The eastern plains of Germany speed past my window as I write this, bound as I am on a journey to Prague. Soon we'll pass fields of whiteout and reach Dresden and then head into a black valley with a wide widing river and tree covered peaks.
That's the backdrop for a summary of my favourite listening of 2010. As any analyst will tell you, trends are more important than numbers, so I forego any enumerated value judgements in favour of a loose collection of sonics that hopefully represent another amazing year for modern music.
Keith Fullerton Whitman had an unbelievable year, releasing early and often with great quality. 2010 was his year and rightly so. Generator, which I wasn't fortunate enough to snap up on cassette, was my favourite, but Disingenuity/Disingeniousness was also standout. Craft, vision and an aural understanding that shamed 99% of post-hypnagogic's synth-posturing fallout.
Unfairly dragged into that particular chillwave morass was Sun Araw, whose proto-future soundscapes drew in afrobeat and tropicalia in all the right ways and provided songs for every summer situation (On Patrol especially). Oneohtrix Point Never's reputation too remained intact despite being dragged through the mainstream gutter. Returnal is a thing of beauty, nothing less. His Games project was on continual rotation too and saw the best collusion between youtube videos and experimental music yet. I'm surprised at how few experimental artists make interesting, quality videos and I remain eager for recommendations.
Visuals and music have always been entwined within raster-noton's ouevre. Senking's darkstep masterpiece Pong is so evocative of a certain Berlin for me – I love the way this city has adapted dubstep and made it its own. The albums' production is stunning; one play and I'm back in that abandoned no-man's-land factory, feeling the air moved by sheer frequency. Talking of which, Eleh's Location Momentum was a game-changer for 2010, plain and simple.
More to follow...