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OK Computer (Radiohead)

OK Computer (released on 21 May 1997) is an album by Radiohead that still inspires and takes my breath away. It’s a masterpiece, arguably the most significant album of the 1990s.

OK Computer has received widespread critical acclaim and has been cited by listeners, critics, and musicians as one of the greatest albums of all time. You could describe it as Radiohead’s Sgt. Pepper, released 30 years preciously in May 1967.

It’s their third studio album, and one in which they distanced themselves from their previous work, laying the groundwork for future, more experimental albums.

The album’s lyrics depict a world fraught with rampant consumerism, social alienation, emotional isolation and political malaise; in this capacity, OK Computer has been said to have prescient insight into the mood of 21st-century life. Source

If you’re not familiar with this influential album, do yourself a big favour and give it a listen today.

The Antikythera Mechanism (1902)

On this day (17 May) in 1902, a small piece of bronze caught the eye of archaeologist Valerios Stais.. He was examining artefacts from a wrecked Roman cargo ship off the island of Antikythera in Greece.

It looked like a small wheel or cog, in fact he had just discovered what has come to be known as the Antikythera Mechanism, the world’s first analogical computer.

This extraordinary two-thousand-year-old computer system was used by the ancient Greeks as an astronomical calculator, able to chart the planets and make predictions. The extraordinary device is believed to have been made on the island of Rhodes around 150 BC, and classical literature of the time does allude to mechanisms similar to this one, meaning this was unlikely to be the only one of its kind. Well over a hundred years after its discovery, the Antikythera mechanism is still being extensively researched, in an attempt to fully unlock an ancient piece of human ingenuity. Source

The Antikythera Mechanism is also a 2020 album by my friend Jack Hertz.

Kind of Blue (Miles Davis)

For International Jazz Day I give you this classic album.

Kind of Blue (1959) is the top jazz album on most ‘best-of’ lists and is cited as jazz’s biggest-seller. The Miles Davis classic has reached the kind of mainstream popularity that sees it included in the record collections of non-jazz fans as their token jazz record. But its legendary status is very much warranted: Kind of Blue is surely some of the greatest, most atmospheric and influential music every recorded.

Davis was a relentless innovator who refused to stand still: his music would change drastically over the following years, taking in freer forms and jazz fusion, but Kind of Blue, for many, remains his definitive artistic statement and certainly a great starting point when it comes to jazz for beginners. Source

Immigrants (Nitin Sawhney)

When a nation flounders under the yolk of a morally bereft government more bothered about igniting the flames of a phony culture war to cover up its own jingoistic ineptitude than dealing with racial inequities and massive unearned financial disparities, we’re forced to look elsewhere for guidance. 

Here, on his twelfth album, Nitin Sawhney adds his voice to the fray and adds layer upon layer of ruminations on identity, life as a migrant and belonging. Source

The challenging album Immigrants by Nitin Sawhney is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

More Signals, More Dreams

This album by Puppy Bordiga is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Let me share with you the album notes: This is an album inspired on the work of those who capture the signals from the skies… Somehow continuing the line of my previous album Visiting our Neighborhood.

This new work started as an almost all guitars and sound processing thing, but evolves exponentially with the addition of the keyboards. I’ve tried to balance the different moods, it is for moments ambient, experimental, symphonic, and even alien-alike music (if that exists). A reflection on macrocosmic genesis and life.

As we are made from interstellar material up to the very single atom, putting the eyes on the skies, remembering our connection with the Cosmos could be a healthy breath in the difficult times we’re facing these days.

Volume levels recommended, as all the works of this kind are from medium to low, although you’re free to do what you want. Enjoy!

Flat White Moon (Field Music)

Since forming in 2004, this Sunderland band may have gone through many iterations and phases, but brothers David and Peter Brewis have always been at its core. Over the years they have gained themselves a loyal following and famous fans including Prince, and their ninth album is rooted around tracks inspired by their early influences – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac. Source Unknown.

This excellent album by Field Music is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Medicine At Midnight (Foo Fighters)

Medicine at Midnight is the 10th studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters. It was released in 2021 having been delayed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of my favourite albums of 2021.

The album shows a slight shift in the band’s style, adding elements of dance-rock and pop to their usual rock sound. The song Cloudspotter contains a guitar riff that Dave Grohl wrote 25 years ago but was never able to use it until now.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Flock (Jane Weaver)

Flock is the 11th album from Liverpool’s prolific psych virtuoso Jane Weaver, it’s one of my favourite albums of 2021.

Of the album, she said: “I’d felt down in the dumps when writing it and subconsciously I wanted to write myself up, and wanted a pop album with bittersweet lyrics.” But while the production might be maximalist, there are also intriguing elements of free jazz, synth-pop and 60s girl group melodies thrown into the mix.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

How I Long for Peace

The title of this post is a song from the recent album First Farewell by Peggy Seeger, it’s one of my favourite albums of 2021. I chose to feature this song because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but this is a wonderful collection of songs addressing a variety of issues and subjects.

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

I cannot understand
How the sisters, wives and mothers
Cannot stop the slaughter
Of the husbands, sons and brothers

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

There never will be peace
Till men abandon fighting
As the way to deal with problems
That prevent us from uniting

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The profits made from war
There’s few that can resist them
Hypocrisy and greed control
The lifeblood of the system

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The world can wait no longer
For political permission
Sit down, disrupt, do anything
To make the whole world listen

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Cinema (Ludovico Einaudi)

Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer. He began his career as a classical composer, later incorporating other styles and genres such as pop, rock, folk, and world music.

His album Cinema features his greatest works from film and television. This compilation album is one of my favourites of 2021.

Regarding the use of his music for film and television Einaudi noted, “They say my music is cinematic …it is always interesting for me to see my music combined with images; it is like rediscovering reading my music with a different perspective.” Source

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.