2011: A Retrospective


We’re join­ing in the list fever this year - though not before the year is more or less through - with the favour­ite 2011 records from Even­ing of Light HQ. Of course we missed tons of good releases out there, but these at least are things we par­tic­u­larly enjoyed. Thanks to all the artists and labels for shar­ing their music with us.

First the top 10, in alpha­bet­ical order.

The A. Lords - The A. Lords (Rif Moun­tain) [Our Review]

The LP fol­lowup to 2006’s self-titled 3″ is a mas­ter­piece of pas­toral, almost ambi­ent, folk. Nich­olas Palmer and Michael Tan­ner’s blend of many acous­tic instru­ments with field record­ings, and quite a few for­tu­it­ous guest appear­ances, makes for a won­der­ful album that star­ted out as a relaxed sum­mer favour­ite and turned into a clas­sic for all sea­sons.

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Bass Com­mu­nion - Ceno­taph (Tone­float)

Steven Wilson’s drone pro­ject hits bull­seye with this CD/LP release on tone­float. The four massive tracks on this album com­bine ultra-deep drones with pulsat­ing beats in a flaw­less pro­duc­tion. One of the most hyp­notic releases of the year!

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Burial Hex - Book of Delu­sions (Brave Mys­ter­ies) [Our Review]

Aural insan­ity is one way to describe the utterly ori­ginal and uncom­prom­ising out­put of Burial Hex the past few years. It appears the pro­ject is end­ing after this year, but Book of Delu­sions is one of the test­a­ments to its genius, com­bin­ing drones, samples, organ, piano, demen­ted screams, and hyp­notic beats into an unholy musical mix­ture.

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Momick - Momick (Bladud Flies!) [Our Review]

Richard Moult and Michael Lawrence bring their lys­er­gic piano morph­ing to a debut full length filled with mel­an­cholic melod­ies and sound­scapes, includ­ing beau­ti­ful guest per­form­ances by David Tibet on vocals and Mark Bai­gent on oboe.

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Obsequiae - Sus­pen­ded in the Brume of Eos (Bindrune) [Our Review]

This duo’s excel­lent blend of death/black metal and medi­aeval musical inspir­a­tion makes for an album steeped in energy, solid riffs, and awe­some melod­ies. Our metal tip of the year!

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Pre­mon­i­tion Fact­ory - The Sense of Time (Long­street) [Our Review]

A flaw­less ambi­ent album, and a crown on a long tra­di­tion. Sjaak Over­gaauw’s live loop­ing tech­nique is mar­vel­lous and the mix­ture of light and dark, soft and harsh on this album marks the com­ing of age of a most excel­lent pro­ject. This one just keeps on grow­ing and is not only one of our favour­ite albums of this year, but one of our favour­ite albums, period.

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Rain Drink­ers - Springtide (Reverb Wor­ship)

This pro­ject is one of our favour­ite dis­cov­er­ies of the year, and their blend of organic ambi­ent and cine­matic music (for lack of a bet­ter descrip­tion) is con­sist­ently excel­lent. Springtide is their finest work, though, fea­tur­ing mar­vel­lous violin and string work, heavy drones, organ, and tons of atmo­sphere.

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Sand Snow­man - The World’s Not Worth It (Tone­float) [Our Review]

Sand Snowman’s most recent album is another win­ner, with a par­tic­u­larly excel­lent mix of pro­gress­ive folk and rock songs, as well as soundscape-like epis­odes. Great use of piano, flutes, cla­ri­net, and a guest appear­ance by Steven Wilson make this an excel­lent new full-length.

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Tenhi - Saivo (Proph­ecy) [Our Review]

Refined as ever, Tenhi’s latest is eas­ily one of the best albums of the year in the neo­folk area. Des­pite stay­ing true to their own style, they’re still quite a dis­tance ahead of most oth­ers in this area and Saivo is as much a pleas­ure to listen as its pre­de­cessor from five years ago.

