My list of year-end favorites:
12. Richard Skelton – Verse of Birds
Excellent hearing Richard’s guitar palette expanded to two discs worth sprawling howls and moans.
11. Aaron Dilloway & Lescalleet – Grapes and Snakes
Though both released critically acclaimed solo offerings this year, I found their collaborative effort the most rewarding of their output.
10. Joe Colley – The Lonely Microphone
Vintage Colley (2002, not too far removed from the Crawl Unit moniker) with a 30-minute offering split into two excellent side-long tracks.
09. Ruez – Brise Soleil
Surprise of the year. I found myself captivated by an Eric Laska performance this fall and equally impressed with the cassette I picked up afterward.
08. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
Love the hypermodern throwback reconstructions El-P came up with to compliment Mike’s voice and flow. His lyrics are conscious but the delivery is HAM and avoids the petty/preachy trappings that often come when venturing into that territory.
07. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
I can’t get enough of Stott’s swoon-inducing filter flux. The vocals seemed odd at first, but I’m all about them now. Leaving could be my favorite track of the year.
06. Locrian & Mammifer – Bless Them That Curse You
As beautiful as it is dark, the world created when these two gristled entities joined forces is really something to behold; simultaneously engaging and befuddling, lush and dreadful.
05. Sylvain Chauveau & Stephan Mathieu – Palimpsest
Extended, drone covers of highlights from the Smog catalog? I did not need much convincing to pick this one up.
04. Mika Vainio – Fe3O4 – Magnetite
I previously wrote that this album’s tone could be described as cosmic horror, an audio version of, say, the Alien trilogy. It is the perfect response to the blissfully psychedelic offerings so rampant these days.
03. Swans – The Seer
What a pummeling tour de force! Two hours of onslaught that feels more like a hazing than a beating. You are a different person on the other side.
02. Black to Comm – Earth
This album is so easy to unlike and dances so freely between loathsome and enchanting that I can't help but absolutely love it. It’s one of the rare album that actually challenges those who like ‘challenging’ music.
01. Mt. Eerie – Clear Moon
Phi Elverum took his production and songwriting to new levels with his two full-length offerings this year. I wouldn’t have minded seeing them as a double album, but I appreciate the distinctions between the two. Clear Moon wins out as favorite by a slight margin.
And three others I wish I'd had just a bit more time with to fully analyze:
Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
Jon Mueller – Death Blues
Michael Pisaro – Tombstones
I think time will be very generous to all three.