Best of 2013, top 5 albums
1) Jon Hopkins : Immunity / Domino
Wrecked havoc in Montreal at Mutek. A complete sonic experiment as good for the head as it is for the feet. A future classic and overwhelming experience! I was seduced by Collider straight from the first listen, rough yet genuinely accurate production blended with repeating vocal snippet result in pure 9 minutes technoish power in the massive track Collider. This is music that we, techno heads crave nowadays.. A tour de force, full of emotions and frequencies that is relentless. You should allow your mind to absorb and to feel the cycling beauty passing through. Last summer when I was working with grass-cutter for hours, I used to use it as a natural sound energizer, listening to it with earplug headphones. A couple of standouts tracks like open eye signal and the best vinyl pressing of 2013. Abandon Window is a beautiful ambient piano piece reminiscent of previous albums, and of course the stunning album opener from my podcast below.
2) Holden : The Inheritors / Border community
Wellcome return to form after a dissapointing DJ Kicks for Mr James Holden. It’s not music for the simple minded, it takes a few listens, but once you’re sucked into the experience, what a trip it is! A definetly much better endeavor than the first Album “The idiots are winning” , this one brings more soundscapes but with amazing depth and layers and good coherence. The musical production evokes nocturn atmospheres in rural places with massive forests and stone buildings where the only lights come from fireplaces and torches. This is like an epic soundtrack, with dark, emotional and relaxing tunes.
3) Boards of Canada : Tomorrow’s Harvest / Warp
I ll admit it, I had given up on both BOC and Warp records. But only fools do not change their minds! Tomorrow’s Harvest is a grower. An album that takes a few listens…More than 10 actually for me. But now the aural beauty of Sundown is just stuck in my head…What’s the point of recreating an album of more of the same ? MHTRTC is a thing of the past and this album keeps some of the old synth pads from it but yet with a darker sound and grim approach. I applaud them for always trying something new and not a rehash. With that said it is always a joy to listen to anything made by them. I have collected and listened to all of BOC since 1998. As for this album I actually really like it. I am a fan of ambient and darker sounds. I feel like this is another excellent chapter in their music with this release. With songs like “Reach for the dead” and “Sundown” and ”Split your infinities”.
4) Horror inc. : Briefly eternal / Perlon
Now that’s a surprise. Both in terms of form, musical content and moniker used (Instead of Akufen)…This album has amazing production values and reminds me of Marc Moulin’s Tohubohu from 1975. A fusion of jazz, house and downtempo beats but with a lot of delicate attention to details and especially sounds before sounds. Similar to Matthew Herbert’s Bodily function perhaps ? But not tedious jazz-house mind you. Rather, the atmosphere is very aberrant, warm sounds of guitar are correlated with post-romantic, almost nocturnal pieces, which gives outstanding results. Every track is full of emotions wherein I can really find myself drifting into them.
5 ) Atom tm : HD / Raster-Norton
Uwe Schmidt aka Atom heart aka Senor coconut is also know as Atom tm, whom I saw at the Sonar festival in Barcelona last june. I find myself totally hooked on the sultry Riding the void. It is electro à la Kraftwerk but with production values of 2013, with a thumping bassline and an incredible vocoder. This absolutely funky, funny music and really playful. As with most Raster-Noton releases, the production is extremely crisp, tight and surgically precise. This is the elegant German minimalistic and yet addictive electronic music. Kraftwerk would be proud and dare I say ”Ich Bin Meine Maschine” !
Remix of the year : Leftfield – Song of life by Betoko
Favorite EP : Stingray313 : NKKK4_2
Favorite soundtrack : Cliff Martinez : Only god forgives / Milan records
Remix / edit of a classic : New order : Blue Monday (John Digweed & Nick Muir’s Fact 73-13 mix)