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Quietus Charts

The Quietus Albums Of 2015, In Association With Norman Records
The Quietus , December 7th, 2015 09:06

Forget the squeezed middle, most of the music we love at The Quietus is from the fucked bottom. Yet with the music business coin situation still appalling, our albums of the year list 2015 proves the underground is alive and screaming

Earlier this year, trade body UK Music published Measuring Music 2015, a report into the contribution that artists, record labels, live events, festivals and so on make to our economy. It revealed that the British music industry makes a £4.1 billion contribution every year, with both exports and revenue from live music rising 17%. Last month, Adele broke records all over the world as 25 became the fastest-selling UK album of all time, and shifted 3.8 million copies in the US in the first week of release. Culture secretary John Whittingdale MP crowed that “Our artists continue to dominate the global charts - and shows from the Royal Ballet and Rod Stewart to the LSO and Status Quo, sell out concerts across the globe... UK Music’s Measuring Music is extremely useful in describing the economic impact of commercial music." Reading the above, perception might well be that everything is all chocolate boxes and roses, or 'flowers and candles' to use the old music business euphemism for hiding drugs on expenses.

With illegal consumption of music and the low revenues from streaming services still clobbering record sales, the music business is seeing an inequality that reflects wider society, with an increasing number of rich artists at the top, and everyone else struggling. If the larger of the independent labels and moderately-successful artists who the Quietus covers are, to borrow from Ed Milliband, the "squeezed middle", then everyone else is pretty much the 'fucked bottom'. I doubt very many people responsible for The Quietus' albums of the year 2015 are able to make a living from what they do (though one imagines Enya isn't too troubled if her castle requires a new roof) yet still they keep fighting on.

Over the past seven and a half years of The Quietus' existence we've seen some remarkable changes in the way music is purchased, distributed and consumed. Aside from grime's impact across the Atlantic, it increasingly feels as if the gap between underground and mainstream is opening ever further. I mean, surely the BBC fell asleep while compiling their unfathomably boring list of artists who'll be soundtracking the nation's shoe shops in 2016? What's frustrating is that this all means the mainstream media is focussing on an increasingly narrow range of artists. It's so much harder for anything to break through unless it's part of a recongnisable, pre-existing trend. It might be tempting to sneer at the collapse of NME into a free mag that now has a build 'em up and knock 'em down hype page devoted to things like Berocca vitamin pills and coffee machines, but even in its dying days it had a function in bringing leftfield artists to a wider audience.

Yet this isn't a reason to disheartened. If there's a motto or a theme to this list then I suppose it's that 2015 has really felt as if there's an increasingly committed, angry, politicised and determined yet disparate group of musicians, artists, record label staff, live promoters, PR people, filmmakers and music fans determined not to let the prevailing hurricanes bowl them over. From gig to dancefloor and at festival after festival (from Raw Power in Tufnell Park to CTM in Berlin and Siberia to the fields of Supernormal to the streets of Cairo, Tilburg for Incubate and Krakow at Unsound) we at tQHQ were all struck by how the world is packed with musical communities that are thriving and, what's more, wanting to grow. These are, mercifully, not times for parochialism, indie mithering, and wanting to stay in easy, cosseted scenes. The underground is having an absolutely rude and ribald time of it at the moment, and this list reflects that. Yet it's not in rude and ribald financial shape. You might well have noticed that we at The Quietus started asking for donations from those who want to support what we do, and help us pay our writers. We are part of that fucked bottom too, which is why if you feel inspired by our list of the finest albums released in the United Kingdom and beyond, we'd urge you to purchase them either from the Norman Records link helpfully provided, or via your local independent record shop. Most of all, we hope you enjoy listening to these 100 records as much as we have. Fuck Culture Secretary John Whittingdale MP and fuck Status Quo - the value of music to our nation cannot be measured in money but instead the pounding of our bursting souls. Now then, anyone for some Pissgrave? - Luke Turner

This chart was voted for by Christian Eede, Sophie Coletta, Laurie Tuffrey, Luke Turner and John Doran. Thanks to Mat Colegate and Karl Smith

100. Pissgrave - Suicide Euphoria
(Profound Lore)

"Perhaps what is most shocking here is that an album titled something as ludicrous as Suicide Euphoria, made by a band with a name as wilfully stupid as Pissgrave, is actually, y’know, good! I call it the Shitfucker paradox – unlike virtual novelty acts such as Torsofuck, I Shit On Your Face and Anal Vomit, the abusively expeditive velocity of Pissgrave’s death/grind is oozing with both technical nous and strangulating riffery. And vocals that sound like a St. Bernard getting sucked into a woodchipper." Toby Cook

Read our review of Suicide Euphoria here


99. RSS B0YS - HDDN
(Mik Musik)

"The RSS B0ys are a quick fuck on a dirty gas station-toilet with some anonymous stranger." Sonja Matuszczyk


98. Eugene The Oceanographer - The Tigers Of Mount Paektu
(self-released)


97. Checkpoint 303 - The Iqrit Files
(KKV)

"The Iqrit Files tells the story of the brutal clearance of 400 Palestinian villages by Israeli forces 70 years ago, using the example of just one, Iqrit, which lies to the north of Galilee. The album is a thrilling and hard-hitting collage of tough Tackhead/ Meat Beat Manifesto-style beats, field recordings of Palestinian singers and speech sourced from newsreels." John Doran for the Guardian

96. Guapo - Obscure Knowledge
(Cuneiform)

"Obscure Knowledge is a return to the multi-section extended pieces of yore, 43 minutes of music split into three parts. But unlike Five Suns and Black Oni, it feels like a more organically developed piece, with themes and motifs that recur throughout. And while both Magma and King Crimson are still relevant reference points in Guapo world, they truly have become one of those groups that only really sound like themselves. They even give the impression they're having fun on Obscure Knowledge, albeit serious fun." Joe Banks

