Wow, I forgot I was doing this! 2001 then… My second year at university and first time with an unmonitored broadband connection. Good lord the interwebz are different through these spectacles!
Well, what a year again! 2001 saw the release of the first New Order album since “Republic” in 1993. I was scared, I remember hearing the announcement on a radio station while we were holidaying in North Wales. I remember thinking it could go one of two ways. “Get Ready” is a bit of a departure for New Order, much less Hacienda and more like britpop I suppose. Still, it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it then and I do now. We also had Amnesiac by Radiohead, special edition being a lovely hardback book. It was more of the same Kid A-esque, Warp inspired noodlings. Not as groundbreaking as Kid A, well, mainly as the ground had already been broken. It still means a lot to me this album though. Another big album for me that year, not just in terms of it’s influence on me but just because it was a double album was “Drukqs” from Aphex Twin. I’d first been introduced by Mr. Richrd D. James with the “Come to Daddy” EP whcih had haunted my dreams and nightmares since ’97. “Drukqs” is epic, ranging from his signature broken IDM to ambient loveliness. It’s a bit too disparate though really, never really finding focus and a bit too long. I love it though with all my heart.
There were loads of albums I love from this year, Incubus’s “Morning View”, Ladytron’s “604”, System of a Down’s “Toxicity”, I could ramble on forever. However for me the album that hit home the hardest, left it’s mark on my sould and continues to knock on my door and ask me if I want to come out and play has to be “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Sparklehorse.
It has been four months since Mark Linous tragically ended his own life, and every time I hear Sparklehorse I still feel very sad. I owe so much to him, I owe so much to this album. Having dabbled with home recording, this was the catalyst for me to start really experimenting. To stop caring about production and concentrate on quality. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a wonderful collection of songs, plain and simple. It marks his first album without the aid of copious amounts of illegal substances. It also contains collaborations with Tom Waits, Nina Persson and PJ Harvey. Collaborations on albums, not often a fan. They are usually superfluous and half-hearted. Not here. Many people think of “Good Morning Spider” when they think of Sparklehorse, for me it’s all about this album. Buy it, please.
It’s a Wonderful Life
This is probably my favourite track, but I can’t pick a favourite really, it seems so wrong…