To choose my top 10 album releases of 2012 was not easy to do, so I decided on 12, which turned out to be the perfect number.
Upon choosing my favorite albums I considered a few important things. These albums are true albums. What I mean by that is that they were produced either before the artist knew what label was going to release them or they already belonged to a label and happily released it under them. The difference between these albums and the majority of digital albums lays with the artist not first being approached by a label to release something new of their as well as not being picked up by a label long after the release and have the label take credit for it.
These albums were put together with love and passion from the artists involved. These artists are not fake, they are talented and allowed us into the workings of their minds where their visions came to life. With digital labels popping up every day online it’s hard to take many of them seriously and I don’t. These artists chosen really worked long and hard on their albums. The passion speaks loudly through their music. Even though most labels are phony there are several that are the real deal. Now the one’s I’m about to list are not the only labels I see as true. So please don’t assume that all the other labels I don’t have here are labels that I view as phony. They just didn’t make the cut because I they simply didn’t produce something good enough for my top 12. Of course this is all based on my opinion and taste.
My hope here is to have new readers discover albums that they happened to miss this year as well as have the other readers rediscover these delicious albums.
Also these are not in order of my preference. They are all good and equal in different ways. You will notice this because of their diversity.
1. Calavera Calavera – The Fearless Vampire Killers
Earlier this year I stumbled upon the duo Calavera Calavera from Spain. They released a melodically incredible album called ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers.’ What stood out to me most was how incredible the melodies were while still at times having the tracks be dubstep infused bangers. They are not soft, they are dark however, and I really honestly loved this album immediately. I can also honestly say that I listened to it many times.
2. La MiniTK – Muerte Y Sabrosura
Later in the year La MiniTK finally after a long wait where I was teased constantly, they released their debut album ‘Muerte Y Sabrosura.’ La MiniTK’s mission is to shed light on the darkness that is the true nature of the tropics. Taking the lead started by the groups like Skinny Puppy and Sisters of Mercy, La MiniTK honestly released something that should be MUCH larger than it is. I will help as much as I can to expose them to the world.
3. Dengue Dengue Dengue! – La Alianza Profana
The even longer awaited debut from everyone’s favorite Dengue Dengue Dengue! was released this year much to everyone’s pleasure. These guys deserve everything they have, all the support and love and much more. ‘La Alianza Profana’ is an excellently produced album. They worked very hard on creating their image and sound. They are a brand now that can’t be mistaken for anyone else. They also designed excellent hard copies of La Alianza Profana on CD, which if compared to any big mainstream design company Dengue Dengue Dengue’s would most likely be the favorite choice.
4. DJ Broken Record – Cumbiahtonical Vol. 2
I have had the pleasure of getting to know DJ Broken Record more this past year. After his release of ‘Cumbiahtonical Vol. 1’ he captured my attention. Not only with that album but his moombahton remixes simply can’t be beat according to my book. Well he returned in 2012 with his release of ‘Cumbiahtonical Vol. 2,’ featuring many excellent influences of his and some of mine. DJ Broken Record is on a mission to reinvent and change how we view music.
5. Capitol K – Andean Dub
Another album I was waiting a very long time for also came out this year. Capitol K captured both my attention and imagination with his beautiful style of remixing and gorgeous originals. ‘Andead Dub’ is the name of his brilliant album. It took a long time to cook in the oven but when it finally came out Andean Dub delivered successfully to my expectations. Also I received a very nice professional hard copy of the CD.
6. Mati Zundel – Amazonico Gravitante
When I first heard Mati Zundel I was immediately enamored. ‘Amazonico Gravitante’ was released by a joint effort of Waxploitation and ZZK Records. Amazonico Gravitante is a celebration of the diverse tropical genres that influence Mati Zundel. It has huayno, cumbia, digital cumbia and other electronic sounds. Here is the excellent video that came with the release.
7. Filastine – LOOT
Filastine has had a busy year in 2012 touring the world promoting his also long awaited album ‘LOOT.’ First we were teased with a couple videos, which really helped gain a lot of interest from fans. This prophetic album also came out just in time as the world’s financially sacred institutions and practices are amidst their imminent demise.
