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2010 Rewind

January 2011

The top 50 records of the year plus specialist charts...


(Honest Jon’s)
Darren Cunningham’s supple, warm, second album of ‘R&B concrète’ was equal parts pop constructivism and humid club compulsiveness. Informed as much by 1980s pop as House and Techno, his meticulous electronic productions extracted the familiar essences of these musics and artfully arranged them into something both evocative and alien. We said: “Submarine sonar blips and aquatic frequencies sit strangely but comfortably next to ultra-deep synths and kick drum depth charges… such creative use of the basic tools of production is subtly emotive and quietly startling.” (June/issue 316)

Oneohtrix Point Never

(Editions Mego)
Noise turned to bliss on this, one of the many releases this year by Oneohtrix Point Never, aka New York based synth and computer wunderkind Daniel Lopatin. Here, the voluptuous tones of his analogue synths sprawled and echoed into a new imagined galaxy. With more than a hint of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, Returnal combined warm, emotional nostalgia and chilled futurism into a rich, spectral feast. We said: “All the pieces Oneohtrix Point Never has to offer here could well be described as songs – it’s just that we haven’t heard them in this world for a very long time.” (July/issue 317)

My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

(Young God)
Any reservations about Michael Gira’s decision to reconvene Swans 13 years after putting them on ice quickly melt once the tolling bells of opening track “No Words/No Thoughts” concede ground to Swans’ signature iron foundry rhythm. But this is no cynical retread. With a line-up drawn from several generations of the group, including guitarists Norman Westberg and Christoph Hahn (Jarboe is noticeably absent), Gira obsessively overwrites all previous versions, even as his 2010 Swansongs balance, combine and layer their earlier experiments in guitar density and duration with blinding shafts of light. We said: “[Gira] is looking for beauty, pure and simple, unfettered by meaning or standard songwriting notions of emotional resonance.” (September/issue 319)

Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me

(Drag City)
Following up on 2006’s Ys was no easy task, but the California harpist defied expectations with a monumental triple album of fabulist balladry, Edenic elation and introspective, Laurel Canyon-infused songsmithery, aided by the small-group arrangements of Ryan Farncesconi. We said: “Newsom’s monumental new work represents not a retreat from the ambition of its predecessor, but a more detailed and intricate exploration of its themes and preoccupations.” (March/issue 313)

Catherine Christer Hennix
The Electric Harpsichord

(Die Schachtel)
Long awaited issue of the Swedish-born composer’s transcendent, time-stopping electronic keyboard work from 1976. Buddhism, medieval polyphony and Pandit Pran Nath’s drone sensibility all fed into an experience whose 25 minute duration seemed to contain infinity. Die Schachtel’s outsize packaging and fulsome documentation made this definitive release unmissable. We said: “This isn’t a ‘classic album’ or even an ‘iconic performance’ but the portal to a new way of hearing and experiencing sonic space.” (October/issue 320)

Suburban Tours

(Olde English Spelling Bee)
Rocking like a long-lost Cherry Red group from 1983 and muffled like a flexidisc pressing, Joe Knight and co’s itchy melodies, portamento synths and flanged guitar-swirl encapsulated the year’s Hypnagogic mood perfectly. We said: “This LP is one of the more satisfying recent attempts to traverse the forbidden zone of 1980s mainstream pop… a deleted scene from a parallel dimension, perhaps.” (May/issue 315)

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Before Today

After years of making retro-pop fantasies on a four-track, playing the instruments himself and spitting drum sounds into a microphone, Ariel Pink careered into the realm of the real with his new backing group Haunted Graffiti along for the ride. The result lost the jump-cut jaggedness of his bedroom collages, but in its place was kaleidoscopic studio experimentation and a widescreen rending of his LA dreamland. We said: “Any message is obscured by a vortex of reverb that keeps leering up out of the track like fragments of a bad trip that just won’t go away.” (May/issue 315)

John Tilbury & Sebastian Lexer
Lost Daylight

(Another Timbre)
Across these terse interpretations of pieces by John Cage and Terry Jennings, AMM pianist Tilbury’s minimalist discipline was thrillingly inscribed with Sebastian Lexer’s digital edits and treatments. We said: “The recording takes you completely outside the performance space, and into different colours of silence… No Cage disc rises to that challenge more boldly, and with such revolutionary results.” (February/issue 312)

