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An Easy Extraction: The Top 100 Albums Of 2016 So Far
John Doran , July 27th, 2016 09:43

And here it is... the Quietus' favourite albums released between January 1 and June 30, 2016, as voted for by John Doran, Luke Turner, Karl Smith, Laurie Tuffrey and Christian Eede (with some assistance from Mat Colegate and Bobby Barry)

To me, musically at least, the year doesn't really kick off until the moment our mid-year chart is published. Then it finally feels like I can breathe out. That things are rolling at last.

Editing a music website is like constantly being in that weird fugue state that comes over most people in record shops. "Man... I know I actually like music but made by which groups, singers and producers? I know once I get home I'll be able to think of 38 LPs and a whole bunch of EPs I really want but right now I can't call to mind a single thing I'm into." So you walk out of the shop with yet another copy of Station To Station by David Bowie. Just in case something happens to the other seven copies you own.

Speaking as someone who runs a music magazine, this temporary sonic amnesia can be overwhelming. I constantly seem to be at a music festival saying: "Errrrrrr... Nope. Can't think of a single thing..." to the eminently reasonable question: "Have you heard any good music recently?"

This forgetfulness in the face of great tracks and oblivion as to what the essential current albums are can often play a cruel trick on me, making me feel, subconsciously at least, that there isn't much going on, that perhaps the game is up. Perhaps it would actually be better to shut up shop and go and do something else. And then of course, once I actually start compiling a list of all the great albums from the first six months of the year, I realise that it isn't music that is failing, just my feeble, middle-aged brain.

So whereas last week I was struggling to recall even three albums that I really liked off the top of my head, this week the struggle has been to make space for all of the releases I think are worthy of inclusion in a top 100. I mean, we really could have easily compiled a great top 150 this time... and it's only July.

The way that I visualise this chart isn't really as a rigidly ranked linear parade in strict order of one to one hundred but as more of an interlinking, three dimensional lattice. We're not big fans of P4k's percentage point marking system or of any star or numerical ranking systems full stop which is why we never mark albums, so I'm unwilling to pretend that I think whatever is at number 75 on this chart is demonstrably better than the album at number 76. Outside of, say, the top 20 of this chart, I find the idea of stating definitively that one of these LPs is objectively superior to another to be frankly ridiculous. Instead I like to think of this top 100 in terms of a three dimensional computer model of the transport network of a very large virtual city that is still under construction. Each album represents a spatial location connected by one or more a genre transport lines. It is not a 100% "joined up city" and nor should it be. The grime overpasses are not easily accessible by the extreme metal bike lanes and if you want to get from the Afrobeat underground line to the caustic industrial techno ring road, you're going to have to cover the separating distance by foot. By the same token it makes it easier to see where the great hubs of collaboration, interconnectivity and shared aesthetic interests lie. When presented with such a diagram, suddenly getting from point A to point Z doesn't seem like such a monumental trek any more - even if they're miles apart at opposite ends of the city. Like with any major metropolis, it's very hard, if not impossible to visualise the entirety of modern music without some kind of transport map and hopefully this chart is such an aid to visualisation. I certainly know I'm going to cut and paste the top 100 list into a document in my phone so even though I've subcontracted what is left of my intelligence and wit out to a small electronic device in my pocket, I'm now no longer to be embarrassed by reasonable questions at festivals and hopefully not overcome by senior moments in record shops for the rest of the year.

We understand that these lists are taken very seriously by a lot of music fans and we expect to receive a reasonable amount of flak for not including LPs that mean the world to other people. Please leave your own lists in the comment feature below but be aware that if you have a genuinely missionary zeal for an artist and want us to listen to them with a view to featuring them on the site in future, we’re much more likely to respond favourably to a post where we don’t get referred to in either rude or downright offensive terms. The two main complaints about this chart can usually be summed up like this: one, you lot are so obvious, I could have predicted this chart exactly and two, you lot are so pretentious, I haven't heard of any of these artists. To which I say: one, well please educate us by leaving a list of albums you feel should have been included below and two, well, yes obviously; Luke is on sabbatical writing a book about the alternative sexual and ritual history of Epping Forest and my next album is a spoken word piece about relative cosmological movement in collaboration with an avant garde duo released on limited edition cassette. Of course we're pretentious. That doesn't mean we're wrong though...

I hope you enjoy this list in general and find something from it that improves your day/ week/ year/ life.

