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Albums of the Year 2017

It’s that time again.

Top Albums Top Reissues Bestsellers Top Stiffers Near Misses

Top Stiffers

That's the name we give to the hundreds of excellent records we get in each year that you ignore. The pick of the bunch is presented below for you to ignore again.

Al Chem
Weird Fiction

This is a beautifully mysterious album of dubbed out electronic mantras that stretch over the course of the record like a mist. While 'No Hopper' is a tight piece of electro dub with typically smoked vocal by Ras Michael, 'Prophet' really is the A side killer here a meditative drone of dubby techno bubbles with a repetitive lollop that seems to ...view item »

Waveform Transmission (Rod Modell & Chris Troy)
V 2.0-2.9

The ever reliable Astral Industries imprint bring us the first new material in over 20 years from Detroit dub techno/celestial ambient master Rod Modell (DeepChord, cv313) and the elusive Chris Troy operating as Waveform Transmission. The former is a familiar and prolific artist with to...view item »

Night Foundation
Memory Bells

Lobster Sleep Sequence’s first release, a record by Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet was universally appreciated by our team and had us all set aside our differences and unite in a huge ambient group hug. Therefore, we’ve been waiting wit...view item »

Jimi Bazzouka
Edits Vol. 4

Jimi Bazzouka how’s she blowing?    As it’s a day with ‘day’ in its name there are saxophone squeaks from the other room. Our office saxophone intake is as high as our coffee intake. Are the two things linked?    Yesterday we listened to awful synth tha...view item »

Young Fathers
Tape One / Tape Two

Original reviews from way back in time. Tape One Not heard much really good on Anticon for a long while but this really eats the proverbial biscuit. A hip hop troupe straight out of the mean streets of Edinburgh these lads bring an energy and invention otherwise unse...view item »

Andrea Belfi

Following on from their entirely lovely first release by music box droner Danny Clay, the bookish record label IIKKI have finally secured a second edition for us to gather our disquiet ‘round. With ‘Alveare’, drummer and all-purpose soundscaper Andrea Belfi couldn’t have made a more differ...view item »

Don’t DJ
Hyperspace Is The Place / Hyperspace Is No Place

Robbie Williams’ best friend, the guy who doesn’t want to DJ, slacks off with a 12” of swathey ambient dance music, focusing on subtly sweeping textures and liquid beatwork. He builds these tunes with well-slotted additives, like someone slowly making a lego blueprint reality -- “Hyperspace Is The Place” begins with...view item »

Indastria EP

Simbiosi appeared, seemingly out of nowhere back in 2015 with the cracking ‘Elements’ triple 12” set on Actress Werkdiscs label, and then the Italian duo just seemed to have vanished. Now they make a welc...view item »

Idiota Civilizzato
La Vita Silenziosa

Fast punches packed into 7” here from a band as home and away as the TV show of the same name; with members out of Australia, Italy, Mallorca, this hardcore band convene in Germany to make shambolically produced and furiously performed punk bulletins. It’s no surprise that they share members with the d...view item »

Gentefication EP

Dan Caballero, as distinct from Don Caballero, is a techno man of old school proportions, being a member of ancient techno-activist organism Underground Resistance, and is here releasing a 12” under his solo Nomadico alias on his own Yaxteq label. The Genteficat...view item »

Sturm Und Drang / First Mover

Dutch producer Roel Dijcks aka Ekman (Solar One, The Trilogy Tapes, Berceuse Heroique, Panzerkreuz etc.) returns to Shiprec for his third release on the label - with two prime c...view item »


‘Miccaotli’ is the second release from Andrea Taeggi under his Gondwana alias. The first of which ‘Aum’ appeared on Opal Tapes in 2015. You may recall his recent album for Type, or be familiar wi...view item »

Scuba Death
The Worm At The Core

Further Records make everything around you look ominously blue in different degrees of dark on this utterly compelling record from Scuba Death. This is a dub techno offering that truly makes itself on atmosphere -- Ricardo Donoso proves himself, above all things, to make a great soundscape. Bolts of lightning...view item »

Altstadt Echo
Reposed In Nihilism

Detroit’s Interdimensional Transmissions sublabel Eye Teeth is pretty great. If you’ve not checked it out, then I can highly recommend a sniff at the handful of releases on the label so far - it’s a techno label ...view item »

This Will Not Stand

Not sure who this Robin Asselman is, but they’ve sure got a weird take on beat-led electronic music. Their music sits somewhere between industrial, techno and dub music in an experimental cookpot where the beats sit alongside raspy layers and bizarrely mangled vocal samples. ...view item »

Koehler / Stabudown Productions
Jim V Dan

It’s murderation on the dancefloor with this hookup from Daniel Koehler (Berceuse Heroique) and James Donadio aka Prostitutes - here premiering his latest amusing/provocative alias StabUdown Prod...view item »

High Boys
Dead Zones

High Boys are Skull Defekts members Jean-Louis Huhta (aka Dungeon Acid) and Joachim Nordwall. They recently had a 12” on Hoga Nord and are back with an EP on Nordwall&...view item »

