December 30, 2011

Top 50 Albums of 2011: 20 - 11

Tape “Revelationes”

Hailing from Stockholm, Tape are now on their eighth album and have been around over a decade. Garnering some deserved attention in 2008 with the superb Luminarium, Revelationes slipped a little under the radar. A short and truly beautiful album of post-rock with jazzy drums and a heap of melancholy.


Timber Timbre “Creep On Creepin' On”

Featuring some subtle guest appearances from saxophonist Colin Stetson, Timber Timbre's fourth album was also nominated for the Polaris in 2011. The creepy old-timey melodic sensibility of singer-songwriter Taylor Kirk was stronger than ever on this appropriately named album. Without a doubt this was Timber Timbre's strongest work to date.

(Arts & Crafts)

Amon Tobin “Isam”

Known for his jazz-sampling work in the nineties, Tobin has eschewed the vinyl in favour of field recordings. More angular and disjointed, yet also more melodic, Isam a more introverted work, in terms of process and sound. Coupled with an extroverted and technically impressive live show, Tobin impressed us all.

(Ninja Tune)

Battles “Gloss Drop”

In 2010, vocalist Tyondai Braxton quit Battles halfway through recording their second album. One member down, they decided to continue as a three-piece adding several guest vocalists including Gary Numan and Kazu of Blonde Redhead. Gloss Drop is a fun, original record pushing their inimitable maximalist, loop-driven sound further forward.


Nicolas Jaar “Space Is Only Noise”

Inhabiting the space between James Blake and Matthew Dear, but more subtle than either, Nicolas Jaar blends samples, dubstep and deep house together to create a truly unique downtempo experience. From the Godard-laden “Être” to the latin-laced “Keep Me There”, Jaar has made a unique and long-lasting record.

(Clown & Sunset)

Jacaszek “Glimmer”

On Glimmer the Polish composer focuses on harpsichord and the deep resonance of clarinet. The static fuzz of drone and electronics provide a backdrop to huge gothic arches of sound, soliciting comparisons to Tim Hecker or Murcof. Expansive and melancholic, its potency's revealed by its ability to fill any space.

(Ghostly International)


Known for his remixes and 2020 EP, the identity of SBTRKT remained unknown for most of 2011. Eventually the man behind the mask was outed as British DJ and producer Aaron Jerome. Hugely catchy, SBTRKT successfully blends dubstep, R&B and pop, sounding something like a much updated Nightmares On Wax.

(Young Turks)

The Weeknd “House Of Balloons”

Discovered by Toronto superstar Drake, The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) has released a trilogy of mixtapes (mini-albums really) to download for free from his website. With a meld of R&B, dubstep, hip-hop, samples from surprising sources and Tesfaye's pained stories of drugs and sex, the end result is enthralling.


Bon Iver “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon is another man who had the unenviable task of following-up a critically acclaimed, organically successful debut. Affecting a much more eighties sound than before, the album is a work of emotive beauty and a highly listenable one at that. The cheesy final track “Beth/Rest” aside.


Radiohead “The King of Limbs”

Released suddenly without announcement or promo, the album isn't Radiohead's best by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is it the half-baked release that it appeared to be on first listen. “Bloom” opens with a clear dubstep influence but the ballads, especially “Codex”, are the highlights here.

(TBD Records)