It doesn’t do to rush these things, but after giving this weighty matter the care and consideration it undoubtedly deserves, I can finally unveil my Albums Of 2012. In alphabetical order, they are:
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s truly immense art-metal Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
- Grouper’s parallel-universe-pop hit A I A
- Hildur Guðnadóttir’s spellbinding cello-and-chanting live recording Leyfðu Ljósinu
- Musette’s dementedly brilliant easy-listening-gone-wrong Drape Me In Velvet
- Shackleton’s endlessly compelling visionary poetic collage Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ
Maybe it’s cheating to include two double albums. Maybe it’s especially cheating that the Grouper double was available individually the previous year (but I had thoroughly failed to see her appeal before this release so I think it counts). Maybe you’ll think I’m being willfully obscure with the Musette (but my fondness for it is sincere and irony-free, so there). Maybe you’ll think I’m being disgracefully mainstream with the Godspeed (well, then, tough). Maybe… no, I can’t think of any reason to apologize for the Shackleton, Music For The Quiet Hour in particular being one of those records which re-astonishes me with its genius every time I listen to it. Nor for Hildur Guðnadóttir, whose record induces the closest I’ve had to what I imagine a religious experience is like in quite a long time.
And finally, Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas came out in January 2012, and is utterly wonderful and stands with his best work and clearly I adore it… I didn’t write about it here because, for me, his music falls into a totally different category to this stuff, and satisfies a different part of my brain. Maybe it’s terribly unfair of me to exclude him on that basis. Sorry, Leonard, we love you.