My Top 10 (+1) Musical Artists: 2011


Jan 3 2012, 21h21

1 Falling You – ethereal ambient, female vocals
2 Within Temptation – symphonic metal, female vocals
3 Shiva in Exile – ethnic electronic, female vocals
4 Burial – ambient dubstep electronic
5 Irfan – ethereal ethnic, female vocals
6 Conjure One – chillout electronic, female vocals
7 Solace – ethnic/world rhythms
8 Amethystium – ambient ethereal electronic
9 Ladytron – synthpop electronic
10 Lycia – ethereal darkwave, female vocals
11 Shiny Toy Guns – alternative electronic

(source: My charts) (compare with last year: My Top 10 Musical Artists 2010)

1. Falling You– always a favorite, been in my overall top 10 for years. This music is great for relaxing, and I use it often for that purpose. Most of 2011’s plays came from the new album, Adore. (Falling You’s Magnatune page) [youtube][/youtube]

2. Within Temptation– While I’ve been a mostly casual fan of Within Temptation for a few years, the release of their album The Unforgiving in March 2011 excited me about this band, as I think this is their best album yet. The symphonic metal style is a little out of place within this top 10, but this album is really more rock and symphony than metal, in my opinion.[youtube][/youtube]

3. Shiva in Exile– Another Magnatune artist (as is Falling You), this is a new band for me this year. I have been growing in recent years in my appreciation for ethnic music, particularly middle eastern influences. SIE has heavy influences of middle east fused with modern electronic music, creating a very catchy and unusual sound.

4. Burial – another new artist for me. I discovered the music of Burial through the social music site (as I did #9 Ladytron, #11 Shiny Toy Guns, and many others), after which I purchased their two albums. With a dark ambient sound, heavy electronic processing and vocal sampling, I found myself attracted to this music, listening to the albums on repeat several days in a row.

5. Irfan – This is one of the original sources of interest to me of middle-eastern/Arabic-influenced music. I finally bought their albums IRFAN and Seraphim. I have not been disappointed!

6. Conjure One – Continuing an apparent trend in this year’s top music, I have also discovered this mellow electronic side project of Rhys Fulber (of Delirium and Front Line Assembly fame). Also of no surprise to those that know my music taste (or who glanced at the tags in the list above), most of my favorite music features female vocalists, and while there is no permanent vocalist, Conjure One has many featured female singers (Falling You has a similar rotation of guest vocals.). These singers have a variety of styles and sounds that compliment the accompaniment well.

7. Solace – Still on my new music search this year, Solace popped up on my radar during my subscription to Magnatune, (home also of Falling You and Shiva in Exile from this list) as an artist similar to Shiva in Exile that I might like. As I would consider this a less “westernized” Arab/Middle-eastern style, it may appeal less to some than does Shiva or Irfan. Indeed, even though it is in my top artists, I must admit that there are no real standout tracks for me to recommend.

8. Amethystium – Another longtime favorite, Amethystium is one of those artists I default to when I need something light in the background for reading, studying, or working. Not that this is elevator music, by any means. A variety of world music sounds combine with electronica and New Age styles to make many interesting and different-sounding tracks.

9. Ladytron – Having been exposed to Ladytron through, my appreciation grew over time as I recognized that my foot tapped to this female-fronted electronic (another trend for me this year) music each time it came up. Spotify and Turntable account for the many plays on this list in 2011.

10. Lycia – A steady favorite throughout the years, Lycia has throughout their albums kept my eager interest as the sound morphed from droning guitars and low-key vocals to female-fronted ethereal and experimental when Tara Vanflower came on board. This group steadily stays in top rotation.

11. Shiny Toy Guns – Yet another discovery for me, I’ve grown to appreciate the style of this group which I was initially inclined to dismiss as another pretentious indie garage band. I’m glad to be wrong; I find that this band has a catchy pop appeal with strong electronica/dance values underneath. A quick favorite (once I gave them a chance!) My expectation of further growth in my esteem earns them an honorary place in the top 10.


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