Friday, February 25, 2011

Favourites of 2010 - #2: The List part 1 (From the Yays to the Nays)

This is part 2 of the 3-posts part summary of my 2010 Year In Music.
This post will detail my favourite albums of 2010, with the exception of the top-most favourite ones which will have the 3rd part of this series dedicated to them.

An Year end list.

How corny a notion; but a well intended one in my case.

I’m doing it as much for myself, for chronicling what I heard and liked, as it is for others to perhaps find something they like that they may have missed.
This list keeps getting updated as I listen to more releases from 2010 (much like previous years lists). Also, the update concerns the placements of already existing albums on the list. 

I don't like lists too much and it's usually hard for me to decide which is my favourite and then make up a numerical list. Which is why I tried (not very successfully) to divide the following list into tiers:
Top Favourite albums - I can safely say about these 3 albums that I love them above all else in the list (these will have a post of themselves).

Everything else from the following is roughly divided into 3 groups (this was the hardest division to make so don't read too much into placements here; all are recommended). The names for each group are just arbitrary titles:
- Excellent albums
- Very good albums

Then I have the rest of the albums divided into:
- Good albums
- Above (my) average albums
- Average
- Didn’t like

Remember folks, those are just my opinions, not facts engraved into stone

So keep your pants on if you see your favourite album ranked low or your despised album ranked high.
If something is not there, it’s either because I haven’t heard it (yet, or don’t intend to), or because I forgot to add it or didn’t update it yet. So feel free to mention something not on there. 

Do comment and share your faves, thoughts and everything else regarding 2010 in music.

I will list the Top Favourites in a post of its own.

This post will be about all the other albums from all the groups mentioned above.

There is no ranking order within each group.

Excellent releases:

Clivages is the latest release by one of the great groups, here expanding their chamber rock palate yet again and showing that they can renew and progress even after they've done so for so long.

Rational Diet - On Phenomena and Existences
I've written a review for this release here.

I've featured these German "psych"-os here before.

Another band I've mentioned here before. Excellent Psychedelic rock from Belgium and in my opinion their best album. Also, the album has stunning cover art.

A Scottish quartet I've featured before, cool down-tempo/trip-hop music. 

Well, by now I know most of these groups and albums shouldn't be new to you, as I've featured most of them, including this one from these Italians "ecelcticians" playing a mix of rock, down-tempo, jazz etc.

A super-group of sorts, this Finnish death/doom band released a powerful debut album following a very good EP, showing their progressive tendencies, without sacrificing the metal side and all the while not forgetting to forge beautiful and catchy songs.

A superb piece of avant-garde metal.

I've reviewed this album here; a fascinating new incarnation for the band with its extended lineup.

Motoropsycho's psychedelic rock extravaganza.

Fantastic extreme progressive metal from Israel

I've mentioned this wonderful artist before; this is his second release; neo-classical/chamber music. His new album, Salon Des Amateurs, is due out in April 11th (12th in USA & Canada).

I've featured a song by these crazy Norwegians. Great band with two great records.

Lute – Learning Through Progression
Featured here and streamable.

A trio from Minneapolis that released a gorgeous EP.
Featured here.

Damn, is this good or what?! Look at the musicians on here: Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, Zeena Parkins and Matthias Bossi. There is a fifth member that goes by the name of The Norman Conquest.
I don’t even know how to describe this, there are so many influences and styles introduced into these songs; from folk to classical, from Latin to Eastern sounds, from jazz to rock. And it’s damned good.

A new band releasing a heavy, aggressive piece of organ-lead psychedelic rock.
Featured here and streamable.

Mose Giganticus - Gift Horse
Sludgy, murky, heavy and dirty sounding metal yet catchy and propulsive.

