In 2014, Grouper (pseudonym for singer-songwriter Liz Harris) released Ruins and it quickly became one of my favorite albums ever. Harris’ dark, cavernous, and hauntingly beautiful singing combined with usually just a piano and the occasional background synth helped create an experience that I will never forget. Last December, she released a “7 single titled Paradise Valley which contained the tracks “Headache” and “I’m Clean Now.” Both of these singles still contain that bare minimal production the same dark, yet quiet singing. Hopefully this is a taste of what’s to come down the line.
Listen to the Paradise Valley below:
2. Oneohtrix Point Never
Daniel Lopatin’s last album Garden of Delete was a steep departure from his typical ambient style that he’s been making since 2009’s Memory Vague. It was louder, more abrasive, and honestly seemed like a soundtrack to a cyberpunk movie. Hands down some of weiredt electronic music I had ever heard in my life. While some long time fans were unsure of the shift, I was dumbfounded at how great it was. It’s been quite a while since heard from him though. Last year, Lopatin had a hand in producing ANONHI’s debut Hopelessness which ended up topping a lot of year end lists (including mine). It’s been 2 years since Garden of Delete and the world could definitely use some more O
Listen to “I Bite Through It” off of Garden of Delete below
3. Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin is one of those artists that I can’t wrap my head around. After a decades long hiatus, he returned in 2014 with Syro, an album that I felt was a modern day classic and hailed by many to be some of his best work since the Richard D. James album. Fast forward a year later, he releases Computer Controlled Instruments Pt. 2 EP which had fans scratching their heads wondering what to make of it. It was so weird, yet alluring. Last year, James released the Cheetah EP which was a little more subdued in comparison to Syro, but with not as good of a reception from critics. For me though, it was my favorite EP from last year and had one of my favorite songs from last year in “CIRKLON3 (Kolkhoznaya mix)”. Seeing as how he’s released new music every year since his return, we can only hope that he plans to release something for the masses.
Listen to CIRKLON3 (Kolkhoznaya mix) off of the Cheetah EP below:
There aren’t many artists that can stand the test of time like Bjork. Her career has spanned over 3 decades and admittedly has had a few rough spots, but for everyone one mediocre release she will release 3 that are incredible. Bjork’s last release was in 2015 with Vulnicura which was a fantastic follow-up to her polarizing Biophilia release just 4 years prior. In 2016, she released a live version of Vulnicura which was equally as good, Other than that, Bjork has been pretty quiet. However, surprises can always happen. Here’s hoping that she’ll be in a gift giving mood!
Listen to “lionsong” from Vulnicura