Top ten time! Its a bit late, started it at new years but got really really distracted. Anyway here’s ten albums/EPs and ten tracks that I really dug this year (plus some linkage for other albums that were also awesome but I couldn’t be arsed to write about). Enjoy!

Albums/EPs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anstam – Dispel Dances

Dark, uncompromising and hard as fuck. I went into this expecting intelligent and finely crafted minimal techno and subsequently dropped my yoghurt (and preconceptions) all over the place. Its brooding and dexterous 3am rave shit of the finest sort and an excellent debut album to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Apparatus – Old Apparatus

Despite the utter lack of press about this release, the accompanying art and Deep Medi catalogue number was reason enough to give it a listen, and if you did you ought to be as glad as I am that you gave it a go. Much like LHF they have a whole slew of unreleased stuff to come and despite having just two releases under their belt they’re already causing a stir in a number of musical circles. Mysterious, devastating music of the highest pedigree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinch and Shackleton – Pinch and Shackleton

Words escape me on this one. Well not entirely. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard such a complete, compelling and captivating album in all my days. That hyperbolic alliteration should be taken seriously, throughout this labyrinthine masterpiece the Dubstep luminaries explore a myriad of sonic spaces that defy convention and expectation at every turn. I could continue in a similar vein but you really ought to listen for yourself, personally speaking this is the album of the year by some way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LV & Joshua Iden – Routes/38EP

Routes is a bit cheeky, incredibly well thought out and more intelligent than you might give it credit for. Iden’s suave delivery is perfectly offset by LV’s dynamically swung productions, each track telling its own fleshed out story rather than a mere snapshot. Although its tongue is lodged in its cheek at times there’s also a fair bit of sincerity and passion that has gone into this record and it made me thoroughly homesick on the first few listens. 38Ep is an excellent accompaniment, focussing on the characters you might meet on the eponymous bus route, both compelling and bracing, sometimes a little bit scary, and brilliantly judged throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuedo – Severant

Like many others I’ve been hanging out for this album since hearing the Jamie Vex’d remix of Starkey’s Miracles, the wait was certainly worth it but the results were somewhat different than anticipated. Regardless its was one of the most individual and best received albums of the year, encapsulating everything from toxic Sci-fi dystopia to skittering trap rap beats. Although there are stand out tracks Severant sounds best as a complete album, representing one artist’s vision and dedication to pushing the boundaries and conventions of his sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loops Haunt – Ark EP

Alright, it’s a bit ridiculous and overblown but it fairly kicks the shit out of everything else of its pedigree, if indeed it has a pedigree. Considering that Loops Haunt has stated that this is the final release under this production moniker Ark EP serves a suitable tour de force. The title track sounds like that Daft Punk spaceship careening into an electromagnetic storm, being torn apart then reformed into a huge planet destroying robot. Chalk Knots and Eagles Fated Pillars serve as a suitably intricate counterpoint to the breathless charge of the opener, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably never heard music quite like this before. The former is an unspeakably epic technoid dreamscape, the latter sounds like an alien orchestra scoring the death of a solar system. Utter madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machinedrum – Rooms

The last Machinedrum album was a thoroughly excellent affair, but if it could be faulted you could say that it was a little too unfocussed, a little too eclectic. Not so with his sophmore release which comprehensively redresses the balance, as well as carrying so much inertia that it could induce limb flailing, bruk out madness in the most sedate listener. From the massive kicks of Now You know tha Deal 4 Real to the washed out rave dream epic Where did we all go wrong the infectious needle sharp intensity never lets up. Certainly a contender for album of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haxan Cloak – The Haxan Cloak

As with most shadowy, occultist music this one had me at hello. There’s something to be said for producers who eschew popular taste to make something grippingly theatrical instead, and in a year of several similar efforts from Paul Jebanasam, Roly Porter, Ben Frost etc, The Haxan Cloak just about comes out on top. As an album its relentlessly cinematic and wholly unsettling, sounding much like you’d imagine it would if Amon Tobin gave up on silly things like drums and electronics to write orchestral scores for silent horror movies instead. Terrifyingly good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Winged Victory For the Sullen – A Winged Victory For the Sullen

A suitable counterpoint to the Haxan Cloak, this albums shares a similarly cinematic aesthetic and epic scope, but to quite the opposite effect. The whole thing sounds like its moving in slow motion, as though its being inhaled and exhaled in deep breaths. Strings wash in an out in a soporific rhythm that threatens to overwhelm the listener before the first track even reaches its zenith. A Winged Victory for the Sullen is unutterably lovely and well worth repeated listens whether in transit, in bed or in a late night blissed-out haze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shlohmo – Bad Vibes

Since his perfectly judged debut Shloh-Fi, Shlohmo has gone from strength to strength, demonstrating a level of craft and maturity that belies his age. Following the excellent Places Ep earlier in the year, he then went on to make a massive impact with his debut album proper, a vast and emotional epic that probably surprised as many people as it delighted. I takes as much from Post Rock and drone as it does from his beat music roots and will devastate listeners from either background, something very few people lay claim to.

 

Some other marginally less fortunate albums:

Roly Porter – Aftertime

Blue Daisy – The Sunday Gift

Paul Jebanasam – Music For the Church of St Paul

Jacaszek – Glimmer

Ulrich Troyer – Songs for William

Bibio – Mind Bokeh

Peter Broderick – Music For Confluence

Andy Stott – Passed Me by/We Stay Together

Consequence – Test Dream LP

Tracks/Singles

Synkro – Memory (From Presence, Questions, Memory)

Loops Haunt – Eagle Fated Pillars (From Ark EP)

Machinedrum – Where did we go wrong? (From Rooms)

Shlohmo – Forgot I was Here (From Places EP)

Pinch & Shackleton – Levitation (From Pinch & Shackleton)

Kuedo – Salt Lake Cuts (From Severant)

Consequence – Lovershell (From Test Dream)

Holy Other – Touch (From With U)

Lee Scratch Perry –¬† Disco Devil (Syntax Footwork)

Trim – Confidence Boost (Harmonimix)

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