The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Quietus Charts

The Quietus Albums Of The Year So Far Chart 2022
Patrick Clarke , July 4th, 2022 08:05

At the year's half-way mark, all of tQ's editorial staff, core writers and columnists have voted for their essential 2022 albums so far, released between January and June

'Itchy Bastards' illustration by Lisa Cradduck

As I write this introduction to our annual list of our favourite albums of the year at the halfway mark, I'm on a minibus bound for Glastonbury. The transport has been organised by a number of journalists from several publications due to nationwide rail strikes. Amid the small-talk, one of them asks me how things are going at the Quietus these days.

My immediate thoughts are about how, the previous day, the entire website had crashed for 24 hours because of a rogue piece of HTML code – the back end of our website is still so outdated that the slightest issue can cause the whole thing to collapse. Her question instigated a Pavlovian response, flashbacks to all the times in my six-and-a-half years and counting here that the existence of the site felt like it was genuinely on the precipice, our skeleton editorial crew – all of us working at least two other jobs in order to supplement the site's meagre incomings – spending as much time bailing out water to keep the ship afloat and batting away sharks as actually sailing it.

But then, I thought again. The site might still crash from time to time, but things for the website seem to me at least to be going better than at any point since I came here for a work experience placement in 2016. In terms of the writing we’ve published since then, tQ has always remained consistently great despite whatever technical disasters we may be facing, but in terms of the day to day business of running the site I have never experienced such a sense of optimism. Where in the past it's no exaggeration to say that we rarely looked further than a week ahead, and though the work to save the site is by no means over, there are even whispers of long-term forward planning.

The only reason we're still here is because of the launch of our subscriber platform with Steady almost two years ago. The fact that hundreds of readers like you chose to back us did not only completely saved our bacon during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was also incredibly validating. It is an amazing feeling to know that people care about the same kind of music and culture that we do, enough to donate their money each month, and at a time where disposable income is dwindling more than ever, to support the kind of coverage that we don't think is provided anywhere else.

However the Quietus has faced two existential threats over the last half a decade and only one of them has been defeated. While we now have just about enough money to cover our day to day operation costs, without a new website that works properly we will cease to publish... and probably sooner rather than later. With no big money backing, and with Google and Facebook hoovering up most of the proceeds from online advertising that were once upon a time able to keep us going, we're now more or less totally reliant on our subscribers. Enough of you have signed up already to keep us stable, for which we'll always be grateful beyond words, but the more of you that continue to sign up – should you be in the financial position to do so – the more we can keep building tQ up. The immediate concern might be a new website, but beyond that we believe that with your backing, the sky could be the limit. Nor would your generosity go unrewarded. Obviously I'm biased, but the exclusive music, monthly essays, podcasts, playlists and other bonuses our subscribers receive are more than worth your while; where else would you receive an expert guide to the world of post-Tito Yugoslavian pop, disco metal and Scandinavian balearic; exclusive new music from some of the best bands and producers on earth which can't be heard anywhere else; essays on the life-lessons learned from the video game Crusader Kings 3, TV show Satellite City and sword and sorcery films; and podcasts on the tyranny of Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You', the Enfield Poltergiest and Time Team?

Those who want to help support what we do can sign up here.

There is a running joke that gets posted in the comments on Facebook or our mentions on Twitter whenever we post our albums of the year and half-year charts – or in my case as a Quietus editorial staff member, said directly to my face at family gatherings by snarky relatives – that we're making up half of the acts that are included. I tend to take that as a compliment; the reason our lists contain some of the names that are not included in other publications, is that those names are rarely written about at all by other publications... yet many of the same publications will be writing extensively about these names in years to come. We hope that in the 100 records below you find something new that you love as much as we do, and that you continue to lend us your crucial support.
Patrick Clarke

This chart was compiled by John Doran and built by Patrick Clarke and Christian Eede. Ballots were taken from Robert Barry, Bernie Brooks, Jaša Bužinel, Patrick Clarke, John Doran, Christian Eede, Richard Foster, Noel Gardner, Sean Kitching, Ella Kemp, Jakub Knera, Anthea Leyland, Jennifer Lucy Allan, Peter Margasak, David McKenna, Mariam Rezaei, Alex Rigotti, Luke Turner, Kez Whelan and Daryl Worthington.



100. Sam Slater –
I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal
(Bedroom Community)
Sam Slater's latest for Bedroom Community is a cyclical exercise in transfixing slowness. Made up of two seamless suites, 'Darn!' and 'Kintsugi', this deeply affecting, intoxicating LP transports traditional orchestral instrumentation – woodwinds, strings, percussion, and voice – into the realm of the uncanny. Aided by his collaborators – Hildur Guðnadóttir and JFDR among them – and with Emptyset's James Ginzburg on the mix, Slater envelops his listeners in a luxurious sound world of slurred, syrupy sonics. They'll want to return.
Bernie Brooks

99. RSS b0y 1 –
MYTH0L0GY
(Gusstaff)
MYTH0L0GY draws on many influences and ideas. The mysterious RSS b0y 1 combines a reading of Siavash Kasrai's text about the heroic archer figure from Iranian mythology with urban noise ('B0W AND ARR0'). He explores electronic synthesis leading to a tribal rhythm, offering a modern soundtrack of the 21st-century metropolis ('P00CH'). He even reaches for hip hop in the style of Clipping. or Death Grips ('NE0 NE0 T0KY0' with Japanese rapper Judicious Broski). Using different rhythmic patterns, RSS b0y 1 leaves plenty of space for his guests to demonstrate their sound.
Jakub Knera

98. Warmduscher –
At The Hotspot
(Bella Union)
From their beginnings as an impromptu house party band amid the debauched so-called 'South London scene' of the mid-2010s, there's always been a seediness to Warmduscher. On At The Hotspot, however, they're revelling in that sleaze like never before, taking the energy of the hotspot circuit in order to push themselves into a universe of their own making, Baker conjuring indelible characters like the impotent saucepot 'Baby Toed Joe', the coked-up insomniac 'Hot Shot', or the viagra-shilling 'Fatso'. At times it's wilfully ridiculous, but that's kind of the point.
Patrick Clarke

97. EXEK –
Advertise Here
(Castle Face)
Advertise Here is a very enjoyable listen, managing to produce enough sonic bon mots to fill a plagiarist's notebook. A track like 'Sen Yen For 30min Of Violin' manages to sound like a lush outtake from Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) and a hundred memories of pre-decimal British art rock, the sounds packed away like mothballed coats in a backroom wardrobe. For instance: a line from the song 'Take An Educated Guess', swims up out of a non-memory like a carp taking the bait, sounding for all the world like a phrase in a long-lost Barrett track – sung by Syd, too.
Richard Foster

96. Félicia Atkinson –
Image Language
(Shelter Press)
Image Language doesn't wash over you or immerse you. It doesn't fixate on details in the same way as an Alvin Lucier composition, yet Félicia Atkinson has a similar knack for wielding sound to temporarily fill psychic and physical space. Lucier's most well-known piece, 'I'm Sitting In A Room', used speech and language to explore the materiality of sound. Atkinson tangles words into music to change the properties of both. By doing so, she throws up riddles that stop you in your tracks. There's ambiguity, but with just enough clarity to encourage you to step in and explore. To try and understand another's perspective without disguising the fact it’s almost impossible to fully do so.
Daryl Worthington

95. MY DISCO –
Alter Schwede
(Heavy Machinery / Downwards)
Like so many things made during the pandemic, Alter Schwede was the product of remote collaboration, in this case, between MY DISCO and collaborator Boris Wilsdorf at his Berlin Studio, AndereBaustelle. Straightaway, the difference between this album and its predecessor is clear: there's just more there there. While by no means a maximal affair, almost everything, including the silence, is thicker. There's a dub-like density. As an album, previous record Environment was almost diaphanous. It had to be, really. The space between things was so important. Here, the room is generally less empty. There's more furniture.
Bernie Brooks

94. Safa –
Ibtihalat
(UIQ)
A dense and complex record, Ibtihalat crackles with angular glitches and polyrhythms, many of which are drawn from diverse musical styles from across the Middle East and North Africa. These include gnawa, raï and zar from Morocco, Algeria and Egypt respectively, and leywa, samiri and sea music, which all have their origins in the Arabian Peninsula. On the album, these rhythms morph into something altogether more alien through complex sequencing and algorithmic processes. The aggressive style that defines much of the album also signals an interest in the histories of colonialism and resource extraction that have shaped the region.
Adam Quarshie

93. Obongjayar –
Some Nights I Dream Of Doors
(September)
At once tender and explosive, furious about the state of things and impossibly delicate about the way things are, Obongjyar's debut album is a thing of beauty. As mercurial as his work with afrobeat producer Saz across his Sweetness EP, and his feature on Little Simz's 'Point And Kill', Some Nights I Dream Of Doors escapes genre and goes straight to the soul: with a shot of love on 'Sugar' and fury on 'Message In A Hammer'. As you go deeper with every listen, the major arrival from the artist only gets better.
Ella Kemp

92. I-sef U-sef –
Consistency
(Preference)
The sensuous pop gems on Consistency are doused in warm glows, effortlessly switching between languid beats, mournful tapestries of woodwind on the title track, and slippery funk on 'Zeemo Has No Nuts'. 'Are You Delusional', meanwhile, sees Yousef El-Magharbel turn producer for BLANNCHE's verses, creating a heady delirium as the bassoon weaves through accelerations and crashes into beats and rhymes. More than anything, this tape brings to mind Arthur Russell, not that I-sef U-sef necessarily sounds that much like him, but in the way he weaves a new texture into pop's fabric. Where Russell centred the cello and used it to expand what was possible in a pop song, El-Magharbel does the same with the bassoon. And, like Russell, the result is absolutely joyous.
Daryl Worthington

91. Eric Chenaux –
Say Laura
(Constellation)
Now at his seventh release with Constellation, longtime listeners of Eric Chenaux will find in Say Laura the distinctive sonic palette that the Montreal-born, France-based songwriter generated in his career, made of trumpeting guitars, fuzzy reverbs, and distorted picking; melding (semi-)improvised, jazz-adjacent guitar and a full songwriter croon; and once again enriched by the help of Ryan Driver, providing lyrics and the occasional Wurlitzer. There is an untethered quality to Chenaux's music. Vocals and guitars play a game of tag in his tracks, only with the pursuer at times swerving abruptly away from the one who is chased, and taking the listener with them, down the same unexpected directions that the greatest works of improvised music have taken.
Guia Cortassa

