Module’s amazing album Imagineering has been out for a while but the music vdieo for The Pieces Fit has not long been completed. A year in production, the motion captures robot is extremely well done. Everyone should give this experimental album a go.
In 2012 I felt that actually some of my usual favourite artists played it very safe and therefore when I came to look at whose made the top 10 albums of the year, there are four completely new artists to me and two that I’ve only known since last year. That’s exciting for my ears for the years to come.
A few self-imposed rules are in this time round. Tori Amos’ Gold Dust (not that it’d have made it) and Patrick Wolf’s “Sundark & Riverlight” (could have done) are reworks of older music that I’ve chosen to ignore them. Also Atticus Finch & Imogen Heap, despite making some of my favourite music, have done only singles in 2012 and therefore isn’t included as there’s no album yet. A separate top 10 for game soundtracks will feature later.
Honourable Mentions: Jesca Hoop, A City on A Lake, Module, Garbage & Sunday Lane.
10) Arcana – As Bright As A Thousand Suns
Arcana have been around for years and I preferred the more melodic and percussive band effort compared to the melancholic Peter Bjargo solo album. It’s one of those albums you feel like you’ve already known for ages with the beautiful mesh of different instruments from aeons passed.
Try Out: As Bright As A Thousand Suns
I had never heard of the band before a “You may like” on Amazon presented their album to me. From just the samples I felt like I’d been on a journey. The guitar work, the way the tracks just build and build into life defining climaxes and the vocal and string arrangements are simply amazing.
Try Out: Lightning Song
The wonderfully detuned and mumble happy Soap&Skin returned with a short but beautifully formed second album fusing her piano and industrial bleep roots together. What was made see’s her ripping her heart out and smearing it over your speakers. Her screams are like yelps and the quiet moments are like lullaby’s for the lost.
Try Out: Boat Turns Toward the Port
Rifftastic bass/drum duo Clatter blasted back onto my speakers in 2012 with their best album to date mixing nutty percussive chops, strong vocals and euphoric choruses to mosh to. I still feel like I have to tell everyone there’s only two in the duo as there’s so much sound coming from them – it’s my favourite rock album of 2012.
Try Out: Strawberry Park
Yes, they are an indie rock group but I don’t think of them as a rock group – they’re like a spacious story group. Alt-J go out of their way to make sure no song follows a well trodden path and their lyrics are cryptically awesome. I’m so glad they got the Mercury Prize this year although I hope that doesn’t mean doom like so many others before them.
Try Out: Breezeblocks
Internet sensation for her music video strangeness, Kin marked her first full album release. It’s dirty, filthy, emotive and like you’re freaking out in slow motion. I personally love the way it all feels together as one seamless piece in a way and when played with the barmy DVD of continuous music videos telling a story of sorts, it only draws you further into the world of Kin.
Try Out: Drops
Such an early release in 2012, Lila Rose became my favourite album in 2012 for a lot of it until some later releases pushed it down. The mix of pop beats along with mature alternative slants, minor keys and Lila’s very downbeat vocal delivery that suggests knowledge beyond her years all merge perfectly to make easily the best radio playable album of 2012. It’s like she’s found her own mini percussive piano pop genre for herself.
Try Out: Casting Shadows
Recently reviewed a few weeks ago, Carina Round’s latest album is such a repost to clean-cut music. Messy, harrowing, haunting, unleashed and furious in places, Tigermending’s synth alt-rock mash-up goes out its way to tell you stories from the bottle of every bottle and alleyway. Carina has never sounded so good and she can still push out anthemic ballads too.
Try Out: Weird Dream
Fiona’s output is slow at best but it is always worth the wait. In many ways The Idler Wheel is her most direct and simple to date but with the purity comes the undistilled emotional impact of each song. Her vocals rasp and growl, her melodies stay stuck in your head for days and way the album comes together as a whole is phenomenal.
Try Out: Anything We Want
After thinking for many year it would never happen I was delighted to have Dead Can Dance back together and their album proved that sometimes when two people work together magic happens regardless. An exercise in music of period and territories, each track pushes off into different versions of the Middle East. The instrumentation is rich, the melodies are sumptuous, the vocals of Brendan and Lisa are as strong as ever and although the album feels like they are separate in many ways, you can feel looking deeper how each has effected the other. Mesmerising.
