“The Wire” Shares A Laugh With Robert Wyatt

Dec 19th, 2007 // 15 Comments

robertwyatt.jpgBrit experimental institution The Wire has just dropped its weighty year-end issue, which features Brit experimental (pop) institution Robert Wyatt at No. 1 on its list of the top 50 albums of 2007. As for the rest of the mag’s rundown, it may prominently big up LCD Soundsystem and M.I.A., but hey, it’s also got saxophone records that you can barely hear!

THE GOOD: The Wire is always reliable for a dose of hair-straightening hairshirt noise, serious sound art, and/or free improv. Like Sightings’ brutalist Through at no. 37, Throbbing Gristle’s unexpectedly excellent reunion record at No. 32, or the ramshackle brilliance of drummer Chris Corsano and guitarist Mick Flower’s duo LP at No. 27.
THE BAD: Rough and tough experimentalists beware: bloggers and message board denizens are already grumbling that The Wire‘s Top 10 features many of the same records that appeared on all sorts of square lists this year. On the other hand, those who feel the magazine has lost the connection to (avant) pop music that marked its ’90s heyday may find this development heartening.
THE WHAAAA? In Rainbows? Even down at No. 34? You’re The Wire! You don’t have to play these mainstream reindeer games!

01 Robert Wyatt – Comicopera (Domino)
02 Burial – Untrue (Hyperdub)
03 Panda Bear – Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
04 OM – Pilgrimage (Southern Lord)
05 LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (DFA/EMI)
06 Von Südenfed – Tromatic Reflexxions (Domino)
07 Pram – The Moving Frontier (Domino)
08 MIA – Kala (XL)
09 Battles – Mirrored (Warp)
10 Ricardo Villalobos – Fabric 36 (Fabric)
11 Grinderman – Grinderman (Mute)
12 Kassin+2 – Futurismo (Luaka Bop)
13 Matthew Dear – Asa Breed (Ghostly)
14 Strategy – Future Rock (Kranky)
15 Laub – Deinetwegen (AGF Producktion)
16 Björk – Volta (One Little Indian)
17 Pole – Steingarten (~scape)
18 Harmonia – Live 1974 (Grönland)
19 John Butcher – The Geometry Of Sentiment (Emanem)
20 Akio Suzuki – K7 Box (ALM)
21 Deerhunter – Cryptograms (Kranky)
22 Lil’ Wayne – Da Drought 3 (Mixtape) (No Label)
23 Peter Evans Quartet – Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12)
24 James Blackshaw – The Cloud Of Unknowing (Tompkins Square)
25 Kemialliset Ystävät – Kemialliset Ystävät (Fonal)
26 Pandit Pran Nath – Raga Cycle (SRI Moonshine)
27 Flower-Corsano Duo – The Radiant Mirror (Textile)
28 Electrelane – No Shouts, No Calls (Too Pure)
29 Zeitkratzer & Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (Asphodel)
30 Gudrun Gut – I Put A Record On (Monika Enterprise)
31 Marnie Stern – In Advance Of The Broken Arm (Kill Rock Stars)
32 Throbbing Gristle – Part Two: The Endless Not (Mute)
33 Rhys Chatham – The Crimson Grail (Table Of The Elements)
34 Radiohead – In Rainbows (www.inrainbows.com/XL)
35 The Focus Group – We Are All Pan’s People (Ghost Box)
36 The Terminals – Last Days Of The Sun (Last Visible Dog)
37 Sightings – Through The Panama (Load)
38 Anthony Braxton – 9 Compositions Iridium 2006 (Firehouse 12)
39 Steve Jansen – Slope (Samadhisound)
40 Haswell & Hecker – Blackest Ever Black (Warner Classics)
41 Colleen – Les Ondes Silencieuses (Leaf)
42 Dial – 168K (Cede)
43 Wooden Shjips – Wooden Shjips (Holy Mountain)
44 fORCH – Spin Networks (PSI)
45 PJ Harvey – White Chalk (Island)
46 Hanne Hukkelberg – Rykestrasse 68 (Nettwerk)
47 Susan Howe & David Grubbs – Souls Of The Labadie Tract (Blue Chopsticks)
48 Lichens – Omns (Kranky)
49 Low – Drums And Guns (Sub Pop)
50 Frank Bretschneider – Rhythm (Raster-Norton)

Year-End Critics’ Polls ’07 [ILX]

  1. Anonymous

    Too corporate, I am going to put my black eyeliner on and dance in the dark, alone.

  2. Anonymous

    good list. but harvell, are we not tired of the “what’s (insert popular indie or other group that made a really good record this year) doing so high on the list” jokes yet? i mean, we get it. idolator is sooo much hipper than the hipsters. but really, enough already.

  3. Labtheque

    Finally! Someone else actually listens to Kemialliset Ystävät! I’m dissapointed they didn’t listen to the also excellent Kammerflimmer Kollektief album, even if there was creepy yodeling in it.

  4. Paula

    Well, I’m sort of perversely pleased that someone else put In Rainbows below the top 10. No, I’m not kidding.

  5. Lucas Jensen

    I like this list a lot…glad to see Pram getting the love. And I love that Low record even though no one else seems to.

  6. Jfrankparnell

    Sightings! Colleen!

    Now we’re talking. Order doesn’t matter. Wholly approved by me and my Pollyanna mood this morning.

  7. Ned Raggett

    @Labtheque: Someone else actually listens to Kemialliset Ystävät!

    Hi dere. But I admit a lot of the post drone/psych/etc. universe is one big (and usually wonderful) mass of sound to me, who listens to it constantly.

  8. freetz

    I had no idea McNulty was such a record dork.

  9. gofreescout

    Good list. At least someone noticed that Strategy record.

  10. unperson

    I guess they’ve broadened their voter pool this year; last year, there were so few contributors that me and one other person (I suspect Edwin Pouncey) were able to get Celtic Frost’s Monotheist in there. This year, I don’t see a single thing I voted for in the top 50.

  11. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    And THIS is why I read the Wire.

    Nice to see love for Pran Nath!

  12. SuperUnison

    @WhosWho: I am earnestly pleased to see it in the 30s where it belongs. “Kid A” was transcendant. Everything since has stuck me as a chicken and egg scenario between lame critspeak and music that doesn’t really move me one way or the other.

  13. Paperboy 2000

    1. The OM record is not that good, and I’m tired of people saying it is.
    2. I still need to have someone properly explain to me why the Von Südenfed record is good. As someone who likes the artists involved quite a bit, I just don’t get how people think this music is even remotely good.
    3. Lil Wayne – how daring.
    4. And most importantly, I’m sorry, but that Bretschneider record was a massive step backwards for him and the whole Raster Noton crew. Praise a minimal white noise created Christmas flavored baby Jesus that the Signal record came out at the same time and totally redeemed him.

  14. Cam/ron

    The Wire top lists are usually strong, speaking as somebody who regularly drops $100 for a subscription. I don’t believe that the Burial and the Battles records were that strong to place in the top-10 though. Glad to see that Ricardo Villalobos, Harmonia and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music got some love.

  15. byebyepride

    @Labtheque: Yay! I’ve been listening to the Kammerflimmer Kollektif record a whole lot. But I guess I can feel validated by the fact that a paper that lets Nick Sylvester write about hip-hop has overlooked it.

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