2017 Albums

Four Tet - New Energy

LEDs in a desert sunrise; the organic elements are sublime, moving, and the electronic ones spark interest and otherworldliness. And: speechless, simple, consistent. The album simply is, and in being: is beautiful.

Visible Cloaks - Reassemblage

A museum of sounds, thoughtfully arranged. And delightful: the rhythm of speech made metaphor in Valve, or the stuttering freshness of Wintergreen. Music that will show you wonders if you listen closely, but never demand that you do it.

Lapalux - Ruinism

Ruinism isn’t afraid. It will tear apart the universe to see just what howling wail it will make. A poem walking down your spine, biting your ear after a dance party; soft, hazy in the morning light.

Sampha - Process

The emotional power of Sampha’s voice is the star of every song, which is impressive as the album is impeccably produced. Better, it’s a true album—there’s a diverse sonic and emotional palette, and the whole thing hangs together.

Daphni - Joli Mai

Dan Snaith is at play on Joli Mai. The album is danceable and funky on Face to Face or The Truth, experimental on Vikram or Hey Drum. Never over-thought, but with enough ideas to feel full.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid

Such a sweet album. The choir of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s one voice is enough to make any song worthwhile, and if you pay enough attention to make them out, the lyrics will run around your head for days.

Mount Kimbie - Love What Survives

Love What Survives slips around like quicksilver; moments of indie-pop transcendence, electronic grooves, and just plain rock. Standouts: the crooning vocals on Marilyn, the energetic build of Delta.

yaeji - EP2

EP2 delivers on the promise of modern music production techniques—the album is alternatively hip hop, house, or luxurious dream pop. Held together by yaeji’s ASMR-inducing vocals, and her clean, crisp beats.

Bibio - Phantom Brickworks

An album that deserves to be called ambient, in the original sense of admitting many levels of attention. Play it for work as or for lying on the couch with your eyes closed, letting it wash over you. Either way, it’s a haunting, spacious, beautiful listen.

Von Haze - VII

Music that emphasizes texture. VII is a spacious room you walk around inside of, run your hands along the rough walls, feel the cool floor underneath you. Unhurried enough to create the kind of hypnosis that reminds: music is a form of transcendence.