The year 1997 is closing. Is there a better way to start up a new homepage and round of an old year than make the annual list of 1997´s best album releases? Read Nick Hornby´s book High Fidelity, and you´ll understand what I mean by the importance of lists.
The idea to publish the following list on the Net are inspired by a good music-friend of mine, who, when I told him that I was working on a homepage, absolutely insisted that I should publish my Best Records Of The Year List on the web. We usually meet over a cup of java in January and exchange lists and this can be considered as a preview of the January list I will give him. By friendly demand, then, here it is; The List of 1997, obviously commented.
Most of the links opens in a new window in Your browser! So if you want to get back to Tricky Mickey´s after you´ve checked the link, you have to change Window in the menubar of Your browser. Sometimes the right mouse button works.
1. ERYKAH BADU: Baduizm (Universal)
The album Baduizm is, with no competition, the album I played most this year. It seem to appeal to everyone in my family, someone is always putting this cd on at least once a day. Cool modern soul with no frills. The special clean sound, the beat and the groove. "We were going to see Wu Tang tonight, so I braided my hair...". Magic!
2. FINLAY QUAYE: Maverick A Strike (Epic)
Good voice. Traditional reggae singer with a touch of dub.
3. DAVID HOLMES: Let´s Get Killed (Go!Beat)
Techno wizard on the streets of New York with a DAT-recorder. Just listen to the beats. Pay attention to Holmes 007-remake on the track Radio 7. Bond goes jungle.
4. BALLISTIC BROTHERS: Rude System (Soundboy Entertainment)
The Ballistics went to Jamaica, looked for inspiration and 7-inch singles, they came back to London and made this masterpiece of jazz, latin, jungle and a touch of dub reggae. Magnificent!
5. COMPANY FLOW: Funcrusher Plus (Rawkus)
Scratch from hell and a hint of what may come in a new era of hip hop. Old school is really old, and need to be replaced with some vital creativity and Company Flow might be just what the scene need.
6. PRIMAL SCREAM: Vanishing Point (Creation)
The album with Star, Trainspotting and Kowalski. Should be played many times every week. Good music.
7. JHELISA: Language Electric (Dorado)
Dark and moody. Jhelisa is very different to any other artist out there at the moment. Jhelisa Anderson has appeared with acts like Soul Family Sensation and The Shamen. "Language Electric" is Jhelisa´s second album and she is exploring modern jazz and soul with a very personal touch. Jhelisa´s music is more funky than Cassandra Wilson and has more obvious traditional jazz influences than Erykah Badu.
8. PHOTEK: Modus Operandi (Science)
"Modus Operandi" is the drum´n Bass album I hoped to be the album of the year. It is definetly very good, with it´s sparse jazzy beats, but is no were close as good as I hoped it would be. Of course, my expactations was enormous after the brilliant singles Photek released 1996 and 1997. In a way, this album is music for the future, at least for 1998, with a shimmering japanese touch and zen tradition present. 'Mondus Operandi' is a slightly difficult album by Photek that probably will be seen as a groundbreaking within a few years. I think it is worth to investigate for everyone who liked Roni Size and Reprazent´s album 'New Forms'.
9. PRIMAL SCREAM: Echo Dek
The dub of Vanishing Point. More good music.
10. NUYORICAN SOUL (Talkin Loud)
Soul-dance, house, latin jazz and a very good version of the Rotary Connections song "I´m The Black Gold Of The Sun" with a dedicated Jocelyn Brown in the frontline.
1. JUNIOR BYLES: Curly Locks (Heartbeat)
This is as far I see it, one of the best reggae reissues in years. Music made and recorded in Lee Perrys studio the Ark 1970-1976.
2. SUN RA: The Singles (Evidence Records)
Jazz from Saturn.
3. SYL JOHNSON: Dresses Too Short/Is It Because I´m Black (Kent)
Two classic albums on one cd. Listen to "Is It Because I´m Black" from 1970, and ask yourself why nothing really has changed when it comes to prejudices and racism. Then get up and do something.
4. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Brother, Brother, Brother (T-Neck)
Another classic album from the early seventies. The Isleys had not yet become the soul-pop group they later became. This is groovy and funky.
5. LEE PERRY: Arkology (Island)
Most of Lee Perry´s ingenious productions for Island records collected in a awesome box with three cd´s and an extensive booklet.