90. Derek Bailey –
Domestic Jungle
(Scatter)
In the early 90s, Derek Bailey would sit at home in Hackney, London and practice guitar by playing along to pirate jungle stations. He found the pace of much free jazz at the time lugubrious, so the 150 BPM – then brand new – pulse of drum & bass was ideal for exciting solo sessions. Most of the tracks on this compilation were home dubbed on shonky equipment and posted out to pals, with the two 'Lower Clapton Nocturne' tracks eventually finding their way onto a David Toop compilation, Guitars On Mars, in 1997. The idea of Bailey's wild improv meeting jungle breaks was eventually formalised with the release of the disappointing (if still ear-boggling) Guitar, Drums & Bass EP with DJ Ninj, where the pair all but fail to connect. The real excitement generated by this idea can still be felt in these scrappy, lo-fi home recordings, however.
John Doran

89. Trupa Trupa –
B Flat A
(Glitterbeat)
There is a presence conjured up by Trupa Trupa's music. And it seems to have made itself more manifest on B Flat A. Maybe the new cover image is a key. Trupa Trupa have previously enjoyed skulking behind symbols, filtered photos or woozy Floyd-esque snapshots, but now we see what looks like an eroded Easter Island head, or an imprint, akin to the Turin Shroud. It's humanoid, impassive and unbending – much more in keeping with the band's oeuvre. Is this the band's truculent soul finally appearing, the genie that they have turned to face? To paraphrase Wittgenstein, it must be there if we are looking for it.
Richard Foster

88. Hercules & Love Affair –
In Amber
(Skint / BMG)
Now happily residing in Ghent, Andy Butler closes a five-year gap between albums with a masterful turn with In Amber. It's the most musically stark and affecting work of his career. Adopting a far more sombre tone than his usual infectious dance numbers, Butler summons a gothic air which permeates the record and heightens the darkness underpinning much of the work. With this new record, which Butler has said took longer to make than previous Hercules & Love Affair releases, he has explained that he wanted to explore themes atypical of dance music.
Zara Hedderman

87. Whatever The Weather –
Whatever The Weather
(Ghostly International)
Although the music of Loraine James – one of the hottest electronic prospects in Britain to come along in the last five years – usually evokes a basement club, the air thick with deadened kick drums and busy, chuntering percussion, her new Whatever The Weather project seems to gesture towards something cleaner and airier, though with less of a sense of place. There's something enjoyably knotty and awkward about this debut release. Even the song titles – various temperatures celsius – seem designed to dislocate you from any preconceptions about the music. Similarly, the beats – where present – can feel gutted, like they're missing a vital percussive element that will link the whole groove together; this fragmentation means they seem jagged and spiny, sticking out at right angles from the skeletal ambient workouts.
Will Ainsley

86. BFTT –
Redefines
(TT)
The product of four years of personal discovery, Redefines comes across as a culmination of BFTT's adventurous sonic explorations found on labels like AD 93, Gobstopper and Polity. Despite the obvious flirtation with the dancefloor (the track 'Disp' being my favourite club weapon on offer), there is an intimate quality to his productions, reflected in his artistic choices – be it quirky vocal samples, fragments from YouTube videos or personal recordings – making it a rewarding, albeit intense candidate for armchair listening sessions. Like a true sound sculptor, BFTT bends, breaks, cuts, glues together and reassembles his sound material making it sound scarily hyper-realistic. A tasty blend of bubblegum bass nostalgia, intricate syncopated beats, ASMR-esque frequency modulations, gargantuan basslines and masterfully processed cyber vocals, despite its obvious lineage in the UK bass tradition, Redefines is the epitome of shiver-inducing futuristic club music.
Jaša Bužinel

85. Dei Kjenslevare –
Kjenslevarulv
(Motvind)
Norwegian ensemble Dei Kjenslevare are front-loaded with string players, drawing out fascinating connections between traditional Norwegian folk music and experimental impulses, particularly with its exploration of just intonation. The group, who include violinists Ole-Henrik Moe and Kari Rønnekleiv of the sublime Sheriffs Of Nothingness among their ranks, develop their bowed long tones and sparse, skittering percussion overlays with exquisite patience, pulling the listener into their transcendent sound world slowly and seductively.
Peter Margasak

84. Nikolaienko –
Nostalgia Por Mesozóica
(Muscut)
Following last year's Rings, Nikolaienko has recorded an album that's like an archaeological excavation in musical terms, referring to prehistory and its imaginary soundtrack, as well as visits to a wild forest and a museum of curiosities. The aqueous electronic passages remind me of the achievements of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the innovative solutions devised in the 80s by experimental studios in Cologne or Warsaw. Sometimes there are melodic outlines reminiscent of the hauntological expeditions and trance-like repetitions that can be found in early Sun Araw records ('Tryglodydes'). Alchemical combinations of musique concrète, samples, synthetic parts with fairy-tale melodies ('Muzak For Mesozoic Showreel'), and sound-art ('Dark-Archeo') produce a varied, fascinating and original music narrative.
Jakub Knera

83. Jack Sheen –
Sub
(SN Variations)
As composer, conductor and curator, Jack Sheen has been so prolific on London's New Music scene over the last five years or so that it feels almost strange, in the year of our lord 2022, to be reporting on his debut album. But Sub is a delight of subterranean, brackeny sounds for chamber ensemble and tape, like so many woodland creatures scurrying through the brush on a cold, dark night.
Robert Barry

82. Gnod –
Hexen Valley
(Rocket Recordings)
A sense of community has been a perennially important part of Gnod's odd genetic make-up, and this has always extended beyond the band itself. It's wound in the spaces they've inhabited, their fluctuating all-doors-open approach to the group's lineup and a willingness to collaborate with artists from disciplines other than their own. Hexen Valley sees this sense of community playing out on a more parochial level: odd snippets of Hebden Bridge life, from fragments of pub conversation to ads thumbtacked onto shop noticeboards, seemingly giving credence to the old saw that it takes a village to raise a (mutant) child.
Alex Deller

81. Lady Neptune –
NOZ
(Night School)
Glasgow producer Lady Neptune's debut LP is a hyper-destructive rave banger. Mixing gabber with industrial tech and happy hardcore, the hybrid-hardcore pop of NOZ embodies the wild new sound of Glasgow, and it's gonna change shit up.
Mariam Rezaei

80. Lasse Marhaug / Jérôme Noetinger –
Top
(Erstwhile)
Top, from electronic music powerhouses Lasse Marhaug and Jérôme Noetinger, is dedicated to the late Editions Mego founder and musician Peter Rehberg. Using 20-year-old MacBooks, SuperCollider patches, modular synths and CD players, Marhaug and Noetinger deliver music that brims and bubbles with an unpredictable electronic lushness across the record's ten pieces.
Mariam Rezaei

79. Buke And Gase + Rahrah Gabor –
Buke And Gase + Rahrah Gabor
(Brassland)
This collaboration with rapper Rahrah Gabor throws another wrench in the wheels of anyone trying to fit Buke And Gase in a particular lane. While almost grindcore-like in their shortness, each of the six cuts on the EP is a magical portal leading to its own upside down world. And behind the doors awaits Technicolor frenzy! It doesn't take long to get going, either, as the opener, 'Eggs N Tea', swirls with discombobulated rock riffs locked in a dance with Arone Dyer's processed yet strangely alluring voice. But the music is quicksand: the underlying style and atmosphere change continuously, as if running through an apartment building, stomping from one living room to the next.
Antonio Poscic

78. Luminous Foundation –
Haig Fras
(Heavy Rural)
The sedimentary rocks of the south east peninsula of England were intruded by a huge amount of molten rock from the Earth's mantle approximately 290mya. Tall pillars of granite forced themselves up towards the surface from a much larger batholith, or reservoir, of granite – imagine a phenomenally large magma-filled glove reaching up from the innards of the Earth with just the colossal fingertips breaching the surface layers – forming such highland outcrops as Bodmin Moor and the Isles of Scilly. Another place where the granite reached the surface is Haig Fras, a 45km-long submarine outcrop, off the north Cornish coast in the Irish Sea. Such weighty, ancient and deep subject matter provides Neil Mortimer (Urthona) and Mark Pilkington (Teleplasmiste) with all the excuse they need to carry out a spacious electronic sonic survey of the life to be found on this subaqueous island.
John Doran

77. Ethel Cain –
Preacher's Daughter
(Daughters Of Cain)
Pop girls seldom balance sugar-sweet melodies and dirgeful backstory in the way they'd like, but Ethel Cain isn't just another pop girl. Like Billie Eilish before her, Cain's debut album feels like a sharp left-turn in the genre, in what's possible with pop and how much we can and should say about the intersection of religion and identity in a teenage girl's life, and just how petrifying those growing pains can be.
Ella Kemp

76. Tanya Tagaq –
Tongues
(Six Shooter)
Gone from Tanya Tagaq's latest album are the traces of enchanting singsong and polite pleas for understanding. In their place now exists only burning rage and a full-blast attack against oppressors. Opening the album with 'In Me', Tagaq snarls and growls, and spits a daunting invocation based on passages from her 2018 book Split Tooth. "Eat your morals / Eat your thoughts / Your sinew / Your pith / Peel off your skin." Her words are ablaze and all-consuming like those of a malignant spirit. They teeter on a thin edge between controlled extended technique and unrestrained improvisation, draping over a technoid pulse and pulverising bouts of noisy club constructs.
Antonio Poscic

75. Schisms –
Break Apart The Idea Of Separation
(0 Friends)
The five instrumental trio recordings found on Break Apart The Idea Of Separation deliver punishing and dog-sick downer rock riffs. The sound is so sludgy and fucked up, it's tough to proclaim with confidence what else is going on, but it's certainly got the mark of guitarist Bridget Hayden, her death-rattle blues clang recontextualised with a particular type of rawk abandon previously found in High Rise, Royal Trux's Twin Infinitives and The Dead C.
Noel Gardner

