The votes have been counted and verified, and we can reveal the winner of Drowned in Sound's two-thousand-and-eleven Neptune Music Prize, is...
SBTRKT, with the self-titled album that's as graceful as it is dance/dubstep gone sparse and dark. It's a record that shines a florescent light down ominous city streets and rumbles with the glum-hum of the hum-drum, that faint sparkle of broken disco-dreams and them hazy memories of the greatest nights ever, which might or might not have been. It's dark but it's also an enchanting (and some-might-say an effervescent) record, that has a heart and soul like few others created by the first truly digital generation. Lyrically too, it's astute in its mixture of obtuse and direct, almost pirate-radio-like, tuned in to the exact frequency of the state of the nation, with lines which seem locked to the unrestful thoughts and the hollow hopes of consumerism that fed into some of the rational behind the recent riots. Plus, the production is killer; the hooks heave you in and then turn you to marshmallows. It's pretty much everything their Young Turks label-mates the xx did but evolved, taking things up to a whole other level.
Hell, I might sound like I'm hyper-hyping, over-cooking and burning it beyond recognition but with over a thousand votes (which accounts for about a third of the votes cast) for this year's Neptune prize, this album, it seems - however you hear/feel/gorge it and whatever it has meant or done for you - it has quite clearly struck a chord, and risen above the other 9 nominated albums for one reason or another (that reason most probably being that it's exceptional!). As with the point of these seemingly arbitrary list-prizes, SBRTKT (that's the album title), is very-very much worthy of investigation and re-evaluation by anyone who hasn't had it glued to their headphones or pumping from their car over the past few months. It's been my album of summer 2011 and in the next day or two, we'll have an interview with the man behind the mask, to find out more about the album.
For now, seek out a copy/stream or have a read of Bronya's 9/10 review.
This year's runner-up, trailing not too far behind, was Mount Kimbie's similarly sparse and throbbing but a touch more snow-dusted streets of South London, with their debut album Crooks & Lovers.