Monday, 19 December 2011

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 1)

Top Albums Of 2011 - 50. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise

Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise

14 Feb

In the beginning, and in the end, it was (and is) as we can observe it right now. Boundless space surrounds all things, silent and vacant, yet pedantically organised by a presence who is difficult to accurately describe. No scripture can confirm the origins or even the existence of The Creator, but urban legions are many. Some say he missed his cosmic train back to where he came from, and was now cursed to float in the open plan of the Universe’s atmosphere, surrounded by nothing yet writhing in claustrophobia, and creating you and me out of boredom, waiting for the next train to arrive. Others say that he is here by choice, intrigued by all things which co-exist and conflict within himself, finding a distraction in creating situations and those who experience them, like many of whom we shall meet in this story.

But general agreement which runs effortlessly through those who believe, is that The Creator hears all things. All the voices of those who speak, and even the voices of those who do not. Much like an impatient radio fanatic, he gathers valuable information interrupted by overwhelming bouts of static, which seem to give The Creator a balance of the right noise—the noise that introduces a silence which drowns out the pollution and chaos of his mind. And the deeper The Creator listens (and the more his wise ear opens), the more his honest mumblings become educated and forgetful of themselves. This very act of relief allows matter to writhe and manifest at his command, physical ideas born within the sparseness of what was there before. I guess it could be argued that this story is a result of God fixing himself—space is only noise that we can see, after all, and things were definitely changing. The weather, for example. For you must understand, time was catching up on itself, the full circle it was designed to repeat fulfilling the same emptiness once again despite all restraints. The inevitability of the prophecy had come into age once again, as The Creator had witnessed an infinite amount of times before.

Our tale begins here, and if you find yourself confused, do not worry. The jumbled nature of things will make more sense to a chosen few as it goes on, and the rest of you should just play along anyway. But keep in mind that concentration will be rewarded, for these seemingly random stories mimic the pitter-patter of the stars, forging patterns to the trained eye and becoming apparent to those who have the attention span for it. And it starts with this: a war which was lost by those who should have won, and won by those who should have lost, just as it was in the beginning and as it will be in the end...

Top Albums Of 2011 - 49. Graveyard - Hisingen Blues

Graveyard - Hisingen Blues

24 March
Hard Rock

The crashing of swords and the collision of chainmail had been the only consistent sound for many moons now. Dust rose from the ground like smoke, the dryness of the horse’s hooves and the boots of man now threatened by the rolling thunder approaching the kingdom. The weather was changing, the castle was falling, and the attack on King Jay could not have come at a worse time. A recent curse on his only daughter had left him weak, and the news must have spread to his enemies who had torn onto his land only days later, lead by a horse with wings made of fire. The whole world seemed to be consumed by screams that roared at heights indistinguishable from man or woman or beast. The undeniable presence of Lucifer hung so thick in the air, that one could almost taste its foulness—the unmistakable scent of pure evil dancing on their pallets. The stones were cracking. The enemy had crossed the moat and some were even climbing the walls like insect-demons, reaching the windows that hid mothers hanging desperately onto their children, crying in deep prayer. All the while, The King watched in fear from his secluded peephole, his men’s organs ripped crudely out from their rough wounds in front of his eyes, blood spilling onto the trampled fields they once called home.

“The cries of war always seem worse at dusk,” King Jay’s advisor and last remaining companion observed quietly, and The King agreed.
“There are darker forces at work here, my friend,” The King responded. “The way they pummel us with such a precise formula is not of this world. My eyes are tired, but I swear to the gods I saw men rising from the dead. These ... things. They don’t even look human to me.” He paused and rubbed his aching head.
“My men, on the other hand, are true fighters,” he continued, still watching his once strong kingdom crumble beneath his feet. “So valiant. Fighting with such passion. It’s a peculiar feeling, is it not? Such high energy and patriotism mixed with the sour of a losing battle. I know that it’s only a matter of time before I die, I make no light of this fate. But when I die, I will die with pride and admiration for my men.”
Tears swelled over his cheeks and the air of defeat began to choke him, as his advisor placed a loving hand on the king's shoulder. “I think it’s time you leave, My Lord. You must save yourself.”
“And go where?”
“Up the mountain. Take the secret passage out the left wing, and run. You must go and speak to the Wise One, my King. He will know what to do.”
King Jay considered this, and then sighed. “I can’t. I can’t leave my people.”
“Then you will die, my Lord. You will die here, and you will die very soon.”
A clatter of metal echoed not far from where they stood, and The King knew his advisor was right.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 48. Septic Flesh - The Great Mass

