My partner was Tamik (John)
Ahead of time we agreed a $40 target, and also both of us were acceptable to exchanging purchased FLAC online digital albums. John's choices for me were:
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Believe it or not, but this was the first time for me listening to a Daft Punk album. Anyway - I love it. Hard to describe in a few sentences because its an incredibly complex yet fun album. Definitely rooted in electronic/dance as a base - but with elements of disco, funk, and even touches of prof rock. There are orchestral moments, slower almost balladic interludes, and a lot of catchy beats. The recording seems to be absolutely top notch - plenty of micro detail - but most of all (for me) it is very different to what I normally listen to and very catchy. You can't help tapping your toes to this one. Favourite track int he short time I've had it ..... "Instant Crush" - but I'm still in the process of discovering this album. Wonderful choice so far.
Next up .....
Sola Rosa - Low And Behold, High And Beyond
Sola Rosa are a New Zealand group (they are award winners here) - I'm a Kiwi, and I'd never heard of them until now. Wake up call. Definitely not my usual genre choice - yet I've been captivated with them since I got the album. Really interesting fusion of R&B, Soul, Funk, Electronic, Reggae, with a bit of Hip-Hop thrown in for good measure. What you end up with is a really fresh and catchy blend of good beats, great vocals (a lot of guest singers) - and interesting blends of strings, brass, bass and percussion - knit together with catchy synths. Great for summertime and just chilling out. I'm hooked. Favourite track so far would be "Spinning Top".
And last - but not least .....
Sola Rosa - Solarized (Refreshed)
Apparently a refresh of their 2001 debut album. When I listened to the first track, my first thought was - uh-oh, this is not for me. It started out with a nice electronic track "Hawaiian Silky" that had the opening minute interspersed with some high pitched beeping (it's supposed to be there). Thankfully it was gone after just over a minute - then you can relax and enjoy the rest of the album. Like the other album - Solarized (Refreshed) is a lively fresh fusion of Soul, Funk, Electronic, Reggae, and a Hip-Hop back-beat, but this time with a jazzier feel to it. It's extremely catchy - and just incredibly fun to chill out to. Favourite track so far is "King Of Hush" - which is definitely a firm jazz bass, and also "Me In Your Shadow".
Anyway - for me - the Xmas exchange has been an outstanding success once again. Two artists/groups I'd never heard before - but two that I will now explore further. Thanks again Asr for organising it. And many thanks to Tamik (John) for the wonderful gifts.
I only hope John enjoys the choices I bought him as much as I'm enjoying these!