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22 Very Good Releases From the Year Past

If you’re anything like us, picking favourites is a daunting task (anyone familiar with the fine art of curating lists will know that list making is more about what not to pick - ie. why didn’t Kendrick make the list?) So rather than falling into analysis paralysis and succumbing to the overly ambitious task of picking the very best of another vintage year in music we’ve opted for a slight cop out.

What we have here is a small snapshot of the releases that we’ve had on, in and around our office, for the last year. We hope it’ll make you get out and listen to some things you might not have heard over the last year or maybe it can serve you as a set of cue cards for your company x-mas party for when someone ambushes you with the question - “So what’s your favourite music?”



Touching Bass - Soon Come

A celebratory 22 track patchwork of music from friends and collaborators of the South London based label. Hard to pin down on any genre spectrum but imagine going to a house party with a bunch of people with ridiculously good music taste - that’s how this record sounds. 


Gold in the Shade - Over You / Shining Through (forthcoming)

Heels & Souls recordings is on a roll and here’s another belter of a 90s street soul reissue from the sought after TSR label. A bit of DIY optimism for the dark times.


Horace Andy - Dance Hall Style (repress)

Not much to say here. The essential landmark of dub got a repress and we’re all here for it.

Get Horace Andy — Dance Hall Style at Hardwax

R-zac - 2

One of a handful of Spiral Tribe relics re-issued by the not-for-profit Sound Metaphors sub label 23. This is gristly, lo-fi techno that goes straight into the top right quadrant of the pleasure/pain matrix. 

Get R-zac 2 at Phonica

Tomu DJ - Half moon Bay

Ambient+Footwork. How would that sound? On her second full-length Tomu DJ resolves the genre paradox with high octane bliss.


Jeff Parker - Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy

This newly release double LP is an unmistakingly live, slow-burner. Over the four side-long tracks Parker and his ensemble of drums, sax and bass awards the listener with exceptional free form composition on a steady groove that just keeps going and going and…..


7FO - 蘭 - 茫天 (Ran - Bouten) 

Subaquatic hardware bliss from Osaka based ambient producer 7FO. Takes me back to Jolly Roger Bay on Super Mario 64. 


The Zenmenn & John Moods - Hidden Gem

This release from The Zenmenn on Music For Memory can be summed up with the following tongue twister: A set of six summer sunday sizzlers. 


George Riley - Running in Waves

Following on from a mega feature on ANZs ‘You Could Be’ Riley strikes a more introspective and solipsistic chord on “Running in Waves”. The marriage between Vegyn’s lean production and Riley’s soft delivery is a perfect exercise in the cliche of intimate, yet powerful.


700 Bliss - Nothing to Declare

If you’re looking for a comforting sonic backdrop for a xmas gathering with your inlaws this record probably isn’t it (but if it is, we’d love to hear from you). Instead what Nothing to Declare delivers is a full on frontal attack on the patriarchal powers that be. 


 Sudan Archives - Natural Brown Prom Queen

A stunningly ingenious self-biographical tapestry weaved together by technical equilibristics, DIY experimentation and daring lyricism that gives the word ‘one woman band’ a whole nother dimension.


Yaya Bey - Remember your Northstar

If you ever need a reminder of why the album format is still relevant, just listen to this. ‘On Remember Your Northstar’ Bey takes you on a kaleidoscopic emotional rollercoaster travelling through womanhood, generational trauma and casual hookups. One moment Bey is getting lit in the club the next she’s tearing up the romanticised 9-5 grind. The future of R&B is in safe hands. 


Bad Bunny - Un Verano sin Ti

It was between this and Motomami, but in my opinion Bad Bunny one upped Rosalia with Verano Sin Ti. The internet is already full of accolades and superlatives about Bad Bunny so let’s just leave it at this. 2022 was Bad Bunny’s and we’re just living in it.

Akira Ito - Marine Flowers

Since it’s first release 35 years ago ‘Marine Flowers’ (originally composed to accompany a documentary about the Marine wildlife filmed of Palau) has garnered a cult following with obscene discogs prices as a result (sharks be sharking). But this year aspiring Japanese ambient heads were blessed with a reissue courtesy of the good folks at Glossy Mistakes.


 The Cavemen - Love and Highlife

‘Perfection’ is a dangerous term to throw around but ‘Osondu’ from The Cavemen’s debut album ‘Roots’ is pretty damn close. Now they’re back with another heartbreakingly good album that has no problem standing up to Fela, Rex and Osadebe.

(Nb. this is practically a 2021 release, but too good to be left out)

Coby Sey - Conduit

Coby Sey is such a scene defining artist I almost forgot that he hadn’t put out a solo album yet. But here it is. And it’s sooo good. A bit like a dark dream you don’t want to wake up from.


Voice Actor - Sent from my Telephone

STROOM’s label bio on Bandcamp reads like this: ‘The Girl That Won't Return Your Love But Is Totally Worth It’. Maybe this 109-track long hypnotic dream album is that girl?


The Detroit Escalator Company - Soundtrack [313] + 6

If (Black dog&Manuel Götsching&Susumu&Yokota&Global Communications == <3) {

//Buy Soundtrack [313] + 6


That's computer speak for: if you like The Black Dog, Manuel Götsching, Susuma Yokota and Global Communications, you'll like this.


Whatever the Weather — Whatever the Weather

Released by our friends and product partners at Ghostly, Whatever the Weather sees London-based electronic musician and producer, Loraine James, adopt a new moniker as well as an entirely new, ambient-leaning musical identity. Whatever the Weather by Whatever the Weather is pointed enough to satisfy your inner 90s IDM child and dreamy enough to whisk you away on an iridescent Studio Ghibli cloud buoyed up with joy and melancholy. 


Floating Points — Vocoder

2022 was the year we could finally, really dance again. What better way to celebrate than dancing with tears in your eyes to a majestically pounding dance floor behemoth by Floating Points? A welcome return to the dedicated dancefloor from an artist gifted with the ability to make his music sound like it’s channeling the entirety of human history all at once. Yet another quality release in a banner year from our friends at Ninja Tune. 


Various Artists — Artificial Intelligence

Originally released in 1992 by our partners at Warp, Artificial Intelligence is a reissue of a pioneering record that forever changed the musical landscape when it first hit the record store shelves back in the wide-eyed early 90s. The revived compilation is just as bleepily good as you’d expect with artists like Autechre, Speedy J and Aphex Twin alter ego Polygon Window supplying one stand-out track after another, making you realize that the early days of Warp Records still remain spine-tinglingly relevant here at the cusp of 2023.

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