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Best Albums: 2017

Discussion in 'Music Department' started by Cubey, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Cubey

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    Late but I expected one of you niggas to post this.

    Spill em :lbj
     
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  2. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    Ughhhh, I need to do that list.

    But I'm also very bad with lists.
     
  3. Ashi Repent, motherfuckers!

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    reptuation by Taylor Swift goes hard :bury
     
  4. Atlas .

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  5. Cubey

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    Blanck Mass: World-eater
    This was my first foray into Blanck Mass and what a wonderful experience it was. Layered electronics with emotional passages that lead into swirling crescendos. A must for anyone into electronic music, though edm purists (Martin garrix fans) might not find enough utz utz in it.

    Wolves in the Throne Room: Thrice Woven
    I admit I never gave WITTR a chance before. Fuck, I only listened to Two Hunters like 4 days ago. Huge mistake on my part, because while they aren’t Norwegian, these guys really deliver with their brand of black metal. There are some atmospheric moments dispersed throughout the album that add to the raging atmosphere. For example, four minutes into the opening track, the guitars clear out and make way for operatic vocals which build into a tremendous riff. Great album.



    Post more later.
     
  6. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    This is just a random list of what I can remember from 2017, no order. It'll probably be continued later.

    Boris - Dear

    I'm a pretty big Boris "fan." However, I know full well when a Boris release is a good "fan" release and when it's just fucking good, and Dear hit that bullseye pretty damn well. Noise honestly felt like the band slowing down, getting tired of doing their thing and were succumbing to writing fatigue. When announcing Dear as a farewell album it really felt like it. Thankfully that's not the case.

    Dear can be described as, like so many albums now, an amalgamation of their previous works--that's what Noise sounded like, but drawing more heavily from their Producer albums and Heavy Rocks II than their earlier material. Dear is their obsession with amplifiers, distortion and droning noise but bolstered by everything they've learned across their varied and intense career. It's slow, crushing but has that hazy melody and that intense guitar leading. This is absolutely a return to roots in the best way.

    Emptyset - Borders

    Emptyset continues their breed of incredibly dark, noisy techno influenced beatmaking. The album blends splashes of guitar work into the overall sound tapestry they have, never really diminishing the sinister tone for which their albums are known. Hissing, thudding, shuddering noise--it's absolutely a noise album, but if you're an adventurous electronic listener I'd say give it a shot.

    Primitive Man - Caustic

    This is absolute sonic misery in the best possible way. Their debut, Scorn, was a fantastic slab of hellish doom that you should absolutely hear. However, if there was any complaint about how bleak and unpleasant the tone of Scorn was, they decided to double down on that feeling with Caustic. There are very few breaks of any kind on the album, and they're certainly not breathers; the sonic brutalizing you get will come in waves and is unrelenting, from the guitar work, to the drums to the vocals it continues an auditory lashing that makes you really want more.

    Noise-doom is a great descriptor and will give you an idea about how hatefilled the album sounds.

    岡部啓一 [Keiichi Okabe] & 帆足圭吾 [Keigo Hoashi] - Nier: Automata

    I'm gonna level with you. I don't really listen to much video game music outside its context; most of it never really sticks with me. But the original Nier had a soundtrack that made me smack my gob with how unbelievably memorable, poignant and fascinating it was.

    This year we got another one that has absolutely enamored me again. Lush, melodic and engaging it really does what it sets out to do and more. Just listen to it.

    Binker and Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever

    A double album, this one is quite a bit to sit through but it's a fascinating foray into the areas of Jazz ideas and how Funk is an attitude, not just an electric bass. It's adventurous in an endearing way.

    The first disk is just our titular heroes, Binker and Moses, on sax and percussion, respectively. Fear not for this is not an abrasive and atonal descent into Free Improvisation but rather an exceedingly and infectiously groovy slathering of Funk and Post Bop, fun and winding but retaining uniquely sparse atmosphere, given the band size. This may be a harder starting point if you're not into Jazz, but it's absolutely worth the price of admission.

    The second is what you might call more standard fair, with a full backing band. The sound is much more lush but no less engaging. The juxtaposition between the light and bouncy first disk and the elaborate nature of the second is fantastic, and the second disk is no less great for being a fuller band, as both Binker and Moses are still the band leaders and shine greatly on it.

    Colin Stetson - All This I Do For Glory

    What can I really say? Colin's work with his saxophone is something you really need to hear to fully grasp, because I won't do it justice. This album isn't quite up to par with the absolute madness of his previous 3 albums (and the album with Sarah Neufeld), but by only slightly and it's still an absolute mesmerizing trip.

