releases

April

Justin Walter - Unseen Forces (Kranky)

Wind controllers are awesome, like this music.

Roger Robinson - Dog Heart City (Jahtari)

Oh, that Jahtari sound, dubby delays and video game bleeps. Here it's met with a strong concept, observing and analyzing a dystopian world that's really not so different from our own.

Valgeir Sigurðsson - Dissonance (Bedroom Community)

Big droney string music. Think of 50 strings bowing at different speeds on the same lowish pitch. Then give it narrative drama. Then make it much better than I've just described. I'm not very good at this, so here's YouTube:

Second Woman - S/W (Spectrum Spools)

Eustis and Dietrich roll pads out in percussive glitches. Reminds me of some Mark Fell releases as well, which means this probably pummels live. A dense score of one of these tracks could make a great visual.

That Colin Stetson album was really good, but I could do without the moaning.

kk

"You've done it again."
Yes, it's another one.
It doesn't carry the in-the-moment political intensity of the previous, but it makes up for that with the personal.
where to go from here

it's been awhile

There has just been so much stuff to go through, so it's taken awhile to circle around and decide on nominations, but here are some recent favorites:

arkiv 4 (Raster-Noton)


“What are some of your favorite labels? What does their music sound like?” This is how one of my favorite labels sounds in 2016. I’m usually not crazy about compilations, but this one has been a pleasure. Raster-Noton delivers as usual with murky atmospheres, razor rhythms, machine funk, and floating ambiance, and the best packaging ever (really this CD is just an include on the new “source book 1.”) Looks like it has a weird little promo I can include.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async (Milan)


New Ryuichi Sakamoto albums are always welcome. There’s probably some surrounding material I am yet to read, but the album stands firmly on its own. Sakamoto has a diverse toolbox. A simple melody on a piano transforms into a cathedral-organ overture. Electronic tones sit alongside traditional instruments. Dream-pop arpeggios follow crunching footsteps. Is that an owl, a howl, or just an electronic drone? The warm and cool circulate. This album could easily be called Neo Geo or Esperanto, but he's already used those titles.

High Plains - Cinderland (Kranky)


There are a lot of droney electroacoustic could-be-soundtracks. Not all carry this much saturate-your-ear softbass. Not all combine sweet vignettes into an arching whole. Not all have this cello.

deepchord presents echospace - live in detroit [ghost in the sound] (echospace [detroit])


How different is one echochord release from the last? And shouldn’t we just call this subgenre Basic Channel? Different enough, and sure why not. There’s some music that gets me daydreaming about my ideal lineup for a summer desert weekend. It gets me thinking about the few vendors, the budget, the sound, and how I’m going to open the conversation with my friends to get things in motion. Echochord has the 9pm-11pm slot.

Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet - December Avenue (ECM)


Stanko manages to be deeply emotive without threatening cringes. He's not mixed lightyears above the ensemble. The melodies are beautiful. The breakdowns are intriguing. The interplay sum is greater than its constituents. It's good.

ode to February

Visible Cloaks - Reassemblage (Rvng Intl.)

Publications have lost it for this thing. I share their infatuation. Reassemblage is a lullaby delivered through 98-degree goo, a haze of indistinct and comforting memories, accomplished with sonic precision rather than grainy reverb.

Tarkovsky Quartet - Nuit Blanche (ECM)

Couturier's group with Lechner amazes me again with a beautiful, contemplative exploration of melody and strained emotion. I would love to hear this group live.

Kassel Jaeger & Jim O'Rourke - Wakes on Cerulean (Editions Mego)

Another one of these Emego sleepers, Wakes on Cerulean quietly unfolds and drifts from a lazy river out into the ocean.

Kangding Ray - Hyper Opal Mantis (Stroboscopic Artefacts)

Kangding Ray goes off the rave deep end. Epsilon has the psytrance bass. Somebody get this man to the desert.

Sigha - Metabolism (Token)

Kangding Ray + Sigha = no more of this crunchy underproduced house for 2017. Ceramics is the bomb.

Finally Some Music

I've been working through so much that it's taken awhile to have nothing in the "maybe" queue.

Some recent highlights:

Parabolas of Neon - Lord of the Isles (Firecracker Recordings)

It's a well-executed genre excursion with some nice variety (dance-ambient-chill-etc) that I've enjoyed on repeat. The final/title track is great.