I didn't know anything about Scott Johnson prior to this release on Tzadik. Having picked it up, I was extremely surprised and delighted to have done so. This album (like his previous ones apparently) feature recorded speech played over and manipulated and uses those in his modern classical minimalistic compositions. The title piece features a Chinese immigrant saying that all Americans look alike to him and an Afghan American woman reminiscing her homeland. This is a highly elaborate composition; angular and disjointed yet it actually flows very well despite that. It’s a fascinating listen. You can read about it more, directly from the composer, here.

This Connecticut fusion/prog-rock group returns with a superb album featuring a 30 minute multi-section epic named after the street where their recording place was during their youth.

I've reviewed their previous album, Dreams No Longer Hesitate and commented on the aggressive nature of their music, their dense and heavy sound, their avant-garde approach and zeuhl influences.
Featured here and streamable

Another excellent release from Toby Driver’s Kayo Dot.

Breznev Fun Club - L'onda Vertebrata
A rock-estra/chamber-rock/avant-prog/modern classical album.
Reviewed here.

Another solid release of electronic/down-tempo music from Simon Green.
Featured here.

Fierce avant-rock/fusion album, the second from Estonian band.
Featured here.

Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist releases his third album, with an enhanced lineup this time.
Featured here and streamable.

Chamber-rock/avant-prog/"made-up genre name".
There’s so much talent here; I wish I had a little of it…
Reviewed here.

The first release by this group, a live performance, featuring instrumental fusion/zeuhl/avant-rock.
Featured here and streamable.

My current favourite psychedelic rock band along with Samsara Blues Experiment.
This new release is more energetic and aggressive than the previous ones. 

An impressive and beautiful modern classical composition on this album. Still digesting it, but I’m completely taken by it, by now.

Howl - Full of Hell
Another angry sludge-metal album that I was hooked by this year.

An impressive debut release by this Dutch group.
Reviewed here.

The second album by this American composer/multi-instrumentalist, this time featuring a female vocalist on a few songs. Beautiful and emotional progressive rock.

A truly eclectic duo, The Resonance Association released their third album, and probably my favourite of theirs.  

After LuxAde some folks were disappointed by this more straightforward and not as epic album, but if one were to dismiss those comparisons, one would discover a very good progressive rock album.

Debut album for this Greek band, on Fading Records, the sister label of AltrOck.
Reviewed here.

The second album by this group, an impressive forward thinking black metal release from Lars Fredrik Frøislie  (Wobbler, White Willow et al.) with enough guest musicians to create several supergroups.

A wonderful release by Dawn McCarthy and friends, beautiful rhythmic folk tunes.

Psychedelic rock goodness by Croatian musician Niko Potočnjak, ex-member of Tigrova mast.

Very good releases:

Siberian chamber rock.
Reviewed here.

Acoustic guitar album with lovely songs.
Chrome Hoof - Crush Depth
Third full length from Chrome Hoof that started out as the duo of the Smee Brothers (bassist Leo Smee being from doom band Cathedral) and by now have evolved into a mini orchestra with many members joining in, with ties to many other bands (Cardiacs, TKDE etc). As eclectic as before and as wild and progressive.

E.S. Posthumus - Makara
Bombastic, cheesy soundtrack-like orchestral music with electronic ornamentations.

A fine second album by this group lead by Charlie Looker.

Ihsahn - After
Third album from this talented musician.

The third album by this Canadian one man band (Daemonskald), a Nordic-inspired folk/atmospheric metal affair, heavier than its predecessors.

Spiritual Beggars - Return to Zero
More psychedelic/heavy/hard-rock goodness from this group.

Solefald - Norrøn Livskunst
The latest album from this post black metal/avant-garde metal Norwegian duo.
Mugstar - ... Sun, Broken ... / Lime
Well made psychedelic and experimental rock

Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Does it actually need introduction?

Néodyme - La tour
A fine Canadian instrumental progressive rock album.

Tuvalu - Tuvalu
Featured here.

Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
Very good psych/hard rock. Took me some time to get into, but it was worth it.

Nuova Era - s/t
A comeback of sorts, with this album featuring new compositions, remakes and demos of old tracks and live performances.

