Andrew Martin Poop 2017

2017 – What a shitty year for the world and this country. Well at least there was lots of good music, an excellent Twin Peaks reboot, and the German Netflix series – Dark…   Oh! and of course my joyous son. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and gives some hope to a world that feels lost and in constant turmoil.

Buy Bicep – Bicep New or Used via Amazon
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Bicep – Bicep – Pretty much a runaway for record of the year. After putting out numerous 12ers of well- crafted deep house they put together a record that has an immediately classic and throwback feel and which doesn’t shy away from breakbeats and downtempo. From the opener Orca – which sounds eerily reminiscent of Orbital’s Chime – Bicep break the template of house to bring breakbeats and techno. It is unexpected but staggeringly good and is that rare record that is equally accessible, at times jacking, and also quite ethereal and beautiful. Think tinkling pianos and drawn out drifting synth pads with crisp percussive accents. This is a great one for a drive or with the earbuds on.

Buy Saint Etienne – Home Counties New or Used via Amazon
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Saint Etienne – Home Counties – I am sure this record won’t crack many lists and that is a shame. This is well crafted British pop by a band that absolutely brings it live. I was lucky enough to catch them in NYC this fall and they brought the house down. Sure it was mostly peeps in their 40’s and 50’s cheering and reliving a bit of their youth but what’s wrong with that?!?…anyway the record is gloriously and unforgivingly British and replaces samples with live flute, a harpsichord, and the soft sultry pop sensibilities and (Is it?) faux ingénue of Sarah Cracknell supported earnestly by the programming and arrangement genius of Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley. Train Drivers in Eye Liner, Magpie Eyes, Dive, Heather and the darkly Sweet Arcadia standout on this record.

Buy Talamanca System – Talamanca System New or Used via Amazon
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Talamanca System – Talamanca System – People like to throw around the word Balearic. Often some daft compilation on some shitty label lists a track as a ‘Balearic classic’ that is neither classic nor Balearic. Note to future daft compilers…The Thompson Twins are NOT BALEARIC…Talamanca System captures a lost island feel that is truly Balearic and by that I mean – warm, sunny, and tucked away into some private cove with a frozen drink with an umbrella straw that is chasséd to yr nook by some sun-drunk bleached out bikini clad burnout who came last season and never left. It is a spiritual thing, a house thing, a soul thing and in the deepest darkest frigid months it makes a day feel a little warmer. ‘Balanzat’ is an earlier 12 from Talamanca System that is a dance floor destroyer and sounds – oh so 88’.

Rent Octo Octa – Where Are We Going? via Amazon
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Octo Octa – Where Are We Going? – Real deep house that is fun. A lot of deep house borders on being boring and is full of its own pretentious self-importance. Octo Octa is not. It yearns for more and is playful and well-crafted. The cover of the record alone makes me chuckle.

Buy Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens New or Used via Amazon
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Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens – In the year of the #metoo movement, women have made great strides in electronic music. Too bad the hashtag isn’t about that… Kelly Lee takes time-tested house and techno standard grooves and weds them to emotional songs in a fresh and effortless way that tells a deep story of her own experience.

Buy Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives New or Used via Amazon
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Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives – Peeps wanna call this post-dubstep but it is really leftfield, breakbeat, and its own thing. Categories notwithstanding, this is a fabulous release from Dominic Maker and Kai Campos.

Buy Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid New or Used via Amazon
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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid – Textural interwoven magic from this artist who I admit I hadn’t heard of until a few months ago and who I was embarrassed to find that this is her eighth album. Well I guess there are millions of records I will never hear. ‘The Kid’ is almost Kate Bushy in its ‘witchiness’ at times but really that is unfair because it is really its own thing. A bubbling cauldron of sound.

Buy Carl Craig – Versus New or Used via Amazon
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Carl Craig – Versus – Classical music mixed with techno and I bought it just because it is Carl Craig and I am preprogrammed to buy anything with his name on it and because it is Carl Craig and he is always good.

Buy Special Request – Belief System New or Used via Amazon
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Special Request – Belief System – Paul Woolford has been on my radar for a long time now. He brings together a love of UK pirate radio from the early days of rave and melds techno, house, drum and bass and jungle into a tech-cacophony of driving beats and whispering stuttering breaks. Top gear this one.

Other Notable Releases – Jlin – Black Origami, Indian Wells – Where The World Ends, Fjaak – Fjaak, Kolsch – 1989, Ellen Allien – Nost, Lindstrom – It’s Alright Between Us As It Is.

Things I was surprised that I didn’t like – The new LCD Sound system sounds like Joy Division meets early Talking Heads and it just didn’t do it for me (just a little too sullen), maybe it will grow on me?

Not Music – There is a theme here and it is dark….
Twin Peaks – Well you either loved it or hated it. But you can’t argue that it wasn’t one of the most original and confounding things ever produced for television and that Episode 8 will go down in the annals of TV history (if there is such a thing) as the most “out there” episode of television anywhere. The multi-layered sound creation is outstanding, the visuals stunning, Kyle MacLachlan’s acting fantastic. Sure Lynch and Frost toyed with us and the Dougie Jones thing seemed to drag on forever and well there is poor Audrey…but can you think of anything as remotely original or exciting on TV as the otherworldly scenes involving the Fireman, The Woodsmen, or Senorita Dido? A dream within a dream and we are the dreamers dreaming. Am I a Doppleganger or a Tulpa dreaming this dream? And ‘What Year Is It? Here is to hoping Lynch makes another season and continues to create more questions while answering nothing.
Dark – It never seems to stop raining in this mesmerizing and complex drama involving child murder, time travel, and layers of relationships that seem to loop endlessly over decades. Fantastic writing, acting, sound, and music make this a must see. It is so refreshing to see a host of – to me – unknown actors making something great. While the world fawns over the rather average Stranger Things (it’s ok, kind of) Dark is the show that gets it, truly transports me to another time(s) and has me wanting more like this. When is Mikel? When is Season 2?
Black Mirror – Season 4 is about as bleak and fascinating as it gets. What is remarkable is how easily one is transported to the near future and left feeling that any one of these dark and dystopian stories could really happen. Is my insurance company working on a mind reading device? The episode with the baby is about as disturbing as it can get for a new parent and Metalhead with its robotic killer dog was gripping, edge of your seat terror that made The Terminator seem laughable.