Entries in AiMT 2014 (9)


Best Reissues of 2014

If you followed AiMT closely in 2014, you probably wouldn't be shocked to learn that this reissues list leans heavily toward ambient, soft pop, new age and library music, but there are plenty of upbeat moments as well.

This is the last of my 2014 features. Really wanted to get this out there before officially calling it a year. For anyone who has checked out AiMT and/or ANTS Podcast this past year, I want to say thanks. It was by far the most active year I've ever had since starting in 2007, and you've all made it worthwhile with great feedback, kind words, and helping spread the word. Lots in store for 2015, so here's to another fun year.

  1. Lewis - L'Amour [Light in the Attic]
  2. Randall McClellan - The Healing Music of Rana: Cassette Box Set [Sun Ark Recordings]
  3. Shawty Pimp feat. Reddog - Comin' Real wit It [L.A. Club Resource]
  4. Aby Ngana Diop - Liital [Awesome Tapes From Africa]
  5. Vangelis Katsoulis - The Slipping Beauty [Into the Light Records]
  6. Jordan de la Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose [Numero Group]
  7. Steve Roach - Structures From Silence [Projekt Records]
  8. Larry Heard - Alien [Alleviated Records]
  9. Biosphere - Patashnik 2 [Biophon Records]
  10. Push/Pull - Bang the Drums [Rush Hour Records]
  11. M. Geddes Gengras - Collected Works, Vol. 1/2 [Umor-Rex]
  12. Ariel Kalma - An Evolutionary Music: Original Recordings, 1972-1979 [RVNG Intl.]
  13. Charles Cohen - A Retrospective [Morphine Records]
  14. Elia y Elizabeth - La Onda de Elia y Elizabeth [Vampisoul]
  15. Francis Bebey - Psychedelic Sanza [Born Bad Records]
  16. Z - Visions of Dune [InFiné Music]
  17. Bo Anders Persson - Love Is Here to Stay [Subliminal Sounds]
  18. Gigi Masin - Talk to the Sea [Music From Memory]
  19. Hailu Mergia and The Wallas - Tche Belew [Awesome Tapes From Africa]
  20. Vincent Floyd - Moonlight Fantasy [Rush Hour Records]

AiMT's 2014 Hip-Hop Favorites, Pt. 2

Don't forget about Pt. 1.

  1. Ahsh Eff - "Yung Thug" prod. by Crystal Caines
  2. Baauer ft. AlunaGeorge & Rae Sremmurd - "One Touch"
  3. Young Thug - "2 Bitches (Durkin Rework)"
  4. Father ft. iLoveMakonnen & Key! - "Look at Wrist" prod. by Father
  5. Sicko Mobb - "House Party" prod. by DJ Nate
  6. Kari Faux - "No Small Talk" prod. by Kari Faux & Black Party
  7. Travi$ Scott - "Upper Echelon (Suicideyear Remix)"
  8. Dej Loaf - "Try Me" prod. by DDS
  9. Different Sleep ft. Kid Sister & Lil Chris - "Hurt You"
  10. Black Kray - "Walk wid Me" prod. by 10K Motorolla
  11. Rich Gang ft. Young Thug & Lil Wayne - "Take Kare" prod. by London on da Track
  12. 607 - "Rainbows on Oil Spots" prod. by 607
  13. Yung Lean - "Yoshi City" prod. by Yung Gud
  14. Dej Loaf ft. Birdman & Young Thug - "Blood" prod. by London on da Track

Best Electronic Albums of 2014

It's January 5, and 2014 already feels like ages ago. But before your interest in the year that was wanes completely, please enjoy the playlist above and blurbs for the top ten entries after the jump.

Don't forget to peep the Best Dance Songs and the Best Ambient Albums list, and stay tuned for Reissues and Hip-Hop Songs, both of which will publish later this week.

