The Very Very Very Best Music of 2015 // The Year of Fortune Affectation

Or did the big sound dominate? A year speckled with curiosity, wonder and intricacy was certainly demarcated along the way by questions, some as arguably unimportant as this, others significantly more affecting. Here as we approach its final minutes I look back toward a rugged plain across which there has been a traversal without a direct or undeviating path, but always with an ultimate (if not precisely predetermined) destination. Carving one’s own passage is an innate quality, but perhaps not one always appreciated in oneself or of others. We are powerful beings with the ability to affect each others’ fortunes.

Of course these passages can be accompanied, illustrated and highlighted by choice- or obligo-sonics and the below list attempts to demonstrate several selected along the ways.

While of course its heritage precludes its inclusion in the below, Can’s 1972 masterpiece Ege Bamyasi may in fact have been the album I listened to the most this year, one during which I delved full-bodied into the previously-intimidating arena of Krautrock discography. The 1970s has never been so welcoming. Nevertheless more than a passing mention of it was completely necessary within these introductory paragraphs. Not more than such a mention should however go to the fact that I bought more cassette tapes in this one than any preceding year. Please assist with analysis of this fact as my own attempts render but simplistic results.

Aside from the unprecedented and aforementioned psychedeliac swirlings, the artist I most listened to was Knxwledge. The scale and variety of his production left very little to be desired by me, and its versatility allowed for maxi-multi-locational auditory absorption. Technoself, by Deantoni Parks, a sister-label affiliate of Knxwledge’s, was a path-altering molehill discovered by way of a chance 12-second Insta-Video. The first to admit that our consumption patterns have been altered in late years, a recently ICA-commissioned “focus on improvisation and freedom” meant that I was immediately drawn to this collection of impeccable electro-acoustics, somehow currently only available on tape.

I must thank all those that recommended music to and swapped tapes with me this year, as several of the below are direct products of those recommendations and swaps. I must also congratulate friends, family and acquaintances (“FFA”) for themselves producing some standout musics over the last twelve months, with special mentions going to Ebauche, R. Karim, Volte-Face, Joe Snape, Devon Loch, Elijah Simmons, Sigmatropic, Tzusing, Serbey Gubka and Woolbear. It may only be now that I realise just quite how populated the below is by talented FFA and I proffer further congratulation right here.

  1. Deantoni Parks – Technoself
  2. Knxwledge – Hud Dreems
  3. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
  4. EL VY – Return to the Moon
  5. Moritz von Oswald Trio – Sounding Lines
  6. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
  7. Lifted – 1
  8. Ducktails – St. Catherine
  9. Dominique Dumont – Comme Ça
  10. Gavin Russom – Body Minimalism & Mantle of Stars EPs
  11. Delia Gonzalez – In Remembrance
  12. Arca – Mutant
  13. Beach House – Depression Cherry / Thank Your Lucky Stars
  14. Hanz – Reducer
  15. Nochexxx – Plot Defender

My other favourite albums of the year
(In lexicographic monotone Galois isomorph-ordering):

AFX – Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006 – 2008
Alessandro Cortini – Risveglio / Forse 3
Ancient Methods – Turn Ice Realities into Fire Dreams
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
Battles – La Di Da Di
Bjork – Vulnicura
Blanck Mass – Dumb Poetry
BOOF – The Hydrangeas Whisper
Carter Tutti Void – f(x)
Co La – No No
Devon Loch – Sleep Scale
DJ Rashad – 6613
DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell – Fresh Insights EPs 1 &2
DJRum – Plantain EP
Drake – Hotline Bling
Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
Ebauche – Adrift
Elijah Simmons – Pisces
Emptyset – Signal
Errorsmith & Mark Fell – Protogravity
FKA twigs – M3LL155X
Four Tet – Morning / Evening
Frank Bretschneider – Sinn + Form
Freddie Gibbs – Pronto EP
Grischa Lichtenberger – La Demeure; Il Y A Péril En La Demeure
Holly Herndon – Platform
Ian Doig Phaneuf – Parts XI – XX
Jimmy Edgar – Shine
Jlin – Dark Energy
Joanna Newsom – Divers
Joe Snape – Brittle Love
Jonwayne – Jonwayne is Retired
Knxwledge – Hexual Sealings Prts. 8, 8.8 & 9
Knxwledge – Wrap Tapes Prts. 7.5, 8 & 9
Laraaji – All in One Peace
Larry B – 8 Tunes by Larry B
MED & Blu & Madlib – Bad Neighbor
MNDSGN – Zen Yawn
Modest Mouse – Strangers To Ourselves
Muslimgauze – Minaret Speaker
Nosaj Thing – Fated
Onra – Fundamentals
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper / Crosswords EP
Peaches – Rub
Prefuse 73 – Rivington Não Rio / Forsyth Gardens / Every Colour of Darkness / Travels in Constants, Vol. 25
R. Karim – Object of Unknown Provenance
Rabit – Communion / Baptizm
Robert Logan – Extasis EP / Yik Yak / Flesh
RP Boo – Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints
Russel Haswell – As Sure As Night Follows Day
Serbey Gubka – Lost Wars
Sigmatropic – Every Soul is a Boat
SunnO))) – Kannon
Tzusing – A Name Out of Place Pt. II
user48736353001 – various
Uther Moads – Econoclast
Volte-Face – Charlatan EP
Woolbear – Lunar Operator

Certainly my exploratory tendrils contracted somewhat this year, so, as ever, I very muchos welcome unilateral suggestions and otherwise, can’t wait and thank you.

Any thoughts?

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