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NeahkahnieGold 10 Albums to Get You Ready for Mardi Gras in New Orleans

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Mardi Gras in New Orleans is indulgent sensory overload. Smells of boudin balls and gumbo wafting in the wind, strings of beads flying through the air and endless booze-fueled dancing sets the holiday far apart from any other in the country. With the start of Carnival season comes fanciful parades, colorful king cakes, and pretty Big Chiefs strutting with their krewes. It’s no surprise that musicians in the birthplace of Jazz have paid tribute to their home city with iconic Mardi Gras music.

 

Carnival season is best spent immersing yourself in the music of New Orleans. With its quick rhythm, swampy cadence and brassy melodies, the style perfectly encapsulates the feeling of Mardi Gras. Like those first warm breezes rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico, the warm sound of vinyl is the perfect fit for these classic New Orleans’ albums. Get your feet dancing and funk up your Fat Tuesday with these picks.

 

Essential Mardi Gras Music

Professor Longhair - New Orleans Piano Music album cover

Professor LonghairNew Orleans Piano Music

Professor Longhair was a New Orleans’ icon, with an eclectic calypsorumba style and vibrant personality to match. This album contains some of his best known works at a time when he was in his prime. Two songs stand out from the rest for their deep connections to Mardi Gras – Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Tipitina. The whistle in Mardi Gras in New Orleans is positively Pavlovian to those that love the holiday. It’s tradition to play these songs on a Mardi Gras morning and they are the perfect rhythm to get your feet dancing on Fat Tuesday! For a more Mardi Gras-centric compilation of his work, give Mardi Gras in New Orleans 1949-1957 a listen. With his full band, The Shuffling Hungarians, the album is an absolute blast!

Listen

The Meters - Fire On The Bayou album cover

The MetersFire On The Bayou

Heavily inspired by Professor Longhair and considered by many to be the founding fathers of Funk, The Meters is one of the most famous New Orleans’ bands. This album is one of their best, released while they were opening for the Rolling Stones on tour, and has a healthy dose of Mardi Gras songs scattered throughout. They say every child in New Orleans learns They All Ask’d For You while growing up and the original cut found on this album is steeped in the soul of many in the Crescent City. The album closes out with the famed Mardi Gras Mambo – the unofficial anthem of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Listen

Rebirth Brass Band - Feel Like Funkin' It Up album cover

Rebirth Brass BandFeel Like Funkin’ It Up

Originally started in Joseph S. Clark High School in the Treme neighborhood by famed trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and his fellow classmates, the Rebirth Brass Band is a standard bearer of sassy, brassy New Orleans sound. With the shameless Do Watcha Wanna, a speedy rendition of Big Chief, and the classic I Feel Like Funkin’ It Up all etched on the first side of this brilliant LP, it’s a must listen during Mardi Gras season.

Listen

Dr. John - Dr. John's Gumbo

Dr. JohnDr John’s Gumbo

Dr. John is the heart and soul of a city that eats, sleeps, and breathes unique music. Churning out swampy songs under his own moniker since the bayou funk masterpiece Gris Gris in 1968 and as a session-musician long before that, Dr. John has left an enduring impact on the culture and style of New Orleans music. Though all of his albums have that creole cadence and New Orleans rhythm, perhaps no other album speaks to the true soul of Mardi Gras better than Dr. John’s Gumbo. A collection of covers of songs from his native Louisiana, Dr. John amplifies many of these greats with his signature style. From the loving rendition of Iko Iko, to the rolling keys of Big Chief, to the strong chants of Little Liza Jane, this album is Mardi Gras gold.

Listen

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - My Feet Can't Fail Me Now

Dirty Dozen Brass BandMy Feet Can’t Fail Me Now

Big, brassy sounds are quintessential to New Orleans and Dirty Dozen Brass Band is perhaps the most well-known purveyors of this slice of Mardi Gras music. Representing a departure from the traditional brass style of earlier Jazz predecessors, their brazen style and electric live performances have left a lasting impact on the city’s music. My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now is the perfect anthem for your long Mardi Gras days.

Listen

Louis Armstrong - Mardi Gras March

Louis ArmstrongMardi Gras March

Lous Armstrong is a lion of Jazz. Though frequently associated with New York, he cut his chops in the Big Easy and was even King of Zulu Krewe in 1949. Mardi Gras March is his tribute to the city and festival that he forever held dear.

Listen

Courir du Mardi Gras

Various – Musique Cajun: Le “Courir” Du Mardi Gras A Mamou – Louisiane U.S.A.

On the outskirts of town in the rural plains of Southern Louisiana, Mardi Gras is celebrated in an entirely different way. With beer and liquor free flowing, an obligatory run through mud, communal gumbo, and whimsical costumes, Courir de Mardi Gras is nearly unrecognizable from it’s city dwelling sibling. Trade a brass section for a fiddle and English lyrics for French and you’ve got yourself a Cajun Mardi Gras. This album touches on some of the staples heard in yonder parish fields on Fat Tuesday.

See a Cajun Courir de Mardi Gras

Fats Domino - Let's Play Fats Domino

Fats DominoLet’s Play Fats Domino

We all know that New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, but could it have also been the starting point of Rock and Roll? Ask any Fats Domino fan and you might be surprised by the answer you get. His cover of the soulful When the Saints Go Marching In is still used when the New Orleans Saints put points on the board and can be heard echoing through the balcony-lined streets of the Crescent City throughout Carnival season.

