FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010

1. Keith Fullerton Whitman, Disingenuity/Disingenuousness (Pan): After a relatively quite couple of years, the sounds of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s modular synth completely filled 2010. More than just being another great KFW release, this gorgeous slab of vinyl was an homage to his heroes, a distillation of 50 years of electronic music into just under forty minutes.

2. Richard Skelton, Landings (Type): It seems almost unfair to include this on a list of albums, for this was so much more. Richard Skelton’s Landings Diaries elevated this into a compelling study of grief and renewal, achieved in collusion with the landscapes and ruined farmhouses of the Pennine moors. A remarkable achievement, even by Skelton’s remarkable standards.

3. Philip Jeck, An Ark For The Listener (Touch): Jeck’s rumination on a stanza from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “The Wreck of the Deutchsland” may have marked a return to familiar themes after his involvement in a version of The Sinking Of The Titanic, but the depth was greater. On An Ark For The Listener he was (w)ringing some crackly recordings of bells for all they were worth, summoning the all of water.

4. Rangers, Suburban Tours (Olde English Spelling Bee): The Olde English Spelling Bee label was really on it this year, whatever the hell “it” actually was. On Suburban Tours, Joe Knight taped 80s FM pop and funk to mangled cassettes and took them for a cruise around his native San Francisco. This strange, wholly other sound transported you somewhere totally alien.

5. Oval, O (Thrill Jockey): In the ten (ten!) years that have passed since his last full-length release, Markus Popp has deconstructed his musical approach to the point where all that are left are these tiny, sparkling shards of pure sound. On his new double album O he arranged these fastidiously into tight little rhythmic constructions, to dazzling effect. Welcome back. 

6. Eleh, Location Momentum (Touch): Oh please, compiling this list is hard enough without making me choose which record to include by the mysterious master of analogue drone, Eleh (his new ones on Important, perhaps thankfully, have arrived too late). His first CD was released, appropriately enough, by those sonic obsessives over at Touch, and tickled the ears in all the right places.

7. Chris Abrahams, Play Scar (Room40): In which synthesizers, a ruined old church organ and a Hammond all fall under the spell, and the fingers of Necks pianist Abrahams. This is a far more diverse and more intricate set than you’d expect given his role in that most minimalist of piano trios: the track “Twig Blown” even shows off some impressive musique concrete chops.

8. Mark Fell, Multistability (Raster-Noton): On Multistability, Fell (one half of Sheffield’s SND) exploited the contrasts between different electronic rhythms, tempos and textures, producing an album that confused and disorientated as much as it excited and fascinated. It sounded like nothing else this year, least of all his own simultaneously released UL8 album for eMego.

9. Demdike Stare, Voices Of Dust (Modern Love): The closing part of their excellent 2010 trilogy contained possibly its most ecstatic moment in “Hashshashin Chant”, but also some of its darkest, as evidenced by track titles like “Of Decay And Shadows” and “Rain And Shame”. Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty’s journey into otherness just keeps getting blacker, stranger, and better.

10. Clang Sayne, Winterlands (Clang Sayne): My favourite band working out on the lightly-patrolled frontier between classic-sounding folk song and improvised jazz/noise, this album from Laura Hylands’s Clang Sayne project managed to be both lyrically affecting and musically exciting. A thrillingly ragged and raw-sounding debut which promises much for the 2011 follow-up.

11. Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me (Drag City)

12. Evan Caminiti, West Winds (Three Lobed)

13. Autechre, Oversteps (Warp)

14. Mats Gustafsson, Needs! (Dancing Wayang)

15. Emeralds, Does It look Like I’m Here (Editions Mego) <

16. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Love Is A Stream (Type)

17. Pan Sonic, Gravitoni (Blast First Petite) <

18. Supersilent, 10 (Rune Grammofon)

19. Forest Swords, Dagger Paths (Olde English Spelling Bee)

20. Pausal, Lapses (Barge)

11 thoughts on “FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010

  1. Great list! This blog is by far the one that most closely intersects with (and influences) my own tastes these days

    I keep meaning to check out that Rangers album, I love its cover.

