Almost 40 days have passed since the beginning of the year and we have already enjoyed a first bunch of excellent records. From black metal to electroacoustic, this first part of the journey through the most beautiful records of the year was definitely interesting and with some nice surprises. Let’s see then which were the best 9 albums that we had the pleasure to listen so far…. and stay tuned for the following episodes!
MILES TO MIDNIGHT is the collaborative album by three masters of dark ambient music: Atrium Carceri, Cities Last Broadcast and God Body Disconnect. This is not a record that you can play when you have some friends at dinner, or early in the morning as you prepare to go out, unless you have really special tastes. But there are many other moments in our days in which it can be pleasant and liberating to abandon the reality that we face in our daily routines and be transported into a dark and mysterious world like the one created by these three artists. Full review is available here.
ALL MELODY is is the last work by German composer Nils Frahm. This particular and challenging album offers the listener pure and minimalistic melodies, rarefied musical lines that slowly and gently emerge from the white noise that surrounds us. The typical elements of Frahms’ music, which are the combination of analog and digital instruments and the perfect fusion of electronic and modern classical styles, are all present here, but the architecture of this new album is so bare and essential as we didn’t hear for long time in his discography. Full review is available here.
CONTRA LA INDECISION by Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson and his trusty companions is the best Jazz album that we heard in the first days of 2018. The music played by the trio in this record is based on slowed rhythms and rarefied atospheres, on top of which we hear sometimes melodic and cantabile musical lines, and in some other cases hints of intermittent, whispered and delicate motifs. Full review is available here.
SLOWGOD II is the debut full-lenght album by Grajo, from Spain. The band plays a doomish version of stoner rock that manages to move with great ease between trippy moments and more abrasive sections. The LP consists of 6 tracks, all of them interesting and deep, with a couple of peaks which elevate the album among the best things we heard so far in 2018. I’ve been particularly impressed by Malstrøm, the epic sludge song which closes the album and that features 8 minutes of pure atmospheric beauty. Full review is available here.
SANGUE CASSIA, by Portuguese band Sinistro, is an album for those who have time. Time for long songs, time for repeated listens, time to get rid of distractions and be carried away by the incredible music played by this group. The members of the band use to describe their music as “cinematic”. And in fact they managed to create here extremely evocative atmospheres and suggestive soundscapes, on top of which we have one of the most beautiful voices of the current days. Full review is available here.
HELLO WORLD is the first mainstream music album composed with artificial intelligence, at least according to the release notes which come with the LP. Basically a group of electronic music artists joined a research team which was working on AI, under the coordination of French pop artist Benoit Carré, who operates under the stage name of SKYGGE. The result is a very nice collection of fresh and forward thinking electro-pop tracks. Full review is available here.
POST- is the fourth LP in the solo career of Jeff Rosenstock, an american rocker from Long Island who’s playing punk rock since a couple of decades. His music is one of the truest versions of punk that is in circulation today. Not the street punk which tries to imitate the atmospheres of the 70s, and not even the ska-punk which has been so much succesful in the last years. This is raw and honest music that speaks from the heart. Full review is available here.
Starcrawler is a band of very young rockers from California who polarized in a couple years the attention of fans, critics and even a number of old glories of rock of the caliber of Ryan Adams and Elthon John, who contributed to promote their music. Their debut self-titled LP provides the listener with an excellent collection of rock songs, all of them exciting, relatively raw but at the same time accessible for a mainstream audience. Full review is available here.
VARG UTAN FLOK is the new album by Shining, from Sweden, which is one of the most regular and longeve bands in black metal. This work presents almost the same winning formula of their previous albums: an interesting version of depressive and experimental black metal which often incorporates many elements from thrash and, less frequently, other intriguing inserts from jazz and rock. The full review is available here.