Septic Flesh - The Great Mass

18 April
Symphonic Death Metal

The portal shot flares of purple from its core, pieces of fire as hot as Satan wrapping around many of the soldiers’ faces, tearing their features off, scorching out their brains. Giles had dived behind the closest desk the moment he'd heard the portal open, and there he sat shaking as glass shattered above his head and the shrieks of terror rang out like a harmony of pain. A few hours earlier he had regained control of his thoughts and begged for them not to do it, warning they had no idea where the portal would lead to or what would be there. But the government had grown impatient and decided to do exactly what the government does: Send the army in. Turn the machine on.

And here they were, literally seconds later, screams of panic and the roaring of unearthly creatures blaring into his ears, gunshots like war-drums fired in vain as the chorus of evil cut through the air like some sick symphony. Giles felt his stomach turn in on itself and then he puked through his bandaged head. Partially it was the stench of death around him, but more than anything it was all his years of devotion to his religion, now destroyed in the middle of some unholy battle which was all his fault. Blood splattered on the wall opposite him and he puked again. The lights exploded from the ceiling and darkness was filling the room. He sat in terror, knees to his chest, praying to the Savior that whatever was in the here didn’t find him.

It didn’t take long before the screams of dying soldiers and the cracking of gunfire became less and less frequent, until there seemed to be nothing left at all. Silence consumed the air and was as deafening as the noises that took place only moments ago. Giles could hear the hum of the portal, as well as the scuffling of something else. There was an occasional growl followed by another growl, all completely inhuman. In Giles’ logic, he concluded that whatever was there, it had the ability to communicate on some level, and there was definitely more than one of them. He contemplated taking a look, just a small peek over the desk, so that if he ever got out of here alive, all his sinning would amount to something valuable. Perhaps he could pass on to others the dangers and evil that had taken place on this day. And perhaps then he would be forgiven for his wrong-doing.

The unfortunate thing is, Giles never got out of there alive.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 47. Cage The Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday

Cage The Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday

11 Jan
Alternative Rock

“DAAAAAD!” the sound pierced through James’ groggy hangover and his bed rocked like a rickety boat on an unstable sea made from the alcohol of the night before. His eyes cracked open and the sharp sunlight tore into his jagged mind. There bounced Gillian, his five year old daughter above his head, full of raucous energy and far too much excitement. “WAKE UP DAAAAAD! DAAAADDDYYY!! I WANNA GO OUTSIIIIDE!!!” she wailed. He groaned and his throat cracked, the crusted cigarettes of recent hours now having their revenge.

“No, not now, Honey. Daddy isn’t feeling very well,” he slurred as he closed his eyes again. This was a mistake, and as a result was greeted by a high-pitched shrill miles above the levels before. “NO DADDYYYY!!! NOOOOW!!! I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE NOOWWW!!! I WANT TO HAVE FUN DAAADYYYY!!!!” she jumped up and down again, loosing her footing in the process and then tumbling directly onto his chest, causing him to let out an “ooomph” which tasted like puke. A streak of red violence splattered across his vision and he bit his tongue from letting every colourful word he knew from pouring out.

“Ok! Ok! Stop it Darling! I’m getting up, alright? See? I’m awake.” James rolled onto his side and then sat up. He didn’t want to loathe the childish brat, but he did.
“You stink Daddy,” was all the girl could say in response, and he bit his tongue again as he reached for the bottle of rum he had strategically placed beside his bed last night. He took a swig and thanked his past self for having enough smarts to leave this lifesaver drink for his current self. Even if he remembered none of it.

But he remembered many other things. The loss of his wife. What he once was. And looking into Gillian’s face just reminded him of all the pain his life had become.

