Music List | posted 01.12.2021
End-of-year Vinyl Review 2021
Top 20 Books
From the ultimate 2Pac oral history to a re-reading of Daft Punk’s legacy and the B-sides of music history, these books shaped a year whose first half gave us plenty of reading time.
Text Kristoffer Cornils, Christoph Benkeser , Translation Sebastian Hinz
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THE END-OF-YEAR VINYL REVIEW IN THE WEBSHOP OF HHV RECORDS.


Abdul Qadim Haqq – The Book Of Drexciya Volume TwoSoftcover, Hardcover Abdul Qadim Haqq – The Book Of Drexciya Volume Two (BOOKDREX2)
The Drexciyans are bubbling up once more! Having crowdfunded the first volume of his graphic novel about Detroit’s secret Electro-Atlantis last year, Abdul Qadim Haqq has done it again in 2021. In »The Book of Drexciya Volume Two«, warrior women wander through the reeds and quack fish-heads research magic potion with diving goggles. Immersing yourself in this world may come with a price tag attached to it, but in the shape of a beautiful book like this, who wouldn’t take the dive? Christoph Benkeser
 

Alberto Zanini – Funk Investigators (Cannonball)Book Alberto Zanini – Funk Investigators (Cannonball)
Alberto Zanini lost his job, packed his bags and took a round trip through the USA that changed his life. What sounds like a Sundance flick gone mad makes a lot of sense as a book. Zanini eats pancakes in a waffle house near New York, talks to vinyl freaks in Detroit and listens to old soul tapes on the highway to Pittsburgh, himself becoming one of the »Funk Investigators« about whom he writes in this book, published by Cannonball. Christoph Benkeser
 

Ben Cardew – Daft Punk’s Discovery The Future Unfurled (Velocity Press)Book Ben Cardew – Daft Punk’s Discovery: The Future Unfurled (Velocity Press)
When »Discovery« was released in 2001, the world shimmered like chrome and Daft Punk became what they were always meant to be: a mix between Mad Max and Cybertron, the leaders of the Generation X, a beckoning from the virtual future. Music journalist Ben Cardew takes the 20th anniversary of the album as an opportunity to revisit it carefully, to revisit »The Future Unfurled«. Christoph Benkeser
 

Bret Lunsford – Sounding For Harry Smith – Early Pacific Northwest Influences (Knw-Yr-Own)Book Bret Lunsford – Sounding For Harry Smith – Early Pacific Northwest Influences (Knw-Yr-Own)
Harry Smith collected many things throughout his life, among them paper airplanes, Ukrainian Easter eggs, his sperm, and 78-r.p.m singles. In other words, the man was not exactly right in his head. Still, in 1952, he put together a compilation with American folk music that became a bible for everyone from Guthrie to Dylan. The mere coincidence that »Sounding For Harry Smith« author Bret Lunsford and Phil Elverum, who wrote the foreword, like Smith himself hail from the Washington town of Anacortes helps this book. It’s peppered with photographs showing the shaman, alchemist and Ginsberg crony doing what he was best at, whatever it was. Christoph Benkeser
 

