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Friday, 14th of December, 2007

Utility Fog 2007 list ("What we enjoyed listening to this year") (3:13 am)

I seemed to miss this last year. Not surprising 'coz it's a lot of work! I'm bad at top-10s and suchlike, so I've just compiled all the releases I really enjoyed this year into one big post. As usual, it's insanely comprehensive. If it's not here, either I didn't like it that much, or it had way too many horrid diva vocals all over it, or I genuinely missed it (it's possible!)
Cross-posted at Cyclic Defrost.
On the Sunday 30th of December and Sunday the 6th of January I'll do my 2007-retrospective shows, and from the look of this list I'll be spoilt for choice. They should rock! Comment with requests, outraged letters-to-the-editor, etc.

65daysofstatic - The Destruction of Small Ideas [Monotreme] {While 65dos have pretty much found a (great) sound and stuck to it, the stand-out final track on this album adds vocals and strings to great effect}
aheadphonehome - in the static [lofly] {Very cool indietronica from Brisbane that I'm embarrassed to have missed when I first posted this list. Glitchy processing, crunchy drums, guitars and vocals.}
Shoeb Ahmad - Mixed Doubles [HellosQuare] {featuring remixes/versions from top types like Part Timer, pretty boy crossover, and others}
Shoeb Ahmad - Summer Drift [Wilting Flower Records]
Shoeb Ahmad - Vinyl Sketches [HellosQuare] {a demo, I think... Both this and the above explore ambient glitchy territory which fits Shoeb like a glove}
Akron/Family - Love Is Simple [Young God] {They tend to get a bit meandery and howly sometimes, but what the heck, they're nothing if not sincere...}
Aleks & the Ramps - pisces vs. aquarius [Cavalier] {Homebrewed hits of last year make good!}
Oren Ambarchi - In the Pendulum's Embrace [Southern Lord] {Oren's latest album is quite similar to his last, except I'm not playing on it... Ex-FourPlay member Veren Grigorov lends some beautiful strings to the middle track, and there are even vocals on the last. As mesmerising as you'd expect}
Angels of Light - We Are Him [Young God] {This was a true stunner, eclipsing almost all other releases for the year, and kept sneaking into my mp3 player's playlists... not to mention sending me back to Swans & M.Gira albums...}
Animal Collective - Peacebone EP [Domino] {The b-sde, "Safer", is at least as good as anything on the new album!}
Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam [Domino]
Appleblim - Vansan [Skull Disco] {I didn't mind the collected Shackleton & Appleblim, Soundboy Punishments, although I really dislike "Blood On My Hands" and the interminable Villalobos remix. That said, this track is awesome.}
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible [Merge] {I was pretty late to Funeral, and late to this too. Quite Bruce Springsteen innit? It's... quite good.}
Ólöf Arnalds - Í Nýhu Húsi [12 Tonar] {I haven't been able to find the album Við Og Við anywhere, but this one track kills me. A simple vocal and guitar track, but full of otherworldly beauty. She's worked with Múm, but this is truly something else. Oh - I downloaded it from somewhere; here for instance. Grab it!}
at the close of every day - leaves you puzzled (the remixes) [art union] {the album seems to be a pretty dreary kind of emo-indiefolk, but the remix album features lots of great people including Hood!}
Raz Mesinai's Badawi - Unit of Resistance [ROIR]
The Bad Plus - Prog [Do The Math/Heads Up] {Some may be tiring of their po-mo jazz covers of pop songs, and while there's nothing as surprising and brilliant as their cover of Aphex's "Flim" from a few years back, or as transcendently beautiful as "Prehensile Dream" from the previous album, this is still a solid and desirable release}
Badun - Badun [Rump] {Danish glitch-jazz, in the vein of Nonplace Urban Field or something, nicely skittery}
Battles - Mirrored [Warp] {Saw them live twice in 2007, and it'll be at least twice in 2008... pogo to the math!}
Battles - Tonto+ [Warp] {in two minds about this... Can't work out if I like the remixes (even the Four Tet one) or if it's just that I just like the song itself so much...}
Beirut - The Flying Club Cup [Ba Da Bing/4AD] {it's genius, but I particularly loved "Transatlantique" from the Elephant Gun 7" on 4AD}
The Besnard Lakes - ...Are the Dark Horse [Jagjaguwar] {a revelation}
Blaerg - Sesquipedalia [self-released] {breakcore with some intriguingly unusual sources}
