Top 50 of 2017 - Ryan H.

1. Slowdive - Slowdive (Dead Oceans) - It would be easy to call this a return to form for the legendary shoegaze band. But honestly, this is beyond any form that Slowdive ever melted into. Infectious, ear-worm melodies underneath shimmering guitar tones and washes of pure spectral light.

2. Dino Spiluttini - To Be a Beast (Cut Surface) - Austrian musician employs processed piano recordings to create blown out melodies and searing, jagged holes in the moving architecture of a stately drone.

3. Demen - Nektyr (Kranky) - On the enigmatic Swedish musican’s debut for Kranky, Demen paints with deep blues and reds to create a palate somewhere between Marie Davidson’s nocturnal excursions and Portishead’s unaffected cool.

4. Lafidiki - Chinabot (Memory No. 36/Chinabot/We Be Friends) - London-based Cambodian beatmaker turned his latest record into a showcase of sorts for a broad coterie of aspiring Asian musicians. The result is an inspiring, vexing, turn-on-a-dime mix of influences, memories and throttle-held groove.

5. Nico Niquo - In a Silent Way (Orange Milk) - A sleek, meditative masterpiece of patience and timing - huge movements and tiny phrases that make compulsive repeat listening mandatory. Pure synthetic pleasure.

6. Lawrence English - Cruel Optimism (Room40) - “This record is one of protest against the immediate threat of abhorrent possible futures. It’s an object of projection, from me to you and onward from there”. A deeply felt melodic drone record that feels like a thousand dark rain clouds bursting all at once.

7. Caroline No - No Language (Students of Decay) - A record, so much unlike others on this list, that exists in chance, spontaneity and first-take-best-take breeziness. The result is a wonderfully crafted, heartwarming slice of slightly off-kilter pop. RIYL: The Pastels, Tenniscoats, Mazzy Star.

8. Hiro Kone - Love is the Capital (Geographic North) - A staggeringly astute dive into tight, linear techno - a jet stream of swirling rhythms disembodied vocals and corporeal beats. A timely, overwhelmingly political dance album that grips so tight so as to make surrender impossible.

9. Chihei Hatakeyama - Mirage (Room40) - Every year deserves a perfect ambient record. 2017 got theirs in the form of Hatakeyama’s heavily melodic, unapologetically moving piece of aural sculpting. Perfect in almost every way.

10. Terence Hannum - Impiety (Umor Rex) - I have an insane amount of respect for Terence Hannum and Locrain. Hannum’s latest on Umor Rex is a ghostly masterpiece. Comprised of Hannum’s voice and minimal synths, he creates false cathedrals of unholy dirges sent out to no gods. An eschatological document focused on the final death of man, yet oddly hopeful and triumphant.

11. Lee Noble - The Hell of You Came In (No Kings)

12. Roger Eno - This Floating World (Recital)

13. Scott Tuma - No Greener Grass (Dismal Niche)

14. Stag Hare - Starlights Gloom (Inner Islands)

15. Planning for Burial - Below the House (The Flenser)

16. Bus Gas - Live On Leave Us (Spring Break Tapes!)

17. Josh Mason & Nathan McLaughlin - On the Brink (Eilean Rec.)

18. Matt Jenick - Weird Times (Hands in the Dark)

19. High Plains - Cinderland (Kranky)

20. Atariame - Fear is the World (Constellation Tatsu)

21. Solid Waste - Visions (Dismal Niche)

22. Stabilo & Moshimoss - FIIEII (Sound in Silence)

23. From the Mouth of the Sun - Hymn Binding (Lost Tribe Sounds)

24. Sympathy Pain - Tangled Molten Skull (Hellscape)

25. Trupa Trupa - Jolly New Songs (Blue Tapes)

26. Machine Girl - Because I'm Young Arrogant and Hate Everything You Stand For (Orange Milk) 

27. jitwam - ज़ितम सिहँ (Cosmic Compositions)

28. Jefre Cantu-Ledesme - On the Echoing Green (Mexican Summer)

29. VA - The Hired Hands: A Tribute to Bruce Langhorne (Scissor Tail Editions)

30. Alex Cunningham - Ache (Personal Archive)

31. Pauline Lay - Alloy/Pulp (Heavy Mess)

32. Bryce Hackford - Looking Off (Perfect Wave)

33. The Fun Years - Heroes of the Second Story Walk Up (Spring Break Tapes!)

34. More Eaze - Firesid3 ch@t r00m (Orange Milk)

35. William Ryan Fritch & Matt Finney - A History in Boxes (Lost Tribe Sound)

36. VVV - Shadow World (Holodeck)

37. Forest Swords - Compassion (Ninja Tune)

38. Crown Larks - Population (Already Dead)

39. Justin Walsh - Unseen Forces (Kranky)

40. BELL WITCH - Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore)

41. Cloakroom - Time Well (Relapse)

42. Forest Management - The Elevated Quiet (Constellation Tatsu)

43. Uniform - Wake In Fright (Sacred Bones)

44. Guenter Schlienz - Sterne über Der Stadt (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ)

45. Buffalo Voice - Buffalo Voice Pilgrim Takes His Spill (Antiquated Future)

46. AMULETS - Still Lifes (Heavy Mess)

47. Big Walnuts Yonder - Big Walnuts Yonder (Sargent House)

48. Mogwai - Every Country's Sun - (Temporary Residence, LTD)

49. Elkhorn - The Black River (Debacle)

50. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory (Def Jam)

December 11th, 2017