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Friday, 26 December 2014

Subwayz Selectionz: My Top 30 Albums of 2014

My Top 30 Albums of 2014
The Complete List

30. Legowelt: Crystal Cult 2080 (Creme Organisation)

Legowelt: fan of the occult and horticulture

  1. Experimental Awakening
  2. Ancient Rites Demoni Mundi
  3. Excalibur R8MK2
  4. Psychotic Endurance
  5. How I Live
  6. The Future Of Myself
  7. Fundamental Superstition
  8. Crystal Cult 2080
  9. When The Spring Comes Again
  10. Cyberspace Is Still Happenin' For Real
  11. Lighthouses & Fried Fish Disks
  12. A Distant Meadow In Your Soul 

There's a subtle yet distinctive difference between Crystal Cult 2080, released back in April of this year, and The Paranormal Soul, the previous album which Danny Wolfers released under his Legowelt pseudonym back in 2012. 

Crystal Cult 2080 represents a darker, mystical tinged departure compared to the more accessible, revisionist house and techno of The Paranormal Soul. You only have to look at the album sleeve to notice Legowelt's somewhat overt occultist overtones. 

The album starts as it means to go along, with enigmatic, swirling synths, blended with menacing beats, whilst imbued with dark, eerie basslines. At best the album is a trip into a techno-infused cabalistic world. At it's worst, it sounds like incidental music from the Super Nintendo 90's video game Castlevania.

My standout track: The Future Of Myself

29. The Cyclist: Flourish (All City Dublin)
  1. Ripples Through Ice
  2. Breathless
  3. Sand Dunes
  4. Tape Grunge Rave 
  5. Breakthrough
  6. Daisy Spirals
  7. Flourish

The whole 'wonky production' thing has been and done quite a few times, but what makes Flourish excel is that underneath all the lo-fi and off kilter production are 7 solid tracks by Andrew Morrison. There's the percussion of Ripples Through Ice, the electro throng of Tape Grunge Rave and the bass driven swirls of Daisy Spirals.

My standout track: Tape Grunge Rave

28. Recondite: Iffy (Innervisions)

  1. Baro
  2. Levo
  3. Tame
  4. Garbo
  5. Buteo
  6. Duolo
  7. Konter
  8. Steady
  9. Glint
  10. Jim Jams

I first listened to Hinterland by Recondite towards the end of last year, it was one of my favourite albums of 2013. I've been of the opinion that Hinterland was going to be a hard act to follow. Iffy has a slightly harder edge, but still contains the same beat driven elements of melody and emotion that featured in Hinterland. I don't think it had the same level of emotion, but none the less Iffy is still a very competent follow up album.

My stand out track: Garbo

27. Sully: Blue (Keysound Recordings)

There's been a renaissance of jungle over the last year or so, Soul Music by Special Request being the zenith in this particular movement. Blue by Sully was released in June, and contains some interesting excursions, There's a mixture of wobbly basslines, swirling synths, amen breaks and rollin snares to keep any old school drum n bass fan happy.

My Stand Out Track: M141

26. Actress: Ghettoville (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)

  1. Forgiven
  2. Street Corp.
  3. Corner
  4. Rims 
  5. Contagious
  6. Birdcage
  7. Our
  8. Time
  9. Towers
  10. Gaze
  11. Skyline
  12. Image
  13. Don't
  14. Rap
  15. Frontline
  16. Rule

Ghettoville is supposedly Darren Cunningham's final offer in his Actress incarnation. I got the previous Actress album RIP, and found that it was difficult to get into. It took more than a few plays to finally appreciate the Actress sound, but I'm glad that I did. I've found Ghettoville to be of the same ilk, with brief mutant vignettes punctuated between dark longer beat driven slabs of loops and samples. I've noticed that Ghettoville has been on a few reviewers 2014 top ten lists. However, I don't think that this album isn't as accessible as previous material, and I feel that this has been the difference between Ghettoville being good, and not being great. 