Christian Elster – Pop-Musik Sammeln – Zehn Ethnografische Tracks Zwischen Plattenladen Und Streamingportal (Transcript)Book Christian Elster – Pop-Musik Sammeln – Zehn Ethnografische Tracks Zwischen Plattenladen Und Streamingportal (Transcript)
»Pop-Musik Sammeln« (»Collecting Pop Music«) by Christian Elster is worthwhile for Alex Solman’s illustrations alone, which doesn’t mean that the artist – best known for his work for Hamburg’s Golden Pudel Club and the Paloma Bar in Berlin – eclipses Elster’s German language monograph on the collecting mania of fans. Whether talking about analog media or even the streaming environment, his book is both descriptive and yet concise, letting well-known Walter Benjamin quotes collide with the words of a collector who, having recently become a father, found it difficult to detach himself from parts of his record collection. Perhaps few people will truly understand a feeling like this, but some will sympathize, Elster clearly being one of them. He gracefully walks the thin line between in-depth analysis of a phenomenon and the compassionate eye of someone who is an avid collector himself. For the heads, by a head. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Dan Ozzi – Sellout The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore (1994-2007 (Mariner Books) Dan Ozzi – Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore (1994-2007 (Mariner Books)
Does anyone actually still does this: sell out? While 99% of the music world is chasing instant success on Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube, some subcultures still turn up their noses when someone can make the monthly rent from the music. Hip-hop, techno, punk: certain genres can’t reconcile making money from art with how they’d like to view themselves. Journalist Dan Ozzi takes a look at the post-Nirvana music industry, that is, more precisely, major labels that latched onto pop-punk bands like Green Day, even lured in anarchist groups like Against Me!, and finally made prog-rockish emo a mainstream sensation with thanks to My Chemical Romance, who in their own way anticipated the logic of the streaming era. The examples could be applied to other fields from techno to rap, making Ozzi’s book all the richer. Kristoffer Cornils
 

DJ Semtex – Hip Hop Raised Me (Updated Edition) (Thames & Hudson)Book DJ Semtex – Hip Hop Raised Me (Updated Edition) (Thames & Hudson)
It was only three years ago that the German version of an instant classic of hip-hop historiography has been published, so this year an update of the English-language edition felt almost overdue. While other books such as Jeff Chang’s »Can’t Stop Won’t Stop« tried to map out a socio-historical panorama from the early genesis of hip-hop up to the Golden Era and its arrival in the U.S. or international mainstream, DJ Semtex offers numerous interviews with not only Nas or Jay-Z, but also Drake or Nicki Minaj, in addition to many photographs and graphics. »Hip Hop Raised Me« is a book to look at, to get lost in and to learn a lot from – colorful, versatile, instructive. History coming alive under your fingertips, much the title promises. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Frederik Dörfler-Trummer – Hip Aus Österreich – Lokale Aspekte Einer Globalen Kultur (Transcript)Book Frederik Dörfler-Trummer – HipHop Aus Österreich – Lokale Aspekte Einer Globalen Kultur (Transcript)
Raf Camora, Yung Hurn, Moneyboy – the German-language rap mainstream from Austria sounds like straight outta the psychiatric ward. Frederik Dörfler-Trummer however makes clear that there is more to rap coming out of Austria than clownish gangsta rap and dreamy cloud rap. The musicologist slipped into his kicks and wrote »HipHop aus Österreich« (»Hip hop from Austria«), a German-language doctoral thesis that doesn’t start with Falco but is instead on top of the Austrian rap game, leaving a lot of room for the subculture around it. Including rapping in dialect, surprisingly. »Waunst es gspiast, is des Voixmusik!« Christoph Benkeser 

Gazal & Sookee – Awesome HipHop Humans – Queer_Fem_Rap Im Deutschspachigen Raum (Ventil Verlag)Book Gazal / Sookee – Awesome HipHop Humans – Queer_Fem_Rap Im Deutschspachigen Raum (Ventil Verlag)
2021 was the year that German rap (finally?) had its #MeToo moment, so an intervention like this anthology published by Gazal together with Sookee through Ventil Verlag seemed more than overdue, unfortunately. »Awesome HipHop Humans – Queer_Fem_Rap Im Deutschspachigen Raum« (»Queer_Fem_Rap in the German-speaking world«) gathers contributions from and with, among others, Ebow, MISSY Magazin, Jule Wasabi or Klitclique, but also the seasoned German hip-hop chronicler Hannes Loh and … Fettes Brot! Yes, that’s how broad and rich this volume is really, and that’s how colorful the almost 400 pages are. Let’s hope that the right people will leaf through it and learn from it. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Graham Sharpe – Vinyl Countdown (Oldcastle Books)Book Graham Sharpe – Vinyl Countdown (Oldcastle Books)
Graham Sharpe is a boomer with enough dough to jet around the globe, hoarding masses of vinyl and capturing it all with a fancy SLR camera. The kind of guy who puts 3,000 discs in his living room and makes a coffee table book called »Vinyl Countdown« to let the world know about how he fishes super rare pressings out of the bargain bin in Oslo, Warsaw or New Zealand. That can be mildly irritating as it usually is when a very white bloke babbles about his very white hobby. Or it can send you straight to the nearest thrift store, hoping you’ll one day be as lucky as him. Christoph Benkeser 


THE END-OF-YEAR VINYL REVIEW IN THE WEBSHOP OF HHV RECORDS.


