2014: Music

25 albums that stood out above others, in alphabetical order because I haven’t listened to a lot of these enough to assign an arbitrary order / this doesn’t come as easily as it does with films. The best things about these sort of lists is looking back at how much they change. How by the end of 2015 many of these won’t be my favourites anymore. My favourites will be ones I do not yet know, or ones that won’t surrender their treasures without significantly more time invested.

The best thing about compiling these things is the process of compulsive discovery it evokes. I spend ¾ of the year ignoring all but the most loudly talked about releases and then the final few months pouring the deep web in search of those more elusive, more quietly celebrated gems. There are at least four albums that would almost certainly be here if I’d ever managed to find a download link store that stocked them. A pathetic attempt to seem relevant, but in the process exposure to better things. 

it is all learning, it is all time [well] spent. Things are something to devote oneself to. Music is one of those things, and in many ways the most important. It is a thing that gives a lot back - that energises, soothes, appeases, narrates and releases. A thing that does a lot of things and can be a lot of things. A thing that is simultaneously universal and deeply personal. A thing to climb inside and a thing to open up and share. A way to spend time, and another place to invest self in, and get self out of. It is [some]thing I have been very thankful for this year.

10 favourites in bold, because I couldn’t resist some kind of rank system, yet couldn’t commit to a complete one. 

  • A Winged Victory for the Sullen - ATOMOS

  • Actress - Ghettoville

  • Aphex Twin - Syro

  • Arca - Xen

  • Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

  • D'Angelo & The Vanguard - Black Messiah

  • Ben Frost - A U R O R A 

  • Dean Blunt - Black Metal

  • Fennesz - Becs

  • FKA Twigs - LP1

  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata

  • Gigi Masin - Talk to the Sea

  • Grouper - Ruins

  • Ian William Craig - A Turn of Breath

  • Kassem Mosse - Workshop 19

  • Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn and the Infinite Sadness

  • Lawrence English - Wilderness of Mirrors

  • Moodymann - Moodymann

  • Objekt - Flatland

  • Perfect Pussy - Say Yes to Love

  • Sharon Von Etten - Are We There

  • Sun Kil Moon - Benji

  • Shinichi Atobe -Butterfly Effect

  • Swans - To Be Kind

  • Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

  • Yamaneko -Pixel Wave Embrace

                             B ~ O ~ N ~ U ~ S              C ~ O ~ N ~ T ~ E ~ N ~ T 

Top 3s of sound-related activities that occurred this year, but don’t fit into that limiting frame of album format. Yes, I didn’t listen to enough mixtapes.

Concerts

  • Tim Hecker + Merzbow, Gustafsson & Panda Trio - Oval Space

  • Ben Frost + Tony Conrad + John Chantler - St Johns Hackney

  • Kelela + Novelist - Corsica Studios

Mixes/Internet things

  • Jam City - Earthly III

  • Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature Mix

  • A. G. Cook, GFOTY, Danny L Harle, Lil Data, Nu New Edition and Kane West - PC Music x DiSown Radio 

EPs/12s/Mixtapes/etc

  • Oneohtrix Point Never - Commissions I

  • Floating Points - Nuits Sonores / Tangerines

  • Rich Gang - Tha Tour Pt.1