Curated by vVv Stardust & Serious Moonlight of Intuitive Navigation, of Portland’s newest radio station, XRAY.FM — xray.fm/programs/intuitive-navigation — for PICA (Portland Institute of Contemporary Art)’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser....

Out with the old, no matter how good it is! Here's our comprehensive list of Top Albums of the Year 2013, schizophrenic as always to reflect the diverse tastes of our staff, though there is some overlap. It's highly recommended you check out every release here, as each has its own creative strengths.
Matthew Carter - electronic, experimental, metal, pop, rock Vivian Hua - dance, indie, pop, psychedelic, soul Troy Micheau - classical, electronic, experimental, instrumental Judy Nelson - dance, electronic, indie, pop, psychedelic, soul Elizabeth Perry - indie, mainstream, pop, rock Peter Woodburn - classical, instrumental, metal XUA - electronic hip-hop, mainstream, pop Albums of the Year 2013

"What do you mean I don't get it? I'm a genius, I'll understand it; I just need to break it down is all. Now let's see, something about fish sticks interacting with me, makes me a gay fish. Alright now -- what do we know about fish sticks? They're breaded; they're fried; they're frozen. Then under me we have rapper, genius. Hmmm. Then gay fish -- homosexual and they swim...." - "Kanye West" on South Park
Kanye West Yeezus (2013) Def Jam Recordings Kanye West - Yeezus Album ReviewI've never given one solid shit about Kanye West. Perhaps I assumed he would be relegated to the fading collective memory of that awful decade, the '00s -- a waning image of yesteryear, alongside Rudolph Guiliani, Suicide Girls, and Shitty Movies Ben Affleck. He was, after all, the star of one of the greatest events in '00s history, when he hijacked a live telethon for Katrina victims, went way off script and declared "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" A couple days later, a heroic everyman citizen told Vice President Cheney to go fuck himself, right to his face: a butterfly effect Mr. West can be proud of.
And now, here we are, 2013! Holy shit, how 'bout 2013? If someone told me in 2005 that in 8-years-time, Japan would be melting from radioactivity, Daft Punk would make a yacht rock record with Nile Rodgers on guitar, Barack Obama was a two-term president and he too was a war criminal, and Kanye West from the Katrina telethon just dropped one of the best records of the year (and... oh by the way... it's experimental and grotesque like In Utero -- only nastier -- or Pink Flamingos -- only funnier)... I might have shit myself right there. Ah 2013! I mean, what the hell? There are no rules on this island. It's taken me a while to dig in, but Yeezus is fresh as hell.

 

Daft Punk Random Access Memories Columbia RecordsWant to know about the world's largest living organism? How about the man with the third highest Donkey Kong score? Need the formula for the area of a circle? All of these things and literally every other piece of knowledge can be had with the click of a button. It's now an age-old adage about the "information age," a time we seemingly take for granted. But what if you want to know more about Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk? In a time when privacy and anonymity are trivialized, Daft Punk continue to don their masks and create music devoid of desperately appearing as though it was culled from their personal influences. On Random Access Memories, Daft Punk's fourth studio album, the Parisian duo turn that formula on its head, trading in their time-tested computer programs for the collected human experience. But it's still not about their experience; it's about our experience. When they talk of giving life back to music, it isn't just about reaching into the past to create the future; it's about the communal aspects of music: the experience and heartbreak associated with the sounds and its people. Random Access Memories isn't the album Daft Punk should be making in 2013, and that's exactly why Daft Punk created it, and why it took eight long years to master. If the series of Creator's Project videos focusing squarely on the album's collaborators taught us anything, it's that the history of music can teach us more about our presence than anything being produced today.
 

Justin Kane Elder has only recently emerged onto the Seattle art scene, but he's already commanding our attention. Trained as a finish carpenter1 and hailing from a family peppered with luthiers2 and tradesman, Elder is comfortable moving fluidly across the often contentious boundary of art and craft. Elder's work demands a carpenter's keen attention to angle and detail, coupled with a painter's sense of fluid composition. Elder creates large-scale spray paint portraits by applying numerous layers of precisely stenciled abstract shapes, and his dynamic overlays create a constantly radiating sense of movement. His current portrait subjects are his friends or pop culture icons, and he manages to create crisp, defined compositions without employing any actual linework.
justin kane elder I headed over to Justin's house for an interview and spent the duration of our conversation kept constant company by Raleigh, his adorably hyperactive Boston Terrier. Elder's house immediately gives the comfortable impression of being inhabited by creative people who are very good at what they do but don't feel a need to overtly broadcast it. Elder's girlfriend is a designer, and between the two of them, the house is full of strange, enticingly colorful objects. Elder's studio is set up in his basement, and his workspace is indicative of his artistic priorities: his table saw is front and center, and his spray cans are arranged on a hand-built table that captures the precision of someone who is used to working in measurements of a 32nd of an inch. A large basement wall serves as scratch paper. "It's my sketchbook!" Elder says, laughing.

Recently, I had an experience with a friend who basically attributed a huge amount of today's electronic music and electronic music hybrids to the well-known artist, Aphex Twin. Aphex Twin started his career in the early '90s, and while he has been extremely, extremely influential...