Keith Fullerton Whitman

Whitman’s white-coated explorations of a hybrid analogue/digital modular synth set-up hit upon an exhilarating purple patch with these two extended pieces. Linking up tape recorders, contact mics, filters, envelopes and oscillators, he created ever-changing meshes of tone and movement. We said: “By meeting the machine halfway and giving up some control, Whitman has embraced instability and thus returned some of the essential Otherness to electronic music.” (October/issue 320)

Kevin Drumm
Necro Acoustic

(Pica Disk)
A history of violence in sound, Necro Acoustic trawled through Kevin Drumm’s seemingly endless tape archive, excavating more than a decade’s mix-and-match experimentation with FX pedals, organs, guitars and whatever else came to hand. No matter what the tools, the result bore Drumm’s distinctive imprint – these were intense, sometimes brutal interrogations of tone, distortion and drone. We said: “It’s not often in our saturated world that you encounter a work that demands your attention like Kevin Drumm’s... Scrupulously free of posturing, he references desolation while deftly introducing a new world of sound through the back door to your mind.” (July/issue 317)

Sun City Girls
Funeral Mariachi


Annette Krebs & Taku Unami


Sun Araw
On Patrol

(Not Not Fun)

A Sufi And A Killer


Big Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty

(Def Jam)

Joe Colley
Disasters Of Self

(Crippled Intellect Productions)

Richard Skelton


Does It Look Like I’m Here?

(Editions Mego)

Location Momentum




Helena Gough


Demdike Stare
Liberation Through Hearing

(Modern Love)

Marina Rosenfeld
Plastic Materials


Bill Orcutt
Way Down South


Flying Lotus




John Tilbury/Michael Duch/Rhodri Davies
Cornelius Cardew: Works 1960–70


Hype Williams
Hype Williams


Laurie Anderson


Konono No 1
Assume Crash Position

(Crammed Discs)

New Slaves

(The Social Registry)

Five Finger Discount


Sabbath Assembly
Restored To One

(Ajna/Feral House)

Derek Bailey
More 74


Mail From Fushitsusha

(Doubt Music)

Tyler The Creator


Moon Wiring Club
A Spare Tabby At The Cat’s Wedding


Larry Polansky
The World’s Longest Melody

(New World)

Alasdair Galbraith


The Rocker

(Family Vineyard)



Pedestrian Deposit
East Fork/North Fork

(Monorail Trespassing)

Group Inerane
Guitars From Agadez Vol 3

(Sublime Frequencies)

Prins Thomas
Prins Thomas

(Full Pupp)

These New Puritans


Aldo Clementi
Works With Flutes


Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet
Air Supply


Joseph Hammer
I Love You, Please Love Me Too


Joshua Abrams
Natural Information


Grinderman 2


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO - In ∞ (Important)
Ash Pool - For Which He Plies The Lash (Hospital/Tour De Garde)
Expo 70 - Where Does Your Mind Go? (Immune)
Michael Hurley - Blue Hills (Mississippi)
K11 - Metaphonic Portrait 1230 AD (Actual Noise)
David Maranha - Antarctica (Roaratorio)
Bill Orcutt - Way Down South (Palilalia)
The Orkustra - Adventures In Experimental Electric Orchestra From The San Francisco Underground (Mexican Summer)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today (4AD)
Puffy Areolas - In The Army 1981 (Siltbreeze)
Rangda - False Flag (Drag City)
Rangers - Suburban Tours (Olde English Spelling Bee)
Sun Circle - Lessness (Arbor Infinity)
Wooden Wand - Dream Seat (Young God)
Xeno & Oaklander - Sentinelle (Wierd)

Compiled by Edwin Pouncey, Nick Richardson and Nick Southgate

Addison Groove - Footcrab (Swamp 81)
Oni Ayhun - OAR004-A (Oni Ayhun)
Cosmin TRG - See Other People (Rush Hour)
Floating Points - Vacuum Boogie (Eglo)
Girl Unit - Wut (Night Slugs)
Joker - Tron (Kapsize)
The Lady Blacktronika - Luv Hate Us (Untitled & After)
Lunice - Stacker Upper (LuckyMe)
LV - Boomslang (Hyperdub)
Quest - Smooth Skin (Deep Medi)
Raime - We Must Hunt Under The Wreckage Of Many Systems (Blackest Ever Black)
Ramadanman - Work Them (Swamp 81)
Rustie - Hyperthrust (Warp)
T++ - Cropped (Honest Jon’s)
Untold - Anaconda (Tribal Guarachero Remix) (SSSS)