Björk - Volta [One Little Indian] {just erase that horrible Antony track!}
Blonde Redhead - 23 [4AD] {gorgeous, gorgeous. }
Bola - Kroungrine [Skam] {contains his best song ever, the wonderful "Halyloola"}
The Books - Playall DVD [self-released] {handed to me by Nick Z after I finally saw them live in Chicago! With some new Books tracks accompanying some delightful videos}
Boxcutter - Glyphic [Planet µ] {Wasn't convinced at first by this one, but it's grown on me a lot. Some pretty advanced dubstep sounds, verging on idm & jungle at times}
Bracken - We Know About The Need [Anticon] {unparalleled. Read my gushing review at Cyclic.}
Bracken - Remixes [no label/Anticon] {Awesome, but none as brilliant as Chris Adams' own dubstep reworking of "Heathens" as Downpour on the very limited Norman Records bonus CD from late last year}
Breakage - Clarendon/Shroud [Digital Soundboy] {truly advanced minimal drum'n'bass}
The Bug feat. Flowdan - Jah War [Ninja Tune] {both the original and the amazing Loefah remix!}
The Bug feat. Killa P & Flow Dan - Skeng [Hyperdub]
Caribou - Melody Day 7" [City Slang] {for the stunning Four Tet remix}
Caribou - Andorra [City Slang] {another great surprise, just some great songs and lovely production}
Castings - Punk Rock Is Bunk Squawk [Spanish Magic] {on one track here the Newcastle primitives create something that's almost electronica!}
Cdatakill - Bleeding Hearts Part 1 [Ad Noiseam] {not only an excellent companion to his Valentine album of last year, but also one of the few places we got to hear Enduser this year!}
Cex - Sketchi [Temporary Residence] {I've followed Rjyan Kidwell through his various stylistic changes, and never stopped enjoying him (although I admit I was initially wary of the hip-hop phase).}
Cibelle - Green Grass [serviceav] {an album track covering Tom Waits, but the b-side, "with the ghost of infantjoy", is worth it}
Cluekid - Crazy Legs/Odyssey [Bullfrog Beats] {Odyssey's one of the dubstep tracks of the year...}
Clark - Ted EP [Warp] {I loved the last album, and this offered a continuation thereof along with some nice remixes}
Clouds - Shallow [from MySpace - Finnish dubstep tune featuring that amazing sample of Joanna Newsom's "The Book of Right-On"] {apparently this has been released now...}
Colleen - Les Ondes Silencieuses [Leaf] {absolutely revolutionary - Colleen here plays viola da gamba (more like a cello than a viola), acoustic guitar, clarinet and other instruments, in layered, quasi-baroque style. Enthralling!}
Comatone & Sleuthound - Albert & Leonard Put Things In Holes [Feral Media] {Our Greg's best work yet, incorporating electric guitar but not losing the beats and deep production}
The Crakow Klezmer Band - Remembrance [Tzadik] {their farewell album, live and rapturous gypsy-klezmer}
Deadbeat - Journeyman's Annual [~scape] {meant to be Deadbeat going more up-tempo, but it's still got his signature bounce, plus a bonus of his very fine Saul Williams remix}
The Declining Winter - 7" and remixes [Misplaced Music] {debut solo release from Richard from Hood! Wonderful sounds}
Deerhunter - Cryptograms [Kranky] {Saw them live in Montreal, loudest gig I've seen in some time, with all the energy and bile you could want. Love it!}
Deerhunter - Fluorescent Grey EP [Kranky]
Department of Eagles - No One Does It Like You [free(!) download from Stereogum] {it's still there! FUCK! The world needs new Department of Eagles RIGHT NOW! Check out their Take Away Show from La Blogotèque too! Go on, do it now!}
Dirty Projectors - Rise Above [Dead Oceans] {Black Flag reimagined as post-folk; I saw them supporting Battles in New York in April, and they floored me, especially the "Police Story" cover...}
Distance - My Demons [Planet µ] {a very fine dubstep album that refused to be put back on the shelf for ages}
DJ C - Sonic Weapons [Wimm Recordings] {Jake Trussell finally drops a full-length album as DJ C, collecting a whole lot of highlights from vinyl plus a few other bits. A shame that some of the more blatant samples were curtailed in a few tracks, but it's indispensible all the same!}
DJ /rupture vs Filastine - Shotgun Wedding Vol 6 [Violent Turd] {two great mixes back to back, Rupture mashing it up in his usual inimitable style}
Dntel - Dumb Luck [Sub Pop] {It would be inaccurate to call this a disappointment, as I wasn't really expecting Life Is Still Full of Possibilities... It was pretty good, just mostly unmemorable}
The Drift - rmxs 12" [Temporary Residence] {epic remixes by Four Tet and Sybarite, also available on the Ceiling Sky CD}
