Right, then, time for my self-indulgent annual round-up. For the first few months, 2014 looked like being a lean year… but things picked up big-time, I got majorly obsessed with new discoveries several times over the winter, and it ended up being really tough to pick my top 5 albums.
First noteworthy result is that, despite my well-established obsession, Aphex Twin didn’t make the cut: Caustic Window I ruled ineligible on the grounds of actually being twenty years old, and Syro was great and all, but not quite great enough. When I first discovered Angel’s Terra Null, I’d have said it was a shoo-in, and I still think it’s a phenomenal piece of work, but somehow it got edged out in my affections. Also on the long-list would be Duane Pitre & Cory Allen’s The Seeker & The Healer, and Neel’s Phobos.
So, in alphabetical order, here are the winners:
- The utterly charming melodic classical ambient, all swathed in twinkling piano, of Bing & Ruth’s Tomorrow Was The Golden Age on RVNG Intl.
- The perfect balance of fuzz and reverb with little lost tunes of Fennesz’s Bécs on Editions Mego (a real grower for me, that one).
- The rich and emotional deep house blended with modern classical and jazz of Francis Harris’s Minutes Of Sleep on Scissors & Thread.
- The joyously infectious and inventive glitch of Kyoka’s Is (Is Superpowered) on Raster-Noton.
- The seventies-style synth loveliness (without a hint of retro cleverness) of Locust’s After The Rain on Editions Mego (again).
As for track of the year… I was tempted by As Long As I Can Hold My Breath (By Night), by Harold Budd remixed by Akira Rabelais, which forms the second disc of Avalon Sutra, but at 69 minutes I thought that might be taking the mickey. A close runner-up, then, is You Were Wrong from Sd Laika’s That’s Harakiri. But since the shortlist contained four tracks from the same album, it was pretty much guaranteed that one of them would win, and this is the one that popped out on top:
- The classic breakbeat rave of Amp from Icicle’s Entropy on Shogun Audio, which just makes me grin like the fool that I am.