John Doran

100. Brood Ma - Daze
(Tri-Angle)

"Like being shouted at by an angry teenager who has something he really objects to but can't tear his eyes away from Minecraft for long enough to really articulate."
Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Daze here

99. Die Krupps - Stahlwerksrequiem
(Bureau B)

Listen to an excerpt from Stahlwerksrequiem on The Quietus Hour

98. Giovanni Lami – Bias
(Consumer Waste)

97. Our Solar System - In Time
(Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)

96. The Comet Is Coming - Channel The Spirits
(Leaf)

"Afrofuturist analogue kosmische jazz funk. Huge, played-live (rather than sequenced) synth bass lines, drums Lee Dorsey would have a fit for, more reverb and echo than a dub soundsystem in the Grand Canyon, and Shabaka Hutchings' unmistakable, frenetic but still melodic sax lines over the top of it. Reduced to words it sounds chimeric, but realised as music it makes perfect sense."
Nick Southall

95. Pale Horse - Looking Wet In Public
(Holy Roar)

Read about Palehorse's favourite bass albums in a Bakers Dozen feature

94. Graham Dunning & Colin Webster – Oval
(Tombed Vision)

93. KHÜNNT - Failures
(Riot Season)

92. Jozef Van Wissem - When Shall This Bright Day Begin?
(Incunabulum)

"To get into van Wissem's world is to surrender to the inevitability - and timelessness - of a strange music created at its own pace, and in a manner wholly of its creator's making."
Richard Foster

Read our review of When Shall This Bright Day Begin? here

91. Forteresse - Thèmes Pour La Rébellion
(Sepulchral)

90. Roly Porter - Third Law
(Tri-Angle)

"Even the most abstract, percussion-light pieces are defined by a relentless forward motion, each one building in incremental steps towards a more fleshed-out whole from sparse beginnings."
Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Third Law here

89. Pinkshinyultrablast - Grandfeathered
(Club AC30)

88. Melanie De Biasio - Blackened Cities
(Le Label)

"Often presented (somewhat reductively) as the Belgian Billie Holiday, De Biasio seems more intent on subverting the role of the tragic torch singer, using the sensuality of her voice to evoke heightened states of consciousness rather than just channel heartache and pain." Joe Banks

Read our review of Blackened Cities here

87. The Dwarfs Of East Agouza - Bes
(Nawa)

"Having formed in 2012 while living in the same apartment building in Cairo's Agouza district, the trio soon set out on crafting their sound built on instrumental improvisational loops of percussion as well as taking influence from Krautrock and free jazz among other sounds."
Christian Eede

86. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - We Be All Africans
(Strut)

"We Be All Africans as a whole has a joyous sentiment – loose and unrestrained by tensions."
Lottie Brazier

Read our review of We Be All Africans here

85. William Tyler - Modern Country
(Merge)

84. Ash Koosha - I AKA I
(Ninja Tune)

"Iranian-born, London-based producer Ash Koosha rips his way through all notions of genre, identity and idiom on I AKA I; an exploration of music traditions twisted inside out through technology."
Joseph Burnett

Read our review of I AKA I here

83. Giacinto Scelsi, Chris Watson & Joe Browning - Scelsi
(SN Variations)

"Appearing alongside a new recording of Giacinto Scelsi’s ‘Duo for Violin and Cello’ by Lucy Railton and Aisha Orazbayeva as well as a shakuhachi honkyoku performance by Joe Browning, Chris Watson’s piece, entitled ‘Invertebrae Harmonics’, incorporates field recordings of insects made originally on a boardwalks in the middle of the Borneo jungle."
Christian Eede

82. Maja S.K. Ratkje – Crepuscular Hour
(Rune Grammofon)

"Norwegian composer Ratkje's mesmerising Crepuscular Hour seeps through the liminal cracks between light and dark, the spiritual gloaming during which living bodies and minds change their patterns of behaviour. Recorded during the 2012 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, it is a piece for three choirs, three noise musicians and church organ."
Euan Andrews

Read our review of Crepuscular Hour here

81. Skuggsjá - A Piece For Mind And Mirror
(Season Of Mist)

"May go on to be one of the most bar-raising records to drop in 2016."
Louise Brown

Read our review of A Piece For Mind And Mirror here

80. Let’s Eat Grandma - I, Gemini
(Transgressive)

"Walton and Hollingworth are fantastic and surprising songwriters, totally unafraid of wielding cumbersome intros and atypical instruments, forming songs from fragments of dreams and fairytales. They have an ear for the texture of words and they understand the capacity of their hauntingly similar voices. And it's an absolute treat to hear their exploration of what it's possible to create using classroom recorders and birthday-present synthesisers."
Suzie McCracken

Read our review of I, Gemini here

79. The Invisible - Patience
(Ninja Tune)

"The Invisible unfurl their full, joyous breadth of skills."
Matthew Horton

Read our review of Patience here

78. Nisennenmondai - #N/A
(On-U Sound)

"Make no mistake: prettiness is merely a byproduct throughout a project where hypnotic relentlessness is the raison d'être. The listener can opt to be pummelled into acquiescence or swept contentedly along. Either way, this is a collection that insists you submit, allow the music convey you to destinations unspecified."
Ed Power