Listen

Allen Toussaint - Southern Nights

Allen ToussaintSouthern Nights

A personal favorite of this author is the late, great Allen Toussaint. No list of iconic New Orleans music is complete without giving credit to this legend. You can’t go wrong with any Allen Toussaint album, but perhaps no other carries the sound and style of the city more than Southern Nights. A prolific songwriter and producer, Toussaint shines in this album and in doing so provides the perfect soundtrack to keep you grooving on those shimmering Mardi Gras nights.

Listen

The Wild Tchoupitoulas album cover

The Wild TchoupitoulasThe Wild Tchoupitoulas

Credit where credit is due. When I wrote originally wrote this post, I left out one of the most important Mardi Gras albums, The Wild Tchoupitoulas self-titled album. Discogs user willyrobinson called me out, and rightfully so. It’s not only one of the most beautiful album covers you could have in your collection, it also has deep ties to the cultural heritage of the revered Mardi Gras Indians that march the streets on Fat Tuesday. Arranged by the famed Neville brothers and with vocals from actual New Orleans Chiefs, this album is both a historic relic and a fantastic listen. If you’re looking for a quintessential Mardi Gras song, look no futher then “Meet De Boys On The Battlefront”.

Listen

 

Am I missing many others? Absolutely. From the Storyville Stompers that follow the Society of St. Ann to the river in rememberance of those that have passed to the many marching bands that parade the streets, the history of Mardi Gras music is rich. Help build on our list by sharing your favorite New Orleans’ albums to listen to during Carnival season in the comments. Don’t forget to check out one of your local record shops, or the Discogs Marketplace, to add these to your collection!

 

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LowEnd91 Discogs Mix 80 – Varoslav

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Varoslav is a Parisian DJ and producer of Czech origin, and owner of the Rue de Plaisance label. He has been now been a part of the electronic music scene for more than 20 years. As a DJ, this tireless record digger guides the dance regularly for thousands of electronic music lovers worldwide. Many of them have moved their bodies under his direction in Berlin (Cocoon, Panorama Bar, Watergate, Weekend), Ibiza (Space), Lisboa (Lux), London (Fabric, Half-Baked), New York (ReSolute), Roma (Goa), Montreux (Montreux Jazz Festival) and for sure, in Paris (Rex Club, Concrete, and many more).

His 2008 EP Inside Ways pushed Varoslav as a producer to the forefront of the electronic music scene. Then, in 2011, he launched his own label: Rue de Plaisance (R2P for friends), which is the name of street where he grew up and where he still has his music studio. The label was the perfect opportunity for him to develop a more personal style. After two solo maxis (2011’s 100 and 2013’s Help!) and four collaboration releases between 2012 and 2017, Varoslav brands Rue de Plaisance with his own unique identity and sensibility.

This mix was made at home on February 1st, 2019 with my two old MK2 Technics + 1 CDJ 850 on an Allen & Heath Xzone 92 mixer. The idea was to make a house music session with vinyl from my collection that I started back in 1999. I’ve been using the CDJ for a couple of upcoming tracks on my label Rue de Plaisance. For the rest, I tried to keep it real and fun for Discogs listeners. Im always trying to find a selection that could be listened to a few years later. I have selected here some old and recent stuff as I like to do in my sets. Thanks for the invite Discogs!

Varoslav Mix Tracklist:

  1. Matthias Puech – Untitled
  2. Subway – Testing
  3. Natural Affair – Talki Walki
  4. SCSI-9 – Try To Forget
  5. XDB – Jupit
  6. Havantepe – Revolt
  7. Holger Flinsch – Kopara
  8. Alex Picone – A Flock Of Hummingbirds
  9. Christian Morgenstern – Untitled
  10. Brian Aneurysm – Inertia
  11. Alec Falconer – Flicker Zone [Upcoming, Rue de Plaisance 28]
  12. Noon(at – First Drops
  13. HDV – Upper Indigo [Upcoming, Rue de Plaisance 29]
  14. Rithma – Coeur D’Alene
  15. HDV – Dusk Duty [Upcoming, Rue de Plaisance 29]

Varoslav: Discogs | Facebook | SoundCloud
Rue De Plaisance: Discogs | Official | Instagram

Did you enjoy this mix? Check out more exclusive Discogs Mixes.

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Mike Duquette The Rebirth Of Prince: 2004-2007

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If you believe in reincarnation, Feb. 8, 2004 could well be the day Prince was reborn.

It was then, on the stage of Los Angeles’ Staples Center, that the artist formerly, currently, and forever known as Prince stepped back into the spotlight by opening the 46th annual Grammy Awards with a medley of tracks from Purple Rain and an assist from Beyoncé (who also contributed her breakout solo smash Crazy In Love between renditions of Baby I’m A Star and Let’s Go Crazy).

Any Prince fan worth their salt wouldn’t call Prince’s mid-aughts wave of success a “comeback,” and neither would Prince. The Purple Yoda never stopped recording, even if most of his post-millennium output up to that time was either hard to find (released digitally in a post-Napster/pre-iTunes world) or comparatively esoteric (three releases before Musicology are instrumental jazz/funk offerings).

