• Favorite albums of 2013

    Jan 15 2014, 1h44

    It's a new year, and so here is a new list of my favorite music from the past year. As usual, it's just a list. I'll leave the gushing and idle talk to the music review sites/blogs. All of these albums speak for themselves. Give them a listen.

    Favorite Albums / EPs:

    1) Chelsea Wolfe - Pain Is Beauty
    2) Doldrums - Lesser Evil
    3) Natash Kmeto - Crisis
    4) Leif - Dinas Oleu
    5) Blue Sky Black Death - Glaciers
    6) Lars Leonhard - Seasons - Les Quatre Saisons
    7) Burial - Rival Dealer
    8) Mountains - Centralia
    9) Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe
    10) Tim Hecker - Virgins
    11) True Widow - Circumambulation
    12) Blue Hawaii - Untogether
    13) Lorna Dune - Miamisphere EP
    14) Recondite - Hinterland
    15) Atoms For Peace - AMOK
    16) Shigeto - No Better Time Than Now
    17) Segue - Pacifica
    18) Forest Swords - Engravings
    19) Oliver Schories - Exit
    20) Sven Weisemann - Inner Motions

    Honorable Mentions:

    Low - The Invisible Way
    Lars Leonhard - Ursa Minor
    Sanctums - Modern Math 001 [Single]
    Yosi Horikawa - Vapor
    Secret Circuit - Tactile Galactics
    Implodes - Recurring Dream
    Dublicator - Deep Sea Exploration
    Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
    Melt Banana - Fetch
    Blouse - Imperium
    Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat
    Desolate - Actaeon EP
    Mazes - Ores & Minerals
    Jah Wobble & Marconi Union - Anomic
    Aeronaut - Coronal Mass
    Jon Hopkins - Immunity
    Pop Ambient 2013 [Compilation]

    Albums from years past that I discovered (or re-discovered) in 2013:

    Grimes - Visions (2012)
    Landing - Landing (2012)
    Gas - Pop (2000)
    Nightlands - Forget the Mantra (2010)
    Blouse - Blouse (2011)
    King Sunny Ade - Synchro System (1983)
    Olivier Schories - Herzensangelegenheit (2012)
    Calla - Strength in Numbers (2007)
    Calla - Televise (2002)
    Yamanakata // Sonic Titan - YT // ST (2011)
    Landing - Wave Lair (2012)
    3 Phase - Straight Road (1994)
    Area C - Sea of Rains (2008)
    Talkingmakesnosense - Coruscates (2011)
    Mountains - Choral (2009)
    Emuul - Crawling Across The Rafters (2010)
    Delta M45 - Space Probe (2012)
    Zombie Zombie - Rituels d'un nouveau monde (2012)
    Lucretia Dalt - Commotus (2012)
    Orcas - Orcas (2012)
  • My favorite albums of 2012

    Jan 21 2013, 19h45

    Better late than never! Overall, I thought that 2012 wasn't as good of a year for new music than say. 2010 or 2011. There were many stellar albums, but nothing really revolutionary. This year's list reflects a change in my listening habits, as I moved back to listening to (indie) rock almost exclusively sometime in autumn. In general, my listening was split between techno/bass and various strains of indie rock, as the following lists reflect:

    Favorite albums:

    Beach House - Bloom
    Landing - Landing
    Tame Impala - Lonerism
    Recondite - On Acid
    Burial - Kindred EP
    The Host - The Host
    Christian Loeffler - A Forest
    Marconi Union - Weightless [Ambient Transmission, vol. 1]
    Goat - World Music
    Martin Nonstatic - Cosmic Shapes EP

    Runners Up:

    The Time and Space Machine - Taste the Lazer
    Belbury Poly - Belbury Tales
    Deepchord Presents Echospace - Soundtrack For The Motion Picture 'Silent World'
    Ultraista - Ultraista
    Pye Corner Audio - Sleep Games

    Human Teenager - Animal Husbandry
    Mirroring - Foreign Body
    Echo lake - Wild Peace
    Hammock - Departure Songs
    Tycho - Dive [Remixes]

    Petar Dundov - Ideas From The Pond
    Kane Ikin - Sublunar
    Volor Flex - My Story
    Jack Dixon - Above From The Below
    Desolate - Celestial Light Beings

    Best of years past:

    Danieto - Cirugia Casual
    Marconi Union - A Lost Connection (2008)
    Nightlands - Forget The Mantra
    Petar Dundov - Escapement
    Deep Magic - Lucid Thought
    The American Dollar - Atlas
    Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
    Spokane - Measurement
    Area C - Sea of Rains

    Top 5 Rock Albums:

    Tame Impala - Lonerism
    Belbury Poly - Belbury Tales
    Goat - World Music
    Ultraista - Ultraista
    The Time and Space Machine - Taste the Lazer

    Top 5 Electronic Albums:

    Recondite - On Acid
    Christian Loeffler - A Forest
    Burial - Kindred EP
    The Host - The Host
    Pye Corner Audio - Sleep Games

    Top 5 Ambient/Experimental Albums:

    Deepchord Presents Echospace - Soundtrack For The Motion Picture 'Silent World'
    Marconi Union - Weightless [Ambient Transmission, vol. 1]
    Mirroring - Foreign Body
    Kane Ikin - Sublunar
    Hammock - Departure Songs
  • Favorites of 2011

    Mar 27 2012, 3h42

    Just lists this year:

    Best Albums (All, in order):

    Tycho - Dive
    Desolate - The Invisible Insurrection
    Sepalcure - Sepalcure
    Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
    Shlohmo - Bad vibes
    Low - C'Mon
    LV & Joshua Idehen - Routes
    Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
    Grouper A I A: Alien Observer
    Machinedrum - Room(s)

    Best Electronic/Dance Songs (no order):

    Graphics - OK Rainbow/Adjectival E [single]
    Spectr - Dance 4 me
    Zomby - Natalia's Song
    vince watson - flux
    Azari & II - Hungry for the power
    george fitzgerald - Hearts
    Lando Kal - Further
    Mosca - Done me wrong / Bax
    essay - Distance & Lights
    Ghostek - Night & Low Light

    Honorable Mentions (In no order):

    Soft Metals - Soft Metals
    Radiohead - King of Limbs
    Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke - Ego/Mirror
    Sepalcure - Fleur EP
    BURIAL - Street Halo Ep
    Vince Watson - Atom EP
    Robag Whurme - Thora Vukk
    Fourcolor - As Pleat
    Bombino - Agadez
    Hauschka - salon des amateurs
    Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We're New Here
    Mokira - time-axis manipulation
    Emmanuel Errante - Time-Elapsing Handheld
    Jack Dixon - Dead Man's Switch EP

    Best Ambient Albums (no order):

    Emmanuel errante - time-elapsing handheld
    Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
    Grouper A I A: Alien Observer
    Marconi Union - Beautifully Falling Apart [Ambient Transmissions Vol. 1]
    Diskjokke - Sagara
    Fourcolor - As Pleat
    Steve Hauschildt - Tragedy & Geometry
    Jurgen Muller - Science of the sea
    The Fabric - A sort of radiance
    Lee Noble - Horrorism

    Best Mixes/Compilations (no order):

    Jackmaster - Fabriclive 57
    Four Tet - Fabriclive 59
    VA - Kompakt Total 12
    Echocord: Jubilee
    back and 4th
    Futuresequence 2

    Best of 2010 and before (best of pre-2011 music I found in 2011):

    Pawel - Pawel
    Efdemin - Efdemin
    Bjorn Torske - Kokning
    Burial / Four Tet - Moth/Wolf Cub
    Bioluminescence [compilation]
    Yagya - Rigning
    The Fun Years - God Was Like No
    sven weisemann - Leontica EP / Kiss of Abana [Single]
    Jack Dixon - Substitute EP
    Tamikrest - Adagh
    The Black Dog - Music For Real Airports
    Spektre - Casting Shadows Without Light
    Ripperton - Niwa
  • 2010 Revisited

    Jul 11 2011, 19h30

    We're half-way through 2011, and it's already shaping up to be a great year for music (especially for House music). Having come across a plethora of excellent 2010 albums this year, I feel compelled to re-evaluate my list of favorite albums from 2010. Though I'm sure to come across more gems from 2010 in the future, I feel the following list is a much more accurate representation of the best music from 2010.

    Loscil - Endless Falls
    Pariah - safehouses
    Jack Dixon -Substitute EP
    Tamikrest - Adagh
    The Fun Years - God Was Like, No
    Bjorn Torske -Kokning
    Scuba - Triangulation
    Pale Blue Sky - Shades of Grey
    Christopher Hipgrave - Slow, With Pages of Fluttering Interference
    The Black Dog - Music For Real Airports
  • The Best of 2010

    Jan 17 2011, 2h12

    If 2009 was the year of Afrobeat, then 2010 was the year of Dubstep. In 2010, I (rather belatedly) discovered Dubstep and other genres (i.e. House/Deep House, IDM, etc.,) of electronic music. It was the perfect year for an in-depth introduction to electronic dance music, as many impressive albums were released. I also continued my obsession with ambient/drone. So, be forewarned that the lists that follow lean heavily towards electronica and ambient albums.