Par Lindh Project - Time Mirror
A solid fourth release by this ELP-influenced band. Another ELP-inspired album, it features four tracks. The first one alone is worth it, if you like multi-genre composition with heavy keyboards emphasis.

Djam Karet - The Heavy Soul Sessions
Reviewed here.

Tohpati Ethnomission - Save the Planet
Indonesian prog/jazz-rock, formed by Tohpati from another prog band, Simal Dialog.

Naima - Buscas
Spanish fusion/jazz quartet that released their second album of exciting dynamic jazz and this time including covers for songs by Depeche Mode and The Smiths.
Featured here.

French TV - I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness
French TV is such a fun band. This is the tenth album, as usual it’s an under-the-radar-release from this currently revamped line-up, with contributors being Shawn Persinger (Prester John, Boud Deun) and Steve Katsikas (Little Atlas).

Zoe Keating - Into the Trees
Cellist Zoe Keating offers her beautiful compositions.

(The) Slowest Runner (In All the World) - We, Burning Giraffes
Very well made "classic" post-rock.

Three Monks - Neogothic Progressive Toccatas
Orgasm-inducing organ-dominated album.

Odyssice - Silence
A wonderful instrumental melodic album by this Dutch group.

Jean Louis - Morse
Those crazy French. The second release by this avant-rock/jazz outfit.

Album by R. Loren of Pyramids with many contributors: Colin Marston (who also co-produced the album), Aidan Baker, Hildur Gudnadottir, Prurient, Ted Parsons, James Blackshaw , Aaron Stainthorpe and Jonas Renkse among others. If you like gloom, if you’re into drone, if you like a dense doomy atmosphere in your rock/metal, and you enjoy long rides (this is a long piece of music), check it out.

Colin Masson - The Mad Monk and the Mountain
The second album by the former leader of The Morrigan, Colin Masson, a multi-instrumentalist  who created here beautiful melodic folk/symph-prog songs.

Ufomammut - Eve
Sludge and doom converge in this over 40 minutes opus in 5 parts about Eve, delivered by this Italian band.

Kylesa - Spiral Shadow
After Static Tensions, Kylesa continue in the same path, but with less of a raw edge and more clear melodies. This is a solid bunch of songs, straight from the start with Tired Climb and others like Don’t Look Back and Forsaken.  

Martriden - Encounter the Monolith
A very good extreme epic progressive metal album, by this Montana, USA based band. There’s a quote from an Anglagard song in there, look for it…

A wild electronic/hip-hop album from Japan. Apparently they have many other releases and have existed since 1997. I must explore them more given this fine album.

The Contortionist - Exoplanet
Yeah, yeah, a deathcore album, bute me. Anyway, it’s not a simple “deathcore” album, there’s more to that in there, just give it a listen to this band from Indianapolis, Indiana. There is, gasp, melody in the tunes, aggressiveness, power and even progressive tendencies.

Haken - Aquarius
An impressive debut from this band from London. They opt for a heavy, almost metal sound and throw into it some genre hopping and abrupt style changes in the middle of songs. At times it sound too forced, but overall this is a well done album.

I have Wintermusik and The Bells by Nils Frahm so obviously upon seeing this album I picked it up and I’m glad I did. A beautiful merge of chamber-music and electronic sounds.

Killing Joke  - Absolute Dissent
Killing Joke releases its 14th album. I don’t know too much about them except what I read in interviews etc. so I’ll just say I was hooked from first listen. Each song is a straight and efficient shot, the joke indeed kills.

A second album after
Called “Tomorrow, it was yesterday”, it continues the same chamber music they played on their first album, only here I find the composition much more appealing. This group was initiated by  film composers, Ombeline Chardes (violin) and Michel Villar (piano). To be able to play live, they expanded into a quintet comprising Cendrine Mazzucco (violin), Aurore Moutomé Miath (violin), Ian-Elfinn Rosiu (cello). Other musicians contributing are: Anne Frèches (vocals), Marion Gomar (vocals) and Christophe Gaurier (French Horn).

