Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 36ish Drone/Ambient/Ex-spearmintal Jamez of 2010: Part 1 36ish - 21

Yep, So I ended up blabbling my huge mouth a lot and this list became huge. So I'm doing you the further kindness that Jim never offered of 5 lists, count 'em 5 of year end fav. muzaks. Of course the real reason to split up into so many lists is so that I can sneak in more releases than I could if I just made one list of 50. Anyway....

This year, like every year I suppose, was an amazing year if you were into lo-fi synth jams, drones, ambient, and experimental music in general. If you were not into this I suggest you attempt to be into it. Slow it down bro. All of it. your whole life. Just sit down and have a long listen. True sound will find you.

My list is 2 parts. 36ish-21 I would classify and "Pretty Great". 20-1 will be classified as "Awesomely Great hey cool" Basically any of the 36-21 could be substituted for each other and the same for 20-1. So basically there are only two ranks here: 1 and 2. Enjoy

36ish. Honorable Mention: Polymer Slug - Simple Displays Of Control (Digitalis Limited) / Panabrite - Wizard Chimes (Gift Tapes)

I just got both of these but they seem really great. Lo-Fi Synth stuff.

35. Barn Owl - Ancestral Star (Thrill Jockey)

Honestly I was disappointed. Barn Owl are my boys of boys, my men of men. They talk some serious game and they bring the beautiful dark but healing heavy guitar drone. But this was not as good as I hoped. Don't get me wrong. It's still good, and its still on my list here. But I was hoping for a little more mind-blowing. I still love you though Barn Owl.

34. Brother Raven - Timewinder (Taped Sounds)

My Favorite BR release is from last year but this one is also very nice. A little bit of everything, its very lo-fi keyboards and synths having fun. a little rough but not to harsh. a slowly bubbling cauldron of fun.


33. Colored Mushroom and the Medicine Rocks - At Red Frosting (Wagon)

As this stars John Elliott of the Emeralds if you like the Emeralds you will probably like this. A quick and good 26 minutes of Synth fun, some parts sweeping some parts doing little runs around and having little bippy boppies.

32. Nova Scotian Arms + Motion Sickness of Time Travel - The Fire Cult to Your Dream Child (Hooker Vision)

This is awesome for  6 reasons:
Exhibit A: NSA (Grant) and MSoTT (Rachel) are husband and wife drone makers (aaaawwww!).
Exhibit B: They are also the owners of the label they release on, Hooker Vision, which is an amazing name for a record label.
Exhibit C: Their catalogue numbers are the letters HIV and then a number (i.e. HIV064)
Exhibit D: Hooker Vision's tapes are cheap and they give the sold out and old ones away as free downloads.
Exhibit E: I've never met them but they seem like really nice people.
Exhibit F: Last but not least this split album is really long, but really great. It's only this low because I haven't really listened to it enough yet. But its really great, creative and varied in its sounds.

31. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Generator (Root Strata)

At this point KFW has proven himself to be a true bad ass of the game. he's got chops in pretty much every area of experimental music and a bunch of hot releases to prove it. Here we find him doing some Music Synthesis. This could be a little to abstract for those of you that do not just love hearing synthesizers forever and ever. It's also kinda long. But if you like the sounds of these sounds you will love this soundly albuminium.

30. Sundrips - Slow Futures (Dial Square)

Both Sundrips and Slow Futures are pretty good names for what this music sounds like. There is nothing insane or incredible about it, its just nice droney pleasant times.

29. Deep Magic - Soul Vibration (DNT)

Magic is neat. As Jim pointed out Deep Magic is good. They had several great releases this year. I think I like this one the best. Probably because its really long so it has enough time to drone me out.

28. Golden Retriever - Static Rain (Gift Tapes)

Some nice analog synth here, It's basically here because of a killer A Side. The B side is good too but The A Side is awesome.

27. Mist - Glowing Net (Wagon, Pizza Night)

More John Elliot here, plus the great Sam Goldberg. Again recommended if you like Emeralds. Relaxing krautrocky synth ambient.

26. Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here? (eMego)

Some of you might be surprised to find this only at 26. Why not say 3 or 5? I don't know. It's a really great album, I know. And 26 doesn't really mean 26. I liked it a lot. The only problem is that for me the first half is front loaded with the better stuff. It's kinda like the Barn Owl. It's a really good album but for some reason I was expecting more and was not as blow away as I wanted to be. Anyway good to see it on Jim and even Matt's list. This was good. I think they will build on this and the next album will be even more betterer and perhaps mindblowing. As a side note, Where the heck has Steve Hauschildt been? His solo stuff is definitely my favorite, but he didn't release anything this year. Come on Steve!
25. EN - The Absent Coast (Root Strata)

I was surprised not to see this on Jim's list. Actually it seems to have been forgotten or unknown but most people. But it should not be so! This is quality ambient here. Beautiful times with a few crackly times and some occasional gentle piano covered in fuzz. Some part reminds me of a more serene and stars of the lidified Ellen Fullman and her long stringed instrument (not to distract from EN but Ellen Fullman is an awesome genius you should love or at least appreciate!!!) Anyway, I know i say this about every album here but this is really great.

24. Infinite Body - Carve Out The Face Of My God (Post Present Medium)

This year had a lot of good noisy/static drone and ambient releases (as you will see later in the list). This one is no exception. It's great. This might have been higher but for some reason I forgot about it for a few months. This is definitely infinite body finding his groove. His previous releases were decent but this is a major step up. nice job.

23. Pete Swanson - Feelings in America (Root Strata)

Pete Swanson is one half of the now defunct (I really just wanted to say defunct) Yellow Swans. We were all sad when we found out the were calling it quits and left us with such an awesome parting gift but since Pete has kept cranking things out on his own its really no big deal. The top dog on this release is the first track "The Fermata" it starts out gentle before building slowing (over 16 minutes) into a full head of noisy noise before tapering off. It's a really great track. It's pretty noisy but if you like Yellow Swans at all you'll like it. The other track is decent too but I love "The Fermata"

22. Noveller - Wolf (FTAM)

I just got into Noveller this year. I thought her albums from 2010 were okay but I didn't love them. Actually I listened and I wasn't really into her and kinda forgot about her. But then I downloaded Wolf here which is actually a 7". and it was awesome. really awesome. It's way too short but I love it. After that breaking the Noveller ice for me, behold a new realm opened and I discovered Noveller for real. But here's the deal, she was most awesome in 2009. Except this 7" which is 10 minutes of bad to the bone which I'd like to thank for opening my eyes. I now await 2011 Noveller.

21. Secret Abuse - Craftsman Rhythm (Folktale)

Secret Abuse is Jeff Witscher who you will meet again later in this list. Secret Abuse is one of Jeff's best personas but there was only one Secret Abuse release this year and it was this short short 7". Even though short, It's another great entry into this year's mountain of noisy staticy ambient goods.

Whew! Well only the second half remains. It's actually done just not turned into post form yet. That means you dreams come true in not that long. Wow Exciting! Stay Tuned...


  1. Nice. So far so good. Some serious new choices to check out here. I haven't heard that particular Deep Magic or that particular Sundrips. I forgot to mention on my post that Sundrips seems to be totally awesome, with lots of great releases too. I really like the "Arrays" tape as well.

    Also, I saw both Noveller and Emeralds this year. Jealous?

  2. didn't you have a headache the whole time?

  3. 60% of the artists did hurt my ears. Emeralds and Noveller, however, were awesome. As were KFW, Pete Fosco, and Sean McCann. What about those Paco? Jealous more?

  4. I am jealous of all your neon marshmallow or whatever it was called seeing its of these gret artrists!


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