Yeah I know, it’s 2014, but I’ve not written anything about my favourite music of 2013 yet! And oh boy there were some great project last year. Let’s start with my favourite albums, in alphabetic order.
Favourite albums of 2013
– Andrew Bayer – If It Were You, We’d Never Leave (Electronica, Glitch Hop).
I’m probably Bayers biggest fangirl ever, and this was the first record I’ve ever pre-ordered. And as expected it didn’t dissapoint. It’s a gorgeous effort with great harmony and arrangement to really dive into. Gaff’s Eulogy is my pick for favourite track, it still sends shivers down my spine each time even after the million of times I’ve heard it already.
– Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (IDM, Ambient Techno).
Boards of Canada is a legendary electronica duo from Scotland, and indeed very well known for their extremely layered ambient style. This comeback album in no way disappointing and easily reaches the quality of their classics like Music Has The Right To Children for me.
– Bonobo – The North Borders (Downtempo)
After the fantastic album Black Sands in 2010, Bonobo returns with a very solid release. It is a bit more poppy with more vocals, and has many great songs to float away to. I’ve seen him live twice in the last year and both times he gave this very entrancing and warm feeling with his splendid live band format. By the way, the creator of this clip is Cyriak who is very well known for his weird trippy videos.
– De Staat – I_CON (Alternative Rock)
I’m very happy to have a Dutch band on this list, makes me feel sort of proud. Actually, they are on of the only two bands this year! De Staat is arguably the most fun Rock band of this moment. Their energy and eclective music make for the ideal album to play way too loud on your speakers. I saw them live this january, and I cannot think of another band that just made me so happy. I_CON is full of catchy and diverse songs with too many standout tracks to list.
Also this sentence from the featured song: “I could die, but that’s been done before”.
– Jon Hopkins – Immunity (Microhouse)
Well this is an absolutely stunning album. Jon Hopkins is a producer and pianist with an already solid discography, but this is by far my favourite release by him. The songs are unbelievable atmospheric and really drift you away to someplace else. Extremely solid and confident production make every second count, even in the most ambient and minimal parts. Also, perfect music to listen to while traveling!
– Julia Holter – Loud City Song (Art Pop)
One of my surprise records this year. Holters beautiful voice and diverse arrangements make for some of the best soundscapes I’ve heard in pop music. With many influences from electronica and ambient music, she manages to create a very sentimental atmosphere to dream away to. Absolutely recommended.
– Nils Frahm – Spaces (Modern Classical, Ambient)
Nils Frahm is a pianist and composer who uses a lot of electronic elements in his beautiful songs. They generally very minimal, but breathe absolutely perfectly by getting the piano sounds just right. He often uses unconventional though effective ways of recording it to create very different timbres to the sound. This is a live album, and I can personally also really recommend to see this guy live. He always manages to get the whole room silent so they can focus on his gorgeous, dynamic music. Says is a more electronic song with a great climax. Listen the whole thing!
– Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven (Electronica, Vaporwave)
Weird shit. That’s basically what this is. Oneohtrix uses extremely weird synths and samples in unconventional ways to make something that slightly resembles Ambient music, and manages to create a very nagging and empty feeling inside of you on this album. The whole album is a real journey of unfamiliar emotions to end one track to early at what is probably my favourite moment in music all year: “Still Life”. Listen to the whole album, try to immerse yourself and pay special attention to that track. And don’t worry if you don’t like it, this music really isn’t for everyone.
– Public Service Broadcasting – Inform, Educate, Entertain (Krautrock)
This album just makes me so happy. Public Service Broadcasting plays fun eclectic Krautrock songs with quite some influences from Electronica and Post Rock. What makes them really stand out from the crowd, however, is their use of old radio samples in their songs instead of normal vocals for a very quirky and “old” feel. Their catchy songwriting really came to its own when I saw them live in september. They even recorded a special vocal sample for the city they played in!
– Tim Hecker – Virgins (Ambient)
If I’d have to choose one album for Album of the Year, this would be it, alongside concert of the year. Virgins is a gorgeous mindblowing sonic journey through the extremely layered atmospheres of Tim Hecker. While clearly very electronic, all soundscapes still feel very natural instead of synthetic. It’s an emotionally difficult album going through many different and obscure feelings while always keeping its beauty, attention to detail and brilliant production value.
Favourite EP of 2013
– Alesia – Andrea EP (Tecno)
Andrea is honestly the only EP that comes to mind for this year, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t some of the hardest hitting Techno music I’ve heard my entire live. The extremely dark, raw and beastly feelings this EP creates makes the whole dancefloor go absolutely wild. Production quality is of extreme levels and makes the EP sound like the loudest music ever made. Recommended for when you need the house to go entirely mad.
Favourite Shows of 2013
– Atoms For Peace @ Pohoda
I SAW THOM YORKE LIVE!!! And not just that, Atoms For Peace was absolutely amazing and got the whole (Slovakian!) crowd wild. My friend even actually interacted with Yorke when he did a bowing gesture and he imitated it on stage! Unforgettable. Even more reason to catch a Radiohead show sometime.
– Tim Hecker @ Incubate
Tim Hecker live is probably the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. I sat down in complete darkness, watching some dude behind a desk with a little light push buttons. Actually, I didn’t watch him at all, because I closed my eyes and let myself get one with his extremely captivating music. I got in states where I didn’t know if I was sleeping or not, but I can safely say that it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my whole life.
– Bonobo @ Pohoda
See Bonobo – The North Borders.
– Hidden Orchestra @ Lantaren Venster
Hidden Orchestra is an incredible nu-jazz formation that released the fantastic Archipelago in 2012. Their show was atmospheric but at all times gorgeous and well performed, with two drummers too!
– Avishai Cohen @ Lantaren Venster
Avishai Cohen is a great Israëlian bassist that released his fair share of very chill Jazz records. A great trio playing some beautiful songs.
That’s it for 2013. What did you enjoy last year? And what do you think about the music I talked about?
Cya next year when 2014 is over, I guess!