2011 as a year in good music really snuck up on me.
The beginning of 2011 saw me at a very difficult time of my life. I was continuing an internship in Dietetics/Nutrition with Northern Health, being based in Prince George with a 3 week stint in Fort St. John under my belt, still with 4 weeks in Terrace and 2 weeks in Quesnel to “look forward to”. At this point, returning from a two week Christmas leave having spent time in Penticton with my family and Vancouver with my friends, it was time to return to Prince George; also known to me as “the place that eats my soul”.
At this point I was spending a lot of time alone. The most therapeutic things I could have had was someone who would a) lay in bed and listen to ambient electronica with me (a la Pantha Du Prince, Aphex twin, Ulrich Schnauss, Balam Acab, Salem, How to Dress Well, CMYK-era James Blake) b) drive around with me and pump hip-hop (a la Gravediggaz,, Yung Joc, Shine, EARL, Curren$y, ODB, Das Racist,) or c) go out and dance with me to some electro/rap (a la Gucci Mane, Robyn , Matthew Dear etc.). I was lucky to have a support network of the Dietitians I was working with, as well as my intern/partner-in-crime and another friend, but that was essentially it. Everybody else I knew and loved was an 8-9 hour drive away. The problem was that most people I knew were not interested in any of the music I was interested in.
The solution at the time was to do all of these things I wanted to do, but alone in my car or apartment. The good news is that I got to listen to a LOT of different music and had plenty of time to scour the internet for new finds and experiment with music I may not have otherwise. I also harassed my friends to send me playlists/albums/artists (which allowed me to develop a few interesting musical friendships along the way). This paved the way for a 2011 that was full to the brim with a variety of music and many many obsessions. What follows is my favorite releases of 2011 and a short description of the mindset/scenario surrounding each of them.
James Blake – James Blake
Picnics in bed with some of my best girl friends
The Antlers – Burst Apart
Laying in the back of my car, hungover to the nth power, gazing out the sunroof on the way back from a trip to Jasper. Also, relationships that fell apart and the general bummer accompanying.
The Weeknd – House of Balloons
An incredible makeout session with someone to remain anonymous. (borrowed link)
Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner
A roadtrip to Vancouver began late in the day such that this album found us with the sun setting south of Cache Creek, thinking only of the beauty of twilight.
Destroyer – Kaputt
Oddly, I don’t have a particular memory of anything that goes with this album, only a calm and cozy vibe.
Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise
This was the soundtrack to my life for several weeks. This evokes memories of sitting alone in the woods overlooking the city, marveling at all of the lights and being extremely thankful for my collection of heavy jackets.
Tim Hecker – Ravedeath 1972
The drive home from Terrace, reflecting on the changes I had experienced, not only in scenery, but also perspective on nutrition and dietetics.
Tyler the Creator – Goblin
Wildin’ out with my girl Campbell after a 9 hour roadtrip to Vancouver, arriving at 2 AM, and picking her up from the bar, only to cruise the streets of Vancouver with this album.
Com Truise – Cyanide Sisters
Sitting in bed. Nothing further.
jj – Kills
Getting house-party dancy with friends due to the fact that EVERYONE knows ALL of the beats from this mixtape.
Washed Out – Within and Without
Early morning conversations over coffee with a very drunk houseguest seeking a place to stay.
Active Child – You Are All I See
Cozy jackets in the snow.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Having a date with my headphones on the way to work.
Modeselektor – Monkeytown
Discussions about music with a friend at his sound studio.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Elaborate intimate dinners with just a few friends.
A$AP Rocky – Live Love A$AP
Getting ready for work in the morning.
Four Tet – Fabriclive.59
This mix followed me around for weeks. I found it to fit with my life in so many ways. Walking, doing dishes, sitting in bed, drinking wine, cooking dinner etc.
So goes the soundtrack to my life for another year.