My Standout Track: Skyline 

25. Lenzman: Looking At The Stars (Metalheadz)

  1. Lazy Dub
  2. Just Can't Take
  3. My Tearz
  4. Through My Eyes
  5. 1978 (Interlude)
  6. Paper Faces
  7. Move & Focus
  8. Collapse
  9. Private Eye
  10. It's Yours (Interlude)
  11. Always
  12. Burner
  13. Anticipate
  14. Starz
  15. Empty Promise (Jubei Remix)
  16. Move & Focus (Instrumental)
  17. My Tearz (Instrumental)

Lenzman's debut album, on Metalheadz was released back in June to much fanfare. I think its fair to say that there was a lot of anticipation about Lenzman's first long player, and it didn't disappoint. There'a rich mixture of crafted drum n bass to suit all tastes here, from the liquid sensibilities of Lazy Dub to the dark tinged vocal excellence of My Tearz, Looking At The Stars is an impressive album, which showcases Lenzman's ability to craft drum n bass of the highest quality.

My Standout Track: Collapse

24. Throwing Snow: Mosaic (Houndstooth)

  1. Avarice
  2. The Tempest
  3. Hypnotise
  4. Linguis
  5. As You Fall
  6. Pathfinder
  7. The Void
  8. Maera
  9. All The Lights
  10. Draugr
  11. Saltaire (Parts 1 & 2)

Ross Tones long player was released on Fabric's imprint Houndstooth back in July. The album consists of a few collaborations and experiments, which at certain points may feel more in the way of concoctions. But overall the positive qualities shine through. Lost in the wake of this album are all the hallmarks of drum n bass and dubstep, which are cut and pasted throughout. Mosaic is probably an apt description of the album, and amidst the dark basslines and fractured vocals lies the patchwork of a decent recording.

My Standout Tune: Hypnotise

23. Ekoplekz: Unfidelity (Planet Mu)

  1. Trace Elements
  2. Nerva Beacon
  3. Robert Rental
  4. Severn Beach
  5. Sea 90
  6. Unfidelity
  7. Coalpit Heath
  8. Pressure Level
  9. Analogue Twitch
  10. Tuning Out
  11. Sleng Zen

Unfidelity is a caustic, dub tinged excursion into the imagination of Bristol native Nick Edwards. This is an 11 track mish mash of experimental dub techno stylings, sprinkled with acidic beat driven machinations. Some experiments have better results than others, but on the whole Unfidelity is a welcome departure into the unknown, with a safe pair of hands at the wheel. 

My Standout Track: Pressure Level

22. Altered Natives: Sin Elevated Art (Eye4Eye Recordings)

  1. The Void
  2. Callaloo
  3. Cold Infinity
  4. Dominator
  5. Big Black Dildo
  6. Majestic Pussy Purrrr
  7. The Broken Promise
  8. Ass & Titties
  9. Intensive Care
  10. Hello Kitty
  11. Feel Good

Sin Elevated Art was self released by Danny Yorke back in May, and seems to have stayed under the radar for the remaining duration of the year. The whole album is a subterranean journey into the murky world of house, grime, garage and house, where it's propelled aloft on the wings of some dirtiest basslines you will ever hear. This album represented a milestone for me personally, it was the first album that I've ever entered onto Discogs, which I was very happy to do!

My Standout Tune: Big Black Dildo

21. Moire: Shelter (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)
  1. Attitude
  2. Dali House
  3. Elite/Hands On
  4. Infinity Shadow
  5. No Gravity
  6. Stars
  7. Rings
  8. Mr Figure

Shelter was released back in August, and after reading a few reviews you might be forgiven for thinking that it was Actress who was responsible for the production this album. However, it was released via Actress' own record label Werkdiscs. I think that Darren Cunningham must have seen a lot of his own qualities in Moire. Shelter is a little more accessible than Ghettoville, but feels a lot more commercial, however Shelter still retains those acute techno sensibilities. There are some delicious touches of acidic squelch, mixed in with basslines, ambiance and vocals that only adds to the atmosphere. I think that Shelter is a wonderfully crafted piece of techno-related escapism.
My Standout Track: Mr. Figure

20. Wen: Signals (Keysound Recordings)

  1. Intro (Family)
  2. Galactic
  3. Lunar (feat. Blackdown)
  4. You Know
  5. Persian
  6. Swingin' (LDN Mix)
  7. Vampin'
  8. Time (feat. Parris)
  9. In
  10. Signal
  11. Nightcrawler (Devils Mix)
  12. Play Your Corner (feat. Rik..)