But from 2004 and onward — particularly the albums Musicology, 3121, and Planet Earth, all of which have been newly reissued (including the first-ever vinyl releases of all three) — a new era of funk was upon not only faithful fans, but casual observers, too.

Here’s a look back at how Prince changed things with each of these releases, from performing your art to finding different ways to sell it.

The Old School Joints 4 The New Funk Soldiers

Once most acts are deemed fit by Jann Wenner and crew for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they’re comfortably settled into elder statesman territory — but not Prince. When he was inducted into the Hall on March 15, 2004, Prince was weeks away from releasing Musicology — his first new album in partnership with a major label (in this case, Columbia Records) since the release of Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic in 1999.

Live music junkies remember his performances, particularly the closing jam alongside Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison on The BeatlesWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps, as an all-timer. (Where did that guitar land?)

Beyond gravity-defying instruments, Prince broke the mold in a huge way leading up to Musicology’s release. When the Musicology 2004ever Tour began at the end of March, every fan with a ticket was given a copy of the album. Billboard’s data tracker, Nielsen SoundScan, had never accounted for this strategy.

When first week sales were counted in April, the album soared to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 191,000 copies sold — Prince’s best SoundScan-era sales week and his highest chart peak since Diamonds and Pearls bowed in 1991. In time, the industry shook off its bewilderment to bundling; 14 out of the 38 albums that topped the chart in 2017 did so as part of a ticket deal.

More than flashy business moves, though, Musicology resonated because it’s authentically Prince. Some critics at the time were quick to note the disparity between the album’s old-school R&B rave-up and the current wave of top acts influenced by his imperial ’80s sound, from Andre 3000 to Timbaland.

But like the fine tailored suits he was fond of at the time, Musicology fits Prince’s form perfectly. The young man who shouted “you’re gonna have to fight your own damn war” on 1980’s Partyup squares with the older, wiser man decrying “the mass illusion, war on terror alibi” on Cinnamon Girl or slipping the surveillance state into a come-on in Call My Name (“They can bug my phone and people ’round my home / They’ll only C U and me making love inside”).

Never Mind What Time It Is, The Party’s Just Begun

So, Prince’s comeback (we know, he said not to call it that) is in full swing. What’s he going to do next? Shortly after the curtain closed on the Musicology era, Prince was back with a new record, 3121. The inspiration behind the name is up for debate. Theories abound over psalms, the order of Prince’s discography (it’s his 31st album, released on March 21, 2006), or the address of a Los Angeles mansion he infuriated the landlord (NBA power forward Carlos Boozer) by redesigning.

What is not up for debate, though, is Prince’s continued, certifiable hot streak. A week after it dropped, 3121 entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 — the first time he’d notched a chart-topping album since the Batman soundtrack in the summer of 1989. (The sudden release announcement chased at least one contractually-mandated Prince compilation off the calendar for several months.)

Critics were also duly thrilled with Prince’s return to spinning off effortless (but not lazy) albums at a rapid clip. “I’m back to suspecting that, at 47, [he] can keep laying top-shelf stuff on the public for as long as he’s in the mood,” Robert Christgau declared.

Indeed, consistency was the name of the game for Prince. Finally, after watching pop stars adapt his whining vintage synths and drum machines for their own ends, along comes Black Sweat to bring the ball back to his court. 3121 finds him committed to seducing you in Spanglish (Te Amo Corazon) or with a partner (Beautiful, Loved and Blessed, featuring new protégée Támar). And if you want more of the old school joints from Musicology, there’s Fury, The Dance and freewheeling closer Get On The Boat.

That consistency stretched to 3121’s promotion, too. At a time when artists, particularly older ones, felt the need to flit around and reach increasingly busy audiences, Prince largely planted his feet firm and let the people come to him. His only concert dates in support of the album were held at a specially-created nightclub at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas — a residency that stretched from November 2006 to April 2007, more than 40 dates in all.

Then, of course, there was the Super Bowl. On Feb. 4, 2007, Prince took the stage at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium for Super Bowl XLI’s halftime show, an epic set in the middle of a torrential downpour that became the new yardstick by which all subsequent performers have been judged. (Sorry, Maroon 5.)

To revitalize a prime piece of entertainment real estate like this (having been occupied by classic rock acts like Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones after the controversial 2004 appearance by Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson) is no small feat. But when has Prince made his efforts look other than easy?

So Shall It B Written, So Shall It B Sung

With Prince’s neoclassical period in full swing, what is there left for him to do? How do you grab people’s attention as succinctly as he did from Musicology onward? The answers were equally surprising and scintillating when Planet Earth came into orbit in the summer of 2007.

After the Super Bowl, it was clear that Prince could’ve proceeded with an album rollout the same way he did the last two times, no matter how different Planet Earth is from its predecessors. (The strains of R&B here are lighter, with melodic pop and rock driving the conversation — check the righteous Guitar or deep cuts The One U Wanna C and Resolution, both recorded with former bandmates Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman.)

But one eye- and ear-catching alteration to Planet Earth’s cycle showed off Prince’s curiosity toward alternative distribution and anticipated a crucial (if difficult) change in philosophy for the remainder of his career. In England, Prince elected to give Planet Earth away as a covermount album, included free with copies of The Mail On Sunday — the first time anyone had ever done so with a full album of new material.

