Although it might be considered a bit late with posting this in February, here's a simplified overview of my 27th year as a human being on planet earth, in the year 2015, presented with a selection of random and completely irrelevant information that won't necessarily tell you how my year was.
I walked over 3145,19 kilometers. though activity wasn't necessarily consistent throughout the year:
I listened to over 32,073 songs, with a daily average of 87.
I listened to the following five artists the most throughout 2015:
- David Bowie (1,680 plays)
- Brian Eno (900 plays)
- Tim Hecker (741 plays)
- Smog (693 plays)
- Oneohtrix Point Never (648 plays)
2015 was a year where I didn't go out of my way to discover new music, but nonetheless continued to find something new in the past – thus the following five albums were the ones I listened to the most (and not necessarily consider the best):
Shout Wellington Air Force
2010 – Morningside Records
Disclaimer: I must mention that I was involved with the now defunct Morningside Records, who released the album Clean Sunset by Shout Wellington Air Force. However, to my own defence, I didn't give the actual album the attention it deserved back then, but instead enjoyed several of their liveshows around the time up to and after the release of the album.
Secondly, I actually have a hunch that this album isn't technically one of my most played albums in 2015, but due to the Last.FM-scrobbler acting funny sometimes, it attributed the album more plays. But with all that said, it certainly deserves a place here, as I did listen to it a lot, and rewarded me more than expected, for various personal reasons.
The album is their debut LP, following the EP Carry Yourself, released three years earlier. Despite its sound being all over the place and can change in tempo several times during a song, they remain catchy and easily accessible, and the production, by Aske Zidore continues to reveal itself in new ways even after the first couple of listens.
Shout Wellington Air Force disbanded before finishing their second album, but lead singer Bastian continues to release music under the moniker New Spring.
Tied to a Star
2014 – Sub Pop
While I'm certainly aware of and respect the work of Dinosaur Jr., I've never really given their albums any attention, despite being surrounded by the so-called slacker movement in my mid- to late teens. So to my surprise, I found more value in both J. Mascis' first "real" solo album (excluding the interesting J + Friends Sing & Chant for Amma) Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star, than I initially expected – even though it's not miles apart from what he does in Dinosaur Jr.
J's solo albums generally seems more introvert, without never letting go of a the good melodies, and even though both solo albums are largely acoustic, he still proves that he's deserves his title as the 5th (or 86th, depending on the publication) Greatest Guitarist of all time.
Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
1974 – Island
While I initially, many years ago, started obsessing with Brian Eno and ambient music, I didn't give his earlier rock albums enough attention until 2014, when I (finally) started to hear the magic. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) is Eno's second solo album, released only 9 months after his first, Here Comes The Warm Jets. Where that was more consistent in its sound, Taking Tiger Mountain is all over the place, utilising much more instruments and effects throughout the album.
Lyrically the album is full of imaginary lines like: "In my town, there is a raincoat under a tree / In the sky, there is a cloud containing the sea / In the sea, there is a whale without any eyes / In the whale, there is a man without his raincoat" (Mother Whale Eyeless).
The album sounds just as futuristic today as it did back then.
2013 – Kranky / Paper Bag Records
While the ambient genre is home for a lot of irrelevant noise, luckily there is labels like Kranky who is consistent in evolving the genre, most notably with names like Stars Of The Lid.
Tim Hecker (Canada), however, had been completely out of my radar in the sense that I only knew him by name, but didn't have anything to go by in terms of somewhere to start. Somehow, and I honestly can't remember how, I gave this album some attention, which immediately lured me into the rest of his discography.
Virgins isn't something I would consider ambient, it contains far too many details that appears in the sound; like audio collages, instruments and ensembles are processed and edited to become something out of this world, yet still sounds strangely familiar. Similar to the to the mesmerising album artwork, it leaves you intrigued to figure out what's behind the curtains.
New album, Love Streams, out in 2016.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
2014 – Madlib Invazion
Just as I was about to be bored with hip-hop after a period listening to the genre extensively, this album suddenly appeared and woke my interest. A (in short) gangster rapper produced by a backpacker-producer, which results in a refreshing new take on why the album format is still relevant in hip-hop anno 2014.
Cocaine Piñata is the debut album of their collabration, after teasing the project with a trilogy of EPs since 2011. Gibbs doesn't only perform well over Madlib's soulful all-over-the-place beats, but he also makes sure to deliver content with his words, instead of relying on things like simple repetitive hooks, which the genre has been much subject to as of late. Performing on the most abstract beats of his career so far, Gibbs never sounds out of place.
Featuring "all the mother fuckers in the rap game worth fucking with", y0u can't really disagree when names like Danny Brown, Raekwon, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, BJ The Chicago Kid and Scarface (one of the most underrated hip-hop lyricists of all time) appearing on the tracklist.