Another list. I look forward to skimming through others’ lists to see what I missed or dismissed too easily in 2010 or what never made it to my ears.
My picks, in alphabetical order:
Akira Rabelais — Caduceus
The latest from Akira Rabelais delves further into his finely textured soundworld. Having built a delicate and detailed sonic vocabulary since the 1990s, this composer continues to impress me with his skilled digital manipulations. Finely tuned grit.
Arcade Fire — The Suburbs
Still living with this one… I immediately liked about half of the album while the rest took time to grow on me.
Beach House — Teen Dream
A memorable set of songs that manages to sound lush and spacious at the same time. Melancholy pop gems.
Blonde Redhead — Penny Sparkle
Not what I expected.
Darkstar — North
I must admit that hearing Aidy’s Girl is a Computer on the Hyperdub box did not initially impress me, but the album taken as a whole reveals Darkstar to be way more interesting than my first impression led me to believe.
James Blake — Limit to your Love
My first encounter with James Blake’s name was on the Airhead & James Blake release Pembroke / Lock in the Lion, which I found alluringly atmospheric yet solidly built. Nestled nicely somewhere between dubstep and the LA beats scene. THIS song, however, found a side door into my brain and lodged there. I was not prepared for the simple piano chords combined with his voice to be so arresting.
Kryptic Minds — Wasteland/Hybrid
Minimalist and crisp production on this dubstep monster. No wasted motion, just enough clack to keep things moving forward while waves of sub-bass frequencies swell and surge underneath.
The Roots — How I Got Over
The Roots got me interested again.
Sukh Knight — Cheese Loueez
Probably my favorite producer still exploring the half-step wobble bass style of dubstep.
Toro Y Moi — Leave Everywhere
Another song that stealthily laid roots in my brain. Catchy.
Zola Jesus — Stridulum II
Dark and dramatic but restrained. The album opener, Night, makes me imagine that I am in the back room at a party when I am suddenly visited by a quasi-religious vision of Stevie Nicks floating in the back of the bathroom queue.
New Orleans street performers Tuba Skinny have a great vintage jazz sound which is steeped in local tradition. My amazing partner bought the band’s CD directly on the street and brought it home for me.