Updated: Jan 17, 2019
As we reach the end of the end of the year, we look back on our favorite releases. At the enthusiastic nudging of friends we have decided to include a list of our favorite releases from 2017 & 2016 for you to dive into.
Here are our favorite releases of 2018
Combining power electronics with harsh noise, deep dark drones and mournful neo-classical infused ambient pieces Prairie's debut on Denovali is a towering work and an immense statement from this talented Belgian.
Using crushed excerpts from films pushed through an overload of filters the album opens with Flash Flood & Raindeaf powerfully drawing your ears into a whirlwind of restrained chaos.
A highlight has to be the megalithicly powerful distorted anthem 'Underwater body hunting'. Its deep bass kicking in from the first second pushing forward a tornado of harsh, distorted synths and guitar shreds. It will guarantee attention on any darkened floor when dropped into a dj set.
The album ebbs and flows through various atmospheres, at times sounding like a Vatican shadow lp and others sounding like a field rotation piece.
All in all a fantastic release & one of the best albums from a great year over at Denovali.
An epic collaboration between Czech electronic wizz kid/clarinet player Floex & London based pianist Tom Hodge with help from a symphony orchestra.
Dark Ambient drones from Moon Zero & Bruised Skies. Lovingly presented by the Blank Editions label. Tim Garret (Moon Zero) & Matthew Hayward (Bruised Skies) named their collaborative project after an industrial town in northern Scotland.
Clearly quite a dark place with melancholia spread throughout, the label calls it 'The soundtrack to walking through a storm of ash'
Certainly if you find this work to your liking you should check out the solo output of both of these fantastic artists. Bruised Skies in particular, although sadly under-represented by any label, is a master at creating dark ambient soundscapes, many of which he has released for free through soundcloud.
An incredible collection of re-works from the amazing third studio album by Scottish masters Hidden Orchestra. Ranging from deep house to melodic techno and ambient - this is one that will allow re-listens for a long time. Particularly listen to the remix of Wingbeats by Max Cooper. Clocking in at over 10 min it is an immense journey.
Almost sounding like the score to an epic film Ben Chatwin's Staccato signals was without compare in 2018. Listen to the track 'helix' to get a feel for this one.
The latest in the pattern series is a score for a Danish film by Erik Skodvin aka Svarte Greiner and Rauelsson, it also has guest instrumentation by Christoph Berg and Otto A Totland & was recorded by Martyn Heyne so its really a monster of a neo-classical release. Limited to 500 copies with a beautiful laser cut cover this one (like all Pattern releases) is not to be missed.
Inner is the third lp to be released on wax by the legendary N5md label out of Oakland CA, it feels like the end of a trilogy that was conceived of from the inception of the first LP back in 2014. Ocoeur himself recently mentioned in an interview that 'Reversed' (the LP that preceded 'Inner') 'was certainly an evident move for achieving ‘Inner’ afterward. It is the logical progression of synths treatments and cinematic focusing. I wanted to design electronic instruments in a more orchestral way, to conduct the whole pieces into a very deep and organic course. Beats may be here only for a specific purpose like to enhance the force of the track for example.'
I recently listened to the three lp's I have of Ocoeur one after another and the entire journey was fantastic - moving from beat orientated glitch & downtempo to ambient and neo-classical in a way that very few have managed to successfully achieve.
I love to hear the evolution of an artists exploration in music and Ocoeurs progression from beats to ambience is comparable to Jon Hopkins movement from ambience to beats.
Inner is certainly one that will demand many many rotations - start with the track 'Mother' to get a taste for this one and then dive into his back catalog.
Another gem from Sonic Pieces. The incredible follow up to Vora see's Rauelsson ditch the dreamlike quality's of his last release on Sonic Pieces in favor of the darker more intense beat driven neo-classical and electro-acoustic rhythmic numbers.