74. SOON –
SOON
(Subroutine)
SOON often feel like a conversation made music. Both face each other when playing live, often keeping eye contact throughout each track. In a live setting, this set-up can be charming to witness, but also hard to watch after a while, given the energy is mainly being transmitted between the two players. On record, though, this sort of interaction pays dividends as the sound is intense and committed, and revealing very little slack. Better, this intensity has created the sort of widescreen, filmic music that would grace a flick from the mid 1970s. You can imagine Nixon, Hunt, Liddy and Haldeman all furtively bugging each other to the tracks on here.
Richard Foster

73. Robert Stillman –
What Does It Mean To Be American?
(Orindal)
Haling from Maine, Robert Stillman lives in Margate, has been settled in England since the early 2010s, and, while quietly operating outside commercial constraints, creates rather extraordinary things. What Does It Mean To Be American? comprises six instrumental pieces and an opening song, 'Cherry Ocean', sung with a distracted quaver by Stillman over slothful piano and opiated clarinet. It reminds me of 'We Dance' by Pavement, and is arguably one of the more structurally conventional parts of this album, even while Stillman (who played and produced nearly everything here) tickles the belly of his birth nation's 20th century popular canon.
Noel Gardner

72. Kinbrae & Clare Archibald –
Birl Of Unmap
(Full Spectrum / The Dark Outside)
"There is no single word evocation of a place, of the situation, of its people," says Clare Archibald on 'Excavate Of Other (The Unknowing)'. It serves as a frisson-inducing modus operandi for her collaboration with Kinbrae. The tape sees the trio use poetry, fragments of testimony and a lilting soundtrack of strings, brass and earthy atmospherics to decode what turns a space into a place. The place in question is currently known as St. Ninians, in East Fife. It's had various names and uses, from mining community to site of a postmodern art installation, and most recently an eco-wellness centre. The album paints a vivid picture of a land as time and people move through, its identity shifting as generations leave their mark.
Daryl Worthington

71. Cheb Terro Vs DJ Die Soon –
Cheb Terro Vs DJ Die Soon
(Drowned By Locals)
More than heavy, the sole collision of Cheb Terro's rubber-tongued, staccato flow and DJ Die Soon's venomous grind goes hard as hell. Rapping mostly in Arabic, Terro's occasional English outbursts come across as emphatic punctuation – exclamation points in the form of 'FUCK MONEY' and 'FUCK THE POLICE' that more than get the point across for those of us who don't speak his native language. Released a year after Terro's untimely passing, there's a real sense of snuffed talent here. The dude was special, his chemistry with Die Soon equally so. Maybe I'm selfish, but I want volume after volume of this. Thankfully, this slim LP is nothing if not endlessly replayable – an essential transmission from a truly unique artist gone too soon.
Bernie Brooks

70. Mizmor & Thou –
Myopia
(Gilead Media)
Some doom metal detectives may have put two and two together when Thou unexpectedly enlisted the help of Mizmor (along with past collaborator Emma Ruth Rundle) to cover Zola Jesus' classic 'Night' for Sacred Bones' Todo Muere SBXV compilation, but for the most part this collaboration seemed to spring right out of the blue. It's a combination so compelling it makes you wonder why it took this long to happen, with both bands' styles gelling fantastically across this sprawling 73-minute opus. In some ways it feels like a continuation of the mournful, desolate doom of Mizmor's last album, Cairn (albeit with an even more robust and powerful rhythm section), but truthfully, neither band pulls too far in their own direction.
Kez Whelan

69. Pusha T –
It's Almost Dry
(Getting Out Our Dreams)
What has been setting Pusha T apart of late is his ability to trim every ounce of fat from his albums, to present his music as spartan shocks to the system that hit you direct in the chest. After hitting a career-high with his Kanye West-produced last record, Daytona, which just 21 minutes long, the half-hour It's Almost Dry is in fact fairly expansive by comparison. The amount Pusha fits into this slender runtime is seriously impressive. From the pumping soul of 'Dreaming Of The Past' (another link-up with West) to the raw aggression of 'Let The Smokers Shine The Coups', it's clear that Pusha's purple patch is showing no signs of fading.
Patrick Clarke

68. Lucy Liyou –
Welfare / Practice
(American Dreams)
Philadelphia-based Lucy Liyou navigates the ferocious nature of care on Welfare / Practice: how familial obligations can invigorate as much as they can suffocate, curiously expressed through its distinctive play with the voice. On Welfare, the terrifyingly humanistic inflections of text-to-speech soundtrack Liyou as they turn over stone after stone, recounting memories haunted by threats and degradation in search of love. Practice tests Liyou and the lessons learned on Welfare, primarily accompanied by lush pianos, as their mother undergoes a two-week quarantine in Korea to see their grandmother before she passes. It's an album that balances the giddy exhilaration of experimentation with necessary heart and soul. Astoundingly empathetic in tone, yet uncompromising in its vision.
Alex Rigotti

67. Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker –
Canti di guerra, di lavoro e d'amore
(Unseen Worlds)
There is a moment on this album where under the choir – who sing firm and in full voice like muscles flexed – strings pour in like mist under and around the women singing, lifting them upwards as if they were all on a cloud transcending into the heavens. The emotional dynamics of this moment are so intense I found myself shedding a tear while shopping for shampoo. This record is full of these moments of reflection, or lament, or the sadness of recognition; the flights of the heart and the toils of the mind. Even behind a language barrier, there is a deeply moving narrative bound into this album.
Jennifer Lucy Allan

66. Erupt –
Left To Rot
(Static Shock)
​​Geezers from three of my favourite bands in the last decade playing oily-denim tankard-raising riff mania that'd make the meekest wallflower want to crush a grape? Inject Left To Rot into my marrow! Erupt are fronted (and guitarred) by Al Smith, also of psychedelic hardcore lords Geld, and the rhythm section comprises Alessandro Coco, whose star turn for my money was in the brief, glorious Gutter Gods, and Kyle Seely, best known as a member of Philadelphia's Sheer Mag. All those bands are fun as fuck and I'd be willing to bet this one is funner, to play in, than the lot: there's nowt goofy about Erupt's type of punk metal, even when the instrumental breaks approach upturned-baseball-cap crossover thrash territory. It's just a dream assignment for anyone situated on extreme metal's grimy fringes.
Noel Gardner

65. La Colonie De Vacances –
ECHT
(Vicious Circle)
La Colonie De Vacances are something more than a supergroup; they're actually four mathrock, noise and hardcore-centric bands – Papier Tigre, Electric Electric, Pneu and Marvin – in one. Each band is explosive in its own right but their collective, quadrophonic show is exhilarating. The audience are required to stand in the centre of the venue, surrounded by the four acts on four separate stages who trade taut licks or pummel you in unison. ECHT is the first studio album in their ten-year existence. Conveying the dizzying energy of the live shows was always going to be nigh-on impossible but, on its own terms, ECHT is a work of brutal beauty and lyricism. Bernard Herrmann stabs are rendered as rock riffs in 'Multitude Of Snakes', 'Z.Z.Y.' sounds like a duet for cement mixer and rubber hosing, 'Spectral' reaches a gorgeous, chiming finale and 'Alex Weir' maintains its fevered, galloping momentum for eight glorious minutes.
David McKenna

64. Spiritualized –
Everything Was Beautiful
(Bella Union)
The title Everything Was Beautiful hails from Kurt Vonnegut's evergreen novel, Slaughterhouse Five. The book is spiced by an unworldly and illuminating air where the horrific and comedic make unlikely bedfellows and time travel excursions are irregularly spliced into the text. The same might be said of this album which, as one has grown to expect from Jason Pierce, is a captivating and haunting beauty which shocks and soothes and seems to have landed from some parallel universe. The album is one of the most assured and curiously emotive in Spiritualized's impressive canon. The tracks drift by and seem to fold into each other, probing for new levels – deeper insights, perhaps? Becoming lost to this melodic flow is nothing less than a joyful experience.
Mick Middles

63. Emmanuelle Parrenin –
Targala, la maison qui n'en est pas une
(Johnkôôl)
W​​ith Targala, la maison qui n'en est pas une, experimental folk artist Emmanuelle Parrenin has completed the 'house' trilogy that began with 1977's Maison Rose. Released in March, it deserves a lot more attention than it has had so far, because it is at the very least the equal of Maison Rose. Were it just to feature the billowing, raga-ish folk of 'La Rêvelinère' and 'Entre Moi', which are woven from the same flaxen thread as much of the 1977 material, it would already be a wonder. But there are also signs that the techno experiments over the years (which include a collaboration with Etienne Jaumet, who also appears on the album) have left their mark – there's an increase in bass weight in places, while 'Delyade' is run through with a steady synth pulse – and she gives free reign to her psychedelic impulses on 'Epinette Noire', with its spiralling sax and backwards-sucked percussion.
David McKenna

62. Cheri Knight –
American Rituals
(Freedom To Spend)
American Rituals is about as up my strasse as it's possible to be – bare bones vocal constructions and vernacular post punk influenced by deep listening, and minimalism, basically. Consider that this might appeal to fans of Steve Reich, Michelle Mercure and Ut, and you should start getting the picture of the sound world contained. There's something deeply foundational about the instruments Cheri Knight uses, and the lexicon in particular – primary colours, prime numbers – that assemble the tracks' structures. There's also nothing extraneous. Knight made the tracks on this album, which have previously been scattered among a variety of compilations, in the early 80s. At this time she was part of the lesser-known DIY scene around Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied composition. She worked with Pauline Oliveros, performance artist Linda Montano, and later in the alt-country band Blood Oranges, before moving into flower farming. She also keeps goats.
Jennifer Lucy Allan

61. Otoboke Beaver –
Super Champon
(Damnably)
I love a bit of head-nodding, beard-stroking contemplation with my music as much as anybody but every now and then I start to drift off, maybe forgeting how electric and thrilling it can be. Super Champon is the latest wake up call from Kyoto's incredible Otoboke Beaver. Offering invigorating, light speed garage-core that scorches a smile onto your idiot face making everything else feel redundant for its terse twenty-odd-minute runtime, it presents a wonderful balance of melody and ferocity. Their tunes tap into a wide-eyed joy at the heart of their rage. Serrated guitar noise and complex vocal parts mix with an adrenaline-rush rhythm section in concentrated blasts. It goes straight to your head.
Jared Dix

