Top albums of 2013: 3

Overview | Part 1 | Part 2 | Mentions | Longlist

Buke & Gase  General Dome

Buke & Gase - General Dome

My favourite part of the latest Buke and Gase album (the buke is Arone Dyer’s modified baritone ukulele and the gase is Aron Sanchez’s guitar-bass hybrid) is called ‘Split Like a Lip, No Blood in the Beard’. The song is made up of regular twelve beat sequences, which shift irregularly and entertainingly between rhythmic sets of three 2/4 bars and two 6/8 bars. Like this (each number or dash is a beat, and it goes fast – listen here):

1-2-1-2-1-2- | 1-2-1-2-1-2- | 123123123123 | 123123123123 | 1-2-1-2-1-2- …

And this isn’t the only place that they produce the kind of holy laughter-inducing musical shift that I probably shouldn’t be allowed to listen to in public.

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Daughn Gibson  Me Moan

Daughn Gibson - Me Moan

Slide guitar: check. Hazy electronics: check. Lone bagpiper: check. Semi-comprehensible Elvis-type baritone: check. Here the descriptions end, and your compulsion to seek out Daughn Gibson’s second album is supposed to begin. Meanwhile, I’m off to find the debut.

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John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts

John Grant’s second solo album should probably be unlistenable; it’s intense and confessional, an unpleasant cocktail of heartbreak, loathing (for both Grant’s former lover and himself) and upfront acknowledgement of his recent positive HIV diagnosis. But it’s compelling – Grant’s voice, smooth and resonant, and changes of pace between piano and guitar led ballads and quasi-dance tracks like ‘Sensitive New Age Guy’, kind of escape as well as convey the pain and anger.

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Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 3

The final part of the New History Warfare trilogy continues where the previous left off, with bass sax virtuoso Colin Stetson’s thrilling technique. Accompanied this time by occasional vocals from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Stetson’s music is an onslaught of deep saxophone notes, harmonics, grunts, wheezes and the percussive clicks and thuds of sax keys.

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