Records Of The Year 2018 | Mid Year Review

AOTY Staff Picks store news

Ah mate, it's been a bonkers year already. Thought we'd zoom in with a round-up of this years best gear, just so we can all keep track, come AOTY time. This also gives you lot a chance to see what we here at HS are all about in 2018, in one neat and concise article. There are of course links to individual product pages, so that you can actually hear some of this madness, and maybe pick up a banger or two.

Also, at the bottom of the blog, I've selected a handful of releases that were just outside our top 30 that are absolutely worth an extra push on you lot, that I've applied a special 15% discount code to... check em out!!!

Peace and Love x

Virginia Wing

Ecstatic Arrow

Fire

BUY

Sam and Merida joined this time by Xam duo’s Christopher Duffin on Sax. The trio along with long-term production collab Misha Hering have produced something so deep and resonant, but simultaneously so beautiful to enjoy with friends or on the dance floor. It’s seen them rise head and shoulders above their peers and produced a genuine contender for End Of Year lists all over. Shades of Laurie Anderson, Stereolab, Peter Gabriel, Yasuaki Shimizu shine on.

Sons Of Kemet

Your Queen Is A Reptile

Impulse!

BUY

Shabaka Hutchings first gambit for his Impulse! deal see’s the dual-drum assault and deep afro jazz of Sons Of Kemet step up a notch. Confrontational, galvanising, and downright danceable. Instant classic.

Kate NV

For

RVNG INTL

BUY

After her debut LP for Orange Milk, Kate has moved to NYC avant space travellers RVNG for more explorations in MIDI-Mallet, vocal editing and beautiful melodic collage. A young composer able to hold her own in a record collection along with Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Midori Takada.

Tenderlonious

The Shakedown

22a

BUY

London crew taking the late-70’s Bitches Brew/Weather Report approach to Jazz. Low down bass grooves, the TIGHTEST beats from Yussef Dayes and the sweetest flute lines from Tenerlonious himself.

Rival Consoles

Persona

Erased Tapes

BUY

Ryan West puts in his third and most realised title for Erased Tapes this year, and for those of you buzzing on that Four Tet/Thom Yorke/Jon Hopkins flavour of Electronica then look over in this guys direction. Persona is a rich, lush and deep exploration of late night beats and soaring cinematic melody. Banger.

Emanative

Earth

Jazzman

BUY

Nick Woodmansey and his free jazz collective Emanative have just quietly turned in one of the most shockingly great albums of the year. Worshipping at the altar of Sun Ra, but having a grounding in deep jazz funk sees this record pull 10 minute motorik seances out like it aint no thang. Absolutely rude.

Various

Club Meduse

Spacetalk

BUY

Creative Director Charles Bals has raided his own deep, deep crates for this serene and sun-kissed collection of obscure and oddball Balearic cuts. Luxury treatment for your ears.

Fever Ray

Plunge

Rabid

BUY

Karin Dreijer is by far one of the finest avant-pop composers of the last twenty years, and this years long-overdue Plunge pulls the desperate aural strands of The Knife and previous Fever Ray releases firmly under one brutal sonic project. Razor-sharp techno-infected electro pop, savagely graphic lyrical narrative picking apart today’s sexual politics, and straight-up some of the best artwork I’ve seen for years. You need it. Now.

Various

Spiritual Jazz Vol 8: Japan

Jazzman

BUY

Well now. Did Jazzman release possibly one of the best archival jazz releases of the last decade? Possibly. Wild free and cosmic jazz culled from decades of records largely unavailable to European diggers, in some of the most extravagant and mouth watering packaging we’ve ever had the pleasure of gawping at. Bosch.

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto

Glass

NOTON

BUY

Long overdue release of this pair’s beautiful, haunting 2016 performance for Phillip Johnson’s 110th birthday at his Glass House.

Head Technician

Profane Architecture

Ecstatic

Back Soon

Kent’s world-class electronic producer Martin Jenkins taking time out from his Pye Corner Audio day job to release another minimal techno masterpiece as Head Technician. 606/303 wizardry in the most discerning and subtle sense. Wicked stuff.