    Colin Stetson plays a saxophone and nothing else, and it's abrasive, mesmerizing, percussive and enchanting. It's a swirling, aggressive exercise in what sounds you can get from a saxophone, and how absolutely massive you can sound with just a single acoustic instrument.

    special mention - Make sure to listen to Colin's excursion in post metal on the band's self titled Ex-Eye

    Endon - Through the Mirror

    I would have no idea who these guys were if it weren't for Boris. I'd gotten an inkling from their split cassette release with Boris (which I still haven't been able to hear yet), but I had no idea what exactly I was getting into when they opened for Boris in concert. The vague descriptions online didn't really do it justice.

    If you can believe me, Through the Mirror is actually a slightly calmer and softer affair than their previous effort Mama, though neither of those words really belong within 50 feet of anything Endon produces. Warped, abrasive, venom spewing hybrid of noise, metal and punk that draws from things like harsh noise, powerviolence, black metal and virtually anything growls ugly in underground circles. It's an absolute barrage of noise that occasionally melts into wonderful punk percussion rhythms or melodic, metallic guitar lines before exploding back into unholy chaos. And I do mean noise.

    If you like any kind of abrasive rock, listen.

    Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner & James McAlister - Planetarium

    Honestly, somehow not as good as it should be but still really good. Fuck you I liked it.

    And I'm honestly only really interested in the first two names, but the album is an absolute treat. Gorgeous, lush, alien and melodic the album is really carried by Sufjan's signature vocalizing and lyrics; the album drifts between more orchestrated splendor like from his Age of Adz album to pure floating ambience, and it mostly works. The album is a bit sleepy but that's not a detriment. It's an exceedingly beautiful album that drifts into a fair amount of soft ambient space that evaporates to make way for more swelling orchestrated, melodic indie rock.

    If any of those names ring true for you, listen to Planetarium.

    Igorrr - Savage Sinusoid

    By far his most metal oriented album, but one that still delightfully revels in the insanity and bizarre nature of his earliest electronic forays. The album features a great deal more of typical metal instrumentation alongside his crazy breakbeat and glitch production, filled with guitar chords, pummeling drumkits and his trademark dramatic screaming. However you're still gonna find accordions, saxophones and other unusual instruments littered along the album's path. It never abandons its baroque fetish and still fully lavishes in strings and piano and operatic female vocals, and it always works out.

    In all honesty it's taken a noticeable turn into a tamer territory than the previous albums; that could either be a net positive or negative for your opinion depending on how crazy you like your music. It's a little calmer, a little more composed but ultimately just about as bizarre as he's ever been. Like all previous albums his goofy stew of musical influences shouldn't really work but it does--and if you're maybe a bit taken aback by the previous albums, give this one a try.

    Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me

    I'm not really going to expound because better people have said more about it.

    Just listen to it, if you can weather the grief.
     
  7. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    Richard Dawson - Peasant

    It's honestly very weird to hear something like this in 2017 as it is, but for it to also garner some minor acclaim despite occupying the outer fringes of Freak Folk (and, like the super British kind), but I'm very glad it did. I didn't catch the album until pretty late into the year, mostly by happenstance, but it's an incredibly infectious one.

    The music really does call back to the days of unsettling, off kilter Prog Folk like Comus, but also retains a melodic sensibility among the craziness. Basically the music reminds me of the unsettling, outsider folk trappings of Comus and some of the more intense, erratic and massive songs from Psalters but really exuding its own identity. It also borrows a deal from British prog, sometimes more obvious than not, but it's a welcome addition for me. It's odd, some what catchy, somewhat offputting and somewhat bizarre, but all still tied up in what can be done with acoustic strings and a straining falsetto. Absolutely worth it.

    Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh - Sex Tape

    This one is harder to explain, and so I'll really just say that if either of these names are familiar to you (and you like them) you owe it to yourself to have a gander. Brötzmann winds his way through some of his most subdued playing in a long time, but wonderfully so--and Leigh brings a welcome atmosphere and electric fire to the his playing. They work oddly well together, so if you're a fan of either of them or just the style of music, and you haven't yet, go for it.

    Ben Frost - The Centre Cannot Hold

    I saw someone describe this album as Ben Frost playing Tim Hecker, and I can't really unhear it. This album is fire with that kind of hazy ambience, brooding synth washes and airy static dominate a lot of the album's atmosphere, but at its heart it's absolutely a Ben Frost Nightmare. The underpinning of the aforementioned feelings is Frost's gurgling, growling and stuttering noise production, shifting between dark ambient and pulsing, muffled rhythms that feel struggling to reach out from that cesspit.

    It's all atmosphere, and it's honestly just as effective even borrowing from lighter elements. It still has that alien noise worming around inside, rumbling and shifting as colorful synths hover around. It has a nice juxtaposition going for it. Frost has always been an electronic composer, first and foremost, but this is a further foray into mostly electronic territory, eschewing a lot of the electro-acoustic elements of masterpieces like By the Throat or Theory of Machines, but it's a natural progression than a case of trend chasing. It's still there, if you can catch it, but it has been reserved.

