Saturday, January 10, 2015

best of 2014, part one.

better late than never, right?

here are two lists, with one more to follow.

I wanted to give my favorite cassettes a little more attention this year, as there were some particularly great releases. music wasn't the sole qualifier here - packaging played a major role in determining this list.

all have either been featured here or on other excellent blogs of which you're all probably already aware.

and after that, you'll find my favorite non-extreme albums of 2014.


part two will follow soon enough.

and, as always, these are in no particular order.

1. various artists - the goat

incredibly brutal, with great variety. this double cassette compilation never gets old. it's probably all sold out, but definitely worth tracking down. stream it here.

2. cremation lily - lines of golden light

one of the most soothing, beautiful pieces of music and packages of the year. absolutely stellar in every way, I can't get enough of this one. totally worth whatever you can pay for it.

3. death kneel - lilac and benzine

destructive and contemplative at the same time, with a killer package, to boot...especially if you got one of the first twenty-five copies, as I did. stream it here.

4. body of light - limits of reason

not the most memorable packaging, but easily some of the most memorable, catchy songs of the year. body of light is the gold standard for this type of dark, synth-based sound and this tape captures them at the height of their craft.

5. dual action - nightmare angel of the expressways

this eight cassette box was not cheap and very hard to find, but it's worth it in every way. there's a little bit of everything on here, ranging from soothing and ambient to utterly caustic.

6. herukrat - I bear witness

so far this is jackson's crowning achievement, but I expect even this will be surpassed soon enough. regardless, great packaging from total black and an incredible auditory experience within. check it out here.

7. culver - vampires of the third reich

I'm not normally into drone, but these harsh drones from lee stokoe's prolific culver project are just perfect. they straddle the line between brutal and soothing, totally enveloping the listener in the process. plus, the packaging is perfectly curated - colorful yet unsettling.

8. various artists - eden in reeds

bleak environment finally returned this year after a lengthy absence, and this double cassette compilation is the perfect statement of renewed vigor. multiple artists, each completely different from the next, coalesce to form something totally unified.

9. arv & miljö - antropocen

matthias andersson just knocks it out of the park every time, and this release on the inimitable lust vessel label is no different. great noise in a great package, definitely one to track down - copies are available on discogs.

10. dead body collection & j.adolphe - deep into the halls

by far the most sonically diverse release in dead body collection's massive catalog, this collaboration is absolutely first-rate. bringing dr. alex's walls together with jan warnke's ambience, this is one of the most cohesive collaborative efforts I've ever heard. stream it here.

non-extreme albums of the year, also in no particular order:

1. nebelung - palingenesis
2. wovenhand - refractory obdurate
3. run the jewels - run the jewels 2
4. atmosphere - southsiders
5. barren harvest - subtle cruelties
6. aphex twin - syro
7. disemballerina - undertaker
8. banks - goddess
9. interpol - el pintor
10. sun kil moon - benji

part two coming soon....

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