The Boats
Tomorrow Time

Now from Lancashire we have THE BOATS and their new album Tomorrow Time (CD only). A clicking glitching rhythm section delicately holds the soft and genteel wave of sound that is pieced together with Rhodes piano, samples and guest vocals form Chris Stewart and Elaine Reynolds. It makes me feel like being in an old persons spook...view item »

The Men
Open Your Heart

Causing a bit of controversy in the office, this one. Business Lady insists it's a disappointment compared to their initial blast of dirgey noise pop, since the '90s pop-rock vibes are really pushed to the fore this time round. Opener 'Turn It Around' is a crashing statement of intent, s...view item »

No Future

So I’m late to the party, and have no idea what Moire’s music sounds like. Sorry, world. I remember that Shelter was a big deal when it came out, and here’s the follow up on Ghostly so he must be doing well. Jeez, worst review intro ever. Those things like words and insight aren’t really coming today. &ls...view item »

Porter Ray

Discovered by Shabazz Palace's Ishmael Butler, Porter Ray has here documented his early life in Seattle via as series of innovative hip-hop snapshots which combine the classic boom-bap sound with a sort of dreamy post chill wave. Opener ‘Waves’ provides one of the more innovative hip-hop tracks of...view item »

Les Marquises
A Night Full Of Collapses

With an enormous cast featuring Matt Elliott and the cream of France's neo-classical community in tow, Jean-Sébastien Nouveau has here concocted the sort of noir-ish chamber pop that has the kind of sweeping intensity and deadly serious world view that can only be truly provided by the French. ...view item »

Kassem Mosse / Black Point
Split Vol. 2

Finding out what is actually going on on some of these dance 12"s is the sort of unsolvable mystery that has surely worried better minds than mine. By a bit of detective work I've realised that this is a split between Kassem Mosse and Black Point  - the sleeve offering no further clues as to which track is which. One side is supremely lovel...view item »

Ten Flowers

Lead singer of -- yes, for the first and last time, this is their band name -- Rubblebucket, Kalma Traver has here stepped out for a record of pop peculiarities on NNA Tapes. Away from her jam ‘n’ funk day to day, sh...view item »

Strange Peace

The good thing about Metz is that they will literally be writing the same song until they break up. This is not a slight: it’s the realest praise I’ve ever given out as a gatekeeper of this stupid website. Both propulsive and mind-numbing, with throughlines and middle fingers, theirs is an endlessly listenable song. It’s noise-...view item »

iDEALISM Volume Two

Tidy wee 5-track LP on Joachim Nordwall’s reliable iDEAL Recordings, kicking off with Sweden’s noise-monger Dan Johansson appearing as Sewer Election with ‘Rutiner’ which is som...view item »

Welcome To Nakanotroit

This artist hailing from Japan goes under two names, Aquarium and deepspace, the former for his ‘girl side’ and this one for his ‘boy side’. I’m not sure how you sum up ’boy’ or ‘girl’ with music but whatever, self expression, etc. In his words, this moniker represents ‘machinery and me...view item »


Fink, led by Fin Greenall, return with their sixth album 'Resurgam' which means "I shall rise again" and is taken from a Latin inscription in a 900-year-old church in Greenall’s native Cornwall. The now Berlin based Greenall really has created a sound that seems to echo to that rallying cry of positivity. Not that this is a cheesy album of...view item »

Jaye Bartell
In A Time Of Trouble, A Wild Exultation

Slow, sleeping country music is Jaye Bartell’s game plan here: fill your empty room with nice strums and let the band fill in around the corners, creating something emotive but not overwhelming. With a kind of lethargic melodic energy a la Kevin Morby, his songs on ‘In A Time of Trouble A Wild Exultation’ (phew) are lovely but ...view item »

Gabriel Saloman
Movement Building Vol.3

Former Yellow Swan, Gabriel Saloman concludes his ‘Movement Building’ trilogy for Shelter Press, with the third volume on wax, and a handy 2CD set collecting all three volumes. It’s a vividly cinematic work incorporating elements of modern classical, drone and post-metal without really adhering to any common tropes of either. O...view item »

Beauty & Sadness

Oh I remember the days when I’d trudge up some Lancastrian hill looking out onto the town below and think ‘just when will I live in such a romantic yet  rain-grey place?’ Horsebeach do a canny job of soundtracking on that most complex period of my life and for that I owe them somethin...view item »

Johan Zetterquist
Study For A Monument

On ‘Study For A Monument’ Johan Zetterquist uses minimal tools; Gibson SG, amp and f/x to build and sculpt large structures, layering atonal shards of feedback and noise live with no overdubs. The sound lies somewhere between the drone metal of Stephen O’Malley, ...view item »

Joey Agresta
Let's Not Talk About Music

Oh I think I remember this guy. He released records on labels like Feeding Tube under monikers such as Joey Pizza Slice. Now returning to a more sensible moniker he has unleashed a bunch of his home recordings made using vintage tape machines. The most impressive thing is that he has done all this whilst having the distraction of wearing a moust...view item »

