The Soundshark’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

As the world begins to stir, gently putting the gears back into production, and steadily adjusting weary eyes to the bright new horizon of 2019 (I mean, it probably won’t be that different, other than some cases of lingering hangovers, apparent nationwide incense about a vegan sausage roll, and more than likely international condemnation of whatever Donald Trump does next), we at least have a period longer to contemplate how good a year of music 2018 really did provide us with. However the longer it took to mull over how a good year of music it was, the more frustrating it became to whittle down and distil the ten best. It’s very safe to say EVERY album about to be mentioned was in contention for a top ten position. Tantrums happened and tears were nearly shed. An iron resolve and persistence eventually paid off, and in the settling dust, lay the final ten chosen to represent the best of 2018. Just one of them became the victor and declared ‘the undisputed favourite.’ Continue reading

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Legiac

There was a phrase that started to emerge in early to late nineties when electronic music was branching into unfound territories and transforming into something so game-changing and ahead of its time, critics had no name for it. Little were labellers to know that the consequences of the name were attract such rightful backlash. They called it ‘intelligent dance music’ or IDM, which supposedly suggested that the producers making such outstanding music were of a higher intellectual calibre, or its listeners were an elite group who understood the complexity of the marvels they created. The label is still used today as a hype word, but there is still resentment around it. Legiac are in a newer breed of producers, inspired by the later works of Aphex Twin, formed as a collaboration between the brothers of Dutch electronic outfit Funckarma and composer Cor Bolten. Minus one brother come 2015, and their second studio effort The Faex Has Decimated (which I had to Google admittedly, faex actually means faeces, draw your own conclusions) is another stellar addition to the realm of evocative electronic music. The beats and sequencing here are absolutely sublime and immaculately produced, thriving in a whirlwind of organically shifting atmosphere and landscapes, icy to the touch, but ultimately settling enough to zone out to. Synths gleam and shimmer throughout, whilst programming sends the percussion into spasms, in an understated manner that doesn’t detract from the colossal scope of texture and atmosphere unravelling in front of you. Jefre Treminth, the third track in, is a serene, prosperous forest that revolves and rotates around its spacy ecosystem, before nightfall descends and the atmosphere becomes a lot more animated with additional beats and destruction of time signatures. As much as a surefire label escapes some electronic artists, often the words do as such also. This is a phenomenal piece of art, painted with a mechanical brush but as vivid and beautifully mesmerising as a human counterpart is capable of producing, perhaps even better. Electronic music continues to climb to the stratosphere and rewrite the limits of musical creation once again. Gorgeous music.

The Faex Has Decimated can be purchsed through Tympanik Audio’s Bandcamp page, for a reasonable fee or from most respectable music retailers. There is also a crowdfunding campaign for a vinyl release of the album so go support that if you like this. Their first album Mings Feaner is available via Sending Orbs webstore and most respectable retailers too.

There isn’t actually a Facebook or social media page for Legiac, so the next best thing was to trace its collaborators social media pages instead. That only yielded one result as Cor Bolten is rather difficult to track down going under numerous aliases. So have Funckarma instead: https://www.facebook.com/Funckarma?fref=ts

Access To Arasaka

Some artists leave you hanging on what could’ve been, if they’d just persevered a little longer. Seeming absent since 2013 and on the brink of seeping into mainstream acceptance, Access To Arasaka was an atmospheric electronic project of New York producer Robert Lioy, that combined dark, brooding soundscapes with glitch and IDM elements that could score a dystopian future with absolute ease. While his later works are murkier of sorts, Jody from his debut album Oppidan has somewhat of an element of purity, hard to explain within the context of electronic music. Whilst swirling through a smog of beautiful harmonics, programming spasms and contorts before picking up into an acid thrash-style breakbeat pace and settling at a wave of synthetic chatter between machines. Whilst not as ‘organic sounding’ as some electronic music produced out there, Access To Arasaka nails an emotional depth that it’s difficult to pinpoint, and earned him much respect from the electronic community in the process. Hopefully he’ll resurface one day, but his music has surely reinforced his prowess as an incredible producer.

The track featured, Jody, can be downloaded for free right here. 2012’s Geosnychron, 2011’s Orbitus, 2010’s void(); and 2009’s Oppidan can all be purchased via Tympanik Audio’s Bandcamp page, or physically and digitally via most respectable music retailers.

https://www.facebook.com/accesstoarasaka?fref=ts