Click the thumbnails for snippets and full album streams:

25. DJAO - S/T [Dropping Gems]

24. DJ Spoko - War God [Lit City Trax]

23. Joe Howe - EXEP [Sound Pellegrino]

22. Matt Karmil - ---- [PNN]

21. Para One - Bande de Filles OST [Marble]

20. My Panda Shall Fly - Tropical EP [Soundway Records]

19. Strict Face - Marble Isles EP [Tuff Wax Records]

18. Aphex Twin - Syro [Warp Records]

17. Suicideyear - Remembrance [Software Recording Company]

16. Auscultation - S/T [1080p]

15. Paul White - Shaker Notes [R&S Records]

14. Dynooo - These Flaws Are Mine to War With [Glue Moon Records]

13. Young Marco - Biology [ESP Institute]

12. The Cyclist - Flourish [All City]

11. Rustie - Green Language [Warp Records]

Complete list after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Best Dance Songs of 2014

Alternate playlist on Spotify
2014 was not the year of any particular sound or movement in electronic dance music. Instead, variety reigned supreme. This marks the seventh straight year I've compiled end-of-year dance song lists on AiMT, and I can say without reservation that 2014 has offered more than any previous year in terms of dispersive themes, genres, rhythms and influences. Gospel house, orchestral house, EBM, electro, ethereal grime, kuduro, jungle, broken beat, UK bass, footwork, garage, new jack swing, and the newly coined PC Music-helmed "cute" movement are all represented on this list, and all had shining moments.

Check the SoundCloud playlist above for easy consumption or a slightly alternate Spotify playlist if you prefer.

Click the thumbnails for streams:

50. Hackman - "Lost From Me" [Futureboogie Recordings]

49. Auntie Flo & Esa - "Percasio Dub" [S/R]

48. Grenier & Archie Pelago - "Tower of Joined Hand" [Melodic Records]

47. Thug Entrancer - "Death After Life I (The Range Remix)" [Software Recording Co.]

46. DyE ft. The Egyptian Lover - "She's Bad" [Tigersushi Records]

45. Murlo - "Into Mist" [Rinse]

44. DJ Télio - "Maravilhas (Damas da Co do Pecado)" [Príncipe Discos]

43. Coco Bryce - "Pacific" [Myor]

42. DJ Koze ft. Rahel - "Magical Boy (Matthew Herbert's 'Not 'til It Stops Mix')" [Pampa Records]

41. The Gasman - "Fuse" [S/R]

40. Dance System - "Flash Drive" [Clone Jack for Daze]

39. Matrixxman - "Venetian Mask" [Ghostly International]

38. Shackleton - "Silver Keys" [Woe to the Septic Heart]

37. The Cyclist - "Breathless" [All City]

36. My Panda Shall Fly - "Yapeyú" [Soundway Records]

35. Starfoxxx - "Bae HD" [Donky Pitch]

34. Matt Karmil - "Sinkhole" [PNN]

33. Dego & Kaidi - "Don't Remain the Same" [Eglo Records]

32. Liar - "Hyper-Ego" [Infinite Machine]

31. Young Marco - "Sea World" [ESP Institute]

30. Ossie - "Comme Ci, Comme Ça" [S/R]

29. Fantastic Mr Fox - "Broke" [Black Acre]

28. Moon B - "Stank Tartare" [PPU]

27. Hannah Diamond - "Every Night" [PC Music]

26. Banda Westfalica - "Tulum (Castro Remix)" [Man Recordings]

25. Marcus Worgull & Peter Pardeike - "Lenoix" [Innervisions]

24. Big Spider's Back - "Strawberry Circuit" [Hush Hush Records]

23. Pulse 8 - "Radio Morocco (Acid Arab Reedit)" [S/R]

22. Oobe - "Radiation" [1080p]

21. Strict Face - "New Moonlight" [Tuff Wax Records]

20. Dego - "Nuts!" [Blueberry Records]

19. Sophie - "Lemonade" [Numbers]

18. Protect-U - "Top Hat" [Future Times Records]

17. E.R.P - "Snowday" [Stilleben Records]

16. Grenier & Archie Pelago - "Microfiche Scanning" [Melodic Records]

15. Jeff Fressco - "It Ain't No Shuffle" [Widad Records]

14. A. G. Cook - "Beautiful" [PC Music]

13. Henry Rodrick - "Don't Believe" [Studio Barnhus]

12. Holly Waxwing - "Chalant" [CSCN]

11. Dark0 - "Chaos" [Lost Codes]

Complete list after the jump.

