Friday, December 31, 2010

music 2010

So here's a summary of my listening in 2010. First up, my most-listened-to artists for the year. Because 7 out of 8 of these artists released new albums this year, this list also kind of serves as my best albums of 2010 list as well (though there were other great albums too - 2010 was actually an extremely good year for music)...

1. Massive Attack (unsurprising as they're my favourite every year - 2010 saw the release of their new album 'Heligoland' and a live appearance in NZ), 2. Gorillaz (in 2010 released 'Plastic Beach' and toured NZ), 3. Mux Mool (quirky mashed up electronic, in 2010 released 'Skulltaste'), 4. Radiohead (nothing new from them in 2010), 5. Bonobo (downbeat electronic, always a favourite of mine, this year released 'Black Sands'), 6. Arcade Fire (this year released 'The Suburbs'), 7. Caribou (canadian electronic, this year released 'Swim'), 8. Paul White (mashed-up, sample based electronic, this year released 'Paul White and the Purple Brain').

and now, my most-played-tracks:

1. Gorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes
2. The Naked and Famous – Young Blood
2. Glass Vaults – New Space
4. The xx – Intro
4. Massive Attack – Atlas Air
4. Gorillaz – Stylo (Feat. Mos Def And Bobby Womack)
7. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
7. Massive Attack – Girl I Love You
7. Glass Vaults – Forget Me Not
10. Mumford & Sons – Awake My Soul

Gorillaz, twice, 'Rhinestone Eyes' is awesome and 'Stylo' was the lead-single featuring Mos Def - yeah! The Naked and Famous - NZ music done extremely well. Glass Vaults, twice, released an EP that is outstanding - more NZ music. The whole XX album is great, the intro track is super moody. Massive Attack - are geniuses - two tracks from them on the list, both from their new album. Musical Youth, 'Pass the Dutchie' - what can I say - this year I rediscovered one of my favourite songs from when I was 5 - thanks to the superb NZ film 'Boy'. And Mumford & Sons - these guys are stormin'.

Happy new year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


you see an image that you desperately wish you'd created. the one below is utterly wonderful. i dig everything about it. conceptually it's the kind of thing i love - that couple! that typewriter! aesthetically it's close to my 'own style' and the style i aspire to, but more skilfully done.

so those are my lovelorn ravings... information about where the image comes from: it's the cover illustration for a book by matthew allard - the illustrator is ian dingman. allard wrote stories based on the illustrations, rather than the other way around.

Monday, October 25, 2010


one area of the Christian faith that i'm really interested in is the presence of God - ie the ways in which God is present in the created world, the ways His presence is experienced, and how people throughout the Christian tradition have experienced it. 'immanence' is a term used in theology when people talk about how a transcendent God is present in the created world.

i might put a few of my thoughts about the subject down here on the blog from time to time... this might include some of my own personal experience, but i thought i'd note some conceptual ideas about how God is present first of all.

one of the upshots of immanence is that God is close to us, understands us and identifies with us. He knows us.

in the Christian tradition, God is trinity - that's a vast concept, which i'm not going to attempt to even try and summarise, but suffice to say that the trinity involves the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

aspects of the extent to which God knows us are evident in each part of the trinity.

Father: in the sense that we are God's children, He knows us. the concept of God being our father can get a bad rap because our understanding of the concept of 'father' is inevitably influenced by our own personal experience of what a father is. nonetheless, this concept of God represents what an untainted father is. a true father wants what is best for his children and experiences a level of bond and connection (love) that can only come because the children are his. we are made in God's image - He recognises the things in us that came from Him.

Son: Jesus is God coming to earth to exist as a human. God's experience of what it means to be human (the human condition) is firsthand. in other words, He knows what it's like. He knows what it's like to be in a human body - the strengths, weaknesses, limitations - He knows what it's like to think like a human - apart from the union of God and humanity, He's also felt the gap that humans experience between themselves and God.

Holy Spirit: the Holy Spirit is the part of God that lives inside a human when that person places their life in God's hands. the Holy Spirit dwells in the essential core of the person and as such is utterly involved in what that human experiences. the Spirit is right there where the emotions and thoughts occur - where the subconscious happens, where all the memories and personality are stored, and where the neurological and other biophysical interactions occur that make us function.

these aspects of the immanence of God are so effective that God knows us better than we know ourselves. it is impossible to be better known than God knows us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

free mp3 fresh from new zealand

in recent months three - no, four! - very nice free new zealand albums have fallen into my lap... there's an indie introspective theme to them. here they are now:

1. the haints of dean hall

the album is called 'sleeper'. their second album. stuff recorded in the front lounge. little bit country. acoustic.

the album is available from arch hill recordings for free and you can download it here.