Epic 45 - may your heart be the map [Make Mine Music] {very well-received new album from this rural northern UK band, glitchy guitars and all}
sj esau - wrong faced cat feed collapse [Anticon] {very very odd. I particularly like the tracks with fiddle}
Erik Friedlander - block ice & propane [Skipstone Records] {Friedlander shows us how it's done with an album of almost entirely solo cello, wandering through a variety of American folk styles}
Faux Pas - Changes EP [self-released, through Fuse] {with a great remix of Zeal sampling Aleks & the Ramps' banjo...}
Fennesz - On A Desolate Shore A Shadow Passes By [Touch] {beautiful download-only release, available from Boomkat, crept in just at the end of the year...}
Foetus - Vein [Ectopic Ents/Birdman Recording Group] {Only got 2005's Love album a couple of weeks after picking up this excellent remix album. It's great too!}
Fog - Ditherer [Lex Records] {This one took some time to grow on me, but now about 2/3 of it is way up near album of the year territory...}
Sage Francis - Human The Death Dance [Epitaph] {especially "Got Up This Morning", the collaboration with Jolie Holland!}
Fridge - The Sun [Temporary Residence/Domino] {a more Fridge-sounding record you couldn't ask for...}
Burnt Friedman - First Night Forever [Nonplace] {despite a few missteps (IMHO), there were also a few brilliant efforts from one of Germany's glitch-edit kings}
Frog Pocket - come on primates show your teeth! [Planet µ] {his best album yet - the most accomplished combination Celtic harp, fiddle playing and his unique brand of breakcore}
Funckarma - refurbished two [N5MD] {more remixes from the brothers Funcken, still doing idm like none other}
The Future Sound of London - From The Archives Vol 1-4 [FSOL Digital] {astounding - three, now four albums jam-packed with archival FSOL, with nary a dud track among them! Quite a few of the offerings here sound like they post-date Dead Cities too - aren't we lucky!}
Gescom - A1-D1 [SKAM] {not 100% about this - it's a bit of a battering ram - but hey, it's Gescom! New Autechre next year, coming soon!}
Giardini di Mirò - Dividing Opinions [Homesleep]
Githead - Art Pop [Swim~] {I think the first album was better, but "Darkest Star" is excellent}
Grinderman - Grinderman [Mute/ANTI-] {total return to form for Saint Nick; I lost interest after the patchy Murder Ballads and mostly woeful Boatman's Call, and have enjoyed about one track off each album since; caught this playing in an underground punk store in Montreal and couldn't believe my ears.}
Grizzly Bear - Friend EP [Warp] {just delete the CSS crap, but Dan Rossen's "Deep Blue Sea" at the end, and the formerly rare "Granny Diner" are worth the price of admission alone. But then there was...:}
Grizzly Bear - Knife (Girl Talk remix) [Warp] {mp3 courtesy Pitchfork, mashing up Tears For Fears and Clipse with the Grizzles!}
PJ Harvey - White Chalk [Island] {very late entry. Everyone was talking about it, but it still took me ages to hear it. Unearthly and beautiful, better than anything she's done in... aaaaaages}
Hauschka - room to expand [Fat Cat] {prepared piano and post/neo-classical arrangements - a sleeper, I keep coming back to this}
Kim Hiorthøy - My Last Day [Smalltown Supersound] {more of what we expect from Kim, dinky sampled sounds and crazy-yet-muffled beats}
Icarus - Sylt [Rump] {Pure genius. I'm a massive fan I admit, but here they combine their latter-day concrète/electroacoustic leanings more explicitly with the drum'n'bass roots that they'd never really left behind. I'm in love.}
Inlets - Vestibule [Luv Sound] {free download!!! Do it now! It's a crime that Sebastian Krueger isn't better known; these are gorgeous songs, beautifully arranged. It's chamber folk of the highest order}
iTAL tEK - ZIQ184 12" [Planet µ] {"White Mark"'s the one innit. Top class dubstep from a producer equally at home with idm (see below) and breakcore}
iTAL tEK - Snippets [Net-Lab] {free download! Yup, Alan Myson's making waves, and apparently his new Deep Pools 12" is the best yet. It'll go up in this list once I've received it, methinks...}
Jesu - lifeline [Hydra Head Industries] {especially "storm comin' on" (feat. Jarboe) - fuckin yeah!}
Jonquil - Lions [Try Harder] {brilliant follow-up to their Sunny Casinos album, establishing them among the Grizzly Bears, Inlets and Beiruts in the melodic adventurous folkie crowd}
