Hey everyone. Let the listing commence. It looks like Paco is doing us a favor and splitting up his music list into smaller, more easily digestible lists. You will receive no such favor from me, however. My list is long and all mixed up. Deal with it. Does it make little to no sense to put these disparate, uniquely valuable releases in order in a single huge list? You bet. Here's the thing though: putting things in order is fun. Also: try and stop me. You can't.
I'll split my list into two parts, here's part one.
50. Mortuus Auris & The Black Hand – Sleep
This tape is basically a meditation on the activity of sleep, complete with a track for each major stage of the sleep cycle! I just got it recently...but it seems to be quite nice.
49. Clouwbeck - From Which The River Rises
This is UK friend Richard Skelton. His compositions are sometimes haunting, sometimes triumphant, always interesting. He also released the album Landings under his own name; it's really good too. Actually, maybe it should be in this spot instead.
48. Loscil - Endless Falls
This sounds exactly like what you would imagine given the title and cover art. The perfect sounds for a rainy day.
47. Black Swan - S/T
I've heard people compare this to Stars of the Lid, and I think that makes sense. This is a little more dramatic though. And crackly.
46. Games - That We Can Play
Games is the work of Daniel Lopatin of Oneohetrix Point Never (which will appear again later on the list). Here, Dan trades in....well, basically every characteristic attribute of OPN for these upbeat, dancy jams.
45. Benjamin Dauer - The Burning of Wine
Apparently, he makes scores for choreographed modern dance pieces. My feeling is, if I was asked to dance to this, I would probably roll around on the ground then fall asleep, due to these warm tones.
44. Four Tet - There is Love in You
Is it just me, or is this the first thing he's done in like eight years? In any case, I love these beats and sounds and chopped up vocals. Great album.
43. Zonotope™ - Crusing Through the Hypersphere of Resonance
Here's a fun little collection of short, catchy jammies. According to the internet, he is "one human channeling inter-dimensional entities," converting their energy-states into sound waves (although who isn't these days). Plus the song titles are awesome phrases like "Inserting the Galactic Disc" and "Scoping in my Virtual Zone"
42. Black Mountain Transmitter - Theory & Practice
Great guitar/synth drone.
41. Andrew Thomas - Between Buildings and Trees
Really nice piano-based ambient music, sliced and diced a bit for good measure.
40. Bas Vas Huizen - Plooibaars
So we can assume he's a vampire based on his name, right? I mean, this certainly sounds like the kind of drone that a vampire would make. Although, considering the title of the album (which I hope is pronounced "Ploo-ee-bars") he could be some sort of vampire/clown hybrid.
39. Asuna & Opitope - Sunroom
Asuna is some guy whose other stuff doesn't seem that good. Opitope is Chihei Hatakeyama and Tomoyashi Date. I feel like Chihei releases a ton of stuff that is kinda pretty good, but doesn't really stand out. I like this one a lot, however.
38. Chromeo - Business Casual
These guys sure know how to throw a party. They also sure know how to feature legs on the covers of their albums. For me, this album is about exactly as good as the first one. My only criticism would be that if you're going to have three remixes of a song on a fifteen song album (which I'm completely supportive of), maybe you should spread them out instead of putting them all right in a row at the beginning?
37. Concert Silence - Rain Furniture
Concert Silence is a collaboration between Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and someone named Charles Buckingham. It's a great release with lots of interesting sounds, but it's so so short. It'd be much higher on my list if it was three times as long but equally as good.
36. Jónsi - Go
This album is exactly what I hoped it would be when I heard he was making a solo album. On some songs, it still seems really weird to hear him sing in English.
35. Concessionaires - Skyline
Here's one that didn't totally live up to my expectations (the expectations I held during the five minutes between when I heard about it and downloaded it). Concessionaires is a collaboration between Brad Rose and Pete Fosco. Two good boys. The result is pretty good, but not as good as you would think.
34. Warning Light - Further On
Dense drones constructed using so many sweet layers of synth.
33. Mark McGuire - Living with Yourself
This is guitar-god Mark McGuire's first proper "album," although this distinction seems like a hilarious joke given the huge amount of music he's released over the last couple of years. At first, this one didn't do it for me, but it has grown on me to the point where I think it's the best thing he released this year. The Vacation Days tape would have to be a close second.
32. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
Sufjan's really letting it all hang out on this one, huh? So much the better, as far as I'm concerned. I can echo Paco's sentiment that I don't think I would have liked it as much if it had been in the same vein as his previous albums. On the other hand, I think I'll probably always love him no matter what he does.
31. Christopher Hipgrave - Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference
It might be more appropriate to truncate this title to Slow. Meaning I don't detect a great deal of interference here. Just short snippets of quiet, lovely tones.
30. Akira Kosemura - Polaroid Piano
I'm a sucker for sparse piano music like this. I took a lot of naps to this album in 2010.
29. Kontrolorgan - Interruption Songs
In the past, when I've heard something described as "psychadelic," I've often immediately dismissed it as something I'm not interested in. I'm not sure where this prejudice came from. Probably the term has broad usage and means many different things to different people. Whatever the reason, this bias of mine has been utterly destroyed this year by music such as this. "Psychadelic" is the first word people use to describe Kontrolorgan. To me, it just sounds awesome.
28. Michael Santos - Memory Maker
This guy really knows how to use white noise to great effect. Most of these tracks consist of nothing more than a simple tone awash with waves of bubbling, crackling static. The result is hypnotic.
27. Sundrips/Cloudland Ballroom - Split
I just got this the other day, but it seems awesome. Lots of great synths with occasional gentle beats.
26. Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
Great folky tunes that never wear on you. I think it's definitely on par with Shallow Graves.
25. Lunar Miasma - Crystal Covered
While there's a lot of music on this list that you might call "outer space-oriented," this guy feels the most authentic to me. Like he's probably actually some kind of space being. Crystal Covered is intricately crafted in a way that rewards repeated and careful listening.
24. Baths - S/T
Off-kilter, stuttering beats and catchy melodies. Together forever.
23. Olan Mill - Pine
Also Lapses by Pausal is the same guy. Great ambient sounds via lots of organ and piano.
22. He Can Jog/ibreatheFUR - Split EP
The ibreatheFUR side of this tape is solid, but the He Can Jog side is just spectacular. "1981" has this sweet glitchy beat where you're not sure if you should be dancing or sitting very still. "The Green Green Green" is gorgeous. Two of my favorites of the year.
21. Pete Fosco - Breath Radiant
Pete really knows how to handle a guitar. He's not kidding around either. He assaults you with a wall of noisy distortion that you didn't even know you were asking for. But trust me, you were. "Dawn of the Sky Whales" is my favorite.
I'll be back with the exciting conclusion later.