In digging through my data and seeing everything I’d been listening to over the past year, I thought it would be interesting to see what ranked at the top for me over that time. So here’s my 3 lists sorted by individual song, album, and artist.

Top 10 Artists of 2008

  1. The Crystal Method: big beat/breakbeat? Yes, please.
  2. 2Pac: for me, best hip-hop/rap consistently
  3. Massive Attack: Mixing genres
  4. Hybrid: stunning aural landscapes and driving beats
  5. UNKLE: Combine breakbeat, hip-hop, rap, and an attitude
  6. The Prodigy: oldies, but goodies (not so much the newer tracks)
  7. Dr. Dre: classic
  8. DJ Krush: modern sounds of classic hip-hop beats
  9. Leftfield: love these guys
  10. Voodoo & Serano: love these guys too, not so well known in the US (except for one scene in Blade 2 that got people’s attention)

Top 10 Albums of 2008

One thing to note on this list, that may give you some context, is that I typically do not buy entire albums. Very rarely in fact. I’m pretty picky, I know specifically what I like. And when I am listening to music, either coding or writing or whatever, I want to hear what I like. I don’t want to have music I consider good to be interrupted by shit. So if I bought an entire album, that may mean something. Pretentious, ain’t it?

  1. HybridI Choose Noise: Chances are you’ve heard Hybrid all over the place in some haunting rift with an edge and beat to it, commercials, soundtracks, trailers, etc. I think every trailer for The Spirit used a Hybrid song, from the specific I Choose Noise album. Great album. If you like electronica, or instrumental ambient sounds, Hybrid serves it up extremely well. And then they throw in some hard and heavy beats that work so nicely. (Bought entire album)
  2. Rob DouganFurious Angels: If you know Rob Dougan, chances are 99% that you got introduced to him via The Matrix soundtrack, but he’s done so much more. Solid album, similar to Craig Armstrong, but much stronger in my opinion. Wide ranging styles and beats, mixed within individual tracks too, but still edging towards electronica (but then again, with rock, vocals, orchestras thrown in, etc…don’t pigeon-hole Dougan into one genre). (Bought entire album)
  3. UNKLE – Self Defence (Never Never Land Reconstructed and Bonus Beats):I got a lot more into nuskool breaks this year, after hearing too much electronica turn into club crap or keep cranking out the same dancefloor/rave trance rifts that have been going for 5 years and bore the ass off of me. (Roughly three-quarters of the album)
  4. Dr. Dre – 2001: It’s interesting that this one showed up in my Top 10 Albums, as I think I only listen to two songs from this album. But those songs kick ass. (2 songs from album)
  5. Daft Punk – Alive 2007: Another one that surprised me that it showed up in my Top 10 Albums. I typically don’t like Daft Punk, maybe half of their tracks, and then maybe only a few minutes of those that I do like. Basically, there’s better stuff to listen to, but some people love Daft Punk. I get that, and I can see/hear the good parts and understand why people like them, I just think they suck most of the time. Especially when Adam Freeland gets to shit all over a Daft Punk track. (Bought entire album, but in this case that doesn’t carry much weight)
  6. shadowstorm – Genesis: Breakbeat, hard trance, fast moving, ambient thudding. Love the range and tempo. (Bought entire album)
  7. The Crystal Method – Vegas: Ah, the all time classic big beat/breakbeat for me. This is one of the few albums that I can listen to every single track and really like (if not love) each and every one of them. I’ve seen TCM in concert a few times, and they just know how to make sound that fills your head. (Bought entire album)
  8. Massive Attack – Mezzanine: Massive Attack is another one of those groups that spans multiple genres, and I can span that right along with them (despite the trend still towards electronica). (Roughly a third of the tracks on the album)
  9. The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land: Prodigy used to be really good at hard and heavy beats. That’s what I liked about them. Then they started to suck. However, their unreleased track “Invaders Must Die” from some of their stuff coming up is going back to their roots, and that’s a good thing. There are mp3s of that song floating around, and videos on YouTube, if you can’t wait. (Roughly a third of the tracks on the album)
  10. DJ Krush – Stepping Stones: The Self-Remixed Best: Good beats, with some Mos Def thrown in. (Roughly half of the tracks on the album)

Top 10 Tracks of 2008

  1. Hybrid – Last Man Standing: Awesome song. Ambient and heavy beats at the same time.
  2. Massive Attack – I Against I: Mos Def and Massive Attack? Hell yes. From the Blade 2 soundtrack.
  3. RZA – Fatal: Another one from the Blade 2 soundtrack, solid beat and rhymes.
  4. Evil Nine – for lovers, not fighters: Probably my favorite nuskool track thus far.
  5. The Chemical Brothers – Loops of Fury: Classic electronica track, rough and edgy.
  6. UNKLE – Eye For An Eye (Dylan Rhymes Vs Force Mass Motion Mix): Really, really like this song. Ha a great break and comeback in the middle.
  7. Paul van Dyk – Make It: A bit more clubby, but still a solid bassline.
  8. Hybrid – Choke: Hybrid, once again, does not disappoint.
  9. Dr. Dre – Forgot About Dre: You better bow down on both knees.
  10. Brainbug – Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix): Great beat and sound, definitely electronica, but probably not the electronica you’re used to hearing.

So there you have it. Clearly I’m still way into electronica (and pretty much everyone who knows me could have told you that). Although the same Top 10 would look drastically different if it was just the year so far, but it will be interesting to see how (or if) it changes, and to what degree, the next year.