Kettel - Whisper Me Wishes [dub] {compiles a couple of excellent old 12"s with some newer material, combining neo-classical piano and cello works with melodic idm, often in the same songs. His best album yet...}
The Ladies - They Mean Us [Temporary Residence] {Pinback plus Hella equals indieprogpunk bliss}
Laura - (Re)Capitulate [A New Entity] {Late in January '08, and I'm distressed to notice I forgot to list this! Beautiful epic post-rock from this Melbourne band. Gotta love a band with a cello in it...}
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends (John Cale version) [DFA Records] {Cale's version far surpasses the original, appropriately enough. I don't mind the original, but the Cale version went on repeat for days... heck, weeks!}
Legiac - Mings Feaner [Sending Orbs] {would be one of the less exciting Funckarma-related projects of late, but for the track "Vega Orbid", which is absolutely gorgeous}
Low - Drums and Guns [Sub Pop] {a true instant classic. The leftfield production and perfect harmonies combine to make something magical...}
Machine Translations - Seven Seven [Spunk] {He may say he's "changed", but the bent indiepop is still there, and tracks like "Oh Ma the Sea is Rising" and "The First Stone" remind us why he's so special.}
Machine est mon Coeur - self-titled [self-released/promo] {Sydneysider Bianca Calandra and her partner, now reisdent in Paris, created a bizarre mixture of indie songs and way-out experimentalism. We need more of this!}
Maserati - Inventions for the New Season [Sugarrush/Temporary Residence] {"math prog", they say, and that's exactly what it is. I keep meaning to revisit this one!}
MDK - A Theme [WèMè Records] {The A side of this 12" from Spymania veteran MDK is a stunning piece of dubstep-techno, one of the deepest tracks of the year without a doubt...}
Menomena - Friend & Foe [FILMguerrero/Barsuk] {Irresistible. Those piano lines! Those songs! Craig Thompson's artwork! Everything!}
MIA - Kala [XL Recordings] {Yep. Cash registers and machine guns, Pixies quotes and Clash samples, grimey production, it's all there.}
Mice Parade - Mice Parade [Fat Cat] {Quintessential Mice Parade, as you'd expect from an eponymous, is it seventh? album - and we (at least Sydney) get to seem him/them in January!}
Milanese - Adapt [Planet µ] {brilliant stuff - features the stormin' "So Malleable (Cold mix)" which was out on a limited white label 12" last year}
mist & sea - unless [Popfrenzy] {just what you'd expect, I guess, from pretty boy crossover working with the legendary Vincent Giarrusso...}
MRK1 - Copyright Laws [Planet µ] {Brilliant dubstep album which became an instant classic, to the extent that I forgot it came out this year ;) His grime cred comes through in the highly successful collabs with vocalists, and the beats & basslines all hit the spot.}
Múm - go go smear the poison ivy [Fat Cat] {every album I forget how great these guys are. The new album has some great stuff purely for the songwriting, plus retains enough oddness in the production to satisfy}
need more sources - shed [Moteer] {another palpable hit out of left-field for the Moteer folks. And unknown gent called Chris Stewart brings us a mix of folktronica, postrock and cleverly-imitated classical sounds. This kept itself on the stereo for many months}
Nine Inch Nails - Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D [Interscope] {ever since The Downward Spiral, which is still a fantastic album, I've ignored the NIN releases, but continued to pick up the remix EPs & albums, and while this one isn't quite as great as some others, it's not bad at all}
Odd Nosdam - Level Live Wires [Anticon] {Despite the deliberately fuzzy production and strangely buried collaborators, there's a solid hip-hop backbone here, perhaps more than on Burner}
ollo - c-sides 1996-2006 [iTunes exclusive download release] {Very sad that this collection of ollo's outtakes and rare trax is only available through iTunes (unless you're a lucky bugger like me), as it has some really special sounds}
origamibiro - cracked mirrors and stopped clocks [expanding records] {Wauvenfold member does folktronica, to rather lovely effect...}
Part Timer - Blue [Flau] {admittedly featuring sampled FourPlay String Quartet on lots of tracks, but my donation of unused studio improvs to John's cause is entirely because I adore his music. This album's a stunner}
Pieno - Pieno [Curt] {more loveliness from our man in Canberra, Mr Shoeb Ahmad}
