Favorite Music from 2010

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.

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