Friday, July 29, 2011

Abstract Index Playlist - July 28/11

puerto rican blues - roberto roena y su apollo sound
yamulemao - joe arroyo
diamoule mawo - laba sosseh
curumin - da cruz
liberation - the liberators
las cuatro palomas - geko jones & reaganomics
little business - csc funk band
patchwork - toboggan
callahan - am & shawn lee
tribute to masakela - fulgeance
pijama - noha/mendez/melo
lift up your head - everton blender
feeling like a million - merva greer
the glass bead game - examples of twelve
to seventeen - harris eisenstadt
there - nicole mitchell
i ain't scared - on ka'a davis
ise ya - sonia aimy
haeart beats 1 - purple hearts
motivation - sonora
haunted circuits v2 - halo nova
the ghost - xi
sandpaper script - david vangel


Friday, July 22, 2011

Abstract Index Playlist - July 21/11

center of the earth - nicole mitchell
to be - harris eisenstadt canada day
sumlinian - aram bajakian
crime in the pale moonlight (instrumental) - flanger
magnetise - loose fit rmx by manuel tur
minus & plus - resoe
cascade meditation - breezewax
felicidade - suba rmx by buscemi
tá falado - orquestra contemporânea de olinda
boat cruise - thundercat
kouhoutek - fathers children
crooked men of pershore - littlebow
tarantula gargantua - god's gift to yoda
obsidian row - darcy james argue
bercy - gypsophilia
a snowflake in her hand - kontakte
gobi road - hanggai
en passant - dub trio
historia del pueblo - alerta kamarada
one and only one - adrian miller
true experience - prince lincoln
one life - jazzy jeff & ayah feat tona
a bird in hand - giraffage
funky me - timmy thomas


Monday, July 18, 2011

Abstract Index Playlist - July 14/11

yiddish soldier - joel rubin & uri caine
abayaa - ebo taylor
cultura e civilacao - gal costa
ruseton - den5ion
west coast vip - d.o.k.
love pressure - sepalcure rmx by xi
the helical risings of aldebaraan - dine
all your goodies are gone - dennis coffey feat mayer hawthorne rmx by shigeto
style & grace - heartbreak
dame agua - captain planet
make it last - dj jazzy jeff and ayah
echo riffs - d.l.o. the iceman
enigenagnalen - addis acoustic project
humo - cache
septierna -petrona martinez rmx by thornato
seasons change - citizen sound feat jahdan blakkamoore
clean hearts - ibo
try a little smile - doreen schaeffer
all i can say - love joys
tomorrow - blackman akeeb kareem
la 3ra del borracha - damas gratis
blind - rainbow arabia rmx by salva
unity - moussa doumbia


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Abstract Index Playlist - July 7/11

in d#5 - arrandel rmx by fraction
strombolopoulos - d-sisive
john starts - ccmc
bedo - frank gratkowski/dave fox/david menestres/ian m davis
zero tolerance - tobias
put some red on it - spoek mathambo
chiseling the funk - man made hill
start from the beginning - egyptrixx
northern cree/red skin girl - a tribe called red
mpb - gold panda
mood swings - frederic robinson
macumba - captain planet
gbabouho goave - justin stanislas
bosoe - joe mensah
the drive - zone 6
montgomery movement - montgomery express
still splendid - lotek feat roots manuva
wa do dem - citizen sound rmx by wrongtom
mary - ziggi recado
war dub - augustus pablo
yessi mil viss - king abid
differente madre - elegante & la imperial
style & grace - heartbeak
otpisani - boban & marko markovic orchestra
gta - hackney colliery band
work to do - mayer hawthorne
iceman improv 1 - d.l.o. the iceman


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thoughts on the Polaris Music Prize Short List 2011

Of all the ways in which I engage with music, being a juror for the Polaris Music Prize is one of the most fulfilling.

I've always maintained that the value of this prize is mainly in the discussion between music professionals across the country struggling to compare apples to oranges to attempt to appreciate very different forms of music. I believe in the simply stated process: to pick the best album in Canada regardless of genre. Even if a good record doesn't make the Long of Short List, it may end up on the radar of critics across the country when that artist is touring, leading to more coverage and hopefully more popularity.

Other than Elizabeth Shepherd last year, there had never been a jazz record represented in Polaris in any way. I wouldn't say Colin Stetson plays jazz, but this is without a doubt the most experimental record ever to make the short list (Final Fantasy was pretty out there too, but at least it had a more conventional vocal presence). His music, which I got to experience live last week at the Music Gallery, is cathartic - physically so for him, emotionally so for listeners. The way he has developed a compositional system for circular breathing techniques on the bass sax is unique in the world. For my money, the closest comparison is Britain's John Butcher, but the bass sax adds a different dimension to Stetson's art. Plus, there's a punk edge that comes out live. I can't wait to hear him fill the Masonic Temple with the brute force of that bass sax ringing off the rafters. People will 'get it' then even if he doesn't win the prize. And to see that on CTV/Much? Awesome!! As the editor of Exclaim's Destination Out section, and having seen the rapid ascent of Weird Canada this year, I couldn't be happier.

I'm also very pleased for The Weeknd. It's the first mixtape to make the top 10, building on the success of South Rakkas Crew last year and D-Sisive (also Long Listed this year). The reason that mixtapes are eligible in the first place is thanks to the ever-simmering discussion about what constitutes an album for an album prize. In terms of beat-oriented music, some of the best music comes out in formats other than albums, and it's been argued that certain genres of music were likely to be at a disadvantage due to their audiences demanding more fluid output from EPs to videos to mixtapes. The Weeknd are the first R&B (it's more than that, but rooted there) act to get any kind of sniff at Polaris. Given how the Canadian music industry has micromanaged and let down just about every promising soul/R&B singer that's ever come up, to see a stealthily produced mixtape explode into public consciousness is refreshing to say the least. It didn't need to confront the impossibility of radio play for R&B in Canada, it didn't have to water down its scabrous narrative and most of all it didn't have to fix the sometimes dumb, juvenile lyrics that nonetheless add spontaneity and edge to the project. You know the Abstract Index loves Lee Scratch Perry, a guy who would turn out rough and rugged dub mixes from the Black Ark one after the next with little regard for perfection. It's still classic or at least vital material. Plus, Drake should feel like he's getting a veiled co-sign on this project which he helped take to the mainstream.

As for other selections, of course I wrote my first cover story in Exclaim about Timber Timbre and voted for them, so I'm happy about that. Austra is a good thing: Katie Stelmanis has covered a lot of ground in the Toronto indie music scene over the years and this is a well composed record. Arcade Fire, sure, why not? Colin Stetson goes three for 10 on the Short List with his contribution to the Suburbs, Timber Timbre and his own disc. I've played Braids on this show before, thumbs up there. I didn't seriously consider voting for the Galaxie album but it's fun. I no longer hate the Destroyer record. Hey Rosetta are definitely not my thing, nor is Ron Sexsmith but that's one guy you can't hate on after plugging away for 12 albums.

The rules and the composition of the jury have been tweaked subtly over the years, and I feel there's more participation in the process from a wider range of people. To see tangible success beyond in-virtual-camera big-ups for artists like Colin Stetson and the Weeknd is a big step. This prize is really living up to its potential.

UPDATE: My Short List picks

1. Colin Stetson - Judges
2. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath 1972
3. D-Sisive - Jonestown 2
4. Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On
5. The Weeknd - House Of Balloons