    Andy's favorite albums & EPs of 2010 (in no particular order):

    Loscil - Endless Falls (An instant ambient electronic classic. The last track is tremendous)

    Pariah - Safehouses (Easily my favorite "Dubstep" album of the year)

    Scuba - Triangulation (Anything Scuba touches results in greatness, this album being no exception)

    John Roberts - Glass Eights (Amazing, innovative Deep House)

    Christopher Hipgrave - Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference (Best ambient of 2010)

    Pale Blue Sky - Shades of Grey (Tied with the previous album as best ambient of 2010)

    Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here? (So many Emeralds albums, but this is their best)

    Baths - Ceruelean (Only rock/pop album on here, but it's a gem)

    Susumu Yokota - Kaleidoscope (Weirest and most interesting sounds of 2010)

    Richard Davis - What You Are EP (RD continually makes the best Deep House music around)

    Honorable Mentions:

    Tim Hecker - Apondalifa
    Weekend - Sports
    Mark Mcguire - Tidings/Amethyst Waves
    Scott Cortez - Twin Radiant Flux
    Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers
    Hammock - Chasing After Shadows... Living With The Ghosts
    Current 93 - Baalstorm, Sing Omega
    Brian McBride - The Efffective Disconnect
    Andrew Thomas - Buildings & Trees
    Bibi Tanga & The Selenites - Dunya

    Honorable mentions are albums that I didn't listen to enough yet to give a definitive opinion, or are excellent but not enough so to make my 'best of 2010' list.

    Best albums of years past I discovered in 2010:

    Burial - Untrue (One of my favorite albums, ever)
    Burial - Burial
    Jetone - Ultramarin (Great ambient techno from Tim Hecker)
    Mount Kimbie - Sketch on Glass EP
    Richard Davis - Details (Best Deep House album, ever)
    Halogen - Baked (Fantastic ambient electronic from 2009)
    Casino Vs. Japan - Whole Numbers Play The Basics (Another all-time favorite album)
    Casino Vs. Japan - Go Hawaii
    Plat - Compulsion (This and Halogen's Baked are two of the best albums almost no one knows about)
    Floating Points - Vacuum Boogie EP (Puts all other Dubstep producers to shame)
    Kangding Ray - Automne Fold (Intriguing and original experimental bass music)

    And of course 2010 marked the year I finally finished my debut album, Osakan - Music For Astronauts, 7 years in the making. In 2011 it will be released digitally through various websites (including this one), so watch for it!
  • Favorites of 2009

    Fev 2 2010, 3h02

    Another year of musical discovery. These are my favorite albums of 2009:

    Group Bombino- Guitars From Agadez, Vol. 2
    Various Artists - Legends of Benin
    Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Echos Hypnotiques
    Area C - Charmed Birds Against Sorcery
    Tim Hecker - Imaginary Country

    Honorable Mentions:

    Black Math Horseman- Wyllt
    Pan American - White Bird Release
    Nomo - Invisible Cities
    Cave - Psychic Psummer
    Various Artists - Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-1981
    Various Artists - Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues
  • My favorite albums of 2008...

    Dez 30 2008, 3h31

    I listened to a ton of music this year, though most of it was not newly released. I discovered Fela Kuti, Venetian Snares, and Air this year, reaffirmed my love of The Flashbulb, Talking Heads, and Yo La Tengo, and overall loved every minute of my music listening experience.

    Of the 2008 albums that I have heard, Venetian Snares' Detrimentalist is by far the best. Four other excellent albums worth mentioning include:

    Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Many Things
    Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
    Retribution Gospel Choir - Retribution Gospel Choir
    Sigur Ros - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

    Here's to (hopefully) another great year of music in 2009!
  • My favorite albums of 2007...

    Dez 22 2007, 4h20

    Yet again it is time for my annual list of what I consider to be the best albums of the year. I know everyone and their grandmother publishes "best album" lists every year so mine certainly isn't special. However, years from now it will be interesting to see if I still feel as strongly about these albums as I do now. And so, without further ado, I present:

    My favorite albums of 2007:

    (1) Radiohead - In Rainbows

    A lot of people seem disappointed by this album and I can't see why. Musically it is their most cohesive and consistent album since OK Computer. I was in India around the time Radiohead announced they would be selling the album via download so thankfully I missed all of the media coverage which let me focus on the music when I finally heard the album. It's lush, beautiful, and at times heartbreaking, and every time I listen to it I'm filled with joy.

    (2) Rush - Snakes & Arrows

    I'll admit I'm a Rush fan, and I thought Vapor Trails was a fantastic album (which most other fans seemed to dislike). It took me a good 10 listens to really appreciate Snakes & Arrows and, like In Rainbows, it is an excellent album precisely because it feels cohesive and consistent. I will never forget as I traveled through Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand this past autumn while listening to Snakes & Arrows, somehow the lyrics fit perfectly with my journey through the heart of Southeast Asia.