Oto Hiax (Editions Mego)

Really cool, noisy album with some nice harmonic gestures. Perhaps painstakingly constructed, but it sounds more to me like jams from some good-listener performers with some interesting material and patches lined up. Not always the most subtle ("there goes the bitcrusher"), but holds attention with its sawtooth, clattering, and sub-bass. I've been working on music with some friends lately, and I'd love to operate in the vein of this sound (we're not). Good stuff.

Sampha - Process (Young Turks)

On-point / contemporary voice-led pop production. "Like the Piano" is the sweetest. "Reverse Faults" drops the best. "Blood on Me" is my favorite.

Garth Knox & The Saltarello Trio - John Zorn: Leonard (The Book of Angels Vol. 30) (Tzadik)

This is beautifully performed and recorded music, with clear, bold melodic lines and progressions, melodies that are recognized, memorized, and hummed before the songs finish. Apparently this is the penultimate Book of Angels release. So for the expensive "here's everything package," let's hope for a nice book w/history, images, score elements, etc. and a slot for a USB stick with everything. Not a box of CDs or 8 million gram vinyl.

favorite albums

These are my fourteen favorite albums of 2016. They're in chronological order by release date, and I've include some meaningless phrases to pretend to say something about them.

Roly Porter - Third Law (Triangle)

It's typically ambient pads or saturated drones that easily drift into space. "Third Law" does it with more dynamic, narrative drama, in a style most closely matched by Porter's 2013 "Life Cycle of a Massive Star." More than other "modern classical" composers whose work is making its way into film scores, Porter employs a mastery of foregrounded electronic manipulations, searing noise, massive sub-bass. The blender of Gantz Graf meets the strings and voices of sci-fi. The music manages to be intense, ethereal, intriguing, multifaceted.

On another note, it's funny how listening to something among others magnifies its qualities, even that of being totally boring. For example last night, with a couple of people:

"This is cool, what's this?"

"Roly Porter's album from earlier in the year."

...

"This sounds like some sci-fi soundtrack. That's cool."

...

"What are we listening to, the Superman soundtrack?"

"Yeah, it's dramatic."

"What?"

"We're listening to the Superman soundtrack, yes."

"Dude, this totally could be the Superman soundtrack."

"Yeah."

Is this what Reich finds disgusting (or whatever)? I'm sticking with it.


 

Skee Mask - Shred (Ilian Tape)

Solid album from all angles. Arced and paced, sonically, rhythmically detailed, heavy on breakbeats, and emotive. Built on legacy (I'm hearing Shackleton, Sandwell, Convextion, Autechre, Detroit all put through a particular lens) while moving forward.

 

Anenon - Petrol (Friends of Friends)

Strings, arpeggio synth sequences, grainy reeds(!), speedy drumkit breaks, field recordings, stereo delays, REVERB. It's moody music, good for the rain. Good for Michael Mann. Rainy LA into sunrise.


 

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM)

It's a great pairing, mostly pensive and somber, lights low. The nature of the instruments places Smith's trumpet as more of the agent and Iyer's piano as the ground, but the strongest moments are in the interplay, sometimes including minimal electronic elements, everything working together. I was able to witness a moving performance of this at Occidental this year.


 

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears (Western Vinyl)

Here's what I said back then:

Wow. Gorgeous, sensitive atmospheres, calling to mind the organs and horns of Terry Riley, the minimalist spirals of kosmische, and the vocal treatments of Laurie Anderson or The Knife. This will make the list.

This year there were a couple of items I expected to make my final list that didn't and a few things that grew into place. In the case of "Ears" it was clear on the first listen. The "modular sound" has been so done these past five years or so, but here she managed to bring a special touch to it with the vocal element. It also has an enjoyable pastoral ease. There are definite rifts and rises, but they're all within a constrained range.


 

Ash Koosha - I AKA I (Ninja Tune)

There's been so much great chunky, decimated weirdo dance noise from Ling, M.E.S.H., the masters Autechre, and a host of others, but this one stands out. Maybe it's the string samples that win me over, but these are some of the best beats this year. Heavy on melody.


 

Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid (Rhymesayers)

Aesop Rock is one of the best verse writers (I guess I should just say lyricists). With each listen, new lines stand out for appreciation. I hear this and basically marvel at the fact that he was able to write these verses. The album is more obviously personal than past work.