Read our review of #N/A here

77. Chris Abrahams - Fluid To The Influence
(ROOM40)

76. Sumac - What One Becomes
(Thrill Jockey)

"Sumac soon had me gesticulating wildly and headbanging in my living room. As brutal as this record is, it is also exuberant and life-affirming. As st00pid as it gets, it is also smart and unpredictable."
Pavel Godfrey

Read our review of What One Becomes here

75. Munma - Three Voices
(Ruptured)

"Beirut based composer Jawad Nawfal has produced one of this year's best electronic LPs in Three Voices which came out on Ruptured, the label he co-runs, last month. The titular three voices belong to a group of spoken word artists that Nawfal commissioned specifically for the piece before building sound beds round each recording."
John Doran

Read our review of Three Voices here.

74. Bruxa Maria - Human Condition
(Extreme Ultimate)

73. Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld - Nerissimo
(Specula)

"Teho's intrumentation and arrangements are the perfect foil to Bargeld's voice, no mean feat given that it's one of the most distinctive in contemporary music."
Luke Turner

Read our review of Nerissimo here.

72. Fumaça Preta - Impuros Fanaticos
(Soundway)


71. Ulver - ATGCLVLSSCAP
(House Of Mythology)

"The Ulver on display here have fully assimilated their vast array of former selves, and the result is twelve tracks of multifaceted jams packed with the kind of intensity and drama only an entity as thoroughly experienced and self-explored as Ulver could summon."
Tristan Bath

Read our review of ATGCLVLSSCAP here

70. Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
(Lefse)

"It's a record that at first sounds disgruntled but is ultimately psyched on being alive – songs like 'Porcelain' and 'Strawberry Glue' are submerged and gently swaying, while moments such as 'NK' muster a masticating drone. 'Beta Male' has a riff so fantastic and fist-punchingly pure in pleasure, you wonder how it wasn't a song already, and nods to Television, Pavement and Sonic Youth are all present."
Suzie McCracken

Read our interview with Ulrika Spacek here

69. Deux Filles - Space & Time
(Les Disques du Crépuscule)

"All together these tracks seem to exist in different worlds entirely, but they're brought into accord through a capricious, disorderly sense of arrangement and an even-tempered restraint. Out of such measured eccentricity comes a pliant, curious form of instrumental chamber pop that favours a vivid dream logic above straight forward linearity."
Tim Wilson

Read our review of Space & Time here

68. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
(Svart)

"Oranssi Pazuzu's latest release Värähtelijä could in fact represent a potential high watermark for the current phase expansive black-infused metal." Tristan Bath

Read our review of Värähtelijä here

67. Elza Soares – The Woman At The End Of The World
(Mais Um Discos)

"While there’s no doubt A mulher do fim do mundo is born out of personal suffering, at a time when the world seems to be eating itself, you’d do well to heed Soares’s song of overcoming."
Laurie Tuffrey

Read our review of The Woman At The End Of The World

66. Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings On Earth
(Leaf)

65. John Cale - M:Fans
(Domino)

"John Cale couldn't have selected a more suitable timeframe in which to release M:FANS; it jumps out at us from the ball-pond of detritus that was 2015, and has a good rummage around."
Lottie Brazier

Read our review of M:Fans here

64. Wolf Muller & Cass - The Sound Of Glades
(International Feel)

"The Sound Of Glades’s five tracks are free-flowing, a natural energy and spark between the two captured flawlessly in a way that doesn’t sound too rehearsed or polished - just two fine producers experimenting in the most enthralling way possible."
Christian Eede

Read our review of The Sound Of Glades here

63. DJ Qu - Conjure
(Strength Music)

"Conjure fully realises Qu’s ability to produce a techno album geared towards the club and home listening, and continues to see him carve out a sound that is one of the most distinctive in the scene today."
Christian Eede

Read our review of Conjures here

62. Maja Osojnik – Let Them Grow
(self-released)

61. Knifeworld - Bottled Out Of Eden
(Inside Out)

"Bottled Out Of Eden is loose, (extremely) busy and roughly energetic."
Chris Roberts

Read our review of Bottled Out Of Eden here.

60. Ghold - Pyr
(Ritual)

"Ghold's primordial sludge is not gratuitous, it's a masterclass of doom-laden sturm und drang with an eerie, dread-filled undercurrent that sets the heart pacing and the mind wandering."
Louise Brown

Read our review of Pyr here.

59. Matthew Bourne – Moogmemory
(Leaf)

"This is an album dedicated to and made entirely using the Memorymoog, the last official synthesiser made by Moog before the company went bankrupt."
Danny Riley

Read our interview with Matthew Bourne here.

