmusic states, "When vocalist-guitarist Roger Hodgson left Supertramp, few could have guessed that the band would continue and solidify its pop-oriented songcraft, let alone re-embrace its progressive-rock roots on 1985's underrated Brother Where You Bound." This is due in large to the genius mind of keyboardist, vocalist and founder, Rick Davies. Though Roger is missed, the album strongly showcases the rest of the talent in Supertramp that true fans loved equally so. John Helliwell's saxophone will both give you chills and bring tears to your eyes. The album's tracklist looks exactly like that of a post-rock album of today with only six songs averaging at about seven minutes each. Following the fun and pleasant first-half of the album, things take a political, paranoid turn. "Better Days" contains voice-overs by the 1984 Presidential candidates: Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. The title track opens with narration taken from George Orwell's 1984 and later on Pink Floyd's David Gilmour provides the searing guitar solos. Unfortunately, Brother Where You Bound never received the attention that it deserved, but I'm trying to make up for that having had it on heavy rotation for the past couple of months.
  4. <i>Kids on the Slope</i> Original Soundtrack produced by Yoko Kanno (Epic)Kids on the Slope Original Soundtrack produced by Yoko Kanno (Epic)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo director Shinichiro Watanabe's latest anime series Kids on the Slope does not deviate from his previous work in the importance emphasized on music. Entrusting once again the prolific composer, Yoko Kanno, for the score, she assembles a multitude of performers among whom are Takashi Matsunaga providing the piano playing for the character, Kaoru, and Shun Ishiwaka providing the drumming for the character, Sentaro. The soundtrack is composed of beautiful original works (Track 1 is set as my ringtone) as well as reworkings of legendary jazz numbers such as "Moanin'" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Bill Evans' "Some Day My Prince Will Come" and John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things." In addition to being some fantastic jamming that has rekindled my interest in jazz, the music flawlessly plays an essential role in the very heartfelt story of Kids on the Slope which makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to again and again.
  5. Japanese Wallpaper - Remixes (self-released)Japanese Wallpaper - Remixes (self-released)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    Japanese Wallpaper is a producer out of Melbourne who is only 15 years old! On this EP, he puts a creative spin on tracks by artists such as Bon Iver, The xx and Foals, and completely makes the tracks his own in a most beautiful way.
  6. Four Tet - Pink (Text)Four Tet - Pink (Text)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    Kieran Hebden is utterly a lock to produce impeccable stuff. Compile a collection of his 12" singles released in 2011 and 2012 on his very own Text label and you have a guaranteed top ten album in Pink.
  7. Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm - Stare EP (Erased Tapes)Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm - Stare EP (Erased Tapes)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    As if there wasn't already enough awesome from the Erased Tapes lineup (three appearances on this list), the record label's artists also like to collaborate. They're like a family of insane talent much like the Jacksons, Bee Gees and Osmonds (but without all the problems...hopefully). You can hear the bromance unfurling between Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm as their styles perfectly compliment each other on this EP.
  8. Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record (Jet, 1976)Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record (Jet, 1976)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    I only just this year, the 28th year of my life, listened to this album in full. A New World Record became a huge global success and clinched the band's position as one of the biggest selling rock bands in the world. The album included the hit singles "Telephone Line," "Livin' Thing," "Do Ya" (US) and "Rockaria!" (UK). "So Fine" is the underrated track on the album, ahead of its time featuring a conga break out of nowhere right in the middle of the song. Quoting Allmusic, "['So Fine'] embodies precisely what Lynne had first set out to do with Roy Wood at the moment ELO was conceived [and] 'Telephone Line' might be the best Lennon-McCartney collaboration that never was." Doowah doolang.
  9. Hot Chip - In Our Heads (Domino)Hot Chip - In Our Heads (Domino)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    Solid album from the solid group. I particularly like "Motion Sickness," "Look at Where We Are," "Don’t Deny Your Heart," and "How Do You Do?"
  10. Hayden Calnin - City EP (self-released)Hayden Calnin - City EP (self-released)
    BUY: Reckless / Permanent / Insound / iTunes / eMusic
    In a world of Bon Iver sound-alikes, Melbourne's Hayden Calnin one-ups them all with a delivery style unique to him alone; a style that makes use of the silent break as an instrument in itself. He shines most on the tracks, "Summer" and "Winter."

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2012, reviews

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