Wednesday, December 21, 2011

List her? I hardly know her.

Wow, what an unexpected boon to my household! List season is here again. What a year, huh guys? My faith-based craft business took off in a big way. I was elected to Congress. I finally killed that sonofabitch Andy. And it was a great year for music too!

In the past these lists have gotten way out of hand, so I'm going to limit it to a quick and dirty top 15 this year. If you'd like to hear more of my top picks, you can go to hell.

15. Federico Durand - El Extasis de las Flores Pequenas

Piano and field recordings. Very beautiful and sleepy. Supposedly it's about his childhood. I'll buy that.

14. Balam Acab - Wander/Wonder

Previously I've always hated those annoying chipmunk sounding voices that are in hip hop sometimes. You guys know what I mean, right? Well, now I love them thanks to this.

13. M. Ostermeier - The Rules of Another Small World

This is another album of piano and field recordings. I guess I'm a sucker for stuff like this. This one is a bit more minimalistic. Very gentle.

12. Mountains - Air Museum

I feel like Mountains aren't very highly regarded by some, but they're a personal favorite of mine. This is their most consistent release to date, I think. Saw these bros at Neon Marshmallow Fest.

11. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

A new direction for ole Danny. Way more samples and way less drones. When Andy and I saw him at NMF, his set fell about halfway between this and Returnal. I'd like to see him put that down on paper, so to speak.

10. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

So many layers of beautiful voice pouring into your ears. It doesn't get any better than that.

9. Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere

Some great melancholy piano compositions from this modern classical dog. I've listened to the song "Fragile N. 4" about a million times this year.

8. The Field - Looping State of Mind

Awesome beats and sounds repeating over and over again. I'm not sure why this isn't boring like most house music, but it's not. I love it.

7. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

Andy suggested that Tim Hecker's music has always sounded wintry. I, however, have always felt his music to be notable for the incredible warmth of its noise. In any case, this album is clearly some chilly stuff. Definitely more aggressive than some of his previous releases.

6. Ford & Lopatin - Channel Pressure

There's not a dull moment on this album! It's overflowing with delicious sounds. So many good ideas.

5. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

M83 is about the best thing going, despite the fact that he continues to use that dumb talking girl all the time. It makes me feel like he could make the best album ever by simply not doing that.

4. Rene Hell - The Terminal Symphony

Here's another awesome friend we saw at the fest. Jeff Witscher's latest is definitely his most accessible, but it's not without a lot of abrasive moments. A real synth master.

3. Steve Hauschildt - Tragedy and Geometry

Speaking of synth masters...I always thought of Steve Hauschildt as the most abstract and conceptual artist in the Emeralds gang, so this is totally not what I was expecting. I bet some people (Paco?) were disappointed with it. Granted, there is a lot of stuff that kind of sounds like this, but I think this is totally the best.

2. Lee Noble - Horrorism

I wasn't a fan of some of his previous drone releases, but I'm in love with this album. Great songs awash in so much beautiful noise and sound. "Horrorism" is supposed to refer a fake art movement that he invented. Don't worry, it's not scary.

1. Sean McCann - The Capital

Sean's been putting out top quality releases at an insane pace over the last few years. I feel like this is kind of the culmination of that whole period. There's a lot of really different sounding stuff here, but it all seems to draw from the best of what he's been doing lately. I can't recommend this enough!

Okay okay, here's some stuff that would've made a longer list. It's all great.

Golden Retriever - Light Cones (side one is amazing!)
Lunar Miasma - The Gateway
Niggas With Guitars - Ethnic Frenzy
Deaf Center - Owl Splinters
Aerial Jungle - Tales of Acoustic Levitation
Grouper - A | A
The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
Belong - Common Era
EUS - Trans El Horizonte
Higuma - Pacific Fog Dreams
Julia Kent - Green and Grey
Juv - Juv
Mandelbrot & Skyy - OD-Axis
Mist - House
Polymer Slug - Cloud Types
Panabrite - Nordsee
Noveller - Glacial Glow
Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Luminaries and Synastry
M. Geddas Grengas - This Could Be the Last Time
Father - Return of Father
Deep Magic - Sky Haze
Sundrips - Just a Glimpse
Sky Stadium - Palmae
Pure X - Pleasure
Quiet Evenings - Transcending Spheres
Cliffsides - Liquid Mirrors

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