He couldn’t do this any more. He had to get rid of her.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 46. The Psychic Paramount - II

The Psychic Paramount - II

22 Feb
Noise Rock

Something had gone wrong with the spaceship and it now spun in repetition, trapped within the earth’s orbit, static filling the monitors and a fuzzy frequency filling the alien’s ears. They screamed as the noise continued to grow like shots to their heads, completely aware that the longer they spun here suspended in space, the sooner they would be discovered by those on Earth.

The invasion had gone wrong. Something had intervened. One moment they were flying towards the planet, the next they hit this raucous turbulence which completely took control of their vehicle and exploded their engines, rendering them nothing more than puppets to this planet’s gravity field. Their vision blurred as they rotated around and around in their seat, their craft hurtling in this moment through space. And while the racket was deafening, they only had to look at each other to know what they were thinking.

Perhaps the prophecy was true. Perhaps they could not meddle with the gods.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 45. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee, Pt 2

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee, Pt 2

03 May
East Coast Hip Hop

Lyndal couldn’t take her eyes off them—nobody could. With her cider in hand, she gazed across the dance floor at the creatures unlike any creatures she had ever seen before. The first could only be described as a two-headed monster, this conjoined being with a body only slightly larger than your average man. But placed on the shoulders were two very different faces, and she couldn’t tell which one fascinated her the most. The one on the left, for example, had a cartoonesque look about him, with buck teeth and a huge smile, nodding to the Hip-Hop beats, wide eyes frantically trying to look at everyone. On the other hand, the one on the right was the king of cool, wearing a top hat with a large cigar protruding from his lips, seemingly uninterested in anything. And yet possibly the most out of place figure of the three was the mechanical being standing next to them, looking much like a 1980’s Sci-Fi interpretation of a robot: box like in shape, lots of little lights instead of features, omitting a weird frequency with beeps and blips which synced with the party’s music. Lyndal knew that if she didn’t speak to these characters she would surely regret it, so she gulped her drink down, sucked up her courage and walked towards them.

The smiley cartoon face was the first to notice her approaching, and he smiled even wider, as he let off a high pitched “HELLO DARLING!” and then out of overwhelmed excitement, turned his drink upside down onto the floor. This definitely caught her off-guard, but she felt it was far too late to turn around now. She had mentally committed to this and refused to let herself down, so she kept walking apprehensively into talking distance and then introduced herself. “Hello, my name is Lyndal,” she stuck out her right hand, and almost instantly the creature raised its left hand, awkwardly grabbing hers and then shaking it enthusiastically.

“WE’RE THE BEASTIE BOYS!!” the smiley face said eagerly, and began to laugh hysterically. In response, the robot flashed two bright torch like lights out of its eyes for a few seconds, hitting Lyndal right in her face which caused her to blink.
“WE ARE RATHER PLEASED TO MEET YOU!” the smiley face continued, shouting at her rather than to her, and then proceeded to lick the brick wall next to him.
“Ignore those two,” the cool face finally spoke up, bellowing cigar smoke out of his mouth. “You seem like a smart girl, Lyndal. Did you know that Lyndal means ‘from the valley of the Linden Tree?’”
She blushed. This head’s sexual charm flooded out of him just like the cigar smoke, and she tingled to his deep voice. “Um, yes I did know that actually!” she laughed.
“I like your bracelet too, is that a Tadlock?” he pointed at the thin jewelry around her wrist, which was the furthest thing from her thoughts right now. “My friend owns many shares in that company. Trust me that no matter what you are paying, you are paying too much.”
Lyndal felt her temperature rising, but she didn’t have time to respond, as the cool head seemed adamant on continuing his lighthearted banter. “Would you like to dance?”

Without waiting for an answer, the robot flared up and music blasted from its sides louder than the party's own tunes. Lights of all chaotic colours exploded out of its every hole which stopped everyone else in their tracks. The two-headed creature then proceeded to dance like it was made out of jelly, the two heads moving closer and further apart from each other as if they weren’t attached at all. Their legs worked like tentacles; wrapping around themselves, then the furniture, then the bar. Its entire body moved at great speeds and with a solid pace, almost going around the entire dance floor in seconds before ending up right in front of Lyndal again.