2. secret knives

the album is called 'affection'. firs
t full album (i think), though there is an also a rather nice ep. this is indie shoe gaze stuff with some nice synth ambience with some strong melodies popping out.

the album is available from a low hum for free and you can download it here.

3. avalanche city

the album is called 'our new life above the ground'. the first album of dave baxter. according to the website, "Armed with a sack full of vegetarian single serve curries Dave Baxter headed into the countryside and moved into a little community hall called
the Kourawhero Hall, just north of Auckland. There he spent the week alone recording and playing everything himself with only the cows and the milk trucks as company."

he then decided to give it away for free. it's got a folk vibe to it (a la mumford and the decemberists and fleet foxes and stuff). and you are the lucky recipient of this third musical treat also: here.

4. glass vaults

american indie hype blog, i guess i'm floating, describes them thusly: "New Zealand continues to impress with solid music... the small Pacific Island [sic] has more aural deliciousness to offer. Glass Vaults is the two-man project of Richard Larsen and Rowan Pierce, crafting elegant synth sounds perfect for rendezvous on moonlit shorelines... Driving all of the diaphanous sound is a rhythmic beat intermittently thumping along, with shades of Animal Collective-esque composition mixed with vocals that lull in a manner similar to Thom Yorke’s."

it is very lovely and ambient (indie ambient not dance-musicy ambient, in case you're worried). so then, all you need to do is download it by going here.

there we are then.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

little house on the island

another instalment in the intrepid adventures of my little house... the earlier episode is here. this time, the little house is on kawau island in the hauraki gulf...

safelittleworld: little house on the island from andrew killick on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

theologising / philosophising: the nature of man

there's a quote that always nags around in the back of my head. i can't shake it. it's creatively compelling. when i first read it, intermittently staring up at a clear blue sky and what i was reading as i lay on a recliner in the backyard, i wrote it down in my notebook. i've had other notebooks since but i get anxious if i don't know where that notebook is - mainly because i worry about misplacing the exact wording of the quote.

the quote comes from pascal's pensées (VII:434). pascal was one of the world's greatest thinkers - a genius of science, but also an astute observer of the condition of man, and a christian. when he died in 1662 he left behind an unfinished work, in notebook form. pensées (french for 'thoughts') is a collection of notes that he jotted down about life, the universe and everything.

the quote ('my' quote) is his definition of humankind:

"Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe."

this captures the massive paradox, the tension, in what it is to be human. another quote that captures the same paradox is found in psalm 8:4:

"what is man that you [God] are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

to my thinking, we are all aware of this tension.

when i was at university, my research topic was 'christian poetry'. i was interested in poetry written by christians that was an established part of the 'canon' of english literature. two of the more prominent names, for example, are milton (in the 17th century) and eliot (in the 20th). another name that requires consideration is christina rosetti (19th). while researching her work, i came across a book in which the author (mary finn) had critiqued rosetti's poetry from the standpoint of a concept devised by soren kierkegaard (the 19th century philosopher and theologian).

that concept was the idea of 'incommensurablity'. i might be a little patchy on this - i'm working from memory, and i doubt i ever fully grasped exactly what kierkegaard was on about even at the time. but for our purposes, and i'm probably hijacking kierkegaard's concept here a bit, it describes in another way the tension described by pascal in the quote above.

mary finn's point was that out of this tension - this struggle to unite the paradoxes of the human condition - comes some of the greatest works of creativity.

kierkegaard overcomes this 'incommensurability' by something he calls 'the leap of faith' - ie, while holding the paradox (in the form of 'doubt') to be evident and undeniable, the chasm can be crossed by making a leap of faith into belief in God.

in the essay that resulted from my research (which also touched on the writing of eliot as well as rosetti) i argued that incommensurability was ultimately overcome by 'consummation', ie the union of God and humankind (the Bible describes it in terms of Christ and his bride) that is ultimately furnished by God in the form of heaven, and (now that i think of it) the new heaven and new earth, and the kingdom of heaven, and the Word becoming flesh in Jesus.

this morning i was reading an essay by karl barth (the 20th century theologian) called 'God's Word and the Decision of Faith'. he poses psalm 8:4 as a direct question that demands an answer. what
is man, that [God] is mindful of him? he says,

"Here there is only one answer: This man is man in the
decision of faith."