Signals was released in March, and is Owen Darby's first album under the Wen moniker. Signals grunts, grinds and bumps along with expert precision. The general tone is dark, but is lifted by some incisive vocalizations, and punctuated by a superior blend of beats and enhanced by dirty basslines.

My Standout Track: Galactic 

19. Objekt: Flatland (PAN)
  1. Agnes Revenge
  2. One Fell Swoop
  3. Ratchet 
  4. Strays
  5. Agnes Apparatus
  6. Dogma
  7. First Witness
  8. Interlude (Whodunnit?)
  9. Second Witness
  10. One Stitch Follows Another
  11. Cataracts

Objekt's debut album was released in October to much critical acclaim. Flatland is a symbiosis of the experimental with hard edged techno sensibilities which benefit from the savvy programming and arrangement of TJ Hertz. There's a combination of ambient interludes punctuated with some intricate rhythmical tracks. All in all, it's a pretty impressive debut.

My Standout Track: Strays

18. Lucy: Churches Schools And Guns
(Stroboscopic Artefacts)

  1. The Horror
  2. Leave Us Alone
  3. The Self As Another
  4. Human Triage
  5. Laws And Habits
  6. Follow The Leader
  7. Catch Twenty Two
  8. The Illusion Of Choice
  9. We Live As We Dream
  10. All That Noise
  11. The Best Selling Show
  12. Falling

Churches Schools and Guns was released by Luca Mortellaro on his own label, Stroboscopic Artefacts back in February. Asides from the provocative title, Churches Schools And Guns contains dark, brooding dub, interspersed with some deep rolling techno, which has given me a tantalizing glimpse into the eerie world of Lucy. There was also a remix EP, which featured some impressive mixes by Eomac and Donato Dozzy among others.   

My Standout Track: The Illusion Of Choice

17. Max Graef: Rivers Of The Red Planet
      (Tartelet Records)

  1. Itzehoe
  2. Superswiss (Skit)
  3. Running
  4. Jazz 104
  5. Tamboule Fudgemunk
  6. Quackeljochen
  7. Ohne Erdung
  8. Mullholand Drive
  9. Drums Of Death
  10. Vino Rosetto (Album Mix)
  11. Speed Metal Jesus
  12. Buchsenhoffner
  13. Jane (Fur Hannah)
  14. Medley Of The Drifters (Skit)
  15. Outro

Rivers Of The Red Planet was released back in April and is a blend of different styles in one album. There's a mixture of house which is counterpointed by some deft touch old school hip hop instrumentals. Some might say that it's either one genre and not both, but in Rivers Of The Red Planet, the contrast of downtempo breaks and sultry house play off each other very well. I'd like to see Max Graef put more hip hop material out there, because from what I've heard so far it sounds really good.

My Standout Track: Drums Of Death

16. Caustic Window: Caustic Window LP (Rephlex)

  1. Flutey
  2. Stomper 101mod Detunekik
  3. Mumbly
  4. Popeye
  5. Fingertrips
  6. Revpok
  7. AFX Tribal Kik
  8. Airflow
  9. Squidge In The Fridge
  10. Fingry
  11. Jazzphase
  12. 101 Rainbows Ambient Mix
  13. Phlaps
  14. Cunt
  15. Phone Pranks (Part 1)
  16. Phone Pranks (Part 2)

The story of this release of The Caustic Window LP is a strange one. Firstly, the name 'Caustic Window' is a pseudonym of Mr. Richard D. James, AKA Aphex Twin. This album was going to be released on Rephlex in the 90's, but for some apparent reason the album was mothballed. Much later a test pressing of the album made it onto the Discogs website, where a few of the membership of the We Are The Music Makers website started a kickstarter campaign, and raised the money to buy the album. The album was downloaded and copied for the members and the test pressing was sold on for a cool $46,300 on e bay. For all of us humble fans, we have to access Youtube to listen to the album. I think it sounds amazing. But there again, I would say that.