60. DJ Travella –
Mr Mixondo
(Nyege Nyege Tapes)
A hyperactive, rhythmic-noise-adjacent form of African dance music, singeli music encapsulates the jaw-clenching urgency of gabber, regularly exceeding the speed of 200 BPM. A Tanzanian cultural phenomenon and since recently a hot international export, one of its younger representatives is the 19-year-old Dar Es Salaam native DJ Travella. The tracks found on his debut structurally resemble the productions of his contemporaries from Sisso and Pamoja Records, but are rather more multifaceted and interwoven with a wide array of samples. The most exciting thing about this unapologetically speedy music is the tongue-in-cheek playfulness that emanates from the tracks.
Jaša Bužinel

59. Pimpon –
Pozdrawiam
(Pointless Geometry)
Pimpon, AKA Poland-born, Copenhagen-based drummer and composer Szymon Gąsiorek defies easy categorisation on debut Pozdrawiam. Opener 'I've Made It To Another Station' sees his autotuned vocals repeat the titular phrase over a bed of field recordings and electronics, the repetition coming across like a musique concrète-tinged reimagining of Sparks' 'My Baby's Taking Me Home'. The collision of avant-garde and pop continues throughout. 'Balans' propels a borderline euro-trance chorus with hyper precise drum dexterity. 'I Go' jumps from glassy tones into a snaking synth, drums and vocoder banger. It's a pop album, it's a highly intricate sound art album, and it's a virtuoso psychedelic percussion album all in one. Flicking audaciously between incessant ear worms, massive beats and intricate scrapes and rustles, the antithetical components amplify rather than dilute each other's impact.
Daryl Worthington

58. United Bible Studies –
The Return Of The Rivers
(Cruel Nature)
There are a lot of releases by Irish collective United Bible Studies, and a lot of stylistic ground covered in their two-decade run to date. A lot of it might reasonably be described as 'free folk', which can mean a lot of things – rarely, though, will it sound as lush and plangent as the two sidelong pieces on this cassette released by Cruel Nature. Violin, piano and sax combine for 40 minutes of ambient/jazz/drone minimalism.
Noel Gardner

57. Rob Mazurek Quartet –
Father's Wing
(RogueArt)
Wildly prolific cornetist Rob Mazurek has reduced his output in recent years and it seems to have brought him a renewed focus. His recent work is as good as, or better than, anything he's done previously. This is the second album with the quartet responsible for excellent 2019 recording Desert Encrypts Vol. 1, with pianist Kris Davis, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Chad Taylor. The top-notch group sound even more locked in here, operating as a collective to support a riveting consolidation of ideas and strengths by Mazurek. His experiments with wailing vocals, for example, have been unbalanced in the past, but here they make all of the sense in the world, as an extension of ecstatic horn blowing. But the real power is in his jagged yet indelible compositions which form a suite dedicated to his late father, who passed in 2016.
Peter Margasak
56. Carmen Villain –
Only Love From Now On
(Smalltown Supersound)
Only Love From Now On is the fifth in a string of near-perfect, roughly album-length releases that kicked off with the release of Both Lines Will Be Blue in mid-2019. I've written about Carmen Villain's aesthetic at length before: "gentle but never wimpy"; "the crossroads of dub, ambient, and new age"; "canyon-esque dub space". And all of that still applies. What we're witnessing here isn't radical reinvention (which is hugely overrated anyhow), but the continued refinement and mastery of a specific milieu, and the judicious introduction of new elements and a new collaborator in Arve Henriksen – who joins Villain on trumpet and electronics along with longtime collaborator Johanna Scheie Orellana on flute.
Bernie Brooks

55. Messa –
Close
(Svart)
Italian quartet Messa's first two records were pretty distinctive, pairing gloomy but anthemic doom with droney, ambient leanings, bolstered by the powerful, otherworldly vocals of frontwoman Sara. This third album is markedly more adventurous, however, as you'll glean instantly from the dazzling opening combo of 'Suspended' and 'Dark Horse'; after ‘Suspended’ begins with a similarly subtle, nocturnal vibe to Jex Thoth's second album, Blood Moon Rise, it unleashes one of the album's biggest, most infectious choruses.
Kez Whelan

54. Porridge Radio –
Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
(Secretly Canadian)
Coldplay and Deftones are among the stadium-bestriding influences Porridge Radio's Dana Margolin has cited for her band's much-anticipated new album. But the record's unique innovation is to take these familiar components – firecracker guitars, choruses that flutter gamely in the breeze – and to give them a body-horror twist, resulting in a project that feels simultaneously uplifting and unmooring. It's like going to a rom-com at the cinema and realising half way in that the director has inserted ghostly images into every frame. A lark of an afternoon is all of a sudden filled with dread. This is not only a testament to Margolin's gifts as songwriter and lyricist, but also to the uneasy cadences that she injects into her outwardly rhapsodic compositions.
Ed Power

53. Shit And Shine –
Phase Corrected
(Riot Season)
The latest jerk in Shit And Shine's, uh, eccentric aesthetic trajectory is pretty accurately charted by the geographic markers dotted over their last two LPs. If 2020's Malibu Liquor Store was a trip way out West which left the mind puddling drip by drip under the intolerable Cali sunshine like the ice bucket at some hooting backwater cookout, Phase Corrected opener 'North Atlantic' barrels in with slamming waves of heavily distorted bass which would topple an oil rig. Vacation over. Now back with long-term partners in piss-wringing label Riot Season, Phase Corrected might just top their previous release for the imprint – the pathologically unfriendly Goat Yelling Like A Man – in the meanness stakes.
Alec Holt

52. Alabaster dePlume –
GOLD
(International Anthem)
Although it was a compilation album of instrumentals, Alabaster dePlume's last record, For Cy & Lee, would prove to be his breakthrough. Perhaps it's because of the immense soothingness that that album, released just a month before the first coronavirus lockdown, provided to so many. He follows that record with GOLD, which also concerns human connection but reaches moving new heights as it delves deep into the joys of communal music-making. Long and sprawling, packed with collaborations with other musicians, live recordings and dePlume's trademark rambling monologues, its beauty and positivity is overwhelming.
Patrick Clarke

51. 50 Foot Wave –
Black Pearl
(Fire)
The notion that 50 Foot Wave exist as a channel for music deemed 'too weird' for Throwing Muses is one that persists in writing about them, but is really rather misleading. 2020's Sun Racket deployed a similarly rough-edged sound and largely mid-tempo songs, but Black Pearl ratchets up the noise element a little further, creating a hazy, heat-saturated and impressionistic sound world that is aptly expressed in the album's cover with its lush vegetation encircling the sky as the sun begins to rise. This album is too much of a piece to be picking out favourites, yet it is also one whose subtleties really reveal themselves on subsequent listens. Go on, dive in. Soak up the heat, discover what's hidden underneath the overgrown foliage. You know you want to.
Sean Kitching

50. Rosalía –
MOTOMAMI
(Columbia)
Songs of all flavours – flex songs, sex songs, heartbreak ballads and lamentations towards fame – are all given level standing on MOTOMAMI. The highs here hedonistically bounce around big beats, and Rosalía can rap just as coolly about her status and influence as she can get you wrapped up in it. Even the most by-the-numbers reggaeton cut, 'Chicken Teriyaki', is contagious, and finds space to nod at the album's inner conflict: "Yeah, fame's a prison sentence," she raps, "but tell me what other girl's gonna buy you dinner?"
Nathan Evans

49. Rufus Isabel Elliot & Harry Gorski-Brown –
Three Sexual Pieces For Solo Violin (This And This And This)
(Self-Released)
Three Sexual Pieces For Violin shapeshifts from gritty, forlorn textures into bittersweet reminiscences, foregrounding the ever-changing voice of a solo violin. Composer Rufus Isabel Elliot writes fleeting feelings that violinist Harry Gorski-Brown illuminates in textured blips of sound. The album, which features three pieces written between 2018 and 2020, tells stories about sexual intimacy using text scores that capture the essence of each piece through short phrases to create moods through abstract ideas rather than conventional melodies and rhythms.
Vanessa Ague

48. Fontaines D.C. –
Skinty Fia
(Partisan)
At the core of Skinty Fia is Fontaines D.C.'s reckoning with their Irish identity. The title is the anglicised version of an Irish expression that drummer Tom McColl's great aunt – one of a rapidly dying breed of Gaeltachts who speak Irish as their first language – was fond of. It translates loosely as "The damnation of the deer," recalling the now-extinct Irish giant elk, and can also be used as an expletive roughly analogous to "for fuck's sake." The album opens in Irish with 'In ár gcroíthe go deo', which translates to 'In our hearts forever', the title repeated in a choral chant in the background through the entire song. That song is also a clear indication that the album is quite some step forward instrumentally too, a pounding industrial beat fizzing its way in under the elegiac choral refrain at the song's halfway point.
Patrick Clarke

47. Maya Shenfeld –
In Free Fall
(Thrill Jockey)
On In Free Fall, composer Maya Shenfeld unites punk-inspired feedback with glowing electronics and classical forms. It's her debut solo album, but it's built on years of exploration across musical genres. While she's a classically trained composer living in Berlin, her musical interests have strayed from that path and ventured into more experimental and noisy territory. In Free Fall, whose name comes from a Hito Steyerl essay that describes the feeling of a loss of stability, sees her searching for the middle ground between those musical practices, looking to dissolve the boundaries between them. What unites all these different ideas is Shenfeld's tireless interest in musical texture. The music she writes here is polished but amorphous, made of undulating masses of sound that swirl around each other.
Vanessa Ague
46. Rigorous Institution –
Cainsmarsh
(Blackwater)
Sonically murky in some respects, with guitar and bass coagulating noisepunkishly, Rigorous Institution's addition of Hawkwind-into-black metal synth parts supplies an extra dimension and then some: without them, joints like 'Ergot' and 'Earthrise' might as well be different songs. They can still rustle up standout muscleman riffs, mind – the title track's some plundering, blundering Motörgoth exemplariness and 'Laughter' swings its axe with the mechanical stiffness of Godflesh if they'd recorded for the Hardcore Unlawful Assembly compilation. Rigorous Institution may not even care whether you like Cainsmarsh or not, but have made something with horizons well beyond their immediate PDX-scene crust-lifer environs.
Noel Gardner

