photo: joseph holmes

2006 ARTIST PICKS

As a complement to the 2006 Top 10s and 20s article, textura asked artists whose works appear in those lists to select a favourite 2006 recording (or pre-2006) and write a sentence or two explaining what made it special. Here's what they said:

The Blow • Boduf Songs • Bodycode • Booka Shade • Caroline • Christ. • James Figurine • Grizzly Bear • Tim Hecker • Ezekiel Honig • The Knife • Larvae • Eliot Lipp • Stephan Mathieu • MONO / world's end girlfriend • Nicolay • Ramses III • Roger O'Donnell • Benoît Pioulard • Plus Device • Ghislain Poirier • Janek Schaefer

The Blow (The Love That I Crave, #1 EP)

(Khaela Maricich) “This year, the record that most made me wish that I had made it, and most filled me with a knotted-up feeling in my stomach was He Poos Clouds by Final Fantasy. The combination of Owen Pallet's simultaneously carefree and heavily considered style makes me crazy every time I listen to it. Describing a woman who is planning a blind date, he sings in his upright and slightly perverted tone, "possible possible ideas for a date include, a shooting range." As he sings, an orchestra thumps and trickles in the background—it's so serious, and hilarious, and so well done.”

Boduf Songs (Lion Devours The Sun, #23 album)

"Scott Walker's The Drift seemed as dense, dark and baffling as a record could ever be. A vast array of noises from the sublime to the truly unsettling, matched with the most absurd, bleak and elegant lyrical bent imaginable. And the horror of Donald Duck. Wonderful."

Bodycode (Conservation of Electric Charge, #30 album)

“My favourite recording of 2006 is without a doubt Brian Eno's Another Day On Earth. I found it to be the perfect album to start my day, spur on my day or end it, truly universal.”

Booka Shade (Movements, #5 album)

(Arno Kammermeier) "Hot Chip: The Warning. We first met them on our US tour in March '06 and heard "Boy From School" at their soundcheck; we were spellbound. Soon after we found out that the guys enjoyed listening to our first album and asked us for a remix; we stayed in touch and a couple of months later they remixed "Darko," a song from our album. We did a swap and we mixed "(Just Like We) Breakdown" for them in return.”

Caroline (Murmurs, #24 album)

"(Chris) Clark's Body Riddle: A new gorgeous sound by Mister Clark! I set this one apart from his  
others; there's just so much to dig into! Lots of intricate, beautiful sounds, and melodies, and everything fits together so warmly. "Herr Bar": mmm... I love it. Others that received heavy play: Mew's The Zookeeper's Boy (2006), Joanna Newsom's Ys (2006), Animal Collective's Feels (2005), Broadcast's Tender Buttons (2005).

Christ. (Blue Shift Emissions, #22 album)

"I'm not so well positioned to give a definitive answer to the 'favourite release of 2006' question, because I don't generally keep up with the music press, release dates, or whatever. I listen to Treasure by the Cocteau Twins quite regularly, and have been doing so since I discovered them at about fifteen. In terms of an individual track that really stands out, Alias and Tarsier's "Last Nail" from the Brookland/Oaklyn album is a lovely combination of lush vocal harmonies, well-constructed accompaniment, and a blistering bit of MC'ing from Alias himself. I've also been listening to the first two albums by the Clash quite a lot. I get sent quite a lot of promos and demos, and Brian Grainger under the name 'Milieu', a guy calling himself 'Fieldtriqp', and a guy called 'Skytree' have really grabbed my attention this year, all three of them acts I found on netlabels. Brian Grainger actually ended up, co-incidentally, releasing an album on Benbecula Records with Brian Ellis as 'Free Festival' which is pretty lovely. Oh yeah, 'Sleeps In Oysters' has an EP called My Face Is All Bricks and Stone which I love. I don't know if they're signed or not, but they should be."

James Figurine (Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake, #27 album)

"One of my favorite records this year was Ekkehard Ehlers' A Life Without Fear. A friend described it as Ehlers' blues album, which didn't seem like something I'd like, but I bought it anyways.  It was sort of a lonely week and I ended up listening to it over and over.  I think the highlight is "Nie Wieder Schnell Sagen," a ghostly harmonica-based ambient track.