 

Jungle - Live at Okuden (ESP-Disk)

Mat Walerian, Matthew Shipp, Hamid Drake. Last year ESP released an outstanding duo between Walerian and Shipp as The Uppercut, also called "Live at Okuden," which made it onto my year-end list of favorites. This release adds Hamid Drake to the mix for a 100-minute live recording. The program has everything from somber melodies to frenetic wailing, blues passages, post-bop, and some free breakouts. Some outstanding soloing, both powerful and delicate, finds its place among knotty interplay. With music like this I'm always curious about the notation, how detailed the compositions are, what non-standard instructions they might employ, and what's left up to the player. There's really a lot of "content" here in this release. Drake and Shipp are always strong, and Walerian has emerged with some excellent recordings in the past couple of years. I think these groups/names (Uppercut, Jungle) are probably just for this recording/release, but it would be awesome for this group to tour. Blue Whale. Make it happen.

 

Tyshawn Sorey - The Inner Spectrum of Variables (Pi Recordings)

Somewhere in jazzland the listing of this moving release came along. Tyshawn Sorey is an amazing drummer (for another example from this year, listen to the all-star Zorn recording Flaga (Taborn, McBride, Sorey)), but here his primary role is composer to a wide range of traditions, techniques, and tones, bringing them into a fresh, arching work. It's a beautiful recording. Looking forward to June...

J Balvin - Energía (Capitol Latin / Universal)

It would be dishonest of me to exclude this. Easily had the most replays this year in the car. The delivery is easy and flowing. Clear studio production. What song is best? Veneno? Malvada? Perde los modales? Snapchat? Ginza? 35 pa las 12?? I can't decide. OK, 35/12 in the car. Weddings, holiday parties, and the like all let me down this year. They could have at least played 6AM. Thanks 96.3. Will pass on the videos at this moment.

 

Ka - Honor Killed the Samurai (Iron Works Records)

"I know words. I have the best words." Life is still hard.

s l o w f l o w

 

Bethan Kellough - Aven (Touch)

Bethan Kellough's recording represents the best of what Touch is about, from barely-audible passages to romantic strings, open field recordings to contact mic application. The natural and performed are composed (and in this case performed) to connect us with the world. This was another INSTANT WINNER.

 

Solange - A Seat at the Table (Saint / Columbia)

There's nothing for me to say that hasn't been said, as this one's making it to the top of many year-end lists. The music works on many levels, assertive but contemplative, focused on frustration, endurance, and successes that are personal, (most importantly) local(ized), and ultimately universal. It's critical, catchy, laid-back. It's another one that had heavy rotation. It's of this time.

Sendai - Ground and Figure (Editions Mego)

Just out last Friday, Peter Van Hoesen and Yves De Mey return as Sendai for this workout in crisp, icy, booming, torn techno-IDM that builds, collapses, and falls back into step. Elements change as soon as they seem to solidify. It's music that warps time and space if it's loud enough.

The text will change, I'm sure.

Wonderland

I went back and forth on some different things.
Demdike Stare survives.

Demdike Stare - Wonderland (Modern Love)

does everything it needs to
great review huh
maybe I'll add something to this

more releases soon

meanwhile I've started the year review

grimy

Logos & Mumdance Present Different Circles

minimal, maximal, bassy, goes hard

3 for now

Keith Jarrett - A Multitude of Angels (ECM)

How many archived Keith Jarret recordings do we need? I'm glad to have this one. There's a wide range of content here, much of it preceded by exploratory meandering that seems to discover a flow and destination, or stumble on some moment of magic, whether it's somber, pensive, minimal, or a blues extrapolation. Repeated listens --> new discoveries.

Meredith Monk - On Behalf of Nature (ECM)

Voices, pulses, and maybe a little safer than usual but also more enjoyable.

Okkyung Lee, Christian Marclay - Amalgam (Northern Spy)

Dynamic improv session.

almost time to evaluate

OK, here are two more. With words. Have been in strong rotation.

Metasota - #RUMDMT

favorite song: ain't no love. rapping.

Solange - A Seat at the Table (Saint Records)

it's all there

the missing 5th

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones Records)

This was the one I didn't include earlier.

who wore it best

OK so we have a duo of duos.
Very different.
Listened to each about six times so far with the intention of choosing a preference,
but it just doesn't happen.

So they both make it.

Bobby Kapp & Matthew Shipp - Cactus (Northern Spy Records)

Another awesome duet for Shipp. Love the blues buried in the knots.

Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau - Nearness (Nonesuch)

A very different kind of sound, more accessible, more floral, and more obvious solo showcasing. In some ways not as full of interest and discoveries as the session above, but also opens itself to an easier emotional connection. Looks like they're playing here... tonight. oh, well

Then there's that Wollny and Peirani, but I've just started listening to the album.

3 (should be 4)

There's something I'd add but it's so far ahead of its release date that I feel weird about it. So moving on...

clipping. - Splendor & Misery (Sub Pop)

Excellent alternative production, some amazing rapping, strong narrative theme, and interesting lyrics. "what more could you ask for?"
There was another recent "rappers in space" album (Logic's Incredible Story album, which I enjoyed), but here things are more adventurous and interesting in almost all dimensions.

Pearson Sound Live at Rural Festival

It's rare that I include non-release DJ mixes here, but I've really enjoyed and repeated this recent mix.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani - Sunergy (RVNG Intl.)

The FRKWYS series continues to impress. There are of course so many of these modular kosmichey releases, but this one stands out as a soft-edged trip.

sound

Bethan Kellough - Aven (Touch)

This is a stunning performance of field recordings and strings, filled with drama and intrigue, grand gestures and detailed sounds. Diana and I were at the Touch showcase where this was recorded, and we both left agreeing that this performance (which was not headlining) was the best, so it's great to get to hear that confirmation in this touching release, which manages to be sonically intriguing and very human. This approach can sometimes sound like a space station 200 years in the future, whereas here it's more like humanity crawling from the caves, which accesses deeper.

August 2

Dan Cray - Outside In (Origin)

Really nice, mellow, mostly straight-ahead jazz. I have decided it will be present among snow and a fire. It will happen.

Convextion - 2845 (Mojuba)

There's that one label doing the electro thing and every release sounds the same. Not this! Great to hear from Convextion again.

one

Ka - Honor Killed the Samurai (Iron Works Records)

Not exactly bangers, but this has a distinct tone carried through in the instrumentals, the delivery, and the content, vivid imagery, poetic constructions.

3 musicccs

Ian William Craig - Centres (FatCat Records)

Beautiful album in the vein of Fennesz, Sakamoto, Sylvian, but ultimately its own.

1-800 DINOSAUR Presents Trim

Maybe the best grime-or-not full-length I've heard. Balanced toward letting the beats / unique instrumentals shine, but since they're not particularly dense or saturated this fits well with the vocals.

WWWINGS - PHOENIXXX (Planet Mu)

From noise to rhythms, it's a particularly well-executed collision of the old "splintered beats" IDM thing and the current "post-club" thing with some moments that are undeniably [non-post] club. Lots of concrete samples.

good ones

These are pretty different from each other.

Glauco Venier - Miniatures (ECM)

This is a beautiful album of small piano and barely-percussion pieces. At times sounding like Sakamoto, at times sounding like Jarrett, but ultimately sounding like its own thing.

Christian Fennesz & Jim O'Rourke - It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry (Editions Mego)

I'm glad this lived up to the sum of its parts and more. I've seen opposing views, but I feel like the best of both artists are brought together into something neither would make on his own. The sound is thick. 2 long pieces.

David Toop - Entities Inertias Faint Beings (Room 40)

Toop proves himself a master of sound minutiae or at least the music that provokes listening for it. Environmental sounds haunted by memories of performed instruments.

J Balvin - Energía (Capitol Latin)

This is very pop, but I can't deny the album. Have probably played this in my car every day for the past 3 or 4 weeks, I guess subtracting my trip, though I heard Ginza and Bobo out in Spain. This could probably be divided into songs that really go and songs that are whatever, but it's been on repeat.

3 for June

Jesse Osborne-Lanthier and Grischa Lichtenberger - CSLM (Cosmo Rhythmatic)

Intense, varied, sonically precise exploration of sound, rhythm, and texture that I'm surprised to read comes from performances on CRTs and VHS machines... the remixes fit in perfectly, iterating interestingly on the themes but maintaining the flow as something that can be listened to like an album.

Objekt - Kern vol. 3 (Tresor)

This mix reminds me of the Journeys by DJ series (and maybe I'm thinking specifically of Coldcut's well-known mix) in its variety, but is rooted in techno. It experiment but stays solid. Worthy as a catalog release.

Golfam Khayam & Mona Matbou Riahi - Narrante (ECM)

Amazing contemporary chamber performances of Persian-rooted music from the Naqsh Duo, clarinet and guitar. Would love to attend a performance.

these go here

these are going to make it.

