My albums of 2017

Alright, then, popkids, time for my annual round-up…

I listened to lots of great records this year, thanks everyone! My longlist included records by Aiden Baker & Karen WillemsColleen, Duran Duran DuranHior ChronikKelly Lee OwensMarcus FjellströmStill, and William Basinski, but none quite made the final cut. I spent a long time with a shortlist of six, and I really wanted them all to make it — but what’s the point in having self-imposed rules if you’re not going to keep them? If the whole of the Ellen Allien record had been as good as its best tracks then it would have been a shoo-in, but a couple of less-awesome tracks meant it had to go.

So, here are my five best albums of 2017.

  • I described Caterina Barbieri’s Patterns Of Consciousness as “close to perfection” at the time, and I stand by that. I reckon it’s clearly the most genuinely innovative and genuinely beautiful thing the recent modular synth revival has produced.
  • At the start of the year, I wouldn’t have expected to be including an electropop record here, but Kalieda’s Tear The Roots just blew me away.
  • It’s hard to know what to say about Mike Cooper’s Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer except that, if you haven’t heard it, you really should, because it is strangely wonderful.
  • If you have an albums-of-2017 list and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s async isn’t on it then I think we need to have a little talk, because surely this is just objectively a work of genius from start to finish.
  • Rounding the list out (alphabetically speaking) is Spatial’s A Music Of Sound Systems, which I described as “a kind of deconstruction of a sound clash” and more importantly as “jaw-dropping”. (Incidentally, the remix record is worth checking out, too.)

And as a bonus, this year I’m naming my five best-of-the-rest tracks from the longlist. They are the title track from Colleen’s A Flame My Love, A Frequency, Pryor Acid from Duran Duran Duran’s Duran, Physical from Ellen Allien’s Nost, CBM from Kelly Lee Owen’s (ahem) eponymous debut album, and Don’t Stop (Wondo Riddim) from Still’s I.

Happy 2018!

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