Listmania: the music of 2009, Herko edition!

It’s that time of year again, where you look back and -well basically, make lists. So, in keeping with this wonderful tradition on the interwebz here’s my list of music related goodness of 2009.

Award shows on TV keep the best for last in order to keep their audience hostage and their advertisers happy, but the web apparently doesn’t work like that. So,lets get this show on the road!

Album of the Year 2009

The Crimson Wing, OST by The Cinematic Orchestra
The Crimson Wing OST, by TCO

This has got to be the album I’ve listened to most this year -and it is in fact the album I’m listening to as I write this post. It is the truly epic soundtrack to The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos film, a Disney Nature documentary. The music is by the ever awesome The Cinematic Orchestra. Take a look at the trailer to get an idea of what the movie is about.

If you know of The Cinematic Orchestra, you’ll note that the trailer uses a song from their album Breathe. The song does not feature on the Soundtrack, but it does feature Louise Rhodes, a guest star on the Breathe album and of Lamb fame.

The Crimson Wing soundtrack is written by J. Swincoe, lead man of TCO, who has the full use of the London Metropolitan Orchestra to create a melodramatic, subtle and at times epic soundtrack. The album starts small and fragile with harp, piano and guitar, but with the LMO’s strings and brass sections accompanying them, the tracks get a full body and character.

My favorite track is ‘Transformation‘. I haven’t seen the movie (is hasn’t been released here in the NL), but you can clearly imagine the sun rising, the world waking, and hope flooding the world. The central theme just breathes that ‘everything will be alright now’, culminating into a grand finale worthy of the biggest concert halls.

Tracklist:

1. Opening Titles (2:53)
2. Arrival of the Birds (2:38)
3. The Dance (3:21)
4. Soda (3:11)
5. Hatching (5:12)
6. Marabou (3:56)
7. Exodus (7:17)
8. Transformation (5:16)
9. Hyena (1:49)
10. Life of the Bird (3:33)
11. First Light (4:06)
12. Crimson Skies (Featuring Lou Rhodes) (3:24)

New Discovery of 2009

Please note that this category -this whole post for that matter- is extremely subjective and relative. There’s so much great music out there, this is just what I found and enjoyed. My discovery for 2009 is DJ/producer/singer Ben Westbeech. Mr. Westbeech is from Bristol, UK, a hotbed of creativity, or so I’m told. He’s trained as a cellist and vocalist, and he uses his soulful singing talents during his DJ sets.

Ben Westbeech
Ben Westbeech

I first saw him perform live at the RAW Rhythm festival in Amsterdam, where he was truly giving the festival some needed flavor and spicing things up a bit. His DJ set -sometimes combined with the Jazzanova crew who were scheduled to perform next- was awesome. He played some of his own tracks too, from his album ‘Welcome to the best years of your life’. Ben gave a CD containing his first single “So good today” to a friend in London. Two months later she played it to Gilles Peterson who snapped it up. This led to Ben being signed to Gilles Peterson’s new label, Brownswood Recordings. His debut albumWelcome to the Best Years of Your Life was released in March 2007.

Later this year, he did a set at the Amsterdam Dance Event Strictly Defected (in da house) night over at Club Panama*. His talent is in both truly enjoying himself when spinning the decks, showing a passion for good music and different styles -funk, house, jazz, soul, and using his smooth voice to create an extra dimension to his sets.

For those of you who are into that sort of thing, you can follow him on Twitter as well: @benwestbeech. Keep an eye out for him, as he’s going to get bigger and bigger!

Best Podcast of 2009

Yes, I have an iPod, and an iPhone, and a Mac, so I do listen to podcasts. But choosing the one I liked best in 2009 is going to be difficult, as it’s a close call between 2 excellent podcasts, really. The first is @dennisruyer’s Radio 538 Dance Department podcast.

This is the online version of the leading Dutch radio station Radio 538’s dance music show. It’s been in the iTunes top 10 most downloaded podcasts for quite a while now, which should tell you something of the quality of the music featured on the show. Basically, it showcases some of the best new dance tracks and artists, and is a great show to listen to in just about any circumstance. Dennis has many friends among the world’s top DJ’s and producers, giving him access to many not-yet-released tunes and some of the hottest gossip. But it’s more then that, Dennis is also a gifted DJ and aspiring producer (with his mate Prinsjan), giving the show a great tension buildup and rhythm of its own. This makes almost every show a great show to listen to, with never a dull moment.

The other podcast is the Solid Steel podcast, which is a collaboration between Ninja Tunes‘ DK and Serato, producter of sofware for DJ gear (for anyone who feels the urge to buy me something expensive, please look for their Numark S7 solution -not that I’m any good at DJing, but you’ve got to start somewhere! :-)). The Solid Steel podcast has some true gems, and some where I go ‘meh’. But the gems make up for all the ‘meh’s. DK is an excellent DJ, who is able to combine hip-hop with drum-and-bass and warm soul and classic jazz. It’s this that makes the Solid Steel shows legendary. Plus, some of Ninja Tunes’ finest have featured on Solid Steel radio making it a great archive for progressive nu-jazz and whatnot.

So, subscribe to both podcasts, now!

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