27 December 2006

06 review is here

Best records of 2006

It’s the end of another year; none of us getting any younger but not all of us bothered by it. What a great year with music it has been. 2006 marked the year that I finally stopped having any glue on the chart actions (such as highest new entries and bubbling under – you know the clichés) and I am quite happy about it. There has been far too many absolutely mind-blowing releases for me to care about any major label calculated must have records which generally feature not more than one or two even okay tracks and rest is fillers. Many people say album format is dying, which I agree with to an extend that it is at least fading. I do not separate the mixtapes from full albums on this chart and of course, there has been many records I have enjoyed this year which were released earlier. Those records, well only a handful of them, are listed as well. It is my chart so I do what I like.

Few notes from the list. Lowkey is number one. It is not even that I think his record as such would be that much better than the others, but boy.. he can spit and he spits knowledge as well with an absolutely amazing flow. There are few tracks there that are not all that but in a big picture, he has certainly restored my trust in good music and great raps this year. I wrote earlier about Soweto Kinch’s record and that could have, as an album, been number one as well quite frankly. So many artists worth mentioning. I am actually having Akala’s It’s Not a Rumour in my headphones right now and the first half of that keeps everyone hyped and the end is just big in many different ways. His track Shakespeare is very close to the song of the year for me. C-Mone record was one of the heaviest of the spring and it is also noteworthy that Public Enemy has two records in top ten and one, the best out of three, New Whirl Odor, was released late last year but I only got it this year. I would also like to add that the word on the street is that my friend ENDZ ended up with a masterpiece (Kingdom of the Next) for which I by the way designed artwork for but I have not had an opportunity to hear it all so I cannot put it on chart. Needless to say I cannot wait to hear it.

  1. Lowkey – Key to the Game vol. 3
  2. Soweto Kinch - Life In The Day Of B19, A (Tales Of The Tower Block)
  3. C-Mone – The Butterfly Effect
  4. K’Naan – Dusty Foot Philosopher
  5. Akala – It’s not a Rumour
  6. Public Enemy – Beats and Places
  7. Asa – Terveisiä Kaaoksesta
  8. Tote King – Un Tipo Cualquiera
  9. Public Enemy – Rebirth Of a Nation
  10. Roots Manuva - Alternately Deep
  11. Promoe – White Man’s Burden
  12. Sway – This is my Demo
  13. Conquering Lions - Conquering Lions
  14. Black Mist - Drudge Dialect vol. 1 Mixtape
  15. Little Darker Mixtape
  16. Muph & Plutonic – Silence the Sirens
  17. Ty – Closer
  18. Sean Burke – Conscious Hip Hop
  19. Afrolution vol. 1 Original African Hip Hop
  20. Baby J – F.T.P. vol. 2
  21. Baby Blue – Out of the Blue vol. 2: The World Will Know
  22. Blade – Guerrilla Tactics
  23. Jurassic 5 – Feedback
  24. Leeroy – Bollywood Trip
  25. Beverley Knight – The Voice (Best of)

The records released before 2006 that made the difference to me this year.

  1. Clotaire K – Lebanese
  2. Public Enemy – New Whirl Odor
  3. Skinnyman – Council Estate of Mind
  4. Kent – EP
  5. INTIK – La Victorie
  6. Pete Philly & Perquisite – Mind State

Best books (I have read) in 2006.

I don’t read as many books as I listen to music. Or I read but lot of it is for the studies and hardly any of the books are published in the year I read them and actually most of them are journal articles.

To me, no question, the book of the year was William Bloke Modisane’s “Blame me on history”. As I rarely read fiction I am more used to factual texts but Modisane writes his story in such a vivid way and without pretending that it hit me hard when reading. The book is his story in apartheid South Africa and it made me feel more than any book ever. I would say that is so far my top book ever. I just happened to read it in 2006.

  1. Blame me on History by William Bloke Modisane
  2. Basic features of Nkrumaism by Kwame Nkrumah
  3. I didn’t do it for you by Michela Wrong
  4. My Hip Hop is African and Proud by Emile Jensen
  5. Making terrorism history by Scilla Elworthy and Gabrielle Rifkind

Best films of 2006

I struggled with films this past year. Although there has been some fantastic films that I have seen, Birmingham still has not got a proper cinema showing films that are not produced by Jerry Bruckenheimer and my favourite cinema in Helsinki, Bio City, was closed. Luckily I saw a great film just last week, The Days of Being Young, so I have at least some films worth mentioning. This year I have also watched hours of documentaries from the internet so special mention goes here to YouTube and Google Video and the likes. But looking at the list now I cannot help but feel “was that it?”.

  1. Joyeux Noël – Merry Christmas
  2. Days of Being Wild
  3. Tsietsi, My Hero
  4. His Big White Self – Nick Broomfield (documentary)
  5. Innocence
Only one more year for the next one. Have a good end of the old and beginning of the new.

19 December 2006

Few lines from Helsinki

The past few months the general hectic life has practically made me a non-blogger. That wasn’t the meaning at all but I’ve just been busy doing million things and writing few others. I’m happily on holiday now back in Finland so I decided that the quietness must stop.

I have been preparing my end of year lists which seem to be a some sort of a obligation for every blogger. It’s been a great year with music, I’ve read some brilliant books but films this year have been low standard. I’ve seen some good ones, of course, but because of my circumstances I haven’t even had a proper chance to see good quality films from all over the world. I will not dwell on that more now; the actual lists are coming in few weeks time.

Myspace has taken some of my time as well. It would be such a cool service if only it wasn’t owned by the devil himself. I (amongst millions of others) was chosen as a person of the year by TIME magazine. I am not sure if that is a worth of mention in my CV. I guess it’s a sign of times though. Now I am in the same league with Hitler and Stalin - how nice.

I was watching the other day quite interesting documentary about the war on terrorism. I didn’t yet have time to watch the whole thing and when it comes to these conspiracy theories around this modern so called terrorism that we have this so called war against, I am not sure about them. I like them though because they raise good questions and they must be answered. I doubt they will ever be. This documentary particularly had some very interesting material about London bombings.

My own personal experience, and I could write a standard blog entry to be used every time I use airports, is pretty grim. The war seems to be mainly on customer service and even after all these months, the airports and air companies have failed to adjust into the new regulations although for us, the paying customers, there are only two options and one of them is not to fly at all. Queues both in Birmingham International and Amsterdam’s Schiphol were ridiculous and the new checks haven’t been facilitated much. People waited in lines for ages some even missing their connecting flights. I’d like to ask how is it even possible to get that kind of connecting flight that leaves too soon after the first one lands and the new waiting times haven’t been thought of? I ended up running like a mad-person to get out of there and finally landed in Helsinki few hours after – in time I must add.

Nothing major on other fronts. Few pictures from here, lists are coming soon much like they did last year and I’ll get other things to write about soon enough.