Kelefa Sanneh – Major Labels A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres (Penguin Press) Kelefa Sanneh – Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres (Penguin Press)
From rock to country, from hip-hop to punk, what the genres mentioned on the cover of this book have to do with each other is one thing above all: they all have, in their own way, changed the Western world a bit over the past decades, supposedly democratizing it but nonetheless further dividing it. In »Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres«, New York Times pop critic Kelefa Sanneh explores the sociopolitical implications and effects of particular sounds, genres, and subcultures, but most importantly, how they divided different audiences – and in the U.S. context, of course, these are primarily Black and white. By the same token, however, »Major Labels« can be read just as much as a manifesto for a music culture without borders, in which perhaps not everyone is the same, but everyone is at least united under one groove. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Kool Savas – King Of Rap – Die 24 Gesetze (Droemer)Book Kool Savas – King Of Rap – Die 24 Gesetze (Droemer)
German rapper Kollegah may preach his »ten boss commandments«, but if you really want to change your life these 24 laws from the King of Rap will do the trick instead. Kool Savas looks back on his career over 368 book pages and probably has actually written all them himself. After all, any ghostwriter would chop off his right arm before typing sentences like »The meaning of life is to give your life a meaning!« into a text editor. But Savas, of course, knows what’s up: »Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.« Alright, mate. Christoph Benkeser
 

Laurent Fintoni – Bedroom Beats & B-Sides (Velocity Press)Book Laurent Fintoni – Bedroom Beats & B-Sides: Instrumental Hip-Hop & Electronic Music at the Turn of the Century (Velocity Press)
Niche historiography: it does exist. In »Bedroom Beats & B-Sides«, Laurent Fintoni focuses on a largely faceless and currently predominantly very online … well, can this be even considered to be a subculture at all? First and foremost, the three-decade story told by the French-born artist on his journey across three continents is that of a phenomenon that, thanks to and by means of technological innovations, came to life in the early days of boom-bap sound before morphing from a mere DJ tool delivery service into a veritable and sustainable YouTube success, slowly but surely taking the world by storm. This alternative history of an approach that has firmly arrived in the mainstream is an essential contribution to the music historiography of the past decades. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Lesley Chow – _ You’re History The Twelve Strangest Women in Music_ (Repeater)● ###HHV:XXXXX:Book### Lesley Chow – You’re History: The Twelve Strangest Women in Music (Repeater)
Somewhere, I bet, some Stephen is writing a book about Bob Dylan, or the Beatles, perhaps even about Led Zeppelin. The kind of masturbatory books that pile up to a gigantic canon of boredom. Lesley Chow on the other hand has shown that it can be done differently. In her book »You’re History – The Twelve Strangest Women in Music«, she takes on Janet Jackson, Kate Bush or Nicki Minaj and listens to their records to analyse their lyrics – and, of course, to destroy Rihanna’s »Umbrella« forever. Christoph Benkeser
 

Loren Glass – Carole King – Tapestry (33 13)Book Loren Glass – Carole King – Tapestry (33 1/3)
While many are already feverishly awaiting Sequoia L. Maner’s monograph on »To Pimp a Butterfly«, it’s just as worthwhile to pick up Loren Glass’ book from Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series in which the literary and cultural scholar examines Carole King’s opus magnum »Tapestry«. While putting the album in the context of King’s own biography and her career as a songwriter, Glass also explores the music-historical cross-connections to the feminism of the late sixties and early seventies. More than that, he posits »Tapestry« as a crucial turning point away from the girl groups of the early pop era toward a more mature, self-empowered self-expression of women in the music world that continues to resonate all the way to the riot grrrls and beyond. No mere book about a record, then, but a historical in-depth excursion that is only a few pages thick. Marvelous! Kristoffer Cornils
 

