But of course we had to wait for the new year to actually begin choosing our favourites of 2015, we’re taking this seriously! So, I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are willing to go through yet another rundown for a year that’s already over. Surprisingly, my top 2 hasn’t change over the course of the year, and while my playlists for favourite tracks is longer than ever, the album list is comparably short this year. But let’s get to it, shall we?
Happy New Year! The old optimist I am, I waited until the very last day to pick my favourites of 2014. Like in the previous year, I mostly listened to new music through Spotify, since it allows me to listen to pretty much everything once it comes out. However, unlike 2013 I found it more difficult to single out the favourite of the year, so I decided not to rank the following selection.
Let’s start with some of the more soulful music of the year:
Taylor McFerrin – Early Riser
When Taylor’s debut album came out on Brainfeeder last June, I was pretty convinced the decision for record of the year has been made. Great production, not a single bad track, soulful music made a big comeback into my life.
…and then the Flying Lotus record came out and changed everything. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, but I wasn’t so sure anymore about my first pick. Predictable choice? I don’t even think so, but it’s an amazing record start to finish! I’m going as far to say that it’s up there with Cosmogramma!
I didn’t see King Britt’s LP anybody else’s list for 2014, but I think this is a record that deserves more spotlight. Try it out for yourself and listen to all of the records mentioned so far in a row, they go really well together. Seamless.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. If you missed new music from Tim Hecker this year, there’s probably no better surrogate than “Wilderness of Mirrors” by Lawrence English. And while this might read like a second choice, it’s definitely not!
There’s no doubt about my favourite compilation of the year, Hyperdub’s vision of RnB from the future won my all over. Killer tracks from Terror Danjah, Morgan Zarate, Jessy Lanza, Ikonika & Dam Funk, Scratcha DVA and more!
In recent years there has been an odd discrepancy between the music I write about during the year and the music I feature as my favourite at the end of the year. Needless to say that this is mostly caused by an increasing lack of time, also known as laziness in some regions of the world. Alright, I’m aware of it and I’m trying to make things better. Since Spotify has become my favourite tool to discover new music (on a try-before-buy basis), I’ve started collecting some of my favourites in this handy playlist.
Feel free to subscribe, since I will continue to add more music throughout the year. Also, I suggest listening in shuffle-mode!
I haven’t yet made up my mind on my favourite albums this year, but as a starting point I suggest listening to the following:
Alright, it’s the end of the year and it’s that time when hipster bloggers (and journalists) start mocking the phenomenon of the “end of the year list”–just to come up with their own version of it a second later. Or the musician/DJ who points fingers until he finds himself in a top spot of one of those lists. Let’s not pretend, I’ve been there myself, but this year I’ve decided I’m going to do a list! Screw the hipsters, screw the hypocrisy. If there’s one soul out there who discovers just one track through all this, it’s been worth it.
Oh yeah, before we kick off, let me say this. I’m listening to Spotify on a weekly basis. I know that David Byrne, Thom Yorke or Four Tet think it’s bad and I guess they have a point. For me though, bored to death by perhaps 95% of the promo material I get, and who buys records on a regular basis, Spotify has become the best way to discover new music. My workflow goes a bit like this: I wait for the record shop newsletters to get delivered, queue most of the releases that could remotely interest me and then it’s three or four days of dedicated listening. To me it’s a great improvement over getting music from illegal sources to make a buying decision, not to mention listening to snippets.
Albums of the year
1. Laurel Halo – Chance of Rain
Very diverse electronic album from an artist who I wasn’t really into prior to this record. Reminiscent of early Autechre and everything that the UK responded with to Detroit techno.
Yes, 2013 was a throwback to more experimental music for me, and the Huerco S. record is one of the prime examples. An unsettling techno record with a industrial feel, like in the days when electronic music was inseparable from visions of a dystopian future. Or: Actress album that we all missed in 2013.
What can I say, another Hyperdub release in my top 3 and possibly my most listened to record of the year and as close to pop music as I might get. I think someone called it future RnB, whatever that is. Anyway, can’t go wrong with Hyperdub, can you?
Happy New Year to all of my readers, I hope 2012 will be a good one. It should easily be better than last year, at least when it comes to my private life: in 2011 I was robbed and later I suffered an ear stroke, possibly as a late reaction to the robbery. But well, we’re not talking about my private life so much, let’s talk about music!
In the first year of this blog, I wrote an article on best-of lists and I still think they’re kinda ridiculous. However, I also think it can be of benefit for those who only read this blog every now and then and wonder what good music they might have missed. I tried to limit each list to 5 items, because otherwise I wouldn’t know where to stop as 2011 was another year of rich releases. So without further ado, here are my personal top releases.
Instead of following the usual Best-of talk at the end of each year, I sent some questions to some of the musicians I like. In the second part of my survey, I asked about the expectations for the new year.
Question: What do you look out for most in 2009?
“The Phlash and Friends LP “Deep Electronic Sounds” on Archive will be amazing. Also Star Wars the T.V series should come out. And Transfomers 2 – The Revenge Of The Fallen and GI JOE – The Rise Of Cobra! For the child inside you! (urgh!)”
