[Year-End] – ‘A Year in the Light’ (2010)

‘A Year in the Light’ began as the 2010 installment of the ‘Get Off My Lawn‘ series, but ended up as something I feel is more aesthetically coherent and emotionally compelling than those “year-ender” recaps, coming closer to the decade-spanning ‘A Decade in the Dark‘.  But rather than the millennial noir quality of that mix, ‘Light’ has, while hardly a sunny daytime feeling, a somewhat more buoyant quality.  It combines the contemplative and the beat-oriented, often at once; the spacious and the immediate; the narrative and the abstract.  Somehow, the electronic and dance sit comfortably alongside the art-rock and the singer-songwriter.  As is my tendency, I heard relatively little current music in 2010, maybe three dozen albums.  But I am impressed by the quality of what I’ve heard, most of it apparently free of the shackles of irony, playful with the weight of influence and occasionally sounding genuinely timeless.

I was particularly surprised, in some cases, by where this mature art came from.  A number of artists featured in this mix were those I’ve disliked in the past, but whose current work has forced me to reconsider.  LCD Soundsystem, Joanna Newsom, Squarepusher (here as Shobaleader One), Antony & The Johnsons all rubbed me the wrong way, years ago in earlier incarnations.  I’d assumed Will Oldham’s best work was behind him.  I’d seen Four Tet totally outpaced a few years ago by his opening act, Jamie Lidell, himself another act I’d thought had lost his way.   Probably the most surprising–and most recurring–personage here is . . .  Beck Hansen.  Yeah, didn’t see that one coming, myself. But he seems to have discovered a new talent: enabling other musicians.  Beck’s production for Jamie Lidell helped him escape the white-boy-plays-the-Apollo wannabe act he’d become to recapture some of the energy that made his electronic work and early vocal music exciting.  Beck also produced Charlotte Gainsbourg’s remarkably strong album, and he apparently wrote a lot of the music for it, too.  The most surprising “album” of the year, and among my top few, was the Beck-organized “Record Club” take on the entirety of Skip Spence’s ‘Oar,’ with the help of Wilco, Feist, Lidell and drummer extraordinaire James Gadson–the whole of which is well worth a listen (along with the other fun, if slightly less consistently good, Record Club cover albums).  Along with Caribou, who’d already won my heart with his previous album and now upped the ante; and newcomer James Blake, who makes music well beyond his years; and the always-wonderful Knife, this “year-end” mix hopefully transcends its ephemeral impetus sufficiently to overcome being a couple months late.  Download and tracklist beyond the “more…” link.

Various – ‘A Year in the Light’

01  [00:00]  Caribou – “Found Out” (Swim, 2010)
02  [03:18]  The Knife – “Colouring of Pigeons” (Tomorrow, in a Year, 2010)
03  [14:15]  Jamie Lidell – “Compass” (Compass, 2010)
04  [18:58]  Four Tet – “Sing” (There is Love In You, 2010)
05  [25:33]  Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “Merciless and Great” (The Wonder Show of the World, 2010)
06  [30:59]  James Blake – “I Only Know (What I Know)” (Klavierwerke EP, 2010)
07  [36:08]  Shobaleader One – “Abstract Lover”  (d’Demonstrator, 2010)
08  [39:50]  LCD Soundsystem – “Home” (This Is Happening, 2010)
09  [47:38]  Antony & The Johnsons – “The Spirit Was Gone” (Swanlights, 2010)
10  [50:49]  Darkstar – “Deadness” (North, 2010)
11  [55:21]  Record Club – “Grey Afro” (Record Club: ‘Skip Spence’s Oar’, 2010)
12  [62:55]  Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Vanities” (IRM, 2010)
13  [66:22]  Joanna Newsom – “On a Good Day” (Have One on Me, 2010)

[Total Time: 68:11]

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3 thoughts on “[Year-End] – ‘A Year in the Light’ (2010)

  1. I must say your mixes are fantastic. I’m glad I found your site! Great selection, I love everything I heard so far. Today I discovered quite a few great songs and artists I didn’t know before.

    The mixes also inspire to create some mixtapes myself again (that is, if I ever found some free quality time! lol)

  2. Thank you, so glad you’re finding new music you like.

    I wish I had free time to make mixes, too–someday, again!

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