The industry was briefly aflutter: Columbia, who’d inked a deal to release Planet Earth in most territories, cancelled the British release, and music retailer HMV begrudgingly agreed to carry the Mail issue in their store.

The controversy did little to impact Prince’s continued dominance of the pop/rock world: Planet Earth became yet another Top 5 album on the Billboard 200, and each concert of his next residency (a 21-night stand London’s O2 Arena) sold out. However, it did anticipate the cautious, conservative approach Prince would take to the Internet during the 2010s, after grasping digital distribution earlier than any major label did.

Ultimately, you can’t blame Prince for doing things his way — especially when “his way” involved more risk than most, as well as surprising rewards that helped remind fans old and new what made him a legend.

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Sean Cannon SoundCloud Makes It Even Easier To Maintain Independence

We understand what it means to be a tool for people who play outside of the bounds of the music industry. Producers, DJs, musicians, and labels of all stripes use Discogs as a resource for research, inspiration, and even physical distribution in the Discogs Marketplace.

The folks at SoundCloud are kindred spirits on that and other fronts. They’re all about fostering an egalitarian, user-led community for the appreciation of music. Sound familiar? Yesterday, they took that dedication a step further with the launch of distribution as part of SoundCloud Premier, their direct monetization program.

They’ve simplified the process of digital distribution for creators who want to maintain their artistic and financial independence. Now you can push your music out to all the major streaming services through SoundCloud Premier and get payments directly through the service. That would be a big enough development on its own, but here’s the kicker: SoundCloud doesn’t take a cut of the payments.

Up-and-comers and iconoclasts have always found paths around the traditional music business machinery, but this launch aids that ingenuity in a big way. “I believe SoundCloud’s new distribution tool is the way of the future for independent artists and music in general,” said rising rapper and Lil Yachty collaborator Leaf. “It makes distribution an easy one-step process, giving you a very simple way to monetize your plays and the freedom to reach new heights with your fan base.”

It’s all about grinding when you’re an artist, but anything that can ease the workload is huge. “SoundCloud’s distribution tool is a great way for unsigned artists to get their music out there for the world to hear,” said producer and musician Jevon. “Everyone knows how easy it is to upload a song to SoundCloud, and now it’s just as simple to upload and distribute everywhere.”

Now you have an easy way to move your vinyl (for real, why isn’t your new EP listed in the marketplace yet?) and control your digital destiny!

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Diognes_The_Fox The Discogs Top 50 Best Selling Records Of December 2018

2018 was a heck of a year, but it’s over. This month I decided to work in some new logic into the Top 50 and remove duplicates for similar titles. This way we can squeeze more interesting new information into the post and not reward labels for making a whole ton of different color variants to try and jam up the list. Moving on though, this month had a lot of unique new releases, as well as some classics that had flown under the radar in past holiday seasons such as The Wailers. Tracy Chapman is once again an indestructible force in this list. Everyone loves Fast Car. There’s no bones about it. While it was a long December, I for one certainly believe that this year may be better than the last. Let us know what you like or don’t like about how other people spent their money down below and see you all next time.

 

The Wailers - Catch A Fire

#5 – The Wailers – Catch A Fire

LP, Album, Ltd, RE, Smoke Swirl, 180g

Queen - A Night At The Opera

#7 – Queen – A Night At The Opera

LP, Album, Embossed Gatefold

Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses

#12 – Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses

2xLP, Album, Ltd, Num, RE, Silver

Phish - Slip Stitch And Pass

#19 – Phish – Slip Stitch And Pass

2xLP, Album, Ltd, Num, Blue and Purple Splatter

Eric Dolphy - Musical Prophet (The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions)

#23 – Eric Dolphy – Musical Prophet (The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions)

Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Mono
Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Mono
Vinyl, LP, Mono
All Media, Compilation, Limited Edition, Numbered

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

#33 – Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

2xLP, Album, Deluxe Edition, Gatefold

Buzzcocks - Love Bites

#36 – Buzzcocks – Love Bites

LP, Album, Embossed Cover

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon

#44 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

LP, Album, RE, RM, Gatefold, 180 Gram

Susumu Yokota - Acid Mt. Fuji

#47 – Susumu Yokota – Acid Mt. Fuji

2xLP, Album, RE, RM, 180g

Weezer - Africa

#49 – Weezer – Africa

7″, Shape, Ltd, Pic

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Discogs Staff The 10 Best Ambient Albums

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As a longtime nerd of electronic music in all of its forms, compiling a list of the ten best ambient albums is true torture. Please know that I feel appropriately ashamed for leaving out all the classics I inevitably must skip here. However, if this list helps those uninitiated down the path of chilled-out enlightenment, then my job has served its purpose.

The term “ambient” is mostly just another genre-tag we use for convenience — I’m pretty sure some consider Enya ambient as well, so it makes all the great stuff we know as “ambient” that much more trivial. Even the very term itself has sub-genres: “ambient house”, “chillbient” (what is “chillbient” anyway? Forget it, I don’t want to know), “Illbient” (see “chillbient”), “dark ambient”….the list goes on. The one prevailing idea behind this type of music is that it conjures a certain mood and tone of instrumental and relaxed nirvana whilst incorporating samples of every day happenings like bees buzzing, birds chirping, and cows farting (listen to “Sticky End” on “U.F. Orb”). These found sounds only go so far before the human element needs to take charge and converge the atmosphere with samples, synths, and classical origins.