    Mine will be something like this…

    1) Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
    2) Demdike Stare – Forest Of Evil / Liberation Through Hearing / Voices Of Dust
    3) Machinefabriek – Slovensko / Nerf / The Breathing Bridge / De Jonge Jaren / Music For Studies / Daas / Kilauea (with Freiband) / Drifts (as L / M / R / W) / Duotoon / Drape (with Gareth Davis) / Halfslaap / Toendra / Vloed version 2.0 / Wurdskrieme (as Piiptsjilling) / Par Avion (with Ithaca Trio) / The Hilary Jefferey Tape
    4) Autechre – Oversteps / Move Of Ten EP
    5) Philip Jeck – An Ark For The Listener
    6) Coldstream – South Island LP /Alarums EP
    7) Chihei Hatakeyama – A Long Journey / Ghostly Garden / The Secret Distance Of TOCHKA / Variations
    8) Excepter – Presidence / LATE + Tank Tapes
    9) Yellow Swans – Going Places / Being There & Pete Swanson – Challenger / Ghost O Clock / Where I Was / Feelings In America) / Waiting For The Ladies (with Rene Hell)
    10) Keith Fullerton Whitman + Geoff Mullen – November 28 2009 / Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generator / Keith Fullerton Whitman – Variations For Oud & Synthesizer / Keith Fullerton Whitman with Mike Shiflet – Split / Disingenuity / Hallicrafters, Inc
    11) Gultskra Artikler – Galaktika
    12) Menomena – Mines
    13) Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
    14) Richard Skelton – Landings / Clouwbeck – From Which The River Rises
    15) Natural Snow Buildings – The Centauri Agent / TwinSisterMoon – Then Fell The Ashes
    16) Kyle Bobby Dunn – A Young Person’s Guide
    17) Lee Noble – Infinity Bore / Darker Half / Our Star, The Sun / Loaded Image
    18) Christopher Hipgrave – Slow With Pages Of Fluttering Interference
    19) Michael Santos – Memory Maker
    20) Goldmund – Famous Places

    21) Solo Andata – Ritual
    22) The North Sea – Bloodlines
    23) Scuba – Transfiguration
    24) Concern – Caesarean LP
    25) Forest Swords – Dagger Paths / Rattling Cage EP
    26) The Books – The W ay Out
    27) Library Tapes – Like Green Grass Against A Blue Sky
    28) Nos Phillipe – Nos Phillipe EP / Shh…Camille
    29) Relmic Statute – Morning Tapes
    30) Taylor Deupree – Snow (Dusk, Dawn) / Shoals

    31) Will Thomas Long – Sequoia / Celer – Dying Star / Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness / Hell Detoured / All At Once Is What Eternity Is / Pockets Of Wheat
    32) anbb – Ret Marut Handshake / Mimikry
    33) Andrew Pekler – Entanglements In The Orthopedic Sensorium
    34) Rafael Anton Irisarri – Reverie / The North Bend LP
    35) Grouper & Roy Montgomery – Split / Grouper – Hold / Sick 7”
    36) Mark Fell – Multistability
    37) Benoit Pioulard – Lasted
    38) Fabio Orsi – Winterreise / Random Shades Of Day
    39) Simon Scott – Traba
    40) Giuseppe Ielasi – Tools / 15Tapes

    Also liked stuff from Brian McBride, Avey Tare, David Thomas Broughton, Mount Kimbie, Kemialliset Ystavat, Max Richter, Scott Tuma, Ian Hawgood, Wreaths, Emeralds, Svarte Greiner, Alva Noto, Eleh, Oval, Chris Abrahams, Greg Haines, Seaworthy & Matt Rosner, offthesky and The Fun Years.

  2. Pingback: Albums of the Year 2010 « Bubblegum Cage III

  3. A fine selection, as usual, and I’ve got quite a few to discover from it. I really want to check the KFW album out as I really like some of his old stuff. Vinyls are just so unpractical for me to listen to though which is a shame.

    I do have to thank you for bringing Chris Abrahams to my attention, it scored pretty well on my end of the year list too. For me though, the year has been dominated by Rune Grammofon. The label is one of my favourite, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, but this year’s been particularly exquisite in term of the music they have put out. You rightly predicted I would love Supersilent 10, and I did, or, I do, and probably will for a very long time, but the albums released by Stian Westerhus and Phonophani have also blown me away completely.

    Looking back, I think 2010 has been a pretty good year indeed.

  4. I hate to break it to you: it wasn’t a 2009 release according to Type. Official release date was Jan 2010. If you count being available on one format (LP) in one shop (Boomkat) for the last 2 weeks in 2009 as meaning it was a 2009 release, when otherwise it was released in 2010, I think you are being a bit over-officious.

  5. Not trying to be officious, just accurate; it was a 2009 release on both vinyl and CD; Skelton self-released it at the start of December. Type didn’t start handling it until much later.

    On a less finicky note, your list – once again – is a very interesting one, so thanks!

  6. I still disagree. Skelton had 100 copies on CD in mid (not early) December. Boomkat had it on LP. Big deal. The full, proper release was in January. Really, would you rather I took it out of the list? I don’t understand why. I mean lets face it, it wasn’t in many 2009 lists.

  7. Apart from my own list ;)

    Anyway, happy to agree to disagree – it’s *such* a good release, it deserves to be on as many lists as possible!

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