My Standout Track: 101 Rainbows Ambient Mix

15. Vermont: Vermont (Kompakt)

  1. Yaiza
  2. Rückzug
  3. Übersprung
  4. Sharav
  5. Dynamik
  6. Majestät
  7. Cocos
  8. Elektron
  9. Katzenjammer
  10. Droixhe
  11. Macchina
  12. Ebbe
  13. Lithium
  14. Montag

Vermont was released in March and is a collaboration of Marcus Worgull (Innervisions) and Danilo Plessow (Motor City Drum Ensemble) Don't expect any banging techno or four to the floor house. This album has a feeling more akin to Kraftwerk. It has all the intricate technical touches with an electronic edge which is experimented upon and tweaked throughout the album. Vermont is a competent and meticulous body of work. 

My Standout Track: Dynamik

14. Addison Groove: Presents James Grieve
(50 Weapons)
  1. Intro
  2. Just You
  3. Warped
  4. 11th
  5. Space Apples
  6. Malus
  7. One Fall
  8. The Spirit Level
  9. Bad Seed
  10. Abandon
  11. 167 Blast
  12. Cultivate
  13. Rzor
  14. Ain't It Love

Bristol native Tony Williams album, Presents James Grieve was released back in February on the German label 50 Weapons. The thing I like about this album is the way it harkens back to many different styles, and all wrapped up in a shrouded preponderance of dark sub-bass . There's traces of drum n bass, techno and house which are all evident. There's even some 303 acid business between the chopped up beats and vocals. 

My Standout Track: Space Apples

13. Francis Harris: Minutes Of Sleep (Scissor & Thread)
  1. Hems
  2. Dangerdream
  3. Radiofreeze
  4. Lean Back
  5. You Can Always Leave
  6. Me To Dream
  7. What She Had
  8. Blues News
  9. New Rain
  10. Minutes Of Sleep
  11. Dangerdream (How Che Guevara's Death And Bob Dylan's Life Militarized Brigade Rosse) (Terre Thaemlitz Remix)

Minutes Of Sleep was released in February on Francis Harris' own label, Scissor And Thread. Harris wrote this album in the aftermath of his mother's passing. There is a deeply personal feeling that radiates throughout this album. It's a combination of the introverted, with elements of experimentation, incorporating other instruments which gives you the feel of a hazy club at midnight. There's a fine line of the downtempo and the ambient which co-exist in a tempered wave of smooth minimalism. Whenever I listen to this album I get the impression that this is a testament to Francis Harris trying to stay calm and measured in the midst of spiritual turbulence.

My Standout Tune: What She Had

12. Cristian Vogel: Polyphonic Beings (Shitkatapult)
  1. Exclusion Waves
  2. McCaw's Ghost
  3. How Many Grapes Went into That Wine
  4. Lost in The Chase
  5. LA Banshee 109
  6. Forest Gifts
  7. Society Of Hands

It seems like light years since I bought the Infra E.P. in 1994, on Dave Clarke's Magnetic North label. It was quite obvious back then and is still very apparent now that Cristian Vogel can meld compositions that are diverse and interesting which can still pack a punch. Polyphonic Beings is no exception. This is a rhythmical album, but within all the synchronized commotion are a lot of synthesized growls and grunts tempered with moments of silvery ambiance. Polyphonic Beings is a good album which with a few more tracks could have been outstanding.

My Standout Track: How Many Grapes Went Into That Wine

11. Om Unit: Inversion (Metalheadz)
  1. Touching Down
  2. The War
  3. The Crossing
  4. Layers
  5. Bardo Realms
  6. Understand
  7. Parallel
  8. Mystic

Jim Coles has been quoted in quite a few reviews as saying that Inversion was "A nod to the sound of my teenage self." You only have to listen this album and it's quite apparent that not only is this album is a homage to the Metalheadz sound, in some ways it's an upgrade. There's a rich mixture of the trademark rolling breaks, dark basslines and vocal samples, which is formulated and refined, which for me is a very welcome reconstruction from within an epic drum n bass dynasty.