'the decision of faith', as barth terms it, is our response to the Word of God (including the fact that the Word became flesh, ie Jesus is the Word).

it is this decision, and the fact that we are in the position to
need to, and be able to, make this decision, which ultimately defines us. as barth puts it,

"Man is what he is and he is everything that he is in the decision of faith."

i think a good illustration might be to look at it in terms of a 'male' and 'female' plug. the 'male' plug is the Word of God, the 'female' plug is our decision of faith. to allow 'power' or 'signal' to flow the two have to be connected, joined.

in those two parts is the process of redemption - redemption being the process by which the paradox is overcome and the 'contradictions' in humankind settled. the ultimate act of creativity and consummation.

to pick up, and finish with, barth again:

"For in the decision of faith [man] moves toward being ascribed and given the human nature which Jesus Christ has united to Himself, that He might establish in it peace between God and man. In the decision of faith, he stands before God as the man God intends and in the way in which God wills to have him. In the decision of faith, he exists and stands before us in his true nature. No matter how it may be with other determinants of man, in the decision of faith and only there is he his true self as a true man!"

Sunday, May 09, 2010

downloada 0510

i'm quite into downloading new music. excuse me, i'm also prone to understatement. yes, im very into downloading music.

one of my favourite sources is emusic. they work on a monthly subs plan. i pay about US$12/month and get 30 tracks/month.

this isn't some veiled advert for emusic, i genuinely dig the new music that that service has revealed by virtue of not representing the big name music labels well. instead we find all kinds of gems that have escaped the attention of the mainstream (universal, emi, sony etc - i'm looking at you).

so i'm going to do a new regular feature on this here blog where each month i list (with a brief comment) the music i've discovered around the net (with a bias towards music obtained on emusic).

- Radio Citizen 'Berlin Serengeti' [an oldish album but very cool - solid downbeat for fans of the likes of bonobo]
- Mux Mool 'Skulltaste' [the new-comer delivers an album where virtually every track is good]
- The Radio Dept. 'Clinging to a Scheme' [new album from providers of lovely swedish indie pop]

those are the main ones, then there is a vast smattering of one or two tracks from other artists. highlights include: architeq, neon neon, phantogram, balmorhea, delorean, beach fossils.

to see evidence of these tracks being spun, visit my page.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

lewis quote

in my never-ending quest to map the multitudinous by-ways, back alleys, feeders and exits that tangle their way across the landscape that is my safe little world concept, i keep an eye out for quotes that can fall victim to my uses. these hapless quotes are extracted from their contexts and then configured into my plan.

here's one from c.s. lewis's 'the problem of pain'...

"The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy."

what a line!: "We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy."

[quote resumes]

"It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and [be] an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

easter continues

here's a late entry in the easter poetry project... this one's from Rob Holding:

When I think of Easter,
Sometimes, I wonder that You came.
When all we do is find more nails,
Was it really worth the shame,
Of putting on our dirt forever,
Or are there moments You regret,
Deciding 'ere You made the world,
That You would pay our debt?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

free compilation

ghostly international is a rather cool record label. they have a great roster of electronic artists and are generous with their music.

they have just released a free compilation (of 320k mp3 files) called 'music for creatives'. all this seems to be part of a drive to work alongside creative types and follows exposure on the kitsune noir blog (which is awesome).

the compilation is here (via 99% (behance), via facebook)...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

easter poetry jam

upon seeing a rather good poem posted by keith newman on his facebook page, i was suddenly struck with the idea of rustling up a posse of poets (alliteration) for an impromptu easter poetry project.

in the most part, the poets posted their poems on facebook as status updates or wall messages so the format and character count were limited in this way, which i thought was rather nice. only mark laurent circumvented those limits, which was also nice (how postmodern of us).

so here on easter sunday are some easter poems...

Keith Newman:

SACRIFICE You hung wrists nailed to wood a broken carpenter Tree stained blood spilling from your brow again and the open wound in your side Blood and water life and death potent potion unleashed spent seed upon the earth Soaking it up like a hungry womb Curtain torn in the ancient temple but we’ve been trying to sew it back together ever since.

