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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Matthew Shipp
Thirsty Ear Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Matthew Shipp had the honor in 2002 of having his album, Nu Bop, named the number one jazz record by the College Music Journal. Eager to give the public more of what it wants, and hot on the heels of such formidable acclaim, he brings us Equilibrium, the fourth in his Blue Series of records on the esteemed Thirsty Ear label.

Highly charged and beat-driven, it is a modern jazz record for fans whose palates lie in the delicate piano structures of Rachel's to the off-kilter works of Sun Ra. Lavish, opaque layers of capable instrumentalism create an inviting base for his signature piano stylings.

In Shipp's own words, he seeks to bring ambient music to his version of the jazz language, trying to make the modern edge happen organically. On this, the first of three recordings he's slated to present in 2003, he shows that he does not only intend to break barriers, but to ease in so gently that it seems improbable that they would collapse - though they most certainly do.

We are invited to an ethereal party as his guests, but are left questioning where we may best belong so far from home. On "Vamp to Vibe", he shows a world of alien expanses and minor chords that purposely miss their mark to create an unsettling fear that your oxygen may soon run out. "Cohesion" calls out to the ghosts of the crucified jazz outcasts, seeking an impromptu session of hip-hop and vengeance. And "Portal" brings Giant Steps to unclaimed planets where footprints are erased by the speed of rotation. Through it all, we are reminded that the art is distinctly his own. The infinitude of imagination lies completely in his artistic license; he is navigating the unknown, and we see these brave expanses through his skilled, fresh eyes.

Not content to sit idly by in the background, though assuredly not jarring or out of place, Equilibrium is music for the mind. Matthew Shipp has the mentality of an artist, paying such close attention to detail that we might all be mesmerized; drawn in to the universe of his creation.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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