The Very Very Very Best Music of 2012 // The Year of the Connection Between Emotional Intensity and Associative Memory

It is very likely that all the music I have ever enjoyed has entertained a certain emotional intensity. However, in writing my 2012 list which I publish on the first full moon of 2013, I noticed for the first time that the great majority of the music I enjoyed last year involved an emotional intensity of a significantly heightened persuasion.

I have always noticed and appreciated the power of associative memory, and so perhaps this has affected my choices of favourite albums: one or two of them are closely affiliated with a new-found routine and/or the time of day, others remind me of a certain specific moment, and the Dirty Three album is a collection of instrumental music so moving that the few days in Argentina I associate it with will stay with me for a very long time.

Perhaps it is this combination of emotion and association that we all sub-consciously listen for in music, and that good music implicitly aims to create, but it is also therefore very possible that the connection I draw between the 12 albums below is a unique and personal one.

This should not dissuade you from delving though.


1. Dirty Three – Toward the Low Sun
2. Kyoka – iSH
3. Grizzly Bear – Shields
4. Why? – Mumps. Etc.
5. Ricardo Villalobos – Dependent and Happy
6. How to Dress Well – Total Loss
7. OM – Advaitic Songs
8. Antidrom – First Things First
9. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellen
10. Chairlift – Something
11. eMMplekz – IZOD Days
12. Efterklang – Piramida

My other favourite albums of 2012, in no order apart from the alphabetic:

Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Bersarin Quartet – II
Burial – Kindred
Captain Murphy – Duality
Carter Tutti Void – Transverse
Christ. – Cathexis Motion Picture Soundtrack
Clams Casino – Instrumentals II
Death Grips – The Money Store
Dean Blunt – The Narcissit II
Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – Black is Beautiful / The Attitude Era
Devilman – s/t
Diamond Version – EP2
DJ Stingray 313 – F.T.N.W.O.
Drexciya – Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller II
Dntel – Aimlessness
Emptyset – Collapsed
Evian Christ – Kings and Them
Fatima Al Qadiri – Desert Strike
Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE
Grimes – Visions
Grischa Lichtenberger – And. IV
Hodgy Beats – Untitled EP
Holy Other – Held
Hoshal Patrick – s/t
Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Hydro-Acoustics – V/A
Ital – Hive Mind
Jimmy Edgar – Magenta
JJ Doom – Key to the Cuffs
Knxwledge – Koapastetik
Madlib – Medicine Show 13 ‘The Black Tape’
Maria and the Mirrors – Gemini Enjoy My Life
Mykki Blanco – Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss
NHK / SND – Split 12″
NHK’Koyxeи – Dance Classics Vol. 1
oOoOO – Our Love is Hurting Us
Shackleton – Music for the Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
The Shins – Port of Morrow
SpaceGhostPurrp – Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurrp
Swans – The Seer
Traxman – Da Mind of Traxman
Ugandan Methods – Sixth Method
Yeasayer – Fragrant World
Young Magic – Melt

Favourite 2 Concerts:

1. Einstein on the Beach – Philip Glass / Robert Wilson
2. Stars of the Lid

An observation that I suppose is important enough to make is that several of my 12 favourites are by artists whose music I had never listened to before. This also applies to the longer list above and bodes well for our further listener-experiences.

As ever, I am interested in your favourites and comments, and where those albums that I have deemed undeserving of a mention appear in the Venn Diagrams of our opinions.


Any thoughts?

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