Gift List: Under The Radar Ideas For The Snobbiest Of Indie Snobs In Your Family
These titles are so goddamn esoteric that you'll need extra time for googling and waiting for the damn thing to come in the mail. But each one is a guaranteed good time, full of inventive music by folks that you will, hopefully, hear more from in the future.
Austrian electronic composer Christian Fennesz has influenced famous indie acts like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. And Fennesz has also performed with Mike Patton, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Sparklehorse. So how's that for indie cred? Black Sea's his fourth solo album under the Fennesz moniker, and it may well be the mercurial artist's best mix of noise, pop and more noise. Cuts like "Perfume for Winter" and "Saffron Revolution" are downright beautiful, albeit in a raucous way.
Ancient Sound, Modern Dance
West African dance grooves haven't sounded this intoxicating since the heyday of King Sunny Ade. Sounding like a friendly version of Robert Fripp, Cherry is a guitar player of amazing dexterity and a songwriter of unique vision. Ancient Sound is full of trance inducing cuts like "Kuku Afuera De Djoniba" and ""Ballet Hispanico Summer," songs that are joyously unclassifiable and incessantly danceable.
Around the World
Uwe Schmidt, German producer and DJ, is the real person behind the Senor Coconut alias. Considered the father of electrolatino music, Mr. Coconut has been thrilling international audiences with his Hispanic-influenced hip hop for well over a decade. Around the World is, seriously, his 56th release under one name or another. Filled with songs in English, German and Spanish, the mix of styles is dizzying, but well worth a few listens.
Boddy is a British electronic musician who's been around since the early '80s. His style is much more fluid than many experimental types, but Boddy's commitment to craftsmanship and curiosity places him among a small circle of legendary eggheads. Like many in the genre, he's produced an immense back catalog, one that is nearly inapproachable--which makes Slide a nice introduction to the composer's work. Performed entirely on analog instruments, pieces like "The Probability of Doubt" and "The Possibility of Existence" are not nearly as cerebral as one would imagine. Instead, they ebb and flow like ambient music should and fade out at just the right moment. --Darryl Smyers