All I want for Christmas...

(by Massa Takemoto, intro by Lydia Takemoto)

Looking to pick up something special for that special someone at the last moment? Or want a few ideas for treating yourself this Christmas?

Finding a great gift for a music lover with a taste for the non-mainstream is never an easy task... And being married to a musician, I know this better than anyone. So to help me out this year, Massa has put together a list of five CDs he'd like to find stuffed in his stocking on the morning of December 25th, complete with his own mini-reviews highlighting what makes them so awesome. If he's lucky (and stays on good behavior), "Santa" just might bring him more than one.

"Dear Santa"

The problem is a lot of the albums I want are only available in MP3 format, and that makes it hard to choose the CDs I want. Also, I prefer to have a variety of albums from different genres, and to keep things new, ones by artists who aren't too big.

But in the end, it's down to these five.

Choice 1 
My Hidden Playground
by Mollono Bass
Label: Acker
Genre: Techno / Minimal House / Tech House

Usually, when I'm looking into this category, I can only find stuff that is either too catchy or too minimal. That's not really what I am looking for. I want something interesting. something innovative and stylish. I think this one's got the best of both worlds. Each track has influences from other genres and they're simple, yet each has a distinctive touch so you can recognize the track.

Choice 2
New Moon
by Almunia
Label: Claremont 56
Genre: Disco, Balearic

This is a very interesting album. Most of the elements are very organic with familiar elements: guitar riffs... the texture of the drum sounds, etc... However, the way this guy puts things together is very cool and very new. I absolutely love this album.

Choice 3
Medicine Show No. 7: High Jazz (Yesterday's New Quintet)
by Madlib
Label: Madlib Medicine Show
Genre: Electronic Jazz

Well, this guy's been around for long that I don't really need to say much about him, but I really like the texture of this album. It somehow reminds me of "On the Corner" and "Bitches Brew" by Miles Davis, but with a modern touch.

Choice 4
Luminal Remastered
by Sounds from the Ground
Label: Upstream Records
Genre: Downtempo

Spacey stuff with groove. It's not any of that cold medium stuff. The combination of lo-fi texture and spacy analog synth is very pleasant. "Stampede" (featuring Rachel Calladine) is my favorite track from this album.

Choice 5
The Jazz Thing
by Christian Prommer's Drumlesson/The Diningrooms
Label: Schema
Genre: Broken Beat / Nu Jazz / Nu Soul

This is definitely a "jazz thing." It takes you to the old black-and-white period, and would go nicely with some wine and a fire place. (But I prefer listening to this kind of album quietly and alone.) Cold winter night stuff. 

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