The best ambient music struck its loudest chords in the 70’s and 90’s. In the 70’s, Brian Eno made the single greatest stride in the history of ambient music with a series of exceedingly beautiful vinyl adventures that still hold up to this very day. These works acted as a catalyst to any type of modern beat-less, instrumental music existing. Eno proved that instrumental electronic music can be just as emotional as the most complicated Mozart symphony, or more importantly (in the face of tired rock aesthetics), the longest screeching guitar solo. The 90’s made ambient music even better. The young techno crowd stepped in and showed off their aptitude in studio science while incorporating the latest and greatest in musical technology. This 90’s generation was the first to be influenced by the greatness of the experimental 70’s, and they concocted a heady brew mixed with dance culture. Some of the finest moments in ambient music shimmered from this time period and those precious ideas only continue to gather steam.

Eno once described his ambient output as “environmental music”, as if to say that his music was there to ignore as much as get lost in. An organic approach to ambient music is key — it invites the listener to be just as engaged and proactive as is necessary. It’s evolving music, shifting with moods, allowing us to hear something different each time we listen. To call it formless is missing the point entirely, as we put as much form as our personal experience allows us to. This relative freedom opens huge scopes of possibility built upon exactly what our life experience brings to the music.

Let’s get lost, shall we?

10 Essential Ambient Albums

  1. Terre Thaemlitz

    Soil

    Terre Thaemlits: Soils - Best Ambient Albums

    If you don’t know the name Terre Thaemlitz, it’s high time you did. Thamelitz also records under the name DJ Sprinkles, and has produced some of the most highly soulful ambient music this side of the early 90’s. I highly encourage anyone to investigate this fascinating character’s output and politics, but what stands above all of this is the staggering depth of the music, never more so than here on Soil. The similarities to Aphex Twin are here, but Soil encapsulates feelings of beauty and dread simultaneously, leaving a feeling of unease and unpredictability to each listen. Closing track Cycles is one of her best tracks ever, enticing the listener to sit closer to the speakers with its broken keyboard melody. Yet it is also repelling us with a ghostly voice scratching at the surface as if it were trying to crawl out of the speakers and ruin our bliss. Mood music indeed. Stars Of The Lid have conjured up some amazing tunes in their time, but their mojo comes from releases like this. Thaemlitz is a force not to be ignored, and Soil is an example of a tremendous slice of 90’s ambient that has gone overlooked for far too long.

    Listen


  2. Biosphere

    Substrata

    Biosphere: Substrata - Best Ambient Albums

    Substrata by Biosphere makes most of the best ambient lists, and why the hell shouldn’t it? Equal parts spooky and gorgeous, Geir Jenssen incorporated his early influences of techno and house, and collided it with some of the most haunting soundscapes ever. The magic of Substrata is how Jenssen turns the humans into an alien life form amidst the pulsing electronics — in track “Hyperborea”, a human voice finally materializes to literally “reveal itself”, sounding more strange and foreboding than the streaking electronics that pierce it. Substrata is an intensely personal work of ambiguity, built around claustrophobia, disengagement, and naturalistic fallacy.

    Listen


  3. Brian Eno & Harold Budd with Daniel Lanois

    The Pearl

    Brian Eno & Harold Budd with Daniel Lanois: The Pearl - Best Ambient Albums

    The Pearl is one of the purest ambient albums there is, stuffed with melancholy and quiet beauty. Whether you’re driving home during rush hour, flying high above the earth in a jet, or staring at the azure sky in a field of daisies, The Pearl will right your ship once again. While this is undoubtedly an Eno production with the bubbling loops and nostalgic vibe, Budd’s classical influence transcends the ambient genre and creates something altogether timeless.

    Listen


  4. Gas

    Königsforst

    Gas: Königsforst - Best Ambient Albums

    It was difficult to choose just one Gas release for this list of the best ambient albums. Any one of Wolfgang Voigt’s side project albums would suffice, but I’m choosing this third album in the series due to its sizable shift from the first album, and his unique use of sampling. Perhaps the closest brother to Eno’s Ambient series, Voigt makes the heart ache with his desire to completely encapsulate the listener with strings and melody without even a hint of subtlety. In the hands of a lesser producer this could come off as pompous and pretentious, but the music acts as a mere extension of our own emotions as each track goes exactly where we hope it to go. Königsforst is the best example of how a 4/4 beat can work exceptionally within this ambient framework without sounding like a mere club track. “Track 5”, with its peripheral beat, is grounded by spooky horn calls, and ghostly echoes of some lost orchestra. Chilling, haunting, and absolutely timeless, Königsforst easily makes it into this top 10 ambient albums list.