So I’m not sure what’s up with this. It was available late in 2010 (digitally and physically) and there is a 2010 release date for it, but now I also see it having a 2011 release date… So at the risk of being pre-emptive, I’ll include it this year.
A very impressive psychedelic/experimental/progressive rock double album that takes a while to take in.

Lebowski - Cinematic
Reviewed here.

Electric Orange - Krautrock From Hell
Psychedelic rock extravaganza from this German band, with a great title.

Rebel Wheel - We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks
The follow-up to Diagramma is as dark yet better in my opinion.
Stream album here.

Greg Haines - Until the Point of Hushed Support

Good Releases:

Balmorhea - Constellations

Lüger – Lüger

Holy Fuck - Latin

Chinese Beard - Shades of Tomorrow

Moon Duo - Escape

Elephant9 - Walk The Nile

Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno - Il Pittore Volante

John Zorn - In Search of the Miraculous

Black Sun Aeon - Routa

Jean-Paul Prat (Masal) - Galgal

Fromuz - Seventh Story

Deathspell Omega - Paracletus

Igorrr – Nostril

Solar Architect - Wrath of Nature

Maserati - Pyramid of the Sun

Dakrya - Crime Scene

MeTaL-O-PHoNe - Metal-o-phone

Lunatic Soul - Lunatic Soul II

Deformica - Páramo

Sahara Surfers - Spacetrip on a Paper Plane

Fjernlys - Beyond the Undulant Quiescence

The Monroe Transfer - Trials

Khatsaturjan - Disconcerto grosso

Year of No Light - Ausserwelt

God is an Astronaut - Age of the Fifth Sun

Ephemeral Sun - Harvest Aorta

One Shot - Reforged

Jaga Jazzist - One-Armed Bandit

The Meads of Asphodel - The Murder of Jesus the Jew

Cicada - Over The Sea Under The Water
Featured here.

Mostly Autumn - Go Well Diamond Heart

Yann Tiersen - Dust Lane

Cloudkicker - Beacons

The Psychedelic Ensemble - The Myth of Dying

Rotor - 4

Electric Wizard - Black Masses

Pin-up Went Down - 342

My Brother the Wind - Twilight in the Crystal Cabinet

Matt Stevens - Ghost

Glass Hammer - If

The Claudia Quintet - Royal Toast

Oceansize - Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up

Sophie Hutchings - Becalmed

Master Musicians Of Bukkake - Totem Two

Ninth Moon Black - Kalyug

Susanne Sundfør - The Brothel

Zs - New Slaves

Modest Midget - The Great Prophecy of a Small Man

Bullets In Madison - We Became Your Family When You Died

Sigh - Scenes from Hell

Dead Silence Hides My Cries - The Wretched Symphony

Moon Safari - Lover's End

Salem Hill - Pennies in the Karma Jar

Mar De Grises - Streams Inwards

Soul Enema - Thin Ice Crawling

Quest For Fire - Lights From Paradise

Demians - Mute

The Souljazz Orchestra - Rising Sun

65daysofstatic - We Were Exploding Anyway

Shaolin Death Squad - Five Deadly Venoms

Maxwell's Demon - Diablo

In Vain - Mantra

Brown Vs Brown - Odds and Unevens

The 16 Deadly Improvs - The Triumph of the 16 Deadly Improvs

Helengard - Helengard

Cryptomnesia - Primordial Oddity

Apparat Organ Quartet - Pólýfónía

Kataya - Voyager

Future-X - Machines, The Saint & I

The Shadow Theory - Behind The Black Veil

Aborym - Psychogrotesque

Magentic - In the Dream

Pure Reason Revolution - Hammer & Anvil

Tohpati Ethnomision - Save The Planet

Charming Hostess - The Bowls Project

Odem Arcarum - Outrageous Reverie Above the Erosion of Barren Earth

Wretched - Beyond the Gate

Zoroaster - Matador

Sleepy Eyes Of Death - Toward a Damaged Horizon

zxyzxy - Jinshin

zxyzxy - C.A.B.