“Would you like to come back to my place and have sex?” the charming head asked her without missing a beat or having lost any breath. Lyndal felt the blood run out of her head and straight into her genitals, which buzzed at the thought. “Yes. Yes I would.” she answered without hesitation. And so they linked arms, and left the stunned party behind them.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 44. Giles Corey - Giles Corey

Giles Corey - Giles Corey

30 April

Gillian ran through the corridors, panicking as her hands scraped the brick walls which drew blood from underneath her nails. She hadn’t lived in this orphanage for very long, but the cold architecture (which was home to many of society’s rejects) would give any establishment that distinct aura of fear from time to time. But this was the first occasion since her arrival that Gillian felt trapped. She had got lost so quickly within a mess that wouldn’t make sense to anybody, least of all her, and that’s even if making sense mattered in a moment like this. No, what mattered was that she just kept on running. The endless space ahead of her grew further away, and the faster she ran, the slower she became. But she kept on running.

The noise behind her grew louder, echoing in the chamber-like infrastructure, limp feet scraping closer and closer to her which made her feel ill. She was losing her breath every step of the way and began to sob which only slowed her down further. Why was the bandaged priest after her? What was that creature he was holding? These thoughts created a deep depression in her mind, followed by a sharp shock as brittle hands gripped her on the shoulders, weighing her down. She screamed as her vision turned grey and she fell to the ground, smashing her face onto the freezing tiles, her whole body numbing as her cries became an uncomfortable silence. Only cold wind remained as the bandaged priest stood above her and heard The Hunter speak to him once again.

“We have the girl. We need to get the father. Then the Master will be very pleased.”
“What do you want me to do now?” Giles mumbled in question to the voice in his head.
“Now? Now we fetch my friends,” The Hunter smiled within Giles’ brain, and he understood, throwing Gilian’s body over his shoulder and then shuffling back to the altar.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 43. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We’re New Here

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We’re New Here

21 Feb
Future Garage

His last pill had begun to take effect and Jimmy felt warmth run into his fingers in direct correlation to his jaw tightening. His eyes kept closing by themselves and each breath caused beads of sweat to build up on his forehead, his veins swelling in reaction to the brightness of the lights. The dance floor seemed to slow down and he wasn’t sure sure of his rhythm any more; the music remixing his thoughts; ideas becoming reborn. It didn’t matter, the feelings overwhelmed him and in that moment, everything he was and everything he knew escaped importance. The minimal beats began to consume him once again and he swayed on his feet. Worried he might fall over, he stumbled off the dance-floor, searching for water but unable to find any, slurring his words so badly that he couldn’t even ask anyone for help—which didn’t worry him as much as it should have. Instead, he found a thin dirty mattress in the corner of a dark room and embraced it, resting his head on its bug infested material while the beats vibrated beneath him in beautiful suffering.

Moments later, within what might have been a dream or a drug induced hallucination, Jimmy found himself sitting in a warm cave as part of a circle made of people, surrounding an old bearded man. This man pulsated with an aura of wisdom, his deep mumbling voice tired after decades of speaking words of brilliance—unhappy about the society he had tried to run away from his whole life, and how he eventually escaped to this mountain top. There they all sat, while the sun shone through cracks in the rocks and birds made noises during flight just outside of their conversation. The old man spoke slowly, telling tales about The Devil which lived in New York city, the concrete itself falling victim to corruption and evil. He said the weather would be the first to go sour, eventually leading to a portal of Hell spewing itself onto Earth, causing a great war in which one of them would play a role. This confused Jimmy greatly.

“So what do we do?” he caught himself interrupting the wise man, immediately feeling foolish that he had spoken back to such an advanced soul.
“I do not know, Jimmy,” the man called him by name in a raspy voice. He reached over and touched the boy’s hand with his grey fingers, leaning all of his weight into that act of contact. “I am not on your side, nor am I on The Devil’s side. I am a messenger, sent to fulfill The Prophecy. But what I do know is you must help the girl, Jimmy. You must help the girl, and then you must die. As I am dead now, you must die very soon.”