– Domu (TrebleO, Archive)
“donaeo, fuzzy logik, phlash & friends, jodi milliner, jose carretas, that damned eska album (just stop making us wait now!), d’angelo(?) (same thing!) erykah’s part two, supposedly a new kodwo eshun book called ‘hat and beard’, nutriot.com, kenny dope @ soul heaven fingers crossed, the return of broken beat but not as we know it…”
– Bopstar (Restless Soul)
“Creativity, Progression and Change”
– Mark de Clive-Lowe (Antipodean)
“In 2009, simply look out for what you don’t already know! We will see more genres becoming interwoven next year and I reckon it’s going to be a very good year for new music.”
– Jonny Miller (Phuture Lounge, Jus’Listen)
“I look forward to putting out my first solo lp. It’s been quite a process making it and I cant wait to let people hear what I’ve been doing. I also look forward to building my wealth and making my marriage stronger. These days people are getting divorced left and right so this year I plan on doing things that will keep the wife and kids as happy as I can make them.”
– Probe DMS (Spymusic)
“The continual emergence of The DEEP and Rhythmically spiritual.”
– Aybee (Deepblak)
Just in case you missed it: here is the link to part one, taking a look back at 2008.
Instead of following the usual Best-of talk at the end of each year, I sent some questions to some of the musicians I like. Here’s the first part, looking back at 2008.
Question: What do you feel was the most overlooked thing in 2008?
“the kind of uk funky that broken beat and jazz heads would get – a lot of people in our corner of the music world wouldnt ever listen to black uk funky house, because the best known stuff is frankly too cheesy, but producers like fuzzy logik and hardhouse banton and donaeo, are making wicked stuff. im a fan. i dont play it in my sets but theres a lot of music types i love that i dont play in my sets so thats nuthin new. then again, in the wider world they havent been ignored at all, banton and donaeo are both huge. but they were ignored by our world.”
– Bopstar (Restless Soul)
“I think the most overlooked thing in 2008 was individuality. People are so scared of what other people think these days and worry so much that they are looking and sounding current or cool. Lets just slow it all down again and set the pace for change a little less frantic and appreciate things a little longer. With all these 2 minute beats people’s attention spans have got a little short.”
– Domu (TrebleO, Archive)
“I think the the most overlooked thing this year was the ability to get music out to people easily via the Internet. I met too many good artists sat on a huge amounts of music theyve made that they could release via the web but hadn’t, simply because they didn’t really understand what was possible. The age of making a living from selling records and CDs is pretty much over for most artists, they just have to adjust, learn new things (to develop a live show for example…), embrace and trust the online system and get the music out there to the fans somehow.”
– Jonny Miller (Phuture Lounge, Jus’Listen)
“Well being I’m a super hard r&b fan, I’ll have to go with the Day 26 lp. Everything from the production to the harmonies to the writing was all excellent. You would think these guys are lame cause they were formed on making the band but these kids can sing their asses off.”
– Probe DMS (Spymusic)
The second part will follow tomorrow, where you will get a look at 2009!
Like every year at this time, the world feels the need to choose the best of the year. Time magazine has probably the longest tradition in contributing to this: The Person of the Year. Since 1927 (then called Man of the Year) the title is given to the person (or group) with the greatest influence on the events of the year, back then it was Charles Lindbergh, this year it is Barack Obama. And of course every league in all the sports all over the world will vote their favourite in every possible category. Not to forget the Emmy, the Grammy and ultimately the Oscar! You like it or you hate it, but there’s no way to escape it.
So, it’s little surprising that everybody in music with a little reputation, a microphone or a website will come up with a Best-Of list of his own. Don’t get me wrong here, there is not necessarily something bad about it! However, if you follow this phenomenon a bit, there are two conclusions: Either you read more or less the same thing on all your sources. This can get a bit predictable, but it might also flatter yourself – given that you have the same or a similiar opinion. The other option is that you end up reading 100 opinions on 100 sources. Oh, how ridiculous and tiring this can be!
Let’s not deny the fact, I picked a favourite album for myself this year. Incidently, my very first blog entry was about it: IG Culture presents Zen Badizm. My opinion could change when you’d ask me at another point of the year, but I’m afraid you’re running out of time. There was a lot of good music in 2008, and I’m a bit sad I couldn’t cover some of it. Not because I wanted to put it in a ranking at the end of the year, but to share something you might not have known.
No charts from me, maybe another time. However, I will let others speak. Benji B did a show just playing his favorites, and so did Bopstar and Kev Beadle (I’m sure there will be more!). Mark de Clive-Lowe wrote a nice blog entry about the year, which also gives an interesting insight from the perspective of a musician. Gilles Peterson is the Don when it comes to compiling lists, he kinda makes it look like there hasn’t been anything bad this year! Lastly, Resident Advisor chose its albums of the year – and I’m posting this to add some previously unmentioned items.
Maybe have a look at this posting on Beyondjazz and write down your own favourites. I don’t know on which link you will click, but I hope that you find something suprising, something you never heard before!