Nachtmystium - Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. 2

Resistor - Rise

Hammock - Chasing After Shadows...Living With the Ghosts

Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here

Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées

Netra -  Mélancolie Urbaine

Strie - Sleptis

O Graceful Musing’s Burden - [stampdtrail]

Il Tempio delle Clessidre - Il Tempio delle Clessidre

Intronaut - Valley of Smoke

Nichelodeon - Il Gioco Del Silenzio

Ehnahre - Alpha/Omega

Oberon’s Parabola – s/t

My Dad vs. Yours – Little Symphonies

Pallas - XXV

Serpentina Satélite - Mecanica Celeste

When Day Descends - When Day Descends

Nightfall – Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants

Algernon - Ghost Surveillance
Reviewed here.

Polar Bear - Peepers

Above average/not bad/decent:

Serpent Throne - White Summer • Black Winter

From Oceans to Autumn - On Earth As It Is...

Spiritual Front - Rotten Roma Casino

Satanique Samba Trio - Bad Trip Simulator #2

Cucci-Band – Bon Debarras!

Salim Ghazi Saeedi - Iconophobic

Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One

Nels Cline Singers - Initiate

At The Soundawn - Shifting

Ghost - Opus Eponymous

Mahatma - Gilgamesh

Aquanaut - The Psychonaut

Árstíðir Lifsins - Jötunheima dolgferð

52 Commercial Road - A Wreck Provides An Excellent Foundation

Monster Magnet - Mastermind

Lehto & Wright - Children's Songs

From Exile - Monolith

District 97 - Hybrid Child

Horn of the Rhino - Weight of Coronation

This or the Apocalypse - Haunt What's Left

Lustre - A Glimpse of Glory

The Red Shore - The Avarice of Man

Son of Aurelius - The Farthest Reaches

Ludicra - The Tenant

Mains de Givre - Esther Marie

Berry Weight - Music For Imaginary Movies

Consecration - .avi

Questioner - Questioner

October Falls - A Collapse of Faith

Ólafur Arnalds - ...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness

Emanuel and The Fear - Listen

Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini

All Over Everywhere - Inner Firmaments Decay

Rob Martino - One Cloud

Doubt - Never Pet A Burning Dog

Nucleus Torn - Andromeda Awaiting

Dean Watson - Unsettled

Harvestman - Trinity

Klotet - Det Har Aldrig Hänt Och Kommer Aldrig Hända Igen

La Otracina - Reality Has Got to Die

Yakuza - Of Seismic Consequence

Thelema Trio - Neither From Nor Towards . . .

Mastermind - Insomnia

Red Sparowes - The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer

Papir - Papir

Dying Sun – 12212010

Dynamo Bliss – 21st Century Junk

Vestiges – The Descent of Man

Neil Young - Le Noise

Letho & Wright - Children's Songs

Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung (DAAU) - The Shepherd's Dream

Alcest - Écailles de lune

Average and below/Didn’t do much for me/Disappointing:

Karnataka - The Gathering Light

Toundra - (II)

The River Empires - The River Empires

Souvenir's Young America - The Name of the Snake

Skyforger - Kurbads

Senmuth - Секененра

Suma - Ashes

Nick Magnus - Children Of Another God

Silver Mt. Zion - Kollaps Tradixionales

In Mourning - Monolith

Qube - Incubate

Magnetic - In the Dream

Fond of Tigers - Continent & Western

The Sword - Warp Riders

Food - Quiet Inlet

The Polar Dream - Follow Me to the Forest

Witchery - Witchkrieg

Ereb Altor - The End

Julie Slick - Julie Slick

Wuthering Heights - Salt

The Breathing Process - Odyssey (un)Dead

Hamadryad - Intrusion

Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones

Sadist - Season in Silence

Mars Hollow - Mars Hollow
Stream here.