Marie Staggat & Timo Stein: HUSH - Berlin Club Culture In A Time Of Silence (Foto)Book Marie Staggat & Timo Stein – Hush – Berlin Club Culture In A Time Of Silence (Parthas)
For a year and a half, the dance floors of Berlin stood still, and yet a lot happened during this accelerated standstill. The book project »Hush – Berlin Club Culture In A Time Of Silence« by photographer Marie Staggat and journalist Timo Stein documented the barely representable in visual terms and juxtaposed the still lifes from the hedonism centers of this city, captured with an extraordinary eye for detail, with very lively bilingual portraits and interviews with the people who not only go about their business in them, but use the spaces to open up parallel worlds night after night – usually, that is, at least. »Hush« is a book that is as empathetic as it is emphatic: please don’t forget what clubs, and even more so the people behind them, mean to us! Kristoffer Cornils
 

Martin James – State Of Bass (Velocity Press)Book Martin James – State Of Bass (Velocity Press)
Besides »Who Say Reload« (see below) »State of Bass« is the second seminal work on UK breakbeat culture Velocity Press has brought us in a short time and really, things could be much worse. Originally published in 1998 and thus right at the end of the metamorphosis from jungle to drum’n’bass, Martin James’ book is always less characterized by egos of various scene figures than Terzulli’s oral history, but by no means fully objective: here, an ardent fan and member of the community writes about what he loves most. But because James does not forget his duties as a historian, »State of Bass« is the indisputable go-to work, at least in this format. So, dig out Kemistry & Storm’s »DJ Kicks«, lick your fingers, and start flipping through it. Kristoffer Cornils
 

Paul Terzulli – Who Say Reload (Velocity Press)Book Paul Terzulli – Who Say Reload (Velocity Press)
»If you’d put on a Jungle record from 1993 in 1989, everyone would have known what the future sounded like« wrote Culture-Clasher Mark Fisher. In 1993, the hype was real and the rumble in jungle could be heard almost everywhere. In northern England, they threw amen breaks into a digital meat grinder and squeezed a sound that wrecked warehouses everywhere. In »Who Say Reload« for Velocity Press, Paul Terzulli tells the story of the drum ‘n’ bass movement together with some of its leading figures and the tunes that guided them on their way into the future. Christoph Benkeser
 

Questlove – Music Is History (Abrams)Book Questlove – Music Is History (Abrams)
Questlove is one of maybe five people who can call his book »Music Is History« and get away with it. This is because, of course, the guy was present when most history happened, but also wrote some himself. Like Kelefa Sanneh in »Major Labels« (see above), his aim is to do more than just list tunes, albums and concerts, but rather to draw up a psychogram of the USA over five decades, which makes »Music Is History« as much a book about music as one about the transformations of Black identity and the power a simple groove can have in collective perception. That Questlove – admittedly: with a little help from journalist Ben Greenman – also writes in a similarly relaxed and yet exhilarating way as he plays the drums, makes this book even more historical. Kristoffer Cornils 

Sheldon Pearce – Changes. An Oral History of Tupac Shakur (Simon & Schuster)● ###HHV:XXXXX:Book### Sheldon Pearce – Changes. An Oral History of Tupac Shakur (Simon & Schuster)
On September 13, 1996, Tupac died from being shot with a gun. Or he was abducted by aliens. Anyone who isn’t taking a course in applied conspiracy theory knows what’s going on — and Sheldon Pearce does, too. The New Yorker journalist has written »Changes. An Oral History of Tupac Shakur«, a book about the man himself and talked to a lot of people in his circle for this. Spoiler: no one has since seen Tupac sipping cocktails in Cuba. Too bad, isn’t it? Christoph Benkeser
 


THE END-OF-YEAR VINYL REVIEW IN THE WEBSHOP OF HHV RECORDS.

