2011 Top Albums. SUGOI


Dez 15 2011, 8h37

The best thing I can say about the music referenced in this list is that in many cases I examine each ranking and want to place the ranking higher! Some of my favorite artists are in the middle of this list - it highlights the large number of qualitative sound artists who were busy recording recently. A great thing about this listing is that I saw an astonishing *sixteen* of these groups in 2011, two more in 2010, and even missed a couple (I skipped HTRK at Bumbershoot, because Bumbershoot is garbage, and went to a movie when Kode9 was playing a Brooklyn warehouse at 1 am). Even still - the best musical moment has to be split between Unsound festival in NYC - Ben Frost, Morton Subotnick, Deaf Center, Emeralds playing John Carpenter film music with Alan Howarth (Kurt Russell megamix visuals)!! - meanwhile Seattle gets a HUGE treat in the launching of Substrata 1.1 festival over the summer - in which I got the chance to go field recording with Biosphere and, concert-wise, Nils Frahm blew everyone away with his intense and emotive piano works.

So here's your ten best - and your field guide to 2011 music in general with forty noteworthy releases!

1. Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip (Club AC30/Sonic Unyon)
The absolute JAM. I rocked so heavy at both of the shows I caught,
their lead got off the stage and handed me the guitar for a song.
Seriously. You don't have to wait for that epic My Bloody Valentine
Loveless followup album anymore.

2. Nils Frahm - Felt (Erased Tapes)
This stuff is unreal, an entire spectrum of emotional piano works with
minor electronic treatment - a modern classical album you can listen
to like you'd listen to the radio every day, so good. Every time it
plays in store, it sells - sometimes two. The guy's in his mid 20s!

3. Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Solaris (Bedroom Community)
Music for falling off the edge of the world and looking into your own
soul. Music for Solaris - tribute to the legendary novel and 1970s
Russian film adaptation by Andrei Tarkovsky. This album lives up to
the greatness of the film.

4. Leyland Kirby - Eager To Tear Apart The Stars (HAFTW)
Everything this guy puts out is fantastic. The final and best track is
titled "My Dream Contained A Star" - you should see where it's coming
from. A film soundtrack for your moody daydreams, or quiet reflection
on all the melancholy of the galaxies.

5. Deaf Center - Owl Splinters (Type)
Modern classical on the edge of the night - they played in a cathedral
space at Unsound NY - a highlight of 2011 in general for me. Sounds
like dramatic music for an exploration of a cave to the soul (yeah, there's a lot of soul-examining music here, whatever).

6. Seefeel - Seefeel (Warp)
These guys reunited last year and put this album together. The
additions of Shigeru Ishihara (DJ Scotch Egg) and former Boredoms
drummer Iida Kazuhisa make this album totally rip, next-level
song-based electronic music.

7. Peter Broderick - Music For Confluence (Erased Tapes)
Orchestrations from this multi-instrumentalist that are an excellent
return (closer to) the form he achieved with his album "Float" from Type
Records, one of the best things they ever released. This one was
supposedly written with a documentary about missing persons in Iowa in
the 1980s in mind. It does often sound suspenseful and spooky, but
there's more going on than that - hard to quantify, but really good.
Amazingly, his new 7" Old Time/Solace In Gala and its bonus 14-track
download card are even BETTER.

8. Jacaszek - Glimmer (Ghostly)
I knew it was going to be good, and it was. Rather than strings
however, this time Michal Jacaszek uses woodwinds, heavy noise
distortion in the vein of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (a top album from last
year on Type), and harpsichord. The album cover is an image of a
sheet of disintegrating, aged gold leaf - pretty much a visual
representation of the music on the album. It sounds great.

9. Christina Vantzou - No. 1 (Kranky)
Her track on the Ghostly SMM: Context compilation really stood out, making me hope for more far in advance of this album arriving. More ambient and background-minimal style than some of these other peers, but in a beautiful and stately way. Thank goodness I finally got hold of one.

10. NHKyx - yx aka 1ch aka SOLO (Important)
For anyone in what is sadly the minority waiting for the
next-next-level that Warp Records should have evolved into ten years
ago rather than going largely status quo, Kouhei Matsunaga in the past
few years has quietly DELIVERED. The NHK 12" on Raster-Noton put us on
notice, whether we noticed or not - an EP that blows away almost
anything else that year as the absolute SICKEST. Here's a new effort
from Matsunaga (one-half of NHK) which is feeling heavy influence from
his collaborations with street rapper Sensational (who guests here).
This is a welcome & solid holdover until we get, hopefully, another
NHK proper release that rocks the universe criminally under the radar
of the typical Warp-head.


11. Byetone - Symeta (Raster-Noton)

12. Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Summvs (Raster-Noton)

13. Boris - Attention Please/Heavy Rocks/New Album (DiwPhalanx/Sargent House)

14. Seapony - Go With Me (Hardly Art)

15. Simon Scott - Bunny (Miasmah)

16. Max Richter - Sarah's Key soundtrack (Milan)

17. COH - Iiron (Editions Mego)

18. Alva Noto - Univrs (Raster-Noton)

19. Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir - Pan_Tone (Sonic Pieces)

20. Vadislav Delay - Vantaa (Raster-Noton)

21. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)

22. Frank Bretschneider - Komet (Shitkatapult)

23. Still Corners - Creatures Of An Hour (Sub Pop)

24. Kangding Ray - Or (Raster-Noton)

25. Cyclo. - id (Raster-Noton)

26. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath 1972 (Kranky)

27. The Men - Leave Home (Sacred Bones)

28. Biosphere - N-Plants (Touch)

29. Robert Lippok - Redsuperstructure (Raster-Noton)

30. Kode9 + the Spaceape - Black Sun (Hyperdub)

31. Group Doueh - Zayna Jumma (Sublime Frequencies)

32. Mist - House (Spectrum Spools)

33. Ultralyd - Inertiadrome (Rune Grammofon)

34. Omar Souleyman - Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts (Sublime Frequencies)

35. HTRK - Work (Work, Work)

36. Moon Duo - Mazes (Sacred Bones)

37. Kreng - Grimoire (Miasmah)

38. Mountains - Air Museum (Thrilljockey)

39. Washed Out - Within & Without (Sub Pop)

40. Mark McGuire - Get Lost (Editions Mego)

Best reissue material:

Ringo Deathstarr - Sparkler (Club AC30/Sonic Unyon)

The Son Of P.M. - Hey Klong Yao! (EM)

Daphne Oram - Vol. 1-Daphne Oram Tapes (Young Americans)

湯浅譲二 (Joji Yuasa) - Expo 70 (Edition Omega Point)

Ride - Nowhere: 20th anniversary issue (Rhino Handmade)

Pakistan: Folk & Pop Instrumentals 1966-1976 (Sublime Frequencies)

Bambara Mystic Soul: The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso (Analog Africa)

The Smiths - Complete (the packaging is quite nice) (Rhino)

Matsuo ohno - I Saw The Outer Limits (EM)

Opika Pende (Dust-To-Digital)

All of the Medical Records catalog (Don't know? Here's your introduction)

The stuff the Mucho Gusto label has been doing

Unknown quantities, but likely FANTASTIC:

SPC ECO - You Tell Me
Olafur Arnalds - Living Room Songs
I Break Horses - Hearts


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