Compiled by Joe Muggs and Philip Sherburne

Errol Brown - Treasure Isle Dub Vols 1 & 2 (Treasure Isle)
Dadawah - Peace & Love (Dug Out)
Flying Lizards - The Secret Dub Life Of The Flying Lizards (Staubgold)
King Tubby - The Roots Of Dub (Jamaican Recordings)
King Tubby & The Aggrovators - Shalom Dub (Jamaican Recordings)
Lee Perry & The Upsetters - Sound System Scratch (Pressure Sounds)
Prince Jammy - Strictly Dub (Pressure Sounds)
Sound Iration - Sound Iration In Dub (Year Zero)
Various - Evolution Of Dub Volume 5: The Missing Link (Greensleeves)
Various - Foundation Dub (Trojan)

Compiled by Steve Barker

Luke Abbott - Holkham Drones (Border Community)
J Biebz x Shamantis - U Smile 800% Slower (Soundcloud)
James Blake - Klavierwerke (R&S)
Frank Bretschneider - EXP (Raster-Noton)
Cluster - Qua (Klangbad)
Ekoplekz - Stalag Zero/Distended Dub (Punchdrunk)
Kangding Ray - Pruitt Igoe (Raster-Noton)
Lovesliescrushing - Crwth (Chorus Redux) (12k/Line)
Nest - Retold (Serein)
Philippe Petit - Off To Titan (Karl)
Raime - Raime EP (Blackest Ever Black)
Nicholas Szczepanik - Dear Dad (Basses Frequences)
T++ - Wireless (Honest Jon’s)
David Tagg - Pentecost (Install)
Vex’d - Cloud Seed (Planet Mu)

Compiled by Sam Davies, Chris Sharp and David Stubbs


Gopal Krishnan
- Dhrupad:Khyai (Ocora)
The Master Musicians Of Jajouka - The Source (Le Son Du Maquis)
Ravi Shankar - Rare And Glorious (Gare Gama)
Charanjit Singh - Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat (Bombay Connection)
Omar Souleyman - Jazeera Nights (Sublime Frequencies)
Tora Seydou Traore - Tora Seydou Traore (Yaala Yaala)
Various - Alan Lomax In Haiti 1936–1937: Recordings For The Library Of Congress (Harte)
Various - Brazilian Fuzz Guitar Bananas: Tropicalia Psychedelic Masterpieces 1967–1976 (Tropicalia In Furs)
Various - Gamelan Of Central Java XII: Pangkur One (Felmay)
Various - Gamelan Of Central Java XIV: Ritual Sounds Of Sekaten (Felmay)
Various - To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings From Istanbul (Honest Jon’s)
Various - Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970s Nigeria (Soundway)
Various - Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968–1974 (Sublime Frequencies)
Various - Trance Gamelan In Bali (Felmay)
Tom Zé - Studies Of Tom Zé: Explaining Things So I Can Confuse You (Luaka Bop)

Compiled by Julian Cowley and Richard Henderson


Cam’Ron & Vado featuring Kid Cudi
- Ur Killin Me (Diplomats)
Lil B - 6 Kiss (Permanent Marks)
Roc Marciano - Marcberg (Fat Beats)
Travis Porter - Proud To Be A Problem (Porter House)
Rick Ross featuring Styles P - BMF (Blowin’ Money Fast) (Def Jam)
Tyler The Creator - Bastard (OFWGKTA)
Waka Flocka Flame - Flockaveli (Brick Squad/Asylum)
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)
Young Dro - Freeze Me (Grand Hustle)
Young L - Young L-E-N (Legendary)

Compiled by Andrew Nosnitsky

Jazz & Improv

Derek Bailey
- More 74 (Incus)
Tony Bevan/Paul Obermayer/Phil Marks/Dominic Lash - A Big Hand (Foghorn)
Bryan And The Haggards - Pretend It’s The End Of The World (Hot Cup)
Paul Dunmall & Chris Corsano - Identical Sunsets (ESP-Disk)
Element - Transformation To Paradise (Jazzaway)
Peter Evans Quartet - Live In Lisbon (Clean Feed)
Exploding Star Orchestra - Stars Have Shapes (Delmark)
Free Jazz Quartet - Memories For The Future (Matchless)
The Raymond MacDonald International Big Band - Buddy (Textile)
Sunny Murray/John Edwards/Tony Bevan - Boom Boom Cat (Foghorn)
New York Art Quartet - Old Stuff (Cuneiform)
William Parker - I Plan To Stay A Believer (AUM Fidelity)
Talibam! with Alan Wilkinson - Dem Ol’ Apple Pie Melodies (Bo’Weavil)
Roland Ramanan Tentet - London (Leo)
David S Ware - Onecept (AUM Fidelity)

