I wasn’t going to do this, try to condense ten years of recorded music into a list. But, by deciding not to do it, the seed was already planted. So… I don’t really see this as a chart as such (I can’t really deny it is a list), there is no set number that I’m trying to achieve (I ended up with 22), there is no order of merit (chronological didn’t seem right either as I started listening to some of them later than the year they were released, so I just went for alphabetical); these are just the albums that I’ve listened to, enjoyed most and have stayed with me over the last decade. After all that, it was good to reminisce.

Autechre Confield [Warp Records 2001]
The culmination of the previous decade’s experimentation. Viscous and metallic, like being ripped apart by some sort of neo-combine-harvester whilst listening to Mantronix. Unlike anything I had heard or heard since. Beat and pressure, force and precision, breath and void, solid and liquid, mass and light (1). If I really wanted to pick one record of the decade…

Autechre Quaristice/Versions [Warp Records 2008]
Autechre kinda had to have more of a representation here than anyone else. Just as Confield marked the end of a cycle of evolution for Autechre, Quaristice seems to mark the beginning of a new one. I cannot wait for March
(Spotify)

Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto Insen [Raster Noton 2005]
The sort of album that should never be interrupted. Pure absorbtion is required for this epic collaboration of minimal classicism and electronic manipulation.
(Spotify)

Animal Collective Sung Tongs [Fat Cat Records 2004]
I only started listening to Animal Collective late on in the decade but this is my favourite album of theirs. Tribal and energetic; Who Could Win A Rabbit and it’s amazing b-side Baby Day take my pick for favourite AC 7″ too.
(Spotify)

Bed Frost By The Throat [Bedroom Community 2009]
Is it too early to include this? Maybe, but I’ll do it anyway. More words in my 2009 review.

Boards Of Canada A Beautiful Place Out In The Country [Warp Records 2000]
I’d heard Amo Bishop Roden a huge amount before really knowing what it was as a good friend of mine always used to play it over the top of other records when he was out djing, its swirling tones are completely mesmerising.  A lot of good memories and four simple, brilliant tracks.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy The Letting Go [Drag City 2006]
Will Oldham at his most adventurous; fantastic song writing and arrangements and the first of two albums on my list featuring Valgeir Sigurðsson on production duties.

Bjork Vespertine [One Little Indian 2001]
One of only a few albums that I can pick up and listen to at any time, in any mood and feel totally improved. Helped along the way by an excellent line up of producers including Valgeir Sigurðsson, Matmos and Matthew Herbert.
(Spotify)

cLOUDEAD cLOUDDEAD [Big Dada 2001]
I considered a few albums from this era, including various Def Jux titles (Cold Vein and Funcrusher Plus came pretty close). Considering I’d pretty much listened to nothing but hip-hop for the nineties these electronic albums represented the start of the widening of my horizons. There aren’t many albums that have stood the test of time from this era but this remains steadfast on my mp3 player and gets the occasional rotation.

DJ /Rupture Minesweeper Suite [Tigerbeat6 2002]
Harking back from the crazy days before podcasts when you had to actually buy (!) mix albums, this was worth every penny. Constantly slapping you around the head whilst you do your best to stay on your feet dancing.

Fennesz Venice [Touch 2004]
I’m sure I’m one of a huge number of people who started listening to more and more ambient styles of music through the work of Christian Fennesz. I’m not sure there has ever been a happier marriage of vocals and electronic music than with David Sylvian on Transit.
(Spotify)

J Dilla Ruff Draft [Stones Throw Records 2007]
“Real live sh!t…sounds like it’s straight from the motherf*ckin’ cassette”. Quite. An album that is not only an important transitional document in the work of J Dilla but also includes a highlight track of the 00’s, Nothing Like This. Where Donuts sounded a little too polished, Ruff Draft sounded just right.

Keith Fullarton Whitman Multiples [Kranky 2005]
The machine is speaking and it’s saying wonderful things.

Murcof Martes [Leaf 2002]
This album started me on my path towards more minimal strains of music and a later obsession with the likes of Alva Noto and Ryoji Ikeda. Murcof’s music may have become more orchestral and expansive, but I’m not sure he has bettered this.
(Spotify)

The Necks Aether [Fish Of Milk 2001]
After the live experience of The Necks I’m not sure any recorded performance can compare. Still, an outstanding record of incredible patience, barely progressing for the first half an hour from a repeated massively spaced chord. When the piano finally arrives it is as warm and reassuring as sound can be.

Ornette Coleman Sound Grammar [Sound Grammar 2006]
Had a bit of an overdose of jazz in the middle of this decade, I ended up working in a basement jazz bar for a couple of years and could barely listen to a saxophone for the following couple. Not here though. Every human joy and heartache- and every emotion in between- blowing out of an alto saxophone (2).

Panda Bear Person Pitch [Paw Tracks 2008]
Person Pitch gathers up a huge range of influences, ranging from the less obvious hints of Autechre and Basic Channel to the more obvious Brian Wilson influence, and creates a series of hymns of joyful exuberance.
(Spotify)

Rhythm & Sound w/ The Artists [Burial Mix 2003]
A benchmark for minimal dub music with eight immaculate vocal performances that echo around in your head long after the record has stopped. Immaculate really is the word, amazingly crafted music and a lovely balance between the prescision of the beats and the richness of the vocals.
(Spotify)

Roots Manuva Run Come Save Me [Big Dada 2001]
Dum-da-dum dum-da-dum dum-da-dum dum-da-dum.
(Spotify)

Stars Of The Lid The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid [Kranky 2001]
The gentle washes of noise Stars Of The Lid produce bear little relation to the outside world, the music seems to come from within; barely musical in fact, the sound and tone of breathing and thought and movement.

Sunn O))) Monoliths & Dimensions [Southern Lord 2009]
If cLOUDEAD represents where I was at the start of the decade this is where I am at now. A gargantuan noise object. More words in my 2009 review.

Tim Hecker and Aiden Baker Fantasma Parastasie [Alien8 Recordings 2008]
Tough choice for my favourite Tim Hecker release but this probably just pips it from Radio Amor. I can’t remember ever being quite as scared as when my stereo started up one night (for no clear reason..), woke me from my sleep and Phantom On A Pedestal started its shrill introduction. Pavor Nocturnus.
(Spotify)

Various Production The World Is Gone [XL 2006]
Totally mind-blowing when I first heard it, from the anthemic electro of Hater to the fragile folk of  A Circle Of Sorrow to the echoing dubstep of Don’t Ask; totally genre-busting, this album totally embodies what is exciting about music. Still waiting on that new album.


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