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Records Revisited
Stars Of The Lid – The Tired Sounds Of (2001)
The most monumental silence of all time: With »The Tired Sounds Of«, the two US musicians Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie aka Stars Of The Lid created in 2001 one of the most important ambient albums of all time. With over two hours of sounds, drones and loops, they gave the genre a totally new depth.
Music Portrait
Holy Hive
Introspective lightness
With their debut album »Float Back To You«, the New York trio Holy Hive presented a folk-soul balm for the sore and bare nerves in 2020. On the self-titled follow-up Paul Spring, Homer Steinweiss and Joe Harrison continue on the chosen course, but sound even more intimate and personal.
Music List
Palmbomen II
10 All Time Favs
Pictures and sounds could never really be separated from each other with Palmbomen II. His new record, »Make A Film,« provides the music for the moving pictures that we all have yet to shoot. What music inspires him when composing film music, the Dutch producer has told us now.
Music Column
Records Revisited
A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory (1991)
It doesn’t get much better than that. At the beginning of the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest brought the flow to the point with their second album »The Low End Theory«. Without aggressive male poses, but with jazz, breaks and vibe.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)
1991 – what a year for rock music. The albums by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers released September 24, 1991 made rock become popular again. But »Screamadelica« by Primal Scream changed the whole genre.
Music Essay
The Beat Era in the GDR
Hostile takeover
Records from the Amiga label are widely available in Germany. In addition to pressings of international stars such as Michael Jackson, the Beatles or Bob Dylan, there was also a lot of music from the GDR itself that was released. Some of it is worth to be rediscovered.
Music Interview
José González
Taste Is Like Your Bum
In 2003, Jose Gonzalez covered the song “Heartbeat” by The Knife and instantly catapulted himself into the hearts and study rooms of so many. Now he has a new album, »Local Valley«, released. We had the opportunity to interview him.
Music Portrait
Loredana Bertè
Somehow Incomparable
Loredana Bertè is being lauded as the »Queen of Italian Rock.« This is not only musically inadequate, for Bertè never represented the status quo and instead repeatedly questioned it. She was and still is an outsider out of conviction.
Music Column
Records Revisited
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (1996)
25 years ago, »Endtroducing« was released, a hip-hop album that brought Björk together with Metallica and Finnish fusion. DJ Shadow was digging in the cellar for it. And found gold. He covered what he found with a touch of melancholy and created an album that seems to have fallen out of time.
Music Portrait
Sarah Davachi
Echo of the infinity
Intensity is the word that comes to mind. In her music and in her movements. Sarah Davachi is an artist on the border between ambient, composition and drone. Her sound feels like someone stroking the soul with a fingertip. Now her new album »Antiphonals« is released.
Music Portrait
Dais Records
Sound as a collection
Between experiment and expectation, the contemporary and the past, Dais Records dares a delicate balancing act in aesthetics. Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin make waves where linearity experiences conscious disturbance – and follow the tracks of exceptional labels.
Music Portrait
Leslie Winer
The Unknown World Star
Björk, Grace Jones, Boy George and Sinéad O’Connor are among her admirers. William S. Burroughs was her mentor. Somehow, she also invented trip-hop. Yet Leslie Winer is known only to insiders today. That could change now.
Music Portrait
DJ Koco
Guest Mix
With DJ Koco, amazing mixing skills meet a selection of tremendous sophistication. Hardly anyone cuts his breakbeats tighter into each other than he does. The most amazing thing: The Japanese DJ limits himself to 7-inches in his sets.
Music Column
Records Revisited
John Coltrane – Africa/Brass (1961)
In 1961, »Africa/Brass" marked the dawn of a new age: for John Coltrane, it was the beginning of his Impulse! years, and for many African countries, the start of independence. Musically, it was probably his most ambitious effort.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Björk – Vespertine (2001)
