And then there were 16! After much soul searching and deep musing Dirty Projector’s Bitte Orca, Mos Def’s The Ecstatic and Clark’s Totems Flare have been added to the very prestigious, Misspeak Music Best of 2009.
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Off-kilter avant-pop with a wonderful preoccupation on the human voice. The spiralling vocals of Coffman and Deradoorian run the show here and this wonderful, wordless and instrumental quality that their voices add to the record’s impressive arsenal is best exampled on Stillness Is The Move, a track that is an excellent fusion of art-pop inventiveness and Pop Idol style mega-pop, but good.
Mariah Carey, take note. This is how to do warbling octave tourism without it sounding shit and indulgent.
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Globally-inspired ,soulful and jazzy Hip-Hop. You always know you’re going to get something different with Mos Def, that’s not always necessarily a good thing, but in this case it almost definitely is.
Like Q-Tip’s Renaissance, this seems to cherry pick the best elements of black music history from the past half-century and restructures it into a tight and lean package. There’s no indulgent skits, misogynistic tirades or anything else that usually mars the genre. It’s pure, un-filtered Hip Hop at its best.
Check out Casa Bey, Mos Def rides the rhythm flawlessly, switching it up with staccato stabs and some R&B crooning, employing his voice in a fashion that transcends the lyrics being sung. His voice becomes another instrument in the multi-layered jazz workout in a fashion that isn’t that dissimilar to how the Dirty Projectors track (A theme is being established here!).
MP3: Mos Def – Casa Bey
Clark – Totems Flare
Quite mental and intense IDM. Think Squarepusher meets Justice. Technically proficient but melodic and human at the same time. Most of the songs stand out as mini-suites amongst themselves, really ambitious and breathtaking music.
Rainbow Voodoo is my choice. It ably demonstrates the more spacey, melodic IDM and the harder, distorted and glitchy elements of the album. Once again the voice is employed as another instrument, anonymous, wordless vocal melodies are thrown over the relentless beat to add to the destructive and claustrophobic immediacy of the track.
Nice frolicking, playful keyboard outro, then a spacey, ambient coda takes us out but not before a final dirty burst of noise.