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2008: Jake O’Connell

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Dusted’s Jake O’Connell picks apart 2008 like it’s the Bills’ prevent defense.

2008: Jake O’Connell

10. DJ Premier - Beats That Collected Dust Vol. 1 (Year Round Records)

This LP-only is like the Mets’ other plan this offseason: Addition by subtraction. With the rappers he’s been cavorting with lately (Little Vic, Termanology), it’s a blessing Primo let these minimal joints prove their shelf life unadorned. While a few sound unfinished without the presence of a Guru or Jeru, the gems (“Sing Like Bilal,” “Blow Horn Joint,” “Dadaa”) speak for themselves. Nobody deploys a horn loop or stutters a bassline like Premier and in this “ensemble” setting, the hypnotic interplay is the sole focus.

  • 9. Ryoji Ikeda - Test Pattern (Raster-Norton)

    Once again testing the limits of fidelity, Ikeda transformed text, film and images into barcodes, then manipulated the resulting patterns so listeners could “hear” raw data. Producing a near clinical acuity, terse microtonal fissures and incalculable BPMs pound like primitive techno in headphones. Some tracks even appear to outsmart the code, mutating into a sort of glitch improv. When the shards of digital vapor flare from the final enfolding compression, it gets me every time.

  • 8. Shit and Shine - Küss Mich, Meine Liebe (Load)

    This London-based outfit trade in punishing percussion and Neanderthal rhythms, shrouding their recordings in blown-amp static. The opening séance conjures images of a present-day Wicker Man. Other songs sound like dälek’s about to show up with a mic. The lower brow the titles the more unhinged. Originally released as a subscription-only 12” in 2006, “Toilet Door Tits” still pummels anything in its vicinity for close to 15 minutes. This year’s Harry Pussy collection is equally fierce, but this was my favorite thing on Load since Coughs’ Secret Passage.

  • 7. Christina Carter - Masque Femine (Many Breaths)

    On this miniscule pressing of lullabies, Carter barely intones unsent love letters like a mother singing a child to sleep. A few songs are accompanied by guitar. The rest are as naked as any recordings I’ve ever heard, seeping with a tangible vulnerability.

  • 6. Stephan Mathieu - Radioland (Die Schachtel)

    Similar in concept to Test Pattern, Mathieu’s fifth full-length was constructed from shortwave radio signals as a treatise on the swell of information. Through meticulous editing and analog mastering he sublimates his own agenda, creating a diversion of infinite drift through literally glistening tones.

  • 5. Lindstrøm - Where You Go I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound)

    On this cosmic odyssey, Lindstrøm somehow pushed the lofty heights of previous voyages further out.

  • 4. Eat Skull - Sick to Death (Siltbreeze)

    One of two great Siltbreeze records this year. Eat Skull wade their way through waves of tangled fuzz, always teetering on the brink of dismantle. It’s on that crest that their sound coalesces. By bottling an unerring sense of ennui with lines like “You might be better off not going out at all,” they made indie rock heroic again. While nothing here outwitted last year’s brilliant “No Intelligence,” songs like “Waiting for the Hesitation” made me feel nostalgic for the early ’90s like few have since.

  • 3. Food For Animals - Belly (Hoss)

    No hip hop production came close to being this dusted in ‘08. On “Maryland Slang,” they sample a lifted Raekwon lisping about lasers, as a warped “Award Tour” plays in the background. It’s not a bad depiction of Belly’s architecture. Rocking leftover Asics, these three dudes from B-More Careful love their moms and say shit like “Survival is not a mood.” If that’s not reason enough to get down, their MySpace page has a still from Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep in the “Sounds Like” field.

  • 2. Sic Alps - U.S. EZ (Siltbreeze)

    Mike Donovan and Matt Hartman write lazy garage anthems for those who don’t have time to protest, hitting all my psych-pop soft spots. The sentiment behind “If I could change my mind I would” pretty much sums up my year.

  • 1. P Brothers - The Gas (Heavy Bronx)

    I listened to a lot of hip hop this past year and nothing came close in terms of purity. The perfect soundtrack as Brooklyn got colder and the bottom fell out of the economy, this record aches of struggle. Its unlikely engineers are DJs Ivory and Paul-S from Nottingham, U.K. After a string of heralded EPs, mixes and production credits for local legends like Cappo, they finally got around to releasing their first full-length in 2008. Strict enthusiasts of the MPC, the Bros. make the standard combination of repetitively tapping hardware and weary vocal samples sound as vital ever. While the backdrop is initially the record’s most indelible remnant, enlisted parties like Boss Money, Roc Marciano and Milano more than hold up their end, unleashing prescient lyrics about maintaining in a country that’s about to have a black President but still “don’t give a fuck about you.” Jeezy also took a half-hearted stab at the fiscal situation, but came nowhere near the frigid thought patterns of these underheard New York street pundits. At one point, Milano quotes Biggie: “Being broke give a nigga the chills.” Lead track “Cold World” echoes the thought, in the process acting as an ideal score for the recession.