Jonathan Nalder:

Easter: The day comes wen every1 must face up 2 the things they'v dun/ A day came in old Jerusalem wen 1 man faced up 2 the things WE had done/ Its called Easter-hav u heard of it? Its called Grace-can we fathom it?/ Forgiveness without reason, reason without cause, cause without us even knowing the depth of our need/ We need 2 kno we are small, but r loved all the same. Let chocolate & foil direct yor thorts thence

Andrew Killick:

IMMINENCE 33AD: And on the black, despairing day/ Simon Peter, did you feel/ That as your heart was torn and rent/ That the passage was opened up/ And God was close/ Without the dark and heavy curtain/ A pre-dawn/ Glimmer of/ Impending reconciliation/ Taking hold/ Upon your soul.

Fraser Duncan:

FROM THE GROUND: from the top of a cross/you can see forever/and it never seems far/enough to separate the dross and gold/ for when you look down/you are never very far/ from the ground.

Mark Laurent:


After all, how useful can a dead man be?

Because that’s what I am – dead
– I’ve finally realised it.
Every aspect of me
Seems to have closed down;
I’m out of work, out of health,
Closed-down and passion-depleted,
I feel as lifeless as this hopeless season,
Stripped bare as this hibernating orchard.

God knows I’ve tried to wrest meaning
out of my life
I’ve focussed on improving myself
Cried out “I want to be of some use!”
I’ve resisted the devil and begged Heaven.

But this morning, as I sit here alone
Under a naked plum tree
beneath this ragged winter sky,
Too tired to even feel depressed any more,
I know at last that I am a dead man
(though I’ve suspected as much
for some time…)

And the most curious thing happens…

I start to laugh…

A deep belly laugh, as intense as grief;
A burst of profound, volcanic release!
I’ve finally made it – dead!
The thing we all fear most,
But somehow it’s ok!
This is not how I expected to feel…

When the shaking spasm ceases
I sit very still, feeling the deep silence
That follows after every storm.
Just below the surface of the chilly soil
New life is waiting patiently
For the comfort of the sun
And the freedom of the thaw.

There might even be some good things
about being dead;
I don’t have to be great at anything,
Don’t need a successful career,
It doesn’t matter if I’m famous or rich,
There’s no pressure to feel proud
or righteous,
Or save the world…

Since I have nothing to lose,
It might be easier to give;
Does an empty heart
Have more room to hold love?

A plum stone that falls into the dirt
Gives up its identity
So that a plum tree can grow.
We pick the fruit and spit out the stones.

After all, how useful can a dead stone be?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

i'm here

may i point you to the 30 min spike jonze short film 'i'm here'? sponsored by absolut, it is an incredibly well-done piece about two robots falling in love. you can watch it online. everything is so stylish and cool about it - even the web interface. nice to see corporates sponsoring stuff like this (and without any product placements).

Friday, April 02, 2010

feature artist

if there's such a thing as an american christian arts establishment, then image is that establishment's voice.

i subscribe to their email newsletter and my take is that most of their coverage is given to middle-aged white americans (at least, as far as their 'artist of the month' section goes).

but their write-up of this month's feature artist is a nice piece of work. artist of the month: God.

here's a snip:

"Controversies over God’s creative process have frequently overshadowed a proper critical recognition of his work. To be sure, God is often lauded as "wondrous" and "awesome"--acclaimed for combining unfathomable mystery with everyday accessibility--but God’s genre-bending creations deserve nuanced analysis quite apart from scuffling over how long it took him to make them all ... Another notable work, The Universe (date indeterminate), is often cited as a highly influential piece. While the creation of The Universe signaled a turning point in God’s craft, the searing luminescence of its execution and the expansiveness of its vision went critically unnoticed until Galileo looked at it through a telescope. Since then, as Carl Sagan put it, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe"--enabling us to attribute even this beloved American tradition to the influence of God’s early masterwork. Some of God’s later work has been met with less-than-favorable reviews, such as Seymour P. Lyman of Teaneck, New Jersey (1954), described by viewers as "mousy," and "prone to rambling on about his stamp collection." Despite such harsh critical reception, God’s fondness for each one of his works in the human genre has been well-publicized."

read the whole thing here - you can even subscribe to the newsletter yourself if you like.

happy good friday.

on the headphones: 'two kids' by cassettes won't listen, from the album 'small-time machine'.

Monday, March 15, 2010


lance posed a question on facebook: "so... whose face is on Che Guevara's t-shirt?? lol."

spent a couple of hours yesterday compositing my reply from three images found on the net (photo of che smoking a cuban, photo of karl marx, and photo of a random guy in a white tshirt - the tshirt, incidentally, used to read 'power to the penguins').