8. Bondi Blaster – Lo Juimo
I knew from the very moment I first watched Bondi Blaster’s video for ‘Alta Farra’ that his album would definitely be on my end of the year list. The name of the EP is ‘Lo Juimo.’ This album is always in my arsenal when I perform live. The tracks flow so nicely and even the non-underground friendly music goers seem to be drawn to it which goes to show that it can easily cross over to main stream audiences for them to enjoy just as much as the rest of us.
Check out the full set here https://soundcloud.com/djjuandata/sets/bondi-blaster-lo-juimo. For some reason due to the brilliant new Soundcloud layout I can’t share the album streaming here. But please please please take one second more and go to the link to listen there.
9. Dialect Trio – Desert Blues
Dialect Trio has been incredibly busy this year. Each of their albums is excellently and professionally produced. They have some of the highest production quality and musicianship for live instrumentation to be found online, especially these – Internet anyone and everyone produces – days. It might come as a surprise to them that I chose ‘Desert Blues’ to be my favorite of theirs this year. It’s just so lovely and wonderfully original. Perhaps it also has to do with the rawness and looseness of the instrument playing. This shows me how well the sound is produced if they can capture that rawness so cleanly.
10. Matthew Shell and Trey Eley – Freedom
Speaking of excellent production quality and brilliant talented musicianship, Matthew Shell and Trey Eley are simply and profoundly incredible. ‘Freedom’ is perhaps the best album I’ve heard in years. I know if Miles Davis were still alive and was shown this album, he would be obsessed with it. I wish I had the ability to send it Prince’s way because I can safely bet that he would absolutely love it too. The musicianship I must reiterate is of the highest caliber. I can only dream of playing as well as any one of the musicians on this album. Not only is the music very powerful and beautiful, the people behind it are also wonderful, intelligent and very kind. I can and do honestly wish Matthew Shell and Trey Eley along with all their creative friends involved with ‘Freedom’ the best of luck and much future fortune.
Let the music take you over with ‘Freedom,’ by Matthew Shell and Trey Eley.
The last two on my list of the top 12 albums of 2012 are two friends with much happening for them in Lima, Peru. Terror Negro Records is one of my favorite labels because the guys behind it are a tight knit group with much passion for their music. The music is at the forefront of what they’re about. Money and fame is of no concern though I do wish them much of both.
11. Deltatron – El Que Abandon No Tiene Premio y Mas
Deltatron is the first of the two I will present here. Over the years he has delivered awesome work after awesome work consistently. With ‘El Que Abandona No Tiene Premio y Mas,’ Deltatron shows his masterful production and DJ skills as he takes his futuristic unique staple dumbia style to the global music community. And we receive his music with much pleasure.
12. Sonidos Profundos – 24 Horas
You can easily blame me of over-playing Sonidos Profundos tracks live. I would agree with the accusation because I know very well that I do play a lot of Sonidos Profundos. But it’s not my fault. His music is among my favorites in the nu cumbia scene. If I were to choose one person to represent nu cumbia it would be Sonidos Profundos. If I were to choose one duo it would be Dengue Dengue Dengue! I’m serious about my love of Sonidos Profundos music and when Terror Negro Records released ’24 Horas’ I received it as a blessing from the music gods.
(I Lied) 13. DJ Chakruna – El Sonido Brutal
I lied about there being 12 on this list. I went one further and made it a lucky 13. There are two reasons I couldn’t justify leaving this next one out. One reason is that he is the third part of Terror Negro Records and I love the label a lot. The second reason is because DJ Chakruna’s ‘El Sonido Brutal’ is an excellent EP that truly is one of my favorites of this year.
These are my
12 I mean 13 favorite albums of 2012. I thought this through as I was taking notes all year long just for this specific post. So trust me when I say these are my favorite. I left out some really good ones too but they just didn’t beat these 13 albums. It wasn’t easy but there are some really good ones that barely are not in the top 13. I guess I feel a bit guilty but I’d much rather end the year honestly.
2013 is going to be perhaps the busiest year of my life. Big projects are already in the works here at Generation Bass. I can’t wait to begin but I don’t mind a few days to sit back and re-visit all 13 of these brilliant albums.