45. Siete Catorce –
Cruda
(SUBREAL)
One of the most ingenious representatives of forward-thinking Latin American- and Afro-Mexican-influenced club sounds of the past decade, SUBREAL label co-founder Marco Polo Gutierrez meticulously constructs every minute detail of his polyrhythmic grooves while always retaining an air of hip-shaking propulsion. Heavily relying on syncretic synthesis, Cruda is a study in exploring texture and rhythm along with dancefloor ambitions. Its arrangements centre on spiralling interplays between synthesised and acoustic drum skin timbres and dynamic low frequency modulations. The melodic dimension of his productions is usually less prominent, relying merely on digital flutes, ghostly pads, glitchy and bubbly pulses, and occasionally gloomy synth stabs backed by a sinister forest ambience.
Jaša Bužinel

44. The Sound Of Science –
The Sound Of Science
(Castles In Space)
Boutique vinyl fetishist label Castles In Space is home to some of the most lovingly packaged, homespun electronic music ideas out there at the minute, and so is the ideal label for The Sound Of Science's eduphonic synthucation project. Songs about supermassive blackholes, photosynthesis and the periodic table of elements which call to mind Kraftwerk, Severed Heads, Patrick Cowley, Bruce Haack and even Fat White Family are raised way beyond mere hauntological pastiche by Dean Honer and Kevin Pearce's undeniable electro pop chops. And that’s before we get to the wonderfully illustrated booklet.
John Doran

43. Omertà –
Collection Particulière
(Zamzam)
Omertà's second release, Collection Particulière, which features Jérémie Sauvage of France on bass and Jonathan Grandcollot on drums, is avowedly a 'pop' album, defined by the latter's "streamlined" drumming style and the greater clarity of singer (and visual artist) Florence Giroud's cool, but not affectless, vocals.
David McKenna

42. Candelabrum –
Nocturnal Trance
(Hell’s Headbangers)
The five tracks that comprise Nocturnal Trance are deceptively detailed, with the album's washed-out sound belying a wealth of rich, textured soundscapes. Repeated listens to swirling, curiously meditative sonic vortexes like 'Poisonous Dark Apparitions' will reward the patient listener with all manner of hypnotic and oddly beautiful layers, all working in tandem to create an oppressively macabre ambience. It helps that there's a keen, if subtle, melodic sensibility here too. If you've got any interest in lo-fi music at all, not just black metal, don't miss this.
Kez Whelan

41. Kelly Lee Owens –
LP.8
(Smalltown Supersound)
Kelly Lee Owens' career as an artist has developed in tandem with, geopolitically speaking, a whole host of nightmare bullshit. And while she's touched on these troubled times before, LP.8 is the first of her records to really mirror them in feel – the hope and beauty, the exhaustion and melancholy – as well as in content, and the result is stunning. This thing she's made with collaborator Lasse Marhaug is unafraid and untethered and honest. It is by far her best record.
Bernie Brooks

40. Werk –
Angirú
(Bolinga Everest)
Werk are the trio of Mariano Sandoval, Iván Tovi and Alejandro Coll, and Angirú, a word which translates to 'soul companion' in the Guarani language, feels like the most important tape in the world right now. It's centred around Sandoval's playing of the arpa Paraguaya (Paraguayan harp), which threads together nature recordings and speech from members of the indigenous Guarani, Pilagá, Qom and Wichí communities from Formosa, a region close to the border between Argentina and Paraguay. Those spoken sections come from WhatsApp audio chats Sandoval had with people from those communities, in particular answering questions around what music is and what it means to them. Flurries of speech, sometimes unfurling naturally, others hooked into loops, weave through the lamenting harp plucks and strums. Occasionally the three players lock into magical grooves under the words, Tovi adding subtle synths while Coll adds Charango, an Andean instrument from the lute family, to 'Lunas De Monte'.
Daryl Worthington

39. Julmud | جُلْمود –
Tuqoos | طُقُوس
(Bilna'es)
From the tape rewind melody, vortical harp motifs and jerky beats of the overture 'Basmala', Julmud promptly lets us know we are in for a special treat with Tuqoos | طُقُوس. A representative of the contemporary Palestinian progressive music scene, the Ramallah-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist has collaborated with innovative compatriots, such as Haykal, Al Nather, Muqata'a, Makimakkuk and Walaa Sbait, and has now gone on to crystallise his vision on this debut for the label Bilna'es. Tuqoos is an album characterised by a clear ambition to go beyond any genre-based expectations both in terms of form and aesthetic, all the while retaining an utterly alluring sonic aura. Most productions are instrumental, but when he raps, he spits his bars in a commanding tone that grabs you by the throat.
Jaša Bužinel

38. Loop –
Sonancy
(Reactor)
At first glance, Sonancy is an album that couldn't be made by anybody but Loop. Fuzz guitars? Check! Repetition? Step right this way, sir! A subtle garnish of ambient sounds to stretch out the sound and experience? Ambassador, you are really spoiling us! But hold it right there because dig that little bit deeper and that's where you'll find the real truffles: what we're talking about here is precision.
Julian Marszalek

37. Blackhaine –
Armour II
(Fixed Abode)
Whilst this EP is less blown out than predecessor And Salford Falls Apart, there is still a rage at the heart of it. Here, however, that fury is angled internally rather than at the listener. Venomous bitcrushed power electronics are replaced with pensive drones and booming kicks. Whether it's mangled piano clinks adorning the forlorn line "I already know where my grave is" on 'Pavements', down-tuned strings adding a cinematic bent to the climax of 'Waiting Room', or the paranoid thickets of deep bass creeping out like a sluggish ferry turning in an underground tunnel during 'Stained Materials', the production from Tom Heyes' former classmate Rainy Miller is lean, potent and focused. It creates space for vocally spat malice and allows for sonic growth far beyond speaker-busting distortion.
Jon Buckland

36. Carmel Smickersgill –
We Get What We Get & We Don't Get Upset
(PRAH)
Leeds is peppered with independent venues that host its thriving jazz scene, including the roster of Tight Lines, a label lauded by the likes of Gilles Peterson, and an ever-expanding cast of bands and eclectic electronic nights, such as the UK's (allegedly) longest-running club event Back To Basics. Listening to Carmel Smickersgill's We Get What We Get And We Don't Get Upset immediately transported me back to this particular, Northern musical context – one that's infused with jazz's freewheeling experimentation, the plodding punctuation of house, and instrumental oddities.
Hannah Pezzack

35. Batu –
Opal
(Timedance)
Most impressive about Batu's debut album, Opal, is that the producer sidesteps the expectation of loading it with simple club cuts. Sure, many of these tracks will turn heads on fairly adventurous dancefloors ('Convergence' with its pummelling, scattershot drums, 'Squall''s dancehall-indebted swagger), but ultimately they all service a wider sound world as each cut flows effortlessly from one to the other. 'Atavism' experiments with throat singing as a rhythmic and melodic tool, while serpentwithfeet contributes a striking, delicate vocal turn on one of the record's more restrained moments, 'Solace'. This is the sound of one of the UK dance music scene's finest producers and DJs at the top of his game.
Christian Eede

34. Black Country, New Road –
Ants From Up There
(Ninja Tune)
The joy, the lifeblood fulfilment of listening to Black Country, New Road's second album will one day turn bittersweet, as the band responsible for it seem unlikely to return as we know them after singer Isaac Wood departed the project. These songs will never again be fleshed out in South London pubs, provincial concert halls or European fields. Of course that is a shame, but it is certainly good to end this phase of the band's existence on such a high.
Cal Cashin

33. Fly Anakin –
Frank
(Lex)
Frank carries over all the hallmarks of a great Fly Anakin project: there's a lavish yet minimal approach to beat selection, a consistent woozy atmosphere that never threatens to kill the vibe, and stellar rapping that's slippery and forceful in the same breath. Still, this is a heftier project that earns the expectation that comes with that 'debut solo album' tag. There's no obvious world-building or self-contained story to give Frank the pomp and circumstance you might expect from a major breakthrough rap record in 2022, but Fly Anakin doesn't need one. The subtlety and detail of his songwriting does that on its own. The world is his for the taking.
Sky Butchard

32. Kill Alters –
Armed To The Teeth L.M.O.M.M.
(Hausu Mountain)
It says a lot about the progress Nicos Kennedy has made as a producer that with Kill Alters' debut album proper now finished at last, it doesn't sound at all like the product of a laboured and fragmented recording process. Rather, Armed To The Teeth L.M.O.M.M. is a record that blazes with momentum, flowing effortlessly from one song to another, ascending peaks of intensity and plummeting into deep wells of meditation in smooth sweeps. It's the kind of music that you'd imagine as being recorded in exactly the kind of frenzied burst that Baxter was so reluctant to depart from in the first place.
Patrick Clarke

31. Laura Cannell –
Antiphony Of The Trees
(Brawl)
In moments of quietude that blanket us, imagine the piercing yet melodic trills of a bird song that grow louder and stronger to drown out any touches of stillness – this is the moment that UK composer, performer and improviser Laura Cannell captures in her striking seventh solo album Antiphony Of The Trees.The layered collection of eleven tracks is framed by Cannell's trademark pull of experimental semi-composed, semi-improvised soundscapes which tease the lines of perfectly polished and deeply organic as she draws inspiration from the crisp melodies of birdsongs and channels it through the raw power of a recorder.
Malvika Padin

