3.1.10

Personal Top 20 decade bands

Sorry for the lack of propper formating and links, this is a blog post being written in a rush, via cellphone.

I've seen more than one hundred "top music lists" in the last month: being end of year and end of decade (spare me the math, people *act* as this was an end of decade, and that's what matters), it is no surprise that we get so many lists, and, well, all of them (the music ones) are subjective and kind of personal, so not only I'm not going to comment them, but also I'm not going to hide it: this blog post is highly personal, and lists what were, for me, the 20 most important music acts of this decade. Personal, I insist.

Black Metal band ColdBlooded (and probably also Death Metallers NecroSlaughter, but those won't be a part of this list since they ended up never going public, with music released or gigs played) is a really personal choice: they are a part of the reason that made me understand what it is to be a musician today, what can you achieve by yourself, the reality of Portuguese small labels, and several other things. Not only their "Sangue Barbaro" release is great, but their existence was, by chance, an important piece in my path as a musician. Heavily related with it (specially with NecroSlaughter) is Mordor, my "old Metal band". It was an important experience and step for me, where the process was more important than the result. Now defunct, its track "Dystopia" is what's worth listening of it, and the example of what Mordor could have been if it wasn't just a process, the path that led me as a musician to try something else... and what ended up validating my steps as a musician by myself... and so, the third in my list, Merankorii, my experimental one-man-band. Writing about Merankorii would be a project by itself (maybe one day I'll write a book or something about it), but for this post I'll just say that Merankorii is... "the musical me". You can listen or download lots of free tracks or albums, or buy some of its records. Merankorii is a pretty active musical project, and disregarding compilations and similar collaborations it has released 9 albums, with the 10th comming really soon. Another inspiring Portuguese one-man-band, and the fourth of this list, is Ambiance, unfortunately virtually unknown and yet one of the best Portuguese acts we have and one that, for me, mark the Portuguese music history of this decade. Personally I think that "As Dez Esperas" is its best album, and if you're willing to know this band you should grab that album. My story with Ambience's M. Is once again a proof that the era of rock stars is over, and that bands have to be more accessible than ever. My interaction with him was so good that we ended up creating a musical project and an album together: that is the story of the creation of "Ambiansu", considered by some as "better than Merankorii or Ambiense alone". Only time will tell what the future reserves for this project, but I believe that you'll hear more about it, even if not a lot more. Anyway, it was already worth it, and its record will always have a very special place in my music collection. +ko+ko+, another Portuguese one-man-band, is a musical project created in 2009, when its debut album was released (by Noori Records), and it is important for me in many levels. It is, IMHO, a great album, which I helped producing, and it is for me the proof that nowadays anyone can create great music, if they have the will to do it. The seventh is being announced in this post: kokori. I don't have any clue about what's going to happen to that musical project, but kokori is yet another experience, and yet another example of how different things are in the music world nowadays. It appeared almost by chance, and it is a musical project created by me and the guy behind +ko+ko+. If nothing else, the only track we've done is going to be released soon in a compilation. Then, a triple: Empyrium, Tenhi and Neun Welten. These three neofolk bands play the type of neofolk I enjoy and inspires me the most. Heavily linked with Mother Nature, they are different but complement themselves. Empyrium was an exercice of perfectionism. Album after album, its work was getting more and more defined, until their last, the perfect album, was done and released. After that, the work of Empyrium was done and the project disbanded. A great collectors package was released with every Empyrium work and a book explaining it all, so grab it if you get the chance. Tenhi is darker, colder, more introspective. A different take on the subject, they've been aweing me (and its fans) album after album, and I'm sure that I won't be able ever to think about this decade about reminding them. They're making something beautiful and new from what's ancient, and they work as a proof that there's evolution in music. Neun Welten, a relatively new act, is for me something as a bridge between Empyrium and Tenhi: its recently released second album surely sounds more Empyrium-ish than the first, but... It's not really a good time for me to talk about N.W. since I still need to have more contact with the new album. DVAR and Caprice, needed to be introduced together, are 11 and 12 on this list. DVAR is simply the most "inovattive" band there is, and Caprice a DVAR-ish (in mood) introduction to the neoclassical faerie world. Grab DVAR's complete discography, if you can (being released by Russian labels add to their mistery an "hard-to-grab" factor), and the latest Caprice works.

Sunn O))) was great in the decade, introducing drone to the mainstream. Ashram is the proof that simple can be beautiful, showing us the future of neoclassical music. Current 93 proves that indie bands can make it, with its legion of true fans and Tibet's non-stop work making new and different albums in a breathtaking pace. The decade begun with Jack Off Jill's latest album, and a prelude to Scarling.: less shock rock, still grrl rock, this is simply what indie rock should be. Jessicka from Scarling. created another musical project "The Ingenues" (only one digital single released so far), let's see if they make into the 10's list. Speaking of shock rock, it's no news that I consider Marilyn Manson a genious musician, but this decade was my "departure" with his works: despite Holy Wood and The Golden Age of Grotesque being excelent albums (totally different, but both really good), I didn't really followed his works after that (and from what I've heard I didn't miss much), nor even went to his latest concerts in Portugal: my boycott to major labels includes Interscope since it is a subsidiary of Universal... but the great news about Marilyn Manson came already in the last month of the decade: Marilyn Manson's contract with Interscope expired, so now he's free and working on a new album... may 2010 bring us a great new MM record. And, well, talking about MM I had to talk about #18 and #19: Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead are two bands I don't actually musically enjoy enough to buy them an album, but they surely marked the decade, to the point that if this list had only two name, they had to be these. Their message is clear: stop whining, music is more alive than ever. Some of the lists I've been reading come with rants telling us that this decade was not a particulary good one on music (OK, some of those who wrote about it can never be taken seriously - yes, I'm looking at you Belanciano), but these two actually gave us, more than music, or business models, a message: the next decade, regarding music, will be brilliant if we let it go that way. Finaly, the #20: Astra Autisma. This one is hard to explain, go listen to it yourself. A warning tho: it's something that won't last...