Freegan Kolektiva’s Best 10 Albums of 2012

2012 has been an exciting year in music: afro-tropical music is still on the rise, deep funk and all the associated genres have made it through the contemporary musical landscape while dramatic cross-pollination has been taking place in electronic bass music with a considerable effect in modern music at large – even pop.

We witnessed the emergence of trap, the proliferation of moombahton as well as the mainstream hybridization of dubstep with the most popular genres etc. Nonetheless, producers have found ways to bring more melody groove and new aesthetics into the sometimes stale mid-range brostep only to prolong the wide exposure of bass-centered music (see glitch-hop).

It was hard to nail down our top list for 2012 – after shortlisting 19 entries we came up with the best 10 albums as follows. We included only albums that were reviewed at Freegan Kolektiva although we acknowledge that this is a very limiting factor.

10.  Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis – Greekadelia

Greekadelia Kristi Stassinopoulou Album CoverKristi and Stathis harvested the immense diversity of Greek folk music from the country’s islands and mountains under their own distinctive, personal prism of minimal, revamped world music. Times joyful, times mournful these legendary tunes are always inspiring, crafted by the real life of people.

[Read the full review here] [read the interview here]

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9. Hijos De Agüeybaná – Agua Del Sol

Hijos De Agueybana Agua Del Sol CoverRaw Caribbean fiesta! African rhythms are resonating in this demonstration of Bomba music from Puerto Rico with tribal beats coated with melodious singing and group vocals in call and response. Afro-tropical music has hardly been more sprightful than in Agua Del Sol. 

[Read the full review here]

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8. Novalima – Karimba

Novalima Karimba

Afro-tropical again in FK’s top 10, but totally different. This is not your average cheesy latin-mixed-with-electronic-beats; it is a full scale rework of authentic Afro-Peruvian sounds as fused with ingenious electronic music and a heavy dose of bass albeit not losing an inch of organic tunefulness and polyrhythmic eloquence.

[Read the full review here]

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7. Dreadsquad – The Riddim Machine

dreadsquad the riddim machine

A massive set of roots, dancehall and ska with 8-bit hints, a host of chanters and singjays bursting with inspiration and vibrancy. The slick production is aimed at excitement on the dancefloor while it retains reggae consciousness and edge.

[Read the full review here]

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6. The Souljazz Orchestra – Solidarity

The Souljazz Orchestra Solidarity

The return of the pioneering activist deep funk/afro-tropical troupe is marked by a rough, totally analogue recording of ten blistering tracks. As the world’s outlook in 2012 is devastatingly bleak, the Souljazz Orchestra comes back with ultimate force but also cathartic grace for the souls of all those who resist and create alternatives.

[Read the full review here]

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5. Shanti D & Mayd Hubb – Politik 7″

Shanti D_Mayd Hubb_Dubatriation_Politik

This humble 7″ is a milestone of relentless roots dub. It reassures our conviction that truly original music can mostly (if not only) be found in underground circles and independent labels like Dubatriation Records.

The charismatic chanting of Shanti D is propelled by the heavy throbbing bassline and psychedelic effects of Mayd Hubb to give life to the insightful, socio-political message of “Politik”. The dubbing vibes of the song are unparalleled –  it signals the time for the youth to get back into grassroots, experiential politics!

It has been in constant rotation at Freegan Kolektiva since its release.

[Read the full review here]

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4. The Archives – Archives

The Archives Cover

The reggae album of the year for Freegan Kolektiva!

Roots reggae at its best! This debut album is flawless from start to finish – none of the 13 songs is less compelling, showcasing the band’s well-ripen brew of rock steady, roots reggae and early rub-a-dub. All musicians have a considerable experience on the world’s reggae stages and this album’s musical achievement boldly proves this fact. Their lyrical content is sharp as reggae’s message should be, Eric Hilton’s (Thievery Corporation) production is fully-organic, warm and crisp while the performance of all singers is stellar.

But the Archives are not a nostalgic band of the golden era of reggae; they reconfigure the essential elements of roots reggae, crafting new anthems while injecting tons of quality for the genre’s future. As the band puts it “Same tree, new leaves“.

[Read the full review here]

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3. Opiuo – Butternut Slap Part 3

Opiuo Butternut Slap Image

Opiuo’s electronic craftsmanship stands miles away from the over-saturated EDM scene. Although, Butternut Slap Part 2 is equally engaging we decided to push Part 3 in our Top 10 list, due to the continuous innovative spirit of Opiuo as captured here – he really does not seem willing to rest on his successful funky, psy-glitch formula. Especially “Fizzle Tickler” demonstrates all the will of its creator to surpass any hurdles and boundaries in melodic bass music in order to mold something really unique.

[Read the full review here]

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2. The Funk Ark – High Noon

The Funk Ark High Noon

This album fell like a bomb in our stereo, we did not really expect such a blast.

It is the Total Funk sensation of 2012 –  deep funk, afro-beat, spiritual jazz, afro-tropical – it’s all amalgamated in Funk Ark’s granite sound. These 10 road-tested tracks were recorded in just two days, proving the band’s inspiration and skills. I’ve been spinning these tracks over and over again and I can testify that the grooves contained in this album are stomping with no end.

[Read the full review here]

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Freegan Kolektiva’s best album of 2012:

Ondatrópica – Ondatrópica

Ondatropica

More than anybody else the band itself has enjoyed this explosive mix of afro-tropical styles – Colombia’s musical heritage. You can hear rapping on driving cumbia riddims, beatboxing next to legendary singers and an overall original, organic productions at Colombia’s most mythical studios: Disco Fuentes.

Ondatropica have been playing with unmatched passion on the streets, on stage while their first show occurred in a squat in Colombia’s capital – the band is playing as if there is no tomorrow, celebrating life at the very present moment and bringing a rich musical culture to the youth and the world’s audiences. With an all-star roster of legendary Colombian musicians as well as emerging latin crossover artists the band sounds more fervent than anybody else.

This carefully-arranged album has managed to capture all this. Ondatropica’s youthful energy stems from the pure love of music – and this is what pushes the band’s debut above all the rest in 2012.

[Read the full review here]

ondatropica colombian music

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