    Listen


  5. The Orb

    Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld

    The Orb: Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld- Best Ambient Albums

    Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld forever married the ethics of dance culture into the spaciousness of ambient music. In the late 80’s, Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty performed “chill out” sets for the rave kids to come down to, allowing them an opportunity to show listeners a taste of a different sort of electronic music. While Cauty continued on with the KLF project, Paterson culled the remains of many hours of jam sessions, enlisted the help of future electronic wizards like Thomas Fehlmann and Youth to chime in, and all of a sudden “ambient house” was born. This album switches back and forth from the dance floor purity of “Little Fluffy Clouds” to one of the the most recognizable ambient tracks ever, “A Huge Ever Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center Of The Ultraworld”. At just under two hours in length, this was the first epic ambient experience, and one that changed the landscape forever.

    Listen


  6. Tangerine Dream

    Phaedra

    Tangerine Dream: Phaedra - Best Ambient Albums

    One of the prototypes of electronic ambient music, and the first that Tangerine Dream employed the Moog synthesizer. Taking hours to tune every day, this attention to detail pays in spades as the multi-layered waves of sound proved to be excitingly fresh, and far ahead of its time. Phaedra is one of a few T.D. albums that stands alone in its place and time, gathering no moss and sounding every bit as exciting as it did over 40 years ago. While employing other-worldly sounds and noises, the stark melodies keeps us grounded and always coming back for more. This album was a huge commercial and artistic success in its day, and helped usher forth the proliferation of synthesizers in popular music everywhere.

    Listen


  7. Steve Reich

    Music For 18 Musicians

    Steve Reich: Music For 18 Musicians - Best Ambient Albums

    Some may argue upon Music For 18 Musicians place in the pantheon of best ambient albums, but its approach and delivery to the genre cannot go unnoticed. Based around 11 chords and elements such as human breath, it focuses on a simple pulse for 60 minutes. If ambient music is about extended periods of atmosphere and “environment”, this album is arguably the best of all time in these departments. While the quietudes juxtapose the crescendos, Music For 18 Musicians radiates a visionary stroke of genius influencing all musical structures to come after it.

    Listen


  8. Global Communication

    Pentamerous Metamorphosis & 76:14

    Global Communication: Pentamerous Metamorphosis - Best Ambient Albums Global Communication: 76:14 - Best Ambient Album

    Ok, I’m cheating a bit here by putting two albums in the three spot, but in this case it is absolutely deserving of it. Mark Pritchard & Tom Middleton combined their background of classical training and love of rave music, and created some of the most lovely and striking pieces of ambient music known to humankind with these two releases. While 76:14 needs no introduction with its certified classic status and nods to Tangerine Dream, it’s Pentamerous Metamorphosis that maybe needs a re-evaluation. The album consists of five G.C. remixes from the Chapterhouse album “Blood Music”, but you wouldn’t know that by listening to the albums. G.C. takes the very basest of elements from an 11 track indie-rock album, and transforms them into a five-track, 60 minute journey. Pentamerous Metamorphosis is every bit as brilliant as 76:14, perhaps even more so as listening to the album now proves it to be less dated and more relevant with its starker grooves and minimalist samples. Make no mistake about it, 76:14 is an undisputed monster of ambient music history, but Pentamerous is a better document to the power of remixing, the evolution of ambient house, and the excitement of discovering a stunning album overshadowed by its more publicly revered cousin.

    Listen to Pentamerous Metamorphosis
    Listen to 76:14


  9. Brian Eno With Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno

    Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks

    Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno: Apollo (Atmospheres & Soundtracks) - Best Ambient Albums

    I try to avoid including two albums from the same act in these lists, but how in the hell do you make an ambient list without at least two from Brian Eno? Eno’s Ambient series of albums are all must-haves in any collection, but Apollo, arguably, is the cream of the crop. More so than the other Ambient albums in the series, Apollo conjured a sense of humanity that very few others could ever equal. With melodies that could break even the coldest of hearts, Apollo proves too impossibly beautiful to comfortably categorize.
    Listen


  10. The KLF

    Chill Out

    The KLF: Chill Out - Best Ambient Albums

    The KLF are perhaps the most rock ‘n roll “band” in the history of popular music — however, that must be saved for another post. The seeds of Chill Out were planted by Jimmy Cauty and Alex Paterson performing their “come-down” sets during the late 80’s rave scene, while Bill Drummond’s influence solidified the timeless beauty of this album. Never before has an album been more of a gateway between the old and the new, escalating disparities such as Elvis and acid house, transposing them over chanting monks and news blips about kids being killed in auto accidents. Chill Out is a capsule of taking every past experience and re-tuning it in a truly environmental way. Floating above the recorded ephemera is the heart-breaking pedal steel guitar of Graham Lee, further humanizing the completely alien experience. The KLF meant this to be the imagined soundtrack of a drive down the American Gulf Coast, and while they had never even been there, it couldn’t sound more authentic. The group used it as a vehicle to coyly promote their own tracks like “3 A.M. Eternal”, “Last Train To Trancentral”, and “Justified and Ancient”, but Chill Out was the moment their imagined concept album took on a much deeper meaning. While Elvis’s ghostly voice wafts in and out about living in the ghetto, and Acker Bilk’s “Stranger On The Shore” brings us back to nostalgic reality, we realize that the music has come full-circle, using all of the elements given to us, and wrapping it up in the most up-to-date package imaginable. The environment, the artistry, the melodies, the influences, and the attitude all come together effortlessly on Chill Out, and without saying a single word.
    Listen


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Sean Cannon The State Of Discogs 2018

