Music – Best of 2012

Early in the year ’12 when I migrated (proverbially) to this genre called Electronic(a), I learned that the subgenre BIG beat doesn’t work for me, that pure ambient doesn’t as well and that these well-meant slow but never ever burning sonic washes just might put me to unwonted sleep. (Nothing does put me to sleep except unthought unthinking precipitated by over-exhaustion from active, and then, passive thoughtness.) I also learned—just as I thought there couldn’t be more to downtempo—that it’s a genre unto itself, that there are sub-genres that are genres unto themselves, and the searching and finding of new music could be endless and that there are more bands that are genres unto themselves like Portishead that I knew to be. Artists/bands like The Books, Broadcast, Flying Lotus, Four Tet, M83 and Telefon Tel Aviv not only enrapture me with the rich and diverse soundscapes they create but astonish me with the consistency with which—by experimenting, sampling, playing and performing—they’ve created record after record after record after record sounds and works of such quality. What follows is not the best of what I’d listened to last year (that’d take at the least so much space as a novella would). It’s what I think were the best records released last year. Although one genre dominated my listening, that’s not so for what was released last year, so this list is by no means exclusively electronic.

Allo Darlin’ – Europe

Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes

Lindstrøm – Smalhans

Moritz von Oswald Trio – Fetch

Mala – Mala in Cuba

Matthew Dear – Beams

Monolake – Ghosts

Squarepusher – Ufabulum

Tame Impala – Lonerism

The XX – Coexist

Note: Lindstrøm’s Smalhans isn’t purely music. What I mean by that is it works purely as a short-acting recreational pill, only it comes in the form of music, with a lasting effect of plus or minus thirty minutes per swirl. Maybe the same can be said about half the mentions here but when it comes to Smalhans there’s no maybe about it.

Special Mentions

Air – Le Voyage Dans la Lune

Four Tet – Pink

Raime – Quarter Turns Over A Living Line

Seapony – Falling

Sigur Rós – Valtari

Saint Etienne – Words and Music

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