Click to read more ...


LUSTRUM: Best Ambient, 2010-2014 (5-Hour Mix)

Peace to Keith Kawaii for the artwork
lus·trum (/ˈləstrəm/) : a period of five years.

There's been plenty of talk of an ambient revival in 2014. But to be fair, ambient has been thriving throughout the 2010s thus far, and it seems to strengthen in both quantity and quality with each passing year. To celebrate its fruitful resurgence, I've pieced together LUSTRUM, a five-hour mix highlighting some of the best ambient released within the past five years that I've come across. Each year gets exactly one hour. Below you can follow along with what is playing via time stamps.

If you want a download link, head over to SoundCloud and give the mix a repost. Then I'll message you a download link.

0:00:00   Triola - "Schildergasse" [Kompakt]
0:05:26   Higuma - "Hathor's Dance [Digitalis Recordings]
0:11:33   Oneohtrix Point Never - "Where Does Time Go" [Editions Mego]
0:16:56   High Wolf - "Cloud Head" [Not Not Fun]
0:22:37   Emeralds - "The Cycle of Abuse" [Editions Mego]
0:26:46   Mickey Rourke Rourke ft. Candy Cults - "Top Girls" [Sweat Lodge Guru]
0:31:27   Arp - "Grapefruit" [Smalltown Supersound]
0:37:17   Stellar OM Source - "Rites of Fusion" [Olde English Spelling Bee]
0:41:11   Marcus Fischer - "Monocoastal (Part 1)" [12k]
0:47:12   Dolphins Into the Future - "Ko'okika Moku'aina" [(K-RAA-K)³]
0:54:46   Demdike Stare - "Voices of Dust" [Modern Love]

1:00:00   Jacaszek - "Windhover" [Ghostly International]
1:04:56   Jürgen Müller - "Beyond the Tide" [Digitalis Recordings]
1:09:56   Biosphere - "Joyo" [Touch]
1:14:47   Deaf Center - "New Beginning (Tidal Darkness)" [Type]
1:20:17   Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin - "Just a Little Pollution" [RVNG Intl.]
1:25:03   The Caretaker - "All You Are Going to Want to Do Is Get Back There" [History Always Favours the Winners]
1:28:16   Natural Snow Buildings - "The Waves of the Random Sea" [Blackest Rainbow]
1:35:51   Blues Control & Laraaji - "Freeflow" [RVNG Intl.]
1:42:03   Grouper - "Moon Is Sharp" [Yellowelectric]
1:48:04   Julianna Barwick - "Envelop" [Asthmatic Kitty Records]
1:52:46   Leyland Kirby - "No Longer Distance Than Death" [History Always Favours the Winners]
1:57:19   Motion Sickness of Time Travel - "Late Day Sun Silhouettes" [Digitalis Recordings]

2:00:00   Evan Caminiti - "Fading Dawn" [Thrill Jockey]
2:03:49   Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - "Ritual for Consumption" [The Software Label]
2:07:54   Sand Circles - "Motor City II" [Not Not Fun]
2:10:29   Motion Sickness of Time Travel - "The Dream" [Spectrum Spools]
2:16:24   Golden Retriever - "Winter Light" [Thrill Jockey]
2:24:44   d'Eon - "#75" [S/R]
2:29:33   Atom™ - "Voralpenthema I" [Raster-Norton]
2:32:21   Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto - "I Don't Want to Understand" [Ghostly International]
2:38:34   Marcus Fischer - "A Fifth Season" [Air Texture]
2:43:59   Brian Eno - "LUX 3" [Warp Records]
2:48:28   Magazine - "The Visitor's Bureau (Magazine Edit)" [Kompakt]
2:55:20   Kyle Bobby Dunn - "The Trouble With Trés Belles" [Low-Point]