Jungle - Live at Okuden (ESP-Disk)

Tyshawn Sorey - The Inner Spectrum of Variables

Next Time it Will Be Summer

Autechre - elseq 1-5 (Warp)

Sounds in line with what I heard on their recent/current tour. Some wild noise, some evolving drones, some heavy beats... good mix of approaches from their history, a wide range of content here. There have been some complaints (not looking at watmm) about length. While I suppose I could agree that finding the best 100 minutes or so of content here might make a more concise and rewarding listen (I just tried to do this and managed to take it down to 120), there's just so much that's good here for that to be a major downside. Autechre do it.

M.E.S.H. - Damaged Merc (Pan)

There's this "post-club" label that gets thrown around (I normally use the term "noisy stuff," though this is quite different from Merzbow), and it really applies here (post-club). This music is noisy, danceable, IDM from the future rather than the past. Feels a lot more rhythmically driven and precise than the excellent Piteous Gate album. Anyway, cool music.

Masabumi Kikuchi - Black Orpheus (ECM)

This is a beautiful recording, from the atonal clusters to the lyrical moments. Never feels over-played. Excellent closing statement. Had the pleasure of seeing him at the Motian memorial...

Klara Lewis - Too (Editions Mego)

The pieces on this album are arrestingly narrative, in that they progress in a way that is abstract enough to be unpredictable but paced to be follow-able. Despite the sounds and methods used here, the music does not leave you grasping or disappear into a background, but impressively guides you along. More interesting than I expected.

I need to hear her last album and see a show... this is cool:

SHXCXCHCXSH - SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs (AVIAN)

Excellent contemporary techno.. Not super dancefloor-oriented, but it could work and could easily be tooled. This reminds me heavily of a conversation once on this forum I used to be on (erave) where someone (won't name names) brought up some graphic related to waves of sunlight and was relating to to some ideal of techno. It was probably all pretty pretentious, but I feel like this would fit into that conversation. That person had a great handle... Listening to it a 4th time or so I also was struck by the dub buried in parts of it it, from the little echoey passages to the use of noise... like taking basic channel to a new place.

It's Almost June

Antwood - Virtuous.scr (Planet Mu)

I wonder how many more of these surgical, refined noise albums can sustain my interest. At the moment, despite the demands of the sound, there's no fatigue in sight, and this is another great one. (In the vein of Ash Koosha, Arca, etc.)

John Zorn - Flaga Book of Angels Volume 27 (Tzadik)

Christian McBride is on point, we already know Craig Taborn is the man, and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey is on fire. It's great to hear Book of Angels material in this traditional jazz trio setting with such excellent players. I thought this was just going to be another good album of Zorn competitions, but it stands out.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool (XL Recordings)

It's another excellent Radiohead album. Melodies, rhythm, lyrics, elements all on point. Everything to like.

Elon Katz - The Human Pet (Diagonal)

This one's pretty weird, but it definitely grew on me. For me it kind of picks up where Jamie Lidell left off before Multiply, with some more contemporary approaches, advancing the tight, Prince-inspired electronic funk of various Eurofolk I could list. Has some aesthetic ties with the last Holly Herndon album as well, but with an industrial edge. whatever this all means...

Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

I don't have much to say, but the album is great. Unfolds, unfolds, and unfolds upon repeat listens. Personal, touching, funny, catchy, thought-provoking... good.
Aesop Rock's one of these artists who just keeps getting better and is in my top 5.

rap and rap

smith and iyer were fantastic

anyway, two very different rap albums

Dälek - Asphalt for Eden (Profound Lore)

It's cool to hear a rap album this drowned-in-sound. Dälek make their own lane. The instrumentals would stand on their own, but then we also have the lyrics/concepts to work with. It's good.

Royce da 5'9" - Layers (Bad Half Entertainment)

Rapping and rapping. I keep going back to this in the car... Many flows/concepts in the album, some of which I don't completely understand, but for me there are too many great rapping moments here to deny, as well as strong instances of emotion, introspection, commentary, etc... ultimately it's a fairly "traditional" rap album at a high level.

4 for the Now

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM)

There’s a kind of natural/inevitable-feeling progression of this music, as the sounds and spaces generated by Smith & Iyer weave a contemplative space that grooves without being locked, twists without meandering, flows without passivity. The album manages to surpass its automatic on-paper greatness, and both artists are pretty much on top of things.

Looking forward to Friday.