That’s the last thing Jimmy heard before waking up, quite sometime later.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 42. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

24 Jan
Indie Rock/Shoegaze

An explosion resonated in our protagonist’s eardrums leaving a trail of ringing in his head. The carnivorous gunfire raged out into the night despite the down-pour, and he gasped for air, choking as he did so. His trench was filling up with rain and he lay with his back against the muddy bank, gun pointing up towards the stars. He had been here for days in this same spot, his platoon unable to move forward or retreat backwards, fighting a war that they didn’t understand.

He had seen things no man should see, and his sanity cracked at the thoughts. Demons of assorted sizes came at them from all sides, and despite being outnumbered by the human army, they were extremely resilient and difficult to kill, taking multiple bullets before even slowing down. None of this was in the briefing, and they had marched optimistically and confidently into a war which was not from this world. And worst of all was the friends he had watched die in the most horrific of ways, and yet they sat and spoke to him in this trench right now, like haunted souls that would never leave these muddy waters. Either that, or he was going mad.

Another explosion, and his invisible companions laughed and joked about the sound. Maybe some of them were even really there, he didn’t know. He reached into his top pocket and pulled out a photograph of his deceased girlfriend, drops of rain instantly decorating her face, distorting her features but not hiding her beauty. Erika. She was the reason why all of this happened. Why did she have to happen? What even happened to her? His inner-dialogue went in circles and he couldn’t take it anymore.

Aggression built up inside of him which quickly turned to rage, and our protagonist felt sick of it all. He loaded his machine gun and his lieutenant appeared out of nowhere, real or not real, and asked him just what the hell he thought he was doing. Our protagonist didn’t respond. Instead he jumped onto his feet and began to run towards the loudest sounds of the war he could hear, firing his gun directly at it, screaming as he did so, not caring who or what he hit. He was getting out of here one way or another.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 41. Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin’

Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin’

10 May
Rhythm & Blues

Being a superhero is not an easy job, let Buck Jacobs be the first to tell you. But after saving countless lives in the Ocean War (by using his clever signature escape routines and good old traditional super-human strength), ending up at this college after-party was definitely one of the perks. He sat in a red velvet chair surrounded by adoration, mostly in the form of fake tans and push-up bras—not that this was a problem for Buck by any means. And as he sipped classy whiskey from a paper cup and spoke about his adventures back in the day, his every word was absorbed by attentive ears, wide eyes and attractive smiles, captivated by a lifestyle they had only heard about from their parents a long time ago. This encouraged Buck to divulge more and more details about his private life, occasionally jumping up and busting a few fresh dance moves to illustrate his points. He slid around in a way only a superhero could to the funky tunes booming from the boom-box, to which, of course, the girls squealed with giddiness and couldn’t believe that they were in the presence of an individual so incredible. Needless to say, Buck loved it, his ego inflating in direct proportion to his good judgement deflating, feeling like this was finally the moment that all of his hard work had paid off. He was someone. He was alive. He felt timeless—as if a teenager again. And most of all, he felt sexy, because after becoming an overnight sensation, he most definitely was the coolest cat in the room. Well, that was, until she walked in.

Her entry and very presence changed the entire mood of the party. People moved out of her way, parting like the Red Sea - not because they knew what they were doing, but because her soul demanded it. Her dark skin, red lips and leopard print attire complimented each other in the most complicated of ways, her curves so well defined that they seemed to walk two steps behind her. Silence followed her passing until she stopped in the middle of the room, stuck her nose upwards and smelt the air like a wine connoisseur. A few sniffs and she caught drift of what she was looking for: The Alpha Male. The one she wanted. The one she was going to fuck tonight.

Without hesitation she turned directly towards Buck and walked up to him, already absorbing all of his attention. She then sat down softly on his lap and curled herself around him like a cat, her lips aligned so that she could breathe sweetness into his ear, and her tits aligned so that she could dangle her cleavage in front of his face. “Hey baby,” she whispered. “How would you like to get reckless tonight?”

She didn’t need an answer. Buck was already hypnotised by her seduction-spell and couldn’t respond even if he wanted to. She took him by the hand and lead him into the bathroom, ignoring the sounds of broken hearts behind them. Yes, Buck felt he could get very reckless tonight indeed—and he did—never once noticing his desperate cellphone ringing furiously in his back pocket.

Click Here For Part 2

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