Mixtape #36 : Best Albums of 2015

by 5:4

A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

In keeping with 5:4 tradition, here’s the new year Mixtape showcasing music from each of my Best Albums of 2015. Three hours that demonstrate something of the sonic wonders that materialised last year. Enjoy! — and there are links to buy each of the albums featured in the last two days’ articles.

As usual, the mixtape can either be downloaded or streamed via MixCloud. Here’s the tracklisting in full:

Andrew Liles – Yahyahyellahonz (from Miscellany – Lussuoso (Electronics: 1990 to 2015))
Benge – Moor Music (from Forms 4 – Moor Music)
Kate Havnevik – Emotional (from &i)
IAMX – Insomnia (from Metanoia)
Alva Noto – Xerrox Mesosphere (from Xerrox Vol. 3)
East India Youth – Carousel (from Culture of Volume)
Eivør – Slør (from Slør)
Lana Del Rey – Swan Song (from Honeymoon)
Sr. Anselme O’Ceallaigh – Virtue IV (1972) (from Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde)
Vanbot – Secrets (from Perfect Storm)
Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow – Hacking; Cutting (from Ex_Machina (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack))
Ingar Zach & Miguel Angel Tolosa – Whirlworlds [excerpt] (from Loner)
Somatic Responses – Asheville loop (from The Motor of Decay)
Steven Wilson – Home Invasion (from Hand. Cannot. Erase.)
Purity Ring – Begin Again (from Another Eternity)
Kreng – Depression (from The Summoner)
Björk – History of Touches (from Vulnicura)
Cemeteries – Can You Hear Them Sing? (from Barrow)
Gilles Gobeil – Castalie [excerpt] (from Les lointains)
Coppice – Bramble (from Spans: Three Perspectival Accounts + Cores/Eruct + Matches)
James Newton Howard – There Are Worse Games to Play/Deep in the Meadow (feat. Jennifer Lawrence) (from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack))
Line Katcho – Dérive (from Pulsions)
Julia Holter – Vasquez (from Have You In My Wilderness)
Anna Þorvaldsdóttir – In the Light of Air – 3. Existence (from In the Light of Air)
Man Without Country – Laws Of Motion (feat. White Sea) (from Maximum Entropy)
C Duncan – Silence And Air (from Architect)
Jacek Sienkiewicz – Subatomic Particle 42 (from Nomatter)
Brian Gascoigne – Phase IV [excerpt] (from Phase IV (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack))
Sunken Foal – Doob.ie (from Friday Syndrome Vol. 3)
Syl Kougaï – Alpha & Omega (from ΙΧΘΥΣ)
Disasterpeace – Doppel (from It Follows (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack))
Kenneth Kirschner – September 13, 2012 [excerpt] (from Compressions & Rarefactions)
Monty Adkins – ufs_2 (from Unfurling Streams)
Veli-Matti Puumala – Anna Liisa – Act III Scene 4d: Lahde rauhaan lapseni (Chorus) (from Anna Liisa)
John Williams – The Abduction (from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack))
Volker Hennes – Ambassador 14″ (from Emperor Ambassador)
Autechre – AE_LIVE_KATOWICE_210815 [excerpt] (from AE_LIVE)
Mark Andre – … auf … 3 [excerpt] (from … auf …)
John Wall & Alex Rodgers – Work 2011-2014 [excerpt] (from Work 2011–2014)
Susanne Sundfør – Silencer (from Ten Love Songs)


David January 4, 2016 • 00:25 - 00:25

Great list, as usual, at least judged from the stuff I know. I figured the Sundfor album would be somewhere, but #1 came as a surprise for me. But it’s kinda funny, because in a year where albums like Arca’s “Mutant” and the new Oneohtrix Point Never receive glowing reviews all around, I’m kinda tired of all the noise-infused electronic music and found myself more enamored with Purity Ring, Susanne Sundfor or even Chvrches. From your list I seem to sense a similar trend, but I might be mistaken… I also like that you put IAMX up there. His overly dramatic presentation is often times too much for me, but there’s always at least one track on every album which is just perfect (this time: “Insomnia”).

5:4 January 4, 2016 • 15:54 - 15:54

Thanks for the comment David, and i’m glad you like the list. i really don’t rate Oneohtrix Point Never at all—i liked Returnal a few years back, but everything since seems thoroughly lacking in cogent ideas—but Arca’s Mutant very nearly made it onto the list, i think it’s very impressive. The Chvrches album left me a bit crestfallen, it didn’t seem to live up to their first, which i think remains something very special. Whether any of this amounts to a ‘trend’ or not, i don’t know, although i was surprised after i’d collated my list how many songwriters were featured. For me, Sundfør just had to come top; not only because it was pretty much the only 5-star disc i’d encountered all year, but also because i’ve returned to it again and again and again (not a week goes by when i don’t revisit it), and it leaves me just as breathless and exhilarated every single time. i haven’t checked around to see if it’s topped anyone else’s list, but i really hope it’s up there in a few of the less partisan of them (i avoid most end of the year lists precisely because they are so transparently partisan).

David January 10, 2016 • 17:41 - 17:41

I agree with your on Oneohtrix. Terribly inconsistent, although always perfectly produced. But there’s always at least one track that blows me away, this time it’s “Mutant Standard”, an 8 minute megamix of sorts which somehow develops into a ring-modulated rave hymn and back. Can’t agree with you on Chvrches though, found their latest to be really good, although maybe a bit “over-produced”, smoothing the rough edges a bit too much which the first one still had.
Anyway, I’m slowly catching up with your list, and as always I find great stuff there I’ve never heard of before. This time: Eivør. Begins innocent enough, but then “I Tokuni” nearly killed my woofer and the remaining tracks completely blew me away. Especially the last track reminds me of Dead Can Dance (when they still mattered, that is).

5:4 January 10, 2016 • 21:01 - 21:01

i’ll check out that Oneohtrix track David – thanks for singling it out. Chvrches: i suspect what i found problematic is precisely what you say about it being “over-produced”; i liked the grittiness and the sense of being “home-made” that you can hear on their first album – maybe i found the new one’s just a bit too slick. But i still really enjoyed it.
i’m really glad you’re enjoying Eivør (and that your woofer’s still okay!) – it’s a splendid album, but surprisingly different from most of her earlier stuff. It’ll be interesting to see whether she follows this up or if it turns out to be a glorious one-off experiment…

chris_c February 23, 2016 • 13:51 - 13:51

the mix looks great thank you; a good aid to help me know what to buy from last year. am listening to mc schmidt’s batu malablab for prepared piano, flute and electronics; sounds good to me – especially the gamelan vibe, a definite recommendation.
thanks for the blog.


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