My Standout Track: Understand

10. Todd Terje: It's Album Time (Olsen)

  1. Intro (It's Album Time)
  2. Leisure Suit Preben
  3. Preben Goes To Acapulco
  4. Svensk Sas
  5. Strandbar
  6. Delorean Dynamite
  7. Johnny and Mary
  8. Alfonso Muskedunder
  9. Swing Star (Part 1)
  10. Swing Star (Part 2)
  11. Oh Joy
  12. Inspector Norse

It's Album Time was released back in April, and is an extraordinarily fun filled trip via Acapulco in a Delorean, which showcases the Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje's intricate musical stylings. There's many influences on display throughout this album. It's a melodic, beat driven assemblage of house, disco and 80's synth pop. There's even Brian Ferry with a cover version of Robert Palmer's Johnny And Mary, all wrapped up in a big groovy bow. This is a stunning album which has been an absolute pleasure to listen to all year.

My Standout Track: Inspector Norse

9. Eomac: Spectre (Killekill)

  1. SU Riddim
  2. Rainmaker
  3. Forest
  4. Spectre
  5. Rising 3
  6. Shell Of Dark
  7. Deeva
  8. Yau Ha n Ye Gui
  9. Crackts
  10. Mika Riddim
  11. Squink

    Spectre was released in May on the German label Killekill. Eomac is in fact Ian McDonnell, half of  the duo Lakker. This album explores the darker side of techno whilst touching on many other genres, There's breaks, bass and eerie swirling synths all wrapped up in a sea of grainy relentless distortion, The thing I really like about this album is the intensity level which is maintained throughout. Spectre is definitely full on, but has the feels of a tempered behemoth. There's a lot of bangs, growls and hisses throughout Spectre, but is still highly listenable, and a very impressive album.

    My Standout Track: Spectre

8. Copeland: Because I'm Worth It (Self Released)
  1. Faith OG X
  2. Advice To Young Girls
  3. Insult 2 Injury
  4. Serious
  5. Fit 1
  7. Inga
  8. L'oreal

Inga Copeland was one half of the defunct duo Hype Williams, and self released her first solo album Because I'm Worth It, back in May. What I like about this album is the way that Copeland manages to keep it low key and experimental, but still accessible. The track Advice To Young Girls is produced by Actress (Darren Cunningham) which is self evident upon listening, and there is also a nod to the Wu Tang Clan in the track Diligence. The album has a veil of dusk that runs through every track, with crisp breaks, the throb of bass, whilst the atmosphere is enhanced by Copeland's monotone lyrical stylings. I find Because I'm Worth It compelling stuff.

My Standout Track: Insult 2 Injury

7. Aphex Twin: Syro (Warp)
  1. minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]
  2. XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]
  3. produk 29 [101]
  4. 4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]
  5. 180db_ [130]
  6. CIRCLONT6A [141.98][syrobonkus mix]
  7. fz pseudotimestretch+e+3 [138.85]
  8. CIRCLONT14 [152.97][shrymoming mix]
  9. syro u473t8+e [141.98][piezoluminescence mix]
  10. PAPAT4 [155][pineal mix]
  11. s950tx16wasr10 [163.97][earth portal mix]
  12. aisatsana [102]

The album Drukqs was released back in 2001, and after much speculation the omens were all in place. There were stencils on the pavement, then a dirigible floating in the London sky, and after much fanfare, media direction and/or misdirection Syro was finally released by Warp on the momentous date (for me) of September 21st. Syro contains all the hallmarks of Richard D James, drillbit breaks, nifty keyboard swirls, crackles, and vocoders. Syro chugs along at times at a fair pace, and is enhanced with some timely drum n bass breaks. However, as much as I like Syro I can't help but feel desensitized by this new material. It is said that 'Imitation is the highest form of flattery' and Aphex Twin has been imitated, cloned and flattered over the last few years. So the new album lacks the originality factor which slightly takes away from the impact. Saying that, Syro is still a good album.