Read our review of Obscure Knowledge here


95. Rizan Said - King Of Keyboard
(Annihaya)


94. Roots Manuva - Bleeds
(Big Dada)

"Bleeds is completely built around Roots Manuva's personal conception of faith. But it is not the navel-gazing, Jesus-praising, kum ba yah kind; this is faith with its eyes turned outwards, the kind that overturns tables in temples and rages against injustice and inhumanity. This is a white-hot sword aimed at those wardens of the world who claim to be our saviours, abetted by the false prophet 'sloganeers and the nouveau-rebellists, trained to take the bait of big business', (as they are condemned on the biblically huge 'Cargo')." Josh Gray

Read our review of Bleeds here


93. The Necks - Vertigo
(ReR Megacorp/Northern Spy)

"The latest album from Australian trio The Necks is very clearly a studio creation, where the group's improvisations have been carefully edited into an unfolding 43 minute narrative. In its use of pedal points and post-production, certain comparisons can be drawn with the approach of Miles Davis and producer Teo Macero on In A Silent Way and the proto-ambient dirge of Get Up With It's 'He Loved Him Madly'." Stewart Smith

Read our review of Vertigo here

92. Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire
(Thrill Jockey)

"Compared to the likes of Earthly Delights, Fantasy Empire has a weird sense of cohesion and structure to it and the likes of opener 'The Metal East' and the pulsating agitated-dirge of 'Mythmaster' adds a richer, deeper variety of texture than found on Hypermagic Mountain but 'Horsepower' still sounds like drummer Brian Chippendale falling down the stairs, frantically grappling with Japanese avant-drum genius Stomu Yamash'ta, whilst Brian Gibson's bass riffs gallop at lunatic speed in a direction seemingly of their own choosing." Toby Cook

Read our review of Fantasy Empire here

91. John Foxx - London Overgrown
(Metamatic)

"London Overgrown is a contemplative, beautifully orchestrated album — as lush and heartbreaking as his 2009 album with Robin Guthrie, Mirrorball, but evoking the quiet return of wildness found in Patrick Keiler’s film, Robinson In Ruins. It would make the perfect soundtrack for a wander along the tracks, or watching the still-unfinished landscapes speed past the window of an Overground train." Emily Bick

Read John Foxx and Iain Sinclair in conversation here

90. Jute Gyte - Ship Of Theseus
(self-released)


89. Real Lies - Real Life
(Marathon)

"Two songs off the album ‘Deeper’ and ‘North Circular’ were written in a bedroom where if you looked out of the window you could see 1,000 yards of very calm water, with massive, massive tower blocks at the other end. And in our front room we had what was essentially a nightclub in our front room but if you looked out of the window you would see birdspotters who had come from all over the UK to see rare hawks." Tom Watson

Read our interview with Real Lies here

88. Claude Speed - Sun Czar Temple
(Planet Mu)


87. Paper Dollhouse - Aeonflower
(Bird)

"Make no mistake, this is deeply creepy music." Ben Graham

Read our review of Aeonflower here

86. Milo - So The Flies Don’t Come
(Ruby Yacht)

"First and foremost, this is poetry. And like any good chapbook, So The Flies Don't Come benefits from close examination and repeat consumption." Gary Suarez

Read our review of So The Flies Don't Come here

85. Terakaft - Alone
(Out Here)

"Alone marks the group's first release since Kel Tamasheq in 2012, and the time away seems to have invigorated the group, whose fired up return is marked by guitars ringing with menacing fuzz and upbeat percussion aimed at dancefloors." Richie Troughton

Read our review of Alone here

84. Charlatans - Modern Nature
(BMG)

"The Charlatans find themselves regrouping and consolidating their skills both as musicians and as a tight personal unit. In doing so, the band have delivered a wonderfully cohesive set of songs, and in the process have ensured that Modern Nature is their best release in many a moon." Julian Marszalek

Read our review of Modern Nature here

83. Master Musicians Of Bukake - Further West Quad Cult
(Important)


82. Cornered Yet Climbing featuring Kelly Jayne Jones - Fevered Realities
(Tombed Visions)

"This tape from Cornered Yet Climbing is built from the same stuff that made Gnod’s sprawling opus Infinity Machines such a brutally sprawling triumph. Tombed Visions’ head honcho and Gnod’s own sax man David McLean duetted with drummer Pascal Nichols under the Cornered Yet Climbing name before, but the pair are augmented here by fellow Manchester sound artist, Kelly Jayne Jones. She wields a whole host of concrète clatter and found object noises (including scraped house bricks) alongside some stunning flute playing, and Nichols has never played with more understated power." Tristan Bath

81. Dawn Richard - Blackheart
(Our Dawn)

"Blackheart is a deeply personal convulsion of emotion following a tumultuous personal and professional year for Richard; it's also her most abstract, layered and confounding work to date... It's awe-inspiring: from the sheer imagination and audacity of its shape-shifting sonics to the gutpunch emotion that comes with its calm." Alex Macpherson

Read our review of Blackheart here

80. $hit & $hine - 54 Synth-Brass 38 Metal Guitar 65 Cathedral
(Rocket)

"Trying to work out whether someone is taking the piss or not has never been so much fun. The true inheritors of the Butthole Surfers' ugly fairground. Fiendish, bloody-minded psychedelia for a disintegrating age." Mat Colegate

79. Joey Anderson - Invisible Switch
(Dekmantel)


78. Broken English Club - Suburban Hunting
(Cititrax)

"The music Oliver Ho makes as Broken English Club evokes the surrealism, horror, beauty and boredom behind the everyday; the sense you sometimes gets in the strangest of places that proceedings are skew whiff - the oddness of an England decrepit and familiar." Harry Sword