30. Matmos –
Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer
(Thrill Jockey)
Regards is less an album of songs than it is of moments. With the exception of 'Flight To Sodom', which is four minutes of psychedelic electronic (heartbeat beats; delayed keyboards, choir-like choral bits), each song is less a song than a collection of moments which generally fades into or out of those bookending it. In this way, Regards is a faithful take on Bogusław Schaeffer's avant-garde compositions, and the album picks up where Matmos' last record, the three-hour The Consuming Flame, left off. Sure, Regards clocks in at a relatively brisk forty-ish minutes, but it's not forty minutes of neatly wrapped two-minute Ramones songs. Instead, it's forty minutes of songs like 'Flashcube Fog Wares', a shifting phantasmagoria of mechanistic feedback that sounds like having one's brain pulled out through one's ears. Which I mean as a compliment.
Kevin O'Rourke

29. They Hate Change –
Finally, New
(Jagjaguwar)
They Hate Change channel British post punk textbook knowledge, name-checking X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene, and junglism with Miami bass and regional subgenres in a way that is organic, exuberant, and fun to listen to. Finally, New feels coherent and honest. This is a record that doesn't respect any traditional genre boxes and sticks to the vision the duo have created for themselves.
Miloš Hroch

28. Haress –
Ghosts
(Wrong Speed)
At times, Ghosts evokes Bill Callahan in the mist, or Low. It has the sort of mid-Atlantic, lo-fi presence of the great Duke Garwood too, before finally reaching these shores with folk guitar reminiscent of Bert Jansch. On 'I Think, I Think', the accelerating reel and squirling brass suggests Haress are fellow travellers of One More Grain, whose Beans On Toast With Pythagoras is another highlight of 2022. 'Time To Drink' begins just on the right side of dirge, like a slowed down funeral march played on hurdy-gurdys, before the reflective guitar starts pattering over the top, like raindrops dislodging dust. It's a fitting image given that Ghosts was recorded in a disused water mill. This blissed-out psychedelia is not quite pastoral – there's nothing twee about these unwinding grooves – yet evokes water and wood, light and shadow, a place of forgotten labour and the absent human form with a beguiling grace.
Luke Turner

27. Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals –
King Cobra
(Phantom Limb)
While King Cobra works well as a collection, each track manages to stand on its own because of the attention that is paid to melody, harmony and orchestration by Infinity Knives. Sometimes you get little vignettes of action over Nils Frahm-like piano ('Theme from King Cobra') or 80s-sounding synths and rhythms, as in lead single 'Death Of A Constable'. The latter also shines a spotlight on Ennal's skilful rapping as he calls out issues from injustice against Black people to police brutality. His lyrics pack a punch but they can be funny too, like in the anti-capitalist anthem 'The Badger', where he tears into landlords, billionaires and male models, amongst others. But tracks like 'The Badger' also emphasise the power of his storytelling and his occasionally sermon-like delivery – 'Headclean' being another excellent example.
Arusa Qureshi

26. Maylee Todd –
Maloo
(Stones Throw)
Debuting on Stones Throw, Maylee Todd delivers science-fiction soul music that borrows from undersung electronic greats. She rolls out a soft rug of synth tones to croon placatingly atop, the same cute sounds that throwback new-age artists were working with. Tracks like 'Age Of Energy' and 'Tiny Chiffon' make the hypnotic world of Japanese ambient composers like Hiroshi Yoshimura more bubbly without losing its sense of whimsy, and the latter portion of the album gives way to Mort Garson-like synth calligraphy.
Nathan Evans

25. The Utopia Strong –
International Treasure
(Rocket Recordings)
Steve 'Snooker' Davis, Kavus Torabi and Michael York return with their finest work yet on International Treasure, a blissed-out and escapist nine-track excursion that, despite this being a second album, seems to glow with a feeling of naive joy in experimentation. It's a wholesome cleansing of the third eye by psychedelia's oddest supergroup.
Luke Turner

24. Pontiac Streator –
Sone Glo
(West Mineral Ltd.)
Emerging as a key figure among the consistently brilliant West Mineral Ltd. and 3XL stables of artists who explore various submerged and smudged electronics (see also: Huerco S., Ulla Straus, Perila, Special Guest DJ and Exael), Philadelphia producer Pontiac Streator's latest album finds him in a distinctly blissful mood. Dealing in hypnotic, aqueous melodies, as well as disorderly drum patterns that might frequently have you wondering where exactly the '1' is, Sone Glo finds a midpoint between the most soothing moments of the '90s label Fax +49-69/450464's back catalogue, and the headsy IDM of old imprints such as Isophlux and Suction. What that means to say is it's quite simply gorgeous from start to finish, and one of the finest electronic music long-players you'll hear all year.
Christian Eede

23. Real Lies –
Lad Ash
(Unreal)
This is definitely a London record (probably the only one this year to reference Patrick Hamilton's 20,000 Streets Under The Sky trilogy of the mid-1930s and the controversial Woodberry Down development), with all the euphoria and melancholy that the city brings, the lyrics often speaking of a city where the quest for the party increasingly has to keep a step ahead of rapacious landlords and moaning neighbours. Part of what makes it such a great album is how the the sound of the record might most immediately suggest Burial or The Streets, but the feel of it is closer to Suede's masterpiece, Dog Man Star. Like that album, Lad Ash is a homage to the "love and poison of London."
Luke Turner

22. Syd –
Broken Hearts Club
(Syd Solo)
Syd knows how to turn naivety into an asset. Broken Hearts Club chronicles a relationship from untrusting beginnings to blissful romance to agonising breakup. Calling to mind Lianne La Havas' self-titled record from 2020, Syd hits the same narrative beats as that album but spends more time soaking in the sensual highs of her first real romance. That feeling rubs off on the record like graphite, as the LP dances around the dial of modern R&B with a lovestruck glee.
Nathan Evans

21. One More Grain –
Beans On Toast With Pythagoras
(Self-Released)
As tQ's Luke Turner previously somewhat paid heed to in a Baker's Dozen piece, it seems inexplicable that the gatekeepers of indie 'cool' haven't taken this strange group to their hearts in the same way they have a Pictish Trail, a Jane Weaver, or a Richard Dawson. Perhaps it's because Daniel Patrick Quinn and One More Grain are just a bit too strange, a smidge too sly, just on the wrong side of experimental pop. Or perhaps because they have a LinkedIn page. Perhaps they'll wait another seven years to release an album, or Quinn will stay in Java teaching creativity and climbing volcanoes and being, as one of his friend's blogs so brilliantly dubbed him, an "extremely odd ball." Whatever happens, Beans On Toast With Pythagoras will remain as a strange shining beacon in this gloomy and certain age, a will-o'-the-wisp we all might follow up marshy pathways and rocky ascents.
Will Ainsley

20. Mary Halvorson –
Amaryllis / Belladonna
(Nonesuch)
Mary Halvorson has released a near impeccable run of albums over the past year or so: Never Is Enough with her trio Thumbscrew, Artlessly Falling with her lyric-based quintet Code Girl, Searching For The Disappearing Hour with Sylvie Courvoisier, and my personal favourite out of the bunch (along with this new release), John Zorn's Bagatelles, Volume 1 as the Mary Halvorson Quartet. Even if Halvorson were to release no further new music, a strong case would have already been made for her being one of the most inventive and distinctive voices of her generation. With this latest set of 11 tracks, her most compelling release since 2016's Away With You, Halvorson establishes without any doubt her position at the vanguard of jazz and modern composition. For anyone who is yet to get on board with her work, this stunning 'post-genre' release offers the best chance to date to start appreciating her multifarious musical activities.
Sean Kitching

19. 700 Bliss –
Nothing To Declare
(Hyperdub)
Nothing To Declare, 700 Bliss' debut album proper, is 2018 record Spa 700 brought to its sonic and semantic extreme. To lazily label the album as 'noise rap' would be a reductionist view of inventive music ardently brought together from multiple traditions. But it's not just Moor Mother's poetry and inflection that feels uninhibited here. DJ Haram ventures farther with her productions than demonstrated on her 2019 EP Grace, leaving behind the elegant safety of her globetrotting dance music. Here, she embraces cacophony, minimalism, and avant abstractions, meshing together styles plucked from disparate spaces and times. Techno, grime, synth-pop, and lo-fi hip hop productions come together at the same moment only to be mutated into monstrous new things.
Antonio Poscic

18. Eiko Ishibashi –
Drive My Car OST
(Newhere / Space Shower)
Film, television and theatre-scoring have long been parts of Eiko Ishibashi's practice, coexisting with her solo work that’s often improvisatory and electronics-based. She brings those experiences to Drive My Car OST, letting car door slams seep into heart-wrenching strings and eerie electronics. The score draws on a range of sounds, colouring recurring motifs with a blend of smooth, jazzy instrumentals, place-setting found sounds, romantic strings and lush electronics.
Vanessa Ague

17. Saba –
Few Good Things
(Pivot Gang)
Something must be happening in Chicago. Maybe it always has been. But when I listen to this album by 27-year-old West Coast rapper-producer Saba, what I'm reminded of first is not so much any records by his immediate contemporaries in the US hip hop scene; more moments from recent albums by Jeff Parker and Ben LaMar Gay. It's not so much the sounds you can actually hear on the record (although, every now and then…), but rather something about the bounce of it, that certain lilt it has, the feeling of light gleaming through the cracks between the notes. But no matter how many blocks of real estate might separate them on a map of the Windy City, isn't it odd that two scions from such a venerable, half-century old jazz institution as the ACCM and the hot kid from the cool young hip hop collective across town should seemingly be taking notes over each other's shoulders? Things ain't like that in London, at least.
Robert Barry

16. Huerco S. –
Plonk
(Incienso)
Brian Leeds' debut on Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery’s ever-reliable Incienso label, Plonk, is something of a departure from the ambient music explored on his last album. It's also certainly not a return to the dubbed-out, lo-fi house music, infamously tagged as 'outsider house', that came before it. Frequently eschewing easily definable 4x4 rhythmic patterns, or any kick drums at all for that matter, Plonk's ten tracks intersperse thrilling nods to trap and drill music with more placid moments, such as the helter-skelter, clanging synths of opener 'Plonk I'. Plonk is the most wide-reaching entry in Leeds' discography yet.
Christian Eede

