James Holden and the Animal Spirits – Each Moment Like The First (Border Community)
It’s been a pleasure to see James Holden’s sound and approach evolve over the course of his three LPs. The fact that much of his new album was recorded live completely blows my mind. I’ve never seen anyone integrate live instrumentation and electronics with such proficiency and flair. One of my favourite artists at the absolute peak of his powers.
Man Forever feat. Laurie Anderson – Twin Torches (Thrill Jockey)
Like Holden, it’s been great to see John Colpitts change and grow with each passing release. As well as being a perfect showcase for his ridiculous drumming skills, ‘Twin Torches’ also shows just how effective a composer he is in his own right. Also, Laurie f**king Anderson. Come on.
Gnoomes – Severokamsk (Rocket Recordings)
2017 was a great year for the venerable Rocket Recordings with a rake of quality releases from the likes of Gnod, Julie’s Haircut, Pigs x7 and others, but this was the one that I kept coming back to. Forward thinking Krautrock jams from, er, Russia.
Helena Hauff – Gift (Ninja Tune)
Could not stop playing this EP for about a week. There’s a rawness and grit to the production that I don’t hear very often in electronic music. Essential stuff.
Baron Samedi – Soup Kitchen (Patrúin) / Davy Kehoe – Storm Desmond (Wah Wah Wino)
I’m cheating a bit here but I wanted to give a shout out to some amazing Irish music that was released this year and I literally couldn’t choose between these two tracks, so I’m including both of them. Deal with it. Looking forward to great things from Patrúin and Wah Wah Wino in the near future.
Gig of the year
I think it’d have to be Colin Stetson at the Workman’s Club in April. Quite a few jaws being retrieved from the floor after that one! I’d also have to mention Ian William Craig in Bello Bar, Grails in Whelan’s and Robedoor in Jigsaw.