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2017 Retrospective

My mini-posts about my favourite 2017 music, gathered for your convenience.


Today, looking back on the year. 100% personal, no particular order. Enjoy!

Keep thine eyes peeled & on this here thread.

United Bible Studies always delivers, and they have been since 2016 in shifting line-ups, as befits a collective. This track, from one of the great A Year In The Country Compilations, represents one side of them.

But their massive rework of the previously unreleased “The Archaeologists Hands” on the water charity compilation Water, Water takes the cake:

New York duo ARIADNE fuse visionary religious vocal work with noisy electronics. This one deserves a thorough approach over a longer period as their multimedial release unfolds.

2017 was a big vaporwave year for me; a strange meta-genre that draws in various musical aesthetics. It’s best known for cheesing nostalgia through retro synths and/or samples, but has since come to encompass a wider range of (electronic) styles. Some of my years favourite releases come from these various musical territories.

Finlii was one of them. Mystic Rhythms & Blue Evening Glass is shimmering, careening set of synth songs that exist somewhere just outside familiarity.

While Avantgarde Music puts out a ton of solid metal every year, Wode’s second album was one of the highlights of 2017. Black metal with a dollop of old school heavy metal in terms of riffage. See if you can resist…

When it comes to (post-)vapor electronics, Dream Catalogue occupies a central place. Besides various album releases, this year saw the coming of the massive CHAOS tetralogy. Four compilations featuring a ton of excellent material. PWYW!

Full Spectrum had another good year. One very fine album is Golconda’s 25 to 40, ten summery, glittering tracks pairing guitar with synths, Rhodes, etc.

Adhesive Sounds’ summer compilation was the gateway to some of the vaporwave artists I’ve come to enjoy: i.a. b o d y l i n e, TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL, and Trademarks & Copyrights. Maybe this
nice collection can serve a similar function for you. It’s free!

Speaking of, EXOSPHERE is another great conceptual vapor comp that shows the breadth of the scene. Tracks by finlii, 猫 シ Corp., et al. Pay close attention to this superb Yoshimi track that featured in an earlier Cloudscape.

From the very start of the year, Ocoeur’s Reversed remix EP was an early highlight. Beautiful ambient works, particularly the Julien Machal piano rework.

I anticipated this one since the teasing of its second track months before release. The whole self-titled Tchornobog album does not disappoint. Lush, cerebral, oneiric, doom-laden, brutal death metal.

Staying in the extreme metal zone for a bit, Battle Dagorath impressed once more with their latest album. Surge into the darkest depths of outer space on waves black metal riffs and synthscapes.

Gothing it up is essential, too. This year, we had that amply covered by Hante. with her lovely latest darkwave/synthpop album Between Hope & Danger.

Some more vapors, then. Trademarks & Copyrights put out some juicy babewave this year. Are you living in a life of luxury?

Can you make the twist?

Ambient shouldn’t go missing from this overview. First of all, Jason van Wyk’s two gorgeous albums on Home Normal, of which I’m highlighting ‘Opacity’ here. The perfect balance between piano and electronica.

And on Winter-Light, the soothing and superb ‘The Radiant Sea’ by Bridge To Imla, exploring the eco- and psychological depths of the Pacific.

And an honorable mention for Tobias Hellkvist’s divine ‘Kaskelot’, strictly an older EP, but reissued this year with great new remixes by lovely people like Porya Hatami and Chihei Hatakeyama. Again on Home Normal.

A late discovery, mentioned earlier this week, is Legendry’s ‘Dungeon Crawler’: modern day channeling of the epic fantasy current in heavy metal. Say no more! Plus it’s got a drum solo; those are rare nowadays.

After all these years, I’m still a doomhead as well. Bell Witch’s latest was emotionally draining but sincerely beautiful. My review:

And perhaps an obvious addition, but I *did* enjoy Pallbearer’s latest a whole bunch as well. It is, for lack of a better word, mature. And ends on what is one of the band’s finest tracks to date: “A Plea for Understanding”.

Heading into the darkness. Yoshimi’s ‘Atavism’ on Dream Catalogue was delectable, but don’t forget about the second instalment of ‘Japanese Ghosts’. It’s heavy, it’s noisy, it’s got beats, and those titular ghosts are *present*.

raison d’être & Troum prove once more that they’re a match made in heaven. XIBIPIIO fuses the best of both their typical sounds: drones, waves, and rhythms from the deepest reaches of the mind.

Morgen Wurde took his craft to the next level with an album that can only be described as a detective thriller through the medium of dark jazzy soundscapes. There’s a body, a motive, a murder weapon. Can you piece together what happened?

Lovers of original compositions can always count on polymath Cosmo D. The soundtrack for his latest game The Norwood Suite is another critical hit. Check into the hotel, where the music is jazz through an electronic looking glass.

The final metal mention for today is Sleep White Winter’s heartfelt and original dissection of nostalgia. It’s superbly melancholic nineties and aughties dark metal, but with today’s self-awareness. My review:

When unlikely influences merge in one mind, the result can be breathtaking. Joonatan Aaltonen merges his trademark Finnish acoustic neofolk with synth melodies harkening back to fantasy game soundtracks. Right up my alley.

And finally, Andrew Weathers wrote what is probably my favourite song of the year: I Am Left Buried Where I’ve Been. It’s been a source of solace constantly since I first heard it, and the highlight of an already lovely album. <3

That’s it for 2017 as far as I can see right now. The year was rough on me, but these are some of the things that pulled me through. Thanks for sharing it with me.