Saturday, January 1, 2011

:::: ALBUMS OF 2010 ::::

Thomas Koner "Nunatak Gongamur/Teimo/Permanfrost" (Type)
Supersilent "10" (Rune Grammofon)
Jesu "Heart Ache & Dethroned" (Hydrahead)
Boris "Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol.1-4" (Southern Lord)
Max Richter "Infra" (Fat Cat)
Rafael Irisarri "The North Bend" (Room40)
Nils Frahm "Wintermusik" (Erased Tapes)
Ultralyd "Inertiadrome" (Rune Grammofon)
Ryuichi Sakamoto "Playing the Piano" (Decca Classical)
Cloudland Canyon "Fin Eaves" (Holy Mountain)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma "Love Is A Stream" (Type)
Pan Sonic "Gravitoni" (Blast First)
SWANS "My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope the Sky" (Young God")
Kouhei Matsunaga "Self VA/3 Telepathics/Processing the Dead Minotaur" (Important)
Ben Frost "By The Throat" (Bedroom Community)
Johann Johannsson "...And in the Endless Pause Came the Sound of Bees" (Type)
Frank Bretschneider "Exp." (Raster-Noton)
Various Artists "Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers" (Crammed Discs)
Thomas Bangalter/Various "Enter the Void - Soundtrack" (Roulé France)

Continuing from the films list above... like cinema, the year in sounds there was the curious repeat theme;
2010 was again a year for diggers. Wherein, many of the great recordings of the year appeared from
otherwise unknown origins and artists that some years ago were just establishing themselves, often under
other monikers. That much more reason to 'keep the ears to the ground' as it were and be that much more
looking out for the new and unheard.

There were many works that took the ears to exciting places, and that did so in distinct, expressive and
adventurous ways. Particularly at the strange crossroads where modern classical, lo-fi folk, musique
concrete, improv, metal, ambient, 'noise' and avant jazz traditions are all meeting as hypermodern, as-yet
unnamed genre mutations. Ultralyd's most recent album, "Inertiadrome", stands as a good example, as does
the disorienting fusion of hip-hop, noise and electronic minimalism that was Kouhei Matsunaga's trilogy of
albums. Perhaps the most hyper-hybrid of them all was the giddy fusion of western indie rock and electronic
sounds meets amped-up African world music in the "Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers" compilation.

Live sonic adventures were heard around the Northwest, with Decibel Festival offering some of the best
electronic performances of the year (Ben Frost, Pantha Du Prince, Fennesz) and Triple Door hosting the
chamber symphony and electronic night that was Johann Johannsson and Rafael Anton Irisarri Trio. There
were astounding metal shows this year, including Boris, Nadja, Wolves in the Throne Room, Shrinebuilder
and Neurosis, and many fine things heard in Earshot Jazz Fest including the Paul D. Miller Ensemble and
the sublime piano minimalism of Ryuichi Sakamoto.