My Standout Track: minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]

6. Answer Code Request: Code (Ostgut Ton)

  1. Code
  2. Blue Russian
  3. Field Depth
  4. Odyssey Sequence
  5. Zenith
  6. Relay Access
  7. Status
  8. Haul
  9. Spin Off
  10. By The Bay
  11. Axif (feat Elizabeth Bernholz)

Code was released back in June and was released on the German Osgut Ton label. This is an album which showcases Patrick Gräser's talent for making top quality multifaceted subsonic techno. The entire album is a voyage through the techno realm, where there are sonic showers of broken beats, with bass driven barbs that are counterpointed with serene ambiance. Code is layered with dexterous production and breadth, so that the more you listen to Code, the better it sounds.  

My Standout Track: Field Depth

5. HTRK: Psychic 9-5 Club (Ghostly International)
  1. Give It Up
  2. Blue Sunshine
  3. Feels Like Love
  4. Soul Sleep
  5. Wet Dream
  6. Love Is Ditraction
  7. Chinatown Style
  8. The Body You Deserve

Psychic 9-5 Club was released in April, and was produced by Australians, Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang. This was their first album exclusively as a duo since the death of fellow band member Sean Stewart in 2010. Psychic 9-5 Club is acutely atmospheric and measured, the tone is downtempo, and the synthesizer programming is executed with slide rule precision, whilst Jonnine Standish's vocals compliment the mood of every song. To me, this album evokes the same kind of emotion as The Trinity Session by Cowboy Junkies, where there is an intense feeling of intimacy. Psychic 9-5 Club is a thing of exquisite beauty.

My Standout Track: Blue Sunshine

4. Kassem Mosse: Workshop 19 (Workshop)

  1. Untitled A1
  2. Untitled A2
  3. Untitled A3
  4. Untitled B1
  5. Untitled B2
  6. Untitled B3
  7. Untitled C1
  8. Untitled C2
  9. Untitled D1

Workshop 19 was released back in February, and has been a firm favourite of mine throughout the year. This is a solid techno infused album where Gunnar Wendel balances his experimentation with content of the highest quality without trying to reinvent the wheel, or be edgy. There is the contrast of the superlative arrangement within these tracks, which sound contemporary, yet there is room for tracks that are ambient and introspective in nature. Towards the latter part of the album things are allowed to go a little darker where the soundscape is just stunning in all it's hypnotically grooved brilliance. Workshop 19 is just a fantastic album, and that is due in part to Kassem Mosse's content, experience and skill.

My Standout Track: Untitled A2

3. Martyn: The Air Between Words (Ninja Tune)
  1. Forgiveness Step 1
  2. Glassbeadgames
  3. Empty Mind
  4. Drones
  5. Love Of Pleasure
  6. Two Leads & A Computer
  7. Forgiveness Step 2
  8. Like That
  9. Lullaby
  10. Fashion Skater

The Air Between Words was released in June and represented Martijn Deykers first release on Ninja Tune. The album is a rich tapestry of techno, house and bass which benefits from slick production, with crunching beats blended with slick synth lines whilst being underpinned by meaty basslines. This album excels when Martyn experiments, and this is evident in his collaboration with Copeland, with the standout track, The Love Of Pleasure, which has been a personal favourite of mine all year. The Air Between Words is an album that I've enjoyed listening to a lot this year.