3:00:00   Donato Dozzy - "Vaporwave 01" [Spectrum Spools]
3:05:04   E-Rock - "Winding Passage" [Audio Dregs]
3:09:21   Steve Moore - "Endless Caverns" [Spectrum Spools]
3:14:47   Compound Eye - "Open Interval 1" [Editions Mego]
3:18:28   Jan St. Werner - "Sipian Organ" [Thrill Jockey]
3:23:07   Lustmord - "Babel" [Vaultworks]
3:28:57   Mountains - "Living Lens" [Thrill Jockey]
3:33:22   Huerco S. - "Struck With Deer Lungs" [The Software Label]
3:35:14   Julianna Barwick - "The Harbinger" [Dead Oceans]
3:40:03   Boards of Canada - "Telepath" [Warp Records]
3:41:29   A Winged Victory for the Sullen - "Ti Prego Memory Man" [Ghostly International]
3:45:20   Deadbeat - "Laura Solaris" [Air Texture]
3:49:33   Raum - "In Stellar Orbit" [Yellowelectric]
3:53:11   Lee Noble - "Demon Pond" [Bathetic Records]

4:00:00   M. Geddes Gengras - "Ishi" [Leaving Records]
4:05:51   Sevendeaths - "Ghostache" [LuckyMe]
4:10:37   Magic Eye - "Bollywood" [Not Not Fun]
4:13:43   Vladislav Delay - "Viimeinen" [Ripatti Label]
4:17:16   Le Révélateur - "Fiber Miles Away" [Root Strata]
4:21:55   The Field - "No. No... (Tim Hecker Mix)" [Kompakt]
4:27:54   Legowelt - "Vanished in Tromso" [Air Texture]
4:32:37   Golden Retriever - "Sharp Stones" [Thrill Jockey]
4:39:09   Ernest Gibson - "Cradle Song" [Crash Symbols]
4:42:31   Jonas Reinhardt - "Skeptical Seventh Sun" [Constellation Tatsu]
4:45:47   Klara Lewis - "Shine" [Editions Mego]
4:50:26   Vleese - "Substance A2" [Twin Springs Tapes]
4:54:58   DSR Lines - "Gamut" [SicSic Tapes]

Best Ambient Albums of 2014

This marks the fifth straight year I've done an end-of-year ambient roundup. It's taken this long, but it seems that ambient music is finally in fashion in a big way. Not only did noticeably more ambient music come out in 2014 than in any previous year in memory, but Bandcamp, the unceasing cassette craze and a budding new age revival, which as been covered rather extensively here on AiMT, have made ambient more visible than ever. Beyond that, the "return of the chill out room" seems to be a recurring theme on music news sites. And on a personal note, the most successful AiMT podcast episode of 2014 was an all-ambient affair.

With all that in mind, this list could have easily been 60 entries deep, but I decided to pare things down to the best of the best. Stay tuned for more end-of-year ambient features.

Click the thumbnails for snippets and full album streams:

25. Ernest Gibson - Pastoral IV [Crash Symbols]

24. Vleese - Substance [Twin Springs Tapes]

23. Golden Retriever - Seer [Thrill Jockey]

22. Klara Lewis - Ett [Editions Mego]

21. V/A - Oceanic Triangulation [Inner Islands]

20. Fennesz - Bécs [Editions Mego]

19. DBGE - Dreamscape™ + Mellowphase [Scanline Society]

18. Oneohtrix Point Never - Commissions I [Warp Records]

17. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Alpha Piscium [Hooker Vision]