    Honorable Mention


    Arthur Russell - Love is Overtaking Me (Audika)
    Burning Star Core - Challenger (Hospital Productions)
    Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colors (Goner)
    Emeralds - Solar Bridge (Hanson)
    Flying Lotus - Los Angeles (Warp)
    Headhunter - Nomad (Tempa)
    Jay Reatard - Matador Singles ‘08 (Matador)
    Max Richter - 24 Postcards in Full Colour (FatCat)
    Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust (Vice)
    Sten - The Essence (Dial)
    Stereolab - Chemical Chords (4AD)
    The Hospitals - Hairdryer Peace (self-released)


    Arabian Prince - Innovative Life: The Anthology 1984-1989 (Stones Throw)
    Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded (Deluxe Edition) (B-Boy/Traffic Entertainment)
    Bullwackies All-Stars - Black World Dub (Wackies)
    Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family - My Ancestors (Hummingbird)
    Don Covay - Super Dude Mercury Years Vol. 1 (Shout)
    Gas - Nah und Fern (Kompakt)
    Hal Singer & Jef Gilson - Soul of Africa (Kindred)
    Jim Ford - Point of No Return (Bear Family)
    John Terrill - Frowny Frown (Family Vineyard)
    MF Doom - Operation: Doomsday (Metal Face)
    Muslimgauze - Jaagheed Zarb (Staalplaat)
    NYOil - Hood Treason (Deluxe Edition) (Babygrande)
    Pavement - Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition (Matador)
    Richard Crandell - In The Flower of Our Youth (Tompkins Square)
    Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)
    Tommy Jay - Tall Tales of Trauma (Columbus Discount)


    1970’s Algerian Proto-Rai Underground (Sublime Frequencies)
    African Scream Contest (Analog Africa)
    Betty Botox - Mmm, Betty! (Endless Flight)
    Bollywood Steel Guitar (Sublime Frequencies)
    Classic Cuts (Clone)
    Disco Italia: Essential Italo Disco Classics 1977-1985 (Strut)
    Don’t Stop: Recording Tap (Numero)
    Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad 1925-1929 (Honest Jon’s)
    Messthetics #105 DIY 77-81 Scotland (Hyped 2 Death)
    Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli (Numero)
    Well Hung: 20 Funk Eruptions From Beneath Communist Hungary – Volume 1 (Finders Keepers)

    Singles or songs from albums not mentioned:

    2562 - “Channel Two”
    Aeroplane (featuring Kathy Diamond) - “Whispers”
    Big Dipper - “Ron Klaus Demo’d His House”
    Bon Iver - “Re: Stacks”
    Bun B featuring Young Buck and Lyfe Jennings - “If I Die II Night”
    C Joynes - “The Village of Manea”
    Cheveu - “Dog”
    Cheap Time - “Ginger Snap”
    Dr. Dooom - “Always Talkin’ Out Your Ass”
    Eric Copeland - “Alien in a Garbage Dump”
    French Quarter - “Golden Heart”
    Four Tet - “Ribbons”
    Hercules and Love Affair - “Hercules’ Theme”
    J.T. IV - “Death Trip”
    Kurt Vile - “Slow Talkers”
    Lambchop - “Slipped, Dissolved and Loosed”
    Magnetic Fields - “The Nun’s Litany”
    Mayyors - “Metro”
    Mount Eerie with Julie Dorion & Fred Squire - “Lost Wisdom”
    Nobunny - “Not That Good”
    RZA featuring Inspectah Deck - “You Can’t Stop Me Now”
    The Bug featuring Warrior Queen - “Poison Dart”
    The Nerves - “Working Too Hard”
    Times New Viking “Drop-Out”
    Times New Viking - “Sick & Tyred”
    Religious Knives - “The Sun” (from Live at Bigjar)
    Sam Amidon - “Sugar Baby”
    Santogold - “Lights Out”
    Scott Tuma - “Moccasoclea”
    Stephen Malkmus - “Shotgun Willie”
    Syclops - “Where’s Jason K?”
    Vermillion Sands - “Mary”
    Vivian Girls - “Where Do You Run To"

    By Jake O'Connell

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