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Another year has passed and another set of records have been broken. Our annual year-end report is a deep dive into the numbers, trends, and music sales that made 2018 unique. So put on your favorite $27,000 Prince record, pull up a chair, and dig into the year that was 2018. Here are a few quick tidbits:

  • As the Database becomes more complete, growth in total submissions have slowed, only rising by 0.42% in 2018. Popular genres and formats have showed this slowdown, but more obscure genres and formats have experienced serious growth, such as the Brass & Military genre (+40.46%) and digital format submissions (+14.16%).
  • We continued to see rampant growth in cassette sales for 2018, up 24.08% compared to 2017 and a whopping 54.92% compared to 2016.
  • Unsurprisingly, Pink Floyd topped the list of catalog album sales in 2018 — but surprisingly, the album wasn’t The Dark Side Of The Moon. It was Wish You Were Here.
  • While new album sales featured two legacy acts (Led Zeppelin and David Bowie), current artists made up the bulk of the top 10, with Sleep and Nu Guinea topping the list.

View the Discogs 2018 Year-End Highlights and Analysis Below:


Want the full song and dance? Download the Discogs 2018 Year-End Report. You can also keep up with the rest of the ’ogs and their year-end reports: Filmogs, Bookogs, Comicogs, Posterogs, and Gearogs.

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loquearde 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Crate Diggers Brighton 2019

Crate Diggers was conceived with the desire to bring the record collecting community from all around the world together. Since 2015, the Record Fair & After Party series has traveled far and wide: Cities include Berlin, LA, Montreal, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dallas, and Miami, just to name a few. After the great experiences we have shared with collectors worldwide over the last few years, we are now ready for a new round. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: in 2019, Crate Diggers will bigger and better. But just in case you need an extra push, here are five reasons why you can’t miss Crate Diggers Brighton 2019.

  1. Crate Diggers Brighton 2019 will be the largest Crate Diggers record fair yet, with the added bonus of an awesome live show with a world-class line-up. It’s as good as it sounds, and it’s happening on May 11 at The Brighton Centre, so it’s the perfect way to start off the summer!
  2. And speaking about the line-up… We are happy to announce we have added Jurassic 5 presents: The Fullee Love Collective. Hip-hop legend Soup/Zaakir (aka Fullee Love) will be performing some of Jurassic 5’s biggest tracks including What’s Golden and Concrete Schoolyard. He’s also bringing his own original soul-funk hip-hop sound with a full live band. Yes, we are drooling over here, too.
  3. But of course, our line-up is ready to fly even higher: We have some of the UK’s best Jungle, Dancehall, and Reggae artists. Prepare your dancing shoes because David Rodigan, General Levy, and Zion Train are ready to set the dance floor on fire. Are you ready for one INCREDIBLE night?
  4. Brighton has a great music scene. You can spend your time getting lost in the city’s small lanes, discovering some of Brighton’s great record stores. Crate Diggers Brighton 2019 takes place in the same week as the Vinyl World Congress, Future Live Expo, Great Escape Festival and Brighton Fringe. So if you aren’t planning on getting the last train home, we’d recommend booking accommodation early.
  5. Last but certainly not least: Visiting the record fair is free from 10AM until 2PM! There will be over 100 tables of records, a guarantee for hours of digging. Thanks to our friends at Near Mint, plenty of sellers from London are coming to Brighton for this occasion. Apart from that, you will find sellers from all over the UK, bringing together some unique stock you won’t see anywhere else. If those 100 tables full of records sound like thirsty work… Well, you’re lucky, since throughout the day we’ll have some of the best local breweries including Westerham Brewery and Langham Brewery serving the best beers around!

Heading to Brighton on May 11 sounds like a plan, right? We’re looking forward to seeing you there! Should Brighton be too far away for you to attend, don’t worry. Crate Diggers will be heading to New York, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo this year. More details will be released soon.

Buy your ticket for the afterparty now!
Or if you are you a seller…
Book a table for Crate Diggers Brighton 2019

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Moon_Ray From the Archive: Kléo Digs Through 300,000 Records

Discogs is working with RE:VIVE and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, following renowned DJs as they mix together a selection from one the biggest record collections in The Netherlands. RE:VIVE is an initiative from The Netherlands Institute For Sound & Vision that brings archives and musicians together to create new productions inspired by old collections. You can read a full account of our exploration of Sound & Vision’s archive here. This write up is based on a conversation I had with Kléo right after her set.

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&feed=%2FRedLightRadio%2Fkl%C3%A9o-from-the-archive-for-rlr-beeld-geluid-02-06-2019%2F

Parisian Clélia Zida, AKA Kléo, has been manning the bar and programming the music at Amsterdam’s Café Belgique since she finished art school. They’re pretty old school in that they only have turntables (no CDJs) and the only way to know who’s playing that week is to check the back door of the bathroom upstairs. There are a lot of vinyl heads in Amsterdam so she manages to arrange a wide array of selectors. “We’re always open for anyone to play at Belgique. It should feel like a café, it should fee approachable.” This sentiment also comes through her style as a DJ and in everything we spoke about when exploring Sound & Vision’s 300,000 records.