Introverted standstill. Despite numerous positive reviews in August 2021 for the release of her fourth album “Vespertine”, Björk Guðmundsdóttir did not seem to fulfill the promise of her previous work with this record. Because this time she chose a completely different approach. Which makes »Vespertine« one of her best records to date.
Music List
Durand Jones & The Indications
10 All Time Favs
More than retro soul: Durand Jones & The Indications have been combining the past and future of the genre since their debut five years ago. Now their third album »Private Space« is released. Time to ask the band about the 10 records that have shaped, improved and educated them.
Music Portrait
Conrad Schnitzler
In the Midst of Disorder
Conrad Schnitzler, who died in 2011, is still perceived primarily for his connection to Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. Yet the impressive body of work that the »intermedia« artist left behind stands on its own.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Main Source – Breaking Atoms (1991)
In some ways, »Breaking Atoms,« Main Source’s full-length debut, seems to have remained a second-tier classic. But Large Professor’s production defined a signature sound for the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Music Column
Records Revisited
LFO – Frequencie (1991)
With »Frequencies«, the low frequency oscillators LFO from Leeds created one of the first techno albums. Their high bleeps and low clonks made history in techno music. To this day, it is an invitation, er, order to dance.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
With »Maggot Brain« Funkadelic 1971 goes to the dark side of funk. The triumphant pleasure principle is interspersed with dystopian eschatology, and juxtaposes the celebration of life with an oppressive doomsday mood.
Music Portrait
Hōzan Yamamoto
Meditation out of improvisation
For over five decades he pushed Japanese jazz towards spiritual spheres, without kitsch or esoteric – and just a little pathos. Above all, he garnered reputation for it back home. Even today Hōzan Yamamotos work is internationally considered an insider tip.
Music Portrait
Hoshina Anniversary
The Techno and jazz meltdown
Hoshina Anniversary makes techno. But he would rather see himself as a successor to jazz and traditional Japanese music. And the Tokyo native is not alone in this. In this sense, jazz is less what you play than how you play it.
Music Essay
Jazz kissas
Where the music plays in Japan
They offer classy retreat from a world where everyone listens all the time. And they celebrate listening to music: Jazz Kissas, Japan’s unofficial cultural heritage. Journalist Katsumasa Kusunose is now documenting it.
Music Portrait
Hiroshi Suzuki
The unknown with the trombone
In 1976, Japanese trombonist Hiroshi Suzuki recorded an album. “Cat,” which is characterized less by perfection than by a fine groove, was somewhat overlooked at one time. Now you can rediscover it.
Music Essay
Small In Japan
Japan, a Vinyl Nation? Not really.
Elaborate packaging, audiophile listening bars and the highest number of record shops in the world: Japan, a vinyl paradise? No. For decades, the medium has only played only a minor role there. A cultural history of Japan’s music industry.
Music List
Evidence
10 All Time Favs
Evidence is a producer, cratedigger and rapper, and one who in 15 years of career has never lost the desire to discover. Now his album »Unlearning Vol.1« is released. We asked about 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2021 – 2nd Drop
12 releases to look out for
On July 17, 2021, the second Record Store Days this year will now take place. Again, several dozen exclusive releases have been announced. We have again picked twelve records that we want to recommend to you.
Music Column
Records Revisited
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Released in 1986, »The Queen Is Dead« is the culmination of the British band The Smiths’ career, which lasted only five years and four studio albums. It still sounds refreshingly idiosyncratic even after so long.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Porter Ricks – Biokinetics (1996)
When Porter Ricks released the album »Biokinetics« in 1996, it was more than just a collection of their first 12inches flanked by two bonus tracks. It was a utopian attempt to expand upon the dub techno formulas.
Music Portrait
BBE Records
The influencer's influencer
Peter Adarkwah is the reason why some lives have been changed by J Dilla, why Roy Ayers experienced a second spring and why Japanese jazz albums are reviewed by Pitchfork. In other words: BBE Music turns 25 years this year.