Grizzly Bear (Yellow House, #7 album)

“Our favorite album is Hot Chip's The Warning, mostly because the harmonies are so wonderful and because Hot Chip brings such a spontaneous and natural feeling to its songs that doesn't seem over-laboured or forced. Just quality all around, with tunes we couldn't stop singing.”

Tim Hecker (Harmony In Ultraviolet, #19 album)

"Bill Evans: Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1963). A friend of mine played the song "Jade Visions (Take 2)" for me a few weeks ago in his car and I've been immersed in it since. It's amazing, amber-fogged, bass-driven contrapuntal melancholy. It's old, but hey, who's counting??!!" 

Ezekiel Honig (Scattered Practices, #29 album)

“I'm going to depart from the format a little bit and choose a live set as my favorite piece of music this year. It was Zip's live set as Dimbiman from MUTEK 2006. It was everything I want techno to be, completely groovy and funk-based, but so completely odd in its structure and rhythms and places it went. On a closely inspected level there were tons of things happening in what seemed to be each bar, with hairpin changes that left the music intact, not giant shifts that threw one for a loop, but tiny fluctuations that kept it intensely interesting with bumps and twists between each sound, immeasurably weird rhythms that kept everyone happy and dancing, but I suspect on repeated home listens would be extremely layered and complex. Good times.”

The Knife (Silent Shout, #2 album)

(Olof Dreijer) “A nice album from 2006: I've been listening a lot to a record lately by Swedish Hans Appelqvist called Naima. It's like a modern musical, very theatrical, and I keep on imagining different scenarios in a play or in everyday life. It's very dramatic and every track surprised me the first time I listened to it. It's got big emotions and cosy moods too, it's very Swedish and crazy, and I guess it's quite exotic for non-Swedes.”

Larvae (Dead Weight, # 25 album)

(Matthew Jeanes) “This was a year for me to return to voices and songwriters. Joanna Newsom's Ys is a great, poetic journey; the Akron/Family discography got heavy play all year; Jessica Bailiff's Feels Like Home somehow supplanted Even in Silence as my favorite Bailiff record. But the record that got more play than any other for me in 2006 was Tunng's Mother's Daughter & Other Songs. Tunng finally congealed those elements of honest folk songwriting with tricky computer-aided production that so many other people have been trying to bring together for the last few years. It's not only a beautiful record, but it's full of hooks and unexpected tricks.”

Eliot Lipp (Tacoma Mockingbird, #4 album)

“One of my favorite producers of all time is Khayree who is finally releasing some of his classics as instrumentals on iTunes. I first heard his music on Mac Mall's album Illegal Business? in 1993. He's also worked with En Vogue, 2Pac, Ray Luv, Mac Dre, Young Lay, Dubee, and many other artists. His signature style helped create the Bay Area sound of that time and has a lot to do with the sound that is now called Hyphy. He layers programmed drums, breaks and live drums to create huge layered beats. He's always using moogs and live-sounding analog synths, and plays bass and guitar on almost every song. The last cut on my album Tacoma Mockingbird, "Vallejo," is a direct reference to Khayree's sound, his hometown, as well as E-40, Mac Mall, Mac Dre, etc. Khayree's music has and still influences every track I make, pushing me to layer melodies and sounds as much as I can without losing the subtleties a track needs to stay funky.”

Stephan Mathieu (Hidden Name, #26 album)

“2006 was quite a good year, in terms of new releases and discoveries I've made and found inspiring; here are eight favourites (in no particular order):
1. Flim: Ohne Titel, 1916 (Plinkity Plonk, 2006)
2. Walter Marchetti: Utopia andata e ritorno (Alga Marghen, 2006)
3. Scott Walker: The Drift (4AD, 2006)
4. Anders Dahl: Habitat (Kning Disk, 2006)
5. Jeff Feuerzeig: The Devil and Daniel Johnston (DVD on Sony Pictures Classics, 2006)
6. Pilgrimage From Scattered Points - Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra (a film by Luke Fowler, 2006)
7. Ivor Cutler Trio: Ludo (Rev-Ola)
8. Devendra Banhart: The Black Babies EP (Young God)."