    Absolutely hear this if you want ambient music with a pulse. Or noise music with a voice.

    Swans - Deliquescence

    It's a live album but fuck you.

    Among some of the best Post-Revival Swans has to offer. Massive, slow burning epics, both old and new, occupy the majority of the double disc, and it's the same unbelievably infectious and mesmerizing brand of hypnotic rock music ever to come out, the repetitions that hammer down and down again, building that swell of energy and music in a way most Post Rock has only ever pretended it wanted to do. Lush, atmospheric and haunting, the overwrought kinda stuff you either love or hate.

    It's a no-brainer for Swans fans, but if you're curious check it out.

    The Body & Full of Hell - Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

    No idea it was coming and glad I checked.

    I've been a big fan of The Body since All the Waters of the Earth turn to Blood and their weird brand of doom metal they mix with angelic choruses and choirs. When they collaborated with Full of Hell on One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache I was pretty excited, given the propensity for both bands to make the ugliest music they possibly can, and while I did like the album quite a bit, it felt a bit meandering and straight forward, oddly enough. Amongst the chaos and ugliness something was missing.

    Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light is far, far weirder affair. Almost to the point of detriment if the kind of bizarre, pulsing madness the album brings is too far gone for you--to be absolutely certain both bands retain identity on the album, but strike a fairer and more resolute balance while bringing in heaps of electronic influences amidst the grinding and plodding you get from either band. Industrial backdrops, free jazz horns, howling vocals and subdued beats find their way into this ugly glop and it's incredible how well it works. It's weird and abrasive and so much more adventurous than their previous effort together; absolutely listen if you are a fan of either.

    Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over

    The best part about exploring Jazz is that every era of it is so musically incestuous there's paths for discovery just branching out each and every which way as you explore, and that's what brought me to Iyer. I'd heard the name but never readily bothered with his music until his duet album with Wadada Leo Smith (who's name I had been familiar with forever because of Tzadik) and I loved every second of it.

    Some might balk at the term adventurous for something like Far From Over and I'd really not blame them. Musically it's about as Post-Bop as you can get, with some minor modern accents. But within that framework it's musically varied, fun and indeed adventurous of a sort. It's beautifully played and composed and just fun to listen to; for a straight forward Jazz album in 2017 you can't do much better, as a listener.
     
  8. Cubey

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    Jhene Aiko - Trip
    Man, jhene aiko. If you thought female r&b died with Aaliyah, you need to look this one up. Jhene aiko’s sultry vocals are the perfect combination between 90s love songs and 2010’s alt-r&b. What does she sing about? Obviously love and relationships, but she incorporates a hint of spirituality in her music that emphasize self-peace in an oriental kind of way. “Creation (Oblivion)” is a great example pf this. We can talk about her lyrics and instrumental choices but really she’s just the girl next door and it’s completely captivating.
     
  9. Nighty the Mighty swm n outer space

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    :catsad
     
  10. Nighty the Mighty swm n outer space

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    I suck at tracking new material vs new to me material but here's some stuff I noticed scrolling around a bit

    mount eerie - a crow looked at me (depressioncore)
    ariel pink - dedicated to bobby jameson (hypnogogic pop)
    algiers - the underside of power (gospel punk)
    brand new - science fiction (emo indie rock)
    kirin j callinan - bravado (synth pop? dance?)
    sleigh bells - kid kruschev (noise pop allegedly)
    ajax spearman of the sun - water (piano field recordings)

    that last pick should be enough credit for this otherwise pretty generic list imo :umafood
     
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  11. Mali ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    in no particular order

    carrie & lowell live- sufjan stevens
    forget- xiu xiu
    world eater- blanck mass
    sanzala- fatigado
    hiss spun- chelsea wolfe
    emotional freedom technique- dave depper
    async- ryuichi sakomoto
    fantasmas- zavala
    isthmus- 9T antiope/ kwiaty- jacaszek (cant decide between them tbh, both just some of the most delightful ambient pop you'll ever hear)

    aaaaand my favorite album of the year is colter walls self titled ode to those that have suffered beyond their years. cant stop listening to it. he comes across as a particularly dejected young fred neil with a killer amount of bass in his voice. hes around the same age as me (21/22) and so i cant wait for wat the future holds in regards to his music tbh.
     
  12. Cubey

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    I guess I’ll be the first one to post gybe’s luciferian towers :pek
     
  13. Mali ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    big ups for theworld eather mention cubert that album is automatedfire
     
  14. Cubey

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    Shit had me going buckwild in the living room :dammit
     
  15. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    Ryuch Sakamoto - Async

    I really shouldn't have to foreword Sakamoto.