Compiled by Philip Clark, Brian Morton and Daniel Spicer

Aldo Clementi - Works With Flutes (Mode)
Chaya Czernowin - Maim (Mode)
Morton Feldman - For Bunita Marcus (Nuscope)
Morton Feldman - Music For Piano And Strings Vol 1 (Matchless)
Matthew Herbert - Mahler Symphony X Recomposed (Deutsche Grammophon)
Tristan Perich - 1-Bit Symphony (Cantaloupe Music)
Larry Polansky - The World’s Longest Melody (New World)
John Tilbury/Michael Duch/Rhodri Davies - Cornelius Cardew: Works 1960–70 (+3dB)
John Tilbury & Sebastian Lexer - Lost Daylight (Another Timbre)
Galina Ustvolskaya - Complete Works For Piano (Neos)

Compiled by Philip Clark and Andy Hamilton

Alessandro Bosetti - Zwölfzungen (Sedimental)
Cold Cave/Prurient - Stars Explode (Hospital Productions)
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego)
Evil Moisture - If You Want To Fuck The Sky, Teach Your Cock To Fly (Ideal)
Robin Fox - A Handful Of Automation (Editions Mego)
The Haters/Hal Hutchinson - Xylowave 2010/Amplification II (Der Bunker)
Hum Of The Druid - Norse Fumigation (SNSE)
Rolf Julius - Music For The Ears: Small Music No 1 (Western Vinyl)
Keränen - Bats In The Attic (Pica Disk)
Monos - Above The Sky (ICR)
Pedestrian Deposit - East Fork/North Fork (Monorail Trespassing)
Dave Phillips - ? (Heart & Crossbone)
Sculpture - Rotary Signal Emitter (Dekorder)
Sudden Infant - My Life’s A Gunshot: Retrospective 1989–2009 (Hrönir)
Vomir - Renonce (Crucial Blaze)

Compiled by Nick Cain, Jim Haynes and Nick Richardson

April In The Orange - Siva Casting Dice (April In Orange 7")
The Bent Moustache/Shrug - Split (Wormer Bros 7")
Jac Berrocal & Andrew Liles - Rock ’N’ Roll Station (Vultures Musick 7”)
Daymoon - From The Living Tomorrow (Majmua Music 3" CD)
Exiles From Clowntown - Around The Corner (Great Dividing 7")
Go Genre Everything - Humans & Luxury (Spanish Magic 7")
Pheromoans - Midnight Watchdog (Sweet Rot 7")
Stefano Pilia - Last Days Vol II (Presto 7")
Pumice - Pumice (Doubtful Sounds 10")
Rubbish - Throwers (Endless Melt 7")
Super Wild Horses - Enigma (You Say Go) (Hozac 7")
JG Thirlwell & Fred Bigot - Hydroze Plus (Optical Sound 10")
Tsembla - Tuplafiesta (Vauva 7")
Various - Solo Guitar (Winebox Press 3xMC)
Weyes Bluhd - Liquor Castle (Smokers Gift/Memoirs Of An Aesthete 7")

Compiled by Byron Coley

Ayobaness!: The Sound Of South African House (Out Here)
Bangs & Works Vol 1: A Chicago Footwork Compilation (Planet Mu)
Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas: Tropicalia Psychedelic Masterpieces 1967–76 (Tropicalia In Furs/World Psychedelic Funk Classics)
Deutsche Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1972–83 (Soul Jazz)
Ecstatic Music Of The Jemaa El Fna (Sublime Frequencies)
Excavated Shellac: Strings (Parlortone/Dust-To-Digital)
F**k Art Let’s Dance: Sounds From A New American Underground (K7)
The History Of Indian Film Music (Saregama/Times Music India)
Jon Savage Presents Black Hole: California Punk 1977–80 (Domino)
The Minimal Wave Tapes Vol 1 (Stones Throw)
Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970s Nigeria (Soundway)
Nigeria Special Vol 2: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970–76 (Soundway)
Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa (Honest Jon’s)
To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings From Istanbul (Honest Jon’s)
Tradi-mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs)
Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)
Walter Gibbons: Jungle Music: Mixed With Love – Essential & Unreleased Mixes 1976–86 (Strut)