Try Out: Kiko
And there we have it. My favourite albums of 2012.
Don’t forget you can also listen or even buy my latest studio album here too which I would be blessed to be considered in anyone elses top 10 of anything
The top 10 game soundtracks of 2012 will feature soon.
Module, best known for the excellent Shatter Soundtrack, is releasing an album called Imagineering and from that album we have Nantai San Sky – track 10 – available for a full preview. Click here to listen to what promises to be an excellent return.
Module (Shatter OST) is returning with a new album away from games. Entitled Imagineering, it’s due out in March. Here’s a sample below.
Some people (and I have to say I’m one of them) still feel a bit cheated sometimes by buying mp3 albums and you don’t have a physical CD there to enjoy. However the times are changing and so I need to get with it! The magnificent Shatter soundtrack from Module is now available to buy as a CD from the excellent indie CD store, CD Baby. If you didn’t buy the mp3′s before, be sure to pick up this, easily one of the best soundtracks of 2009. There’s also talk of possible 5.1 mixes later on down the line as a special bonus but only if the public want it.
Well due to my holiday and getting back into the routine, September was a very quiet month for HPM in general but towards the end we had a massive influx of visitors for one man – Christopher Tin! He grabs this months most viewed award with the review of his debut album and his interview afterwards. Lisa Gerrard also popped up the order with audio samples from forthcoming album Black Opal. Here’s the top 10 artists:
01) Christopher Tin (NE)
02) Lisa Gerrard (^)
03) Imogen Heap (v)
04) Lisa Germano (^)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Hikoki Kikuta (^)
07) Module (v)
08) OverClocked ReMix (v)
09) Utada (v)
10) Vienna Teng (RE)
In the gaming front, Battl Tanks was the top read review this month and actually the second highest hit post this month too! We will be going really into game reviews from all old consoles from October and they will feature more prominantly, as the site will now be taking a much more active approach due to a change in circumstances of myself!
01) Battle Tanks (NE)
02) Shatter (v)
03) Numblast (v)
And so to August 2009 where we had a four way fight for the top this month, won by Imogen Heap whereby more people actually viewed the tracklisting after the whole album was posted as a streaming audio on the website and people didn’t actually listen to the album itself! However, HPM has not reviewed Ellipse (although I personally love it already) because I’ve ordered the two disc edition and want to hold on until it comes through.
Behind it was all go for OverClocked Remix, Module and Brendan Perry.
01) Imogen Heap (^)
02) OverClocked ReMix (v)
03) Module (NE)
04) Brendan Perry (v)
05) Utada (v)
06) Kento Watanabe (NE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (^)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) Vienna Teng (v)
10) Baiyon (NE)
Top 3 Games
03) Magic Ball
Shatter (as you can read below in our review) is a fantastic game. Just as fantastic is the 14 track soundtrack made by Module. The whole thing has an electro-rock feel that feels both retro and futuristic wrapped into one sound. The soundtrack sounds more like a shoot-em-up game but with real riffs and not just freak out guitar solos.
“Kinetic Harvest” gets things going with grizzly bass lines, chugging electric guitars, electric arpeggios and a foot stomping beat. The tune itself is relatively simple but it never sits still and therefore never runs the risk of being stale. “Aurora” is more synth led but although it has an aural essence to it, it’s not a song you’d find on Chill FM. Again its a song that adds and adds to its beautiful bass with all kinds of catchy plinky riffs. There’s some great percussive sounds in this song that manages to sound heavenly yet industrial at the same time and the contradiction works perfectly.
“Granular Extractor” for some reason reminds me of the Beverley Hill Cop theme song and old Spectrum games. There’s a real retro arcade feel to this track specificially. Combined with electric percussion and the way the track changes from high to low pitches, it also sounds more like a medley track in some ways which is great as it feels like going on some kind of space journey. “Krypton Garden” sounds like something Ladytron would make. It’s use of real guitars side by side with loads of keyboards just absolutely works and when it comes together for the final two minutes, its quite possibly one of the best things to happen in VGM releases for the passed couple of years. Fantastic!