    Deep and dark, full of melancholy. It's ambience not unfamiliar to Sakamoto but still one that is ripe with themes of ageing and dying, given his age. They permeate the fluxes of piano, synthesizers and droning soundscapes, but tracks contain spoken samples that drive home the point. Absolutely phenomenal but not relaxing, despite it's fairly quiet and subdued nature.

    Ehnahre - The Marrow

    A collective of musicians that rotates somewhat regularly, though they seem to have settled on the previous lineup from their album Douve. Largely composed of members of Kayo Dot from Dowsing Anemone Ehnahre is a band that somewhat retains its roots in the death and doom stances of its earliest incarnations, but never quite sticking with them. Even their earliest albums, most fraught with the regular trappings of the genre, still had an unsettling and unusual composition style, loaded with atmospherics and strings/horns. As the band has progressed they've only gotten weirder.

    The Marrow is something that doesn't really have an obvious analog. Even Kayo Dot doesn't really much in common with them. Straddling a weird side of electric, aggressive distortion and avant-garde and free improv, the music is surprisingly still loaded with the same burning, unpleasant atmosphere, drawing nicely from both traditions to make something that does feel a bit unsettling. Slow and pained, the music and the vocals are really not for the feint of heart.

    This probably only really appeals to me and a handful of people. :caticon

    Boneshaker - Thinking Out Loud

    I usually check out anything Paal Nilssen-Love is in because the dude always manages to keep me entertained, despite being a constant member of the international Free Improv scene. Working with a litany of fantastic musicians, he really knows who works well with him, and Boneshaker is no exception.

    Thinking Out Loud is that kind of Free Jazz that borders on the more spastic, abrasive sounds that populate a lot of modern but still maintains a sense of groove and levity, a type of cohesiveness that manages to stay strong despite the dextrous and heady type of music they're playing, though they do manage to slow things to a crawl to drag out some tension on a few tracks. It's absolutely modern Free Jazz and everything that entails, far less focused on composition and band leaders and more on the collective nature of the members playing, but does still keep interest and avoid some of the pitfalls of the noisier and louder aspects of Modern (non-ECM) Jazz.

    Good for adventurous Jazz listeners.

    Battlestations - Vixit

    I fucking love Battlestations.

    I honestly have no idea why these guys aren't more well known. I guess they technically occupy a genre abandoned by everyone except its most ardent adherents, Post Rock, but Battlestations really embodies a spirit of atmospheric rock music that tremelo guitar with jazz tunings that reaches a crescendo every song never got close to. They embrace post rock, electronic music, dark ambient all with an extreme focus on atmosphere and mood, long, swelling tracks that are as much creepy Lustmord type experiments as they are the sparse Godspeed You! Black Emperor tunings (pre break-up, anyways).

    Vixit takes notes from classical compositions of people like Arvo Pärt or Henry Górecki with these gorgeous, subdued and grandiose strings and choruses that float over the song in such an amazingly beautiful way, never quite bursting from the washes of electronics and synthesizers the band uses, but perfectly accenting it. Indeed, the group approaches the elimination of the rock component altogether, drawing closer to projects like Worrytrain, though far grander and more spacious in scale.

    The album is pretty haunting (even though I hate the word) and beautiful. Super gorgeous and open, slow building and take full advantage of its extended pieces to create atmosphere that's never fully bright nor dark. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

    Listen if you like any kind of ambient/dark ambient/post rock type stuff.

    All Pigs Must Die - Hostage Animal

    This just kinda slakes my need for crust. I've been listening to it a fair amount and finding myself liking it quite a bit. Does nothing new for the genre but it's absolutely solid and galloping, in your face in the way you want it to be. Fast, aggressive, shouty and fuck you.
     
  16. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    ngl, I liked a lot more the firs time I heard it

    because after I did that I went and revisited their pre-reformation albums and they're so fucking good and unusual

    luciferian towers is like really good third wave post rock, and I wish godspeed wasn't doing that
     
  17. Cubey

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    Ofc. Doesn’t compare to RYFTTSLTA. Everyone knows that.
     
  18. Farto i'm super gay and not powerful Retired Staff

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    Or Moya, F#A# Infinity or Yanqui UXO tbh.
     
  19. Nighty the Mighty swm n outer space

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    I didn't like it that much :blobcry
     
  20. Mali ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    cant believe i was in such a state last night that i completely overlooked gabriel garzon montano's debut "jardin". loved it from start to finish and although i dont think its a clear progression from its antecedent release (bishoune: alma del huila) because of the attempt to imbue his honestly refreshing brand of neo-soul with a more pop sensibility, its still a treat of an album. id replace hiss spun with it on my list if i wasnt a lazy bastard.
     
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