#1-ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI-Before Today (4AD)/KANYE WEST-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)

It hasn’t happened since 1997, when Radiohead with their acclaimed ‘OK Computer’ and Spiritualized’s psychedelic masterpiece ‘Ladies & Gentleman we are floating in space’ shared the number one position. In 2010, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti exuberant lo-fi psychedelia and the definitive record in KanYe West’s career got the honors.

The former crowned a decade dedicated to sonic DIY and experimentation, joining the 4AD imprint; consolidating his band and discovering the possibilities of recording in a proper studio with amazing results. One of the pioneers of the much talked about glo-fi/chillwave so trendy during the year; the amount of ideas per minute collected in ‘Before Today’ had no equal in any other record released during the past 12 months. Still far from perfect, it worked as a sort of encyclopedia of radio oriented rock from the 70’s and the 80’s, filtered through his characteristic lo-fi, oozing urban decadence. It was neither the classic that will define this year –that honor may go to the hands of Arcade Fire- nor the most complete or flawless record, but undoubtedly the most surprising and the one we preferred through the year. This time Ariel Pink delivered a work that not only matched but amply beat his recognized capabilities.

The other side of the coin belongs to the biggest ego in today’s hip-hop and his masterpiece. KanYe West, hurt by the tepid reception obtained by that autotune feast that was ‘808 & Heartbreak’ hasn’t stopped until getting an almost perfect record –the first on his career to date. So many good songs he’d written that during the weeks preceding the album release he offered the remaining ones as free downloads through his G.O.O.D. Fridays –all of them still available and maybe destined to be part of a future deluxe edition. But it was the record what went beyond the highest expectations in an orgy of influences –samples of Mike Oldfield or King Crimson next to unexpected collaborations with the likes of Elton John or Bon Iver- and the who’s who in contemporary urban music, from Nicki Minaj to Raekwon, all invited to the event; a series self-confessions taking a fascinating look at the dark side in the life of today’s biggest rap star.

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