My Standout Track: The Love Of Pleasure

2. Lone: Reality Testing (R&S Records)
  1. First Born Seconds
  2. Restless City
  3. Meeker Warm Energy
  4. Aurora North Quarter
  5. 2 Is 8
  6. Airglow Fires
  7. Coincidences
  8. Begin To Begin
  9. Jaded
  10. Vengeance Video
  11. Stuck
  12. Cutched Under

To be quite honest, I don't know where to begin in expressing my admiration for this album? Reality Testing was released in June and is an absolute classic. I love breaks, and I have nothing but huge respect for what Matt Cutler has achieved here. Every time I listen to Reality Testing I want to hear it again and again. There is a positive uplifting tone to this LP which is just intoxicating. It's a combination of punchy old school breaks, that are centred around adeptly programmed keyboards, with incisive vocals that seems to capture the mood perfectly. I want make it perfectly clear that this album isn't exactly inventing the breakbeat techno wheel here. Breaks and techno have been done before. But what Matt Cutler has achieved, is that he has created a body of work that has character, and not only has it reinvigorated the genre, but it has been accomplished with a sense of originality, and panache. Reality Testing is phenomenal, and has had me in it's spell for quite a while.
Take a bow Lone.

My Standout Track: Aurora North Quarter
(It's been very difficult to single out a stand alone tune)

1. Andy Stott: Faith In Strangers (Modern Love)

  1. Time Away
  2. Violence
  3. On Oath
  4. Science & Industry
  5. No Surrender
  6. How It Was
  7. Damage
  8. Faith In Strangers
  9. Missing

One of my favourite albums of 2012 was Luxury Problems by Andy Stott, which was an accomplished album in it's own right. I wondered how Andy Stott might possibly follow an album of such quality. The answer came in November, when Faith In Strangers was released on the Modern Love imprint. Faith In Strangers is a worthy successor to the legacy of Luxury Problems. It steps up a gear and increases in intensity, but is restrained when needed. It's dark and overpowering with moments of sonorous growling, but has moments of calm and serenity. Alison Skidmore supplies vocals, which enhances to the ethereal nature of the composition.

What I like about Faith In Strangers is it's distinctiveness. Andy Stott isn't afraid to experiment, In the many times when it is loud, it sounds epic, and when there are those sedate moments it sounds like the calm before the storm. The emotion is palpable and the genius is in Andy Stott's ability to create atmosphere throughout the album. All these ideas are moot if they aren't executed with precision, and Faith In Strangers is a success because of the culmination of these factors.

Faith In Strangers is my number one album of the year, It was a difficult decision, there was a lot of strong competition this year, however I think it's a worthy winner.

My Standout Track: Violence

My Top 30 Albums of 2014
30. Legowelt: Crystal Cult 2080 (Creme Organization)
29. The Cyclist: Flourish (All City Dublin)
28. Recondite: Iffy (Innervisions)
27. Sully: Blue (Keysound Recordings)
26. Actress: Ghettoville (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)
25. Lenzman: Looking At The Stars (Metalheadz)
24. Throwing Snow: Mosaic (Houndstooth)
23. Ekoplekz: Unfidelity (Planet Mu)
22. Altered Natives: Sin Elevated Art (Eye4Eye Recordings)
21. Moire: Shelter (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)
20. Wen: Signals (Keysound Recordings)
19. Objekt: Flatland (PAN)
18. Lucy: Churches Schools And Guns (Stroboscopic Artefacts)
17. Max Graef: Rivers Of The Red Planet (Tartelet Records)
16. Caustic Window: Caustic Window LP (Rephlex)
15. Vermont: Vermont (Kompakt)
14. Addison Groove: Presents James Grieve (50 Weapons)
13. Francis Harris: Minutes Of Sleep (Scissor & Thread)
12. Cristian Vogel: Polyphonic Beings (Shitkatapult)
11. Om Unit: Inversion (Metalheadz)
10. Todd Terje: It's Album Time (Olsen)
09. Eomac: Spectre (Killekill)
08. Copeland: Because I'm Worth It (Self Released)
07. Aphex Twin: Syro (Warp)
06. Answer Code Request: Code (Ostgut Ton)
05. HTRK: Psychic 9-5 Club (Ghostly International)
04. Kassem Mosse Workshop 19 (Workshop)
03. Martyn: The Air Between Words (Ninja Tune)
02. Lone: Reality Testing (R & S Records)
01. Andy Stott: Faith In Strangers (Modern Love)

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