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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

First full-length album from Al Chem, whose take on dub music is filtered through many layers of hazy electronics to become something else. Weird Fiction feels woozy and pressurised, like the mix could seep apart at any moment, a vibe that makes for enticing listening. Deep atmosphere stuff, released by Art Yard....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

More weird house edits and sly disco variations from Jimi Bazzouka and the Crowdspacer label. Edits Vol. 4 on vinyl 12” borrows the sounds of the 1980s Japanese new wave and turns them into surreal bangers and eccentric floorfillers, all dedicated to the life and work of genius Ryuichi Sakamoto....view item »

Andrea Belfi
Alveare

Andrea Belfi’s latest suite of electroacoustic percussion music is based around, a post-war Italian architecture movement with utopian ideals. In other words, a perfect jumping-off point for semi-abstract music such as this. Alveare features guest contributions from ...view item »

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

Hyperspace is The Place / Hyperspace is No Place is the latest mini-album from Don’t DJ. A collection of ambient sounds and experimental electronica make this mini-release a great listen. As with a lot of Don’t DJ’s work, the tracks build slowly into a rhythmic trance of soft b...view item »

Simbiosi
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

International (but Berlin-based) hardcore group Idiota Civilizzato begin their journey with La Vita Silenziosa, a powerful debut EP. Seven tracks are packed into these seven inches of vinyl, thrusting a high-velocity, Italian-language blast of ferocious frustration into the listener’s ears. Out on the essential St...view item »

Nomadico
Gentefication EP

Dan Caballero is part of the Underground Resistance family, mixing their tracks as well as working with Los Hermanos, Orlando Voorn, and DJ 3000. His second release on his own Yaxteq label under his Nomadico moniker. Gentefication is an...view item »

Ekman
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 »

Young Fathers
Tape One / Tape Two

Essential re-issue of the early years of eventual Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers. 'Tape 1' and 'Tape 2' saw the band honing their near unclassifiable sound which blends hip-hop with influences from indie, jazz and soul. 'Tape 1' in particular is totally magnificent  - a call to arms that ensured that we were in the pre...view item »

Gondwana
Miccaotli

‘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 »

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 »

Assel
This Will Not Stand

Falling somewhere between Blackest Ever Black territory, Demdike Stare sampling pastiches, sound art, Black Dice experimentalism and multiple genre referencing. Assel makes his debut on the Where To Now? Label with This Will Not Stand, casting any allegiances to the side, morphing recog...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 »
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Porter Ray
Watercolor

If Porter Ray's debut single is anything to go by, then his full length - Watercolor - is to be highly anticipated. Sacred Geometry is a promising and deep electronic expedition, layered amongst a reel of candid lyrics - keep an eye out for this burgeoning Seattle-based inn...view item »

Les Marquises
A Night Full Of Collapses

Les Marquises is Jean-Sébastien Nouveau’s grand ensemble project, featuring artists like Matt Elliott of The Third Eye Foundation and Agathe Max among many others. A Night Full Of Collapses makes great use of this line-up, sprinkling rich a...view item »
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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 »
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Moiré
No Future

With his releases on R&S, Ninja Tune, and Werk Discs London based producer Moiré has always pushed left of centre in techno production, swapping straight fours for screwed and off kilter beats that mysteriously achieve the same rhythm. On his latest full length through Ghostly International he pushes further into IDM ...view item »

Scuba Death
The Worm At The Core

The name Scuba Death sounds like it belongs to some psych-rock group, but actually the name refers to a nearly-fatal experience that Brazilian composer Ricardo Donoso had while scuba diving. The brush with doom pushed him to express himself creatively: The Worm At The Core, an album centred around thund...view item »

Various
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 »
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Kassem Mosse / Black Point
Split Vol. 2

One track each from Kassem Mosse and Black Point on this straightforwardly-presented 12” on the Out To Lunch label. Both producers are in a relaxed mood, laying out some really lovely grooves. Unhurried synth lines weave their way around languid basslines and fine-funky beats: Split Vol. 2 really ...view item »
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Kalbells
Ten Flowers

Kalbells is Kalmia Traver of Rubblebucket, working solo for the first time. Ten Flowers is a kaleidoscopic suite of playful and colourful electronics, dotted with percussions and field recordings and, of course, Kalmia’s voice, which weaves itself all around and a...view item »

METZ
Strange Peace

A new record from New York's (if not America's) loudest band promises to be ear shredding particularly when recording genius/grump Steve Albini has allowed them into his lair. This live to tape recording tries to grasp the full racket of the band in live performance resulting in an accessible yet terrifying ride. ...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 »
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Horsebeach
Beauty & Sadness