58. Wire - Nocturnal Koreans
(Pink Flag)

"This isn't an entirely new proposition. But it's a band making steps in another direction, eschewing their post-punk bedrock and cold, unsettling soundscapes in favour of a cloudy, hazy future-psychedelia."
Tom Marsh

Read our review of Nocturnal Koreans here.

57. Kowton - Utility
(Livity Sound)

"A producer who's been working primarily with bass-driven house and techno, mostly on Peverelist's Bristol-based Livity Sound label, one of the UK's most distinctive electronic music labels, for some years now, his debut album has been a long time coming and sees him delivering nine mostly club-ready cuts for Livity taking in the sound he and associates have been finessing across a number of releases."
Christian Eede

Read our review of Utility here.

56. Big Business - Command Your Weather
(Joyful Noise)

"Big Business remind me of two barbarian kings who've teamed up to smash the skulls of a thousand orcs using maces so hefty that no real-life metrosexual man would be able to lift."
JR Moores

Read our review of Command Your Weather here.

55. Mark Pritchard - Under The Sun
(WARP)

54. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
(GOOD)

"Kanye West's personal brand is performative megalomania with a twist of tortured artist."
Alex Macpherson

Read our review of The Life Of Pablo here.

53. Black Merlin - Hipnotik Tradisi
(Island Explorer)

52. Swans - Glowing Man
(Young God)

"Much like religious experience, the constellations of songs here (and their brethren on the two prior albums) rely on an intensely relatable core, a simple idea or feeling sizzling at the center that anyone can attach to. From there, the instrumentalists ripple out in meditative layers, never covering over or distracting from it, but rather reinforcing."
Lior Phillips

Read our review of Glowing Man here.

51. Floorplan - Victorious
(M Plant)

"Victorious, the second Floorplan album and first co-produced with Robert Hood’s daughter Lyric, is a master class in ratcheting up dance floor energy, where every sound is finely calibrated to make the listener move. The music within is innately, intensely rhythmical, each element chosen for its cadence rather than its note, the result akin to the filtered French house sound of the 90s fed up on protein shakes and sent out to join the Foreign Legion."
Ben Cardew

Read our review of Floorplan here.

50. Steve Gunn – Eyes On The Lines
(Matador)

"Eyes To The Lines is the most cohesive, robust, confident, and widely-distributed LP in Steve Gunn's unofficial trilogy."
Joe Buccierio

Read our review of Eyes To The Lines here.

49. Sam Shalabi - Isis And Osiris
(Nashazphone)

"Hectic piano arpeggios, voice manipulation, an AFX sounding jaw harp, a hypnogogic narrator, outer edges oud explorations, berserk tape manipulation and machine noise mark this out as a truly unique and psychedelic listening experience."
John Doran

Read our review of Isis And Osiris here

48. Kristoffer Lo - The Black Meat
(Propeller)

"On The Black Meat Kristoffer Lo literally collaborates with extreme weather. Installed in Ryvingen Lighthouse off the south cost of Norway, he improvises and responds on amplified trombone and tuba to the lashings his remote location is getting from a fierce storm."
Russell Cuzner

Read our review of The Black Meat here

47. Gold Panda - Good Luck And Do Your Best
(City Slang)

"Whether you follow the more conceptual, Magical Realist reading or the narrative that Gold Panda (though, what's more indicative of fantastical leanings than an anthropomorphised, metallic bear I don't know) himself sets out in conversation and press releases, the theme of separation — and its opposite number in unification — still runs through Good Luck And Do Your Best. Whether it's the dream / wake divide or the English / Japanese language barrier, the initial segregation gives way eventually to something else. Something all-encompassing."
Karl Smith

Read our review of Good Luck And Do Your Best here.

46. Chairlift – Moth
(Columbia)

45. Babyfather - BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow
(Hyperdub)

"Massive Attack are an unexpected reference point, both in BBF's melodic dub bass lines and the casual-to-the-point-of-coma vocals, which raise the smokey spectre of Tricky or 3D in Massive's Blue Lines era. As with those two MCs, the vocals on BBF suggest improvisation and spontaneity, with simple melodies and rhymes gently pushed to their limits in a way that is hypnotic, affecting and very low key."
Ben Cardew

Read our review of BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow here.

44. Skee Mask - Shred
(Ilian Tape)

43. WIDT - WIDT
(Zoharum)

42. Susanna - Triangle
(Susanna Sonata)

" It's a sparse, isolated and overlong affair that's more difficult to love than previous solo outings like the lush The Forester or the sweet Wild Dog. However, for an artist with the vision to take such on such a huge subject as the three-pronged relationship between one woman, her gods and her planet, even managing to squeeze it down to a mere 22 songs is achievement enough. That the album is spectacular, introspective and terrifying all in equal measures is just a bonus."
Josh Gray

Read our review of Triangle here.

