Farewell, 2012. This year rippled with some fantastic releases; here’s a list of my top ten albums from the past twelve months:
- Pye Corner Audio – Sleep Games (Ghost Box)
My favorite artist of 2012. The Head Technician outputs music worthy of a deliciously thick, foggy horror flick under the heavy influence of Warp Records’ early days.
- Christian Löffler – A Forest (Ki)
A relatively new face to the ambient techno world, Löffler is coming soon to San Francisco with Andy Stott (January 18).
- Lumerians – Transmissions From the Telos Vol. IV (Hands In The Dark)
These local psych gods put on an outstanding show. They make sweet friends too.
- Can – The Lost Tapes (Mute)
This three disc set of master tapes contains rare material that was recorded, boxed and forgotten decades ago. So glad they were unearthed and released.
- Voices from the Lake feat. Donato Dozzy & Neel – Voices from the Lake (Prologue)
“S.T. (VFL Rework)” became the most frequently played track when I printed on the Windmill this year; I guess VFTL and letterpress go well together! They performed a memorable live set at Monarch in July.
- Jan Jelinek – Music For Fragments / Music & Birds (Faitiche)
I’ve followed Jan Jelinek over a dozen years with much devotion. His latest release is one of quiet sophistication, spare but crackling with texture and whimsy.
- Peaking Lights – Lucifer
A great album for summertime at the beach. “Beautiful Son” is a highlight:
- Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm – Stare (Erased Tapes)
Nils Frahm’s last album, Felt, was a 2011 favorite, and his latest collaboration with Arnalds seems a happy and productive one. Together, the two modern classical composers create a cinematic EP that’s perfect for a late night drive.
- Andy Stott – Luxury Problems (Modern Love)
Like Jelinek, Andy Stott is another producer I’ve watched with keen interest over the years. He’s come a long way from Merciless (2006), slowly growing his sonic palette into a dark fusion of lush IDM and driving percussive patterns, overlaid with heavenly vocals from Alison Skidmore.
- Monolake – Ghosts (Imbalance Computer Music)
Robert Henke gave a great talk and dropped a solid set at Unsound Festival in New York. His latest album transports one straight into the pages of a Philip K. Dick or William Gibson novel.