Albums of the Year 2001
It is time for summing up a music year. Looking back on 2001, I have not had time to indulge in music as much as I usually do. 2001 has been quite busy in many respects of life.
Nevertheless, I have had the privilege to find some new acts as well as re-discover some old records. The old stuff has mainly been jazz music and the new stuff has mostly been in the many different aspects of house music. In house music I would like to highlight Morgan Geist who came up with a number of excellent releases. Using both his own name and the Metro Area guise, Morgan Geist has contributed heavily to a new direction of tech house. It is almost possible to speak about a Metro Area genre with numerous artists creating "Metro Area sounding" music. Check out the stickers on 12" records in the "news" slots in the record stores and you'll see what I mean.
The second person worth extra attention in House music is Maurice Fulton who made a couple of good re-mixes, an outstanding album, Stress Why Put Me Through It and a real cool 12"; The Abdoer, using the Syclops guise.
In view of this I will claim that the most rewarding selections of artists and records are in the Single section.
A short word about the list: it can not be stated often enough that the best music is yet to come, it was not created yesterday or today, it will be created tomorrow and waits for the curious listener on the next record shopping spree. So, it is with great pleasure that I once again can look back on a musical year, and say that the past year of 2001 has been an exceptionally good year for music with lots of quality records for both dancing and listening pleasure. And at the same time feel quite confident that next year will be even more rewarding for the curious listener. Enjoy!
BUGGE WESSELTOFT (New Conception of Jazz)
Electronics, turntables and real instruments in combination and the result is nothing short of stunning. The beautiful Lone with piano and the mid-tampo groovy jazz house beat is foot fodder. The heavy Movin with rapid snares and huge b-line is another favorite.
It takes some time to get into the music, beats and sounds are kind of scattered in the mix and it is all very relaxing and smooth so it is easy to lose attention, but I kept returning to the record and suddenly it became the most played record of the year.
Bugge Wesseltoft's third album comes across as the first cool jazz album for the new century. Lovers of music need this album.
Lost Highway Records
For all the romantics in the world. For all of us who ever felt lonely, sad or deliriously happy as a result of some sort of interaction with someone we love.
Some might say that this is country music, but that is nothing to fear in this case. Think about Al Green and all other Southern soul singers and you might think; soul music, but listen closely and you find a not so small dash of country music in the soul music of Al Green. It is the same with Lucinda Williams, she is a country singer with one foot in soul music. And when it comes down to the nitty gritty, what else than love is life all about? Check this album.
Why is his belt unbuckled on the cover? The ladies man Jaheim, with a velvet voice like a young Teddy Pendergrass released the most innovative contemporary soul album of the year.
Next To You
Beverlei Brown made some noise in 1996 and hit the charts with the club floorfiller On and On. Her debut album opens with Ivan Matias's R&B anthem Somebody Knows How You Feel. Da Full Crew Boys come with a velvet smooth production on the mid-beat Love You Yes and on the funky and percussive laden swayer Dedicate. The sassy and slow Best Friend is perfect for late night slow dancing. This is a phenomenal album in a slightly retro style.
Shadow Of The Earth
Innovative jazz beats and electronics from Japan. Music for early mornings.
ORLANDO CACHAITO LOPEZ
World Circuit Records
In the Latin wave that has been flooding the house music scene for the last two or three years there has been a tendency to lose some of the sensuality in the music for a more calculated and trendy sound. The sound in it self seem to have been more important than actually creating a song with an arrangement supporting a good singer. When The Cuban bass player Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez´s self titled album off the World Circuit imprint was released early this year it turned out to be a stunningly fresh mixture of hip-hop turntableism, dance jazz and Cuban music from the 1950's. The music is in the same vein as on the Buena Vista Social Club album a few years ago. But Cachaito has a contemporary edge missing in the other Cuban releases off World Circuit so this lands close to the music by for instance Ozomatli or Black Eyed Peas.
