J O H A N • A G E B J Ö R N

top 5 & top 10 lists

top 10 tracks of 2008

1. Bogdan Irkük a.k.a. Bulgari: Caprice (Rollerboys Recordings)
2. Cloetta Paris: Did We Collide (Skywriting Records)
3. Jens Lekman: Sipping On The Sweet Nectar (Bogdan Irkük's Love Nectar Mix) (Rollerboys Recordings)
4. Bogdan Irkük a.k.a. Bulgari: The Laws Of Physics (Soul Jazz Records)
5. Annie: Songs Remind Me Of You (unreleased)
6. Lovelock: Love Reaction (unreleased)
7. Dølle Jølle: Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje's Extra Døll Mix) (Permanent Vacation)
8. Bogdan Irkük a.k.a. Bulgari: When I Dream Of New York (Rollerboys Recordings)
9. Friendly Fires feat. Au Revoir Simone: Paris (Aeroplane Remix) (XL Recordings)
10. Lindstrøm: Grand Ideas (Feedelity / Smalltown Supersound)

top 5 tracks of 2007

1. Cloetta Paris: I Miss you Someone (Skywriting Records)
2. Ercola feat. Annie: Follow Me (Voices)
3. Frost: One Hundred Years (Skatebård Remix) (Frostworld)
4. Chromatics: Hands In The Dark (Italians Do It Better)
5. Miss Kittin & The Hacker: Hometown (Goodlife)

top 5 tracks of 2005

1. AFX: PWsteal ldpinch D
2. Annie: Heartbeat
3. Sophie Rimheden feat. Annika Holmberg: Can You Save Me? (Mont Ventoux Remix)
4. Tarnished Character: Invasion (Re-edit)
5. Rittowski: Illegal File Transfer

top 5 ambient albums of all time:

1. Voodoo Child "The End of Everything"

Better known as Moby. Not all ambientists like this, it's not for the production I love it, but for the lovely melodies and chords. If you can, check out the US version, it has better mixes.

2. The KLF "Chill out"

This is an ambient classic, one of the first albums (maybe the first) of the huge ambient trend starting around 1990 with artists such as The Orb, Sun Electric and of course The KLF. Here is a good KLF site.

3. Biosphere "Substrata"

This album, by the Norweigan ambient king, has been voted as the best ambient album of all time. (See the whole poll.) I understand why. In fact, almost everything Geir Jenssen makes is good.

4. Future Sound of London "Lifeforms"

I remember seeing the video to the title track "Lifeforms" on MTV in the middle of the night, many years ago, and I was thrilled. This is a concept album (like Kraftwerk's "Computer world") and you feel like being in a tropical forest on some distant planet when you listen to it. Unfortunately, after this album FSOL never managed to reach the same quality, but the album "ISDN" is also worth checking out, I'd say.

5. Various Artists "The Ambient Cookbook"

This is a 4 CD box from Fax records, Germany, headed by Pete Namlook - perhaps the ambient artist who has made the most number of albums. Fax is a classic ambient record label and this box contains some of the best tracks from their best artists such as Pete Namlook, Tetsu Inoue, David Moufang etc.

...Brian Eno "Apollo" almost made it into the top 5. Just thought I should tell you that. :-)

top 5 electronica albums of all time:

1. Aphex Twin "I Care Because You Do"

Well, what is there to say? If you don't know about this guy, it's about time. The king of electronica.

2. Yeti "Holtkötter"

This Swedish artist (real name Krister Linder) never became so known abroad. But with this album, he deserved so, in my opinion.

3. Squarepusher "Hard Normal Daddy"

Alias Tom Jenkinson, this drum'n'bass - or maybe drill'n'bass - musician made his best albums in the beginning of his career, in my opinion. This album, as well as "Feed Me Weird Things", were very innovative at the time, and I still love them.

4. Boards of Canada "Music Has the Right to Children"

I'd say Boards of Canada also were at their best in the beginning; their debut hard-to-find EP on Skam, and this album, are their best efforts.

5. Howie B "Music For Babies"

Experimental, sometimes jazz-inspired, music based on drum loops. There are a lot of really good tracks on this album.