15. FKA twigs –
CAPRISONGS
(Young)
CAPRISONGS is a testament to twigs' voice, which has long broken out of that one mode of eerie breathiness. Here she's almost spitting alongside Pa Salieu on 'honda', and bouncing around the dancehall chaos of the Shygirl-assisted 'papi bones' like she was born to be there. Plenty of twigs songs build to ecstatic melodies, as on 'oh my love', but only on CAPRISONGS can that climax arrive at something akin to The Ting Tings. That being said, it seems that even when cutting loose, she has a hard time not committing something of poignancy to tape, like on 'meta angel' where she sings softly, "I've got a love for desire / I've got a pain for desire."
Liam Inscoe-Jones

14. Nik Colk Void –
Bucked Up Space
(Editions Mego)
There's a feeling in Bucked Up Space of pushing close to the edge, of risking going out of sync or letting the music collapse or decay, a tension that becomes at times exhilarating, as if Nik Colk Void is somehow constructing the mountain she is slaloming down. What unites the variation throughout the record, aside from Void's idiosyncrasies, is a feeling of world-building and an attendant sense of exploration, as if the creator is not entirely sure where it is all going. It gives the album the sensation of a live improvisation, however intentional it actually is, and it makes for a thrilling listen, full of surprises, ingenuity and left turns, as you'd expect of a member of Carter Tutti Void.
Darran Anderson

13. Laddio Bolocko –
'97 -'99
(Castle Face)
Formed by guitarist Drew St. Ivany, bass player Ben Armstrong and drummer Blake Fleming, and later joined by Marcus DeGrazia on horns, Laddio Bolocko spent much of their existence, from 1996 to 2000, in near-hermetic isolation in their rehearsal space in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, and later in an abandoned ski lodge in Elka Park in the Catskills. St. Ivany and Armstrong (who would later form Psychic Paramount) met Fleming when their band Chalk 22 supported his math/jazz rock outfit Dazzling Killmen. Fleming, who founded Dazzling Killmen at the age of 15, played on early The Mars Volta demos and later formed Electric Turn to Me. Laddio Bolocko, however, represented a pinnacle of achievement for all musicians involved, as well as being that rare thing from a critic's perspective – a band that could be most easily described as sounding like Can and This Heat who made music that was actually deserving of such an epithet.
Sean Kitching

12. caroline –
caroline
(Rough Trade)
Much has been made of the way caroline's sound draws on Appalachian folk, Midwestern emo, noise rock and choral singing, but it is important to note that they don't simply mash those influences together. The chiming guitar on 'IWR' might recall an old folk song, and the opening vocal line on 'Skydiving' might conjure a church chorister, but the references feel subconscious. caroline primarily write their songs improvisationally, first in sessions with core trio Jasper Llewellyn, Casper Hughes and Mike O'Malley, and then in a developmental period with the full eight-piece band. In such a long and layered process it is inevitable that references might arise. What's most important is that they are presented as incidental; their songs feel delicately ordered with whatever sounds they find appropriate.
Patrick Clarke

11. Valentina Goncharova –
Ocean: Symphony For Electric Violin And Other Instruments In 10+ Parts
(Hidden Harmony)
As Valentina Goncharova admitted in an interview with Lucia Udvardyova, she aimed to energise music not through volume but through changing the music itself on this record: looking for new structural possibilities, new colours and rhythmic combinations. Ocean illustrates this idea brilliantly as she moves with ease between classical music, experimentation, minimalism, drone music and improvisation on standard and non-standard instruments. This outsider, outlandish effort seems very modern even today.
Jakub Knera

10. Alison Cotton –
The Portrait You Painted Of Me
(Rocket Recordings)
The Portrait You Painted Of Me more than meets the exceptionally high standards Alison Cotton has set for herself. Her work can be compared to conceptual art, consisting of pieces that seem complete in themselves but acquire a whole new meaning when their purpose is explained. If this makes her music sound dry, it is anything but. She expresses visceral emotions through her viola, which cries in sympathy, whispers secrets, and groans in pain. Her voice has epic qualities, rising to fill a vast soundscape on 'The Last Wooden Ship' and closing in with the walls on 'The Tunnel Underground Seemed Neverending'.

Her music is also psychedelic, both because it sounds incredibly trippy, but more specifically because it uses a distorted perception by gazing at the present and seeing only the past beneath it. Precise definitions seem important in pinning down work that is meticulous and crafted, as well as enveloping and beautiful. Cotton's talent is special, and her latest music will send you to places you never knew existed. The only problem will be finding a way back.
Tom Bolton

9. Iceboy Violet –
The Vanity Project
(2 B REAL)
The lack of connection over the last two years has clearly marked Iceboy Violet's debut mixtape. The unsettling distortion and death-like tempo on 'Atone//Blankface' is drenched in desolation, as is the skittering and minimalistic, Space Afrika-produced 'Urban Ambiance'. The isolation goes much further back than the pandemic though: the mixtape delves into issues of race – like the loneliness of growing up in a predominantly white area as Violet did as a teenager in Halifax – and art too: when you're making music the mainstream can't define or describe yet in a hinterland of rap, electronica, grime and noise, where is your place?

That place is still undefinable and as you'd expect from Violet's work to date, that's just how they want it. There is no overriding genre or style on a work that is fiercely experimental. Single songs venture into wildly disparate genres, often simultaneously, from electronica to metal, rap to noise, grime to dance in a flick of a BPM. 'Urban Ambiance' is a good example: a deeply introspective song whose lyrics recall Milton and Blake as they speak of heaven and hells, paradise and prisons, grime blends seamlessly with electronica as Violet finds euphoria with others. "We'll be dancing through the night... dance to it," they urge, desperate for connection with their audience.
Elizabeth Aubrey

8. Kendrick Lamar –
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
(Top Dawg Entertainment)
"Done with the black and the white, the wrong and the right," raps Kendrick Lamar on the stunning opener to his long-awaited fifth album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, 'United In Grief'. It sums up the record's philosophy, an embrace of the chaos of the inbetween, the war between ego and vulnerability, human nature as contradictory thoughts and opposing urges; Lamar's refusal to buy into simplistic binary thinking and to embrace the messy multiplicity of human experience instead. It's a record that offers no easy conclusions and is all the better for it.

The crown of thorns that he has worn in promotional imagery, the album's cover, and indeed his generational Glastonbury headline set, might be interpreted as a sign of the megastar messiah complex trope, but as he revealed onstage at Worthy Farm, "I wear this crown as a representation, so you never forget one of the greatest prophets that ever walked this earth. They judge you, they judge Christ." If Mr. Morale does have a message, it’s one that Lamar allows a higher power to provide. As he raps on 'Worldwide Steppers', in the time between this album and his last one, DAMN., he had "writer's block for two years, nothin' moved me / Asked God to speak through me, that's what you hear now."
Patrick Clarke

7. Claire Rousay –
Everything Perfect Is Already Here
(Shelter Press)
On Everything Perfect Is Already Here, Claire Rousay uses a mix of field recordings, electronics, piano and strings to create two dreamy pieces that harness both the darkness and sparks of life. The San Antonio-based musician has become known for her work that celebrates the minutiae of day-to-day life in home recordings and delicate melodies. Everything Perfect Is Already Here continues along that path, highlighting casual conversations, the sounds of her surroundings and straightforward melodies while balancing deeper questions about how to appreciate being alive.

Rousay layers, but never melds, each of the sounds she brings together on the album. Instead, each sound intertwines and then falls apart. On 'it feels foolish to care', a backdrop of uncertain "ums" gives way to slow, melancholic piano and harp; those "ums" are eventually replaced by distant laughter as the piano and harp become more effervescent. By the end of the piece, the music reaches a boiling point and bubbles over, fading away in emphatic rhythm. In this fluidity, and constant coalescence that never quite becomes one, Rousay highlights how a plethora of emotions exist at once, and how it isn't always easy to pick which one to live by.
Vanessa Ague

6. The Ephemeron Loop –
Psychonautic Escapism
(Heat Crimes)
The Ephemeron Loop is the latest project born from the mesmeric inner-world of Vymethoxy Redspiders, better known as Urocerus Gigas from Leeds-based xenofeminist rock duo Guttersnipe. Born in Bangor, North Wales, Redspiders has been based in Leeds since 2013, where she has established herself as an underground powerhouse. Debut release Psychonautic Escapism is a "synaesthetic acid bath that cracks open the doors of perception," tracing Redspiders' break through her pre-transition life of black metal into a new life of shoegaze music, psychedelic drugs and raves in the Leeds queer underground scene.

Redspiders' realities of autism, ADHD and trans identity shapeshift through languid flashes of dream pop ambience, doom and hardgrind. Guitars, drums and vocals interlace, darting between hyper-speed death metal, psychedelic dub and breakcore in this stunning solo release. Psychonautic Escapism, an album full of continual sonic and poetic transformation, took 14 years to make. Redspiders describes The Ephemeron Loop as coming into existence at a crucial juncture in the formation of her identity, including "my becoming as a trans woman, my understanding of neurodivergence, and my experimentation with mind-altering substances."
Mariam Rezaei

5. Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin –
Ghosted
(Drag City)
Oren Ambarchi's guitar-playing is on wonderfully nuanced form here, but the rhythm section hits quantum mechanical levels of intrigue. Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin's unique interaction is clearest on 'III'. The album's longest piece, it affords them the duration needed for the cumulative effect to take hold. Berthling's bass is a knotted loop of notes, full of constantly resetting momentum. Werliin's drums scatter and skip through the tangle, growing in intensity as they find ever more microscopic gaps to shape with rhythm.

I read somewhere once that as maps get more accurate, borders get longer; the once comparatively straight lines getting more convoluted as detail increases. I don't know if that's true, but something similar happens here as the trio stretch grooves and find new spaces to fill. Ghosted is a record which depends on its cumulative effect. And in doing so, it reveals there's the potential to find endless movement in even the most rigid structures.
Daryl Worthington

4. Wojciech Rusin –
Syphon
(AD 93)
Wojciech Rusin is an artist and musician who makes bright and wiggly 3D-printed pipes and flutes (for sale at the Pipe Shoppe). His previous album, The Funnel (which I absolutely loved), was the first in an alchemical trilogy, containing a menagerie of gnostic creatures (tag urself): the 'eagle of arrogance', the 'horse of impatience', and the 'dolphin of lust' among other disastrous personality types. Syphon, the second in his trilogy, comes from the same sonic cosmos.

