Amsterdam’s Sotu the Traveller teamed up with singer Ninthe to work on the soundtrack for Nina Simone (A)Live, a tribute to Nina Simone. The outcome is the 7-track Eunice EP, which you can download for free on Bandcamp. One of my favourite tracks is the Saux remix you can hear above, also check out the video for the original version of the tune.
We’re already halfway through the first month of 2011, so you probably don’t want to hear about my favourites of 2010 – and I usually don’t either. Still there are two reasons for this post. First, the previous year had an amazing output of great new music. And secondly, I took it kinda slow last year, writing not many reviews or other special features. So let me take one last look at 2010.
Before we start, I want to point out I don’t list these in any particular order, but I created these categories.
I. The Unquestionables
Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Domino)
The year started with the release of Four Tet‘s fifth solo album There Is Love In You, in my opinion his best to date. That is probably because it both works on headphones and the dancefloor. Accompanied by remixes from Joy Orbison, Floating Points, Mosca, Caribou and Jon Hopkins, it should have been hard to miss the album. The overall quality made it clear instantly: this would remain a top spot by the end of the year.
Actress – Splazsh (Honest Jon’s)
Alright, if I had to pick just one favourite I’d have to go for the second album by Werk Disc founder Darren J. Cunninham, better known as Actress. Released in May, Splaszh leaves me with all kinds of weird feelings. It’s sinister and depressing at times, and it puts me in a state of hunger or sleeplessness. I can’t really figure it out , but I keep listening to it over and over again.
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)
There is a whole generation now inspired by the music of Flying Lotus and 2010 saw quite some good attempts to stay in his vicinity. But with Cosmogramma Steve Ellison not only raised the bar, he changed the entire game. He could’ve continued just making beat instrumentals or work with any MC he likes. Instead he chose to make his music broader and richer on all sides. It’s maybe not as easy to get into, but once you’re there you know it was worth it.
II. The Unexpected
Gonjasufi – A Sufi and A Killer (Warp)
One might argue that sampling a bunch of old records and having a guy sing over them can hardly make a good record these days, I give you that point! Still, Gonjasufi’s debut on Warp has been on rotation for months. It kinda came out of nowhere and it’s the first Gaslamp Killer production that really got me. A great choice of samples and fitting vocals are the simplest ingredients imaginable, but they work terribly well.
Lone – Emerald Fantasy Tracks (Magic Wire)
Already the fourth album by Matt Cutler, but the first to be released on his own Magic Wire label. It’s a rather mellow dance album with strong links to late 80s/early 90s house music. However, the overall sound benefits from modern production techniques, so you won’t end up with a set of bleeding ears. Instead you will use the repeat function.
Teebs – Ardour (Brainfeeder)
The debut album by Los Angeles based Teebs had a perfect timing, for me anyway. At the time I was making my own experiences with the wonders of Northern winter. The bells, harps and other wonderful twinkles on the album seemed to be the perfect soundtrack while walking through snowed in European cities. Probably my favourite Brainfeeder release to date.
III. The Underrated
Ital Tek – Midnight Colour (Planet Mu)
There were probably a handful of albums that hit into a similar vein as Ital Tek‘s second album Midnight Colour. Ultimately, it was its melodic nature that made the difference to other strong records in the field – say Scuba’s Triangulation or F’s Energy Distortion. The album was also accompanied by a fine set of remixes by Ikonika and FaltyDL.
Sotu the Traveller – Left (self-released)
Probably the most overlooked record of the year, partly due to the bad timing (summer holidays) and for being self-released. To me it was a great relieve to hear the record, as I was suffering from an overdose of dark gritty beat albums. Along came Sotu the Traveller to deliver a super smooth record, stroking your ears at every minute. You can buy Left for a fair price at Sotu’s Bandcamp, where you’ll also find remixes by Daisuke Tanabe, Dynooo and Portformat.
Of course now that I got started, I could go on an mention the albums by Ikonika, Caribou or Shackleton’s Fabric 55. But then I’m quite happy with my selection and I already told you I take it kinda slow these days.
With Left, Dutch producer Sotu the Traveller delivered one of the finest, yet most overlooked albums of last year. If you’re among those who missed it, I strongly advise listening to the track below – and getting the rest of the album.
You can download this beautiful piece of music free of charge and get more of Sotu’s music on Bandcamp.
And while we’re at it: to find out more about Sotu, check out this video with the man.
Earlier this year, Sotu the Traveller released an album called Left. While I count it to the biggest surprises of the year, it’s a shamefully overlooked album (and unfortunately I wasn’t much of a help!) For Dutch magazine Streetrockaz he has put together a mix that’s just as good as the tracklist promises.
01. Prefuse 73 – Speeds of God 2000
02. Numaads – Now
03. Lorn – What’s the use
04. Tokimonsta – Aching noodles
05. Onra – Lying besides you
06. Kan Sano – Rec gain up
07. MonoPoly – Analysis (DNA)
08. Erykah Badu – The healer
09. MonoPoly – The system crumbles
10. Dabrye – Game over (Flying Lotus remix)
11. Sotu the Traveller – HourGlass (Portformat remix)
12. Mike Slott – Home
13. Onra – Moving
14. Favorite Flava – Favorite Flava
15. Take – Don’t look now
16. Darkhouse Family – Stay blazed
17. Nosaj Thing – Fog
18. Julien Dyne – Fallin down (ft. Parks)
19. Daisuke Tanabe – Deer Drop Forest
20. Take – Neon beams
22. Dyno – Fuh Real (ft. Naboobia)
23. Joya Mooi – When I take a step back
24. Platinum Pied Pipers – The ghost of Aveiro (ft. Coultrain)
25. Flying Lotus – Parisian Goldfish
26. Aïscha & Sotu the Traveller – What’s going on?
27. James Pants – I choose you
28. Sotu the Traveller – Verbs
If you’re fluent in Dutch, check the interview with Sotu. You can also download the mix for a limited time. If my translation is correct, you can also expect that mix to be out on CD.
Let me tell those of you that haven’t heard of Sotu the Traveller: this is just about to change! His name has stuck with me ever since I first came across his track from the 08bar compilation. The other day he surprised me with an email in which he announced his new self-released album.
The track above is one of the eight tracks on that album, the album itself goes by the name of Left. If you like it, you should head over to Sotu’s Bandcamp page and buy it – it’s worth every penny!