    (3) Low - Drums & Guns

    Low took a radically different approach on this album. When I saw them live during their second tour after The Great Destroyer (they had canceled part of the first tour due to Alan's psychological problems) they previewed songs from Drums & Guns but they sounded like they would fit on The Great Destroyer, so no revolution there. When Drums & Guns came out I was amazed, and admittedly, horrified at the stripped down electronic approach (now I think I know how Radiohead fans felt when Kid A came out) but in time I came to see the music for what it was, classic Low, and lyrically darker than ever. My only gripe about this album would be the stupid way the music was mixed making it virtually impossible to enjoy on headphones which is how I listen to most of my music.

    (4) Melt Banana - Bambi's Dilemma

    What can I say, another Melt Banana record. There was talk from the band that they were taking some sort of radical approach on the new album involving "bass and theremin" and unfortunately I think we were being fooled (or I missed the theremin). Musically it doesn't differ much from Cell-scape except that half of the songs are more pop-ish while the other half hearken back to older and crazier Melt Banana (think Speak Squeak Creak). I think it's precisely this dual approach that weakens the album. I have to admit I really do like the two techno-ish (if you can even call them that) tracks on the album and it makes me wonder where MxBx is heading in the future.

    (5) Calla - Strength In Numbers

    This album didn't break any new ground but I found it infectious, and the amount of times I listened to it is a testament to that. I'm a huge fan of Calla's first two albums and while I understand, and have been disappointed by, their evolution away from that more experimental music I continue to listen to them because they make good music. I think Aurelio has some of the most distinctive vocals and guitar melodies in music and that is a huge appeal, though it may not justify a "best of" rating. In fact I can't really say why I like this album so much except that it's catchy, moody, and the undertones of violence make it just dangerous enough to be enjoyable.

    Honorable mentions:

    Sigur Ros - Hvarf/Heim

    I'm obsessed with Sigur Ros. I'd been recording my own ambient-ish guitar music (inspired largely by Pink Floyd, Landing, Stars of the Lid, and Labraford) years before I heard Sigur Ros and when I finally heard them I knew that they had recorded what I'd been hearing in my head for years, the ideal music (these days I think Hammock has perfected it as well), the 'music of the spheres' if you will. So obviously, any new Sigur Ros album is of interest to me. I was disappointed to find that Hvarf/Heim breaks no new ground, but that doesn't entirely surprise as it was meant as a supplement to their documentary Heima and they have announced a new album in the works anyway. Despite the sameness of the sound of the new album, I find the first disc in particular lovely, and if Í Gær doesn't send chills down your spine then you're hopeless.

    Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline

    Another SoTL release and unsurprisingly it's a sonic continuation of their Tired Sounds album (though it bears a closer sonic resemblance to Brian McBride's solo work which I find superior to almost anything SoTL has ever released). I probably haven't listened to it as much as I should have and for that reason I can't say much more except that it is definitely worth a listen; in fact anything that makes you glow with warmth like SoTL does is worth a listen.

    There are a number of album that I have listened to in bits and pieces that deserve a mention because they have potential but I did not give them a honest enough listen to really rate them relative to the ones above so here they are: Blonde Redhead - 23, Amiina - Kurr, Acid Mothers Temple - Crystal Rainbow Pyramid, Maserati - Inventions For a New Season, and finally Om - Pilgrimage, which I've just discovered last week.

    If anyone actually reads this post and has any 2007 album recommendations that they think I would enjoy please let me know! Thanks, and have a happy new year!
  • My favorite albums 2006...

    Dez 18 2006, 14h02

    Just thought I'd throw this out there, in no particular order:

    Current 93 - Black Ships Ate The Sky
    Thom Yorke - The Eraser
    Slayer - Christ Illusion
    Hammock - Raising Your Voice... Trying To Stop An Echo
    Burnt Friedman - Secret Rhythms 2

    While these are my favorites they aren't necessarily the best, which is a designation I simply can't make because there are a number of albums that I suspect are excellent but haven't had time to listen to them such as the new albums from OOIOO and Yo La Tengo as well as the Tortoise box set, A Lazarus Taxon.

    On the other hand I can say authoritatively that Black Ships Ate The Sky was the best album of 2006, unless you're willing to count the re-release of Pavement's Wowee Zowee as a "new" release in which case, it is by far the best.
  • 6/6/6

    Jun 6 2006, 14h34

    Today is the National Day of Slayer and I prepare to celebrate in style.

    Death machine infest my corpse to be!!!

    I urge everyone to listen to Reign In Blood immediately!