Top 10 Music Releases from 2017

I’ll be honest, I felt like I was out of the loop with music this year. I definitely didn’t buy as many records as I normally do. It has been another great year though. There are loads of records that have just come out at the end of the year and I haven’t had time to pick them up! As usual this isn’t in any order, just as they came to me as I was thinking about. My friend Warren had asked me for my top five albums of last year and I couldn’t really think, but the more I thought about it, the more I could come up with a list of albums for him. Without further ado, let’s get this list on the go.

1. Trevor Jackson – RGBPM (Utter)

Trevor Jackson had created the music for this release as an audio visual experience for the Optronica festival in 2007. I can remember hearing about it at the time but was unable to go to London to see the performance. There were some snippets up on vimeo a while ago and it looked like a great show. So when I heard that Utter were going to release the music on a 12″ with a print, I thought I had to get this. I think this was the first record of the year that I was excited to buy and I was not disappointed by it when it turned up. You can listen to the music above. I just wish I could have seen the visuals to go with it. I am sure it would have been an amazing experience at the IMAX screen. Oh, you can view a shortened version of the experience below.

2. Com Truise – Iteration (Ghostly International)

I really like the music of Com Truise. I still think it is a terrible name for an act, but who cares when the music is good. It had been a long time coming for a new album from him and it did not disappoint. What I love about his music is that it makes me feel so nostalgic. It sounds like music I heard as a child, but it isn’t, it is new music. It makes me think of BMX bikes, Pepsi and weird early computer graphic animations that you used to see on Channel 4 on a Sunday afternoon. My favourite track from the album is Propagation. The video for this is really sinister, but to me it just reminds me of coming home from my summer holidays. You can check out the video below.

3. Athens Of The North

I know this is the third year in a row that I have put Athens Of The North in my top ten music releases but they do release some of my favourite records of the year. This year I only bought three of their releases and two of those were of music that I had already bought through Now Again, but that is ok. It was great to hear Benji B invite Fryer on to his Radio 1 show and do label profile in December.

The first release that I bought this year was the Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark 7″, Awake O’Zion. As soon as I heard this on soundcloud I knew I had to buy it! I’m not that in to gospel music, but this is just so uplifting. I think when I got the record through the post I played it over and over again for about an hour. I just love everything on this song. The vocals, the bass, the piano, it is so uplifting! I voted for this on Benji B’s radio show for the end of year mixtape, but alas it wasn’t chosen.

The second release on Athens Of The North was the 7″ issue of Smiling Faces by East Of Underground. I already has the album as part of the Now Again subscription I had, but I had completely forgotten about it until this 7″ came out. What a song. Easily one of my most listened to tracks of the year. The drums are just so good on it! It was great to go back and listen to the whole album too.

The final record I bought from them was Third Rock by Pure Essence. I had been listening to the Soul Cal compilation by Now Again a lot, as Daphni had done an edit of You Can Be A Star by Luther Davis on his Fabriclive mix. Again, I had forgotten how good the whole compilation was and I picked up the re-issue of Luther Davis put out by Daphni and then Athens Of The North re-issued Third Rock by Pure Essence, which isn’t on the Soul Cal compilation but the b-side, Wake Up, was. I couldn’t stop listening to Wake Up and was really happy to have it on a 7″. Third Rock is a great song too and they are still so relevant to this day, even though they came out a long time ago.

4. Miracle Steps: Music From The Fourth World 1983-2017 (Optimo)

As I have got older I have definitely got in to more ambient music and when I heard about this compilation I was quite excited about it. I liked the idea behind it and that The Fourth World was music is music made using modern technology but being mixed up with mysticism and psychedelia. My favourite track off the compilation is Cloud Cover by O Yuki Conjugate. I have no idea who they are, but this song really resonates with me for some reason. The record also had a great sleeve from Jamie Johnson and Al White. I think I listened to the record so much on bandcamp, that they stopped from listening to it on there unless I paid for it!

5. Cru Servers – Blubber Totum (12th Isle)

This record is bananas. I don’t even know how to describe it, but I am going to give it a go. It sounds like some weird 80s low budget sci fi movie. I went to the launch party for this record and it was great. There were some great visuals by Jamie Johnson and Cru Servers were brilliant too. The music reminds of the weird 80’s records re-contextualised for the present day. The sleeve for this by Al White, is great too. I can’t really say much about this record apart from it is excellent and highly recommended.

6. Four Tet – New Energy (Text)

This is a great long player from Four Tet. I wasn’y a big of Morning/Evening, but this sees a return to form for him. For having such a minimal production set up, the album feels quite big. There are some great down tempo tracks on here as well as uptempo ones. He’s covering all bases. My favourite track is LA Trance, which is just such a peaceful track, it definitely puts you in to a trance. SW9 9SL is a great track too and obviously it is about Brixton Academy. I guess I can’t say too much as Four Tet seems to be on a good run at the moment and it looks like he is having a lot of fun just putting out records whenever he wants and not doing interviews.

7. Terekke – Plant Age (L.I.E.S.)

Clocking in at 33 minutes long, Terekke’s album is something that I can keep listening to on a loop. It sounds so 90’s yet still immediate and of the now. I know that he takes his time releasing music, which is great as I feel like people just pump out music all the time at the moment. I just love sitting down and putting this record on and drinking a nice cup of coffee, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make you dance, because this record does that too. It’s just a really pleasant listening experience and it is obvious that he has put a lot of love in to the tracks. BB2 makes me think of just putting my head down and dancing away in my own little world. Mix91 makes me think of the 90s and dub techno. Closer is a very dreamy track that is great to finish the album with.

8. Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life (Golden Teacher)

One of the most interesting bands to come out of Glasgow in a while. It’s taken them some time to produce their album and I don’t know if this is an album. Anyway, it’s really good. It feels like it soundtracks a night out in Glasgow. Escaping the streets with Sauchiehall Withdrawal into some bananas rhythms via the track Diop. Spiritron is a favourite of mine, the bassline underpins the song and the lyrics are taking you in to outerspace! I can’t help but move when listening to this track. The album finishes with the title track, No Luscious Life, which is an 8 minute exploration into space. Maybe this is what a modern day Sun Ra track would sound like?

9. Kelela – Take Me Apart (Warp)

I loved Kelela’s Hallucinogenic EP that came out a couple of years ago and I was looking forward to the album when it came out. It’s not as instant as her previous EP on Warp, but it is really good, maybe that is what should happen with albums, sometimes it takes a bit longer to click with you. Anyway, Kelela has worked with another great selection of producers to make a futuristic R’n’B album for the 21st Century.

10. Charles Hayward / Gigi Masin – Les Nouvelles Musiques De Chambre Volume 2 (Moden Classics Recordings)

I fell in love with the track, Clouds, as soon as I heard it. It is so beautiful. I must have heard it before, but I can remember hearing it in 2016. I’m glad this album got re-issued on vinyl. The Gigi Masin side is much better than the Charles Hayward side. The album is based on water. Charles Hayward side represents London and Gigi Masin’s side is about Venice. I’ve never been to Venice, but I would love to go and walk about listening to this album. Essential Saturday/Sunday afternoon listening.

0 Responses to “Top 10 Music Releases from 2017”

  • No Comments

Leave a Reply