Plastician - Beg To Differ [Terrorhythm] {not sure this was really ever released, but the (I would say) very Chinese-sounding "Japan", and the folk fiddles of Vio-Lent made for some stand-out dubstep moments!}
pretty boy crossover - a different handwriting [Sensory Projects] {as pretty as ever, with an indie/shoegaze bent appropriate to their ongoing collaboration with Vince Giarrusso}
Gail Priest - imaginary conversations in reverberant rooms [Metal Bitch Recordings] {this sat on my desk for a couple of weeks before I gave it a play, and I was instantly hooked; reminiscent of the less arcane end of the Mego spectrum}
Radical Face - ghost [Morr Music] {indietronica of high calibre here by Ben from Electric President}
Radiohead - In Rainbows [self-released] {While I think Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief are all better albums, that doesn't mean that this isn't at least 1/2 gold, especially the opening track. My Discbox arrives any day now and I can't wait for the 2nd CD!}
Roam The Hello Clouds - Near Misses [~scape] {Laurence Pike from Triosk, Dave Miller (sometime Pivoteer) and Sydney free trumpeter Phil Slater bring forth a very Triosk-like sound, with Slater's trumpet frequently a thing of beauty}
Saddleback - Night Maps [Preservation] {Yes, I'm playing on most of the tracks, but I'm in awe of Tony Dupe's work, and wouldn't hesitate in offering this up as candidate for Aussie album of the year...}
Ulrich Schnauss - Quicksand Memory [Independiente] {with those great Robin Guthrie mixes!}
Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye [Independiente] {Somehow expecting myself to be a bit sick of Ulrich's nu-shoegaze-tronic sound, instead I found myself really enjoying this album. It's a great shape to it, and just works for pure listening.}
School of Two - POWWOW One [Feral Media POWWOW series] {The stunningly talented Jason Sweeney (see Pretty Boy Crossover above) and his mate Harry create beautiful and classic Aussie electronic indiepop for the inaugral release in Feral Media's POWWOW series}
Serafina Steer - Cheap Demo Bad Science [Static Caravan] {indie-folk on harp and vocals, with some production from Mike Lindsay of Tunng here and there. "Peach Heart" is genius, and the cover of Eno's "By This River" (see also Holly Throsby below) intriguing}
Shearwater - Palo Santo [Misra] {gorgeous album from 2006, almost explicitly a tribute to late-period Talk Talk, re-released on Matador in 2007}
Shitmat - Grooverider [Planet µ] {I liked this a lot more than I expected. Shitmat tones down the hardcore here in a surprisingly literal (except when it's not) tribute to classic junglist stylez}
Valgeir Sigurðsson - Ekvilibirum [Bedroom Community] {when producers make their own albums it doesn't always turn out that great, but Valgeir does a first class job with help from Nico Muhly and others}
Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities - Lucas [Ghostly International] {Utterly bizarre, strangely compelling}
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times [The End Records]
Snawklor - Quick Be the Feet That Run to Mischief [Bus] {great to hear something new from this Melbourne duo! One long track of their characteristic sounds}
Aaron Spectre - lost tracks [Ad Noiseam] {such a versatile producer, whether it's ragga jungle (of sorts, below), the hardcore jungle-meets-hardcore punk of Drumcorps, or the beautifully produced stuff here, more ambient, with crunchy beats, dulcimer and other acoustic instruments, and some vocals...}
Aaron Spectre - Say More Fire/Music Is The Weapon 12" [Rag & Bone]
Subtle - Yell & Ice [Lex Records] {Oh, that Bracken collaboration!!!}
Sunburned Hand of the Man - Fire Escape [Smalltown Supersound] {Amazingly, this came out in October apparently, although this excellent Norwegian label can be hard to find here. I only just picked it up near the end of December, so it's late to this list. Produced by Kieran Hebden, this is experimental freak folk (or New Weird Americana or something) with a side of -tronica and it's excellent. Fans of Animal Collective take note!}
Ryan Teague - Coins & Crosses [Type] {classical meets glitch - didn't make a huge impression but certainly lovely}
Telephone Jim Jesus - anywhere out of the everything [Anticon] {still getting my head around this one, but it's nicely Anticon, with some very pretty acoustic instruments on at least a couple of tracks...}
Terminal Sound System - Compressor [Extreme] {a truly strange deconstruction of the sounds of drum'n'bass from this Melbourne artist}