Read our review of Suburban Hunting here

77. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
(Top Dawg)

"His new direction comes courtesy of a new host of collaborators including genre-hopping bassist Thundercat, neo-soul singer Bilal, and jazz pianist Robert Glasper, who lend the tracks a free-form, 70s funk and jazz inspired fluidity. Flying Lotus is another new addition to the roster; while he only produced one track his influence can be heard throughout the album's sprawling 80 minutes, with flourishes of discordant piano and eerily warped psychedelia bursting out of its idiosyncratic arrangements." Steve Mallon

Read our review of To Pimp A Butterfly here


76. Bad Guys - Bad Guynaecology
(Riot Season)

"When you actually wrap your ears around the crunching, ZZ Top-if-they-were-characters-in-The Viz meets QOTSA-if-they-worked-in-Greggs type riffs of tracks like 'Prostitutes (Are Making Love In My Garden)' you'll realise that what Bad Guys are is simply one of the best, most unique and, most importantly, one of the most entertaining rock bands in the UK." Toby Cook

Read our review of Bad Guynaecology here

75. Container - LP
(Spectrum Spools)

"Straight from the piercing high frequency screech of opening track 'EJECT', the dynamics of LP seem more attuned to noise rock or punk than the calm building and layering of an electronic groove. Indeed, on tracks such as 'REMOVER' and 'CUSHION', techno images are ruptured and corrupted with a sense of inquisitive abandon and, like any child (or artificial brain) learning something for the first time, turns the results inside out and spills it all onto the floor." Bob Cluness

Read our review of LP here

74. Ian William Craig - Cradle For The Wanting
(Recital)

"Ian William Craig is based in Canada and his primary instruments are the human voice (mainly his own) and a series of reel to reel tape decks; the latter being used to manipulate the sound of the former creating a sound with echoes of Philip Jeck, William Basinski and Leyland Kirby." John Doran


73. Vince Staples - Summertime '06
(Def Jam)

"Drugs weigh heavily on the jaded young dude as he struggles through romantic and street entanglements in a country rife with racial hostility. There’s little doubt he’s made one of the year’s most earnest rap records, one loosely told as conceptual narrative but perhaps more valuable when taken from moment to honest moment." Gary Suarez

Read our review of Summertime '06 here

72. Rupert Clervaux & Beatrice Dillon - Studies I-XVII For Samplers And Percussion
(Snow Dog)


71. JME - Integrity
(Boy Better Know)


70. Consumer Electronics - Dollhouse Songs
(Harbinger)

"This is noise at its most misanthropic, yes, but also its most cathartic and liberating." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Dollhouse Songs here


69. Torres - Sprinter
(Partisan)

Read our review of Sprinter here


68. Pearson Sound - Pearson Sound
(Hessle)

"When I was writing my album, I wanted it to be concise. It's slightly on the short side, but I wanted it to be snappy. Take a track like 'Swirl': I could have made that into a seven or eight-minute long track, but I wanted it to be like a pop song, in a way. I wanted to keep you interested, rather than saturated. Some dance LPs I haven't enjoyed so much because they've fallen into that trap, I think: producers who forget that people are going to want to listen to it as a whole story." Pearson Sound

Read Pearson Sound's Baker's Dozen here


67. Melechesh - Enki
(Nuclear Blast)

"Heavier than a giant brass model of the Tower of Babel falling on your foot." John Doran in the Guardian

66. Leif - Taraxacum
(UntilMyHeartStops)


65. Oren Ambarchi & Jim O’Rourke - Behold
(MEGO)

"The metaphor of vision suggested by the title Behold serves as a useful way with which to consider this album's exploitation of the spaces between obscurity and accessibility. Over the course of two lengthy tracks, experimental mainstays Ambarchi and O'Rourke present a masterful exposition in control; concealing and foregrounding different sounds, pitching moments of abstraction against the delayed revelation of tangible musical ideas, bringing different textural, tonal and rhythmic themes in and out of focus." Danny Riley

Read our review of Behold here


64. Shapednoise - Different Selves
(Type)

"It is the beats that really make this album. Pedone's work was already highly accomplished in this regard, but in Different Selves they have evolved into a more complex and savage form." Maria Perevedentseva

Read our review of Different Selves here


63. Algiers - Algiers
(Matador)

"While it is perhaps lazy or obvious to compare the sound of a three-piece from Georgia (now based in New York) to a recent TV series like True Detective or to its precursor in the literary Southern Gothic tradition, things that are lazy or obvious aren't necessarily untrue." Karl Smith

Read our review of Algiers here


62. Anthony Child - Electronic Recordings From the Maui Jungle
(MEGO)

"Child combines slow unravellings of fairly raw, saw- and square-wave tones with field recordings made in the Maui Jungle in Hawaii earlier this year. It's an ambient album with bite, sometimes oozing into deep drone territory - with track titles like 'Eternal Note' you could expect no less - but just as often bouncing around with a blunt razor in its hand, serrated sounds fizzing about the place." Ian Maleney

Read our review of Live Recordings... here


61. Meatraffle - Hi Fi Classics
(Trashmouth)

"This debut album then, is an amalgamation of several influences. Post punk, reggae, jazz, hip-hop and psychedelia that evolves into something that sounds totally fresh and forward thinking." Angus Knight

Read our review of Hi Fi Classics here

60. Fis - The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now
(Loopy)


59. Levon Vincent - Levon Vincent
(Novel Sound)

"The always-present touchstones of Vincent's music – New Wave, 1990s New York house, Basic Channel's dub techno accentuated with enormous globs of tape delay – stand out perhaps more than ever, but they're combined with an emotionalism mostly absent from much of his earlier catalogue." Albert Freeman

