Foundations of Music


I am, (as are all the contributors to this site of literary exchange) a music lover.  From when I was a small child, to as I am today, music in all it’s various forms has helped shape who I am and how I live my life.  Thinking about ‘Violent by Design,’ spurred on by alteezimo’s article, I began to think of all the albums that have in the last five or six years affected this evolution.  Many of these albums were either given or suggested by friends, who have assuredly also placed most if not all in the ‘never discard’ section of the individual’s music memory.

Personally, had these albums been physical records, I would have over time carved the grooves into canyons.  These eight albums make up a core of my music listening history, and will forever be a part of my music library.

Air – Talkie Walkie


This album introduced me to the genius of Air, and helped forge my love of electronic music.

Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase


Being a drummer, I absolutely love stylish, inventive beats, and simple though many of their loops may be,  their creativity in frequency and static distortion definitely makes them stand out from the very large crowd of electronic artists.  It’s a shame they have not released any official material since 2006.

Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It in People

First introduced to me by my friend Shannon, this album absolutely captivated me, being of a sort of rock music that I had never known existed.  My favorite track on this album is ‘Looks just like the Sun’ which sounds like two people sitting with their feet up on a porch railing: the sun setting over a gently flowing lake glittered with sparkling reflections while their docile music tones float around.

Isis – Panopticon

I bought this album only weeks after it’s release, on the recommendation of my friend Ryan, and I’ve never looked back.  Just as ‘Violent by Design’ gave me an introduction to hip-hop, ‘Panopticon’ showed me the way to a now great appreciation of metal.  Hearing many of the songs off this album played live proved to me that we can expect much more great music from this band.

M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us

In it’s own way, ‘Before the Dawn Heals Us’ is one of the heaviest albums I own.  Although I would associate it more with electronic music than rock, tracks such as ‘Don’t Save Us From the Flames,’ ‘Fields Shorelines and Hunters,’ ‘Asterick,’ and ‘Teen Angst’ are definite head bangers, and from firsthand knowledge: Loud and very intense live.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Convinced of their worth by my brother, but lacking knowledge of their catalog, I picked up this album maybe in seventh or eight grade, and since that first listen of ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part I-V)’ my respect for Pink Floyd has never lapsed.

Sigur Ros- Takk

I saw Sigur Ros live in Madison just weeks after buying this album, and I can say that to this day, dozens of great shows later, that was one of my all time favorites.  Their obvious skill for music composition reveals itself in the subtlety and direction of the string quartet section, everpresent on this album.

Super Furry Animals – Phantom Power

I love all of Super Furry’s catalog, but the playful and carefree nature of this album, backed up by it’s strong yet never over-reaching electronics, beautiful harmonies, and wonderfully crafted drum beats marks it as entirely unique in my mind.  The slight background vocal samples, often voiced by Gruff Rhys, add a clever and often humorous touch.  I absolutely love the psych-rock jam that breaks down the end of ‘The Piccolo Snare,’ and ‘Slow Life’ remains one of my favorite electronic tracks.

I mostly wrote this so others would share some of their lasting, if not all-time favorite, albums that will always have a place in the ideal music collection.  Frankly, I’m just curious.

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2 Responses to “Foundations of Music”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the comment of most of your albums like this coming from friends. I know for sure that some of my favorite albums were definitely suggestions by you guys.

  2. i agree with a lot of those picks dan.. while i might appreciate different albums more, all of those bands are among the most respected in my catalog. ..great post. isis is finishing up recording their followup to the absence of truth now!

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