More end of the year stuff

December 28th, 2010

Here's a couple more year-end lists & thoughts.

My 5 favorite Low Light Mixes of 2010:

  1. In Foreign Lands
  2. Footsteps
  3. Left in the Desert
  4. A Canticle Unfolds
  5. Beneath the Surface

Other fav mixes from around the web:

  1. :papercutz - Dream Scores - a Headphone Commute mix
  2. Subheim - Headphone Commute mix
  3. Invisible Ink - An Ambientblog mix
  4. Everything Old - a Quiet Sounds podcast
  5. echochorus - chiekurspace mix
  6. Marooned - a Harry Towell mix

Other favorites things in 2010 :

  1. Tiny Desk Concerts - this is a series of very intimate concerts over at NPR Music. Whether it's Olaf Arnalds, The Tom Tom Club, Black Dub or The Red River, the concerts are always entertaining. There is video of each & the audio is downloadable.
  2. Slaapwel Records - a small label that specializes in music to fall asleep to. All their recordings are excellent. I eagerly await each new release.
  3. Filmography 2010 - one of my favorite online videos from the past year. The editor took clips from 270 films of 2010 & cut them to great music with great results. The first minute, where she remixes "Nostrand" by Ratatat with "Power" by Kanye West & audio from films clips, is brilliant!
  4. Wixel - 12 Records in 12 Months - Wixel is Wim Maesschalck, who also runs Slaapwell. He set out on a crazy project back in 2009, to release 12 records in 12 months. He does a nice job of keeping the quality high & changes things up enough to make all the releases interesting. Not really a best of 2010 entry, but I discovered it this year & wanted to draw attention to an outstanding project.

Best of 2010, part 2

December 28th, 2010

Yesterday I posted my favorites ambient releases of 2010. Today it's a few other year end lists.

I spend most of my time listening to ambient/electronic music but enough"normal" music sneaks in there that I thought I'd do a top ten list for pop albums. I'll also list a few recordings that don't fit into either ambient or pop.

First up, my top ten pop albums:

  • 1. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - the vs. ep
  • 2. Efterklang - magic chairs
  • 3. Vampire Weekend - Contra
  • 4. Ra Ra Riot - Orchard
  • 5. lost in the trees - all alone in an empty house
  • 6. Neil Young - Le Noise
  • 7. The Maple Mountain Sunburst Triolian Orchestra
  • 8. Sun Kil Moon - admiral fell promises
  • 9. Horse Feathers - thistled spring
  • 10. Matt & Kim - sidewalks
  • 11. Damien Jurado - saint bartlett
  • 12. Black Dub - black dub

Some favorite single pop songs from 2010:

  • 1. Paul Simon - Getting Ready for Christmas Day
  • 2. Kanye West - Power
  • 3. Janelle Monáe - Tightrope
  • 4. Vampire Weekend - Cousins
  • 5. Damien Jurado - Cloudy Shoes
  • 6. Matisyahu - One Day
  • 7. New Pornographers - Crash Years
  • 8. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More & Winter Winds
  • 9. Jon Hopkins - Monsters Theme
  • 10. Peter Gabriel - Flume
  • 11. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Life is Cinema

Some other favorites recordings that didn't fit into pop or ambient categories:

  • Steve Reich - double sextet 2x5 [Nonesuch]
  • Michael Daugherty - metropolis symphony & deus ex machina [Naxos]
  • Max Richter - infra [fat cat]
  • Maya Beiser - provenance [innova]
  • Dakota Suite -vallisa [glitterhouse]
  • Steve Tibbetts - natural causes [ecm]

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Best of 2010

December 22nd, 2010

Here is the obligatory top ten list for the end of the year. I might do a quick mix before the end of the year to highlight some of the releases on the list.

It was another good year for music, although nothing stood out as a new trend or a ground breaking recording. Alio Die put out a bunch of excellent recordings that I'm just trying to keep up with. Under the Spire & Low Point each had 3 recordings make the list, all of them are excellent. It was nice to see Hypnos back on the list with their wonderful release, Herion - Out & About.

Another label worth mentioning is Audio Gourmet, a new netlabel that produces a ton of quality releases. Label owner, Harry Towell, also made the list with his own release, Spheruleus - Frozen Quarters.

