As is traditional at this time of year, we wanted to take a retrospective view of the last 12 months, and highlight some of our favourite music that we’ve bought you in 2011.
Probably one of the main themes this year has been that of diversity. We have managed to find some great music from a very wide range of genres, including Soul (Jean Wells), Funk (The Fantastics!), Disco (Al Kent), Electronica (Julien Dyne), Pop (Kidda), Chill (Quincy Jointz), Hip Hop (Hundred Strong), Jazz (Nostalgia 77), House (Flowers and Sea Creatures), Afro-beat (Ebo Taylor) and even Brass Band (Hackney Colliery Band). As we always like to say at Meme, it’s all about finding the perfect groove, wherever it may come from.
Some of the most enjoyable albums have been where artists have managed to blend and bend genres to create whole new styles of music. Notable examples would be the 74 Miles LP from Pierre Anckaert Trio and Monkey Robot (courtesy of Laid Back Radio), The Rhythmagic Orchestra‘s cuban and afro-beat sounds, and, of course, the prolific output of Quantic whose musical diversity was demonstrated so well on his Tru Thoughts ‘Best Of…’ LP.
The quality of the compilations we saw was better than ever. There is now a real artistry in the curating of a specialist record, and people like Al Kent, Mark Webster and Chris Read have proven themselves masters in that art.
From a label perspective, we continued to feel lots of love for Tru Thoughts (who provided us with our favourite gig of the year), BBE, MPM, Wah Wah 45s, Strut, Harmless and Freestyle, but found some lovely little outfits that brought us some innovative sounds, including Friendly Fire, Manimal Vinyl and Jalapeño.
We were lucky enough to be able to interview some incredibly talented people during the year, including Smoove & Turrell, Nick Pride (from the Pimptones), Louie Vega, DJ Meme and James Birchall (aka Rough Fields). In keeping with our theme, this was a very diverse selection of artists producing their very own style of music.
And, every week right through the year, we brought you our Soundcloud Track Of The Week. But the highlight was probably the edit we ‘commissioned’ from Applescruffs of Blondie’s ‘Atomic’. This 9 minute version of our favourite song ever is a wondrous creation indeed (download it here).
So, the big question at this point has to be: “What are Meme Magazine’s Top 3 LPs of 2011?”.
Well, at number three, we have our favourite compilation of the year: ‘Seven Heven‘, compiled by Mark Webster. This LP brought together songs that were only issued in seven inch format, but each was as sweet as pie, especially this version of ‘I Believe In Miracles’ by The Sunlight Square LaCombo.
In second place is the wonderfully titled ‘Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like A Laser Beam‘ by Extra Classic. This is a reggae album with heavy injections of soul, recorded purely on analogue 8-track equipment. A classic ‘grower’ of an album, this is one record that you will want to live with for a long time. The closing track, ’Give Me Your Love’ is our favourite by far:
And, our favourite LP of the year came to us right at the beginning of it: it is James Blake’s rather brilliant eponymous debut album which was released on Atlas Records in January. As we said at the time, “…across the whole album every note, sound and blip seems to have been placed with intricate care to build the songs element by element”. James’s emotionally-charged but fragile voice creates both tension and beauty in each track, whilst the sub-bass delivers such a sense of foreboding that it makes you think this may be the last record you ever listen to.
Do make sure that these records, as well as many of the others we have mentioned here, make it into your record collection before the year is out. We’ll see you in 2012 with loads more sounds for you to listen to. Can’t wait.