Read our review of Levon Vincent here


58. Wire - Wire
(Pinkflag)

"It's become a cliché to describe a band as "quintessentially English," but perhaps Wire deserve the epithet more for it not being so obvious. They may not be larger-than-life eccentrics like Mark E. Smith or Billy Childish, nor deadpan comedians like Half Man Half Biscuit or Morrissey. But consider their reserve and detachment, coupled with a startling and persistent capacity for controlled aggression alongside moments of understated, gentle beauty. Add to that their dry, ironic humour, their wary, watchful introspection and the sense that they are ultimately an island unto themselves; and one too that seems somehow to remain always three-quarters submerged." Ben Graham

Read our review of Wire here

57. Colleen - Captain Of None
(Thrill Jockey)

"Colleen's use of the viola da gamba, a medieval instrument usually associated with chamber music and royal courts is, if anything, even more remarkable. Inspired by dub, Colleen aka Cécile Schott frequently stretches out her sounds with echo, reverb and delay before looping them over themselves, subtly altering their DNA so that what should be fragile pizzicatos now fill the space with clusters of enticing detail." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Captain Of None here

56. Imaginary Forces - Low Key Movements
(Entr'acte)

55. Gnaw Their Tongues - Abyss Of Longing Throats
(Crucial Blast)

"The latest missive from the pit where Gnaw Their Tongues lurks gets at once medieval and modernist on every square centimetre of the willing supplicant's disease-ridden flesh." Richard Fontenoy Read our review of Abyss Of Longing Throats here


54. Eric Chennaux - Skullsplitter
(Constellation)

"Skullsplitter is Eric Chennaux's fifth album and characterised by his awkward and off-kilter flair. 'Have I Lost My Eyes?' begins the record in a kind of warped, desert island crawl. It's as if the tapes are melting in the sun as the Chenaux's sixth chords slide and fall apart. Eventually, we break into erratic waves of sound; they should bath the listener, but their unpredictable irregularities are stringently relaxing. I think that is what it is to be Eric Chenaux: inescapably unhinged." Oobah Butler

Read our review of Skullsplitter here

53. Future - DS2
(Epic)

"Leaning harder than Bill Withers, Nayvadius Wilburn follows his immensely popular trio of post-Honest tapes with this dazzlingly druggy and morally negligent album sequel to a mixtape most of his current fans likely never heard in the first place." Gary Suarez

52. The Soft Moon - Deeper
(Captured Tracks)

"The human connection, the sense of real guts that was missing on Zeroes is here all too present, on a record that feels messy, desperate and at the end of its tether - yet also ironically accomplished, impeccably crafted and resolutely forward-looking." Ben Graham

Read our review of Deeper here


51. Rabit - Communion
(Tri Angle)

"Communion is a short sharp shock of digital sound, a soundtrack-as-war-journal to a world that hasn't happened yet but is seeping into our consciousness on a daily basis." Bob Cluness

Read our review of Communion here

50. Bjork - Vulnicura
(One Little Indian)

"The sombreness of the music throws more weight on her words than ever before. Already it's clear that if you've come here seeking beats and bangers, you may as well be asking for poppers at a funeral; beautiful and stately as the cortege that Björk has crafted with her co-producers Arca and The Haxan Cloak is, this focus of this album is on the play of feelings. From the strings that sweep us in, we're in a very familiar sonic Björkland, but sparely drawn." Emily Mackay

Read our review of Vulnicura here

49. Russell Haswell - As Sure As Night Follows Day
(Diagonal)

"Of all three of Russell Haswell's releases for Diagonal Records, As Sure As Night Follows Day sticks closest to the brief the label first gave him to produce a record "with beats". But, as with the first result, 2014's 37 Minute Workout, it bears challenging, ruptured patterns that possess all the queasy properties of his previous productions. It is a perplexing and extraordinary result as the matter he's working with – largely short, repetitive stabs - would seem so opposite to the freeform, searing and broiling noise of earlier outings." Russell Cuzner

Read our review of As Sure As Night Follows Day here


48. Jaakko Eino Kalevi - Jaakko Eino Kalevi
(Weird World)

"If there is one overriding sound of the new record it's hook-heavy pop, the type that has its precursor in the excellent Dreamzone EP and before that, the Modern Life album, with its magnificent single 'Flexible Heart' sounding like The Human League playing 'Blue Monday'." Laurie Tuffrey

Read our interview with Jaakko Eino Kalevi here

47. M.E.S.H. - Piteous Gate
(Pan)

"As Piteous Gate spins malevolently through its brief running time, it occurs to me that the only "nightclub" looming in my imagination is the cancerous bowel of a discotheque which opens Gaspar Noe's Irreversible. The kind of club where the walls run thick and deep with mucus and stained sweat, the kind of club where your worst nightmares are picked up at the door and then fed upon by the other clientele." Euan Andrews

Read our review of Piteous Gate here

46. Owiny Sigoma Band - Nyanza
(Brownswood)

"Nyanza sounds like a band liberated from their own expectations, free from the pressure to deliver purely African grooves, and enthralled by the music they're making. Quite rightly too, as Nyanza is a bloody masterpiece." Tristan Bath


45. Lonelady - Hinterland
(Warp)

"In Hinterland, the follow-up to 2010's Nerve Up, LoneLady's Julie Campbell has created a thoroughly modern record that doesn't simply nod to its forebears in its zeal for an analogue approach to recording, or the self-evident groove of A Certain Ratio's basslines. No. Here Campbell is riffing on the myth of Manchester itself, revelling in revealing – rather than breaking down – the fourth wall." Annette Barlow

