My albums of the decade 2000-2009


13 Ene 2010, 7:43

by fiffdimension

1) Bob Dylan - Love and Theft - not just a decent-if-overrated comeback album like Time Out of Mind, but a fullblown Dylan masterpiece, marking the start of a decade where he’s gone from forgotten oldie that the others at high school teased me for liking, back to his accustomed role at the head of the table. I’ll let this album stand for all the interesting-new-albums-by-oldies this decade, such as Lou Reed’s The Raven, John Cale’s Hobosapiens, Johnny Cash’s Unearthed, Nick Cave’s Abattoir Blues etc.

2) Byungki Hwang – Gayageum Masterpieces vols 1-5 – music must be an obscure subgenre of world music to most kiwis, but as I lived in Korea for over a year it’s become something quite familiar to me. The gayageum is a zither instrument, equivalent to the Chinese zheng or Japanese koto, and Byungki Hwang uses it to conjure an endlessly listenable array of moods, sounds and styles.

3) Vang Trang Tjeng Dang – The Moon and the Sound of Folk Instruments – I bought this album in Hanoi, - after 15 months of Korean kimchi & smog it was great to escape. The traditional music there is also influenced but with a brighter, metallic, more cheerful tone. From here on I discovered , , J, , , , , and musics.

4) Combat WombatUnsound System – my first escape from was when I moved to in 2005. This album is a classic of , both articulate and phat, political as anything, and sounds nothing like the variety. Very much of its time – ‘get rid of the Howard government’ et al. The closest thing at the end of the decade would be Braintax from the .

5) mr sterile AssemblyHulagu – I’ll let this one stand for the Wellington underground scene (Jeff Henderson, Birchville Cat Motel, fiffdimension, all that kinda stuff). Seven-piece band, professionally recorded & manufactured, title referencing the Iraq war, and followed up by a tour of Eastern Europe… a growing up time for Wgtn cabaret-folk-post-punk.

6) Harry SmithAnthology of American Folk Music vol 4 – oldies, as in -, but the album was newly released, as only the first three volumes came out during Harry Smith’s life. I spent 2006 living in the South Island and picked up a taste for oldies such as Duke Ellington, Charley Patton, Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Shostakovich, Debussy...

7) Various artists – Baxter – this one seemed like a growing up for mainstream music, the point where National Radio became more interesting than any commercial station. Dave Dobbyn in Latin, Jordan Reyne spell-binding in the Mckenzie basin...

9) Derek Bailey - Ballads - late-in-the-game masterpiece from groundbreaking English free- guitarist, where he links the avant-garde with jazz standards as if to provide the evidence that the whole time his career of atonal plinking wonderfulness was based in 'Body & Soul' all along.

10) Da Weasel - Re-Definições - , or hiphop from . For me a lot of the most interesting is in other languages - like food from a particular country, it evokes so much even if the lyrics are unintelligble to a basically monolingual kiwi. I dig Fintelligens (Finnish), Drunken Tiger (Korean), Southside Phuket (Thai), Sido (German) among others.

11) Hank Williams III - Straight to Hell- If Will Oldham captured the 90s best in alt-country, and the first part of the millennium belonged to Johnny Cash, then Hank III, grandson of the original Hank Williams, has been my favourite in recent years. He shows there's no boundary between and , and he ranges across the wide continuum between.

12) Radiohead - In Rainbows - I second 's choice, not because it's my favourite Radiohead album - in fact I haven't even heard the whole thing. It stands for the changes brought by new technology and the imminent obsolesence of CDs, and a vote of confidence in the creative utopian side of the internet, and for the vast multitude of freely available music out there now. Radiohead were the high-profile tip of the iceberg.


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