Saturday, 31 December 2011

Music of 2011

It's been, for me, the best year for music in a long time. There's been some stunning releases. While I know no one particularly cares, I'm going to share some of the highlights because I want to give some respect to the artists involved. There's no real order here, they're just listed as they occurred to me.

HTRK - Work (work, work)

The best of the year. This gets better every time I listen to it: black and silky, cold and jagged, simple and repetetive but deep and powerful.

Oyaarss & Friends - smaida greizi nākamība

Funny that one of the best releases of the year is a free download. But this compilation demonstrates some intelligent, forward-thinking electronic music with attitude.


Witchhouse? Yes. I wasn't impressed by the first things I heard from this scene but it's matured quickly and this act are one of the leaders, adding a heavy dose of veiled aggression and industrial attitude to the mix. They've released a few things this year, which I can't really pick one from.

Cloaks - Versions Grain

Like a broken machine, this is the kind of electronic music I've been waiting a long time for. Industrial, cold, soulless - austere and beautiful. This is actually a remix album but it only just tops their own originals.

Circle Takes the Square - Rites of Initiation

This is the first taster of the new CTTS album due to be released next year. It's great - I'm not sure it reaches the majestic peaks of As the Roots Undo, but time and repeated listening could prove me wrong. Anyway it's still miles ahead of much screamo which refuses to push the envelope - CTTS are endlessly experimental and their tracks are insanely complex.

Regis - Adolescence

Yes, it's another compilation. But it's awesome; ignoring it just wouldn't make this list accurate.

Swimming - Ecstatics International

I saw these guys play a headphone show at a local cinema - great idea, and the music was amazing. It's unusual to make very catchy, pleasurable music which is still experimental and sounds genuinely unique - but they do it perfectly. The album's brilliant, they deserve big success.

Grouper - Water People

I doubt anyone hasn't heard of Grouper this year. Without a turntable for the past few years I haven't been able to participate in the vinyl revival but thankfully this release was available digitally.

Death Grips - Ex Military

Another free download - probably everyone's already heard Guillotine but it's always worth hearing again. Mental abstract electronic hip hop.

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