Read our review of Hinterland here

44. Kerridge - Always Offended Never Ashamed
(Contort)

"Kerridge's overall sound palette has not changed – Always Offended Never Ashamed serves up another "giant slab" of his signature technoid apocalypse. And yet, the design here feels more complex, more intricate." Maria Perevedentseva

Read our review of Always Offended Never Ashamed here

43. Arca - Mutant
(Mute)

"It's easy to see why Kanye made a move on the then barely known Arca for his Yeezus album of 2013 and what drew Björk to him for Vulnicura; here was a young electronic producer with deep hip hop empathies and a seemingly inexhaustible talent for bravura invention." Sharon O'Connell

Read our review of Mutant here

42. The Eccentronic Research Council - Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine... I'm Your Biggest Fan
(Without Consent)

"For the opening scene we find ourselves dropped in Valhalla Dale, a (fictional) town on the outskirts of Sheffield. We're welcomed by Maxine Peake's demonic narration atop blasts of synthesised brass and choirs, a snare heavy beat, and distant notes phasing like detritus from the Forbidden Planet soundtrack picked up by extra-terrestrial lifeforms and beamed right back at us" Tristan Bath

Read our review of Johnny Rocket here

41. Ariel Kalma and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - We Know Each Other Somehow
(Frkwys)

"Lowe and Kalma operate using utterly similar yet decidedly distinct methods. Nowadays, Lowe tends to favour utterly free improvisation, working (as is possible with his modular setup) completely outside the boundaries of Western tonality. Kalma's compositions often owe more to traditional Western scales and song structures, while assuming Eastern timbres and chant-like repetitions." Tristan Bath

Read our review of We Know Each Other Somehow here


40. Vainio & Vigroux - Peau Froide, Leger Soleil
(Cosmo Rhythmatic)

"Plenty of chase rhythms and surveillance synths follow to suggest an action-filled escape but, possible plot developments aside, Peau Froide, Léger Vigroux's strength lies in its contrasts that persuade one to ponder possible tensions between machine and man. With authorship of so much technology-driven music arguably belonging to the machine (or at least its programmers) Vainio and Franck provide an exciting, emotional ride that can't be artificially generated (yet)." Russell Cuzner


39. The Membranes - Dark Matter/Dark Energy
(Cherry Red)

"Dark Matter/Dark Energy is the sound of a band that's acutely self-aware of its own legacy and where it fits in on the cultural landscape. Crucially, it doesn't attempt to be something that it's not and the honesty contained within is one of the album's greatest strengths. That The Membranes do so creating a fabulously infernal racket is life-affirming stuff." Julian Marszalek

Read our review of Dark Matter/Dark Energy here


38. Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls
(Profound Lore)

"This is a great album, and it's incredible to see Dominic Fernow again broadening the scope of the noise genre. However, he's never required us to suspend our disbelief even for one second in the past. I suppose this is what they call maturity." Tristan Bath

Read our review of Frozen Niagara Falls here


37. Księżyc - Rabbit Eclipse
(Penultimate Press)

"This music seems oblivious to cultural pigeonholing, and not that bothered about time and place. Księżyc are wonderfully out of step, and they make the kind of music that feels as though it’s always been there in your head, just waiting for the fog to lift." Matthew Foster


36. Karin Park - Apocalypse Pop
(State Of The Eye)


35. DJ Richard - Grind
(Dial)

"Grind is an exercise in Richard refining his take on the house and techno that has made up his previous output, paring it all back to simple, yet vivid and oh so expressive synth lines that, even in their repetition, thankfully fail to intimate the album's title, and backed by drums that seem patently unprocessed, patterns occasionally tripping over themselves but never quite becoming overcomplicated or unnecessarily complex." Christian Eede

Read our review of Grind here


34. Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
(Domino)

"There's a lot of density to this record and sometimes I worry that it's too dense. The arrangements are very simple, in my opinion. I kind of just write them out and there wasn't a lot of changing, just a little bit of improvising." Julia Holter

Read Julia Holter's Bakers Dozen here


33. Chrononautz - Noments
(The Quietus Phonographic Corporation)

"It's fucked, sounds like LFO/ KLF/ RSPCA, brutal !!!" Regis

Read our interview with Chrononautz here (YES WE KNOW WE PUT THIS OUT)

32. One More Grain - Grain Fever
(self-released)

"The bass drum sound was created, we are told, by Quinn punching the walls of his cottage. There is not a single chord change on the whole album. The droning effect calls to mind The Velvet Underground, although the record sounds nothing like them, just as it sounds nothing like Can or The Fall or Pere Ubu or the Incredible String Band, though there are moments when I'm reminded of each. The vocal on The Meteor Impact Site is reminiscent of Brian Eno, elsewhere of a male Nico, but it's hard to imagine either of them hollering, apropos of nothing: "My name is Worzel Gummidge, long live the new peasant." Marcus O'Dair

Read our review of Grain Fever here

31. Enya - Dark Sky Island
(Aigle Music)

"Were it my solemn duty to compile a list of the finest things we human creatures have ever created – for a time capsule, say, or a diplomatic encounter with alien species – the songs of Enya would be paramount. I can imagine nothing superior to represent the beauty of being alive right now." Ryan Alexander Diduck Read our review of Dark Sky Island here


30. My Disco - Severe
(Temporary Residence)

"On Severe, My Disco have taken the boiled-to-its-very-essence art rock of precursors such as This Heat and Big Black and compacted and crushed it into a near expressionless statement of stark terror and sublimity. Through its stripped back rigour and commitment to its own logic, it has managed to encapsulate the moment where the indifferent face of the void sends you running and crying to any god that will hear you. Its palette is tiny – voice, drums, bass, guitar, silence – but it is as focussed and as affecting as any pop song or any symphony." Mat Colegate

