Friday, August 14, 2009

Musical Arists of the Decade Part 1

In my quest to lay critical claim over the decade slightly before Pitchfork does, I am following up my two takes on the best albums of the decade with my thoughts on the four artists of the decade. All are men, (sorry Bat For Lashes, you were just not prolific enough) and three of the four are associated with a record label of their own, which I think is pretty nifty. And so I will present this list in no particular order over the next few-ish days.

Erlend Øye

Mr. Øye is probably the most unassuming member of this list. He is best known as part of folk duo Kings of Convenience, and both of their albums have been great, but he wouldn't be on this list just for those, it's his extracurriculars that interest me. Øye contributed vocals on Royksopp's hits "Poor Leno" and "Remind Me," and in that vein he also has two absolutely fascinating dance releases. The first, Unrest is an adventure across Europe as Øye recorded each track on the album with a different producer. Although it sounds scattershot in theory, his uniformly excellent taste and eternally warm vocals tie everything together. His other dance album was part of the DJ Kicks series. Not only is it amazing globe trotting journey that veers from American post-punk to Japanese indie, to French house to Spanish minimalism, but he also doubles as "the singing DJ," not just singing hooks from the songs he's playing, but also adding other completely unrelated tunes to create unexpected and wonderful mash-ups.

Øye's spent the most time in recent years with his awful or awesomely named band Whitest Boy Alive. They've flown largely under the radar, but the project shows a lot of Oyes genius as a songwriter. On the surface both albums are full of very clean, laid-back late night indie rock, but there's a very subtle dancey undercurrent throughout. It's a brilliant triangulation of his Simon and Garfunkel folk and his varied electronic influences. WBA still make bedroom music, but it's music you can dance to in your bedroom.

1 comment:

AZ Winer said...

I've now begun listening to his stuff online. thank you.