Thee More Shallows - Book of Bad Breaks [Anticon] {Perhaps a surprising signing to Anticon, but given the indie direction of many of the Anticon stalwarts these days, not so much. Strangely structured with interludes that make the album as a whole hard to grasp, but I really like it whenever I put it on}
They Might Be Giants - parts of The Else were a nice return to form but the best and oddest stuff was on Cast Your Pod To The Wind [Zoë/Longtime Listener]
The Threshold Houseboys Choir - Form Grows Rampant [Threshold House] {What Sleazy Pete did post Coil - weird ambient world music, as dark and atmospheric as ever}
Throbbing Gristle - The Endless Not [Industrial Records] {they're back! Some tracks here are very reminiscent of Coil at their best, and Genesis is his usual unsettling self...}
Holly Throsby - One of You for Me [Spunk] {the title track's delightful, and the cover of "By This River" is beautiful}
Tigrics - Synki [Highpoint Lowlife] {Hungarian idm producer with a highly limited release here, sadly as it has some of his best work, incorporating (it seems) some live instruments into the mix}
Tin Hat - The Sad Machinery of Spring [Hannibal/Rykodisc] {no longer Tin Hat Trio, but no less ravishing}
Amon Tobin - The Foley Room [Ninja Tune] {felt like a return to form!}
Amon Tobin - Kitchen Sink Remixes [Ninja Tune] {just out, very nice!}
Tunng - Good Arrows [Fulltime Hobby] {a couple of great tunes here, but I particularly loved "Peanuts" from the 10" vinyl comp It Happened on a Day (see below). The album doesn't feel like a great leap forward, but I love what they do, so what the heck! And (parts of) Australia finally get to see them in January!}
Underlapper - Red Spring [Feral Media] {one of my top albums of the year, a massive step forward from these Sydneysiders (not that they weren't great before). "Fallen Face Moon" is just one of many highlights from an album beautifully incorporating electronic and postrock elements}
Venetian Snares - My Downfall (OST) [Planet µ] {a sortof sequel to Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, it doesn't quite live up to its predecessor's high standards, but it ain't half bad}
Snares - Sabbath Dubs [Kriss] {This is VSnares kinda doing dubstep, and definitely doing Black Sabbath. Strangely works...}
Via Tania - Moon Sweet Moon [Love & Mercy] {I wasn't expecting to love the new album from ex-SPDFGH singer Tania Bowers, even though I was a fan of the girls from right back when they started... Her vocals can grate a little, but there's some interesting production and songwriting here, plus John Herndon's excellent drumming on about half the album!}
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions [Domino] {Mainly for Rhinohead and "Dearest Friends"}
Vorpal - the end [Cockrockdisco] {download the whole album FREE from here! It's really good - really!}
Why? - The Hollows EP [Anticon/Tomlab] {some nice remixes and covers, and it seems Joni and the gang are keeping their more-indie-than-hip-hop sound for the next album, which is most welcome}
Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! [download-only, self-released] {very interesting collaboration with Trent Reznor - their styles mesh very nicely, and Saul Williams' vocals sound remarkably like Reznor. Also notable for being a download release, circumventing the labels, something this year will be notable for!}
World's End Girlfriend - Hurtbreak Wonderland [human highway records] {The man's a genius, and this is his masterwork. All the crazily-disparate elements, from post-classical to folktronic, postrock, drill'n'bass and glitchy cut-ups, are all here, and all fit together perfectly.}
Robert Wyatt - Comicopera [Domino] {OK, now this man is a true-blue genius, and this is everything that a new Robert Wyatt album should be and more. The sampled vocals of Eno and others, Wyatt's own rough vocals and frequently shattering lyrics in collaboration with his wife Alfreda Benge, coupled with the deceptively simple songs - it's all brilliant. And somehow nice to see him on Domino, home to well-known Wyatt-worshipers (and -samplers) Hood}
Adam Gnade & Youthmovies - Honey Slides [Try Harder] {I knew of Youthmovies, aka Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies, from a 65daysofstatic remix, but hadn't heard of Adam Gnade. Here the band run the gamut from punkish indie to glitchy ambience while Gnade rants over the top. Gnade is a first-class storyteller, and seems to bring out the best in Youthmovies, making this a superlative little EP}

