Not really a ‘best of’, this list represents a few of the things that I’ve enjoyed this year. In no particular order:
Autechre – Exai and L-Event (Warp Records)
Complex sounds and complex rhythms, but with more soul than preceding releases. Their strongest work for a while.
NHK’Koyxeи – Dance Classics vol.III (PAN)
Latest installment in Kouhei Matsunaga’s wonky dancefloor experiments.
EVOL – Proper Headshrinker (Editions Mego)
It looks how it sounds. Spectrogram of Proper Headshrinker 6, created with Foobar2000 visualization plugin:
Jos Smolders – Music for FLAC-player (self-released)
1100 tracks, to be played on shuffle.
Rashad Becker – Traditional Music of Notional Species vol. I (PAN)
Lee Gamble – Dutch Tvashar Plumes (PAN)
Hard-to-categorise, easy-to-love music from both Becker and Gamble.
William Winant – Five American Percussion Pieces (Poon Village)
I first heard William Winant’s percussion via his work with Mr Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3. This is his first solo release. Stream the album and read an interview with Winant here: http://www.spin.com/articles/william-winant-five-american-percussion-pieces-stream/
Various – Touch Radio (Touch)
Always worth repeated listens, the Touch Radio series offers a platform for audio that is more than music, including recordings created in the context of scientific, documentary, environmental and political approaches to sound. A particular favourite is the contact microphone recording of an Icelandic longwave radio antenna by Aino Tytti:
Phirnis – Feeding Lions (Fwonk)
Nice noise from Kai Ginkel.
Yves de Mey – Metrics (Opal Tapes)
Beautifully balanced bleeps, beats and bass.
Mark Fell – n-Dimensional Analysis (Liberation Technologies)
Fell also released more good stuff via Editions Mego (Sensate Focus 1.666666 and Sensate Focus 2).
Tobias Reber – Kola (Iapetus)
Fractured, generative rhythms based on the sounds of pitched percussion.
Various – Disquiet Junto (via SoundCloud)
Group based on musical responses to creative constraints, with weekly assignments set by Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet.com. Now in its second year, the Junto recently passed its 100th-assignment milestone, in which the task was to make something of the sound of water boiling (the very first project and the first anniversary project both used the sound of ice):