In 2012, I belatedly realised that it is almost impossible to keep up to date with the universe of new music available on the internet.
Don’t get me wrong – I FUCKING LOVE THE INTERNET. But if you have a fairly eclectic taste, then there is just so much music out there. And there is always someone raving about something like it is the best thing they have ever heard. Even when you manage to select a few tastemakers, keeping up to date with the torrent of music that they rave about is a tricky task. And even if you do, then you still have Spotify, Youtube, Amazon or Facebook telling you that if you like that then you should really try this…
None of this is revelatory. Short attention spans have become the focus of many a marketing department’s blue sky thinking session and the sole topic of critical theorists’ mighty tomes. But as far as personal impact is concerned, it has made me look back. Back towards the music I know I love rather than trying to find out more about music I should love.
First, I compiled a list of my favourite 100ish albums of all time and then vowed to listen to just them. Which of course, I didn’t do. But it was a fun task, which took a few months, and it helped me identify what music I really, really love. It was not a list of “classic” albums or “influential” albums, it was just a list of my favourite albums.
So this meant I didn’t really go searching for new music this year. So my list of favourite albums is fairly short.
However, I wouldn’t want to totally miss out on 2012’s musical delights. So I have devoured the internet’s end of year lists with even more relish than usual. And to keep track, I have compiled a personal list of lists from those published by The Quietus, LargeUp, Passion of the Weiss, PopMatters, FACT, Blissblog, The Wire, F.U.N.K. and Resident Advisor. That’s my select group of tastemakers. That’s what I have to keep up to date with to keep up to date. It’s a full time bloody job! (Interestingly, it turns out that Resident Advisor is the most “up my street” and I only really looked there as an afterthought.)
Anyway, the best of the best best ofs is my personal pick of the albums from their lists that I missed or want to give a second listen. I think I’ll like them but have only given them a cursory listen so far. There’s enough albums on this list, so the rest can go take a flying jump. Yep, that means no Kendrick Lamarr (I tried to like it, really I did, I even took it on holiday), no Frank Ocean, no Laurel Halo, no Ariel Pink, no Killer Mike and no Swans. I have tried them all. They’re just not doing it for me. But these are:
1. Robert Hood – Motor: Nighttime World 3
“Motor: Nighttime World 3 is the most fully realised LP of his career, a truly epic journey that flows with beautiful poise. Hood has put together here a triumphant and moving piece of motor city techno soul, boasting otherworldly production values that will have you shaking your head with wonder at its beautifully rendered intricacies.” The Quietus.
2. Arnaldo Antunes, Edgar Scandura & Toumani Diabate – A Curva de Cintura
“Here, the three men chase their own notions, the rocker rocks, the kora ripples, and with effortless magic, they fit themselves together, one slotting into the other, neat as Russian dolls.” Popmatters
3. Silent Servant – Negative Fascination
“This is purist techno at its finest.” Resident Advisor
4. Recondite – On Acid
“No squelching arpeggios, no bombastic intrusions, no gurning: Recondite’s acid is all pillows, sunsets and fuzzy hallucinations.” Resident Advisor
5. Roc Marciano – Reloaded
“It is indeed a very cold world and Reloaded is tethered to its temperature.” Passion of the Weiss
6. Orange Hill Productions – Electro Bashy
“England’s Orange Hill Productions, a duo made up of Ras Kwame of BBC 1Xtra fame and producer Jnr. Tubby (a/k/a Dialtone), nephew of the late King Tubby, have been in the lab for some time now, developing a remedy for dancehall stagnancy by injecting it with growth hormones from the world of U.K. bass music.” LargeUp
7. Dubkasm – Brixton Rec
8. Curren$y – Priest Andretti
“The tropes essentially remain the same, the backdrop changes slightly (compare the beats on Covert Coup, Cigarette Boats, and Priest Andretti), and as per usual, Curren$y comes out smelling like weed and Versace. That’s good, right?” Passion of the Weiss
9. Starlito – Post Traumatic Stress
10. Ricardo Villalobos – Dependent & Happy
“His most inspired record in years. Beauty and emotion had returned to his palette, and suddenly his abstract improvisations were once again full of life. Teeming with surreal imagery from beginning to end, it’s one of those albums that seems too lush with detail to ever grow old.” Resident Advisor
11. Jehst & Kashmere – Kingdom of Fear
12. Various Artists – Shangaan Shake
13. The Coup – Sorry to bother you
14. Main Attrakionz – Bossalinis & Foolyones
15. Voices from the Lake – Voices from the Lake
16. Various Artists – Songs for Desert Refugees
17. Mark Ernestus – jeru Jeru
18. DVA – Pretty Ugly
19. Mr Vegas – Sweet Jamaica
20. Edward Scisortongue – Better Luck Next Time
21. Lee Gamble – Diversions 1994 – 1996
22. Chromatics – Kill for love