Read our review of Severe here

29. RP Boo - Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints
(Planet Mu)

"Few if any other producers can touch an RP Boo beat for its sheer exhilaration factor. Sliced up, sped up and microscopically precise, footwork novices might find it hard to reconcile the various elements of a track like 'Heat From Us' or 'Daddy's Home', all dramatic synths and chattering snares. Maybe to some people, it'll always sound like a rhythmically nonsensical clash, but time immersed in these productions can draw you deep into Boo's hypnotic soundworld." Noel Gardner

Read our review of Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints here


28. Hey Colossus - Radio Static High
(Rocket)

"Forty-two minutes of profound pleasure all in all, which both challenges the clichés of guitar-based heaviness and mines them for their ore. It’s tempting to suggest that Radio Static High is the culmination of what Hey Colossus have been working towards for the last twelve years, but thoughts of "career arcs" and suchlike don't really jibe with such an un-careerist band. In a certain respect, though, they are standard-bearers for post-millennial British music which is au fait with punk and hardcore while not being punk or hardcore, stylistically." Noel Gardner

Read our review of Radio Static High here

27. Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down…
(Matador)

"Kurt Vile is often narrowly labeled as a musician whose sound conjures up the image of a dreamy stoner making dreamy acoustic tunes in a hazy, smoke filled studio. He actually, for the record, doesn't even smoke weed, but there are elements of this image which ring true; Vile's lackadaisical singing voice for one. For the most part though, this perception of Vile is typical of a failure to fully engage with his work, which in actual fact is exploring new and exciting sonic territory all the time." Christopher Sanders

Read our review of B'lieve I'm Goin Down here


26. Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power
(Glitterbeat)

"Ba Power is an album which again showcases the incredible dexterity of Malian heavyweight Bassekou Kouyaté's ngoni instrument. Kouyaté affectionately describes playing the banjo-like lute as his family's "only mission"; his grandfathers, father and now sons are all ngoni players. This mission has, however, been taken to new places under his leadership, thanks to both Mali's exposure to Western music and Kouyaté's rise to international stardom." Clyde Macfarlane

Read our review of Ba Power here


25. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
(Asthmatic Kitty)

"Carrie & Lowell is an uncharacteristic record, one which doesn't follow Sufjan Stevens' trajectory of taking a sonic departure from what's come before, instead returning to the plaintive folk of his earliest records as a vehicle for words that, for the most part, jettison allusion for bracing honesty." Laurie Tuffrey

Read our review of Carrie & Lowell here

24. Jerusalem In My Heart - If He Dies If If If If If If
(Constellation)

"The title of the album came from a graffito that I saw in an old abandoned building in Beirut. It's actually quite common to see these old, very beautiful historic houses that are being demolished to build more efficient, more profit-generating, modern... really ugly structures, because old Lebanese architecture's all very high-ceilinged houses, houses with very big rooms - not very efficient for a city I guess. So it's really sad that there are all these beautiful, beautiful buildings that are being torn down." Radwan Ghazi Moumneh

Read our interview with Jerusalem In My Heart here


23. WIDT - Point#3
(Pointless Geometry)


22. GNOD - Infinity Machines
(Rocket)

"Infinity Machines is a painful modern masterpiece, and it's urging us to listen to the voices in our heads." Tristan Bath

Read our review of Infinity Machines here

21. Hawthonn - Hawthonn
(Larkfall)

"Phil and Layla Legard (the former a member of Stoke-on-Trent's Ashtray Navigations) have a fascinating way of finding sounds for their first Hawthonn project. They combine site-specific field recording, "hand-crafted" electronics (including some determined by geographic data) and an aural form of scrying (a method initially described by Kim Cascone as "still, yet deep sonic surfaces, from which unheralded images can arise") to harvest raw material from which to derive their genuinely beguiling compositions." Russell Cuzner

Read our review of Hawthonn here

20. Laura Cannell - Beneath Swooping Talons
(Front & Follow)

"Beneath Swooping Talons stands as an essential work of modern British folk and avant-garde composition." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Beneath Swooping Talons here

19. Sunn O))) - Kannon
(Southern Lord)


18. King Midas Sound & Fennesz - Edition 1
(Ninja Tune)

"Deep-rooted ecological anxieties were resonant on King Midas Sound's debut, but feel more so now following several further years of international inertia over climate change. Such concerns course through Edition 1, King Midas Sound's new collaborative record with Christian Fennesz." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Edition 1 here

17. Teeth Of The Sea - Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
(Rocket)

"Highly Deadly is the music that rises steadily around the reveal of the what if, of the spectres and spooks of imagination, intangible but so very capable of causing distress, or worse." Mike Diver

Read our review of Highly Deadly Black Tarantula here

16. Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, Girl
(Sacred Bones)

"Jenny Hval yearns not for what we already know (not just women: all of us) but for a way to crack apart our confinements: our bodies, how we relate, the gender we're born with, how we access god and find something bigger. Something kingsize." Kate Hennessy

Read our review of Apocalypse Girl here


15. Jam City - Dream A Garden
(Night Slugs)

"Protest should still, of course, be a very impassioned beast, but, Latham asks, "how do we make fighting oppression beautiful, calming and healing, as well as angry?" Dream A Garden is an attempt to get to grips with that idea, its nine tracks unashamedly and unequivocally baring his motivations." Christian Eede

Read our interview with Jam City here


14. Helm - Olympic Mess
(Pan)

"Not so much wistful come down on the night bus after a few manic hours in Plastic People, as painful come around in a dark alleyway somewhere near the DLR railway lines with a bloody nose, no wallet and the sound of crumbling machinery and passing traffic vibrating your skull." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Olympic Mess here


13. The Inward Circles - Belated Movements For An Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1984
(self-released)

