Music was one of the few things to keep me sane in a bloody awful year from a personal point of view, and these spinning discs were the good 'uns that got caught in the net. Of course, there's bound to be some really good stuff that flew right on by, but this is my bag.
Really, it's just an excuse for me to make another list, in very rough chronological order, with links to reviews. What I consider the ten jewels in the crown are in bold, and it was damned hard trying to decide what would make the cut.
This year I will split this thing into two parts, otherwise it could take too long for the page to load!
Guapo - History Of The Visitation
Kicking off the year with this fearsome racket, the post-Xmas Holiday blues were blown away by this hypnotically sinister slab of noise.
Farmers Market - Slav To The Rhythm
A fun and different take on jazz-fusion with mucho exotic instrumentation aplenty. A joyous little record.
Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing
After following his career for over twenty years, it's great to see that "the boy done good", and here he delivers a highly polished and brilliantly played take on classic prog moves, aided by a great band, that was even better live. Surprisingly, I've not played it nearly as much as I thought I was going to, and his next move will hopefully take a new turn. Can a record be too perfect?
Herd Of Instinct - Conjure
Their sound beefed up by the addition of Djam Karet's Gayle Ellet on keyboards, the Herd magic up a fine slab of modern instrumental prog.
Amplifier - Echo Street
Rock Monsta! Album Of The Year contender.
Rock song of the Year
Taylor's Universe - Worn Out
Anything but, this is individualistic jazz-fusion tinged progressive music of the highest order.
David Bowie - The Next Day
A major surprise, and not just in the stealth bomber release tactics. Another contender. March was a bloody good month, it has to be said.
Henry Fool - Men Singing
Everything the Eno/Canterbury fan could want and much more besides. Lovely.
Baron - Columns
Post-rock and Ashra ambience only begin to describe it. Another product of the Brighton hive-mind.
uKanDanZ - Yetchalal
Ethiopian/Belgian jazz rock, anyone? If your feet don't at least twitch to this, you're probably dead.
Soft Machine Legacy - Burden Of Proof
Jazz-fusion album of the year...possibly. Buy it!
We were there at the up to that point fabulous gig that was ended with John Marshall's collapse, and the last I heard he is recovering well. Take it easy, John.
Necromonkey - Necroplex
Not what you'd maybe expect from a combination of two members of Änglagård and Gösta Berlings Saga, and all the better for it. File next to Gavin Harrison & O5ric.
Jumble Hole Clough - Two Days In April
Lovely minimalist ambience lost in space and time...or North Yorkshire. 'Appen.
Half Past Four - Good Things
Rocky "pizzazz and wonderful energy". Jez said it all.
Humble Grumble - Guzzle It Up
Zappa meets Gong and the Hatfields in Budapest. Mad good fun.
Bulbs - On
Proof that you can be "prog" and come up with a different recipe.
The Wrong Object - After The Exhibition
The other contender for jazz-fusion album of the year. It's a dead heat! Utterly brilliant and inventive from start to end. Buy it!
Sanguine Hum - The Weight Of The World
One of the torchbearers for the new Canterbury sound. Great songs, lovely instrumentation. They are damn good live too.
...still reading? Part Two can be found HERE.
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