Oh lovely Horsebeach. I hope we didn't fall out too badly in that we maybe didn't give their last album quite the plaudits of their first one. Listening to this lovely new record make me feel even worse about that. The band superbly marry the melancholic rain drenched sound of the Smiths with the jangling beauty...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 »
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外神田Deepspace
Welcome To Nakanotroit

Japanese producer 外神田Deepspace (外神田 translates to Kotokuda, a district of Tokyo) operates a double output, simultaneously working as Aquarium. 外神田Deepspace is his “boy side” focusing on metallic and mechanical sounds, although Welcome To Nakanot...view item »
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Joey Agresta
Let's Not Talk About Music

Joey Agresta is a veteran of doing it his own way, with a stack of AKAs behind him: Son Of Salami, Joey Pizza Slice etc. Let’s Not Talk About Music, which includes upbeat songs like ‘I Feel Like Shit And I Want To Die’, was recorded in Joey’s bed...view item »

Sciahri
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 »
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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 »
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Trevor De Brauw
Uptown

Trevor De Brauw is the guitarist of Pelican, and this is his first solo release. Although don’t assume that he’s only just had the idea: Uptown has been slowly created over the course of the last ten years. Uptown pushes away from songs and riffs and into dense drone-ambient territo...view item »

Echium
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 »
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Mumdance & Logos
FFS / BMT

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

Philippe Krootchey was a highly active DJ in Paris in the 70s and 80s. Forming the group Love International releasing Dance On The groove And Do The Funk in 1981. Here we have a remaster and reissue of his debut solo outing housing his huge energy in freak out electro-disco. Features the english version...view item »
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Illum Sphere
Glass EP2

Second of two EPs that take a look back at Illum Sphere’s 2016 album Glass that bring a track from the album backed with remixes from select artists. On Glass EP2 they have remixes from Beau Wanzer of Civil Duty and De-Bons-en-Pierre, and Hierogly...view item »
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Illum Sphere
Glass EP1

Returning to Illum Sphere’s 2016 album Glass Ninja Tune have created two EPs each bringing a track from the album backed with remixes from select artists. For Glass EP1 they have remixes from Machine Woman and Gavsborg AKA Equinoxx led by Illum Sp...view item »
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Koehler / Stabudown Productions
Jim V Dan

This is a stand-off! A battle between two renegade rave heroes, Koehler and StabUdown Productions aka James Donadio of Prostitutes. Jim V Dan sees the two produce aggressive, tetchy takes on each other’s material. Expect banging breaks, deadly bass and industrial bleeps fired by c...view item »
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Tim Mislock
Now Is The Last Best Time

Tim Mislock has created a world to make you feel like you are floating in a vast, organic space without boundaries. Mislock’s debut solo album, Now Is The Last Best Time, is an ambient record filled with guiding guitar. He has had to watch his stepdad experience dementia; the slow, ...view item »

Antwood
Sponsored Content

Canadian producer Antwood had several releases on netlabels such as B.YRSLF Division and Cocobass before being snatched up by Planet Mu. Returning with his second full length album, Sponsored Content...view item »

Enter Shikari
The Spark

If their latest single release is anything to go by, then The Spark is going to be a big fat political statement, once again. Rou and the lads in Enter Shikari have become increasingly involved in writing about society and the future of the entire planet- especially with Trump sitting in office. This latest release is a...view item »

Aritomo
El Ala De Mi Homunculo

El Ala De Mi Homunculo is the rather personal music of Aritomo, recorded and private pressed to express a deep love of Chilean music. This LP takes Aritomo...view item »
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Waveform Transmission (Rod Modell & Chris Troy)
V 2.0-2.9

The always fabulous Astral Industries label present the first new material in 22 years from Rod Modell (DeepChord, cv313) and the elusive Chris Troy as Waveform Transmissions. Their previous album of drifting, droning ambient came via Italy's Silent label in 1996, and then, nothing... 'V 2.0-2.9' is comprised of four eighteen minute cuts...view item »
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The Breathing Effect
The Fisherman Abides

A tender, multi-faceted sophomore LP here. While the quirky nautical focus of The Fisherman Abides recalls British Sea Power, there is a far greater stylistic scope to the songwriting from The Breathing Effect here. The group wed contemporary jazz chops to Mogwai-indebted post-rock and ...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 »
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City
A Goal is an Image

Rabit's hotbed of experimental grime and other hypermodern digital distractions welcomes the first appearance for Vancouver-based artist City. Abstract song structures abound, but there is a strong sense of purpose that guides these crystalline shards of bass, beat and buzz around the frequency range in the spir...view item »
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