41. Thomas Cohen - Bloom Forever
(Stolen)

"Bloom Forever holds, even in its title, the blossom of a songwriter ready to open up to the light. A prompt to a better life."
Guia Cortassa

Read our review of Bloom Forever here.

40. Ahrkh Wagner - Ahrkh Wagner
(Tesla Tapes)

"By steering and ultimately subsuming vocal layers into their cosmic circuitry Ahrkh Wagner bring both drama and a rare romantic, libertarian lilt that bravely stands apart from the more common evocations of urban decay in electronic music."
Russell Cuzner

Read our review of Ahrkh Wagner here

39. PJ Harvey - Hope Six Demolition Project
(Vagrant)

"The sensory tumult of DC, Afghanistan and Kosovo infuse the Hope Six Demolition Project but Polly Harvey keeps her thoughts off the page. This is documentary in its purist sense. There are no value judgements – just an act of bearing witness (even if the "facts" are often mired in mystery - when she sings of the "28,000" children vanished in 'The Wheel', the context is unclear, even if the message is haunting)."
Ed Power

Read our review of Hope Six Demolition Project here

38. Atomikylä - Keräily
(Svart)

37. Cats Eyes - Treasure House
(RAF)

"After a first record mainly inspired by Farris Badwan's passion for girl groups of the sixties and the orchestral soundtracking closer to Rachel Zeffira's own conservatory studies, on Treasure House they find an impressive balance: classical, symphonic music melds with garage and post-punk, giving credence to the cliché that opposites attract, outstanding in its complex sounds and arrangements."
Guia Cortassa

36. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS
(Western)

"These tracks, intermingling synth, treated woodwind and Smith’s processed vocals, feel evocative of landscapes, albeit seen as if through subtly warped vision."
Laurie Tuffrey

Read our review of EARS here.

35. Atlantikwall - Atlantikwall
(Sivilised)

"The artist behind Atlantikwall is an intensely clever arranger, and each of the 10-minute plus tracks builds and shifts with a keenly thought out logic, occasionally parting the sea of criss-crossing textures and chanting for a perfectly placed guitarpeggio."
Tristan Bath

Read our review of Atlantikwall here.

34. GNOD - Mirror
(Rocket)

"Every second of this album feels gargantuan. The aural vistas seems to stretch for mile after mile of mountainous terrain, complete with giant peaks and chasms. This is where Gnod stride gloriously ahead of many of their contemporaries."
Mick Middles

Read our review of Mirror here.

33. Underworld - Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future
(Caroline International)

"Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future, is an album on which Underworld reestablish themselves as supreme dance music architects."
DJ Pangburn

Read our review of Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future here.

32. Anna Meredith - Varmints
(Moshi Moshi)

"Thrilling."
Nicola Meighan

Read our interview with Anna Meredith here

31. Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
(Top Dawg)

"A perfectly fine release, Untitled, Unmastered doesn't exist to change anyone's mind about Kendrick Lamar. That ship has sailed, and for the foreseeable future the narrative course is a righteous one. But the vessel has cracks, as it always has, and if we continue to rely on the immensely talented and imperfectly mortal Lamar in the ways we've been relying on him, we're likely to end up dashed on the rocks."
Gary Suarez

Read our review of Untitled, Unmastered here.

30. Family Atlantica - Cosmic Unity
(Soundway)

29. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
(XL)

"Remember when Radiohead had fire in their bellies, blood in their mouths? When there was drama to their music, a singular lurch and lope; when they were truly themselves and several years ahead of dancing around the handbag of self-pastiche?"
Mike Diver

Read our review of A Moon Shaped Pool here

28. Suede - Night Thoughts
(Warner Music)

"Musically, Night Thoughts is the most solid and focussed-sounding album Suede have ever realised."
Luke Turner

Read our review of Night Thoughts here.

27. King - We Are King
(King Creative)

26. Peder Mannerfelt - Controlling Body
(Peder Mannerfelt Produktion)

25. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
(mixtape)

"No doubt about it: Chancelor Bennett has the joy game on lock. No other hip hop artist this year has even come close to the ebullience and mirth emitting from Coloring Book, the incessantly buzzed-about Chicagoan’s third mixtape."
Gary Suarez

Read our reiew of Coloring Book here.

24. Laniakea - A Pot Of Powdered Nettles
(House Of Mythology)

"A Pot Of Powdered Nettles is as much a beautiful work of art as it is a fulsome tribute to a lost friend. Stepping outside the biographical and listened to dispassionately, Laniakea's music sounds possessed, inspired, driven into the realm of the angelic on the steady processional which the story and the music both tell, funereal yet celebratory. There's an irresistible emotional upsurge here, a power to the words and music that makes of itself an almost tangible presence, one that resonates with those profound feelings of loss - and yet more importantly, recovery - that follow every departure."
Richard Fontenoy

Read our review of A Pot Of Powdered Nettles here.