Quiet Witness

Sciahri’s previous EP on Black Opal still gets plenty of spins, so I’ve been proper stoked for this one. As the neighbours car slips out of their driveway, it’s time to crank this mother up… ...view item »

Hiro Kone
Love is the Capital

Hiro Kone is an alias of Nicky Mao, who was once upon a time in Effi Briest, whom you may recall had an album out on Sacred Bones among other things. She popped up on Drew McDowall’s fabulous ‘Collapse’ record in 2015, and h...view item »

Trevor De Brauw

As our internet cycles through death and reincarnation in turns so dramatic I fail to understand how exactly we became certified as a mail-order website, I’m comforted by the knowledge that the guy from Pelican has made an ambient record. Shirking his responsibilities as a lord of post-metal, he brings out &ls...view item »

Synthetic Space

Think neon shop signs glaring through rain-streaked night-bus windows around 2 AM, because I am. Oh, excuse me reader: I am listening to the artificial sounds of Echium and their transportative frequencies taking me back to a place and time that I’m pretty sure only happened in my mind, just a moment ago, via t...view item »

Mumdance & Logos

If you’ve been digging the whole ‘Weightless’ thing, then you should know the drill with these Different Circles 12”s by now - limited stamped copies that pretty much aren’t available beyond the first coupla weeks of release. This one is the fir...view item »

Sim Hutchins
Vantablank Stare EP

I’m pretty sure this is the first I’ve heard from Sim Hutchins since his 2015 album on No Pain In Pop. There’s been a tape and some stuff on his BandCamp, but this appears to be the first widely available physical release - h...view item »

Qu'Est-Ce Qu'll A (D'Plus Que Moi Ce Negro La?)

Philippe Krootchey was an electro DJ and creator during the 70s and 80s on the Parisian electro circuit who apparently had a big hit with his group Love International and the single ‘Dance on the Groove (and Do the Funk)’. Don’t remember that one myself, but then I was less than an embryo in thos...view item »

Illum Sphere
Glass EP2

Ninja Tune score a bunch of remixes of cuts from Illum Sphere’s 2016 album Glass. Spread across two separate 12”s, the likes of Beau Wanzer, Hieroglyphic Being,...view item »

Illum Sphere
Glass EP1

Ninja Tune score a bunch of remixes of cuts from Illum Sphere’s 2016 album Glass. Spread across two separate 12”s, the likes of Beau Wanzer, Hieroglyphic Being, ...view item »

Tim Mislock
Now Is The Last Best Time

Tim Mislock says of his debut fuzzy drone-fest, Now Is The Last Best Time; “I wanted to create a world that made the listener feel like they were floating.” On that count, he has succeeded. Mislock has had to observe as his step-father gradually deteriorated at the hands of the degenerative ...view item »

Sponsored Content

Ah, it felt like only last year that I was sitting in this exact chair, with these headphones on, listening to Antwood’s debut album with joy and confusion plastered over my face. That’s because it was last year, indeedy, a few months over 1 year ago Tristan Douglas of Canadian fame made his first public announcement, a decree of sca...view item »

Enter Shikari
The Spark

I have been waiting for this for ages. Seriously, I've been checking through the post on the down-low at work hoping for a glimpse for about a month. I'm not too sure if my enthusiasm is shared by everyone in the office though, and I'm pretty sure a few people might not have actually ever heard an Enter Shikari song. I get it, they're a little b...view item »

El Ala De Mi Homunculo

Every time I think of the Japanese artist Aritomo I think of the quite brilliant press release for his previous album La Flor De Mi Tulpa which contained the following phrase "I released my last LP in the beginning of 2011. Honestly, it was a failure. My 5th LP was not good music". Let's hope Arcade Fire are equ...view item »

The Breathing Effect
The Fisherman Abides

Oh I do like a bit of jazzy post rock. reminds me know...Chicago. The place AND the band. The Breathing Effect are from Los Angeles and one of them has a beard. This album is one of those lovely records that marries laid back West Coast grooves with the progressive bits of post rock. Kinda Steely Dan mee...view item »

Teresa Winter
Untitled Death

Proper zoned album of subtly effective, hallucinogenic electronics from Teresa Winter. The records title i.e ‘Untitled Death’ and the cover image of shrooms elude to near death experiences achieved through the use of entheogens. Also, perhaps the process of unlocking the divine within and resulting spiritual awakening achieved throug...view item »

Two Trains

Icelandic experimentalist Hogni already has projects as GusGus and Hjaltalin but his newest and haughtiest work deserves its own alias, eh? Mixing deep, choral vocals that feel remote and church-like with soaring pop tunes and production beds a la newer, more lopsided R&B, he creates a record quite endless with possibilities, responsive to a...view item »

A Goal is an Image

‘A Goal is an Image’ is the first full, proper album on Rabit’s Halcyon Veil album and is well placed as a strong representation of the label's aesthetic. City aka Vancouver artist Will Ballantyne’s sound on this album really encapsulates the emotive core that ...view item »

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