Various Artists - 200 [Planet µ] {For Planet µ's 200th release, they've compiled a double CD of relatively recent vinyl tracks, a few highlights from albums, and some new stuff. Hardly any filler, either!}
Various Artists - Asleep on Trains [hellosQuare] {The ubiquitous Shoeb Ahmad here puts together one of the best compilations of the year, with tracks from Part Timer, Morning Stalker (Morgan from the Underlappies), The Rational Academy and a brilliant Leafcutter John & Sébastien Roux collaboration! Painfully limited}
Various Artists - Binary Oppositions [Static Caravan] {Compiling Birmingham electronic & experimental music with many luminaries, plus Absent's "Wide Range Reader", a dead ringer for Boards of Canada}
Various Artists - It Happened On A Day [Great Pop Supplement] {Tunng track mentioned above, but plenty of other delights on this 10" vinyl comp}
Various Artists - Space and Time [Hotflush] {Only got hold of this killer dubstep comp right at the end of the year. So many excellent tracks! Standout is probably Vaccine's "Fever".}

Plus discovered from 2006:
Ass - Ass [Headspin Recordings] {absolutely mesmerising folk/folktronica/something-or-other from an obscure Swedish artist}
Breakage - This Too Shall Pass [Bassbin] {Very solid drum'n'bass album with some intriguing sub-d'n'b-tempo numbers on the 2nd CD}
Patrick Watson - Close to Paradise [Secret City Records] {released in Australia in 2007, Watson comes complete with Pitchfork's disapproval, but to these ears his occasionally excessive Jeff Buckleyisms are more than made up for by the lush arrangements, occasionally skittery contemporary touches, and cabaret songwriting}