Soprano Eden Girma opens the album, singing in Latin of 'the mirror of truth', and Emmy Broughton sings a story of burning camps, blood waters rising and a man doing a litany of beastly things, one of which is lowing like an ox. Elsewhere, synthetically generated harpsichord and Rusin's own pipe chanters rub up against digital glitches and whirrs, which are broken up by field recordings of woodland birds and sploshing water. He describes it as 'speculative medieval music', and its sonic imagination is that of science-fiction set in alternative pasts or regressive futures – this might be music for Strugatsky's Hard To Be A God, or compositions performed by whatever mad composer remains in residence at the cathedral at Cambry in Riddley Walker. It comes from a place where glass, chrome and computers are sunk in the iron, mud and architecture of a century past that might rise again.
Jennifer Lucy Allan

3. Sea Power –
Everything Was Forever
(Golden Chariot)
Everything Was Forever marks Sea Power's first work with Graham Sutton as producer in over a decade, and it shows. The band are always in fulsome praise of the Bark Psychosis man's ability to conjure out their best work and, as a listener, it's clear he has an uncanny knack of trimming the fat that prevented the albums since Do You Like Rock Music?, decent though they were, from reaching their full potential. He and the band have worked wonders on a record shared between fire-cracking anthems and reflective moments, a refining of the established Sea Power palette. Abi Fry, Phil Sumner and drummer Woody lift the record not just through their by now trademark augmentation in brass, viola and sturdy rhythms, but the delicacy with which tracks slip in and out of view.

Though it's not one of the most obvious songs on the album, 'Lakeland Echo' is the key that unlocks it. It starts with just a quiet vocal from Hamilton, seemingly echoing the voices of his late parents: "Turn the tape on / That's a grand track / That's a good one." It builds and builds to hover in a beautifully poised moment, emotion that is no less tender for its restraint. The song becomes even more poignant when you watch the video that features footage of the Yan and Hamilton's late parents intercut with shots of the area the family grew up in. At the end, their old man disappears into the distance over a rise in the road, raising his arms in triumph, as if in celebration of his sons. It's incredibly touching. To think upon loss, to look to the past, to venerate our forebears, does not have to be nostalgia as the reductive, negative energy that holds so many (by 'so many' I mean 'our nation') back, but as reflective, emancipatory and, curiously, realistic. "It's not for everyone," Hamilton sings, perhaps again channeling Ronald's views on Sea Power's music. That's at the crux of things for me – "it's not for everyone" doesn't have to be an admission of failure, but a comfort that some precious things are going to be beloved by a devoted few.
Luke Turner

2. Osheyack –
Intimate Publics
(SVBKVLT)
The eight tunes of Intimate Publics throb and tremble like overloaded white goods. Right from the start of the album, the martial, malevolent 'Edging' has Venetian Snares-y metallic trills that seem to rattle their cages, a squeaky vocal line processed into puny rage, and a juddering, 3D bass quake that's just there. Likewise, the strange (and wonderful) staccato flow in 'Thrall' seems boxed in by the nervy, syncopated kick and hi-hat combo, and airless vocal treatments. Indeed, among all the churn and burn, some moments of beauty can happen almost accidentally; you admire the mechanical seethe in the way you admire the brushed chrome of a brand-new skyscraper.

But what exactly is creating these witching hour electronics, and what are the disembodied voices saying? Intimate Publics also revels in this thrill of the unknown, such as the yowls in 'Usually Never' (courtesy of an angry cat? A shorting strimmer? A broken bandsaw?). With the panic-inducing white noise backdrop of 'Being Online' and creepy door squeaks in 'Piecemeal', there's something almost Gothic about the eldritch mystery of this album – Castle of O-trance-to… anyone?
Will Ainsley

1. Širom –
The Liquified Throne Of Simplicity
(tak:til)
I've been soaking in Širom's work since their 2017 album I Can Be A Clay Snapper. Their peculiar take on folk, ethnic music, improvisation and jazz quickly evolved into a truly original style. To catch a glimpse of the sheer spectrum of their sound, imagine a set that includes the mizmar, balafon, rebab, guembri, banjos, hurdy-gurdy, tampura brač, lyre and ocarina, among other instruments. The Liquified Throne Of Simplicity, their magnum-opus, is a double release where each song barely fits on one side of vinyl.

Širom draw inspiration from the raw bass and trance of Natural Information Society, stretching the narrative from meditative and soothing to a growing wall of sound in 'Grazes, Wrinkles, Drifts Into Sleep'. In turn, 'Prods The Fire With A Bone, Rolls Over With A Snake' begins with a repetitive motif on the banjo, complemented by Ana Karanja's vocals through a stunning crescendo, where violins and choral singing combine into stereophonic polyphony on percussion. This ingenious balancing act is a fantastic counterpoint to the trance landscapes of the Slovenian trio.
Jakub Knera

The Quietus Albums Of The Year So Far 2022

  • 1: Širom – The Liquified Throne Of Simplicity
  • 2: Osheyack – Intimate Publics
  • 3: Sea Power – Everything Was Forever
  • 4: Wojciech Rusin – Syphon
  • 5: Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin – Ghosted
  • 6: The Ephemeron Loop – Psychonautic Escapism
  • 7: Claire Rousay – Everything Perfect Is Already Here
  • 8: Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
  • 9: Iceboy Violet – The Vanity Project
  • 10: Alison Cotton – The Portrait You Painted Of Me
  • 11: Valentina Goncharova – Ocean: Symphony For Electric Violin And Other Instruments In 10+ Parts
  • 12: caroline – caroline
  • 13: Laddio Bolocko – '97-'99
  • 14: Nik Colk Void – Bucked Up Space
  • 15: FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS
  • 16: Huerco S. – Plonk
  • 17: Saba – Few Good Things
  • 18: Eiko Ishibashi – Drive My Car OST
  • 19: 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare
  • 20: Mary Halvorson – Amaryllis / Belladonna
  • 21: One More Grain – Beans On Toast With Pythagoras
  • 22: Syd – Broken Hearts Club
  • 23: Real Lies – Lad Ash
  • 24: Pontiac Streator – Sone Glo
  • 25: The Utopia Strong – International Treasure
  • 26: Maylee Todd – Maloo
  • 27: Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals – King Cobra
  • 28: Haress – Ghosts
  • 29: They Hate Change – Finally, New
  • 30: Matmos – Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer
  • 31: Laura Cannell – Antiphony Of The Trees
  • 32: Kill Alters – Armed To The Teeth L.M.O.M.M.
  • 33: Fly Anakin – Frank
  • 34: Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There
  • 35: Batu – Opal
  • 36: Carmel Smickersgill – We Get What We Get & We Don't Get Upset
  • 37: Blackhaine – Armour II
  • 38: Loop – Sonancy
  • 39: Julmud | جُلْمود – Tuqoos | طُقُوس
  • 40: Werk – Angirú
  • 41: Kelly Lee Owens – LP.8
  • 42: Candelabrum – Nocturnal Trance
  • 43: Omertà – Collection Particulière
  • 44: The Sound Of Science – The Sound Of Science
  • 45: Siete Catorce – Cruda
  • 46: Rigorous Institution – Cainsmarsh
  • 47: Maya Shenfeld – In Free Fall
  • 48: Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia
  • 49: Rufus Isabel Elliot & Harry Gorski-Brown – Three Sexual Pieces For Solo Violin (This And This And This)
  • 50: Rosalía – MOTOMAMI
  • 51: 50 Foot Wave – Black Pearl
  • 52: Alabaster dePlume – GOLD
  • 53: Shit And Shine – Phase Corrected
  • 54: Porridge Radio – Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
  • 55: Messa – Close
  • 56: Carmen Villain – Only Love From Now On
  • 57: Rob Mazurek Quartet – Father's Wing
  • 58: United Bible Studies – The Return Of The Rivers
  • 59: Pimpon – Pozdrawiam
  • 60: DJ Travella – Mr Mixondo
  • 61: Otoboke Beaver – Super Champon
  • 62: Cheri Knight – American Rituals
  • 63: Emmanuelle Parrenin – Targala, la maison qui n'en est pas une
  • 64: Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful
  • 65: La Colonie De Vacances – ECHT
  • 66: Erupt – Left To Rot
  • 67: Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker – Canti di guerra, di lavoro e d'amore
  • 68: Lucy Liyou – Welfare / Practice
  • 69: Pusha T – It's Almost Dry
  • 70: Mizmor & Thou – Myopia
  • 71: Cheb Terro Vs DJ Die Soon – Cheb Terro Vs DJ Die Soon
  • 72: Kinbrae & Clare Archibald – Birl Of Unmap
  • 73: Robert Stillman – What Does It Mean To Be American?
  • 74: SOON – SOON
  • 75: Schisms – Break Apart The Idea Of Separation: Wyht Tapes
  • 76: Tanya Tagaq – Tongues
  • 77: Ethel Cain – Preacher's Daughter
  • 78: Luminous Foundation – Haig Fras
  • 79: Buke And Gase + Rahrah Gabor – Buke And Gase + Rahrah Gabor
  • 80: Lasse Marhaug / Jérôme Noetinger – Top
  • 81: Lady Neptune – NOZ
  • 82: Gnod – Hexen Valley
  • 83: Jack Sheen – Sub
  • 84: Nikolaienko – Nostalgia Por Mesozóica
  • 85: Dei Kjenslevare – Kjenslevarulv
  • 86: BFTT – Redefines
  • 87: Whatever The Weather – Whatever The Weather
  • 88: Hercules & Love Affair – In Amber
  • 89: Trupa Trupa – B Flat A
  • 90: Derek Bailey – Domestic Jungle
  • 91: Eric Chenaux – Say Laura
  • 92: I-sef U-sef – Consistency
  • 93: Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream Of Doors
  • 94: Safa – Ibtihalat
  • 95: MY DISCO – Alter Schwede
  • 96: Félicia Atkinson – Image Language
  • 97: EXEK – Advertise Here
  • 98: Warmduscher – At The Hotspot
  • 99: RSS b0y 1 – MYTH0L0GY
  • 100: Sam Slater – I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal