This list comprises my favorite thought provoking, soulful, funky, afrobeat, inspirational, and or bangin’ records or reissues of the year for 2011. I like to place records in that category into the souldonuts bin, where they usually require more personal research, long hours of exposure, and repeated play over the radio airwaves…but first these insightful words about lists from the art book Cream 3 (Phaidon Press)…
…curator Nancy Spector says”I’ve been musing over America’s mania for list-making, from People magazine’s ‘most beautiful people of the year,’ MTV’s ‘sexiest videos,’ and Amazon.com’s compilations of shoppers’ personal obsessions, to (on a more grave note) the FBI’s most wanted list and President Bush’s infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ inventory…Our ‘top-ten’ lists provide exposure, institutional validation and fodder for the next round of market speculators looking for the ‘new.’ But this model is not specific to Cream 3. I suppose almost every aspect of our curatorial practice intersects with this (economic) reality. That said, there are compelling reasons to participate in a project such as this, namely that the the Cream books reach a broad public and that hopefully more than a few members of that public will come to understand contemporary art differently-as a realm of possibility and provocation rather than an inscrutable or elitist entity.”
I would say that the same is true about so-called indie music and the relationship to pretentious hipsters.
Gilda Williams goes on to say…”Is list-making, however odious and banal or creatively approached, somehow unavoidable in the presentation of new art? One of the ideas behind Cream is, in making it an open-ended project renewed every two to three years, to result in a kind of living, growing archive rather than a ‘definitive 100,’…”
During this season of the end-of-the-year list it is important to remember those words…and avoid the ‘definitive 100,’ approach to life. As Ferris Bueller would say, “take time to stop and smell the roses.”
I’m just offering up the 10 best in no particular order…that’s it. Not as over the top as some other lists.
Helado Negro-Canta Lechuza
Slim Moore and the Mar-kays-Introducing…
Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX-We’re New Here
Big K.R.I.T.-Return To 4eva/The Last King 2
Charles Bradley and the Menahan St. Band-No Time For Dreaming
Toro Y Moi-Underneath the Pine
Ocote Soul Sounds-Taurus
Holiday Shores-New Masses For Squaw Peak
…and the honorable mentions are;
Fool’s Gold-Leave No Trace
Rob-Funky Rob Way (reissue: Analog Africa)
Nicolas Jaar-Space Is Only Noise
Cities Aviv-Digital Lows
El Rego-El Rego
Mayer Hawthorne-How Do You Do
Have a great 2012 everyone!!