16. Le Révélateur - Extreme Events [Root Strata]

15. I Am Just a Pupil - Heartful [Twin Springs Tapes]

14. Jonas Reinhardt - Ganymede [Constellation Tatsu]

13. V/A - Air Texture, Vol. IV [Air Texture]

12. DSR Lines - Spoel [SicSic Tapes]

11. Evan Caminiti - Coiling [Dust Editions]

10. Leyland Kirby - We Drink to Forget the Coming Storm [S/R]

9. Julianna Barwick - Rosabi EP [Dead Oceans]

8. Vladislav Delay - Visa [Ripatti Label]

7. V/A - Pop Ambient 2014/2015 [Kompakt]

6. Magic Eye - Babylon [Not Not Fun]

5. Babe Rainbow - Music for 1 Piano, 2 Pianos & More Pianos [1080p]

While many ambient purists might scoff and turn away at the sight of the cheeky, divisive cover art, Babe Rainbow has crafted a simple-but-memorable album centered around the piano, which is—you know—not exactly an unfamiliar element in the genre. Of the record's 12 skeletal tracks, some are solo piano with little if any accompaniment. Others are reinforced with bits of reverb and other drifty elements but keep the focus on the piano itself. Many might liken this work to easy listening drivel based on a quick skim through, but Babe Rainbow adds just the right amount of flair and edge to these otherwise ordinary pieces to rescue them from humdrum status and deliver them as a clever reexamination of compositions that may have otherwise been overlooked.

4. Opaline - No Words [Rainbow Pyramid] / Quintox [S/R] / Night Sounds,
Vol. I
[S/R] / Shade Virtual [Habitat Tapes] / Projector Refining [Phinery]

This Portland-based new ager put out a number of solid tape and digital releases this year, and it's tough to point to one as his definitive 2014 project. I personally don't hear a ton of thematic distinction between these five releases. They're all just lovely little collections of the producer's offerings, some of which are pulsating while others are more on the droney side of things. Occasionally things get tense and caustic, but Opaline keeps things mostly vibrant and uplifting, characteristics which align closely with the new age revival of recent years that seems to have come to a head in 2014. You'd do fine to pick an Opaline release at random and start there, but if I had to recommend one alone, I would chose the Phinery-released Projector Mapping because it's perhaps a bit more varied than the others.

3. Sevendeaths - Concreté Misery [LuckyMe]

The beat-centric Glasgow-based label LuckyMe is home to festival-ready headlining bass acts like Baauer, TNGHT and Cashmere Cat, but lately they've stuck their toe into ambient waters. The excellently busy Concreté Misery has a punchier palette than that of the majority of albums on this list, which isn't surprising considering the label's typical theme. It sounds like the ambient work of someone who might be more of a full-time dance or bass producer, but Sevendeaths, aka Steven Shade, actually comes from a post-rock background via his work in the band American Men. In any case, Concreté Misery is highly textured and forceful at times but accessible enough to potentially even please skeptics of ambient music.

2. M. Geddes Gengras - Ishi [Leaving Records] / Ishi Outtakes [S/R]

In recent years, M. Geddes Gengras has maintained a busy release schedule of new material, collected older works and one-off sessions. Unlike his other 2014 releases, Ishi has the feel of a "proper full length." The psych-influenced sound palette is brash and intense, very punctual but never too noisy. Ishi's four lengthy pieces are fluid and textured enough for foreground listening but could just as easily provide a subtle soundtrack to your work day or study session. And to sweeten the deal, Gengras just dropped the self-released Ishi Outtakes, which features seven tracks, several of which could have easily made the album quality-wise.

1. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Ballades [Hooker Vision]

Giving the top spot to a 10+ hour album feels like cheating, especially considering the music on Ballades isn't exactly the most interesting or boundary-pushing music featured on this list. Don't get me wrong—Rachel Evans' brand of minimal, drifting ambient found on this series is top-notch for what it is. It just lacks the originality and complexity on first listen one might look for when scouting out Album of the Year contenders. The Ballades project began as a monthly homemade CD-R series in late 2013. Each entry was a full length album confined into a single track clocking in at just under an hour. Once 12 entries had been issued, a 100-run cassette box was released by Hooker Vision. It promptly sold out like most of Evans' physical releases. (Luckily you can still cop the full digital series here for a mere $20.)

