Thursday, November 30, 2006

Warning -- 2006 Will Expire In 31 Days

This will be the first of many end of year posts, including a long-delayed work in progress in response to I Heart Music's hot list. But for now, Exclaim has just dropped its year end issue, and I'm responsible for a fair amount of content. Not so much in terms of my own writing, but in how the sections I edit, Destination Out and Groove, are a reflection of my captaincy and of the incredible work of all contributors involved.

Groove's Top Ten is headed by Aloe Blacc. His first album might have been described as broken beat a couple of years ago, but is now considered to be left-of-center R & B. This orientation of contemporary soul is generously represented on the chart with Georgia Anne Muldrow, Big Black Lincoln, Goapele - even Gnarls Barkley. Then there's Spanky Wilson and Quantic's disc, which has gotten mixed reviews, but felt like a breath of fresh - or funky, take your pick - air compared to quite a few classic soul artists releasing over-egged comebacks. I felt very strongly about the Senegalese/French/Scotch boil-up of Nuru Kane, NOMO's ancient-to-the-future Afro grooves and Radiodread, about which I defy even the most hardcore reggae fan to diss.

Destination Out has no need for "numbers" or "rankings". Consensus is for suckas. It's all about the freedom, dude. I wanted every writer to froth at the mouth about one record - so it's essentially a list of #1's. A great variety of discs is represented, covering the most punishing noise to more sedate electronic musings. I like to see this section pay attention to the very active buzz-worthy noisemakers but also to the not so hip roots and branches of jazz and electronic music. Hopefully, everyone can make connections they might not otherwise make from any other print source, at least in a print source available for free in 2500 outlets across Canada. I loved Andy Haas' work this year, but I was sorely tempted to write about Charles Lloyd's Sangam (the most interesting combo of Afro-American jazz impulses and worldly sounds I heard this year).

My other contribution to the issue was a piece on Turkish psychedelic music that's been rocking my world this year. That's in the pop section - y'know, when you can rock out to world music without shame, it's not really world music, it's classic rock. All you Beirut fans, take a right turn at the Balkans, go back 30 years, and you'll find it. Stash the brass, bring yer guitars and give 'er...

But there's more to come, both on air and in this blog...


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