01. SLOWDIVE - SLOWDIVE (DEAD OCEANS)
It would be easy to call this a return to form for the legendary shoegaze band. But honestly, this is beyond any form that Slowdive ever melted into. Infectious, ear-worm melodies underneath shimmering guitar tones and washes of pure spectral light.
02. DINO SPILUTTINI - TO BE A BEAST (CUT SURFACE)
The Austrian musician employs processed piano recordings to create blown out melodies and searing, jagged holes in the moving architecture of a stately drone.
03. LAFIDIKI - CHINABOT (MEMORY NO. 36 / CHINABOT / WE BE FRIENDS)
London-based Cambodian beatmaker turned his latest record into a showcase of sorts for a broad coterie of aspiring Asian musicians. The result is an inspiring, vexing, turn-on-a-dime mix of influences, memories and throttle-held groove.
04. DEMEN - NEKTYR (KRANKY)
On the enigmatic Swedish musican’s debut for Kranky, Demen paints with deep blues and reds to create a palate somewhere between Marie Davidson’s nocturnal excursions and Portishead’s unaffected cool.
05. NICO NIQUO - IN A SILENT WAY (ORANGE MILK)
A sleek, meditative masterpiece of patience and timing – huge movements and tiny phrases that make compulsive repeat listening mandatory. Pure synthetic pleasure.
06. LAWRENCE ENGLISH - CRUEL OPTIMISM (ROOM 40)
“This record is one of protest against the immediate threat of abhorrent possible futures. It’s an object of projection, from me to you and onward from there”. A deeply felt melodic drone record that feels like a thousand dark rain clouds bursting all at once.
07. CAROLINE NO - NO LANGUAGE (STUDENTS OF DECAY)
A record, so much unlike others on this list, that exists in chance, spontaneity and first-take-best-take breeziness. The result is a wonderfully crafted, heartwarming slice of slightly off-kilter pop. RIYL: The Pastels, Tenniscoats, Mazzy Star.
08. HIRO KONE - LOVE IS THE CAPITOL (GEOGRAPHIC NORTH)
A staggeringly astute dive into tight, linear techno – a jet stream of swirling rhythms disembodied vocals and corporeal beats. A timely, overwhelmingly political dance album that grips so tight so as to make surrender impossible.
09. CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - MIRAGE (ROOM 40)
Every year deserves a perfect ambient record. 2017 got theirs in the form of Hatakeyama’s heavily melodic, unapologetically moving piece of aural sculpting. Perfect in almost every way.
10. TERANCE HANNUM - IMPIETY (UMOR REX)
I have an insane amount of respect for Terence Hannum and Locrain. Hannum’s latest on Umor Rex is a ghostly masterpiece. Comprised of Hannum’s voice and minimal synths, he creates false cathedrals of unholy dirges sent out to no gods. An eschatological document focused on the final death of man, yet oddly hopeful and triumphant.