And on top of this, I spent large slabs of 2007 obsessively listening to reissued/remastered NOmeansno albums...

7 Responses to “Utility Fog 2007 list ("What we enjoyed listening to this year")”

  1. Peter Hollo’s Utility Fog best of 2007 post » article » Cyclic Defrost Magazine Says:

    [...] horrid diva vocals all over it, or I genuinely missed it (it’s possible!) Cross-posted at the Utility Fog blog. On the Sunday 30th of December and Sunday the 6th of January I’ll do my 2007-retrospective [...]

  2. Stu Says:

    Lots of things I've been meaning to catch up on. You've missed my favourite of the year - Ed Kuepper & The Kowalski Collective "Jean Lee & The Yellow Dog", I'll give you a listen to it when I come to Sydney.
    Also listening to the new Ned Collette album right now, great stuff.

    Another Planet Mu comp that's worthwhile is Ten Tons Heavy, with a bonus mix from DJ Hatcha.

    Did you ever get Soul Jazz's "Rumble in the Jungle" compilation? I kept looking out for it on vinyl but it never turned up in my local store & I didn't get around to ordering it. I thought it sounded like the sort of thing you might be into.

    Seemed to be a bit of a slower year in Adelaide in fact it seemed at times that all the bands were breaking up, but watch out next year for new albums from No Through Road and The Sea Thieves who have both been in tremendously good form in recent gigs and have plenty of great material.

  3. Peter Says:

    Yeah, 10 Tons Heavy is nice, but I had pretty much all the tracks already, and I wasn't *that* impressed by the mix, so it didn't make it.
    I have Rumble in the Jungle, which also is very nice but I have many of the tracks already...

    Yup, do play me the Ed Kuepper!
    And I haven't heard Ned Collette's album dammit! Must do so.

  4. Greg Says:

    A very lovely and in depth list! There are quite a few albums that I am going to have to catch up on. You seemed to have covered most of my favs from the year, but here are a couple more just for good measure: Damiak - Micalavera, Do make say think - You you're a history in rust, The twilight sad - Fourtenn autumns and fifteen winters, Motoro Faam - ...and water cycles, Hella - There's no 666 in outer space, Busdriver - Roadkill overcoat, Touch Typist - You cannot kiss a laughing mouth.
    Another great year for music!!

  5. Peter Says:

    Thanks for your additions, Greg! I did quite like Misclavera but it didn't quite make it to the top list somehow. I haven't heard the Do Make Say Think! How bad is that! Will get there.
    And let's see... interested also in The Twilight Sad, jeepers - there's always more to listen to, hey!

  6. [Stumblings in the dark] » 10 years ago… Says:

    [...] few days ago I finally posted my ridiculously comprehensive 2007 list at the Utility Fog blog. Over at the Mess+Noise boards today there’s a thread on [...]

  7. tim faux pas Says:

    just found this! thanks for the shout-out! this totally wins the 'longest end of year list' award. i love this time of year, so much new stuff to seek out.

    a few things off the top of my head that i dug this year that i didn't see in your list, maybe you weren't into them (because i know the chances of you not having heard of them are probably pretty slim, you voracious voracious man): black moth super rainbow "dandelion gum" -- vocoder sunshine pop plus boards of canada filters and koushiky beats, fun times. the field "from here we go sublime" -- not into this? samples kate bush and lionel richie! principles of geometry "lazare" & studio "yearbook 1" -- beardy disco? studio described as the cure backed by fela kuti... icy cold. disasteradio "visions" -- kiwi giorgio moroder meets andrew wk. ahhhhh! musikkkkkkk

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