We know not everyone likes end of year lists, but this year, their appearance also signals that 2020 is ready to become a memory. All the bad vibes, horror and stress, might somehow finally be slowly be getting chipped away at. Trump can be wiped from our collective consciousness, and a vaccine is on its way, so 2021 looks like a marginal improvement, that’s is already in the post.
As always, the glue that helped hold it all together through this screwed year, was music. Switch off the news, disconnect from the gloom, and enter via the nearest rippling speakers or hissing headphones, a world completely constructed for creativity and mind expanding pleasure.
Despite all sorts of shite sandwiches this year threwn our way, it’s has been an amazing one for music. Whether it was wheeled out brand new or it’s been meditating in some vault or hard drive for decades, the quality has been premium grade.
These 9 albums all sucked us in for days at a time and still take up huge chunks of our time. They are our albums of the year:
Rafael Toral | Aeriola Frequency
Originally released in the late 90’s, this is beyond recommendation. Every time it’s played, something new appears and the events you remember, have somehow remixed themselves. Music that feels like a living organism.
Roland Kayn | A Pan-Life Music
We are still reeling that something this good is from the vaults. A Pan-life Music is as big a deal the two mammoth boxsets that introduced us to his unique sonic world. A world of uniquely agitated ambience, even gathering into a few moments that you might argue are beats! A wild and wonderful gift from a giant.
Michael Ranta | Die Mauer
Die Mauer bowled us over despite us discovering this release, a full 12 months after it came out. Whilst it’s constructed from a sonic world that’s fairly conventional, Ranta makes things sound amazing. Deep and staggeringly beautiful. The track Absurd is an absolutely masterpiece.
J. William Parker | To Hear Their Voices In The Dark
Appearing very recently, with no fanfare, this self released album delights in over-stretching itself in a kaleidoscopic bedroom recording way. Mangled rock, folk splinters and soul bearing set against the vibrant chaos of Hanoi and it’s head spinningly good.
Lewsberg | In The House
Lewsberg’s second album, In The House does sound like a Dutch latter day version of the Velvet Underground. But, despite the apparent derivative nature of the project, from the most reduced of sonic palettes, they make amazingly graphic vectored rock. Songs about mundane everyday stuff, locked into a musical grid as sharp as razors.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe | Mind Kontrol
5 tracks of bristling electronics that hang together superbly, each track overwriting the amazingness of its predecessor. Dubby throbs, thumping beat driven electronica and thick psychedelic abstraction all interlock into a huge mental adventure of an album.
Nick Storring | My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell
An album that drips in richly textured ambience, through layers of classical elements and dreamy filmic production. Storring has went to a huge effort to devise a musical zone that appears effortless, as it drifts between islands of half-remembered beauty. My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell may takes time to reveal itself but its worth the wait…
Tambourinen | Wooden Flower
Self made and multi-layered, Tambourinen is a space rock gem. This is no Myrrors side project, from the first note, Grant Beyschau, whips up nothing less than an incredible ride through Swedish and German early ’70s wormholes. A 30 minute suite that could easily morph into days…
Jim O’Rourke | Shutting Down Here
O’Rourke’s earliest electroacoustic experiments are still looked back fondly here. Shutting Down Here creates a sonic bridge from now, back to those heady days, zipping together fragments in a speaker rippling odyssey. Stunning and deeply complex but never less than utterly compelling.