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.


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!!