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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