Monday, March 01, 2010

de botton quote

i'm currently reading 'the architecture of happiness' by alain de botton. the very title, and the idea that drew me to the book, is evocative of the safe little world hobby horse that i try to gallop out at every opportunity.

i suspected that the book would yield a few quotes that orbited within the amorphous universe of the safe little world concept.

lo and behold, while i waited for the fish to cook, i found one...

"We depend on our surroundings to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We arrange around us the material forms which communicate to us what we need ... within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves.

"In turn, those places whose outlook matches and legitimises our own, we tend to honour with the term 'home'. Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognise its harmony with our own prized internal song. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a motorway diner.

"Our love of home is in turn an acknowledgement of the degree to which our identity is not self-determined. We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is opposed to our allegiances. We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

numan v little boots

bbc 6 recently hosted a collab between electro wunderkind little boots and electro legend gary numan.

here is my all time favourite numan track 'are friends electric?'...

and my favourite little boots track 'stuck on repeat'...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

prepare to meet thy God

images from a collaborative photoshoot (my brother and me). location: miranda, firth of thames, sometime before christmas.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


below is a short film (12min) by alex roman, done entirely with cgi. you want to see this... (in fact use the link below the video to go to vimeo and watch it larger)

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Friday, January 08, 2010


here's an invite i designed for my mum's 70th birthday using an old photo of her (from 1974) and her own handwriting.



today, constrained and pressed for time by the prospect of being at work, i visited the library and got out four books: dharma bums (kerouac) [in which beatniks hit the road], street renegades [in which artist intervene in open-air urban spaces], mail me [in which artists set their art to flight by drawing and painting on postal envelopes], destination art [in which artists create pieces in the wilderness requiring their viewers to travel to remote locations]. i step outside the library. i step outside. outside, and into my car. what is my subconscious telling me?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010



after the suburban streets had returned to lazy quietness, touched with sunlight from a cloudless sky and a gentle breeze from the north, while the sun flickered off the tops of small waves, and tourists disembarked from cruise ships to wander through the village like sandal and baggy-hat-wearing hobby anthropologists with the kind of self-assured aloofness that only a costly cruise ticket can warrant and afford; i stayed at home, thought of you, and wrote this.

Monday, January 04, 2010

little house

a few months ago i posted a video of a location from an art project i was working on involving photographing a paper model house in various place. ages later, thanks to being on holiday, i've been able to do some post-production work on the photos, and so here are a couple of them. some bare-bones info about the project:

- create a model based on our house
- take it to various locations
- photograph it
- part of the 'safe little world' concept
- conceptually something to do with transplanting and juxtaposing the safe little worlds we create with perhaps 'hostile' environments

two of the images (ruapehu and turangi):

on the headphones: 'lisztomania' by phoenix.

Sunday, January 03, 2010



the more i think about it the more i know. it’s good that we find hope lurking around just outside the buzz and hum of the white noise. just outside the outer atmosphere of our own little worlds. it’s there in a big quiet space that God resides, very much alive and well, quietly sustaining the universe and allowing things to function. tentatively, you make a little hole in the outer skin of your atmosphere and peek through. tentatively, and a little reluctantly, you shed the outer skin, widening the opening so that the spirit of God spills in. and then, more suddenly than you expected, you are different. your world becomes more than static, everything is moved and moving; and you notice faith, hope and love.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

music 2009

there are way too many 'best of 2009', 'best of the decade' music lists all over the internet at this time of the year. they all vary depending on personal taste. i decided it would be rude not to create a list of my own; my list would be even more self-indulgent and not confined to music released in 2009 (or indeed the 2000s for that matter).

you may be familiar with the fact that i'm a bit of a freak, finding perhaps too much enjoyment in seeing lists and statistics related to my own listening habits. well anyway, here is a list of my most listened-to artists of 2009 (complete with ramblings about each artist). (oh, and the picture above has very little to do with the list - it's just a photo i took sometime in the last few years of a hercules (i think) nz airforce transport doing circuits over tauranga at dusk.)

1. massive attack.
predictably, as they are hands-down my favourite 'group'. they push music boundaries while combining some of the best things about human existence: mood, electronics, samples, art, the uk, spoken word, collaboration, bass, and beats that tick along about the same rate as a resting heartbeat ('womb tempo' we'll call it). my one criticism is that they could afford to lighten up a bit at times - their earlier material had more lighter moments.

massive attack stormed back into the public eye this year with the release of their 'splitting the atom' ep. great stuff. my most played track of 2009 came from that release, but it wasn't the title track. it was a remix of a track called 'psyche' featuring martina topley-bird. new album coming in 2010.