The ambient best of list is a bit long so I'm not going to make comments about each release, I'm getting lazy as I get older. Feel free to add your own lists in the comments.

Top Ambient Releases of 2010:

Best of 2007

December 8th, 2007
There were some excellent releases in 2007, so I thought I'd feature some in a new mix.
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My favorite ambient recording of the year was Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline. I know there are quite a few people who didn't care for the cd, but I love it. I like the more orchestral feel. I like that SOTL relies less & less on synths. A beautiful record.
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My favorite vocal record was PG Six - Slightly Sorry. Snips from the Boomkat review..."a collection of quite unashamedly gorgeous 'proper' songs...'Slightly Sorry' is an album without tricks...'The Dance', the second track on the record - there's nothing necessarily modern about the song itself, it could have come out any time since 1969 and nobody would have batted an eyelid, but it's great music, pure and simple." I played this probably more than any other record this year.
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As far as this mix is concerned, I pretty much stayed away from vocal tunes, with one exception in the middle of the mix. The mix opens with four drone tracks, including Paul Bradley, a new discovery thanks to the folks at the Hypnos forum. Some of his stuff gets a bit dark & dissonant for my taste, but his 2007 release "Chroma" features gorgeous, wide open drones. The drones gradually giveway to piano based tunes wich morph into electronics with a little beat then back to ambient to finish it off.
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My full best of 2007 list follows the tracklisting for the mix. What were your favorite releases this year? Please leave some comments, I'd love to hear what you think.

T R A C K L I S T :

  1. 00:00 - 04:30 Stars of the Lid - Even(out)
  2. 04:30 - 07:30 Paul Bradley - untitled #1
  3. 07:30 - 09:40 Adam Pacione - Warming Trend
  4. 09:40 - 15:30 Emeralds - arbole del tule
  5. 15:30 - 20:30 Alio Die & Luciano Daini - Crucibulum
  6. 20:30 - 24:24 Fennesz & Sakamoto - Aware
  7. 24:24 - 25:45 Library Tapes - Snowleaf
  8. 25:45 - 31:54 Dakota Suite - Because our lie breathes differently
  9. 31:54 - 35:20 Wes Willenbring - While my lungs fill with water
  10. 35:20 - 41:20 Sonmi 451 - Outer Shell
  11. 41:20 - 46:05 Kiln - Flycatcher
  12. 46:05 - 50:45 Rameses III - Theme 5
  13. 50:45 - 54:20 Meursault - Ivy
  14. 54:20 - 58:50 Alio Die & Zeit - Raag Drone Theory
  15. 58:50 - 06:20 Taylor Deupree - Landing
  16. 06:20 - 10:45 Tim Hecker - Norberg
  17. 10:45 - 14:30 Northern - Cinema
  18. 14:30 - 19:53 Stars of the Lid - Even if you're never awake

  • B E S T O F 2 0 0 7

  • Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline (kranky)
  • Alio Die & Luciano Daini - End of an Era (hic sunt leones)
  • Alio Die & Zeit - Raag Drone Theory(hic sunt leones)
  • Tetsu Inoue - Inland (fax)
  • Taylor Deupree - Landing (room40)
  • Adam Pacione - from stills to motion (infraction)
  • Paul Bradley - Chroma (twenty hertz)
  • Emeralds - Allegory Of Allergies (gods of tundra)
  • Fennesz & Sakamoto - Cende (touch)
  • Northern - Drawn (infraction)
  • Tim Hecker - Norberg (room40)
  • Rameses III - Honey Rose ( important)
  • sonmi451 - probes & prisms (u-cover)
  • Meursault - Sleeping Debris (students of decay)
  • Wes Willenbring - Somewhere someone else (Aquarius Records)
  • Library Tapes - Sketches (make mine music)
  • Kiln - Dusker (Ghostly Int'l)
  • Iron & Wine - The Sheperds Dog (sub pop)
  • Trespassers William - noble house ep
  • various - Box of Dub (soul jazz)
  • Once - soundtrack (columbia)
  • Canon Blue - Colonies (Rumraket)
  • Dakota Suite - Waiting for the dawn to crawl through and take your life (glitterhouse)
  • P.G. Six - Slightly Sorry (Drag City)

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