Year-End Music Picks (2016)

7FO – Water Falls Into A Blank [RVNG]

Dub-based synth/guitar music from Osaka Japan — you might not know it from the Soundcloud track but this album is like a cross between Sky Records, ‘The Sounds of the Sounds of Science’ by Yo La Tengo plus Scientist/King Tubby-esque dub. Cool!


LORENZO SENNI – Persona [Warp]

Italian supergenius Lorenzo Senni’s first offering for Warp continues and expands upon his singular style of beatless quote-unquote “trance”.  Every track is amazing and my expectations for the inevitable full-length are now unrealistically high!


SAM KIDEL – Disruptive Muzak [Death of Rave, 2016]

This conceptual work pairs sparse ambient compositions with actual phone recordings of live UK call center employees — who are apparently listening to the music along with us.  It’s like a Brian Eno prank call record.


KLARA LEWIS – Too [Emego]

Probably the best minimalist/drone/noise LP I’ve heard this year (Berlin label Total Black had some close contenders); frequently veering into Philip Jeck found-sound territory, tracks like ‘Beaming’ suggest sinister parallel worlds lurking beneath every surface of your (my?) shitty apartment.


ARIL BRIKHA & SEBASTIAN MULLEART – Illuminate [Mule Musiq]

Like Brikha’s nearly ten year old 12″ ‘Winter’, both sides of this single are incredible and I can’t decide which track is the superior one; though I tend to lean toward the Kit Clayton-esque B-side ‘Radiate’, which isn’t currently available on Soundcloud 🙁


ALEKSI PERALA – The Colundi Sequence Volume I [Clone, 2016]

Aleksi Perala is an old Rephlex guy, and the record has that vibe — though many tracks also have a minimalist Plastikman techno feel.  This might work as a sort of crossover record for the old IDM heads who still hate 4×4 techno?

In any case, this thing is loaded with nostalgic Bogdan Raczynski synth lines and the opening track has Mario Kart whistles:

DEMDIKE STARE – Wonderland [Modern Love]

While past Demdike Stare releases flirted with full-on minimalism, this one has actual breaks (I think I nearly heard an amen!) — thus pulling more listens out of me than all previous efforts combined. ‘Sourcer’ even has chopped up dancehall vocals:


AVALON EMERSON – Narcissus in Retrograde [Spectral]

I’ve seen her other EP getting a lot of hype on critics end-year lists, but I can’t say I’ve listened to it much. Actually, I haven’t listened to this one much either; I just really like this track:


MUSKA – Artist Focus 57 [Alter Ego]

Lately I’ve been embracing uncool genres like “Progressive House”. It’s so hit or miss and many releases feature questionable graphic design choices, but I earnestly love Argentinian producer Muska. Some people might say this music is fruity as hell but I think it’s great and I refuse to be bullied by the likes of you!!