Studio OST - Scenes (2012-2015) (Lustwerk Music)

Sublime techno nightdrive.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears (Western Vinyl)

Wow. Gorgeous, sensitive atmospheres, calling to mind the organs and horns of Terry Riley, the minimalist spirals of kosmische, and the vocal treatments of The Knife and Laurie Anderson. This will make the list.

Ash Koosha - I AKA I (Ninja Tune)

Exciting moves in the pretty-big-right-now vein of noisy IDM. Enough obnoxious pitched up samples to push me out of my comfort zone, the obliterated shreds of sound for automatic noise interest, and the rhythms/groove actually go. The album’s on-trend while both pushing forward and speaking to the past (of stuff I like). Mudafossil. Cool stuff.

More Music

Is this all I'll ever post about?

OK, well here's some new great stuff...

Anenon - Petrol (Friends of Friends)

Great melting atmospheres of electronics, field recordings, saxophone, but with a strong narrative musicality.

Julian Lage - Arclight (Mack Avenue Records)

I'm usually not crazy about jazz guitar (I write as I listen to Kenny Burrell's "God Bless the Child"), but I find myself coming back to this album and its unique exploration of techniques and moods, if within a general range. Had a chance to see Lage locally about a year ago and was totally impressed (with Eric Harland instead of Kenny Wollesen... I'm fans of both). I was excited about this album but enjoyed it more than I expected...

Julian Lage- Ryland from Lost Pilot on Vimeo.

joefarr - Sense of Purpose (Bloc)

super solid ravey quality that goes. thank you

Elzhi - Lead Poison (GLOW 365)

Not the next-level instant classic I think he has potential for, but it's still a solid album with good songs, and a release from Elzhi is welcome and long overdue. I love the soul-sampling beats of songs like "Weedipedia," "Friendzone" (my favorite on the album), and "Cloud."

Steve Kuhn - At This Time (Sunnyside Records)

This is fairly straight-ahead stuff (meaning I'll enjoy it but not get too excited about it), but after multiple listens without paying attention, I finally sat down at home and felt the fire. The group is so "on" in this record. Will have to look out for touring... (I suppose LA is unlikely, sadly).

dBridge / Loxy & Resound - Average Echo / Heritage (Convex Industries)

It's just a single, but the first track from dBridge KILLS.

beats are alive and well
all good:
elusive - textures
samiyam - animals have feelings
knxwledge - hex.9.8_ (remixes)

here's your music

Ling - Attachment (Codes)

More awesome noisy craziness

Tim Hecker - Love Streams (4AD)

Doing what he does best. Am I too early on this?

Skee Mask - Shred (Ilian Tape)

cool techno / breakbeat / bass

Rangda - The Heretic's Bargain (Drag City>

When do I get to see a live show?

ok, more music

Savages - Adore Life (Matador Records)

Frank has done it again. I do prefer the prior, but this is good. Too bad I'll have to miss the show. Would like more dynamic range. It's been said.

Roly Porter - Third Law (Tri-Angle Records)

Sure, I already talked about it last year, but I was way ahead of time. Amazing spacey future sound design.

Junior Boys - Big Black Coat (City Slang)

Great poppy album. Clear ties between this and the Jesse Lanza that got massive rotation in the car. Really impressed with the handle on electronic music styles, from house to techno to 'bass music' (Love Is a Fire), all with their own idiosyncratic signature on production. Great What You Won't Do for Love cover. It's good.

nonkeen - The Gamble (R&S Records)

Supreme electroacoustic listening jams.

Paul Jebanasam - Continuum (Subtext Recordings)

This and the Roly Porter album. What if I could only keep one?

Genevieve Lacey - Pleasure Garden (ABC Classics)

This is a strange and intriguing album that I came across browsing iTunes' classical page at the beginning of the year. Did not expect to be listening to it over and over.
It's a mix of performed music, often/mostly flute, and natural sounds. The flutes range from slow, meditative, and oddly-expressed, to Renaissance-sounding melodies (likely the Jacob van Eyck works I see mentioned in the descriptions) that are smartly paced and pensive, as the Renaissance flute sound can unfortunately superficially come across as goofy, depending on the performance and recording.
This project actually follows an installation for the garden of Vaucluse House as part of Sydney Fesetival. Read more about it here.
Translated to a great album.

David Bowie - Blackstar (ISO)

I heard it a couple of times before he died and enjoyed the music but wasn't really struck.
I've listened to it more times since, and its lyrical and total power have grown on me.

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