High On Fire - Snakes For The Divine

Shining - Blackjazz

Fish On Friday - Shoot The Moon

Hollow Leg - Instinct

Alex Machacek - 24 Tales

Gladiator - Circular Reasoning

Omnimi - Eight Moons

Sardonis - SardoniS

WolfSpring - Wolfspring

Finntroll - Nifelvind

Star One - Victims of the Modern Age

Criminal Caterpillar - Thanatos and the Archangel

Electric Moon - Lunatics

Mindmovie - Happiness and Tears

Magic Kingdom - Symphony of War

Aries - Double Reign

Returning We Hear the Larks - Ypres

Frenzy - Nein Songs

Nels Cline - Dirty Baby

October Tide - A Thin Shell

Cebren-Khal - A Mass of Despair

Castevet - Mounds of Ash

The Paradoxical Spiral - Necromorphs

Puma - Half Nelson Courtship

Drewsif Stalin's Musical Endeavors - Delusions Of A Greater Future

Perhaps Contraption - Sludge & Tripe

Lights Dim - Starlit Corners of Our Homes

Rasputina - Sister Kinderhook

Unitopia - Artificial

Nadja - Autopergamene

Senmuth - Chambers

Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Wildling

Efterklang - Magic Chairs

Borknagar - Universal

Citay - Dream Get Together

Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR

Radio Massacre International - Time & Motion

Glass - Spectrum Principle

Melechesh - The Epigenesis

Catacombe - Kinetic

Andy Webb - Echoes

The Divine Baze Orchestra - Dead but Dreaming

Fejd - Eifur

Double Handsome Dragons - Double Handsome Dragons

(The Lord Weird) Slough Feg - The Animal Spirits

Bongripper - Satan Worshipping Doom

Eris Pluvia - Third Eye Light

Magic Lantern - Platoon

Mindgames - MMX

Star FK Radium - Blue Siberia

Life Line Project - Distorted Memories

Anti-Depressive Delivery - The Best of Anti-Depressive Delivery

Psicotropia - Psicotropia³

The Tea Club - Rabbit

Atheist - Jupiter

Black Science - Cosmodemonic & Beyond

Dimmu Borgir - Abrahadabra

Black Tusk - Taste the Sin

Sahg - III

Shawn Persinger - Desire for a Straight Line

Vit - -
(This is not a mistake, that's the name of the album)

Cephalic Carnage - Misled by Certainty

Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality

Aviva - Peer Gynt in Favour

Rhapsody (of Fire) - The Frozen Tears of Angels

Eluveitie - Everything Remains as It Never Was

Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise

Nydvind - Sworn to the Elders

The Chant - This Is the World We Know

White Hinterland - Kairos

Metsatöll - Äio

Throes Of Dawn - The Great Fleet of Echoes

Heljareyga - Heljareyga

Kaipa - In The Wake Of Evolution

Jeavestone - 1+1=OK

The Daedalus Spirit Orchestra - Ampulla Magnifying

Keep Of Kalessin - Reptilian

American Hollow - Whisper Campaign

ifsounds - Apeirophobia

Blood Revolt - Indoctrine

Cradle of Filth - Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa

Phonophani - Kreken

Stian Westerhus - Pitch Black Star Spangled

Decrepit Birth - Polarity

Gurumaniax - Psy Valley Hill

Kemialliset Ystävät - Ullakkopalo

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune

Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow

Thisquietarmy - Aftermath

Mike Patton - Mondo cane

Mystery - One Among the Living

Errors - Come Down With Me

The Reasoning - Adverse Camber

The Ocean - Heliocentric

Dawnbringer - Nucleus

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier


Nero Order – The Tower

Drudkh - Handful of Stars

Stormzone - Death Dealer

Fear Factory - Mechanize

Daughters - Daughters

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