The Advisory Circle - Mind How You Go (Revised Edition) (Ghost Box)
John Butcher - Invisible Ear (Weight Of Wax)
Crass - The Feeding Of The 5000 (Crassical Collection)
Cromagnon - Cave Rock (Jackpot)
Alvin Curran - Solo Works: The 70s (New World)
Dadawah - Peace And Love (Dug Out)
The Dead C - Clyma Est Mort (Ba Da Bing!)
Drexciya - Neptune’s Lair (Tresor)
Kevin Drumm - Kevin Drumm (Thin Wrist)
Jean-Claude Eloy - Gaku-No-Michi (Hors Territoires)
Edward Larry Gordon - Celestial Vibration (Universal Sound)
Tom Hamilton - Pieces For Kohn/Formal & Informal Music (Kvist)
Incredible String Band - Wee Tam And The Big Huge (Fledg’ling)
Thomas Köner - Nunatak/Teimo/Permafrost (Type)
Omar Khorshid - Guitar El Chark (Sublime Frequencies)
Moebius/Plank/Neumeier - Zero Set (Sky)
PiL - Metal Box (Virgin)
Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994–2009 (Rush Hour)
Iggy & The Stooges - Raw Power (Sony Legacy)
Todd/Solomon/Russell/Coombes/Beresford - Teatime (Emanem)
Vertical Slit - Slit & Pre-Slit (Smudge)
Richard Youngs - Beyond The Valley Of The Ultrahits (Jagjaguwar)

The Electorate

This year’s charts were compiled from the votes of the following contributors (with individual records of the year shown in brackets): Jennifer Lucy Allan (Actress Splazsh) Steve Barker (Richard Skelton Landings) Mike Barnes (Ariel Pink Before Today) Clive Bell (M Holterbach & Julia Eckhardt Do-Undo (In G Maze)) Lisa Blanning (Actress Splazsh) Marcus Boon (Catherine Christer Hennix The Electric Harpsichord) Nick Cain (Joseph Hammer I Love You, Please Love Me Too) Philip Clark (John Tilbury & Sebastian Lexer Lost Daylight) Julian Cowley (Howard Riley Live In Vilnius) Alan Cummings (Various To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings From Istanbul) Sam Davies (Zs New Slaves) Phil Freeman (Ayumi Hamasaki Rock ’N’ Roll Circus) Louise Gray (Various Tsikaya... Músicos Do Interior) Andy Hamilton (Activity Center Lohn Und Brot) Adam Harper (Actress Splazsh) Jim Haynes (Emeralds Does It Look Like I’m Here?) Richard Henderson (Group Inerane Guitars From Agadez Vol 3) William Hutson (Michael Pisaro A Wave And Waves) David Keenan (Sabbath Assembly Restored To One) Rahma Khazam (Rolf Julius Music For The Ears) Biba Kopf (Phew Five Finger Discount) Stewart Lee (The Fall Your Future Our Clutter) Alan Licht (Noah Creshevsky The Twilight Of The Gods) Dave Mandl (So Percussion & Matmos Treasure State) Marc Masters (Rangda False Flag) Bill Meyer (Jack Rose Luck In The Valley) Keith Moliné (Keith Fullerton Whitman Disingenuity/Disingenuousness) Brian Morton (Franck Vigroux Broken Circles Live) Joe Muggs (Demdike Stare Liberation Through Hearing) Anne Hilde Neset (Marina Rosenfeld Plastic Materials) Andrew Nosnitsky (Lil B 6 Kiss) Richard Pinnell (John Tilbury & Sebastian Lexer Lost Daylight) Edwin Pouncey (Salem King Night) Nina Power (Laurie Anderson Homeland) Simon Reynolds (Rangers Suburban Tours) Nick Richardson (Xeno & Oaklander Sentinelle) Tom Ridge (Field Music Field Music) Bruce Russell (Bill Orcutt Way Down South) Chris Sharp (Sun City Girls Funeral Mariachi) Philip Sherburne (Demdike Stare Voices Of Dust) Nick Southgate (Rangda False Flag) Daniel Spicer (Exploding Star Orchestra Stars Have Shapes) Joe Stannard (DD Denham Electronic Music In The Classroom) David Stubbs (Toro Y Moi Causers Of This) Derek Walmsley (Kevin Drumm Necro Acoustic) Dan Warburton (Joe Colley Disasters Of Self) Patrick Ward (Autechre Oversteps) Ben Weaver (Joshua Abrams Natural Information) Matt Wuethrich (Joe Colley Disasters Of Self) Rob Young (Joanna Newsom Have One On Me)

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