Completely cleared my iPod and built it back up from scratch, in preparation for a family road trip to the Outer Banks of NC.
The kids and wife don't need the dozen hours each of Aaron Dilloway, Pan Sonic, Alice Coltrane, etc.
But I also need to be aware of content and language. (For reference: kids are ages 6-14.5)
"Best of?" Given the limited scope of what I've actually listened to, I'll just call it my favorites.
Album of the Year: Alice ColtraneWorld Sprituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (link)
Not a "new" album, but as the first wide release of this music, but new nonetheless. These songs were selected from four albums of Hare Krishna worship music Alice released between 1982 and 1995. Originally available only on cassettes directly from her ashram, the music has been re-mixed and re-mastered (not "remixed" though, just cleaned up). At many times this year, I've wanted to listen to nothing else. I have a hard time describing it... It's so many things together yet at the same time it sounds so detached from time and context. Hindu chants as gospel singing. Massive synths that feel like they should be from a specific date, but are more sui generis.
Honorable mentions in no specific order: GasNarkopop (link)
17 years since Pop and Wolfgang Voigt picks up the Gas moniker and dusts it off. It must be like riding a bicycle, because this is of the same stuff.
Sylvan EssoWhat Now
What if the Postal Service was more than a one-off, and the singer was a female with a lot of Americana influence, and the electronic musician was there in person rather than via tapes in the mail? It would be a lot like this.
Sarah DavachiAll My Circles Run (link)
Great near-classical ambient. Even though Gas is back doesn't mean those who took up that torch can't make their own great albums. Bonus marks for last year's Vergers, which I only first heard in the last weeks of 2016.
Aaron DillowaySwitches (link) The Gag File was touted and press-released, but I think this is a lot better, though I've learned nothing else about it. Noise-tape loops as Dilloway does them. Dread and menace.
Julien BakerTurn Out the Lights
Probably the only one that will show up on others' lists. A worthy follow-up to Sprained Ankle.
Zack: 8/19 through 9/9
Can of Corn: 9/16 through 10/21
Philosopher: 10/28 through 12/2
I think Zack may have been thrown off by the site's vacation last weekend. I'm taking today; I can give you two weeks in December if you want them, Z.
I've been reading bits of Freaky Trigger's essays about every British Number 1. (They just finished 2001!) I've mostly 1990-forward about those about songs I'm familiar with. One of the most recent ones had this passage I really like:
What pop does better than anything else does is to take feelings and situations, and crush and simplify them, making them immediate and thrilling and useful. It applies no moral filter. People feel self-righteous and wrathful, and so ultimately pop will product songs that are diamonds of self-righteousness and wrath.
("Pop" sensu lato here.) I think I've tried to express similar thoughts (but much less succinctly) about pop and emotions (though not necessarily those emotions).
From the same review, I love this line, which is more particularly about the song in question: "a church-inspired song that celebrates the dark joy of excommunication."