Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Two thousand and twelve - wow what a year that was. It's hard to compress a year's worth of plans, achievements, losses, travels, worries and changes into a few lines, but a year's music best of comes pretty close to summing things up. I must admit though that compared to other years I was not as music-savvy as I usually am, due to a combination of events and that uneasy feeling you get when keeping up with the year's releases becomes a daunting task rather than a burning passion. As a consequence, for example, I barely had any time and mind to focus on the year's more droney and experimental end of releases. 

It was also a year when I felt that (for the first time) I could not get my head round certain types of music or understand what the fuss was all about. Case in point would be Jam City's Classical Curves, most stuff from the Tri Angle camp (which was my favourite label last year) and Actress' RIP. Then again, lack of time might have played a part in this. It's actually funny to note that I haven't mentioned any indie album - I have long abandoned any attempts to make some kind of sense of indie music in it's present form (if it still exists, that is). 

Ok then - here's a list of 12 albums in no particular order apart from the first two which I particularly enjoyed..

1) Sand Circles - Motor City

A perfect retro-futuristic blend of BOC-style slow moving melodies 
with some tasty early Detroit techno beats and synths slapped on. 
Made walking the streets of inner-city London at night quite an experience. 

2) The Descendants OST

Technically 2011 I think, but I only watched and heard it in 2012.
To tell you that I was totally obsessed with this collection of Hawaiian
songs for around 2 weeks is an understatement. I don't know of any
other album that can take you to the same heights as a first-class zoot 
without actually inhaling any of the holy herb. Chillwave as nature intended.

Voices From The Lake - S/T

Watery, dubby, discreet, gentle, perpetual techno. The one track
posted above doesn't make any sense at all outside of it's album 
context. A very patiently rewarding album. I'll never forget the
moment when the melodies from that 6th track crept in..

Daphni - Jiaolong LP

Sounds exactly like that great set we had danced to a 
couple of years ago in Old Street when we thought we would be 
seeing a Caribou gig but got a Caribou DJ set instead. It was 
a very good night.

Pausal - Forms

The only drone/ambient album for this year. This reminded me alot
of Stars Of The Lid-style airy/nebulous ambient music. That's very easy
to get wrong of course, but these guys made it sound majestic. Plus
points for the great album cover artwork too..

Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful

I think this sounds very similar to a typically hip East London neighbourhood. 
Stylistically messy, not all the tracks are great, and some of them are outright 
hipster-weird-for-weird's sake but it kind of makes sense as a whole. If there's
one album that sounds like urban 2012 it would be this.

Grimes - Visions

Yep, I like it too.

Musette - Drape Me In Velvet LP

Any album with a crescent moon on the cover just has to be
a Lefty Le Mur favourite! But really, this sounds like a Central-
European musical odyssey being played on a 1920s grammophone
sat atop a steam boat gracefully gliding down a moonlit Danube.

Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos - Icon, Give, Thanks

A flawed but very interesting album this one. Both parties use 
totally different musical languages from different eras and it's this 
tangible struggle to find some middle ground between the two that 
makes this album a winner. That and the guy singing on 'Jungle'.

Desolate - Celestial Light Beings

This is what Burial would have sounded like should he have
been brought up in a block of 60s flats in a dodgy Parisian
suburb. Evocative urban electronica peppered with continental 
European influences - perfect for a grey, grimy day. 

Lone - Galaxy Garden

Upon playing it for the first time, this track actually had me 
burst out laughing. It's kind of like a hyperactive kid - abit crazy, abit 
all over the place and just can't stop moving. I initially wouldn't 
take it seriously but hey, it works!

There's other key albums which might have made it to the list but which I haven't had time to thoroughly get into. Stuff such as Vessel, Chromatics, Lambchop, Laurel Halo, Ariel Pink, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power..

Anyway, here's hoping to another year full of great music (although truth be told, 2011 had better music) and great memories!