#40/100 – Joker – The Vision

I’d heard this album and been a fan of it since receiving it as a promo, but I was surprised when I found the vinyl for sale, new, in a discount bin during Record Store Day. It’s an interesting record with a lot of Joker’s “Purple” flair on his trademark synths, but the vocal performances are also very, very good. So good, in fact, that Lost was my pick of Side 3 over My Trance Girl, which is a six minute treat of the sound. Lost is, by contrast, a tale of city life with an eye on hope.

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#39/100 – Chancha Via Circuito – Rio Arriba

Back in 2009 or 2010 I got a compilation from an Argentine label called ZZK Records. It was called Future Sounds of Buenos Aires, and it was an eye opening introduction to Cumbia and the sounds of Argentina and South America. Later, Rio Arriba showed up and it included Prima, the track from that compilation by the artist Chancha Via Circuito, and my pick from Side B.

It’s got a wonderful rhythm and swing, lots of cambia swing, and several tempo changes up and down in the track, which are pretty neat.

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#38/100 – Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

This incredible debut LP from the band is high energy from the start and is one of those amazing releases that was recorded in a matter of days after being practiced and performed previously for years. Nothing since has quite matched it, or even the half of it, in my opinion. Luno was my pick from Side D, with it’s immediately catchy, jangly, shifting and relentless story. The drums on this track set it apart more than anything.

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#37/100 – Madlib – Shades of Blue

The Beat Kondukta got a chance to dig in to the archives of Blue Note, one of the premiere jazz labels, and was able to take samples and do some reinterpretations of tracks from artists in the past. It’s a very neat concept that works very, very well. Madlib does his thing very well on Distant Land, from Side A, originally by Donald Byrd. It’s a fun, jangling track with a super bass line, Common samples, and just a lovely flow throughout.

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#36/100 – Beacon – For Now

This neat little EP was the second EP from Beacon, and my first exposure to the duo. Their lushness of vocals and instruments were something I’d not really heard before. I’ve since been able to see them in person at SXSW and in SLC, even getting to meet them and get a radio drop. I really enjoyed Into the Night on Side B, which is at a delightful 45RPM.

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#35/100 – Bill Evans – Top of the Gate

This one is a little unusual because it’s a 10″ record, but it’s also a repress on a non-profit label I picked up during a Record Store Day several years ago. I know I’ve listened to Side A in the past, but Side B was the one to hear tonight. Someday My Prince Will Come is my pick of the two, not only because it’s more memorable, but because it has one thing I really enjoy about jazz trios when the bass and drums can breathe without the lead, be it piano, trumpet, or other.

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#34/100 – James Blake – Overgrown

Lucky to see James Blake, with Falty DL opening, then going to see Bonobo…on my birthday, at which time I bought this record. A very good one, and I listened to Side D, or Side B (II) as it’s labeled.

To the Last is my track pick, over Our Love Comes Back, which is a long favorite. To the Last just has even more of that “James Blake sound” that I like. That’s no small thing. It does remind me that the window of his fame’s influence was a bit longer than I expected. Only the awkward Take A Fall For Me featuring RZA pollutes this album with faux relevance.

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#33/100 – Ahmad Jamal – Portfolio Of Ahmad Jamal

This was a bit of a sentimental pick because it was a library media sale pick that introduced me to his work and it remains a favorite. The album was recorded in late 1958 in his D.C. nightclub, very nicely as well, and captures a moment in time. It’s also a release that never made it to cassette, CD, or digital. Portions of this were included on an album along with parts of at least one other performance. Thankfully many of the best tracks are on that.

Side A is strong, with This Can’t Be Love, Autumn Leaves, and Ahmad’s Blues. A tough pick as the latter of the three is such a great track, but this version of Autumn Leaves is so full of character. It has very elegant tempo changes, excellent areas where Ahmad lets two or three bars breathe, a segment where he plays very far behind, and the outdo. This is one of my favorite recorded moments because the band plays quieter, and quieter still, until Ahmad gives one of his infamous laughs and the crowd cheers. All the while the ambient sounds of an active night club contrast against the music. Delightful

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#32/100 – BT – Emotional Technology

This was an interesting pick because it’s one of the rare progressive trance albums I have. Most of the releases in my collection are singles pulled from a DJ’s fire sale collection many, many years ago. This 2003 release is a good listen, and knowing what his subsequent releases sound like…well it fits right in line. Side C pick was The Great Escape, because it had many of the hallmarks of later albums like This Binary Universe, These Hopeful Machines, Across the Wires, etc…

As a side note, I did get to meet BT at DEF CON 22 where he was a headline artist. Great guy who is an artist that typifies the DEF CON spirit. I’ve see him collect old gear to recreate the studio equipment he had from this early period. He also had my brother do all of the visuals for the album known as “_

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