Idris Ackamor And The Pyramids

An Angel Fell

Strut

Back Soon

Ackamor, assisted by Heliocentric’s Malcom Catto plunge a world of 60’s psychedelia, Sun Ra’s afro-futurism and more traditional African music traditions. Masterwork.

Ami Shavitt

Neural Oscillations and Alpha Rhythms

Dead Cert

BUY

More ploughing of this wonderful but largely underrated composers catalogue from the folks at DDS and Finders Keepers. Meditative, modal synthesis stretched over two sides. For the most Zen humans only.

Jenny Hval

The Long Sleep

Sacred Bones

BUY

Hval does it again! More gorgeous, but utterly bizarre experimental, minimal and electronic pop music from Sacred Bone’s finest Auteur.

Cub Mud

Noises, Silences

OSC

BUY

Deep ambient bass music for obscure timekeeping in inner city urban areas.

Antonio Benini

Drumphillia Vol 1

Cristalline

BUY

Out-of-nowhere surprise hit of the summer! One-man drum kit/sampler/synth percussion master uses African samples and rhythmic conventions to inform this infectious, groove-laden set. Wicked stuff!

Hookworms

Microshift

Domino

Back Soon

Yorkshire’s premier experimental indie-lads swap motorik shoegaze for motorik dance floor thump, and how!

Various

Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip

Riding Easy

Back Soon

Riding Easy manage to squeeze out a 6th instalment of this excellent series of obscure/private press RAWK!

Nightcrawlers

Biophonic Boombox Recordings

Anthology

Back Soon

Hugely prolific, but largely ignored, Anthology admirably compile a glorious collection of Philadelphia’s most experimental germanic trio. Fans of Popul Vuh, Neu! and Ami Shavit would do well to hear this!

Nils Frahm

All Melody

Erased Tapes

BUY

in 2018, Frahm is something of a veteran of the ‘new school’ of neo-classical. All Melody, and its companion EP show that he is not of ideas yet, far from it. Subtly folding electronics into his texture without sounding crass or trite, this double set is one of this year strongest ‘big ones.’

Miles Davis and John Coltrane

The Final Tour

Columbia

BUY

Well of course, this is rather good.

Molly Nilsson

These Things Take Time

Night School

BUY

Long out of print, fetching £££ on discogs, Nilssons debut is still her most haunting.

Antonio Sanchez

Buli Povo

Analog Africa

BUY

From the story that began with Space Echo, Analog Africa put out this years best RSD release with Sanchez’s wonderful full album

Here Lies Man

You Will Know Nothing

Riding Easy

BUY

Riding Easy released this groups second album a month or so back, and it’s continuation on the Sabbath/Fela Kuti vibe is still a thing to behold. Sick analog tape vibes, infections beats and mud-thick guitars. Mate.

Courtney Barnett

Tell me How You Really Feel

Marathon Artists

BUY

Best album yet from Melbourne’s finest export

Grouper

Grid Of Points

Kranky

BUY

Possibly Liz Harris’ most concise release to date. Beautiful, bleak, dream-like.

Various

African Scream Contest 2

Analog Africa

BUY

Raw, funky songs, buzzsaw guitars. What Analog Africa does best

Potter Natalizia Zen

Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out

Ecstatic

BUY

Deep electronic explorations from Guido Zen, Not Waving’s Alessio Natalizia and Nurse With Wound’s own Colin Potter. This record is just brilliant.

Alice Coltrane

Lord Of Lords

Superior Viaduct

BUY

Of course, the final part in the informal trilogy of World Galaxy and Universal Consciousness. The most cinematic, dramatic free jazz musician the world has ever seen. 100/10

Arp

Zebra

Mexican Summer

BUY

This record is great. It sounds like Japan (The Band) jamming on John Hassell and Brian Eno covers. Think about that.

 

And if thats not enough, there are these releases that were squeezed out of a top 30, that I just want to give a special mention.

To extra push, I've applied a 15% discount on the three titles below using code SUMMER2018 at the checkout - valid until 11.59pm BST, Sunday 1st July 2018. Take that deeeeeeeeal!!!

 


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