Here we go again. This year I feel I'm too early with this chart. I would have liked to see some more of other people's lists - just to make sure I didn't forget something.
At first I thought I wouldn't even get a top 10, maybe just a top 5 or so. But, it turns out there were a few nice albums after all in 2006. Not as strong as last years lineup, but still.
All 10 x 2 songs in one file (downsampled, 4.7 MB)
1. Trentemøller - The last resort
I was really blown away by this album. A mainly instrumental double cd with progressive dub electronica wouldn't normally do that. At least I wasn't expecting that.
It kind of reminds me of the feeling when you first heard Portishead's Dummy. Not the sound, the feeling I mean. The album is big like a landscape, fitting an experimental art movie. A strange movie, by Peter Greenaway or David Lynch.
I like the physical experience that you get when played in big speakers. It's not easy to listen to the album - it goes on forever. You cannot listen to it on low volume - it just doesn't make any sense that way. It requires something like Audio-Tronic speakers - not something your average mp3 player will handle. I'm actually not quite sure how to listen to it; I play it at work, leave for a coffee break, return to find it still playing, fetch some things in the library, again it is still playing but now with even more energy and building a climax. It sounds like the same song, or is it just a theme on the album?
The live performance of "Moan" on national Danish television/radio, featuring Ane Trolle is spectacular IMHO. A held-back and controlled ecstasy.
Always something better + Moan.
2. Clara Hill - All I Can Provide
I've said it before - this is the modern sound of Berlin. There are many things to like about the album. Her voice, the delicate performance, the dark soundscape, the guest appearances. Electronica, but still heavy on the soul side. Not as catchy as the previous "Restless times" maybe. The mix of her soft voice and the harder melancholic beats is nice. Bittersweet.
Hard to say + Paper chase.
3. Monday Michiru - Routes
We fans have many times thought it all was over. The output over the years has been very varied in quality and almost nothing of that first freshness (from the UFO days) was to be found. But as Dusty Groove wrote "If you were ready to get tired of Monday's sound and style, this isn't the album to do it". I like this "comeback" very much - maybe it's because of less co-producers or the live recording in the studio? A couple of killer tracks, like "Be who you are", "Touch the sky" and "Remember". Attached to tunes like that! For me, this is very immediate and I need only to hear a few seconds of a track like those to know I'm going to love it. A sentimental favorite, if you like.
Her best album so far I think. Her recent change into more of a singer-songwriter hasn't affected the overall sound - still plenty of jazz and bossa influences, and that heavy bass we've come to expect. Thanks.
Be who you are + Touch the sky.
4. Markus Enochson - Night games
A brutal electronica and house sound. It's quite a free form of house, and not at all like some of his earlier work. Again, more Berlin, less New York - if that makes any sense. A high-tech sound combined with soulful vocals. The steady beats and saturated dance sound is a great party tool. It's a clean and minimal sound, based on very hard drums and beats. Behind it all, you can hear a quiet and reserved Swede coming out to play thanks to the music!
Tonight the night + Take me away.
5. Zero 7 - The Garden
I sense a carefree approach and relaxed attitude behind it all. To me there's a flow and inner quality in this kind of soft approach. Way better than many other strained efforts to produce something delicate and light. I don't mind the earthy colors at all. "Today" is an excellent song btw.
Today + You're my flame.
6. Bugz in the attic - Back in the doghouse
A big phat sound, produced and fine-tuned to death. Very rich, very much of everything. The broken beat camp will never survive with this kind of approach. Crazy good vocals. A new kind of funk. If Prince did anything funky now, it would/should sound like this.
Redhanded + Consequences.
7. Alice Smith - For Lovers, Dreamers & Me
This doesn't belong here, because I've struggled with this one. For me, this is an aquired taste. Slightly bluesy, I hear the sound of the country-side. There is no doubt this is a quality album. A refreshing artist even if it doesn't come naturally to me.
Do I + Love endeavor.
8. Donald Fagen - Morph the cat
Groovier than expected. Almost with a jazzfunk twist. Music for oldies or hifi nerds? Not at all as grey as I first expected. I find the skilled performance appealing.
Mary shut the garden door + What I do.
9. Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams
Not the best of singers, but definitely one with character. Unplugged club music. Brilliant at times.
Burning + Fireworks.
10. Airmate - Carry on wiseguy
Hannes Bieger produces more of that Berlin type of soul. A warm club feeling, and a pop-appeal in the more catchy tunes. Surprisingly solid, unlike most other albums in this genre. The many guest vocals provides a broad mix of sounds. I'm genuinely impressed.
No chains + Slow down.