21. Max Richter - 24 Postcards in Full Colour (130701) : Max Richter makes his best record yet, and nobody seems to have batten down an e ye. Note to Max: No annoying British lady's voice saying dumb cliché and cheesy sounding narration = your best album yet. It’s more than that, but that plays a big role. The title says it all. 24 Postcards. Mini-pieces all of beautifulness. I think I heard tell that these were meant as ring tones. If so they are the most beautiful (and therefore probably ineffective) ring tones ever. I don’t know cause I don’t have a phone. Try it out for yourself. Report back in two weeks. (by the by, I just found out while writing this that dude did the soundtrack for "waltz with bashir" the movie, which I now want to see even more.)
20. Isengrind/TwinSisterMoon/Natural Snow Buildings - The Snowbringer Cult (Students of Decay) : Isengrind (no, not Isengard) is Solange Gularte. Mehdi Ameziane is TwinSisterMoon. Together they are Natural Snow Buildings. Mix all three (Disc 1: Solos, Disc 2: Buddies), add a dash of cool album art drawings, and some long droney faux eastern psych folk, some low-key electronics, and an insane variety of other dense, delicious sounding hits = Huge Double Disc goodness, "The Snowbringer Cult." If you love trends, then you may have thought that New Weird America/Freak Folk/Whatever stopped being cool even before Devendra started dating Natalie Portman. Well, you may be right, but these humans are French. And additionally they are totally laying waste to the genre and re-writing it from the ground floor. It's like the best parts of every reference you could name, but better, and then some. Seriously this album is a monster. It's like the Lord of the Rings of slow drone yet somehow epic, almost GYBE folk. You will need 2.5 hours to even listen to it once, but you'd be better off trapping yourself in a cave, shut off by a landslide, for about 3 years, to really get a hold of this. Finally a cult we can all feel good about! Prepare to be Destroyed! Jonny, if quiet is the new the loud, get your lil' mitts on this pronto! Vermont ought to be erased and replaced with a giant version of this album.
19. Deaf Center - Vintage Well (Type) : This was a 3 song 7” lasting approximately 10 minutes. And it’s my 19th best album of the year. Must be pretty good then, eh? Norway represent! The blessed home country! This 7” is definitely making some promises that I hope it intends to keep. If their next full length follows in the pattern of this sweet youngster, then they are in for releasing the number one monster of awesom e ambient/modern classical of whatever year it is that they eventually release the best album of that year. Which is hopefully next year. Did you even love quietness or quietude? Does you even love this? Wow, whaoh!!!!
17. Cloaks – Serene (Students of Decay) : See what I mean about Students of Decay though? Yet, another case of the album art telling it all, Cloaks kinda sounds like that looks. This release is two tracks, The first a 35 minute ambient/field recording joint and the second a short contemporary classical piece. While both are good, its clearly the first which ranks this bad boy a mention. Like most 35 minute songs its take some work to get through it. Most ambient is best at night time or at least in a dark cave. But This is sun beam ambient. This is day-walking over hills and through forests ambient. Very fine.
16. Matthew Robert Cooper – Miniatures (Gaarden) : This almost didn’t make my list because for some reason I spent most of 2008 thinking that this came out in 2006. MRC may not sound familiar to you, but Eluvium probably does. Well, this is his real name. I’ve always been mixed about eluvium. While I do enjoy them, especially I often have a feeling of generic-ness or incompleteness when I hear them and I feel like they only camp at the outskirts of the city gates of goodambientopolis. This release, however, is welcome inside the doors and right down the main drag. Composed of 9 Miniatures, none of these noisy or weird, giving them a feeling that everyone, even non-fans of experimental or ambient music can enjoy.
15. M83 - Saturdays=Youth (Mute/EMI) : Even if the whole album sucked, Kim and Jessie is awesome enough to carry it all. But the album doesn’t suck, and its definitely a return to greatness for M83. Plus I love Tears for Fears real bad.
14. Crystal Castles - S/T (Last Gang/Different) : Hated in the small small world of chip-tune/8-bit/video game/bloopy bleepy music for a couple of controversies. Disliked in other circles as possible hipster posers. But I’ll be darned if they don’t crank out catchy dance hits, and do so with a delicious Nintendo style. Who evan gives a car? Just listen in and dance it up! They’re good! That’s all there is too it. Will they stand the test of time? Who cares? The test of time is a fake and meaningless test anyway. Crank it up while you still have the chanst.