Alright, then, popkids, time for my annual round-up…
I listened to lots of great records this year, thanks everyone! My longlist included records by Aiden Baker & Karen Willems, Colleen, Duran Duran Duran, Hior Chronik, Kelly Lee Owens, Marcus Fjellström, Still, and William Basinski, but none quite made the final cut. I spent a long time with a shortlist of six, and I really wanted them all to make it — but what’s the point in having self-imposed rules if you’re not going to keep them? If the whole of the Ellen Allien record had been as good as its best tracks then it would have been a shoo-in, but a couple of less-awesome tracks meant it had to go.
So, here are my five best albums of 2017.
- I described Caterina Barbieri’s Patterns Of Consciousness as “close to perfection” at the time, and I stand by that. I reckon it’s clearly the most genuinely innovative and genuinely beautiful thing the recent modular synth revival has produced.
- At the start of the year, I wouldn’t have expected to be including an electropop record here, but Kalieda’s Tear The Roots just blew me away.
- It’s hard to know what to say about Mike Cooper’s Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer except that, if you haven’t heard it, you really should, because it is strangely wonderful.
- If you have an albums-of-2017 list and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s async isn’t on it then I think we need to have a little talk, because surely this is just objectively a work of genius from start to finish.
- Rounding the list out (alphabetically speaking) is Spatial’s A Music Of Sound Systems, which I described as “a kind of deconstruction of a sound clash” and more importantly as “jaw-dropping”. (Incidentally, the remix record is worth checking out, too.)
And as a bonus, this year I’m naming my five best-of-the-rest tracks from the longlist. They are the title track from Colleen’s A Flame My Love, A Frequency, Pryor Acid from Duran Duran Duran’s Duran, Physical from Ellen Allien’s Nost, CBM from Kelly Lee Owen’s (ahem) eponymous debut album, and Don’t Stop (Wondo Riddim) from Still’s I.