"The focus of his interest for Belated Movements For An Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1st 1984 is the Lindow Man, the body of a 20-something man removed from a peat bog in Cheshire who probably lived - and was violently killed - at some point in the Iron Age. Rumours abound that he was ritualistically sacrificed and the Lindow Man remains an enigma to archaeologists and a fascination for a public keen to find liminal ties to the UK's ancient, almost mythical past." Joseph Burnett

Read our review for Belated Movements here

12. Elysia Crampton - American Drift
(Blueberry)

"Despite the density of the accompanying texts, American Drift and its companion 7" Moth/Lake strike an unusual balance of being thoughtful and theoretically-minded without becoming overtly academic in tone. They're intriguingly mischievous, with spiky drum shrapnel shattering bucolic woodwind harmonies, Lil Jon's hoarse sampled chants puncturing through cathedral-like resonance, and rhythms bumping and grinding across one another like tectonic plates." Rory Gibb


11. Circuit Des Yeux - In Plain Speech
(Thrill Jockey)

"Like being inducted into some weird musical cult." John Doran

Read our review of In Plain Speech here

10. Holly Herndon - Platform
(4AD)

"Holly Herndon's second full-length proper, Platform is one of the best records you'll hear this year. From its title upwards, the record feels like a paean to the constructive possibilities of connection. It represents a move away from the solitary laptop experiments of Herndon's previous album, 2012's Movement, to a record that's collaborative from the outset: the players on the album come from various backgrounds, not just audio and visual artists, but theorists and writers, and include Mat Dryhurst, Herndon's long-term collaborator and partner, whose 'net-concrete' online update on musique concrète was a key pillar of the album's sonic set-up, word-colliding Twitter poet Spencer Longo and Dutch design studio Metahaven among them." Laurie Tuffrey

Read our review of Platform here


9. New Order - Music Complete
(Mute)

"Music Complete is mostly a return to stumbling in a state of one's own genius. This is a band who, as Joy Division and New Order, have twice defied the odds. This almost wonderful album glimpses a third miracle." Mick Middles

Read our review of Music Complete here


8. Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden Of Delete
(Warp)

"Garden Of Delete is an ingenious oxymoron that at once alludes to Hieronymus Bosch's early modern triptych commonly called Garden Of Earthly Delights, and can also be cleverly abbreviated as G.O.D. Gardens elicit nature, bounty, creation and growth; deleting invokes technology, paucity, destruction and decay. Deletion is the opposite act of creation. It is taking something that's already been produced and erasing it, effacing it, offhandedly or deliberately. Which is what makes it so subversive, so important, so crucial." Ryan Alexander Diduck

Read our review of Garden Of Delete here


7. EEK featuring Islam Chipsy - Kahraba
(Nashazphone)

"Kahraba is an album that translates from Arabic as "electricity". It's the long awaited jolt of lightning from EEK feat. Islam Chipsy we've been waiting an age for, since our appetites were whetted via last year's live LP release, Live At The Cairo High Cinema Institute." Yousif Nur

Read our review of Kahraba here


6. East India Youth - Culture Of Volume
(XL)

"This is an album that sounds massive, pompous, threatening, druggy, psychically hollow, a mirror turned against the daily noise... and is all the better for it. Culture Of Volume versus culture of volume. Battle has been joined." Luke Turner

Read our review of Culture Of Volume here

5. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Three
(Constellation)

"The album climaxes with the voice of Malcolm X as he attempts to deny accusations of racism, such a striking paradox that it projects Roberts' portrayal of the African-American experience away from its painful past and into the unstable present. In light of recent events in Missouri, New York and elsewhere, no album you hear this year, or probably any other, will be as important and relevant as Matana Roberts' Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Coin Coin Chapter Three here


4. Carter Tutti Void - f(x)
(Industrial)

"You can sense that the moment of genesis was a beautiful claustrophobia, three individuals consumed by the very process. This is the sound of them marching up their walls - will you join them in the ascent?" Luke Turner

Read our review of f(x) here

3. Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa
(World Circuit)

"The hottest current Kinshasa group are Mbongwana Star, a 7-piece outfit endorsed by renowned label World Circuit. Members Coco Ngabali and Theo Nzonza were founding Staff Benda Billi members, and so bring an authoritative love of Congolese rumba to a band predominantly built from a younger generation. Mbongwana Star's debut album, From Kinshasa, has an additional deep electronic pulse, with French producer Liam Farrell (aka Doctor L) cloaking this project in a Warp-worthy ambience. Vocal exchanges are enriched by resonating woody echoes, and bizarrely versatile drums thump out hypnotic rhythms." Clyde Macfarlane

Read our review of From Kinshasa here


2. Stara Rzeka - Zamknęły się oczy ziemi
(Instant Classic)

"Stara Rzeka aka Kuba Ziołeks has the gifted hand of a musical craftsman, and Zamknęły się oczy ziemi is his Sistine chapel. It's a vast, dense masterwork, and every minute's worth pouring over." Tristan Bath

1. Jlin - Dark Energy
(Planet Mu)

"Jlin transcends so many of footwork's established tropes, twisting those raw materials into daring new forms. This may in turn be a reflection of her own circumstances: living in Gary, close to Chicago but separate from it, and without direct experience of DJing at battles, her perspective is naturally a little different to that of her peers... In its breadth of ambition and stunningly realised sounds, Dark Energy delivers more than just a new twist on an established style. Remaining tightly linked to the music of Jlin's forebears and contemporaries, it nonetheless maps out an inspiring and tantalising glimpse of electronic music's future." Ed Gillett

