The first time I consciously paid attention that I was listening to beat music (as in beats are the main theme) was around last year when a friend introduced me to Onra’s Chinoiseries. I’m really into these many-facetted tracks with layers upon layers. The two tracks on this album are actually many mixed tracks (I suppose it’s two tracks so they can be put on both sides of a 12″) adding up to an hour of fine beats. Well played.
9. Adventures – Supersonic Home
“Supersonic Home” came out pretty early this year and was introduced to me via a review by Anthony Fantano. The album is some sort of 90’s inspired indie rock; it fits well into Run for Cover’s roster. I really enjoyed the amateurishly-sung vocals by Reba Meyers, they transport the tone of the songs quite well. This is definitely some good music to jam along under the shower or in the car or on the street.
8. Cloud – Zen Summer
If I had to pick a soundtrack for the last summer, this is it. Now that I relisten to everything with a clear focus, I notice that it’s somewhat comparable to the Adventures record. The association with the summer probably comes from the continuous feel that you’re on the beach when you have this record on.
7. Amin Payne – SAFFRON
Earlier this year we had a lodger originally coming from Teheran who recognized the music of Amin Payne. He told me that this album is his celebration of the musical culture from his home country Iran and its neighbor countries. Digging the crossover of the various styles with the hip-hop instrumentation.
6. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Although I’m writing this in a small café in the late afternoon, I immediately want to grab my blanket and a hot tea. It’s neither cold nor boring here, the music is just so calming. On this album, I can forgive the whispering voice which can be annoying at times. Not here. It fits the theme and musical style of Stevens. It’s a very good album, although I wish the songs hat a bit more variety. The album feels a bit too homogenous at points. Considering the nature of concept albums it’s easily forgivable though.
5. Polynation – Allogamy
Released on what is easily my favorite label of the year, Atomnation, this album also features my favorite album artwork of the year (Who did this? It’s fantastic!). That said, Atomnation celebrated their 25th release this year with a beautiful booklet. “Allogamy” is the 32nd release. Polynation’s mixture between electronic styles on the one hand and analog drums on the other hand is really interesting. The third track features a piano which I did not expect at all. Turned out really well. The forth track, “Dew”, has some elements which remind me of Tycho who are doing music on the more calm and quiet end.
4. The Raah Project – Take Me Elsewhere
Also one of the earlier releases of the year, this kept growing on me. Liked it in the first place anyway, but still. The vocals are fine but the instrumentation is superb. There is a lot of sensitivity with how the single instruments play into the song as a whole. And it doesn’t have a typical orchestra feeling to it. It’s different, it’s unique.
3. Nubiyan Twist (self-titled)
Self-titled debut album by the Nubiyan Twist. Oh girl, thank the Bandcamp Weekly and Andrew Jervis for their great weekly roundup of mostly new releases on Bandcamp. They allowed me to discover so much great music this year (they also made me spend a lot of money).
2. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
My sweet-spot for Jazz, here it gets its love. What a journey this three hour long power house of a record is. I expect it to be on Anthony’s favorite albums of the year list right in the top 3 as well (list is up,
haven’t seen it yet knew it.). Up to this point I only managed to listen through it in its entirety twice. There is definitely still many things to discover and learn about this record. Can only imagine it to get better.
1. Bachar Mar-Khalifé – Ya Balad
Bachar Mar-Khalifé’s “Ya Balad” is the latest entry of albums making it into my top 10. It is very special. Of all the records on this list, this is standing out the most. Atleast for me, it feels very experimental and new. Nothing in my music library is comparable to this. Not only the album differs from everything on this list, the single tracks have so much variety to them as well. I’m very impressed.
I’d like to know what you listened to thoughout the year. Hit me up with a mail or via Twitter.