2=. rhian sheehan. it feels good to have a new zealand artist this high up my list - and it is position well deserved. known for his ambient soundscapes, samples and field recordings, sheehan took these elements to their best possible conclusion this year with the release of his album 'standing in silence'. he stripped most of the beats out of this project and let the atmospherics talk. in the process, he played directly into my tastes - creating a beautiful album that reminds me of the best of the likes of múm.

2=. mogwai.
like massive attack, another perennial favourite of mine. the scottish post-rockers didn't release a new record this year (2008's 'the hawk is howling' is their most recent). but their material is just so strong. to my mind, you could chuck out all post-rock and just keep mogwai and be pretty happy (you would also need to hang onto your sigur ros and radiohead). i also discovered at some point that it was possible to edit text with their music playing in the background while i worked, so they got a fair few plays this year.

4. cassettes won't listen.
the work of indie electronic artist jason drake of new york. i still haven't pinned down exactly why i like this stuff so much. but i suspect it's the catchy hooks. also drake is very generous - he gives a lot of his stuff away. over the course of the year i collected a fair bit of his back-catalogue and rarities. 2009 was also the year in which he released 'into the hillside' - a rather fetching instrumental album with some excellent tracks on it. new album coming in 2010.

5. deastro.
another generous indie electronic artist - this time it's randolph chabot of detroit. this year he released his second full album 'moondagger', but this fact seems to have escaped my attention (mainly due to it not appearing on emusic, where his superb debut 'keeper's' was championed). it must have been the free stuff that he gave away that kept my listening rate up. i really like his music - (sometimes quirky) electro-compositions that verge at times on the anthemic with an apocalyptic edge. i shall now go and attempt to remedy my oversight regarding his latest album.

6. m83. anthony gonzalez of france. amazing electronic-post-rock soundscapes morphed into 80s-tinged synth-pop in 2008 with 'saturdays = youth'. this album still has moments of his atmospheric greatness, but i personally prefer his more abstract stuff. once again a rather nice sonic background for my editing work.

7. zero 7.
zero 7 at number 7. zero 7 of england released a new album this year, 'yeah ghost'. my like of the band stretches back to their first album and i have most of their music in my library - this fact combined with the new album, kept rotation high in my listening habits. i have to be honest and say that i really haven't given the new album much of chance and need to investigate it further before delivering my considered opinion on its merits. my feeling at this stage is that it isn't their greatest work, but thanks to their talent still rises above a fair bit of stuff that other artists release.

8. roots manuva.
british hiphop. this man is a true innovator in the british music scene. the way he combines inner city attitude, intelligent and cleverly-written lyrics, with cutting edge electronic music (with a dub bedrock) make me all weak at the knees. 'cool' seems to seep out of all the cracks. i'm also fascinated with the christian themes and self-critique that comes out in the music thanks to his pentecostal up-bringing. manuva has a fascinating love-hate relationship with the things that shaped him as a child and it runs head-long into the lifestyle he has more recently indulged in as a rapper. his latest album 'slime and reason' (2008) sees him older and disenchanted with the lifestyle but still trying to reconcile all the pieces.

9. vangelis.
and now to the grand-dad of electronic! casting your eye back up this list you will see at least two acts (m83 and sheehan) that would seem to exhibit hallmarks of this man's influence. i'm sure the others on the list would acknowledge his greatness also. the greek vangelis (aka evangelos odysseas papathanassiou) is probably most famous for the 'chariots of fire' theme. my listening revolves around his soundtrack to 'bladerunner'. a three-disc collectors edition of that soundtrack keeps him as a strong presence in my library, and he also finds himself in the same category as m83 and mogwai for providing a soft bed for me to 'recline on' while doing my editing work.

10. efterklang.
the sole representatives of a strong 'viking' presence in my music library. i was somewhat surprised to find them in the top ten (rather than, say, sigur ros or múm) but 2009 was the year in which i discovered the danes and downloaded all three of their available albums. i don't know how to describe their sound: sonic soundscapes, choirs, electronics, folk instruments. the whole thing exhibits a particular arctic quality. in the last month i added 'performing parades' to my collection - a rather nice collaboration with the danish national chamber orchestra.

so there we have it. oh, and happy new year. it's 2010.