Some of these entries fixate on a single mood throughout their entirety while others ebb and flow into contrasting themes. Some moments are noisy but most are calming, melodic and quiet. What's so noteworthy about Ballades is Evans' knack for selling the listener on an extended atmosphere. Her patience for crafting a mood and nurturing it over a 50+ minute span is unparalleled. Pair that with the series' highly ambitious release structure, and Evans leaves me with no other choice but to pin the blue ribbon on Ballades.

The New Guard of New Age: Emerging Artists and Labels Shaping the Revival of New Age Music in 2014

New Age Revivalphoto by Monique Froese
The notion of a revival in new age music came stampeding to the attention of the music media sometime last year upon the release of two key reissue compilations: Yoga Records' I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950-1990 and Laraaji's Cosmic Tape Experiments, 1979-1987. Once these releases impacted, it seemed that every indie-leaning music site on the web had published its own lengthy new age feature. Media giants The New York Times, The Stranger and Boing Boing even grabbed a slice. Suddenly this entire counterculture-shunned musical discipline was a hot talking point and open for reexamination. Entire decades of meditative music were rediscovered and newly cherished by puffed up record collectors.

The coverage of this alleged revival seemed to fixate on reissues and the genre's early works. Artists and labels releasing new music under the new age umbrella were not discussed with much depth. So I've written some thoughts and observations on these emerging projects. My findings have shown me that new age has indeed returned, and it has a newfound reverence of the genre's lost heroes, who were explored on the abovementioned compilations.

Before we get started, perhaps I owe an explanation of what new age is, or at least how I think about it. Like "world music" or "electronic music," "new age music" is less of a genre and more of a broad category concerned with mood and function over any definitive tenants of rhythm or instrumentation. It started as a fragmented movement with roots in California in the 1970s. It was strongly aligned with new age literature, and new age bookstores became a romping ground for artists to peddle their limited-run home recordings. Ambient music pioneer Brian Eno campaigned against conventional "environmental music" in his linear notes for Music for Airports in 1978. (It's easy enough to assume that he was targeting many examples of new age.) "Conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest)," he wrote. In a crueler world, Eno might have written, "Calming music intended for a general audience doesn't tickle my hipster funny bone, so you shouldn't like it either." This was likely a landmark moment in the demise of new age as a credible musical discipline. By the mid '80s it had become identified as a more commercial enterprise.

The new artists and labels I've spotlit here are making music that harkens back to new age's golden age (as covered last year on I Am the Center and similar releases). While many of these artists align their work with the term new age, others do not and likely shudder at the notion of being labeled as such. In any case, this is merely my attempt at navigating a complicated and controversial reemerging genre.

Read about and listen to the nine featured artists and labels after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Best Dance Songs of 2014 (First Half)

AiMT has been around for seven years now, and 2014 has been by far the busiest year. Twelve podcasts were posted as well as a whopping 107 dance songs. Here are the 30 dance tunes that have stood out amongst the rest for me so far this year. Many of these have already been posted, and others were reported in my monthly chart.

And here's a playlist of 16 of the 30 entries for easy consumption:

Stream all 30 entries after the jump, and stay tuned for more 2014 features in the coming weeks.

Click to read more ...


AiMT's 2014 Hip-Hop Favorites, Pt. 1

I recently got a dumb email from someone blasting me for letting AiMT "fall off" the hip-hop bandwagon (LOL). Truth be told—hip-hop was once a much steadier part of the AiMT diet. And while it may not consume my ears the way it once did, I still make time to listen to it and post it when I find new stuff that I find captivating. This is a playlist of hip-hop songs I've posted this year as well as a few that got left out. Enjoy!

Tracklist after the jump.

Click to read more ...