“Freon World” is a joyous track. From the nearly uke-sounding guitar unpinning to the blipping arpeggios, this song is a happy bean. At the half way mark it becomes more of a statium rock track with infectious riffs and pulsating keyboards throbbing through to your brain with hedonistic results. Another fab track! “Amerthyst Caverns” is a real personal highlight. The song features clipped vocal samples played via a keyboard it seems. Coupled with a great four bar chord riff and some fantastic keyboard riffs, the song just sound absolutely epic. It’s the perfect mish-mash of old meets new in a whole new ball game. This track is already an all time favourite track for myself.
“Neon Mines” is a grizzly-funky track. It follows the same principle as all the tracks do. A simple start, building up to a new section that then builds up to the two tunes joining. Again this track is infectious and its the voice instruments that stick in your head as you want to strut your stuff. “Argon Refinery” is a great stadium track and would do well as a track to download and play on things like RockBand. The tune is simplistic again but that’s where the beauty lies and if you aren’t playing air guitar after this track, you never will.
“Xenon Home World” see’s the guitar become more edgy and grungier almost. The feedback and whammy bar are great to hear and the whole track sounds like a big boss battle and for a six minute track that is essentially based of two chords, it still feels as fresh as a morning dew at the end as it does at the beginning. “End of the World” is a great track mixing all the elements already mentioned above into one seemless track. It’s almost like a tour de force of Shatter, moulding all the elements of each song together to create a super-song.
“Boss Music” is has some great little touches to it especially the mini freak outs at the end of every four bars at the beginning before it gets dramatic at the half way point with rousing keyboards leading the way. This track feels much quicker than it actually is because its constantly got various things all pumping out a certain beat. “Homelands” is a much more relaxing and free-bird track in many ways. It’s the end credits one and has some great dolphin like snyths that hark back to Ecco the Dolphin! The guitar then kicks in and gives us great memories and a mighty fantastic track.
“Glass Halls” is the menu track which is more electro-ambient with music made from keyboards and dripping water samples. It still bounces along at a fair pace but it’s about as sedate as the Shatter soundtrack gets. The final track is “Hyperspace (extended version)” played in the bonus sections which has a great hook to it and really sums up exactly why this soundtrack is golden.
So far in 2009 I have been seriously underwhelemed with a lot of VGM. Shatter has completely blown me away. Not only is it by far my favourite soundtrack of 2009, it ranks amoungst the best soundtracks for the passed decade with ease. The fusion of old school themes on modern days technology is exactly what a lot of game music is screaming out for today and top marks for Module for going the whole hog and then some to give us a masterpiece. I cannot recommend this collection enough and I’ll look forward to giving it some fine awards I’ll expect come the end of the year. Mind-blowing!
Gripshift is a great little racing game for PS3/Xbox360 downloads. The five track EP from Module, Misfits of Science, Y. Moodley and S McQuinn is but a short yet sweet sample of the music from the game.
“Night Riding” is a smooth electro-pop rock piece with a great yet simplistic guitar riff. It kind of reminds me of OutRun in a way with its breezy electro rock that has grit but still enough seaside cruising to be relaxing too.
“Nitro is Good” is a more grizzly track with more bump and push. It’s mono-tone tune is broken up with quick chord changes at the end of every four bars but the song is very short so it doesn’t seem stale.
“Pedal 2 The Metal” has a great bass hook to it. This is most beastly racing track on the EP and is very busy – always evolving and forming a new fast paced tune to quicken your pulse. A great track.
“Shift” is the vocal and menu track for the game. It’s R’n'B at its minimal core with a catchy chorus and chorus rap. It’s not generally my type of music that I listen to but its harmless enough and its the kind of music that’d do well and the chorus is one that sticks about in your head when you driving! “Shift (Module Remix)” see’s Module bring is electro bass touch to it for a more seedier sounding version of the song but it doesn’t offer much difference other than that.
The Gripshift EP is short but sweet (and pretty cheap). Module’s open three tracks are my personal favourites as I like his electro-rock style and the “Shift” track itself is perfectly fine, it’s an EP that I wouldn’t hold in the same light as say the Shatter soundtrack just because its all too short but for VGM fans and fans of racing or shoot-em-up soundtracks this will appeal much more to your senses.