Read our review of Dark Energy here

The Quietus Albums Of The Year 2015

ONE: Jlin - Dark Energy
TWO: Stara Rzeka - Zamknęły się oczy ziemi
THREE: Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa
FOUR: Carter Tutti Void - f(x)
FIVE: Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Three
SIX: East India Youth - Culture Of Volume
SEVEN: EEK featuring Islam Chipsy - Kahraba
EIGHT: Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden Of Delete
NINE: New Order - Music Complete
TEN: Holly Herndon - Platform
ELEVEN: Circuit Des Yeux - In Plain Speech
TWELVE: Elysia Crampton - American Drift
THIRTEEN: The Inward Circles - Belated Movements For An Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1984
FOURTEEN: Helm - Olympic Mess
FIFTEEN: Jam City - Dream A Garden
SIXTEEN: Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, Girl
SEVENTEEN: Teeth Of The Sea - Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
EIGHTEEN: King Midas Sound & Fennesz - Edition 1
NINETEEN: Sunn O))) - Kannon
TWENTY: Laura Cannell - Beneath Swooping Talons
TWENTY ONE: Hawthonn - Hawthonn
TWENTY TWO: GNOD - Infinity Machines
TWENTY THREE: WiDT - POINT#3
TWENTY FOUR: Jerusalem In My Heart - If He Dies If If If If If If
TWENTY FIVE: Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
TWENTY SIX: Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power TWENTY SEVEN: Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down…
TWENTY EIGHT: Hey Colossus - Radio Static High
TWENTY NINE: RP Boo - Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints
THIRTY: My Disco - Severe
THIRTY ONE: Enya - Dark Sky Island
THIRTY TWO: One More Grain - Grain Fever
THIRTY THREE: Chrononautz - Noments
THIRTY FOUR: Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
THIRTY FIVE: DJ Richard - Grind
THIRTY SIX: Karin Park - Apocalypse Pop
THIRTY SEVEN: Księżyc - Rabbit Eclipse
THIRTY EIGHT: Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls
THIRTY NINE: The Membranes - Dark Matter/Dark Energy
FORTY: Vainio & Vigroux - Peau Froide, Leger Soliel
FORTY ONE: Ariel Kalma and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - We Know Each Other Somehow
FORTY TWO: The Eccentronic Research Council - Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine... I'm Your Biggest Fan
FORTY THREE: Arca - Mutant
FORTY FOUR: Kerridge - Always Offended Never Ashamed
FORTY FIVE: Lonelady - Hinterland
FORTY SIX: Owiny Sigoma Band - Nyanza
FORTY SEVEN: M.E.S.H. - Piteous Gate
FORTY EIGHT: Jaako Eino Kalevi - Jaako Eino Kalevi
FORTY NINE: Russell Haswell - As Sure As Night Follows Day
FIFTY: Bjork - Vulnicura
FIFTY ONE: Rabit - Communion
FIFTY TWO: The Soft Moon - Deeper
FIFTY THREE: Future - DS2
FIFTY FOUR: Eric Chennaux - Skullsplitter
FIFTY FIVE: Gnaw Their Tongues - Abyss Of Longing Throats
FIFTY SIX: Imaginary Forces - Low Key Movements
FIFTY SEVEN: Colleen - Captain Of None
FIFTY EIGHT: Wire - Wire
FIFTY NINE: Levon Vincent - Levon Vincent
SIXTY: Fis - The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now
SIXTY ONE: Meat Raffle - Hi Fi Classics

SIXTY TWO: Anthony Child - Electronic Recordings From the Maui Jungle
SIXTY THREE: Algiers - Algiers
SIXTY FOUR: Shapednoise - Different Selves
SIXTY FIVE: Oren Ambarchi & Jim O’Rourke - Behold
SIXTY SIX: Leif - Taraxacum
SIXTY SEVEN: Melechesh - Enki
SIXTY EIGHT: Pearson Sound - Pearson Sound
SIXTY NINE: Torres - Sprinter
SEVENTY: Consumer Electronics - Dollhouse Songs
SEVENTY ONE: JME - Integrity
SEVENTY TWO: Rupert Clervaux & Beatrice Dillon - Studies I-XVII For Samplers And Percussion

SEVENTY THREE: Vince Staples - Summertime '06

SEVENTY FOUR: Ian William Craig - Cradle For The Wanting
SEVENTY FIVE: Container - LP
SEVENTY SIX: Bad Guys - Bad Guynaecology
SEVENTY SEVEN: Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
SEVENTY EIGHT: Broken English Club - Suburban Hunting
SEVENTY NINE: Joey Anderson - Invisible Switch
EIGHTY: $hit & $hine - 54 Synth-Brass 38 Metal Guitar 65 Cathedral
EIGHTY ONE: Dawn Richard - Blackheart
EIGHTY TWO: Cornered Yet Climbing featuring Kelly Jayne Jones - Fevered Realities
EIGHTY THREE: Master Musicians Of Bukake - Further West Quad Cult
EIGHTY FOUR: Charlatans - Modern Nature
EIGHTY FIVE: Terakaft - Alone
EIGHTY SIX: Milo - So The Flies Don’t Come
EIGHTY SEVEN: Paper Dollhouse - Aeonflower
EIGHTY EIGHT: Claude Speed - Sun Czar Temple
EIGHTY NINE: Real Lies - Real Life
NINETY: Jute Gyte - Ship Of Theseus
NINETY ONE: John Foxx - London Overgrown
NINETY TWO: Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire
NINETY THREE: The Necks - Vertigo
NINETY FOUR: Roots Manuva - Bleeds
NINETY FIVE: Rizan Said - King Of Keyboard
NINETY SIX: Guapo - Obscure Knowledge
NINETY SEVEN: Checkpoint 303 - The Iqrit Files
NINETY EIGHT: Eugene The Oceanographer - The Tigers Of Mount Paektu
NINETY NINE: RSS B0YS - HDDN
ONE HUNDRED: Pissgrave - Suicide Euphoria

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