“I was always into music, although in the beginning I was buying mostly CDs, I would buy them from the local CD store. I never started DJing until much later. When I was studying art I had no time, no space, no budget – no nothing. It would have been impossible even to think about it. I barely had a room and even then I had to move every 6 months, ‘Amsterdam style’”. Having just joined the roster of artists at Wilde Artists she plays gigs pretty regularly now, although she stuck with the physical formats of music. “I don’t use any streaming services, I only really listen to my records. I listen to mixes online but that’s really it for digital. I only play with vinyl as well, no CDJs.”

When I asked her about why she doesn’t play anything digital she says she simply never learned how. “I learned to play with turntables, and I buy records because I like to go to stores and to dig, and I guess that’s just what I’m the most comfortable with.” She says friends have tried to get her into CDJs but she finds it all too complicated, it’s not her comfort zone, which is where she likes to be.

Since her boyfriend is also a DJ, she says her house is literally just full of records. “Right now we’re in the middle of reorganising our records because the libraries are full, so there are a lot of piles on the floor! Basically it’s just growing all around the libraries. Lately I’ve noticed I’ll just have like five piles on the floor, which are basically just five of my bags, and these are the ones in my hands and I’m busy with these records so I just keep switching them around. But then I don’t go back to my library for a while, and then when I go back I’m like whoah shit I have this!?. But it’s fine, just being busy with one thing at a time, you know. And it’s always nice to rediscover your own stuff. I like that too.”

Clélia still does a lot of digging though. “I dig mostoy in stores but, but also some online digging. I mostly use Discogs to find stuff I don’t have from a label or artist I like. I’ll go through the whole catalog because I’ll keep hearing stuff about a label or I’ll have one track I like, and you think maybe there’s more of this, you know. And then you’re going to go and dig for it.” She’s never counted her own collection, but assumes there must be at least a couple of thousand in there. “Nothing like this though” she says scanning the Sound & Vision archive. “This place is incredible, I think it’s really important to archive stuff. A lot of the stuff I found in here is classic music and belongs to be in an archive. It will be classic in 200 years still and I hope someone has a copy of it.”

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For this mix it was impossible to take the obsessive compulsive route of checking every release from an artist or label, 300,000 records is just too many to go through. I asked her what her approach was; “I just hit the shelves. I’m quite organic in my approach, I really try to go with the feeling. It’s important to me to be intuitive. I don’t think too much about this stuff basically. I don’t want to. I just want to keep going my direction and see how it goes. The most important thing to do is to look for the music that you like. Not everybody’s going to like it but hey that’s how it is, you know?”. She did come with a bit of an idea of what she was looking for, she even printed out her Discosg Wantlist and asked the archivists to check their digital register to see if anything matched. “I was also hoping there would be a lot of releases from The Netherlands, labels like Injection Disco Dance Label, but actually it’s a really big mix.” In the end she just followed her ears. “The possibilities here were just so wide, there was so much variety in the archive. In the end I just had to stick to what I know as a DJ. Certain grooves that I like, basically what I would buy myself or play in a set. Otherwise I would have gotten lost in there.”

The first record she brought to the table was This Is The Place by T-R-P, released on MG Records, a Belgian dance label specialising in New Beat and Acid House that was very active for a brief period in the late 80s. Thierry, Ronald and Peter (T-R-P), only released a few other records together, but were all heavily involved the technical production of a lot of Belgian Europop and Euro House. “You can hear in the track that I played from this one that these guys had access to some pretty serious gear”. The classic Acid House combo of a Roland TB-303 and a TR-606 will be familiar to most, but New Beat is a little more niche. It was quite specific to the Belgian club scene from around 1987 and into 1990, with its greatest popularity in 1988 and 1989, right when MG Records was releasing. It typically has a slower beat than later club music, just like the ‘Dance Mix’ Kléo played here. According to the Discogs Reference Wiki, New Beat had a significant, reciprocal influence on the stabby, buzzy “rave” aesthetic in techno music, and influences from New Beat evolved into the foundation of trance music (e.g. Age of Love’s “The Age of Love” and Revelation’s “First Power”/”Synth-It”).

“1982, 1983 – these are my bingo years!” She says pointing at Laurice Hudson’s  Feel My Love. “I can’t really explain why but for me a lot of stuff I find from these years is just right, you know? The sound is right, the vocals are right, the grooves are right. It’s out of the Disco sound of the 70s so it has this feeling of a turn in it. It comes right out of the 70s but there’s something already starting to shift in the arrangement and even in the vocals that’s starting to go towards where Electronic music ended up.” This release will fetch a handsome sum on Discogs if you’re one of the lucky few to own a copy. “I already knew it, it’s a bit of a classic in some circles. It’s not that rare but also not that well known, it’s just one of my favourite Boogie tracks.” She’s quick to mention that for her playing records is not about rarity. “It’s also nice to shed light on things that are just classic dance records, hits from other eras that have been a bit forgotten about. They are also classic and they now belong in an archive, as well as the rarities.”

The last record she showed me was a UK pressing of Do You Know Who You Are? by US duo Virgo.“I knew the instrumental version of this one, it’s pretty well known, but I’ve never heard the vocal mix. Like the other stuff it just has that feel, but here there’s something vulnerable and sensitive to it as well. It’s not all locked together, it’s really organic. That’s what I like, organic feeling dance music.”

 

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