MONO & world's end girlfriend (Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain, #17 album)

(world's end girlfriend, on behalf of MONO and weg) "Jean-Luc Godard's Notre musique: Actually this is a film, not a CD, and not a 2006 work either. However, I believe that this work includes the most beautiful music of the past few years."

Nicolay (Here, #10 album)

"My favourite discovery of 2006 was finding out about José González . We picked up the new Zero 7 album The Garden and loved it, especially the tracks featuring González —so much, that we picked up his Veneer album, only to find that track that's featured in the Sony Bravia commercial that I loved ("Heartbeats"). So overall, José González is definitely my discovery of the year."

North Sea And Rameses III (Night Of The Ankou, #13 album)

(Rameses III) Spen: "Califone: Roots and Crowns (Thrill Jockey). A work full of autumn leaves unfurling their palms, holding me to their bosom. These songs conjure entire meteorological systems, engulfing me in a cloud and covering me in their bucolic cloak."

Steve: "Sonic Youth: Rather Ripped (Geffen). It's a blast back to the sound of Daydream Nation, but created with obvious experience, without the arthouse pretension."

Dan: Rosy Parlane: Jessamine (Touch). Stuck in the most beautiful place in the world, Jessamine stares into the sun and meditates on 93 million miles of heat.”

Roger O'Donnell (The Truth In Me, #9 album)

“The album pick has to be the magnificent Tortoise box set A Lazarus Taxon. I love this band and everything they do and stand for. This set could easily work as a beginner's guide to Tortoise yet it's so much deeper as well.”

Benoît Pioulard (Précis, #20 album)

“Clark: Body Riddle. Since “Diesel Raven” first assaulted my ears a few years back, I've been a (Chris) Clark fan in a serious way, and he manages to get better with every release; Body Riddle is to me a perfect electronic record, packed with highly tactile and deeply textured galleries of impossibly amazing sounds, both human and synthetic. On good headphones or speakers, it's sonic sculpture taken to its ultimate zenith.”

Plus Device (Puncture, #14 album)

"We've been rocking Cameo over in the studio here. It's like Prince on crack, though only Prince is capable of exercising that workaholic funk guitar/bass/keys (and everything else) without drugs. Cameo isn't a new group and they've managed to secure a spot in the best funk section. Aside from the upbeat flavor, some of their melodies are way too memorable and the singing harmony is like sex."

Ghislain Poirier (Breakupdown, #18 album)

“Best Album in 2006: Burial: Burial (Hyperdub): One of the rare albums that I can listen to from beginning to end. And after I press repeat. It's so deep, warm, and fucked up at the same time. Dubstep as a genre has been a nice discovery for me over the last couple months. Many good dubstep 12 inches have been released but no "real" album to establish this aesthetic. The Burial album is definitely a reference, a perfect introduction for newcomers and a nice achievement for people following this movement.”

Janek Schaefer (Hidden Name, #26 album; In the Last Hour, #31 album)

“It's been a slow year for new music in my ears. In the house, I found The 1930's Classics Collection made a regular impression. The happy vibe and innocence of the music are endearing. I also love hearing the quality of the recording as it's 70 years old. Last century was the definitive story of recording technology, and this always adds to the character of the music. There's a song on there by Harry Roy called “Cuban Pete” that I can't get enough of and that's all about the Rumba. In the car, I've been listening to Hidden Name for most of the year, to be honest. I fear that sounds tragic, but I make music I want to listen to, and this project seems to work on continuous play quite comfortably. I'm not one to finish a CD and leave it in a box once it's finished; it needs to live. My new daughter seems to enjoy it too as we drive to swimming classes and the supermarket, etc! Having only one CD in there seems to make a particular kind of space that is constant but always changing. I also just heard bits of Christopher Willits' new CD Surf Boundaries on an Australian radio show interview. What I heard sounded lovely, and more engaging for me than before.”

January 2007