...Plod "Pillow Talk" almost made it into the top 5, and a recent very interesting artist is Venetian Snares (Aaron Funk).

top 10 italo disco tracks of all time:

1. Savage "Don't cry tonight"

I first heard this track when I was eleven years old... Since then I've loved it! Everything is perfect - the beautiful melodies, the nice voice, the lovely synths, the clean sound, the Italian accent... A big inspiration source for the Sally Shapiro project!

2. Fun Fun "Baila bolero"

This girls in this Italian duo had very sweet voices... They made many good songs but this is by far the best one, in my opinion - again, a melody that grabs my heart.

3. Sandra "Around my heart"

Does Sandra qualify as italo disco, even though she's German and never appears on any italo disco compilations? Well, on this list she does. I bought Sandra's compilation CD in the beginning of the 90s and I still get shiverings of this track. It's a bit too short though, only 3:11, for such a great track... I recently found the 12", my heart jumped over one beat (as we say in Sweden), but the extended version wasn't as good as I had hoped...put the radio mix on repeat instead!

4. Miko Mission "How old are you?"

This track has a lot of cool synth sounds and Miko Mission had a very cool and deep voice. But maybe the best sound of all in this track is the bass. This is also a big inspiration source of Sally Shapiro - actually, the idea to have an instrumental verse & chorus in the beginning of the (yet unreleased) extended mix of "I'll be by your side", was directly inspired from this track!

5. Miko Mission "The world is you"

Almost as good as "How old are you?" - actually I'd say that the versein this one is better, but the chorus is worse. Again, a lot of cool sounds.

6. Italian Boys "Midnight girl"

For being an italo disco song, this one has some more complicated harmonies and chords, in a good way. It has one of the best piano solos I've heard in a disco song (maybe only rivalled by the solo in Pet shop boys "I want a dog"), a very nice duet song, and I love it when the key changes several times at the end of the track.

7. Mike Mareen "Love spy"

The synth solo in this extremely cool track might have changed my life when I first heard it in 1989! A classmate of mine included it on a tape he gave me with a group (sic) called "italio disco" (sic). It was one of the first italo disco tracks I heard - or electronically produced tracks, for that matter - and I was sooo thrilled by the cool synth sounds in it. How on earth could people prefer electric guitars when there were these fantastic sounds? (I still ask myself that question...)

8. Mr. Flagio "Take a chance"

I first heard this in 1989 but I didn't understand the greatness of it until I started to dig electro at the end of the 90s. This sounds so modern for being made in 1983! The second verse is the best part of the song, where you can hear those nice sweeping synth strings in the background. And of course the vocoder is cool.

9. Hot Cold "I can hear your voice"

This track has slowly grown on me during the 15-20 years I've been aware of it! Nice melody, nice sounds.

10. Katy Gray "Hold me tight"

Of all the tracks on this list, this is the only one that I don't have on CD or vinyl, which is a pity. Katy Gray had a very sweet voice and it's sad that she didn't seem to record any other songs. This one is so beautiful.

top 10 drum machine sounds

1. Simmons snare & toms

So 80s disco sounding, but still working today! From this drum machine come the drums of Savage "Don't cry tonight" and probably Katy Gray "Hold me tight" and Miko Mission "How old are you?" (see above) as well as lots of Sally Shapiro tracks.

2. LinnDrum hand clap

Also very 80s disco sounding, used on countless disco tracks, from Madonna to Cyber People. Especially nice with some reverb on it. I've used it on many of my tracks, with different reverbs.

3. Roland TR-808 hihats

These are the best hihat sounds in the world, used on many electro tracks (just like all of the sounds from this drum machine - it's almost the definition of electro). Used in different ways on countless of my tracks.

4. Roland CR-78 hihats

Also very very nice hihat sounds, but more space sounding than those of the TR-808. Good for both ambient and electro. Also used in countless of my tracks.

5. Roland CR-78 snare

A very stripped-down snare, no unnecessary waveforms. Good for my type of ambient electro.

6. Watford kick drum

Also a very stripped-down drum sound that fits my music - both the ambient and the electro stuff.

7. Visco Space Drum laser sound

A cool laser sound.

8. Roland TR-808 cowbell

I like this sound, it sounds so electro and retro. Used by everyone from Whitney Houston to Drexciya.

9. Roland TR-909 ride cymbal

The best ride cymbal sound, used on countless techno tracks.

10. Casio Casiotone MT-52 kick, snare & hihat

Very cool 8bit sounding drums from this vintage toy keyboard.