Timbaland provided beats and grooves and Aaliyah the voice. The multitalented singer and actress Aaliyah is not with us anymore. Her last album is nevertheless a sublime contribution to the fast changing rhythm and blues scene - and it grows on you for each spin on the decks.
|Groovy bass-lines, soft beats, drama and hymns of love. Not a weak track and very beautiful music.|
NORMA JEAN BELL
Come Into My Room
|Norma Jean Bell has been around for a while; she has been playing saxophone with Tommy Bolin Band and Frank Zappa in the 1970s. Today she rules the house music scene together with Moodyman, who has produced her debut album.|
|A collaboration between Marius Reksjo and Beate S Loch. Should be discovered by fans of 4-Hero and Brand New Heavies. The albums covers a wide spectrum of styles but well put together. Check the jazzy Moderation and the soulful jazzy house stormer Drawback.|
I'll Be Fine
|Real instruments and strings and a singer influenced by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Sensual urban bossa with an organic sound and timeless quality.|
|Club music with an African twist. This should be right up your alley if you like the Femi Kuti remix album. Versatile.|
|Les Norris aka Norken offers us deep and lush beats - Detroit techno style - from Manchester on his second album Spring Themes. Sub sonic bass and scattered beats makes this a perfect set for home listening and dreaming of the joys of summer.|
|Glasgow's dance music pioneers second album Alien Radio featuring Unkle, Dot Allison and Chicago's Tyrone Palmer is an outstanding collection of dark techno and house tracks. The title track Alien Radio with deep storming synth chords, electro-waves and funk rhythms touches base with alien disco. Visons with Dot Allison on dreamy vocals comes across as the albums understated hit.|
Stress Why Put Me Through It
|Maurice Fulton is one of house music's true originals in the same league as Morgan Geist off Metro Area fame. As a producer he never fails to surprise, check for instance his electrifying remix of Ladyvipb's Yesterday Has Gone off the Nuphonic imprint. On Why Put Me Through It, his first solo album, he explores a wide spectrum of different styles of house grooves and beats with an overall accessible and dancefloor friendly feel.|
|The queen of soulful UK Garage, Romina Johnson's debut album Superbad is a strong collection of UK Garage tracks as well as a couple of classy soul filled dance floor smokers. The sassy Movin' Too Fast comes in a drum and bass remix and a deep R&B Mix, Into You comes in three completely different mixes, the original mix, the Asylum Mix and finally the bass heavy Zed Bias Dub. Included on the album is also the floor filler Never Do, produced by D-Influence.|
|Kosheen has made it from the underground scene to the mainstream scene. Accessible and soulful beats and breaks for home listening and fashion shops in London.|
|Foxy Brown is back with an underrated and almost neglected hip-hop and ragga album. Exqusite production, excellent samples, dance floor grooves and an attitude that makes a difference. The only hiphop album that made it in my book this year.|
|Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway and India Arie. Video, Promises and Brown Skin. A really really good album.|
|Second album from Angie Stone is a very traditional soul music album in most respects of the word. Good songs, good lyrics and a voice that makes a difference - just like Aretha Franklin.|
Back To Mine
Talvin Sing collected his personal chill tracks on the Back To Mine series. Not a weak track, although there are some outstanding cuts here: Norwegian jazz man Nils Petter Molvaer is represented here with a Rockers Hi-Fi remix of Song of Sand from his debut album Khmer. Vibraspehere with Moonson is another gem. Finally there is Dub Tractor's w30.
Do You Know House?
A collection of hard to get house house classics. Spanning from the anthem Pacha'a One Kiss from the "summer of love", 1988 and also included are Alexis P Sutter's Stop! (We Need Each Other), Club Ice's Manhasset, DJ Rasoul's anthem Let Me Love You and Norma Jean Bell's Nobody's Gonna Love Ya.
The CD has 12 songs and is mixed, the vinyl has 10 songs and is unmixed.
Soul Togetherness 2001
Fifteen Modern Soul Room Gems
Second volume of soul room gems off the Expansion imprint maintains the high standard set on the first volume from 2000. Here are another fifteen indispensable soul smokers for dancing and listening pleasure. Spanning from Eric Gadd's Why Don't You, Why Don't I via Rashan Patterson's I'll Go and Al Greens' Keep On Pushing Love, best known from the Ally McBeal show, to Romina Johnson's Never Do.
Like a mix tape from a friend. It opens with Charlie Wilsons' Would You Mind, goes on with the rare Mica Paris - Bobby Womack duet I Wish I'd Never Met You and includes contributions from both Beverlei Brown and Cooly's Hot Box.
Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980
Blood and Fire
|This compilation off Blood and Fire is their finest contribution so far of re-issued musical treasures from the archives in Jamaica. Check Carl Bradney's Slipping Into Darkness, Ken Boothe's rendition of Syl Johnson's classic Is It Because I'm Black? and Junior Murvin's interpretation of Curtis Mayfield's Give Me Your Love.|
Studio One Soul
Soul Jazz Records
|Here is another excellent compilation of Jamaican soul. This time it is from the vaults of Studio One. Norma Frazer's version of Respect sets the standard for the rough and funky sound. Leroy Sibbles' version of Charles Wright's Express Yourself opens the album and Willie Williams outstanding version of No One Can Stop Us Now closes the set.|
The Complete Goldwax Singles
The Voice and the man who gave us the classic The Dark End Of The Street. There is little one can add that hasn't already been said before about this song. It is included on this set remastered to top notch sound quality. Mindblowing stuff.
"Pirates Choice is a magical studio session, by turns inspiring and soothing spellbinding and exhilarating", states the liner notes. The story of this album goes way in time, to a cassette from 1982. Some time later the six tracks contained on CD1 were released as a vinyl album in France. It was this record that became something of a Holy Grail for fans of African Music, and it was these same six tracks that World Circuit released for the first time on CD in 1989 under the title Pirates Choice. This new edition also includes the remaining six tracks from the original sessions, again for the first time on CD. All twelve tracks are now presented with improved sound, re-mastered from the original session tapes.
The album is full of beautiful music. Three of the songs are reworkings of Cuban tunes, including two slow sensuous, atmospheric tracks: Utru Horas, an adaptation of a song by Se Carlos of Guinea-Bissau, and Soledad, a folk tune from the Cassamance region of Senegal. Both are sung in a mixture of Wolof and Spanish by Rudolphe Gomis and Balla Sidibe, floating on a rhythm of electric guitar, bass and percussion.
Relentless political and soulful reggae music from a master with a voice so tender and so strong it could move a mountain. Behold The Spear Is Burning...
Charles Mingus with band in the small border town Tijuana in 1962. Strung out on booze, drugs and women they created a masterpiece. Now it is being re-releases with new liner notes and alternative takes, as well as the original takes.
|Howard Tate released two main albums; both produced by Jerry Ragovoy. Get It While You Can from the late sixties includes the original version of Night Owl which has been a much sough after gem in the Northern soul scene. Get It While You Can was re-issued in 1996 but is now deleted, so be sure to pick it up if you happen to find it somewhere. The tracks on this album from the early seventies are sweeter and somewhat slower compared to the intense first album, but it is good stuff nevertheless.|
|The new album from Keith Jarrett Inside Out is very good. Changeless from 1989 is even better.|
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Original Sound Track
|The magic of the film and the music lingers and I can't stop spinning the album.|
NILS PETTER MOLVAER
|Khmer is a truly exceptional excursion in sounds and beats. Cool Miles Davies inspired trumpet, ambient sound scapes and electronics in a multi layered mix|
|This is a unknown artist for me. I instantly bought this record a couple of months ago when the DJ dropped her version of People Get Ready. I was totally stunned by her voice, so clear and so crisp. A couple of weeks later I picked up her duet album with Chuck Brown The Other Side and it is as good as this compilation of songs taken from her three albums.|
So In To You
Find An Oasis
Rollercone's Across The Sea Remix
New York City Nights
Relaxing At Club F****n
Dorfmeister vs Madrid De Los Austrias Version
Meitz Remix (Dub)
Ministry Of Sound Recodings
Hubble Tease Recordings
KINGS OF TOMORROW
Danny Krivit Re-Edit
RHYTHM & SOUND
Featuring Cornel Campbell
King Of My Empire
Rhythm & Sound Recordings
STREET CORNER SYMPHONY
Memories Of Aphrodite
ERNEST SAINT LAURENT
The Harvey Remixes
Bugged Out Recordings
METRO AREA 3
Soul Camp Recordings
METRO AREA 4
Nu Jazz EP
Front Room Recordings
DUBTRIBE SOUND SYSTEM
Do It Now
Featuring Jon Lucien
Pepe Bradock's Brad Deep Remix
The Homepage. 1997-2001 by Mickey.