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Maarten van der Vleu­ten - The Scars Remain (Tone­float)

Of course we’re quite par­tial to the Van der Vleu­ten album we released ourselves in 2010, but this year’s return to vinyl (and to tone­float) is simply a mas­ter­piece. His ori­ginal elec­tronic com­pos­i­tions are mas­ter­fully fused with influ­ences and themes from mar­tial indus­trial, but with Maarten’s own crit­ical view on the sub­ject mat­ter.

The fol­low­ing albums, too, are all par­tic­u­larly recom­men­ded in their own right as qual­ity releases from 2011:

  • Alcest - Le Secret (Proph­ecy) [Our Review]:
    Rerecord­ing of Alcest’s excel­lent shoegaze/black metal debut EP.
  • Peter Bjärgö - The Archi­tec­ture of Mel­an­choly (Cyc­lic Law):
    The Arcana front­man presents seven nice darkwave/gothic tracks.
  • Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow (Fish People):
    Sur­pris­ing and very ful­filling, Bush’s min­imal jazzy piano land­scapes delight.
  • Cir­cu­la­tion of Light - LEDNAH : Seven Med­it­a­tions On G.F. Handel’s Organ Con­cer­tos Op. 4 (Brave Mys­ter­ies):
    Acoustic/ambient rein­ter­pret­a­tions of a clas­sical piece.
  • The Cloisters - Little Win­ter [Our Review]:
    Yule album com­bin­ing harp and ambi­ent by Michael Tan­ner and Aine O’Dwyer.
  • Jon DeR­osa - Anchored EP (Sil­ber) [Our Review]:
    Four pure and lovely indie pop songs from the man behind Aark­t­ica.
  • The Doomed Bird of Provid­ence - Will Ever Pray (Front and Fol­low) [Our Review]:
    Ori­ginal and intense naut­ical neo­folk.
  • The Drift­wood Manor - Shel­ter EP (Rus­ted Rail):
    Five lovely Irish folk tracks on this bonus EP to The Same Fig­ure, Leav­ing.
  • Joonatan Elokuu - Earth, Sky, Moon and Sun EP (Utupuu):
    Recor­ded in Hol­land, Elokuu presents a won­der­ful blend of neo­folk, ambi­ent, and field record­ings.
  • Higuma - Paci­fic Fog Dreams (Root Strata) [Our Review]:
    Gor­geous gui­tar and vocal drones.
  • Andrew King - Deus Ignotus (Epi­phany) [Our Review]:
    Power­ful tra­di­tional bal­ladry, with a touch of indus­trial aes­thet­ics.
  • Machin­ist - Of What Once Was (Mov­ing Fur­niture):
    Soph­ist­ic­ated drones from the Neth­er­lands.
  • Richard Moult - Celes­tial King for a Year (Second Lan­guage) [Our Review]:
    Exper­i­mental com­pos­i­tions for strings and voice.
  • Rais­ing Holy Sparks - Bey­ond the Unnamed Bay (Fort Evil Fruit):
    Agit­ated Radio Pilot’s David Colo­han returns with his new pro­ject, blend­ing lovely folk tunes and exper­i­mental elec­tron­ics.
  • Rose Croix  - Rose Croix (Brave Mys­ter­ies) [Our Review]:
    Eth­er­eal and mar­tial indus­trial meet on this nos­tal­gic cas­sette mini-album.
  • Ulver - Wars of the Roses (K-Scope) [Our Review]:
    Slightly under­whelm­ing, the Nor­we­gi­ans’ latest is still a qual­ity album, par­tic­u­larly the massive spoken word end­ing.
  • Vidna Obmana - 1987-2007 - Chas­ing the Odys­sey (Tone­float) [Our Review]:
    Mostly older mater­ial, but this 8LP box of ambi­ent glory is too beau­ti­ful not to remind you of.
  • Vor­tex - Rock­drill (Cyc­lic Law):
    Ritual and rhythmic ambi­ent good­ness from this Gol­gatha side pro­ject.