23. Billy Bao - The Lagos Sessions
(Night School)

"This is a beautifully scarred portrait of the Nigerian metropolis Lagos, but it's surprisingly listenable for something both so radically experimental and coarsely textured. The production throws the listener about like loose change in a washing machine, hurling us quickly between angered screaming noise of the Hanatarash variety and passages of unsettling quiet. The addition of Lagos' own sonic fingerprint take the whole rugged affair to the next level."
Tristan Bath

Read our review of The Lagos Sessions here.

22. Jackie Lynn - Jackie Lynn
(Thrill Jockey)

"The record's economy is striking: a little over 20 minutes in length, the listener is still treated to a wealth of textures, atmospheres and narrative ideas, bound together by Fohr's vocals and an insistent, Lynchian sense of the uncanny. The record may be focused and poppy, but there's a permeating darkness that becomes more and more evident over multiple listens."
Luke Cartledge

Read our interview with Haley Fohr here.

21. DJ Marfox – Chapa Quente
(Principe)

20. Anohni - Hopelessness
(Rought Trade)

"As much as critics may contest the lyrical directness of artists like Björk and Anohni when tackling politics, there is something to be said about the necessity for such frankness in these times. It seems to be a common criticism that such work fails to recognise the complex political environment in which we operate, or comes off as naïve, but this seems a fatal misrecognition. It is refreshing to hear an album prepared to confront our complicity, and our hopelessness, in such a direct fashion."
Frankie Basweld

Read our review of Hopelessness here.

19. Matmos - Ultimate Care II
(Thrill Jockey)

"This album is a triple threat: it expands the palette of sounds normally at the disposal of the electronic musician; it teases with questions about the meaning and politics of objects; and it is suffused with an expert dance floor aesthetic. In other hands this would have been a dry, conceptual conceit, but this is 50/50 head and heart. Matmos remain vital, may they continue to launder, may they never wash separately."
Leo Chadburn

Read our review of Ultimate Care II here.

18. Daniel Patrick Quinn - I, Sun
(self-released)

"I, Sun follows in the grand tradition of Daniel Patrick Quinn's work; regardless as to whether it’s one of his solo efforts, one beamed in from Indonesia, or one from his supergroup, One More Grain. To wit, it is chock full of antediluvian riddles, goggle-eyed bridle-shakings and invigorating inner-space drones that emit a deep non-wisdom."
Richard Foster

Read our review of I, Sun here

17. Jute Gyte - Perdurance
(Jeshimoth)

"Perdurance is aggressively antisocial music, systematically stripped of anything remotely enjoyable or expressive. The guitar tone has been forcibly sterilised, the drum machine reduced to a Casio click. Nothing is left but convulsion and abrasion, alienation and revulsion."
Pavel Godfrey

Read our review of Perdurance here

16. Wacław Zimpel - Lines
(Instant Classic)

"This is a spectacular solo statement from Wacław Zimpel - and yet another essential transmission from modern Poland to boot. Above all it's a heartfelt response to the ongoing influence of American minimalism that pays tribute and rebuts in equal measure."
Tristan Bath

Read our review of Lines here

15. Jambinai - A Hermitage
(Bella Union)

"Jambinai have altered the course of post rock — as ever, by just a few degrees — directing it toward something more egalitarian. Something genuinely connective and less imperative."
Karl Smith

Read our review of A Hermitage here.

14. The Body - No One Deserves Happiness
(Thrill Jockey)

"No One Deserves Happiness is a rich listen - on occasion an over rich listen – but it's continued evidence of The Body's aversion to repeating themselves and willingness to view their sound with an appropriate lack of respect and preciousness."
Mat Colegate

13. Wolfgang Buttress & Bees - Be One
(Rivertones)

12. Huerco S - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
(Proibito)

"For Those Of You Who Never Have (And Also Those Who Have) is a haunting and deeply moving album, soporific in its repetitions of meditative and often ambivalent melodies, made to be listened to on headphones, alone, in a dark room. It is, ultimately, an incredibly personal collection of songs."
Christopher Sanders

Read oure review of For Those Of You Who Never Have (And Also Those Who Have) here.

11. Puce Mary - The Spiral
(Posh Isolation)

"On The Spiral Frederikke Hoffmeier's approach is subtle but forceful, with tracks building from quiet beginnings into multi-faceted vignettes that lurch from raw power to more expansive territories where silence is almost as valued as noise."
Joseph Burnett

Read our review of The Spiral here.

10. Marissa Nadler - Strangers
(Bella Union)

"Throughout, Strangers is quite simply an understated tour de force by a now experienced composer and performer, able to convey a feeling and lead the way within it in equal measure."
Ned Raggett

Read our review of Strangers here.

9. Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers
(Without Consent)

"Strong melodies with jagged contours, brain-wronging phrases chanted in lieu of choruses, forgotten garage rock licks mixed with artful post-punk aesthetics. They conjure the thrill of scrambled signals when you're off your rocker on booze and drugs, project an uncensored phantasmagoria."
Lee Arizuno

Read our review of Songs For Our Mothers here.

8. Julianna Barwick – Will
(Dead Oceans)

"Will is elegiac, siren-like, contemplative and emotive in the purest sense to almost equal degrees."
Karl Smith

Read our review of Will here.

7. Sote - Hardcore Sounds From Tehran
(Opal Tapes)

"I know what you're thinking: "Look at that brutally-horned metal helmet decorated with a brass man's moustachioed face replete with jagged chain mail neck bunting... there is no way any music made by mere mortals can live up to such a fierce image." Except you would be wrong. This juddering slab of Iranian techno not only lives up to the anticipation generated by the glorious sight of a forged metal war hat - it exceeds it and then some."
John Doran

Read our review of Hardcore Sounds From Tehran here.

6. Skepta - Konnichiwa
(Boy Better Know)

"Grime may be poised ready to sally forth out of its largely self-built walls and conquer hearts and minds the world over, but its fate rests firmly in the hands of its head bannerman. This is his warcry."
Josh Gray

Read our review of Konnichiwa here.

5. Brian Eno – The Ship
(WARP)

"The Ship is the work of someone who fully believes in the power of art as an empathic tool, as a means to invoke a particular viewpoint, an unconsidered perspective."
Lottie Brazier

Read our review of The Ship here.

4. Klara Lewis - Too
(Editions Mego)

"Klara Lewis' knack for combining found sounds with contemporary beats and careful balance of experimentation and restraint originally marked her out as something special, and thankfully she doesn’t disappoint on Too."
Amelia Phillips

Read our review of Too here.

3. Jessy Lanza - Oh No
(Hyperdub)

"What distinguishes Jessy Lanza as a songwriter is this ability to craft deeper meaning without the furnishing of symbols, and little in the way of direct references to the outside world - save pop’s one eternally out-of-reach totem, ‘baby’ – all the while never sacrificing boogieability. The no frills content of the songs signposts a direct path to the artist’s soul, and Lanza’s total and utter presence throughout the record is just undeniable. She’s the prototypical 21st century singer-songwriter: synthetic yet pure."
Tristan Bath

Read our review of Oh No here.

2. David Bowie - Blackstar
(ISO)

"Somehow Bowie and producer Tony Visconti pull elements of Walker, jazztronica, manual beats, Aleister Crowley, Bartók, arabesque ululations, Friedrich Nietzsche and the visual menace of Chris Cunningham all together, and they make a 10-minute melange that is both defiantly avant garde and peculiarly pleasing to the ear and eye all at the same time. One listens to 'Blackstar' and all of a sudden The Next Day feels like a solid but safe stepping stone to something truly important; the sense of anticipation has been almost tangible in my household ever since. ★ in no way disappoints."
Jeremy Allen

Read our review of Blackstar here.

Read our review of Blackstar here.

1. Årabrot - The Gospel

"The Gospel deserves to be heard on a far wider scale than anything they've previously released. Before, their appeal was limited by their approach, however excellent it might have been. Now, the sludgy guitars and snarled lyrics are a minor component, not the driving force. There's tinkled ivories, rock-club air guitar moments, a genuine pop sensibility, camp theatre and high drama. Plus a backstory with an ending that's happy not just for Årabrot, but for all of us."
Noel Gardner

Read our review of The Gospel here.

ONE: Arabrot - The Gospel
TWO: David Bowie - Blackstar
THREE: Jessy Lanza - Oh No
FOUR: Klara Lewis - Too
FIVE: Brian Eno – The Ship
SIX: Skepta - Konnichiwa
SEVEN: Sote - Hardcore Sounds From Tehran
EIGHT: Julianna Barwick – Will
NINE: Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers
TEN: Marissa Nadler - Strangers
ELEVEN: Puce Mary - The Spiral
TWELVE: Huerco S - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
THIRTEEN: Wolfgang Buttress & Bees - Be One
FOURTEEN: The Body - No One Deserves Happiness
FIFTEEN: Jambinai - A Hermitage
SIXTEEN: Wacław Zimpel - Lines
SEVENTEEN: Jute Gyte - Perdurance
EIGHTEEN: Daniel Patrick Quinn - I, Sun
NINETEEN: Matmos - Ultimate Care II
TWENTY: Anohni - Hopelessness
TWENTY ONE: DJ Marfox – Chapa Quente
TWENTY TWO: Jackie Lynn - Jackie Lynn
TWENTY THREE: Billy Bao - The Lagos Sessions
TWENTY FOUR: Laniakea - A Pot Of Powdered Nettles
TWENTY FIVE: Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
TWENTY SIX: Peder Mannerfelt - Controlling Body
TWENTY SEVEN: King - We Are King
TWENTY EIGHT: Suede - Night Thoughts
TWENTY NINE: Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
THIRTY: Family Atlantica - Cosmic Unity
THIRTY ONE: Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
THIRTY TWO: Anna Meredith - Varmints
THIRTY THREE: Underworld - Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future
THIRTY FOUR: GNOD - Mirror
THIRTY FIVE: Atlantikwall - Atlantikwall
THIRTY SIX: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS
THIRTY SEVEN: Cats Eyes - Treasure House
THIRTY EIGHT: Atomikylä - Keräily
THIRTY NINE: PJ Harvey - Hope Six Demolition Project
FORTY: Ahrkh Wagner - Ahrkh Wagner
FORTY ONE: Thomas Cohen - Bloom Forever
FORTY TWO: Susanna - Triangle
FORTY THREE: WiDT - WiDT
FORTY FOUR: Skee Mask - Shred
FORTY FIVE: Babyfather - BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow
FORTY SIX: Chairlift – Moth
FORTY SEVEN: Gold Panda - Good Luck And Do Your Best
FORTY EIGHT: Kristoffer Lo - The Black Meat
FORTY NINE: Sam Shalabi - Isis and Osiris
FIFTY: Steve Gunn – Eyes To The Lines
FIFTY ONE: Floorplan - Victorious
FIFTY TWO: Swans - Glowing Man
FIFTY THREE: Black Merlin - Hipnotik Tradisi
FIFTY FOUR: Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
FIFTY FIVE: Mark Pritchard - Under The Sun
FIFTY SIX: Big Business - Command Your Weather
FIFTY SEVEN: Kowton - Utility
FIFTY EIGHT: Wire - Nocturnal Koreans
FIFTY NINE: Matthew Bourne – Moogmemory
SIXTY: Ghold - Pyr
SIXTY ONE: Knifeworld - Bottled Out Of Eden
SIXTY TWO: Maja Osojnik – Let Them Grow
SIXTY THREE: DJ Qu - Conjure
SIXTY FOUR: Wolf Muller & Cass - The Sound Of Glades
SIXTY FIVE: John Cale - M:Fans
SIXTY SIX: Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings On Earth
SIXTY SEVEN: Elza Soares – The Woman At The End Of The World
SIXTY EIGHT: Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
SIXTY NINE: Deux Filles - Space & Time
SEVENTY: Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
SEVENTY ONE: Ulver - ATGCLVLSSCAP
SEVENTY TWO: Fumaça Preta - Impuros Fanaticos
SEVENTY THREE: Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld - Nerissimo
SEVENTY FOUR: Bruxa Maria - Human Condition
SEVENTY FIVE: Munma - Three Voices
SEVENTY SIX: Sumac - What One Becomes
SEVENTY SEVEN: Chris Abrahams - Fluid To The Influence
SEVENTY EIGHT: Nisennenmondai - #N/A
SEVENTY NINE: The Invisible - Patience
EIGHTY: Let’s Eat Grandma - I, Gemini
EIGHTY ONE: Skuggsjá - A Piece For Mind And Mirror
EIGHTY TWO: Maja S.K. Ratkje – Crepuscular Hour
EIGHTY THREE: Giacinto Scelsi, Chris Watson & Joe Browning - Scelsi
EIGHTY FOUR: Ash Koosha - I AKA I
EIGHTY FIVE: William Tyler - Modern Country
EIGHTY SIX: Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - We Be All Africans
EIGHTY SEVEN: The Dwarfs Of East Agouza - Bes
EIGHTY EIGHT: Melanie De Biasio - Blackened Cities
EIGHTY NINE: Pinkshinyultrablast - Grandfeathered
NINETY: Roly Porter - Third Law
NINETY ONE: Forteresse - Thèmes pour la Rébellion
NINETY TWO: Jozef Van Wissem - When Shall This Bright Day Begin?
NINETY THREE: KHÜNNT - Failures
NINETY FOUR: Graham Dunning & Colin Webster – Oval
NINETY FIVE: Palehorse - Looking Wet In Public
NINETY SIX: The Comet Is Coming - Channel The Spirits
NINETY SEVEN: Our Solar System - In Time
NINETY EIGHT: Giovanni Lami – Bias
NINETY NINE: Die Krupps - Stahlwerksrequiem
ONE HUNDRED: Brood Ma - Daze

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